Postcard from Comdex

Postcard from Comdex

Going to Comdex is like eating cheap Chinese food. Each time it happens you say "never again" but as soon as you get home you forget all the bad things and start looking forward to the next time. For a journalist there are many ways of attacking a show this big, and I guess it's much the same for Australian resellers and distributors.

You can put your head down and tail up, and barge your way through the crowds, only stopping occasionally to collect a brochure, a badge, a gaudy thing on a string that you have to wear so someone spots you on the showroom floor and gives you a jacket, or perhaps to say hello to someone in a quarter of a million people that you actually recognise. You'd be surprised how common that recognition thing is over here. I've already met a dozen ARN readers and about the same number of vendor staff from Australia (some on the stands, showing the yanks how to sell their own product).

The exact opposite method is to study the show well in advance, and move strictly according to your master plan. That's proved a lot easier this year because of the Internet. Both Comdex and many of the vendors have provided excellent web sites allowing us to create some method for our mad, five-day rush. In fact, the sites are so good that I'd consider attending electronic versions of trade shows . . . providing they can somehow incorporate the $1.49 all-you-can-eat-lobster-and-chitlins-buffet into the experience.

One gimmick for the press this year came from Microsoft. Next door to the press registration table, Microsoft was handing out loaner Windows CE machines from Casio. These are loaded with all exhibitors at the show, their booth details and home contact details. There is also a compre-hensive list of press events, loaded in a Microsoft Schedule file.

I'd like to tell you what the dominant theme for this Comdex is, but so far I've only "done" the main convention centre, and the main theme there is Windows CE. I've yet to see a Network Computer, but that's probably in that tent just around the corner. You'll see that we've covered much of the show starting on page 17, but it's so big we'll be continuing the coverage next issue.

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