That all went surprisingly well, I thought. Despite the half hour delay to the journey on the way home because of a 'security alert' at West Ruislip station, it was a very enjoyable day. The buses worked out well, except that I got very confused about buying tickets. As I left the station, I could see a 27 bus coming up from Baker Street, so I ran for it. Consequently I didn't notice the ticket machine next to the bus stop with a big yellow sign on it saying "You must buy a ticket before boarding the bus" or something to that effect. I therefore looked like a total grockle getting on and asking the driver for a single. He wearily pointed towards the sign with a RTFM look on his face. Luckily the next bus came along pretty quickly, so I didn't delay myself too much with my blunder.
Anyway, the Expo itself was pretty good. It seemed bigger than last year's (which I had thought was a little disappointing), and was also less over-run with iPod accessories. I love my iPod as much as the next person, but the main reason that I go to these shows is to see Macs. I got a look at the new iMac G5 and Front Row, which is actually pretty slick. The magnetic remote is rather cute too. Our ancient iMac DV is starting to really show its age, so I think I'll replace it with a new iMac when I get the money.
As you can probably imagine, I was also itching to see Aperture, so that was one of my first stops (no pun intended). It's as lovely and as powerful as the screenshots and videos make it out to be, unfortunately. There were crowds of people around the guy demonstrating it, all saying "ooh" and "aah" as if at a firework display. Everything seems to have been really well thought out, and if you have two screens, you'll be in heaven. The lightbox and selection features are the headlines, but there's also some wonderful tools like spot removals which you can stamp onto a batch of images if, for example, you have a speck of dust on your sensor. I was also really impressed with the previewing from the card. You can do stuff like altering some of the EXIF data, such as setting the timezone correctly if that wasn't done when taking the pictures. I'm sure I can't be the only person who as got back from a trip abroad to find that they forgot to set the timezone properly. I asked someone if the minimum specifications for Aperture were a hard limit (specifically, if my 12" PowerBook would run it), and was told that officially it wasn't supported, but it would probably work (if a bit slowly). I'm so tempted to get a copy.
I also listened to some fantastic Shure earbuds. The E2 and E3 have a gorgeously crisp and integrated sound with wonderful sound staging. They're pretty expensive (especially if you have a tendency to lose headphones for portable devices), but they really do make the most of your music. I listened my own iPod with them, and as I got it out of my bag, the Shure guy was slightly awestruck by my 2G model. Another potential customer was at that moment listening on his nano, so it was rather as if I had pulled a portable Georgian writing desk out of my bag. I expected to be asked ('Antiques Roadshow' style) if it had been passed down in my family. The Shure guy and I laughed about how a 4-5 year old piece of technology can seem antique. Well, it may be antique and look like a huge white brick next to a nano, but it still works perfectly and keeps me amused when I'm stuck because of a security alert, so it can't be all bad.