LIVE near WWDC 2017 Info

Click For Full Show Details and Tickets

Wed, June 7th, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
City National Civic Theater
135 W San Carlos St, San Jose CA

Join us for the 6th Annual LIVE near WWDC show by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints! It is shaping up to be our biggest show ever!

This year’s show will be about as near to WWDC as you can get. We’re playing at the historic City National Civic Theater — directly across the street from WWDC.

  • For this year’s big event, we’ve teamed up with women@wwdc (formerly WWDCGirls) for a combined cocktail hour and concert—all to benefit App Camp For Girls.
  • Ticket proceeds benefit App Camp For Girls.
  • Amazing new venue — right across the street from WWDC.
  • No WWDC ticket required!
  • All ages welcome!
  • Bar with top-shelf liquors, beer and wine. Your ticket includes a certain number of drinks:
    • ​VIP Ticket: Unlimited drinks
    • General Admission: Three drinks
    • Student / New Grad: One drink

Click For Full Show Details and Tickets

Where I’ll be at WWDC 2015

I’ll be doing a few things next week at WWDC and wanted to pass along my schedule. Hope to see you at one or more of these happenings!

Monday: NeXTEVNT Fundraiser for the Cartoon Art Museum

NeXTEVNT Logo
I’ll be doing a short set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs at this fundraising event at the Cartoon Art Museum.

This event has been a lot of fun each year, always with great speakers and plenty of time to meet and mingle with very interesting folks. If you are a fan of comics, cartoons, or animation — or have an interest in where the technology we use every day comes from — this is a great event for a great cause.

I highly encourage you to check out the details and come to the event.

NeXTEVNT Fundraiser for the Cartoon Art Museum
Monday, June 8th, 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Wednesday: LIVE near WWDC 2015 (aka The Big Show!)

Logo for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, LIVE near WWDC 2015
Our LIVE near WWDC show is the biggest James Dempsey and the Breakpoints performance of the year — and this year’s show is our biggest ever.  Thanks to our fabulous sponsors, we’re at a bigger venue and the drinks are on us!

The event is free, but registration is required.  We are handling admission the way AltConf does.  Registration does not guarantee admission.  For general admission registrations, we will fill the venue on a first come, first admitted basis.

You can read all of the details and register for the event here.

James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, LIVE near WWDC presented by Capital One
Wednesday, June 10th, Doors open at 7:30 PM, show starts at 8:00 PM. Event goes until 10:30 PM

Friday: Closing session at AltConf 2015

AltConf Logo
I’ll be closing out the week at AltConf 2015 again this year with an easy-going look back at the announcements of WWDC 2015 and their possible implications in a session entitled So, That Just Happened.

This session is a talk about the week in review and not a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs.

However, there may also be a bit involving a ukulele.

AltConf 2015, June 8 – June 12, 2015
Closing Session, Friday, June 12th, 3:15 PM, Theater 15

A Busy WWDC 2015 Week

It will be a busy WWDC week as we walk around with our heads swimming trying to soak in all of the new announcements.

I hope you can make it out to one or more of these events!  And if you do, please say hello! •


Breakpoints Recap WWDC 2014

There was no WWDC ticket for me this year, but it was still a very enjoyable and busy week for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints. Here are some of the highlights from last week in San Francisco.

(Interested in the soon-to-be-released James Dempsey and the Breakpoints album?
Sign up for email updates so you don’t miss out on the fun!)

NeXTEVNT Cartoon Art Museum Fundraiser

In its third year, this fundraiser celebrates the heritage and history of NeXT, featuring black hardware as well as OPENSTEP and NeXTSTEP running in virtual machines. Even more fascinating is meeting up with folks who lived and breathed this platform from its early days—building apps with the frameworks that would evolve into Cocoa and Cocoa Touch.

As part of the evening’s entertainment, we played a short set of songs in support of the Cartoon Art Museum. If you are a fan of any sort of comics, cartoons, animations and the like, check it out next time you are in San Francisco. If you couldn’t attend the event during WWDC, you can still donate or join as a member.

 

LIVE near WWDC 2014

We had a great time on Wednesday night at 50 Mason Social House. The house was packed as Breakpoints from six different cities in five different time zones across two continents took to the stage to perform a show chock-full of Cocoa-inspired songs.

The evening served up an acoustic guitar sampler with a flight of Breakpoint guitarists—Nathan Eror (@neror) of Martian Craft, Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Cocoa Manifest, and Ben Scheirman (@subdigital) of NSScreencast.

The show marked the debut of The Breakpoint Horns with Sam Davies (@iwantmyrealname) of Shinobi Controls on trombone and Daniel Pasco (@dlpasco) of Black Pixel on trumpet playing on Modelin’ Man.

(Any tenor sax players out there for next year? Please let me know.)

The talented Mr. Pasco also played electric guitar on that modern tale of momentary loss and redemption, Almost Dropped My iPhone. Conditional Breakpoint Uli ‘Object Alloc’ Kusterer (@uliwitness) of Elgato joined in with The Liki Song chorus. And of course, slide-advance keyboard legend Victor Alexander (@victoralexander) was on hand to keep that space bar hoppin’.

Thank you to all of the Breakpoints and also a big thanks to: Luke Scholefield (@lukescholefield), Adam Tow (@atow) and Rae and for taking photos and video; Daniel Steinberg () for recording sound off the board; and James White (@thecolourfool) for running the merch table.

(For more fantastic photos of the show—check out Adam Tow’s photo journal.)

Finally, an enormous thanks to everyone who came out to the show — your support is what keeps this going.  We had a great time this year and hope you all did too!

 

A Look Back at Alt Conf

On Friday, I presented A Look Back—the closing session for Alt Conf 2014.  With the surprise announcement of Swift earlier in the week, the talk took a look back to the beginning of the Objective-C era at Apple, tracing how technologies of that time have evolved into the environment we use today.  To accompany this look back, the talk also featured the first public preview of tracks from the soon-to-be-released James Dempsey and the Breakpoints album.

James Dempsey at podium with blurred hands applauding

James wraps up AltConf 2014 with ‘A Look Back’
Photo by Daniel Doubrovkine (@dblockdotorg)

Thank You

The technology announcements of WWDC 2014 will have repercussions for us as iOS and Mac developers for many years to come.

Beyond learning about new technologies, the week gives us a chance to gather together and talk, to share ideas, some laughs and perhaps one too many drinks.

Thank you so very much to everyone who came out to see the talk and performances. Your support and feedback is greatly appreciated and means a lot to me—it was fantastic to meet so many folks this year.

With WWDC 2014 now in the past, it is time to turn my attention to finishing up the album and getting it out into the world.  Someone we are all familiar with said “Real artists ship” and that is my next order of business. •

(Interested in the soon-to-be-released James Dempsey and the Breakpoints album?
Sign up for email updates so you don’t miss out on the fun!)

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WWDC After Dark

When James Dempsey and the Breakpoints play live near WWDC, sometimes things progress beyond the sweet sounds of nerdy, nerdy music.

Last year, a new event appeared on the conference schedule—WWDC After Dark. A little investigation turned up some interesting results, which, judging from the audience response, the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.

As we get ready for this year’s big show on Wednesday night, June 4th (Full Show Details Here), here’s a little bit of fun from last year’s concert.

With announcer Victor Alexander (@victoralexander) and Daniel Pasco (@dlpasco) on guitar, please enjoy WWDC After Dark. •

Come out to Live near WWDC 2014 on Wed, June 4th at 7 PM!
Bring your friends, we’d love to see you!

View Full Show Details and Map Here

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For James Dempsey and the Breakpoints news:
Sign up for email updates.
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James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, LIVE near WWDC 2014, Wed 6/4!

James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will be performing Live Near WWDC 2014 on Wednesday, June 4th at 7:00 PM.

The show is just a few blocks from Moscone West at 50 Mason Social House. Admission is free—no cover charge and no ticket required. We provide the music, you buy the drinks.

Join fellow iOS and Mac developers for an evening of humorous and informative songs including favorites such as Hold Me, Use Me, Release MeI Love View and Model View Controller.  And don’t miss the live performance of our latest song, ripped from the headlines, Goto Fail.
(View Full Show Details and Map Here)

Night Of A Thousand Breakpoints
(Well… at least four or five)

This year, the show features a lineup of Mac and iOS indie developer luminaries and maybe even a special guest or two. The Breakpoints include:

They will be joined by the incomparable Victor Alexander (@victoralexander) on slide-advance keyboard.

Stage and lounge at 50 Mason

The joint will be jumpin’ at 50 Mason

No WWDC Ticket Required

The show is open to all—no WWDC ticket required—making it a great event for all developers in town for the week.  There’s not even an NDA, so tell your friends and come on out to James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, Live Near WWDC 2014. •

View Full Show Details and Map Here

ics file Download event to your calendar.

 
For James Dempsey and the Breakpoints news:
Sign up for email updates.
Follow @jamesdempsey on Twitter.
Logo for 50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 433-5050

Life Without WWDC

[Update: This post was written in 2014 — but holds true for WWDC 2015. As for me, I didn’t try to get a ticket this year.

I will be in San Francisco during WWDC 2015 week:

  • Prepping for the big James Dempsey and the Breakpoints show — tentatively set for Wednesday night, June 10, 2015. (save the date!)
  • Speaking at AltConf at the end of the week.
  • Watching keynotes and sessions as they are released.
  • Conversations with friends old and new.]

In some ways, the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) has not changed very much since the first one I attended in 1996.  The format is essentially the same. The conference kicks off with a keynote followed by a week of technical sessions, labs and evening events.

But the last few years have brought a major change that has caused me to reshape how I think about WWDC, and unfortunately, how to live without it.

James Dempsey with hands and face pressed up against door to Moscone West, unable to get into WWDC.Since the inception of WWDC, if you were a dedicated developer for Apple platforms, you were at the conference.  And, up until 2011, if you considered attending WWDC to be a must-have part of being an Apple developer, you had at least a week to get a ticket.  If you were reasonably vigilant, you were in.

But in recent years, with the demand for tickets far outstripping supply, you can’t think about WWDC as a must-have part of your life as an Apple developer.  By necessity, you have to think about going to WWDC as a nice-to-have. That is a big change.

Once something changes from being dependably available to rarely available, you begin to form alternate plans and take alternate paths.

Not whining—just reality

First, I want to be clear that this is not a complaint.  I think it’s fantastic that there is so much interest in the platforms that I enjoy using to build apps.  But a new reality has arrived and so I needed to adjust.

Last year, I spent WWDC week in San Francisco without a ticket. I had an enjoyable and productive time last year and so I’ll be up in the city again this time around as well.

So how has a long-time DubDub-er been dealing with being outside the building? Read on…

Beyond WWDC

One key was thinking about what WWDC provides and figure out how to meet those needs in some other way. For me, that boiled down to:

  • Sessions
  • Labs
  • Social Events / Networking

Sessions
I find sessions to be a very valuable part of WWDC.  Especially for a new technology or API, that session often provides not just technical information, but also some insight into the philosophy behind the technology, which does not always make its way into formal documentation.

Last year, Apple did an amazing job of posting session videos the same day of the presentation.  I hope this year to be the same. [WWDC 2015 Update: Apple will be streaming select sessions each day, in addition to releasing session videos]

In fact, watching session videos at home or in a hotel room is arguably a better experience than waiting in long lines and sitting in tightly-packed conference chairs.  Last year, for instance, instead of getting up early Monday morning and standing in a giant line for the keynote, I slept in and watched the keynote from my hotel room.

Plus, I didn’t feel guilty that I was somehow ‘wasting’ my ticket by not being in the building.

So, for sessions, I am completely at peace with not being at WWDC.  Apple has done a great job of making the technical information from the conference rapidly available.

Labs
Labs have always been one of the most valuable aspects of WWDC.  They provide developers with sit-down consultations with Apple employees. There are three types of labs: Technology Labs, the User Interface Design Lab, and the App Store Lab.

In the Technology Labs, you can bring your code and talk one-on-one to Apple engineers (often the very engineers working on the technology you are asking about).

Unlike session presentations, labs do not scale well.  There are only so many engineers and most of the year they are doing engineering, not manning labs.

As a substitute for Technology Labs, consider using Tech Support Incidents.  You receive two as part of the yearly $99 developer program fee—additional incidents are available for about $50 each.

With a Tech Support Incident, you can ask a code-level question that is answered by a Developer Technical Support (DTS) engineer.  I’ve talked with folks who have used the service and they report good results overall.  One caveat is to not expect an immediate answer, researching and replying to your issue can take a few days.

Using DTS is not an exact substitute for sitting down face-to-face with an Apple engineer, but it is a reasonable and more scalable substitute.  (You also don’t have to wait until WWDC to ask your question.)

As far as I can tell, however, there is currently no substitute for the User Interface Design Lab or the App Store Lab. These resources seem to be exclusive to WWDC.

In my first year as an independent developer, sitting down with someone at the App Store Lab clarified a number of things for me. I found that brief interaction to be very valuable.

It might help developers to have the ability to get these sorts of consultations done outside of the scope of WWDC.  I would be willing to pay for support in a manner similar to DTS to get these additional services during the year.  At present, though, you need to make do without these two labs.

Social Events / Networking
Apple sponsors its own WWDC events such as Stump the Experts, the Apple Design Awards and the Bash—but there have always been a myriad of outside parties and events during the week.  With so many developers converging on San Francisco without a WWDC ticket, it seems that number has grown in the past few years.

Last year, I found that there were plenty of events and parties that did not require a WWDC ticket, and this year seems to be shaping up the same way.

During the day, AltConf is a free conference with speakers all week, right near WWDC itself.  Last year it was a great place to see some live sessions, meet up with folks and hang out in their lab.  In past years, some local developers have also opened their offices up as gathering places during the week.

The evenings are filled with enough events and parties that there is at least one app and one website for tracking them. [Update: These have yet to be updated to show WWDC 2015 events, I would imagine that would happen in the coming weeks or days.]

My personal favorite event during the week is, of course, the James Dempsey and the Breakpoints show.  For the last two years, we’ve had a lot of fun playing a free, full concert of iOS and Mac development tunes to packed houses.

PLUG: This year, on Wednesday night during the conference, James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will be LIVE near WWDC 2015.  Sign up for email updates for forthcoming details about the show, new songs and recordings.

From a social perspective, there is a lot going on WWDC week that does not require a ticket.  Last year, I definitely felt my need to network and talk with others was very fully met.

Wrap up

Being prepared for life without WWDC is the new reality.  Both Apple and the development community have provided resources to make a WWDC week an enjoyable and productive time to be in San Francisco, even without a ticket.

I’m looking forward to being up in the city for the week. If you come to town with or without a ticket, please say hello if you see me and come on out to the show! •

Don’t miss out on the fun!

Join our low-volume email list for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints show details and music releases.

Breakpoints Live Near WWDC 2013, Wed 6/12! Save the date!

Update Jun 9, 2013: Daniel Pasco will be joining the Breakpoints on trumpet and guitar!

I’m excited to announce that James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will be performing Live Near WWDC 2013 on Wednesday, June 12th at 7:00 PM.

The show is just a few blocks from Moscone West at 50 Mason Social House. Admission is free—no cover charge and no ticket required. We provide the music, you buy the drinks.

Join fellow iOS and Mac developers for an evening of humorous and informative songs including favorites such as Hold Me, Use Me, Release MeI Love View and Model View Controller.  And don’t miss the live performance of our latest single, that modern tale of momentary loss and redemption, Almost Dropped My iPhone.

Stage and lounge at 50 Mason

The joint will be jumpin’ at 50 Mason

Night Of A Thousand Breakpoints
(Well… at least five or six)

This year, the show features a lineup of Mac and iOS indie developer luminaries and maybe even a special guest or two. The Breakpoints include:

They will be joined by the incomparable Victor Alexander (@victoralexander) on slide-advance keyboard.

No WWDC Ticket Required

The show is open to all—no WWDC ticket required—making it a great event for all developers in town for the week.  There’s not even an NDA, so tell your friends and come on out to James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, Live Near WWDC 2013. •

ics file Download event to your calendar.

 
For show updates and James Dempsey and the Breakpoints news:
Sign up for the band newsletter.
Follow @jamesdempsey on Twitter.
Logo for 50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 433-5050

New Breakpoints Single for WWDC 2012

UPDATE: The new single is now live on iTunes!

Click to view The Liki Song in iTunes

Over the past few months, a number of people have asked if there would be a new song for WWDC this year, and I found myself wondering the same thing.

Then, driving into the studio one afternoon, a song started to take shape somewhere between Mountain View and Palo Alto.  So, I’m very happy to announce that there will be a new song this year.

The new single is a fun, breezy tune with Hawaiian style—singing it always brings a smile to my face.  Beyond that, I don’t want to give away too much more until folks can hear it for themselves.

LIVE near WWDC 2012

A surfboard with a picture of a hula dancer painted on it

The show venue John Colins already has the Hawaiian spirit for the LIVE near WWDC 2012 show on June 13th.

You can hear the new song, along with old favorites, at what we’re calling James Dempsey and the Breakpoints LIVE near WWDC 2012 on Wednesday, June 12th.

I’ll have final and full show details next week. I’m really looking forward to a fun evening and playing the new song for everyone. Also, thanks to all the folks who have retweeted and passed the word along about the show.

One Night, One Song

Another great event that week is the Looking Back at NeXTSTEP fundraiser for the Cartoon Art Museum.  The sold-out evening will have many luminaries from the NeXTSTEP days in attendance, all for a great cause.

I’m looking forward to attending the event as a sponsor, but I’m particularly excited, as well as honored, to be participating in the event as the special musical guest.

So, amidst the talk of days before NSString and autorelease pools, attendees will hear the public performance debut of the new single, done as a very ‘unplugged’ version.  Thanks to Dr. Michael Johnson for hosting the event, and for including me in the proceedings.

Fun week coming up fast

WWDC week looks like it will be a fun and busy one with the live show, new single, conference sessions, and maybe best of all, meeting new folks and catching up with friends.

I’ll also be taking requests during the week, so feel free to say hello—and no, we don’t know Free Bird.