National Association of Everything

So are you planning on coming to the National Association of Everything (NAE) convention in April in Las Vegas? It's really called the National Association of Broadcasters, but now I call it the NAE. The show is such a cobbled together array of topics and technology, I wouldn't be surprised to see lawn mowers and appliances on display. Here are a few examples of how the NAE has gone to extravagant lengths just to claim high attendance.

Here are some of the sessions scheduled for you “broadcast-related” attendees. Specially designed for the international attendee, we have the “Cross-Media Partnerships” session. I'm not sure, but I think maybe it's a marriage seminar. Then we have the “Cyberjocking” seminar. It probably has something to do with horse racing on the Internet. Again, a special session for the international attendee, we have “Global Matchmaking.” Pretty cool, huh? Come to the United States and leave with a mate! What a deal.

NAE's newest conference is called Xstream. Here you'll learn everything you need to know about the Internet, including how to build “the 80 mile per gallon carburetor.” I'm not kidding.

Not to leave the new media folks out of the touchy-feely sessions, there's another one of those classes on relationships, “Strange Bedfellows.” You'll have to tell me what happens, I'm afraid to attend. Oh and don't miss the keynote session at 10 a.m. There you're supposed to be taught “how UPnP will facilitate an ecosystem of networked devices in your home.” If you're still awake when it's over, let me know what that means.

The sessions on satellite technology sound kind of fun to me because I'm a runner. Maybe I'll ask my friend and fellow marathoner, Bob Pank, to attend this one with me, “From the Backbone to the Last-Mile.” Must be a chiropractic clinic for runners. Bob and I will then jog on over and pick up some tips in the session, “Playing Monopoly.”

The exhibits are as schizophrenic. How about this for a list of exhibition areas: e·topia, mobile media, interactive living, digital cinema, multimedia and Internet/streaming halls. Hey, I'm not done, these are in addition to the regular radio/audio hall, three TV/video/film halls and satellite/telecommunications areas including the Sands. Whew, are you confused yet?

And how come we still have to slog over to the Sands anyway? With an additional 300,000 square feet of new exhibition space in the new South Hall, couldn't NAB move the Sands exhibitors to the LVCC? No, you'll still have to wait in two lines, bus it and waste a couple of hours to see the Sands exhibitors.

Adding sessions with cutesy titles, and unrelated exhibitors to try and drive attendance does not make this show any better. It just makes it less focused. What's next — an “open to the public” day at NAB?

All these changes and the diluted focus remind me of previous NABs, where exhibitors included luggage and jewelry dealers. Given this year's hodgepodge of sessions and exhibit arrangements, should we expect to see the Vegamatic and Gingsu knives on the show floor next year? This show is starting to smell like a flea market.

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