Aren’t we spoiled in Chiang Mai? In the bad old days,
we had to travel to Bangkok to get a hold of the latest PCs, notebooks,
printers, and the numerous latest must-have gadgets one likes to show off
with, such as thumb drives playing MP3-music, cameras smaller than
matchboxes, and pocket PCs capable of doing unmentionable things in your
pockets, much greater than their old-fashioned desktop brothers.
Today you find will find dozens, if not hundreds, of
computer shops around every corner, most of them claiming to be ‘licensed
brand-name agents’ (whatever that may mean in Thailand), shops that come
in all different sizes and shapes, some hip, some modern, some just garage
set-ups, reminding us of the origins of Bill Gates when he was desperately
trying to open his e-window of opportunity. As we know only too well, he
succeeded after all, so there may still be hope that one day it will work
without carrying out illegal operations and crashing. The sign of being a
The Digital ICT 2004 Fair was yet again, yet another,
computer fair, one of the many we enjoy (if we have the time and the money)
every third day of the week (or was it every second?) here in Chiang Mai.
Since we are residing in the hub of hubs (Hubbsville?),
amongst the number of other hubs, Chiang Mai is Asia’s IT Hub after all,
and it shows. We have to make a point, we have to prove it. We are capable
of firing up a computer, we know how to bypass pirated software–related
issues (pirated software, what’s that?), and we know that the soundcard of
our home PC must be strong enough to make the neighbor’s windows shake, be
that 98 windows, 2000 windows or even 2000 windows New Testament.
This important e-decibel factor was yet again powerfully
demonstrated at this event, and if the soundboards couldn’t do it, a live
band was taking care of the deficiencies. Great stuff. A hundred-something
elaborate booths, nicely decorated stands, less provocative stalls, and
unassuming table-top sellers, all apparently subscribing to the monthly
magazine ‘How to use decibels to attract customers’. Synopsis? If you
don’t make noise, you won’t be noticed.
Apparently, and to my surprise not being acoustically
challenged (yet), the noise is supposed to work, and the sellers’ shouts
in the hallways were that there was a permanent coming and going, there was
more ‘traffic’ than at last year’s fair, and that the general opinion
was very favorable, compared to the recent Computer Mega Show in Bangkok.
But then again, anything ‘we’ do is better than what ‘they’ can do!
Good for us. We are here in Chiang Mai and we are the future. We have all
the latest gadgets, PCs, digital cameras, and thumb drives. We also have a
hearing problem, “What did you say again?” but who cares? At next
year’s fair, we will probably see Bluetooth-enabled, fancy binaural
hearing aids, with built-in voice commands, telling us “turn left” or
“walk straight forward” to the latest Bluetooth dealer. I just hope I
will find the volume regulator. “Sorry, were you saying something?”