Our Computex 2009 coverage is long done with, but this article isn’t about what we saw on the show floor or learned during a meeting. Rather, this article takes a look at things from a different angle: the experience. We’ll talk both about what life is like during these trips, and in this particular case, what it’s like to spend time in Taiwan for just over a week.
Shopping in Taiwan can be a unique experience as well. I’m not talking clothing, food, or anything simple like that. Rather, I’m talking about stuff we really care about… computer parts! In North America, it’s just not that common to walk into a store and find numerous motherboards or graphics cards for sale, and if you do happen to stumble on such a store, then chances are the selection is weak and the prices high.
For computer enthusiasts, walking around in Taiwan can be quite the experience. In a certain part of Taipei, there’s a general area many call the “computer mall”, which in fact is a building with various shops. But along the road are even more shops, selling anything from motherboards to graphics cards to CPU coolers to peripherals to notebooks and whatever else. On top of it all, the selection is actually good, and chances are if it’s a new product, it can be found somewhere amongst these stores.
Here’s a few pictures I took of this area last year (hence the slightly outdated models):
See? Imagine needing a computer part of any kind, any kind at all on any day of the week, and actually being able to go to a place like this and finding exactly what you need. It goes way beyond computer parts too. Some shops sell every intricate part needed to build your own circuit boards… I’m definitely not that hardcore. The computer market is certainly one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been to, bar none.
I haven’t touched up at all on the business side of things when traveling to Taiwan for Computex, so I’ll tackle that a little bit here. Sadly, I rarely take pictures of events, dinners or parties, and this Computex was no exception. I’ll be sure to take more in the future for those who are interested. While at such a conference, our days usually work on a pretty frantic schedule. After waking up and getting whatever we need done, done, we head out to grab a taxi and head to wherever we need to go.
More often than not, our days are filled to the brim with meetings with companies, and sometimes it’s hard to fit them all in, in a single day. At this Computex, for example, I had seven meetings to take care of between 10:00AM and 5:00PM, and there was very little room to relax in between. Typical days are like this, although as the show progresses, the days become a little easier.
The day doesn’t end when the show floor or meeting rooms close. Rather, it’s rare to even have the time to go back to the hotel room and write any, because I’m expected to make it to a dinner shortly afterwards. This of course can also be stressful. After one long day in particular, I really felt like I had to go back to the hotel and relax… which I did, for about five minutes. I realized I had a dinner with Intel thirty minutes after I got there… you want to talk about a mad dash! How I ever managed to fit a shower into that 30 minutes, I have no idea.
Generally, most of our writing happens after the day is all over and done with, when I can finally relax at the hotel and don’t have to worry about anything, except of course getting to bed in order to get more than four hours of sleep! Usually, the process is get up, go deal with the day, go to dinner or a party, go back to the hotel and write, sleep and then… rinse and repeat. There’s very little down-time on trips like this, but that’s really a good thing.
Drinking games? It’s what the media is all about!
Should we do more articles like this in the future, we’ll be sure to capture “interesting” photos of such parties or dinners. Most of the dinners are rather simple… just a few people getting together to chat, but some are a little more exciting. This past Computex, during a Gigabyte dinner of about one hundred people, someone came up with the idea for a drinking game. Seeing as how I have a bit of a gut, I guess it seemed I was a perfect candidate for one of the teams, so I was thrown on one of the teams alongside two North American Gigabyte reps, our friend Tuan from Tom’s and someone else I don’t quite remember. Long story short, our team came in second, but I know better than to point the blame at the team’s weak link!
Hopefully you enjoyed our little trip through Taiwan, which is easily just as interesting, if not more so, than Computex itself. If you’ve never been to Asia but are thinking about it, I wholeheartedly recommend going, and don’t let the language barrier scare you. As long as you are well-prepared and have documents handy with the Chinese writing on it (especially important for taxis), you’ll be fine. Plus, a surprising number of people speak broken English around Taiwan, so as long as you keep near the major cities, getting around shouldn’t be a problem at all.
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