It’s Vegas, baby!

Posted on 1 Dec 2009 by The Manufacturer

Someone had to go to the Autodesk conference in Vegas; Ed Machin drew the short straw...

First things first. I know The Manufacturer’s reputation travels well, but this is ridiculous. It’s like I’m Sinatra. On second thoughts maybe not, but Peter Lawford or Joey Bishop at the very minimum. “Hello Mr. Machin, welcome to Las Vegas, it’s so lovely to have you in town. If there’s anything at all we can help with during your stay please do not hesitate to let us know, it would be my pleasure to assist.” Makes a change from the office.

With bags safely deposited in my, frankly, palatial suite — three televisions!!! — I make my way to the Registration Zone. Perhaps an hour of ESPN might have distracted me, but Tiger, you silly, silly boy. Having a fairway (sorry) to travel, what with this being labyrinthine-like Vegas, I finally leave my room.

Under strict instructions to avoid ‘fun’ at all costs, I find myself walking solemnly past slot machines and blackjack tables galore. A solitary tear runs down my cheek, or is that perspiration, I can’t tell. Either way, someone needs to turn the heat down in this joint. After what seems like an eternity (six minutes tops) I begin to spot an ever greater number of computer assisted design types. This must be me. Yet more platitudes from the staff directing us to the registration booths — I’m strongly considering never coming home.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, what with it being Autodesk’s flagship event, everything is computerised. Short of taking DNA samples, I fail to see how my personal itinerary could be any safer. Any quite rightly so, given that your humble correspondent will shortly be given the keys to the kingdom. Or at least a thorough grounding on the role of CAD in manufacturing processes. Am presented with a free Autodesk trolley bag — Happy Christmas Dad. Sit on a beanbag chair while attempting to come to terms with the legal requirements for attendance. No recording devices allowed inside any of the Keynotes, presentations or affiliated sessions. Gotta go old school it seems, pen and paper styles. And who said bona fide journalism was dead?

Vegas never sleeps? Pah. After ten hours — and maybe a little more ESPN. Go Patriots! — on one of Branson’s mechanical birds, and what seems like a time zone or four, I’m bushwhacked. Drift off to the rat-a-tat-tat of the roulette wheel. I’ll win big one of these days, just you watch…