If you're on your way to Macworld Expo (or, perhaps, already here) and haven't worked out a game plan for "doing" the show, allow my conscience to be your guide. Following these tips may make Expo a less-stressful (or, at least, less wearing) experience.
1. Wear comfortable clothes.
Steve Jobs' omnipresent jeans, mock-turtleneck, and sneakers hint that this is not a formal affair. When you trudge around the Moscone halls seeking the best the Mac has to offer, many of you may be getting more exercise than you've had in the past year. Wear clothes that are neither too warm or cold (watch it, those conference sessions can be REALLY cold) and wear shoes with a lot of support.
2. Check the floor traffic.
Go to the Mezzanine level in Moscone South and peer through the window down to the show floor. Look for large crowds of people. This gives you an idea that either A) they have cool stuff there or B) it's a bad traffic area.
3. Scope out comfortable places.
If you do Expo right, you're going to get tired of trudging. Keep an eye out for places where you can take a load off. The Mezzanine level in Moscone South is quieter than the rest of the hall and has some comfortable chairs. The hall floor between the North and South halls isn't that comfortable, but it's a nice place to people watch. A few booths offer couches or theaters where you can watch and learn -- the Peachpit and Aladdin booths as well as the MacBeginnings area, for example.
4. Make a plan.
Grab the show guide and sit down with it for 10 minutes. Learn the locations of the booths you want to visit and determine in which order you'd like to visit. Make changes to that plan that take into account the traffic areas you noted earlier.
5. Don't pick up a bag first thing.
If you're planning to be at the show for awhile, don't pick up a bag the second you walk in. If you do, you're likely to put stuff in it and, before you know it, you're carrying an extra 25 pounds of stuff. Do the tour first, make a note of stuff you'd like to get at another time, and when you're thinking of leaving, do the rounds to collect the items and literature you want.
6. To shop or not?
Should you shop for stuff your first day? Some say yes, others no. I say, it depends.
Hot items such as games and cool new utilities tend to sell out in the first day or two. Many people hold out until the end of Expo thinking they can get a better deal by waiting. This may be so for items that aren't in high demand, but certainly not for the latest shoot-em-up. If you're a gamer, grab the goods while the grabbing is good.
7. Say hi!
I'm going to be speaking in a number of places this week.
On Tuesday I'll be in the Users Group Lounge at 2:00 PM.
Wednesday I'll be speaking about the iPod and autographing my book, Secrets of the iPod, at the Peachpit and Aladdin booths at 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM respectively.
Thursday I'll be in the MacBeginnings area and presenting my iPod SuperSession for conference attendees at 11:30 and 3:30 respectively.
Hope to see you there. Enjoy Expo!