Macstock Stories: Jim Rea

In this episode of Macstock Stories, we chat with Jim Rea about his history with Apple and developing for the Macintosh, the origins and development of the database app, Panorama, some cool use-cases of Panorama, and what encouraged him to attend his first Macstock in 2019.

Jim is a Mac developer ever since there were Macs, the founder of ProVUE Development, author of Panorama, and a frequent contributor to MacVoices.

Macstock Stories is a limited run series that focuses on the folks who attend and support Macstock each year.

Some Links to Know:

Everyone has an interesting story to tell, and this is Jim’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 on The Geekiest Show Ever

Geekiest Show EverThanks to Elisa and Melissa for having me on the show this week! I had a great time taking a look back at the beginnings of Macstock and sharing a little peek at what’s headed everyone’s way at Virtual Macstock in September and Macstock 2022 next July!

From the show notes:

On episode 362 Elisa speaks with Mike Potter, founder of the Macstock Conference and Expo, about Virtual Macstock 2021. The first Macstock took place in 2015, and is a great way not just to learn, but to meet great people in the Mac community. Mike gives us the lowdown on this year’s virtual conference, and a sneak peek of what’s to come for Macstock 2022.

source & download:

Listen Here!

Macstock and COVID-19

Current Status as of April 11, 2020: Macstock 2020 will be postponed to July 2021.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Macstock 2020 is officially postponed to July 2021. For more details, please see the following post:

April 5th Update: Milestone dates added.

There are two new “milestone” dates for Macstock 2020: April 25th and May 25th. These are new Major Go / No Go Dates for Macstock and represent 3 months and 2 months prior to Macstock 2020 Weekend.

With the rapid spread of COVID-19 abroad and here in the United States, I’ve been monitoring the situation very closely the past few weeks, watching what other conferences & events scheduled for this summer are doing, speaking with local health officials here in my area, as well as taking counsel from organizations such as the World Health Organization and the CDC.

At the moment, Macstock 2020 will be held as scheduled.

As news of the pandemic continues to change (seemingly on an hourly basis), so might the plans for Macstock 2020. Rest assured, I will continue to keep a very close eye on the situation, and I will act responsibly for the health and safety of everyone within the Macstock community.

This page will be updated as the situation evolves. Thank you all very much for your patience and understanding.


UPDATED 03/22/2020: added link to Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings

UPDATED 03/15/2020: added latest mass gathering guidance from the CDC

UPDATED 03/15/2020: added statement from Illinois Department of Public Health


Actions I’m Taking for Macstock 2020 in Response to COVID-19

  1. Making a “Go/No Go” decision each week as we get closer to Macstock 2020.
  2. Cap Macstock ticket sales at 60% capacity of the conference center, so Macstock attendees can spread out comfortably.
  3. “Permanent” Early Bird pricing so nobody is pressured into deciding to attend before they’re ready to.
  4. Limit number of attendees who can enter the breakout room to 50% capacity for deeper dive sessions.
  5. Working with our venue to reinforce best practice health and food handling protocols including frequent and proper hand washing.
  6. Establishing proper hygiene protocols for all volunteers and attendees.
  7. Providing all Macstock volunteers educational material on recognizing symptoms and preventive measures for COVID-19.
  8. Asking attendees and volunteers to stay home if they are sick, showing symptoms of possible illness, or have potentially been exposed to the virus within 2 weeks (14 days) of Macstock. For those who are/may be affected, providing options for transferring your ticket to Macstock 2021, donating/transferring your ticket to another attendee, or obtaining a refund.
  9. Working with McHenry County Department of Health, WHO, and CDC for guidance as we move closer to Macstock weekend.
  10. Developing a postponement plan for Macstock 2020.


03/22/2020: ADDED Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings

03/15/2020: Statement from Centers for Disease Control on Mass Gatherings

The CDC issued the following directive on Sunday, March 15th:

Guidance as of 3/15/2020

…in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

With two weeks left to go in March, all of April, and then half of May to hit the CDC’s 8 week mark, it looks like we’ll have yet another 8-10 weeks after this recommended cancellation period until Macstock 2020 Weekend. I’m hopeful, of course, the COVID-19 outbreak will weaken by the end of this 8 week recommendation period and we can run as planned.

If it becomes necessary to do so, I don’t want to make the postponement/cancellation of Macstock a last-minute scramble for anyone, so I will be watching developments and make a decision that will have the least impact on the Macstock Community.

03/15/2020: Statement from Illinois Department of Public Health

I received the following statement via email in response to my direct question regarding Macstock 2020:

In Illinois, all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals must be cancelled until April 11. We are encouraging that community events of 250 or more be cancelled or postponed until May 1, including personal and social events. Citizens should consider this in their personal lives and consider refraining from attending events of this size if they are not cancelled or postponed.

I consider this is a fluid statement and subject to change. Again, I will continue to seek guidance as we get closer to Macstock 2020.


Here are a Few Resources and Metrics I’ve Been Using

  1. Updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC
  2. Organizations and Events within the US similar to Macstock (WordCamps, Local User Groups) that have canceled gatherings and events scheduled for late June and beyond.
  3. Local community recommendations, Macstock’s partners (conference center, hotels, and caterers), and, of course, the Macstock Community’s thoughts and sentiment.

Helpful Links and Resources

  1. Basic Protective Measures against the Coronavirus (via World Health Organization)
  2. How to Protect Yourself (via the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  3. Statement from Hilton on the Coronavirus (Hilton is the parent company of Macstock’s preferred partner hotel, the Hampton Inn of McHenry)
  4. Statement/Travel Advisory from IHG on the Coronavirus (IHG is the parent company of Holiday Inn, a partner hotel of Macstock 2020)
  5. Master List Of All Major International Airline Coronavirus Change And Cancellation Policies (continually updated – via Forbes)
  6. US airlines are waiving fees and canceling flights as coronavirus spreads (continually updated – via Vox)

Welcome to Macstock 2020: Early Bird Sale Underway

Are you still feeling the effects of the time change this past weekend? I sure am. But with Macstock’s 6th Anniversary coming up this summer, I’m thinking positively: I didn’t lose an hour early Sunday morning. With Leap Day just the week before, I gained 23!

So what did I do with those extra 23 hours? Well, I worked hard to finish up the Macstock 2020 website so I could finally announce that Macstock’s Early Bird Sale is officially underway!

And this is shaping up to be another great year for Macstock! Not only will this summer bring you our sixth year of talks by some incredibly talented presenters, but Macstock 2020 also marks six years of meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Six years of new experiences like the MyMac Game Show and the Macstock Short Film Fest. And six years of celebrating the Apple community that brings us all to Macstock each summer!

And if I may share a little teaser: there’s someone working hard on another celebration that will take place at Macstock this summer, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy on this one…at least for now. But it’s been 15 years in the making and I’m excited to bring it to Macstock’s stage on Saturday the 25th.

If you would like to join in the fun and community spirit of Macstock, then pick up your Macstock 2020 2-Day Weekend Pass during our Early Bird Sale for $70 off the regular price! But our Early Bird sale only lasts so long. If you’re planning to join us July 25 & 26, be sure to get your tickets and book your room today!

Thank You for Another Great Year!

Macstock 5 Years LogoIt’s hard to believe three weeks have passed since Macstock 2019! In the time since, I’ve been re-living the weekend again and again thanks to the wonderfully generous notes, emails, and tweets I’ve received from everyone who took part in Macstock’s 5th Anniversary Year!

Not to mention the amazing coverage Macstock’s received in podcasts, blogs, and social media in the days since we brought this year’s conference to a close. And, by the way, how great was it to close out this year’s Macstock with the touching tribute to Macstock Weekend put together on the fly — and in complete secrecy — by our good friend Kelly Guimont and screened to book-end the compilation of short films made by Macstock’s attendees for the inaugural Macstock Short Film Festival hosted by Wally Cherwinski.

And there will be more Macstock 2019 awesomeness to come in the weeks ahead! Because if you weren’t able to make it to Macstock in person this year, the special episode of Mac Power Users recorded live at Macstock is slated to hit the MPU feed some time in September as MPU #500! (Shh! We were all sworn to secrecy and unable to divulge the contents of the show — you’ll just need to subscribe to hear it!)

So now it’s time to re-live it all yourself! I’m already making progress posting this year’s talks to the Macstock 2019 Digital Pass page, with more presentations being released every few days, and I’m including links below to some of the post-Macstock coverage as well.

In the mean time, it may be 3 weeks since Macstock 2019 came to a close, but that means it’s only 49 weeks until Macstock 2020 which is coming our way July 25 & 26, 2020!

My how time flies! 🙂