iPhone geeking in the South Bay

Yesterday was a great day — I got out of the office and spent the day down at 360iDev in San Jose. This is a grass-roots conference dedicated to iPhone developers; most of the couple-hundred folks in attendance seemed to be “indie” entrepreneurs. I suppose we fit into that category, with our SD Times Newsreader app still in beta. It was fun showing it to people, though, it made me feel like a real part of the crowd, not merely a journalist covering an event.

This was also my first experience using my new iPad to take notes on. Not bad! But because I didn’t have an appropriate “app,” my notes consisted of a series of emails sent to myself. Hey, it worked.

Instead of being at a hotel or convention center, 360iDev is being held at the eBay Town Hall, a small but nice facility. There’s no good central meeting spot there and parking is tight, but it was the perfect place for a small developer gathering.

Unfortunately, although this is a four-day conference (Sunday-Wednesday), I could only justify one day out of the office.

Monday’s keynote by David Whatley (Critical Thought Games) was hysterical, as he explained the connection between being a mobile software entrepreneur and a pickup artist. He described a training course in L.A. for pickup artists — and how it taught him to overcome the fear of rejection and commit himself 100% to a goal. As I said, hysterical. But also good.

My favorite technical talk was by Owen Goss, who demonstrated how to prototype an iPhone game in “real time.” What a great presentation, it gave me an excellent understanding how to design games. (I wish I could buy the game that the class designed.) The room was packed to overflowing.

The closing keynote on Monday was by Jay Freeman aka Saurik (pictured), the guy behind Cydia. What an incredible mind. Is there anything he hasn’t done?

Facing a long drive back to S.F. in traffic, I only stayed for a few minutes of the Monday evening reception. However, the day was fulfilling and the conference an apparent success. Certainly the attendees seemed happy. It’s too bad that I had to miss the sessions today and tomorrow. The 360iDev guys do a good conference.

Oh, I also scored a show-special toy from an exhibitor, Fastmac. It’s an iPhone 3GS skin with extended battery and flashlight. Check it out!

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick