Jamming at Javits, Day 2

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Jamming at Javits, Day 1

And on the second day, Steve said "let there be exhibitors," and he saw them and they were good. Well, maybe that's over-dramatizing a bit, but the packing crates have been flung open, and today there is a palpable buzz at Javits as exhibitors go about the process of setting up their booths and displaying their wares.

Yesterday's maze of boxes and lumber is disappearing. The chaos I found Monday has given way to an ordered, if hectic, flurry of forklifts and hammers. Signs have been erected, and familiar names are on display everywhere: 3DFX, Wacom, H-P, iomega, and yes, Macworld magazine. No overtly visible Apple banners, however, but more on that later.

The Expo support crew has also jelled considerably since yesterday. All of the people I chatted with at the various registration booths seemed to know what was going on, where to send me, and how to answer my questions.

Likewise, the security guards who I bypassed yesterday with a smile and a vague gesture towards my i.d. cards have stepped up their vigilance; I saw at least one media person being turned away at the door. I felt pretty lucky to have an Exhibitor's badge, which got me on the floor legitimately.

But the buzz today is all about Apple and what they'll announce (or what they won't). It's the Mac version of Crossfire today at Javits; everyone has an opinion. The funny thing is, none of the jabbering rumor-mongers really have any idea what's going to go down (although I heard one vendor did let some important Apple news slip out in a press-release snafu). The people who genuinely do know something are resolutely closed lipped.

This leaves the rest of us with nothing to do but speculate and engage in Hopi divination rituals involving a complex blend of chanting, drum-beating, and tree frogs dangling from FireWire cables. Or at least staring at the curtains around Apple's booth and trying to figure out what they portend.

It's these curtains I was referring to earlier when I said that Apple's banners were not overtly visible. A few black banners now hang from the ceiling to the floor of the Javits center around Apple's booth. Although they only partially wall off the booth, combined with the security guards who ring Apple's floor area, they emit an aura of secrecy and intrigue.

I wish I could tell you what I think is going to be announced. But I can't do that for two very good reasons. The first is that doing so would probably result in my getting canned faster than a corn niblet. The second is that, well, I have no idea what I'm talking about. I know what I think is going to happen, but I have no evidence whatsoever to base my thoughts on. No evidence aside from my aforementioned Hopi divination techniques, that is.

But tomorrow we have Steve Jobs' keynote to look forward to, which will dispel the mysteries. And although I really want to know what's up, I'm sort of sad that the cloak and dagger stuff has to come to an end. I enjoy the speculation, the gossip, the pronouncements. I'm going to miss the rumors and the "don't tell anyone I told you this but..." comments.

My tree frogs, on the other hand, are already penning thank-you's to Mr. Jobs for bringing their divining days to a close.

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