...is about all it deserves. I cased the joint for four hours yesterday, and I saw everything I wanted to. National Manufacturing Week, here in Rosemont, IL for three days, is a shrunken shadow of its former self. Its new owner, Canon Communications, has billed it as one of four regional trade shows over the course of the next 12 months, and even that isn't enough to fill the Rosemont Convention Center. So it is co-located with three other trade shows, and that isn't enough to fill the place, either. There were one or two interesting exhibits, mainly in the ERP space. There were also some really unusual ones. For example, Target Stores is exhibiting. Why? To get people to buy their gift cards as employee and client gimmes. Trade shows, at least the horizontal variety, just aren't making it. I have seen more clients and talked more editorial at our AutomationXchange event than I did at NMW, and that I will at the upcoming ISA Expo. I walked over from the parking garage with an older engineer. He volunteered, "This show really sucked last year." "Then why are you here again?" I asked. "Because it might suck less," he said, entirely straight-faced, "but if it is as bad as last year, I'm not coming again."