If the 250,000-plus delegates that attended Comdex Fall more often resembled Spock than the captain of the Starship Enterprise, that will be no surprise to the taxi drivers, croupiers and sundry 180,000 people who regularly work in Las Vegas.
The show has changed a lot in the past 10 years, but to the locals, propeller-heads are still geeks and dweebs. The local paper ran a front-page story that featured many taxi drivers saying computer geeks didn't tip enough or spend enough.
Odd, then, that Bill Gates is fond of gambling and was seen in a casino even before the show started. He kicked off the show on Sunday night cheered on by 400 delegates.
On Monday morning, in the Aladdin Theatre of the Performing Arts, Andy Grove did a magic trick by getting 10 large men to wheel a coffee shop on to the stage and using Intel's video conferencing genius to connect a chap standing next to him (who owned the coffee shop chain) to his two-year-old daughter on the West Coast - the occasion being her birthday.
We saw the mother and child wave frantically at dad and say hello and thanks, and Grove even made the 7,000 attendees shout 'happy birthday'.
Later we learned, from a couple of Intel gurus on the bus taking us down to the convention centre, that Intel will not stand all the pain of building future fabs alone. It has already secretly signed a deal with Sony to help build next-generation chip plants. Not surprising, then, that Sony is just about to get into the PC business.
If the network computer ever takes off, Comdex is dead meat. While there was a hefty mass of Net firms all a bit miffed by the fact local communications were down, there were many more purveyors of adaptors and other peripherals that depend on the PC remaining the primary communications tool of choice.
Tuesday night was a good night for taxi drivers. Various delegates, dazed from funfair rides, bright neon badges and carrying strange sticks they had recovered from the main hall at Comdex, took to the wilds of Fremont Street, full of wedding chapels, old casinos and the rest.
Wednesday was a little like Tuesday, apart from a largely irrelevant speech from Jim Barksdale of Netscape, who had been thoroughly outflanked on the Sunday night by Bill Gates.
If there was a theme to the show, it was networks, but the definitions were loose and often woolly. We heard all of the leading stars of Comdex use the term, but if you tried to tease a tighter definition out of them, their mouths clamped shut.
The truth, if there was one in Comdex, is the Internet has shaken their existences so much that no one seems to know what the future may bring.
Rather worryingly for the PC sector, Gates, Grove and many other traditional PC pundits are wavering in their views.
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