As “trade shows” go the PME is really tiny. I almost feels clique-ish in a high school kind of way. But this is good because you can find nearly anyone that you want or need to talk to. Everyone is approachable and is usually more than happy to talk. Like me for example. Lot’s of people (in this case other podcasters) are fans of This Week in Media, Beer School, and MacBreak Tech so it’s not uncommon for a random person to walk up to me while I’m out walking around. Or if I said something in a session people would come up after the talk to talk. So that right there was really rewarding making the trip totally worth while.

Parties and dinners are the other gatherings that you must attend. Dinners put you with others at random places around a table. By the time dessert shows up you have 5 new friends or a new deal or other opportunity that you might not otherwise have landed.

When the parties are over the next place to be is at the hotel bar. People that you might have missed will be there. Order whatever you are having and a water. You need to make sure you drink water. It’s easy to forget. Buying the round for your group isn’t required but it will gain you respect. If somebody else is buying be respectful and decline the offer if you aren’t planning on staying.

Sessions are interesting to a point but it’s not the reason I go to these things. I watched Kenji and Craig do a talk on compressing video and watched Brian Hogg’s talk on “Building a TV studio in a Basement.” The “keynotes” were things that I made the effort to go to but then didn’t stay to listen for long. Not because the speakers didn’t have interesting things to say but because the hall talks are always more interesting. One comment that I heard was that the person wasn’t learning as much as they had the year before. Meaning they’d actually been learning, using and contributing to their own knowledge lots in the last year.

Ideas are all around. I came back with a show idea that I totally want to produce. There was also time to talk about what needed to be changed or added for shows that I’m already doing. Pretty much because this is your only context this is going to happen. It’s a good idea to take notes as you go otherwise you won’t remember them. Maybe that’s just as well too. Some of the things I was talking about making were pretty crazy.

The “show floor” didn’t take long to cover. There were more “aggregator” companies, several mobile solutions, 4 new portable recorders, a mixer that at first glance was “rad” but had several fatal flaws. There were lots of candy dishes, pens, widgets and gizmos for hand outs. This isn’t why you’d come to the PME.

Here’s some highlights from the show floor:
Four new portable recorders. Marantz, M-Audio… after seeing all of these I decided that the best product is the last year Zoom H4. It really does everything that I want it to do.

The Roland M-16DX mixer was interesting. It breaks up the interface and the controls from each other allowing you to put both in a more usable location.

There was a fascinating iPod based game that let four people compete against each other. The premise is that you have card that asks “play a song with ‘feeling’ in the title” or “play a song that is about crickets” then you scroll your iPod to find the song then press play. The device in the middle that connects all the iPods will light up blocking the other players. If you get the song wrong you lose a point and if you get it right you advance. Works with ANY iPod. Just so you know the device doesn’t know what you played just that you played. It’s to everyone to figure out if you are correct or not.