From the beginning of this pandemic, one of the driving forces behind my decisions to postpone Macstock twice from July 2020 to, what I hope will be, July 2022, is your safety and the safety of the Macstock community. After all, Macstock’s heartbeat — the very thing that brings us back year after year — is the community. And if I can’t keep that community safe to the best of my abilities, then what’s the point?
So when I announced the VIP Passes for Virtual Macstock this year, I did so with the confidence that everyone who wanted to attend could do so with the assurance that I was doing everything I could to protect you and the ones you love from COVID-19 and its potentially devastating effects. And those efforts included capacity limits, mask requirements for the unvaccinated, and then, later, further capacity limits combined with a mask requirement for everyone.
Unfortunately, since announcing Virtual Macstock’s VIP Pass, the positive direction that we’d been headed combating COVID-19, not just within the United States, but around the world, has taken a decidedly downward turn due to newer and more deadly variants of COVID-19 such as the Delta variant that is currently infecting a large segment of the population.
In fact, as of last Friday, McHenry County, Illinois — where Macstock is located — was upgraded to a Highly Transmissible county by the CDC giving us the dubious honor of joining so many other areas of the country that are also branded with a big, red, blotch on the ever expanding map of COVID-19 that was, only a few months ago, looking much better.
So with that in mind, to meet insurance recommendations, and in order to provide the maximum amount of safety and comfort to our in-person guests at Virtual Macstock, effective today, I’m implementing the following NEW COVID-19 PROTOCOLS for ALL Virtual Macstock VIP Pass attendees:
- In addition to the reduced capacity of 40 paid VIP Passes that I implemented on August 8th, effective August 16th, 2021, EVERYONE 12 AND OLDER WHO ATTENDS VIRTUAL MACSTOCK 2021 IN PERSON — and that includes all VIP Passholders, Volunteers, and Speakers — MUST PROVIDE PROOF OF VACCINATION AGAINST COVID-19 at the registration desk to be admitted. Those who cannot provide acceptable proof of vaccination will be turned away.
Second, while masks are not currently mandated by the State of Illinois or the City of Woodstock, face masks are highly recommended by the CDC for everyone while in public places and indoors. Therefore, Macstock will also strongly encourage the use of face coverings for all in attendance. However, with everyone in attendance vaccinated, face masks will not be required unless required/mandated by state or local governments at some point prior to September 25th, 2021.
UPDATE! As promised, the rules have changed AGAIN. Effective Monday, August 30th, the State of Illinois is reinstituting a statewide indoor mask mandate requiring facial coverings within indoor settings like Virtual Macstock, regardless of vaccination status. So please be sure to come with your own mask that can be worn comfortably over your mouth and nose during the entire time you’re inside the Stage Left Café attending Virtual Macstock.
- Finally, because I understand this is the third time I’ve changed the rules on you since announcing the VIP Pass, effective August 16th, I am eliminating the $10 processing fee from refunds as well as extending the window to receive a full refund on your VIP Pass to September 18th. This means, regardless of the circumstances that might require you to ask for a refund, you will have up to one week prior to Virtual Macstock to decide if you’re unable to attend for any reason and/or meet the requirements of providing proof of vaccination.
There’s a limit to what I can do to protect the Macstock Community. While keeping you safe is my priority, I can’t protect the Macstock Community alone. I need your help and I thank everyone for your patience, understanding, and willingness to respectfully comply with our policies for the safety of all attending.
A Look Toward Macstock’s Future
As an event that thrives on social interaction and community building, Macstock will not survive on virtual alone.
So if Macstock is to enjoy another 5 wonderful years, we need to get back to a place where not only can we host Macstock without the specter of COVID hanging over our heads, but we can do so in a way that encourages the participation, fellowship, and community that we’ve come to love about Macstock.
To get to that point for Macstock 2022 next July, I believe that, for the moment, we’ll need to look at the current state of Virtual Macstock’s VIP Pass and its COVID Protocols as the model for Macstock 2022…at least until we can finally put this pandemic behind us.
Thank you everyone for your support.
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!
I 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
Did 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.
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):
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.
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!
* 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.