Keynote bloopers and practical jokes

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Five weeks and a day from the time I’m typing this sentence, Steve Jobs will take the stage at the Moscone West expo hall to kickoff the 2008 Macworld Conference & Expo with his annual keynote. I think it’s a pretty safe argument that Jobs’ Expo keynote is the most anticipated event of the calendar year among Mac enthusiasts. And for good reason—in just one 90-minute-give-or-take speech, you get exciting revelations, carefully crafted showmanship, and (more often than not) a boatload of new product releases.

You also get the occasional glitch or blunder. And now, thanks to an enterprising iMovie user and Web 2.0 technologies, you can relive those unscripted keynote moments that Apple would just as soon have you forget.

The 4:40-second “Apple Keynote Bloopers” video— posted on YouTube and embedded below—is credited to Macintologist, and it’s pretty much a collection of everything that can go wrong doing exactly that. You’ve got demos suddenly freezing up, then-Sony president Kunitake Ando fumbling his way through a presentation at the 2005 Expo while Steve Jobs visibly waits for an oversized hook to emerge from stage right, and Apple’s Phil Schiller desperately trying to launch Quake III. There's even a cruel laugh at the expense of a product announcement that never came to pass.

It’s funny how memories can blur with time. For instance, I remember that presentation when a digital camera refused to do Steve Jobs’ bidding and he wound up lobbing it to an Apple executive in the front row of the audience. The way I remember that happening, it was a tight, Joe Namath-like spiral thrown with more vigor each time I retold the story (“And then the camera whistled through the crowd and lodged in some intern’s skull !”); as it actually happened, Jobs uses an underhand motion to gently toss the camera to its panicked recipient—as irritated as a gentle toss can be, sure, but a gentle toss nevertheless.

Anyhow, when the video link found its way into my inbox this morning, I thought it was an amusing enough diversion to pass along—a fun way to bide our time through the dog days of December when Mac developers are hoarding their product announcements for the new year. Hopefully, the video of keynotes past gives you a chuckle while you pass the time until next month’s big speech.

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