Apple goes to a number of industry trade shows every year and one of them is FOSE, the US government’s computer trade show. If you work for the US government and you have a ID to prove it, or if you’re a government contractor with $50, you can get in the door and see what the various OEMs and vendors are trying to sell to the government. Apple’s no exception and they had a big booth this year, right at the bottom of the escalator that leads down into the show floor at the Washington Convention Center. The focus this year was on 10.4, Apple’s XServes and XServe RAIDs, Apple Remote Desktop, and what they can do to make the government’s life easier.
Wandering around the show, there were a lot of Apple products on display. Some popped up in interesting places, too. A lot of vendors were having iPod or iPod shuffle giveaways. One backup equipment vendor was showing off their product hooked to an XServe and XServe RAID. A number of government vendors were showing that they sold the Mac Mini with a number of prominently displayed Minis attached to a variety of LCD monitors. I was even able to find a Mac-friendly customer rep at RIM‘s booth, where I asked about Blackberry desktop software for my Mac. She asked if I knew about Pocket Mac for Blackberry, which was a third-party product that would allow me to tie my Blackberry into iSync for synchronizing contacts and calendars. I’m already a happy Pocket Mac customer, so I told her what I was really looking for was a way for my users to be able to get rid of having to find a PC to initially set up their Blackberries when they get them issued to them. (Blackberries are the pagers of the Unnamed Government Agency that I work for. If you’re anybody, you’ve got a Blackberry. That goes double if you’re in IT.) She said that RIM was in the process of developing desktop software that worked on OS X, and offered to send me a link to the latest beta if I sent her an email. The email’s been sent, but no link’s been sent back yet. Once I get it, if anyone’s interested, I’ll post it in a follow up article.