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Orlando: ATIA

Jan. 26, 2012. The Assistive Technology Industry Association (“ATIA”) is a not-for-profit membership organization of manufacturers, sellers and providers of technology-based assistive devices and/or services.  Say what?  Assistive Technology (often abbreviated as AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Specifically, AT can be low tech like communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt, hardware such as prosthetics, attachment and positioning devices, computer hardware, like special switches, keyboards, and pointing devices, computer software such as screen-readers or communication software…. Basically anything that will lend a helping hand…

Las Vegas: Surfaces

Las Vegas: ASTD

Jan. 25-27, 2012. ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance people, with a mission to “Empower professionals to develop knowledge and skills successfully”. ASTD’s members come from more than 100 countries and connect locally in more than 128 U.S. chapters and with more than 20 international partners. Members work in thousands of organizations of all sizes, in government, as independent consultants, and suppliers. In recent years ASTD has widened the profession’s focus to link learning and performance to individual and organizational results, and is a voice on critical public policy issues. Presumably you have to train for that…

Tampa: TSE 2012

Jan. 25-28, 2012. TSE stands for The Special Event, and the organizers rather grandly trumpeted it as “the dawn of a new beginning”.  Its kind of “an event about events”.  The Special Event is the largest tradeshow and conference in the world for event professionals. Delegates could discover thousands of event products and services on the tradeshow floor, and get education both inside and outside of the classroom environment, choosing among over 100  Conference Sessions and Training Workshops.  Different learning “tracks” included business development, design, event management, food services, tools and resources, sales and marketing, even a special program on managing weddings.  Overall, the show was judged to be pretty… “eventful”.

San Francisco: SPIE

Jan. 24-26, 2012. SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, and SPIE Photonics West is the world’s leading photonics, laser and biomedical optics event.  Industrial applications such as laser-assisted manufacturing and Micro/Nano Fabrication were a hot topic.   Papers were presented on biomedical optics and biophotonics, lasers and their applications, integrated optoelectronics… and there was even a green photonics virtual symposium, which brought together the latest developments in a broad range of photonics applications across Photonics West.  There was an educational and vocational development aspect to much of what went on at the show.  Visitors to the job fair came prepared to discuss their skills and talents with industry leaders, who were there to encourage them to sign for courses as well as for job openings.

Miami: NATPE

Jan. 23-25, 2012. Always about TV and broadcasting, NATPE now positions itself as “The global marketplace for a digital world”.  NATPE is committed to being the destination for TV programming buyers and sellers.  Evolving to meet the demands of a changing media landscape, NATPE delivers a first look at fresh content before MIP and the LA Screenings, “giving industry leaders a jump-start on monetizing their projects”.  Now a major international attraction, NATPE tells us it is a catalyst in the content revolution, providing education, networking, professional enhancement and technological guidance through year-round activities.  What drives all this?  As a great French philosopher never said, “I am on television, therefore I am”.

San Francisco: MacWorld

Jan. 23-25, 2012. MacWorld and iWorld are held as twin events, and were being held for the first time since the untimely death of Steve Jobs.  That did not stop a torrent of new product demonstrations, demos of the hottest iOS Apps, and new software.  There was an iPhone Film Festival, Digital Art Gallery, art-tech talks and seminars, live art competitions… plus add-on premium training sessions for MacIT, specializing in such esoteric topics as The Passionate Photographer, Telling Your Story in iLife, Speak to Me O Muse (built around a new Adobe gizmo codenamed MUSE) — “There’s all that code”, they explained, “all that geek speak, all that technical jargon that gets between a designer’s vision and the web’s reality. But Adobe’s new (beta software) MUSE is the first major step by the software powerhouse to overcome that divide”…