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Here is a pictorial story of the Beehive booth
at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco
January 5-8, 2006

This was the second year that we were invited to exhibit with the Beehive, at the San Francisco show. This is a great expense to Sven and Nancy, and it must be acknowledged that without their largesse, it would not be possible for XTension to be there at all.


I don't know what the final attendance figures were, but I'm sure that most of them came by the Beehive booth... Some were attracted by the big Beehive Technologies banners, others by the cute little Skyway Rider toy whizzing back and forth under control (sometimes) of XTension, and I must admit that I sometimes dragged them in... :-)

I was very gratified by the numbers and demographic cross section of the visitors who came in. From kids to blue-haired ladies, nerds and foreign businessmen, XTension users and Apple execs (incognito), folks in wheelchairs and mini-carts, it was a blast to watch their eyes light up as they came to the realization that so much was possible with so little cost, and that it would run on one of those old Macs in the closet.

Of course the greatest treat was on the third day, when Sinbad, who is a great Mac fan, came by. He seemed to be genuinely interested in XTension, and was impressed with the several XTension users who were nearby and anxious to say hello.

Michael is still
in shock...
at MW
Thanks to Scott Marburger for the picture.

What great support !

It was so cool to see how naturally each of the XTension users just pitched-in and helped with the curious newbies. I didn't have to say a thing, and I don't think that I could have stopped them if I were crazy enough to try :-)

It really did remind me of the early days of the Macintosh when folks were so eager to offer their praises and criticisms to any casual conversation.

At first I felt like the crowds were not as heavy as last year, until I realized that we had more space than last year, and I had so much help !

Although I occasionally had a large group and flipped into 'carnival barker' mode, most of the time it was necessary to concentrate on a single person's questions, and having to turn my back on some booth visitors. This is very bad form, and I am very sensitive about it. But, in keeping with the tenor of the XTension discussion list, users jumped in and filled in for me.

My right hand

Remembering what it was like last year, this year I conned an old friend and Mac freak to join me and help in the booth. Laura Mylrea Morris has managed her own marketing and graphics firm for over 15 years. Her exuberant personality fit well with my snake oil pitch, and her graphics skills saved my butt.
at MW
Marcel Rivaud joined Laura
and me in this pic on the
last day....

Where we were

Like last year, we were in a booth in the North Hall of the Moscone Center, which is smaller and somewhat less glamourous than the South Hall where Apple had erected a large and exciting booth.

We were in a spot which like last year was shoved into the periphery of the show floor... I mention this only because it didn't matter. We received all of the visitors that we could, and those that came were duly impressed. And whether they bought XTension or any of the Beehive products, they surely will visit the Beehive site and the shed.com site.

Setting up

I really don't like to rush, so we arrived a day early, on Saturday the second of January.

On Sunday, Laura and I met Sven and Nancy at the booth site and began to think about how we could best set up the booth.

By Monday, we had most of the equipment delivered, and were waiting only for a few more things. Here we see Sven, Laura, Brad, and Helen.

One of the few pics of Sven...
He's always moving ...

We weren't at a loss for Macs or gewgaws...
Just like last year, I chose to have the lowly SE/30 control things, and the nifty PB5300 was the 'monitor'.

And the little Skyway Rider toy was quite an attention getter :-)
random walk

As the days went

The first day was hectic as we all got our 'spiel' down, and learned to arrange the demos according to their crowd appeal. The ReX-10 dog was a real attention getter, and the wireless speakers would go off every time someone moved one of the wireless motion sensors or pressed a button on the mini-controller. "Beer snitch in the Cooler !"

The second and third days were just as busy, with the fourth day being only a little less busy and allowing me to get out and see the show for a half hour...

Apple had an exciting booth, with all the new announcements and marketing glitz.

Apple Booth

And I made a special attempt to get the flavor of the new iMac exhibit:

flavors yet

And most important were the XTension users

I tried to remember to snap a pic of every XTension user that came by, but it was impossible sometimes. Further, it was very embarassing when I got back and realized that I didn't have names to go with some of them.

Here are the ones that I didn't botch by jiggling the camera.
If I've gotten your names wrong or just forgotten, please forgive me and let me know. I'll make amends...

c boyd danny
Christian Boyce and Danny 'X' from Belgium

sGardner the Hulls
Scott Gardner and Steven and Maria Hull

Doug Korns Doug and Scotts
Doug Korns and Scot Gardner, Scott Marburger, and ???

rmossman mrivaud
Richard Mossman and Marcel Rivaud

ericrobbins jschram
Eric Robbins and Jim Schram

supton need name
Steve Upton and Dave Abramowitz

jerryprsha two unknown
Jerry Prsha, Brian Estes and Graham Breeze

Things that went bump...

As usual with demos, some of the demos were plagued.

On the first day the keyboard connector got bumped and I had to find a spare keyboard for the SE/30. Then the serial cable to the CM11 got crunched and made it so that even a slight movement caused that dreaded "lost communications with the interface" message...

The Skyway Rider kept flying off one or the other end of the track, and it wasn't till the fourth day that we found a solution (just a square of cardboard shoved ont the ends of the monofilament. Of course it failed just as one of the (incognito) Apple execs happened by... ce la vie...

More importantly, I found out immediately that the Sprint Digital PCS service was 'dead' in the Moscone Center. I went to the local service center and complained to the point of being arrested, but to no avail. I was unable to demonstrate directly the ability of XTension to respond to dial-in requests with 'text messaging responses'. But I could occasionally go out of the hall and pick up some of them just for show...

Another little item of note is that although I was able to demonstrate the usefulness of the PALM III and OmniRemote to issue X-10 commands, on the third day someone decided that my PALM must be theirs, and I now have none... :-(

In Summary

It was just too much fun. I wasn't ready for it to end. Even now as I write, I wish that I had had another week to just soak in the aura of being around Mac folks.

I really believe that they are the happiest and most adventurous species on this planet.

Thanks again to all who stopped in, and specially to those who lent a hand.

PS: Like last year, there were a few who asked about Windoze compatibility. And as usual, I sent them where they could hang out with others of their kind...
don't ask

Copyright 2006, Sand Hill Engineering Inc. All rights reserved.

Mac Made

Last modified: July 1, 2006
Michael Ferguson, webmaster@shed.com