MacMania charts its course

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The itinerary for MacMania, the upcoming cruise conference for Mac fans, has been set. It will blend 25 hours of conference courses with relaxation and enjoyment of Alaska's Inner Passage from May 27 to June 3, 2002.

Arranging the event is Geek Cruises, a company that schedules cruise conferences that combine work and play. Since the first cruise launched on Memorial Day 2000, there have been five voyages, mainly for developers and other professionals. Past or scheduled trip themes have focused on Perl, Java, XML, database administrators and scripting languages.

Graphic arts, Web work, office productivity and OS X are on deck. In addition, Mac enthusiasts will get the scoop on Mac secrets and the development underground, according to Geek Cruises Captain and CEO Neil Bauman. Mac pundits, panelists and gurus will share the inside stories that shape Mac's unique community, he added.

Some of the end user track courses are "A Unix Guide to OS X," "Macintosh Studio Secrets," "Digital Video Postproduction and Special Effects," "Microsoft Office X Inside and Out," "Building Web Sites with Dreamweaver 4 and Fireworks 4," "Eudora, Entourage, Mailsmith Shootout," "Getting Comfortable with Mac OS X," and "iMovie 2: the Missing Crash Course." Developer track courses will include "AppleScript Crash Course," "Using Project Builder and Interface Builder," "Cocoa in Action," "Porting to Mac OS X," and "Java Development for Mac OS X."

The seven-day ocean cruise will also enter new territory, exploring how Mac OS X enhances day-to-day Mac use. Taking advantage of Alaska's exquisite scenery, a two-day digital photography workshop (one of 25 courses offered) will provide session participants with equipment, set them loose in ports of call and refine the digital memories in a lab session, Bauman said.

The MacMania cruise -- which is co-sponsored by Mac Publishing, owners of MacCentral and Macworld -- will depart May 27 from Vancouver for Alaska's spectacular Inside Passage. MacManiacs will be sailing on Holland America's Volendam, one of the newest members of Holland America's "next generation" cruise ships.

When the ship docks at various Alaskan locales, cruisers will be free to explore and enjoy on their own. However, there'll also be lots of recreational events on the ship, as well, such as quiz shows and luncheons with guest speakers.

Conference attendees can bring the whole family if they wish since both MacManiacs and "non-geek" alike will be interested in the various parties and activities, which include a bon voyage celebration, a Wizard's Party, and a wine and cheese end-of-cruise event. Spouses and guests are welcome to attend the parties and all open or special events.

Room for MacMania is limited to approximately 400. Cruising prices (if booked six months in advance) are: inside cabins: US$1,050-$1,100 (depending on category) and outside cabins: $1,350-$1,550 (depending on category). Prices will go up on Nov. 27. The conference price is $600 for the End Users Track and $1,250 for the OS X Developers Track. Port taxes would be additional and are $184 per person. For more info go to the Geek Cruises Web site or download the full-color 12-page brochure. And if you're interested in participating in MacMania, e-mail Bauman and tell him which conference track floats your boat.

This story, "MacMania charts its course" was originally published by PCWorld.

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