My Presentation at the Peachpit Booth

I give a demo on Mac OS X 10.4 Cool Features

I was at Macworld Expo on Thursday and Friday. I’d gone primarily to gather information for a book I’ll be starting next week. But while I was there, I did a quick presentation at the Peachpit Press booth.

Peachpit has one of the nicest booths at the show these days. It’s a big booth with lots of tables full of books. Behind a wall, there’s a small theater where authors give presentations in front of about 20 chairs. I suspect that a lot of people sit in on presentations just to get off their feet for a while, but I’d like to think that some of them come just to see a particular author.

They wired me up with a wireless microphone (huh?) and I plugged my 12″ PowerBook into their projection system. When it appeared that no more than half the seats would be occupied, I started my presentation.

You have to understand that the more I plan for a presentation, the worse it is. So I don’t plan much anymore. Instead, I kind of “wing it.” I’ve been winging it for years now and I haven’t embarrassed myself yet.

My preparation for this presentation consisted of about 45 minutes seated in the Moscone Hall lobby, sucking at the Internet from a free wi-fi “connection” that was floating about the hall. I looked up my articles for Informit, which are also on the Peachpit Press Web site, and chose a few topics from them. What I really wanted to talk about was the article I’d written called “Five Funky Finder Features,” but it hadn’t been published yet. Fortunately, I found a copy of it on my hard drive, so I noted the topics on a steno pad. Then I thought of a few more topics to talk about, jotted them down, and was done.

I started off by introducing myself and telling them the story about how the Mac changed my life. (If you haven’t heard that story, you might want to search these blogs once they’re all online. I’m sure I wrote about it somewhere.) I told them about how the Peachpit Press and Informit.com Web sites are great sources of free information and even showed them my page on the Peachpit site to prove it.

Then I launched into my topics, using the notes I’d jotted down to keep me from forgetting what I’d planned to talk about. I answered questions as they came up — the hardest part was hearing what people were asking. (The hall is so darn loud and my ears were still stuffed from the plane ride.) After telling them about something, I’d ask whether they knew about it and was very surprised to find that I was teaching them new stuff. That was the goal, so I succeeded.

I showed them some of my favorite widgets, too. And how to set up iCal to show birthdays from people in your Address Book. This will be in a future Informit.com article.

The last thing I showed them was how you could connect a Garmin GPS to a Mac using a PC cable and adapter, then show waypoints and routes on the maps and satellite photos using Terrabrowser. The idea was to prove that Mac users could do just as many cool things with their computers as PC users. I think I got the message across.

The seats filled up gradually. Some people left, others took their place. One woman, who was pretty new to Macs, probably didn’t realize that she was my first choice to get a free copy of my Tiger book (heck, I didn’t want to carry them back home). She left before the end and missed out. I gave out that book and the two Visual QuickProjects I’d brought along at the end of my presentation.

It had been fun and I was glad I did it. Peachpit videoed the whole thing and I think they’ll be releasing it as a video podcast on their Web site. When I find out more, I’ll add a link on this Web site.

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