Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Summary: Cheeky boys meet Cheeky Girls, Comdex meets its maker, a dead Commodore is exhumed and the fate of several hundred oysters is revealed

TOPICS: Tech Industry
Wednesday 23/06/04
So farewell, then, Comdex. A stonking show in its day, the Computer Dealers Exposition kicked off in 1979 as a one-room affair and proceeded to track the heady rise of the industry. By the time I made it over to Las Vegas for my first show in 1993, it was a monster that drained the city of hotel rooms, cabs and hookers -- they had to bus extras in from LA to cope, although I don't think that was just on my account -- but nevertheless failed to win the hearts of the hoteliers. "These computer geeks, they just don't gamble!" complained one chap with a New Jersey accent. Ah, how wrong he was: as we all found out later, the trouble with Vegas is the stakes are too low for the nerds' taste.

And now it's dead. Well, in suspended animation waiting for the global economy to pick up, but the great round of hardware and software updates that fuelled the party have by now subsided into background noise on the Web. The action's all in consumer innovation and big iron: CES copes nicely with the first, and the Internet with the second -- why go to a city in a desert when you can get all your information and hook up with your buddies online?

A shame. I have many happy memories: of chaperoning a female colleague as a Danish computer salesman tried desperately to get into her knickers by means of ever more expensive bars. Gatecrashing a party with Michael Dell (whatever happened to him, anyway?). Eating my own body weight in freshwater oysters -- every year. Being at a Microsoft-sponsored marriage with Dr Ruth and a complete cadre of Elvis impersonators. Going out to the suburbs -- OK, the ghetto -- in a beat-up station wagon to help fix a Native American reporter's broken computer. Ah, the list goes on.

There must have been some technology there too, but that seems to have slipped my mind.

Topic: Tech Industry

Rupert Goodwins

About Rupert Goodwins

Rupert started off as a nerdy lad expecting to be an electronics engineer, but having tried it for a while discovered that journalism was more fun. He ended up on PC Magazine in the early '90s, before that evolved into ZDNet UK - and Rupert evolved with them into an online journalist.

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