Mac Unfurled

I'm off to Macworld Expo later today, the big yearly event at  which this year 50,000 Mac aficionados, dealers,  manufacturers' reps, developers, and others are expected to pass through and around. The keynote address marks the start of the trade-show event (the conference part actually starts earlier), with Steve Jobs unveiling thee latest  surprises from Cupertino.

Macworld is billed as a gathering of the "Mac faithful," but that's not really accurate. There are zealots and fanboys and happy users, of course, but it's really a gathering of the "Mac committed"--those people who, for themselves, their businesses, and their employers, continue to deploy and expand the use  of Macintosh computers. There's often a lot of cynicism at the events, so it's more like "family" than "faithful."

This is the first Macworld in a few years that I'm actually quite excited to attend. Trade shows are often a slog, and Macworld is better than many in that regard. The amount of noise and flash on the floor is pretty minimal compared to other shows I've attended.

But for me, family and working man that I am, I am always balancing the loss of time at home  and the loss of working hours against the value of traveling. Last year's Macworld made it clear that there was enough to see that I couldn't simply read about or talk to a vendor about later that I'm truly interested in seeing what Apple and other companies have to offer this year.

My advance coverage of what might logically be announced by Apple at the show is in today's Seattle Times. While I mentioned some of the  rumors and buzz, I tried to focus on what's likely based on previous experience. On Wednesday, you'll see my coverage of the keynote address. I'll probably be posting some blog entries to the Times's Tech Tracks blog (via my editor). And then on Saturday, the regular Practical Mac column will round up the week.