Apple Computer fans here in Beantown are growing accustomed to life without Steve Jobs -- and without other Apple fans, for that matter.
Here at Macworld Boston -- the annual gathering of the East Coast Mac fans -- not only were Apple and its CEO missing; so, too, were the bustling crowds of shows past.
This year's Boston event, at the Hynes Convention Center, felt a bit small and sad. A few hundred attendees shuffled about the show floor Wednesday, accompanied by local TV news reporters and folks from the Mac trade pubs.
"It's strange, and very disappointing that Apple isn't here," said Bo Eriksson, a designer from Washingtonville, New York. "But it's Uncle Steve who decides when and where Apple is to be."
Eriksson said he only bothered to come up to Boston because he lives in New York, just a couple of hours away by car. He said he was doing some "guerrilla marketing" (marketing without a booth), to sell the surfAce, a laptop stand he designed and built in his basement.
Podcaster Louis DiCarro, the host of MacKaos, a show on MacRadio, said technicians in particular missed Apple's presence.
"They could at least have a booth here with Apple people, to answer users' technical questions," said DiCarro.
With no Jobs, and no big product announcements, there seemed little for people to talk about, though there were plenty of programs and tutorials for IT managers, GarageBand users and those wanting to break into the exploding podcasting scene.
Organizers, who also run the annual Macworld in San Francisco in January, cast the Boston show in the best possible light.
Without Apple, "it's become more of users' community type of event," said IDG World Expo spokesman Mike Sponseller.
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