If you go to CES you can look at a billion bluetooth headsets, not learn how to create programs for cell phones or really find anyone who knows what Bluetooth is and can explain it in english. Ditto InfoComm. PowerPoint LIVE thrives because it still captures some of that energy. People are solving content creation and delivery problems but basically that whole community is in the Presentations Council, PowerPoint LIVE, the PowerPoint MVP/Newsgroup and that's it.
So the Post COMDEX InfoComm/CES world is devoid of real emergent software issues - it's truly dumbed down plug and play with only three major players left in the interactive software space - Microsoft, Adobe and arguably Apple (apologies to TechSmith-anyone remember Ulead?). They have their own conferences for their own developers and high end users and there is no overlapping conference for people trying to make sense of the whole thing (because that is no longer remotely possible -anyone here use Vista?).
The Flash/Macromedia/Apple people look down on PowerPoint (and the rest of the Presentations world) and have their own conferences and inhabit different solar systems. Programmers and Game Developers are in different galaxies.
While AV has merged with IT, the IT is now redefined as web/security/network/telcomm-hardware oriented. There is not the same intellectual challenge in terms of mastering new software or techniques - there is security and dealing with the muddle of Vista/Office 2007 but everyone does video now, everyone uses PowerPoint, everyone makes animated GIFs, sets up projectors and makes web pages and blogs. Even though Microsoft tries to pretend that there is really new stuff in Office, it's mostly window dressing and it's not significantly growing or expanding in scope and features (only in frustration).
The real experts creating breakthroughs do it in isolated silos of software and by our nature, as generalists, we are becoming obsolete. That is until someone needs to connect a projector to a laptop. Then they call us or read archived editions of Presentations or figure it out on Google.
The train has left the station as far as all encompassing venues where people from different technology worlds and tracks interact, grow and learn. Chances are we're all doing our own blogs and reinstalling Windows but it you want to see the future get a satellite set top box/DVR - it's dummy proof, you can figure it out without a manual, it rarely crashes and when it does you call a guy in India who hangs up on you. That's the future of computing.