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There is at least one good reason to use AVP in public; alas, even I am too self-conscious to do it

I am attending a medical conference in Valencia, Spain this week — more thoughts on being back in Europe after 7 years coming up — and all I could think about while sitting in the auditorium, looking at slides and listening to the speakers was that these kinds of events would be the perfect use case for AVP.

The congress center in Valencia is top-notch, with comfortable seats and plenty of leg room. Even so, laptops are unwieldy, especially if you need to balance one while holding a coffee cup in one hand and a phone for taking photos of the slides in the other. This is even harder when you are crammed against the seat in front of you, which is the more common situation for large conferences. And if you use the laptop for anything other than touch typing — say, pulling up a paper that was just mentioned while it was still fresh in your memory — you will have to be focused on the screen and nine times out of ten an important slide will pass you by without your noticing or, even worse, noticing and pulling out the phone quickly only for the slide to change just as you were about to snap a photo.

So imagine if there was a device that could let you take photos, write notes, and do some web browsing all while still paying attention to what matters, the talk itself. If a friend and colleague was the one on the stage you could even take an immersive video. And before you say that the virtual keyboard is useless, Apple’s Magic Keyboard is lighter than an abstract book, more durable than a laptop if and when dropped, and works beautifully with AVP.

If I were one of 30,000 attendees in a large conference, say ASCO or ASH annual meetings, I wouldn’t even mind trying this out. Alas, this one is on the small side, with a few hundred people sharing the same room and hallways, and the embarrassment factor was just too much for me to pull it off. But I thought about it, and I’m hoping to try it out by the end of the year, shame be damned.

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