Virtual Macstock is Back!

For 6 years we’ve gathered in the halls of the Luecht Conference Center the third or fourth weekend of July for a fantastic weekend of Macstock (okay, okay, technically the FIRST year it was the third weekend of June, and last year we gathered virtually, but bear with me a moment here!)

And while we’re currently full steam ahead to gather in person once again for 3 days the fourth weekend of July 2022, things are going to be a little different this year, because this year, in exactly two months, we’ll be gathering the fourth Saturday of September for the first ever hybrid Macstock event: Virtual Macstock 2021!

(If you missed the announcement video, you can watch that here)

That’s right, on September 25th, Virtual Macstock is back!

And I’m inviting YOU to join me.

The best part is, we took what we learned from last year and made this year’s Virtual Macstock even better! Because for the first time since 2019, for a limited number of guests, you can attend in person, with a new Virtual Macstock VIP Pass that’s available to anyone who’d like to take part in the day, along with me, LIVE at the Stage Left Café in Woodstock IL.**

That means you now have three ways to participate in this year’s Virtual Macstock:

  • You can attend virtually from anywhere in the world via our live stream.
  • You can purchase a Digital Pass and join us live and watch again later on your own schedule.
  • Or you can purchase a VIP Pass and be there in person!

** Please note that in keeping with the times and putting the safety of the Macstock Community at the forefront, the VIP Pass ticket sales will be limited to a maximum of 60. Please read and understand the FAQ / T&C for this year’s Virtual Macstock if you plan to be there in person! Macstock’s safety rules may change prior to Virtual Macstock. If you have questions, please check the FAQ for the latest updates or Contact Me!

What Else is New?

For those attending virtually, we’ve got a new, improved, virtual lounge with multiple rooms and live video & audio direct from your Mac to better see who you’re talking to! And just like last year, our lounge offers spacial audio within each room so you’ll better hear others you’re close to, but can’t hear those who are far away.

Not enough? Don’t forget the day’s live stream where we’ll be chatting with some of Macstock’s presenters who’ll be giving you snack-size talks that preview their full presentations coming your way at Macstock 2022!

This year’s presenters will be joining us both virtually and in-person and I’m working hard to confirm everyone who’s been invited to speak at this year’s Virtual Macstock, but some of the speakers you’ll recognize from past Macstocks include Wally Cherwinski, Kelly Guimont, and Rick Cartwright. How’s that for a start? And that’s just about half the line up!

And, of course, we can’t forget my good buddy Dave Ginsburg who’ll be at Stage Left Café to co-host the day with me!

Will You Join Us?

Virtual Macstock is back for its second year and with three options to join in the fun, HOW you take part is up to you!

Whether it’s watching the live stream, chatting using video and audio in our new, improved, virtual lounge, hanging out in our chat rooms, or, for the first time since 2019, enjoying the in-person feel of Macstock with a limited seating VIP Pass, we’ve got more options than ever to stay in touch with your friends while waiting for Macstock 2022 to get here.

You may Register for Virtual Macstock Here

Hope to see you there!

Mike

Macstock Stories: Meet Frank Petrie

In our very first episode of Macstock Stories, I sit down to chat with Frank Petrie about his history with Apple, lessons from film school, being a creative person in a technology-driven world, the origins of his blog, YMPNow, and what brings him back to Macstock each year.

Frank is a 3 year attendee of Macstock, a technology blogger, and a writer for ScreenCasts Online Magazine.

Everyone has an interesting story to tell, and this is Frank’s!

When I announced the postponement of the next in-person Macstock to July 2022 back in February, I also announced Macstock Stories, a limited run series that focuses on the Macstock Community: the very folks who attend and support Macstock each year. If YOU have an interesting story to tell, whether it’s a cool project you’re working on with your Apple gear or a favorite story from past Macstocks and you’d like to share it with the Macstock Community, reach out and let me know!

Virtual Macstock Was Here!

Virtual Macstock LogoI had two thoughts on my mind as Virtual Macstock came to a close last Saturday:

Wow, that actually worked!

and…Man, Virtual Macstock was a BLAST!!

We had speakers in their virtual green room, chatters in the chat room, and avatars zipping around the Macstock Lounge — thank you Marina! — and then folks jumping between them all throughout the day.

Just Like Macstock.

And, if you didn’t catch it, we even had a MyMac.com recording session taking place in the Lounge. Just…Like…Macstock.

Dang Guy and Gaz, that episode was fun! For anyone who missed it, be sure to catch it and all the Virtual Macstock attendee cameos, right here: https://www.mymac.com/2020/07/mymac-podcast-811-aliens-hack-skype/

THEN, don’t miss Allison Sheridan’s look at how High Fidelity and Jitsi Meet (used for the speaker green room) worked in concert to bring a little extra “real” to the virtual. Her blog post on some of the tech we used for Virtual Macstock is here: https://www.podfeet.com/blog/2020/07/virtual-macstock-tools/ and you’ll also hear Steve and Allison chatting about High Fidelity in this week’s NosillaCast here: https://www.podfeet.com/blog/2020/07/nc-794-2/

Allison also shared a human connection story with me where an attendee, Brian, met them in the Macstock Lounge and, later, caught up with them again in the NosillaCast live chatroom!

Just Like Macstock. Awesome!

Okay, I know it wasn’t exactly “Just Like Macstock” in every respect, but it sure was great seeing all the folks I’ve met and become friends with throughout the years hanging out and having a good time. That was the point of Virtual Macstock. And that absolutely was…Just Like Macstock.

It just makes me long for the next in-person Macstock even more. Can’t wait!

Accessing the Live Stream Encore

Virtual Macstock EncoreDid you miss some of the live stream? No problem! The encore is playing in the Virtual Macstock Main Hall!

We had a little glitch with the actual recording of the live stream lopping off the beginning and end of the day(!!), but I was able to download a full copy and re-upload it separately.

To access the encore presentation, just log in to your account at https://macstockconferenceandexpo.com/virtual-macstock-2020/

Once logged in, you’ll see the full video embedded on that page.

*PSST!* Want to jump to a certain talk? No worries, I won’t tell! Unfortunately, YouTube Chapter Markers can’t be embedded on the Macstock site, so you’ll also find a direct link to watch the encore on YouTube with Chapter Markers to make it easier to find the talk you’re looking for.

The live stream will be available on the Virtual Macstock Main Hall page for all Virtual Macstock Passholders through August 1st, 2020. EXTENDED: through August 8th, 2020

Macstock 2021 Weekend Passholders will also have the videos added individually to their Digital Pass to watch any time.

Virtual Macstock is Coming!

The rumors* are true!

Two weeks from today we were slated to gather for the 6th annual Macstock Conference but, despite our best wishes and hopes, prudent caution and doing right by Macstock’s attendees took precedence, and Macstock 2020 was officially rescheduled for July 2021.

But I didn’t want to leave things at that. I miss you guys!

So the planning gears kicked in and, as those gears turned (albeit slowly), the idea of doing something Macstock-related on the “weekend that would have been” began to take shape.

Soon, much like the first Macstock back in 2015, Virtual Macstock began to take on a life of its own.

So, What’s Virtual Macstock?

I’m glad you asked!

Virtual Macstock will take place Saturday, July 25th, from 11am – 4pm CDT, and is a free, “drop in as you can” type event that’s available to anyone who’d like to stop by and check in on the sessions and the live stream, ask questions in the chat room, or even check out the “hallway track” we’ll have set up for you to hang out with Macstock friends you may not have seen since last year!

Here’s the best part: If you purchased a 2-Day Pass to Macstock 2020/2021, YOU’RE ALREADY REGISTERED!

And if you haven’t, registering for Virtual Macstock itself is completely free.

Of course you’re always welcome to purchase a Weekend Pass for what is now Macstock 2021, and that will register you too. Even though Macstock 2020 has been officially postponed to July 2021, if you purchase a Weekend Pass to “Macstock 2020” before July 26th, you’ll be signing up for 3 Days of Macstock 2021 at Macstock 2020 pricing!

Will There Be Sessions Like Macstock?

You bet! What would Macstock be without them?!

With so many amazing presentation submissions this year, Virtual Macstock is my opportunity to help introduce you to some of the speakers already accepted for Macstock 2021!

And it’s a pretty darned great selection of speakers if I do say so myself. With faces both new and returning, this inaugural edition (*hint, hint*) of Virtual Macstock is scheduled to feature only a small slice of those heading to Macstock’s stage in 2021 including (in no particular order):

Mike Schmitz
Brittany Smith
Jay Miller
Chuck Joiner
Allison Sheridan
Josh Rensch
Elle Newman & Brett Terpstra

and Joe Buhlig

We’ll be spending 20 mins with each of them** discussing all sorts of topics including previews of next year’s talks, cool projects they’re working on, or maybe something exciting going on in their life that has to do with the “World of Apple”.

AND, as time permits, we’ll throw things over to my pal Dave Ginsburg who’ll take the reins as “co-host” throughout the day as we chat live with speakers and ask them YOUR questions from Virtual Macstock’s live chat!

In addition, all talks will be available for 7 days following Virtual Macstock for everyone who signs up — and if you’ve purchased a Macstock 2020/2021 Weekend Pass, the talks will be available indefinitely as part of your Digital Pass for Macstock 2021.

That’s the plan anyway! How’s that sound to you?

Sounds great! How Do I Sign Up?

Did you buy a Weekend Pass to Macstock 2020/2021? You’re all set! Just sign in on the 25th with the same account used to purchase your ticket(s).

Otherwise, you can register for Virtual Macstock 2020 by itself right here: https://macstockconferenceandexpo.com/product/virtual-macstock-2020/

All Details for taking part in Virtual Macstock will be sent to you before the event.

Wrapping Up…

I’ll say this: Virtual Macstock feels very much like the first Macstock to me.

Put together on a shoestring with little idea whether it would work or not, I’d say we’ve had a pretty good run with Macstock the past 5 years. And I’m very much looking forward to the next 5 years of Macstock…and beyond!

Yes, things sometimes go wrong at Macstock — it wouldn’t be Macstock if it didn’t! 🙂 — and with all the digital balls we’ll be juggling on the 25th, I’m certain something won’t go quite as planned during Virtual Macstock, but, hey, as I’ve found out these past 5 years, Macstock and the amazing community of folks who come back year after year has been worth it!

I can’t wait to have you join us for Virtual Macstock on July 25th…and then to see everyone once again, in person, at Macstock 2021!

Mike

* Rumors to the extent that they’ve existed — almost exclusively — for quite a while now deeply entrenched within my head.

** 20 minute sessions will be pre-recorded to help keep things moving, but we’ll have time to chat and answer questions with many of them LIVE after their talk.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Macstock 2020 Postponement

Making the Call… We’re Moving to 2021 2022!

*NEW* FEBRUARY 2022 UPDATE #2: Where we’re at with the next Macstock, what needs to happen before we can get together again, and a couple ideas I have for the Macstock community in 2021.Though I can’t confirm the dates quite yet, I’m now targeting July 2022. For details, check out my video here on the Macstock YouTube Channel.

Macstock Update 2021 and Beyond

ALL PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED TICKETS TO MACSTOCK 2020 WILL BE HONORED FOR THE NEXT IN-PERSON MACSTOCK CONFERENCE!

FEBRUARY 2021 UPDATE: Due to the ongoing global pandemic, Macstock has been officially postponed to a future date yet to be determined. Estimated future dates below have been modified to reflect this update.

ALL PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED TICKETS TO MACSTOCK 2020 WILL BE HONORED FOR THE NEXT IN-PERSON MACSTOCK CONFERENCE!

UPDATED: October 18, 2020 – Tentative Dates Temporarily Removed Until I Can Confirm Dates and Capacity Limits

This is a long one folks, but if you’ve been planning to coming to Macstock 2020, please read through to the end.

It seems so long ago now, but it’s only been a little over 4 weeks…TO THE DAY…since I launched the Early Bird Sale for Macstock 2020.

And it’s been just about 4 weeks since I posted the Macstock 2020 COVID-19 response page.

Since that time, I’ve received so many encouraging emails from folks who’ve registered for Macstock 2020 and told me how much they’re looking forward to a little bit of normalcy returning to our lives — and that Macstock 2020 was going to be their celebration of that return to that world.

It was that encouragement, plus the guidance of health officials locally, nationally, and internationally that have kept me cautiously optimistic throughout all this.

After all, it’s only been about 3 months since the start of 2020.

Which meant that, as of a week ago, there were still 4 months to go until Macstock weekend. Not even half-way to Macstock!

But with everything changing, quite literally, on a daily basis, it’s become increasingly harder to predict where things will be next week let alone July 25th.

So I made the determination about a week ago that I was going to set TWO Milestone Dates for Macstock 2020: April 25th and May 25th.

That’s 3 months and 2 months prior to Macstock weekend.

I figured one of three things would happen:

1) If things take a turn for the worse, then I will announce on April 25th that Macstock is postponed until next year.

2) If things look okay by April 25th, but aren’t markedly better by May 25th, then I’m postponing until next year.

3) If things ARE markedly better by May 25th, and I could assure a SAFE environment for Macstock’s attendees, then we might just be able to pull it off!

As the week wore on, it became increasingly obvious that none of those scenarios SHOULD play out. The decision needs to be made now.

So this is not the letter I planned to post today.

It’s the letter I have to post.

I can no longer simply look at the impact COVID-19 by itself will have on Macstock weekend, because even if the pandemic disappears tomorrow, next week, or next month, there are longer lasting side-effects on Macstock, it’s attendees, and our ability to come together for Macstock’s 6th year this July.

In the end, deciding to host Macstock in 2020 is about more than if the virus has run it’s course:

  • It’s about personal safety for you and your families.
  • It’s about financial stability for attendees, presenters and volunteers.
  • And it’s about doing the right thing for those who’ve entrusted me to bring everyone together each year in a safe, warm, and welcoming environment.

I want to assure everyone that Macstock is very personal for me and my family.

We’re a household of two small businesses, and bringing everyone together at Macstock by creating a fun, educational, community-focused atmosphere is a big part of what I do with mine from January through August each year. But we’re small businesses none-the-less and, like so, so, so many of you, this pandemic is hitting us hard. So Janet and I understand all-too-well the economic impact COVID-19 has had on everyone the world over.

But, in addition to that, I’ve PROMISED all who’ve written to inquire about Macstock’s status that I will do right by you.

So that’s what I’m doing.

As of today, Macstock 2020 is officially postponed to July 2021 (DATES TBD).

Read on for more details…

Coming Back BIGGER and BETTER!

Here’s what I’m going to do for everyone who purchased a ticket for Macstock 2020 (and those who haven’t yet):

  • I’m going to expand (the next) Macstock 2021 Weekend to THREE days so I can bring you even more of the amazing speakers who’ve submitted talks to me this year.
  • Everyone who already purchased a ticket to Macstock 2020 will have their ticket automatically transferred to (the next) Macstock 2021 and get those 3 days of Macstock 2021 at no additional charge. There is nothing you need to do for this to happen. If you purchased a ticket to Macstock 2020, this will automagically become a (future) Macstock 2021 ticket unless I hear otherwise from you.
  • To take it one step further, anyone who purchases a ticket to Macstock between now and July 26th, 2020 (the end of what would have been Macstock 2020 weekend) will attend (the next) Macstock 2021 at this year’s pricing!
  • Yes, the cost of a Macstock ticket will go up next year to account for that extra day, but not until after July 26th, so if you haven’t decided to join us yet, this is your chance to save really big on Macstock 2021!
  • Dates for (the next) Macstock 2021 will be finalized as soon as I can set them with the conference center, but I’m targeting Friday July 23rd – Sunday July 25th, 2021 (DATES TBD).
  • Finally, Macstock 2020’s refund window will be extended until further notice to allow for cancellations if you decide next year’s finalized timing doesn’t work for you.

I Still Want to “See” You in 2020!

In addition to “plussing” Macstock 2021 for everyone, I’ve been playing with ideas to strengthen the Macstock community for those days and weeks we’re not all gathering in the halls of the Luecht Conference Center, and I have a few things in mind that I’ll be announcing in the coming weeks.

Specifically, if you’re all up for it, I’d really like to do something the weekend of July 25th and/or 26th. Perhaps a free LIVE event?

Details are still very much crammed in this empty cavern of a skull I affectionately call my “head”, but as soon as I have some plans in place that I can share, THIS will be the best place to hear about them.

(I’m also open to suggestions!)

So that’s it for this time.

I can’t tell you how much it genuinely pains me to write this letter.

But it’s the right thing to do. And doing the right thing is the promise I’ve made to all of you.

PLEASE don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions, comments, concerns, ideas, or…just to say “Hi”. I will miss seeing you all. But even if we can’t see each other in person this year, we have next year to look forward to! It’s going to be a great one!

Stay safe. Be well. And thank you very much for your patience and understanding at this time.

See you at (the next) Macstock 2021!

Mike