Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

CES: The Running Of The Gadget Geeks!

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I’ve lived in New York City on two different occasions. First, while attending New York University in the mid-1980s, and a second time, from 1999-2001, while working for IBM.

Running with the gadget geeks at Consumer Electronics Show 2012? No thank you, says Turbo, who would much prefer to monitor the memes online from the safety of his mancave, where he runs little risk of being trampled on over cheap and unimaginative tchotchkes!

In neither instance did I ever visit the Statue of Liberty.  I did take the Staten Island Ferry a couple of times, and we floated by Lady Liberty.

Does that count?

So it’s with some tremendous guilt that I admit I’ve also never attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the 2012 edition of which kicks off tomorrow.

It’s quite embarrassing as a self-admitted tech geek to make such an admission, but it’s the truth.  I guess I’ve never had a really good business reason to attend, for one.

But I also get more than my fair share of time at trade shows and events, especially those for IBM, which anyone who’s a regular reader of this blog knows full well.

However, I also remember what it’s like to attend those big IT-related events in Las Vegas.  For IBM’s Personal Systems magazine in 1994, I attended once, and only once, the massive COMDEX event.

IBM was prominently launching its new version of the OS/2 operating system that November 1994, “OS/2 Warp,” and I knew the moment I left McCarron Airport and saw the massive video screen featuring “OS/2 Warp” that I was in for a wild ride.

When I arrived at the Luxor hotel, where I was staying, and witnessed the room key cards and toilet banner wrap featuring “OS/2 Warp” — well, let’s just say that was as appropriate a way of prognosticating the fate of OS/2 as any I could think of, and it was only a short couple of years before CEO Lou Gerstner flushed the ill-fated operating system down its toilet of misery.

The feature piece I wrote about my experience at COMDEX was entitled “The Running of the Geeks.”  And I can still remember the experience like it was yesterday.

Remembering this was during the days before ubiquitous cell phones and broadband Internet, this was still very much a face-to-face event. All the news was largely broken in company-initiated press conferences, and there was still plenty of buzz to be found on the massive show floor (think plural show floors, actually).

But what I also remember about COMDEX was how ridiculously crowded it was.  For everything from making a pay phone call to grabbing a bite to eat for lunch to waiting for a cab, COMDEX was all about waiting in line.  It was like trying to grab a loaf of bread in Moscow, pre-breakup of the USSR.

You had to wait in line for everything (including to take a bio break)!  I joked at the time about how I was going to bring Roller Blades the next time I showed up for COMDEX, as that was the only sane way to get around.

Flash forward to 2012.  I have friends who are attending the conference, poor suckers, and I feel for them.  Because they, too, will be waiting — for everything.  Because CES is pretty much on the same scale, only you also have the world’s most eager gadget hounds to fend off.

Not Turbo.

Here’s my CES strategy: Create a new dashboard on Netvibes using the keyword “CES,” then simply plan on following all the action remotely.

I can run downstairs from my home office and grab a cold beer if I need to (only after business hours, of course!).  I can order a pizza and have it delivered straight to my man cave. Most importantly, I don’t have to worry about being stampeded as Intel rolls out its latest ultrabook line.

It’s perfectly fine by me if I never get to go to CES…

As for Lady Liberty, however, I still aspire to someday stand inside her crown.

Written by turbotodd

January 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm

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