March 24, 1997 4:00 PM ET
Day One:
Jim Louderback's PC Forum Diary

By Jim Louderback

  TUCSON, Ariz. -- Ahhh, another perfect day in Tucson. The weather: A dry 85 degrees with a nice breeze to cool things off. And after a nice walk through the desert, it was back to the real beginning of the show. This is PC Forum's 20th time around, so tonight's poolside dinner celebrated the anniversay. Of course, it was major schmoozing around the pool, and then major feeding around the salmon and fillet bar.

Although luminaries were everywhere, the main attractions of the evening turned out to be the Hale-Bopp comet, which was suddenly visible in the northwest sky during dinner, and the lunar eclipse. Both looked spectacular in the clear desert air. So spectacular, in fact, that the obligatory 20th anniversary roast of Esther Dyson seemed pale and wan by comparison.

The nealy two-hour roast resembled more of a group grope than a group roast. Tedious industry icon after tedious industry icon paraded onto the stage to profess their undying love for the maid of honor, with nary a jab among them. Only John Landry and Bob Metcalfe showed any spunk at all, but their efforts were too soon subsumed into the boring morass of the evening. Thank God the celestial display was more interesting -- by the end of the "roast," most of the crowd was on the porch watching the moon get eaten by the earth.

Rumor of the night: Look for AT&T;, Netscape and Federal Express to merge, captained by Admiral Barksdale. Why? Well, AT&T; has the pipes, FedEx has the distribution network and the E-commerce experience, and Netscape has the software. Outrageous, yes, but not nearly as bad as the ED Roast.

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