At Comdex this week, most attendees will learn their latest lesson in adapting to the New World Order: IDs will be checked; handbags will be searched; no bags of any kind will be allowed on the show floor, which means no laptop computers.
Like many other aspects of the Sept. 11 tragedies, positive changes will emerge that we never expected. In a very small way, being unencumbered at Comdex is one of them. First, think how much easier it will be to stand in the usual lines (and due to already-reduced travel budgets or general skittishness, those lines will be much shorter this year). Your shoulders, back and feet will thank you as the week rolls on.
Second, you will learn to adapt. Unless you are a media member, theres not a big reason to lug a laptop around the Las Vegas Convention Center—or anywhere in Las Vegas for that matter. You may end up spending more time away from the chaos of the show if you have to get work done. You may realize that you were carrying around that computer for no reason and that whatever you did need it for can be accomplished in the morning or evening when you are in your hotel.
You may get a chance to try out some alternatives to the laptop, such as a BlackBerry or other handheld device that can still keep you in touch with friends, family, co-workers or clients. Some smart entrepreneur will set up a pager or Palm/Handspring leasing booth that can get you wired up—wirelessly, that is. You will probably need your cell phone, but you may have a hard time finding open circuits.
Finally, you may, like me, be skipping the whole thing. Dont get me wrong: I love Comdex but for all the wrong reasons. The impact of the news there has been dwindling for years. When all we had was a handful of magazines and conventions, there was good reason to treat Comdex as the biggest news event of the year. Now it is merely the biggest event. This year, the most important news will probably be the new safety precautions. In light of them, I hope that makes an uneventful Comdex a very successful one indeed.
See you next year. Write to me at scot_ firstname.lastname@example.org.