Comdex: Laptops let off the hook

Trade-show organizers reverse their 'notebook non grata' edict and say that laptops will be allowed into next week's Comdex conflab. But guess what security's banning now?

Laptops and Comdex do mix after all.

The tens of thousands of technophiles who will descend on Las Vegas for next week's Comdex trade show will be allowed to carry laptops into the show, but there is a catch.

As previously reported, laptops were on a list of contraband posted on the Web site of the show's organizer, Key3Media Events. The ban was among many changes Key3Media instituted to beef up security following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Specifically, attendees were advised to "please leave bags, briefcases, backpacks, laptops, etc. at home or in your hotel room."

On Tuesday, the organizer made a subtle modification to that list, removing the word laptops. However, the site still warns that "no bags of any kind will be allowed on the show floor," meaning laptops cannot be tucked into shoulder bags or roll-along luggage.

Banning laptops "wasn't our intention," said Rick Moore, head of communications for Key3Media. "But the way we worded it, that's the way it came across."

The organizer's site lists many general security dos and don'ts, as well as even tighter restrictions for keynote speeches being delivered by tech industry leaders such as Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison.

But Moore warned that the rules could shift further as the conference approaches. There will "probably be more of those issues between now and next Monday," he said.

Indeed, as Moore explained the current policies, the rules apparently shifted again. On Monday, the site clearly stated that there would be a bag check, but on Tuesday it warned in bold capital letters "No bags will be checked at the convention center. There is no place for them, and they will not be stored."

Asked about the apparently new restriction, Moore said, "That is certainly not accurate."

The lesson for an estimated 150,000 attendees trying to plan their trip may be to bookmark this page and refresh it a couple times a day.

Later on Tuesday, the security page changed once again, stating in bold capital letters: "There will be a bag check area outside the convention center."

For now, anyway.


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