MWSF 2007 keynote bingo

I debated doing a MacWorld bingo card for a long time. At first, I was sure I wasn’t going to create one. WWDC bingo was a cute diversion, but do I really want to commit to doing one of these for every Stevenote? I also didn’t know if people would be hungry for more bingo after WWDC’s bingo bust.

The latter question was quickly answered by a steady stream of email requests for a MacWorld San Francisco 2007 bingo card. As for the former question, I figured the demand for keynote bingo would be filled by others if not by me. Sure enough, there are at least two other MWSF 2007 bingo games out there: a nice bingo PDF generator from Peter Hosey and a bingo game application from members of the #macnytt IRC channel on Freenode.

Both of these applications produce randomized bingo cards, which is in keeping with the actual game of bingo. It’s also why I’ve decided to field my own card after all. I look at keynote bingo a bit differently. Unlike normal bingo, the point is not to give everyone an appropriately arbitrary chance of winning. In fact, winning is not the point at all.

The way I see it, the most important part of keynote bingo is the card itself. The choice and arrangement of squares documents the hopes and fears of the card maker, and perhaps the larger Mac community, at a particular point in time. And the detailed definitions for each square provide important context for each prediction.

Then there’s the act of playing the game. As I wrote last time:

Part of the game is figuring out when something in a square actually happens. The descriptions of each square explain the conditions under which they may be marked, but there’s still some skill involved. For example, Jobs is not likely to come right out and say that Quartz 2D Extreme is enabled in Leopard, but he may hint at it or use marketing-speak to say the same thing. Your job is to catch this—and to be correct, of course.

Again, the subtle distinctions conveyed in the detailed descriptions of the squares come into play. Finally, there’s the difficulty factor. A card that’s too easy to win, stocked with gimmies like “Steve Jobs wears jeans,” is no fun at all. On the other hand, a grid filled with fantastical squares (“Newton resurrected!”) is pointless.

A win should be exciting, or at least surprising. If and when someone marks that final square to complete a row, it should be a momentous event. There should be at least one thing in that row that was previously thought to be ridiculous, unlikely, or too good to be true. A win should not be impossible, but should also not be extremely probable.

I’ve decided that I don’t feel too bad about no one winning last year. If a win-less card reflects my inability to correctly gauge the probability of each square, then I’m fine with that. What I want to avoid is an intentionally fantastically unlikely card.

And so we come to it at last. Presenting my one-and-only MacWorld San Francisco 2007 keynote bingo card, provided in PDF format.

MacWorld Expo San Francisco 2007 Bingo Card PDF

Experienced keynote bingo-ers may notice that some squares left unmarked at WWDC are carried over to the new card. This is as it should be, I think. A square that remains plausible enough to be on a bingo card, but is eternally left unmarked, says something important about the interplay between what Mac fans want and what Apple chooses to produce. And yes, there’s a square for both “iPhone” and “No iPhone” because, at this point, either one is a story.

The rules for keynote attendees are the same as they were last year. If you’re going to the keynote in person, print out the bingo card and play along live. The first person in the audience to win the game is expected to yell “BINGO!” loud enough so that the rest of us can hear it when we watch the keynote webcast video later. If we can’t actually hear you, it’s also acceptable if Steve Jobs hears you on stage and gives you The Glare.

The requirements for each square are listed at the end of this post. Good luck!

WWDC Keynote Bingo Card
Bingo card created by John McCoy

…okay, okay, if you’ve read this far and you absolutely can’t live without a few randomized cards, here are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 to satisfy your hunger for entropy. (The One True Card is card zero, naturally.) But if “iPhone” and “No iPhone” are in the same row or column on one of these cards, don’t come crying to me… ;-)

This article originally appeared at Ars Technica. It is reproduced here with permission.