Baja, fire drills, & sleepy speakers

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Live, from somewhere off the coast of Baja California, it’s Mac Mania 4, the latest installment in the ongoing series of cruises (co-produced by Geek Cruises and Macworld) featuring a floating cavalcade of Mac experts, Mac users, and stimulating Mac talk.

We left port in San Diego on Saturday afternoon, passing by the island of Coronado on the way out into the Pacific Ocean. Saturday evening brought the traditional bon voyage party in the Crow’s nest, where the hundred-plus cruisers and their families mingled with technology stars such as Steve Wozniak, Leo Laporte, Andy Ihnatko, Bob LeVitus, Bruce Fraser, Deke McClelland, Derrick Story, and Macworld’s own Christopher Breen.

Undeterred by a shipwide middle-of-the-night wake-up call (apparently a fire alarm went off in the ship’s incinerator room at four in the morning!), cruisers and speakers alike woke up early to start a full day of classes on Sunday.

Ihnatko wowed his audience with a day-long look into just about everything you’d ever wanted to know about Tiger—not bad for a guy who was just getting to sleep when the alarm went off, and who basically spoke for an entire day straight on not a minute’s sleep. Granted, he had to get up and pace at the end in order to keep himself awake—I’ve heard of students falling asleep in class before, but teachers? —but he made it through with aplomb, then promptly returned to his cabin and crashed. By dinnertime he was his old self again.

In other shipboard sessions, LeVitus chipped in a half-day on power user productivity in Tiger. Meanwhile, resident Photoshop gods Fraser and McClelland each gave day-long sessions to remarkably large crowds. And Apple’s resident AppleScript maven Sal Soghoian gave cruisers a three-hour crash course on using Automator.

But the late afternoon’s entertainment was of a bit less cerebral sort. In numerous lounges and bars throughout the ms Oosterdam , throngs of cruisegoers gathered to watch Super Bowl XL. I have to admit it was a bit surreal to be watching the Super Bowl while bobbing in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico. What made it weirder was that the ship’s feed was from ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language edition of that cable channel—although fortunately for we non-Spanish speakers, the audio feed was of the English-language variety.

Football, Mac stuff, and did I mention all the ice cream you can eat? Truly we live in a time of miracles.

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