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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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March 12, 2008 2:02 PM

A new Fremont-Ballard tech fair: Frelardex?

Posted by Brier Dudley

I love the idea of a neighborhood tech show around here, especially one for Ballard and Fremont, where the First Annual Ballard/Fremont Tech Fair is happening next week.

The March 18 event runs from 2 to 6 p.m. at, a server hardware vendor at 803 N.W. Market St. is sponsoring the shindig, along with Netso, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, ViewSonic, LaCie and others. (I was looped in by Doug Fletcher at AccelNet, a wireless Internet service provider that has a service hub in Ballard.)

The focus of the event is a big Microsoft truck full of equipment demonstrating its new Server 2008 and other products.

That's fine, but I hope it's more than just a miniature Microsoft server launch. There are lots of interesting tech companies in the ship canal tech corridor -- the Silicon Canal? -- that would be great to surface at a tech event.

If it's a success, maybe the BFTF should go big in 2009 -- bring in more startups, invite the crafty Make crowd and take over Ballard Avenue for a day, like the farmers' market. Add a beer garden and bicyclists wearing nothing but computers, then try it in Pioneer Square, South Lake Union and Overlake.

It could also pay homage to Ballard Computer, the long-gone hobbyist outpost that inspired a generation of computer and software enthusiasts and entrepreneurs.

More details about this year's event and a link to RSVP are here.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.