Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Memories of MacWorld, Fond Ones!

The news that Apple is about to introduce another revolutionary product that I can’t afford has made me remember how much, at this time of year, I used to look forward to MacWorld at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. Acres of Mac-related products as far as the eye could see! You’d walk around loading huge, colorful department store-style bags bearing this or that software company’s logo with free magazines, free floppy disks, free whatsits and trinkets beyond counting. You’d ooh and aah at demonstrations of dazzling new software, and sip complimentary beverages. You’d buy more memory.

Whole legions of badly dressed, often rat-faced former members of their high schools’ ham radio and audiovisual clubs buzzed and vituperated like callers to talk radio sports shows about What [Steve] Jobs Was Gonna Say at his big State of the Mac address. And you should have seen them when a software demonstrator made known that he’d be tossing free T-shirts into the crowd. Their pupils would dilate. The dark spots under their arms would expand, and appear damper. They’d moan, and tremble. Their tics would become more pronounced. Free T-shirts, just for correctly answering the demonstrator’s questions! Free T-shirts!

One year, it was as though you’d be arrested for using the word software; everything was a…solution. You wanted to lay out a brochure on your Mac? Well, Company A had a desktop publishing solution. You wanted to figure out how much you owed Uncle Sam? Company B to the rescue, with an accounting solution. It was really obnoxious! I related the phenomenon to the celebrated columnist Herb Caen, and he put it in his San Francisco Chronicle column, but without attribution, though I did get a nice signed note that I proudly archived beside my Pete Townshend, David Bowie, Tipper Gore, and Vin Scully letters.

I think that was the same year one software company hired a bevy of lithe young beauties to hang around in front of its exhibit in luminous latex catsuits. I spent a lot of time investigating their various…solutions; oh, did I! I am reluctant to plug The Onion, which, whenever I've suggested that I join their writing staff, sniffily inform me that they’re not looking for anybody, but I absolutely must share with you the funniest thing I’ve ever seen related to the Mac!

One year Kai Krause, namesake of the Kai’s Power Tools suite of Adobe Photoshop plugins, made an appearance. The crowd couldn’t have been more excited if he’d been Elvis, returned from the dead and carrying a naked Marilyn Monroe in his arms. Kai revealed during his presentation that he had 256 kilobytes of RAM on his own computer, and I, who had six, and a 40MB hard drive, very nearly fainted with envy; the iMac on which I’m writing this has 2GB of RAM, around a billion times more, by my calculation!

These are wonderful times in which we live, and I am using a great many explanation points today, but just try and stop me! The Lexapro may finally be working!

[Hear my life-changing new album Sorry We're Open here! Facebookers: Read more All In Tents and Porpoises essays and subscribe here.]

1 comment:

  1. oh boy DID i! lmao... i remember giving the lovely Kathlene, from the lovely Destiny, a motorcycle ride to her house... As we crossed the bridge she screamed in sheer joy at the vista my overpriced toy gave us. Then she wrapped her thin arms around my waist and laid her head between my shoulder blades and squeezed me tight. THAT, my friend, was utter bliss.

    I'm reading everything you've written. It's intense.