Yosemite: A State of Mind

Mac developers and Mac enthusiasts probably equate “Yosemite” with the 10.10 version of the operating system; most others in the world equate the word with California’s gorgeous, dramatic park.

This last week, I was privileged to firmly place myself in both camps, by attending the conference Yosemite, by CocoaConf.  Their tagline of “The Apple Conference with a View” sure wasn’t kidding.

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The conference wasn’t a technical conference at all.  And yet I think I learned exactly what I needed to learn, both from the presentations and in between them. (And I’m not just talking about 10-minute bathroom breaks.  There was a break between the morning sessions and the evening sessions where groups of us might go for an easygoing interpretive or photographic walk about the valley floor, or a vigorous climb up the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls.)

The talks at the conference were entertaining and profound. And while the presentations were conceived and delivered independently, the theme connections between talks were so strong that it felt like they were part of a planned network.

The presentation by Christa Mrgan blew me away because it had elements of Yosemite, iOS design, and personal perspective all rolled into one.  She walked us through the design of a hypothetical iPhone app about the gorgeous High Sierra Camps, where she used to work for several summers. (I think that by the end of the talk, we all wanted that app to exist, and we all wanted to be at the hike-in accomodations that she described.  Maybe the next CocoaConf Yosemite could be somewhere accessible only by hiking in, with equipment packed in via mule?)

Andy Ihnatko (I’m imagining that the “H” in his last name might indicate aspiration — a puff of air, when pronounced, extrapolating from what we learned from Laura Savino) told us what he really thinks about the ten-thousand-dollar Apple Watch; his perspective  on the importance of not being constantly bombarded by information and distraction was echoed in many other talks as well.

James Dempsey (Billboard-charting artist), surrounded by several breakpoints and conditional breakpoints (who played guitar and sang excellently), rocked the house with his über-geeky songs. I wish I had brought my guitar so I could jam along (though I could never hold a candle to the guitar skillz of Jim, Brent, and Dave.)

That’s just a small sampling of the wonderful presentations. Oh, and Michael Lopp inspired us all to start — or restart — writing. The result is manifested here; let’s see if I can keep it up.  Oh, thanks for the awesome pen.

All in all, the Yosemite conference was inspiring and amazing, both inside the building and outside of it. My thanks to the Klein family for organizing the event, the many speakers who were either old friends or, hopefully, will become new friends, and the many attendees I got to know (especially by following the C4 habit of sitting at a table with people you don’t yet know).  I raise my glass in a toast!

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© Fernando Morgan, used by permission.

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