On the way to the keynote entrance I saw a room with lots of members of the press streaming out. They had just attended some briefing:

People in a hallway

Who should I run into but Larry Magid again and lots of other press people I know. They told me I should follow them, that they'd help me get into the press section. We ended up crowded in a hallway for a half-hour or more and had lots of time to talk and do things. Here's Jerry Pournelle of Byte and science fiction fame trading taking pictures with me:

Jerry behind a camera

Here's a better shot of him (we had lots of time):

Jerry smiling

Here's Amy Wohl, the first press person to notice me as the group went by. Thank you Amy!

Amy smiling

John McChesney, technology correspondent of National Public Radio interviews Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies:

John with microphone and Tim facing us

I was swept along with the press and into the main ballroom where the speech was going to be. I found a seat in the middle near the front and started looking for people I know. Here's Dick Brass of Microsoft showing off the latest electronic book and ClearType, their easy-to-read font rendering software:

Here's Gary Beach of IDG and CIO Magazine:

Gary smiling

At the airport baggage claim I had seen a driver holding up a sign for Jon Lazarus. I borrowed the sign and added a "hello from Dan" to a couple other messages for Jon. I finally got to see him here at the keynote. Jon and I went to the same elementary and high school together, though he was a grade ahead. Jon had spent several years at Microsoft after helping found PCWeek. He's now on various boards. We spent a few minutes catching up about family members:

Jon smiling

Here's Nat Goldhaber of Cybergold:

Nat smiling

I mentioned Nancy Engel in my log. She was recently written up in the San Jose Mercury News Magazine about her photographs of computer industry insiders. Here she gets a taste of her own medicine as I photograph her sitting next to Steve Ballmer, president of Microsoft:

Nancy and Steve smiling

Here's Sam Whitmore of Sam Whitmore's Media Survey:

Sam almost smiling

This is Ron Fisher of Softbank Inc. His office is less than a mile from my house in Newton. He used to be at Phoenix Technologies and was even at VisiCorp at one point when we first met (it was a good interaction):

Ron smiling

Here is Masahiro Inoue of Softbank and Yahoo Japan. We worked together once at Slate. A very nice guy who always comes over at Comdex to say hi.

Masa smiling

Here's part of the front row with titans of our industry: Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), and Masayoshi Son (Softbank, owners of Comdex, Ziff-Davis, etc.):

All three smiling

Finally the talk started with Bill walking out on stage. Flashes go off in cameras all over. There is a whole line of photographers up against the stage. This only shows a small piece of it:

People standing with cameras in hand looking at the stage  Cameras held high in the air

After 60 seconds they cleared the photographers out and Bill started talking. (You can see and hear the speech on the ZDTV site.)

Bill Gates at the podium probably smiling

He opened with some jokes about the DOJ case and then showed a funny video. Here he's playing Austin Powers for a few seconds in part of it (you can hear him saying "I put the sin in syntax, baby" on this 41KB WAV file):

Bill with teeth showing with women on either side in front of LCD display

After the speech we retired to the "after keynote" reception. More press people. Here's Patricia Sabga of CNNfn and Gary Kaye of CNN:

Patricia smiling  Gary smiling

Paul Andrews of the Seattle Times traded pictures with me:

Paul behind camera

As usual at these events, Bill Gates came in for a bit. As people noticed he was there the crowd of press increased. (Now I now why they call them "press" -- they push.) Little tape recorders started getting thrust under my arms as they strained to catch his every word, hoping for a slip up about the DOJ case (he didn't say anything about it). He started by talking about Microsoft's innovation in producing platform agnostic software for microcomputers in the early days, and then waxed nostalgic about when he last got to write real code (including the TRS-80 Model 100 and Color Computer I think he said) and had to wring the last 1KB out of his work by various hand-coded machine code tricks. (He kept looking my way to find a face that understood from experience what he was talking about.) Then he started answering questions about hosted Office and other stuff in his talk before being whisked away:

Bill talking

Bill listening to a question

More people. Here's Ed Scannell of Infoworld. We've known each other since the early Software Arts days:

Ed almost smiling

Here's Craig Mundie of Microsoft:

Craig looking at the camera

Finally time to go back to the hotel. The cab lines were getting longer. I understand that the lines at the airport in the evening got quite long, too:

People in line in front of hotel

When we got back to the hotel, John McChesney of NPR and I had a bite to eat at the hotel restaurant that was open (we thought everything stayed open all night in Las Vegas, but I guess not here):

John smiling with earphones in ears

Waiting for our food to come, John copied some of Bill's speech to his laptop and edited it for use on Monday morning's broadcast. (Microsoft had connected his DAT recorder to the sound system.) Here he is editing what you may have heard on the radio (I'm writing this a few hours before he files his report). He uses the same software that I do (though he has the more full versions), Sonic Foundry Sound Forge and Syntrillium Cool Edit.

Looking over John's shoulders while he edits the sound on his laptop

You can hear John's report (filed at 4:30 AM EST, 1:30 AM here, and played in the morning) on the Morning Edition web site, or by clicking here for RealAudio.

Finally, time to go back to the room and write this all up (a lot of the time goes into surfing the web to check names and affiliations since I'm not very good with remembering such details). Then off to bed. End of day one.

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