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The Mac|Life staff wants everyone to have an enjoyable time at this year's Expo. To that end, we present a survival guide for the 2008 Expo.
Wear comfortable shoes. You will walk and walk and walk and eventually you'll walk a little more. Wear comfortable shoes with adequate arch support.
Bring a bag for your swag. Sure, you can probably pick up a plastic/paper bag from a vendor, but then you become a walking ad. Plus, they usually have weak and awkward handles. Bring a backpack, shoulder bag, messenger bag, whatever you are comfortable carrying.
Just because it's free doesn't mean you need it. Mouse pads, key chains and pens are only useful if you need them. With swag, you want quality, not quantity.
Make sure your laptop battery is fully charged and if possible, bring a second. It'll be difficult to find a available outlet at Moscone Center if your laptop battery dies.
Bring snacks. The convention center food court is overpriced and underwhelming.
Don't swipe your attendee badge at a booth unless you want spam. When you visit a booth, vendors will want to swipe your card and add you to their mailing list. Don't do it. There is plenty of product literature at the booth and you can always visit the vendors Web site in your own time.
Don't expect people to call you back. Often, we see showgoers give business cards to the company reps at the booth. You know where those cards go? In that rep's back pocket. You know where it goes after that? In the garbage at the end of the day. It's not that reps don't want to talk to you, but reps talk to dozens, maybe even hundreds of people at the show. You won't be remembered. Don't take it personally.
If you're sporting an iPhone or iPod touch use the i.Zami iPhone expo directory.
Be brief and to the point. Booth people don't want to hear how your day is going, how difficult it is to get your boss to approve the budget to buy that vendor's product, or how their product needs this feature or that feature. It's not that the booth person doesn't care, but turn around and look behind you - you'll notice about a a half dozen people wanting to ask that booth person a question.
The weather in San Francisco can change from neighborhood to neighborhood. A light to medium jacket is always a good idea if you plan on being outside for any length of time.
Do not propose to booth babes. They don't really like you.
Don't forget the Moscone West hall. All the big vendors (including Apple) are in Moscone South. It's where most of the action happens. But at least spend an afternoon or two in the West hall. Most of the smaller developers are there, and you'll see cool products. Plus, the people are much calmer.
Central Computers is down the street. It happens - your USB cable is tweaked, your portable printer needs ink, you lost your flash drive, whatever. Central Computers is a computer store located about a half a mile from Moscone center at 837 Howard Street (open Monday through Friday, 9AM to 7:30PM). If you prefer to go to an Apple Store, there's the downtown store, less than a mile from Moscone. But the Apple store doesn't carry a lot of third-party items, like ink or internal hard drives.
Take off your badge when you leave the show. It's been a long day, your ears are ringing from the noise, your feet are swollen from all the walking, and you're beat. When you're walking down the street to your car, BART, bus, or rickshaw, please remember to take your dang badge off from around your neck. It doesn't look cool. It doesn't impress anyone. It does let the many homeless people in SF know your name and where your work.
Take off your badge when you're at an after-show party. There are many vendor parties at Mac Expo. All of them are invite only. But if you do get lucky and get to go the the Microsoft Office shindig, the Samsung soirée, or the Mac|LIfe meet and greet, take off your badge. You're not on the show floor anymore. And if you get plastered, it'll probably snap off as you stagger through Market Street. Put it in a safe place.
Finally, we'll be live blogging Steve Job's keynote this year with up to the minute information and images directly from the keynote.
To register for the Expo go here or you can pay at the door. The exhibitor hall pass will run you $45.
Tuesday is the money day to hit the expo floor. Everyone is excited and the Apple booth will be swarming with the faithful. If you're looking for a quiet experience, try Friday. By then most of the press have gone home and exhaustion has set in.