Postcard from Indianapolis
It’s hot and muggy in Indianapolis in early August. And the heat is on this week with more police officers in one place since Oakland’s last Super Bowl appearance.
The inside of a downtown brewpub offers a respite for a displaced writer. Besides, if the hotel room still isn’t ready – and you’ve already met the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission – what else is there?
At any rate, stuck at the bar between a regular (with his personalized beer stein) and a police officer chewing on a Dunhill, one’s mind wanders.
The point? APCO’s 64th conference roared to life in Indianapolis this week. And – as the officer at the end of the bar chatted for nearly an hour over his Nextel “phone” – one can’t help but consider that maybe the cliché rings true this time: It really is a different world.
Nextel? Push-to-talk? 800 MHz? Interference or hype? These aren’t just the ingredients of some ivory tower debate anymore. And don’t let the smooth taste of Michael Powell’s “feel good” rhetoric fool you. The future’s here. Hell, it’s about to lap us. And the guys running the show? They’re honor roll graduates of the Kennedy School of Denial. Cell phone portability, anyone?
And, speaking of Chairman Powell, one exhibitor told me straight out, “We’ve got the wrong guy in there. It’s nepotism.”
He added, “He’s a political appointee. And we need a technical guy in there.”
But that sounds cynical. It’s early – as far as this week’s conference is concerned. And the enthusiasm is palpable.
Chairman Powell’s on his own.