Electronic Design

electronica 2008 Survival Tips

The Bavarians are very good at making fantastically refreshing highquality lager beers. They’re pretty good at drinking it, too. And this year in Munich, the Bavarian population has the perfect reason for doing both—celebrating the city’s 850th birthday.

So if you’re in town for the electronica 2008, grab a pint and join in. About 45% of the 80,000 people expected to visit electronica this year will be from abroad. If you’re flying into the Munich airport, you’ve got a few choices on how to get to the show.

The best option is to get the regular buses that run from just outside the airport terminals straight to the Munich International Trade Fair. Forget the taxis unless there’s a group of you. They’re way too pricey. If you’re not going to the show right away, but instead headed toward central Munich, then use the S Bahn trains.

Most people already staying in Munich get to the Messestadt (show ground) by U Bahn. Let’s clear up this U Bahn and S Bahn stuff. Munich has a fantastically good and efficient train system, but it is mind-numbingly complex when trying to figure out what ticket you need.

Simply put, the S Bahn lines are the suburban trains that run within the city and also to outlying areas. The U bahn is the central city lines. You need to get the U2 line to the show. The Munich rail system works on an honesty policy, though. You get your ticket and date- and timestamp it before boarding the train.

Don’t think that by acting the confused, non-German-speaking tourist you’ll get away without a ticket if you’re suddenly questioned by one of the plainclothes ticket inspectors that patrol the trains. You won’t. They speak English, have heard all the excuses before, and are members of a very strange and extremely small group of people who actually understand the fare system. Oh, and the fines are hefty.

This is one big Techfest
So you’ve made it to the show. It’s vast, with over 3000 companies among huge halls that are all packed with the latest electronics technology. Take a look at the Show’s Web site at www.electronica.de/en/home to get a handle on what’s available.

Having paid your entry to the exhibition, you’ll get a show catalogue that has serious thickness and weight, to the point where if you dropped it, you could cause serious blunt force trauma to your feet. Do not attempt to carry this tome any distance. Find a place to sit down and plan your personal route for getting around the show. Do this for as long as it takes. Do not be tempted to try and wing it around the show. Desperation and dehydration will soon set in.

Key Attractions
The special application halls are a major attraction. Focusing on subjects like automotive, RFID, wireless, and nanotechnology, these are well put together and make for a good area to visit. If you’re a designer (14% of attendees fall into this category) looking for the latest in semiconductor technology, then the halls in the A section are a must-go.

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