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Long Queues and Nice Windows

Being amateur techies we decided to ignore the naysayers and pay a visit to this year’s GITEX Shopper on Tuesday.  While there I had planned to get my hands on the latest Windows edition, but somehow I had missed the detail in the press which said that it was going to be launched on Thursday 22nd October.  Oh well.

Unsurprisingly we encountered traffic on the way there, not because of the particularly large volume of cars heading towards the Airport Expo, but because the access to said premises is a one lane road acting as funnel and resulting in longish tailbacks. This is a planning shortfall common to other projects in Dubai, most notably International City.  Said project is a housing development built from scratch, accommodating thousands, but only accessible via a small 20 kph two-lane road.  If one were to stick to traffic rules it would take over 30 mins just to get in.  Circumstance dictates that you should try and speed ahead on the faster lanes and try to get in closer towards the entrance.  It always works.

I digress.  Had to elbow my way towards the front of the ticket queue, or suffer being skipped by everyone else.  At each point of contact with the event or exhibitors one is given a coupon to fill in to win guaranteed and exciting prizes.  Wow.

This is the sight that met us on entering the main hall.

It is funny how Etisalat and Du seemed to be jostling for front row seats

It is funny how Etisalat and Du seemed to be jostling for front row seats

The two big telecoms launched the iPhone 3GS.  I haven’t gone into the details of their offers, but the grapevine seems to agree that du has the edge on the plans and prices.  Good riddance for the iphreaks.

I think overall there was a good selection of products, and the prices seemed fair.  The Lenovo G550 at a cool Dh 1999-.  Others complained that offers were not much different from pre show prices, with a just few bundle offers with old stock thrown in.  For myself I managed to find a nice BlackBerry bluetooth headset.  It was bundled with a car charger, which I already have, but seeing that it was so worth it I went ahead and bought it (Dh 149- for the lot).  We do have two cars anyway.

One thing which was apparent after visiting a number of booths was the lack of knowledge by the peddlers.  The retailers seem to reach into some unrelated labour pool to staff these temporary stores.  I liked asking them detailed questions and watching them stumble or BS their way out of it.

We stopped at Emax to buy the cheapest item on show, a pair of PC speakers.  The salesgirl was arabic, and after hearing us commenting on the merits of the speakers in Maltese she started her pitch again in arabic.  We told her, sorry we don’t speak arabic, and continued talking to each other.  Springing the most baffling reaction to our language yet, she just turned and left us there in the cold.  She must have assumed that we’re pulling her leg and took offense.  We had to carry on and ask somebody else for assistance.

I ended up buying Windows 7 today (from a mall, not from the show.  Traffic was much worse and wasn’t going to pay another entrance fee just for a quick buy), and am not regretting it so far.  Best feature? It is now possible to uninstall Internet Explorer.  Enough said.

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