|My badge from Digital Be-In 7|
People were surprisingly cool about seeing neat tech that bumped up against the dance floor. The drugs probably helped. Small devices were pretty novel back then. One of our best tricks involved faxing, a very old technology with a new twist. We asked people for their fax numbers, then had them send a fax to themselves from our small devices. This wasn't wireless yet - each device was connected to a landline - but it was still cool and helped people feel connected to what was possible. Of course, we could also send email, but not everybody had an email address, especially in this crowd. We also showed an early version of a map program. We asked people their addresses, then called up a map and asked "Is this your neighborhood?" like a card trick. They loved it. I got to demo that one for Timothy Leary, which was one of the highlights of the night for me.
Then after a few hours of this, a funny thing happened: the power in the venue went out. The music and lights stopped, and most of the other booths were dead. But we had battery-operated devices. So we could still give demos, plus show how great it was to not depend on AC power. Of course, it wasn't that great - our displays had no backlights, so you could barely see the screen. Oh well.
Eventually the power came back on and the music resumed. Finally the party ended. I suddenly realized I had been showing off our stuff for 7 hours without a break. There was so much in the software, and it had mostly been a secret for so long, that I was thrilled to share it with people.
That was fun.