First, AboutRestore.com was recently nominated as a top storage vendor blog over at StorageMonkeys, and there is an open vote to decide the winner. Here is a link to the voting page and I encourage my readers to participate.
Second, I attended the Storage Decisions Data Deduplication Virtual Tradeshow a couple of weeks ago. The last time I attended a virtual trade show was about a year ago and it was interesting to revisit this medium.
Virtual shows are inexpensive to produce and attend, which is beneficial for show producers and presenters. The shows also benefit end users who can avoid spending the time and money of traveling to the show and can fit it into an already busy schedule.
On the flip side, I believe that virtual tradeshows reduce the personal experience of tradeshows. Part of the benefit of a show is the ability to discuss solutions with end users and network with peers. In my experience, both of these benefits are reduced in the virtual show. There is only so much time you can spend in a text chat and most people are too rushed to spend time chatting.
The jury is still out on the benefit of virtual events versus physical tradeshows. However, as technology matures, I am certain that the limitations on virtual shows will be overcome by technologies such as virtual worlds. I am anxious to see how the technology progresses.