As we rapidly approach the beginning of March, we're starting to get all geared up for the CeBit show in Hannover, which starts on the 10th. We're organising flights and hotels to make sure we bring you the best coverage from a show that is sure to bring a lot of new and funky hardware.
Of course, this is more difficult than it seems. Hannover is a very small place, and the accomodation is incredibly hard to get, since large IT companies buy up tens of rooms at a time.
We endeavour to bring you the best coverage from trade shows all year round, and we have covered ECTS, Computex and last year's CeBit in the space of the last 12 months. But doing so is harder than it might look.
"As with many businesses, the best work is done in social time..."
First of all, let me relate to you my personal experience of covering Computex, the huge computing extravaganza that is out in Taipei, Taiwan.
Aside from the monstrous flight required to get there, travelling is fairly easy. However, any reporter worth is salt needs to be up at 7AM to get to the main show floor for 9, before spending all day conducting interviews, meetings, and grabbing snaps and leaflets for the day's coverage. Lunch is a luxury that isn't usually had and, combined with the miles of walking done each day, you can often come back from a show half a stone lighter.
The show finishes at 6, by which point you'll be pretty exhausted, after spending all day on your feet with no food - but this is when work is just beginning. As with many businesses, the best work is done in social time, as people relax and are a little less stressed. Advertising deals get sealed over beers, exclusive stories get drunkenly blurted out, and crucial relationships for the year ahead might be forged over your next Manhattan.
Many companies hold their own parties, and being at the show and not turning up is something of a slight. By the time you've finished a whirlwind tour of the night's events, it can be 3AM, and you've got to be back up in 4 hours.
I lived on 4 hours of sleep for a little over a week at Computex, and ended up sitting in my hotel room with ice cubes on my blood-shot eyes by the end of the show. On the flipside, the trip was responsible for many of the cool products that you've seen on these pages over the past year.
"Cases and modding paraphernalia galore..."
So you'll excuse my apprehension at tooling up and moving out once again. CeBit isn't quite as manic as Computex, but it's still far from good. This year there will be three of us there, in a bid to bring you the most comprehensive coverage. We're expecting to see the Nforce chipset for Intel from Nvidia, as well as a new graphics product from ATI. There should be plenty of demonstrations of dual-core chips from both AMD and Intel, and we will have interviews for you from the chaps in charge of both.
There are going to be cases and modding paraphernalia galore, and we are going to be making sure that our bags are stuffed full with cool things to review by the time we get back. There is also going to be a European case modding competition, and we will make sure that we spot all the coolest cases from there!
So stay tuned over the coming weeks - things are going to get exciting!