I’m back in my hometown this week: Chicago. Most people wouldn’t know it from my accent, but I was born in the Windy City when my parents moved here from Tennessee in the 50s when work was scarce in the South. Of course, they moved back to the Volunteer State when I was only three months old, so I don’t have a lot of old friends to visit in Chicago.
Still, I’m happy to be here and covering the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). I was a teacher (seven years) in another life so educational technology shows have a great deal of interest for me. I’m in a nice hotel, the Inter Continental Chicago, on North Michigan Avenue. There’s a Starbucks right next door so I can keep caffeinated with Chocolate Brownie Frappucinos and write stories into the night. And, of course, Chicago has some of the finest restaurants in the world, meaning I’ll have to double my running schedule when I return home.
The weather is beautiful, though there’s not much wind in the Windy City, and for once, I had no mishaps during my journey en route to a trade show. In fact, I ran into some very friendly educators at the airport (Midway) and we split the price of a stretch limo to our hotel since the hotel shuttles were apparently Pony Express operations, and the taxi fare was pretty darn steep. It was my first ride in a stretch limo — and could well be my last.
The educators with whom I’ve talked seem really excited about the show. And it’s obvious that Apple will have a big presence. iMacs are all over the registration areas and Apple has a big presence in the exhibit hall itself. Beep “tuned in” throughout the day to see what Steve Jobs announces during his keynote — and what Palm plans to announce at an early morning press conference.