Just got back last night from the Allegra Network convention in Chicago. That’s the third Chicago industry event so far this year, and Print 09 is still to come. That particular six-day trade show promises to be as exhausting as all the other conferences and conventions put together, which makes me a bit more amenable to the idea of virtual trade shows. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to sit in front of your computer and learn all about the offerings from the various printing industry vendors? Well, not really. You’d probably go cross-eyed staring at the screen for so long, and you’d miss out on all the noise and smells that come with an actual show. You’d miss walking until your feet hurt. You’d miss overpriced trade show food and mile-long taxi lines to get back to your hotel to rest. You’d miss paying jacked-up hotel prices. You’d miss the thrill of moving along shoulder-to-shoulder with other attendees and probably swapping germs along the way. Okay, you probably wouldn’t miss any of that, but you would miss the opportunity to get up close and personal with the various equipment and software offerings and the chance to get some in-depth information about them. You’d probably miss the keynote and educational sessions, too. Fact is, while trade shows can be a pain they also are of value—much greater value than any online experience could offer.