A day at the races (Tuesday redux)

After the keynote, I wanted to run around and see a little more of the show floor. After reading of my complaints about sore aching feet, Owen had taken pity on my plight, and brought gifts. Doctor Shoals foam inserts for my shoes, and scissors to make them fit. While they didn’t turn my loafers into walking shoes, they went a long way to making me hobble less, and feel a little more human – and I’m not looking at walking the floor with quite the dread I had been.

I went booth to booth, in total random order, just looking at whatever products caught my eye. The first one was Garmin, makers of GPS systems – which tied right in with the geocaching article I previously wrote (https://mymac.com/showarticle.php?id=2184), and hobby I’ve been playing with. They are working on porting all their software “before the end of the year”. That’s a great sign – it has been rumored that someone high up in Garmin is an anti-mac-bigot and was actively campaigning against Macs. This seems to show that isn’t true, or that person is gone or has seen the light that another 5-10%+ of the U.S. market could mean.

Still, they were odd. I said I wanted to talk to them about their other products, and getting on the “beta” list for evaluation and pre-reviews. That didn’t sound like gibberish to me, but the guy I asked looked perplexed and poorly handed me off to a guy whose title was “engineer”. (The old point, and say, “go talk to him”). That guy was talking to a marathon runner about stuff for about 15 minutes or more, I understand, but I politely apologize for interrupting, mentioned that I was press, and had a real quick question, he glowered at me and continued to talk. Then when I got involved in the conversation they were having, because the Demo guy wasn’t pointing out brain-numbingly obvious facts about his own product that would answer the guys questions (like the new product has WAAS support which increases the runners accuracy to the level he needed, and so on). The demo cretin actively stepped in front of me with his back to me to shut me out. I was stunned by the stupidity of the move and left. While the rumors of Garmin being actively hostile to Macs may no longer be true, I can confirm the rumor that they put the worst demo-person I’ve ever dealt with. I walked away, a little pissed but with plenty else to see – and a product/company that should have excited me the most, now had me hoping that their competition (Magellan) follows their lead, so I can buy their products instead.

Fortunately, that was about the low-point of the day. Everyone else had at least a modicum of decorum and professionalism.

I talked to ADIC, the makers of Apple’s Xsan software, though they can’t say that. They had some interesting backup options (tape arrays) and software extensions. They were struggling a little to get their message across on what they offer, without stepping on any licensing agreements they might have with the Big Apple. I think they did a fairly good job.

PrintRoom is a company I worked with at the newspapers; a way for photographers to put their catalogs on-line and sell all sorts of merchandise from there, on the cheap. It is a turn key hosted (ASP) type solution – they do everything, their way interface wise. If you like it, it is fine – if you have too many of your own ideas, your probably going to have to compromise. But still, it is a nice way to get started on making money on the web, and get your toe in.

There were some really nice case designs out there. The show had a lot of fluff – iPod cases, and accessories. More than one person suggested that next year they go back to the “two hall” format, with one hall being Macs and the other being iPods. Some things were way cool – the dude that put the Mac Mini in his VW in the cleanest installation I’ve ever seen. But the first day for me is more a scan, and find what I have more interest in – and chatting with some people I bump into and know.

This show is both bigger and smaller than prior shows. There are a lot of people, and it is very healthy. In the heyday (say 1994/1995, the peak), the show used to fill both halls – this one is just one. But back then, they had used far fewer of the other halls, the upstairs Keynote room didn’t exist, they didn’t have all the training stuff going on, nearly as many reporters or presenters, nor have the micro-booths. So while the show floor may be a little smaller, the show itself feels bigger and healthier – with a ton of things to see. And with Apple announcing their last quarter’s performance, their stock jumping $5, and so on, it seems like the atmosphere is more than a little positive.


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