THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 656 January 3 - 9, 2010 (CES Week)
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January 3, 2011
.When Eric gets here we are off toe Las Vegas and CES.
I did TWIT yesterday with Leo Lapore, John Dvorak, and Larry Magid http://twit.tv/282
In Las Vegas. Hotel Internet is horrible. Slow and clunky. How wonderful. Not much to do for tonight but we are here without incident barring some snow in the pass north of San Bernardino. Freeway speed maintained all the way.
My Lenovo has decided to stop displaying the network strength sym bol thing in the tool bar. I have no idea why. I certainly never turned it off. It probably has to do with a conflict between Lenovo and Windows software. Does anyone KNOW what I should do here? I confess I am not as familiar with Windows 7 as I ought to be. I sure would like to be able to see the thing but I can't think what to search for Help on, not that HELP ever is useful.
After Dinner. I have done a bit of mail, enough to catch up a bit. It is time for bed. The Press Room opens tomorrow, and there are events tomorrow and through the day after Noon. I'll have a leisurely morning and then the grind begins. Leo, Larry Magid, Dvorak, and I have decided to give some kind of best of show award to be announced on Leo's radio show Saturday. We'll see how that works. http://twit.tv/282
And John and I have interesting conversations. We need to have more. We are wondering how many others would like to hear conversations/discussions/debates/arguments between us. I find them enlightening in that I have to think about things in new ways. I am wondering what format we might use. It would need to bring in some revenue.
And Good night from Las Vegas
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|This week:||Tuesday, January
.Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, 11:38 Press registration opens at noon in the Venetian. I have parked at Caesar's Palace about as far from where I am as the Venetian is from here, and due to a bit of a mix we walked three times the distance to get to the Octavius Ballroom, which is where Alex is setting up Pep Com for tomorrow, and I had to bring Eric. I have had no coffee. There was none in the room and all the coffee stands we passed walking here offered regular coffee at $6.95. We didn't get any at the hotel before setting off for Caesar's and that was a mistake. I am now ready to burn and slay and sack a city or at least a village, an unfortunate hereditary tendency among Normans mediated only by coffee. If my blood caffeine level gets too low, terribly things happened. I learned that in the Army or perhaps I picked up the addiction. Ah well. There will be coffee in the Press Room. There has to be.
Since the CES grand opening thing takes place this afternoon at the Venetian I suppose I should get my car transferred to there, so I'll get started on that now.
It looks to be a big show, not like COMDEX but respectable...
1459: back at the hotel. Interlude after adventures. The official pre-show for the press is at 1600 so I will start over that way shortly., I have walked about 5 miles (well, I am sure at least 3) in Caesar's Palace, the Venetian, and the Sands getting Eric to where he was needed, getting the earlier post up, and getting to the Press Registration. This is not COMDEX. It is not as well managed although all the people are very nice. I saw a lot of people at Press Registration and in the Press Lounge at the Venetian/Sands, and I did not recognize one of them nor did any recognize me. I didn't see any of the old computer press corps. I suppose they'll be here tomorrow as I probably would have if Alex hadn't needed Eric here and I did not want to drive up alone (although as it turns out I did all the driving; didn't get at all tired). Managed to get lost in the hotels, and made more trips back to the car than I like -- decided not to take the computer to the Press Room and of course I had left my CES credentials in the computer bag, so back I went from Sands to St Mark's Square to self parking, all of which was very nearly a mile. Ah well. After at least a mile in Caesar's having got lost in there and visiting parts I had never seen before. Since I needed the walk this did no harm.
Good coffee in the press room. That hasn't changed. But I sure don't know the new press corps. Never did know many of the CES press group but there used to be considerable overlap between the COMDEX crew and CES. Not now. Of course there is no COMDEX, but WinHEC and the other conferences are full of press I know. This one so far is not.
I hope to kiss a duck they boost skepticism, but without the dire warnings they would not be able to shake us down for trillions.
1530: And off to the press pre-show. So far nothing to report other than that the press corps are all new to me. I used to hang out with Britt Hume and Esther Dyson and Ina and Sachs and Miller and -- but that was another computer era.
1955: I am writing up CES for Chaos Manor Reviews. I'll have pictures. The CES preview press party was unimaginably crowded, but I did find John Dvorak, Leo Laporte's producer, Michael Miller who I knew at McGraw Hill and later at InfoWorld, Richard and Caroline Doherty, George Margolin, Doug Mechaber, and a few other old timers. Pictures in the CMR report. Exhausting affair.
Bed reasonably early but some alarming developments about hotel Internet security. All taken care of now, but be warned, be careful what you send through a pu lic Internet connection.
January 5, 2011
.I got up early to get to the Intel press conference at 10. Got to the Venetian at 9, and into the Press Room, which was unimaginably crowded (pictures in the Chaos Manor Reviews report I am writing) and nothing to eat, although there was plenty of coffee due to the valiant efforts of the Venetian/Palazzo/Sands staff, who really worked to keep the coffee flowing. Afterwards I went over to the LVCC South hall looking for Leo Laporte but I can't figure out where he is and they are not letting people onto the floor today.
I sent the following to some friends:
I intend to develop that theme. It's a kind of press egalitarianism. Competition. Be interesting because everyone has access now, both to publication and access to the information, only they have to really want it to get in early, like yesterday afternoon at the Pre-Show. A thousand and more were in line for hours to get in early. Whether they make anything of that opportunity I don't know; it will be interesting to see. The show people say this creates an Internet buzz that's important. A thousand bloggers with 200 readers each is still a lot of people.
We are I think seeing a new development in the whole concept of "the press" and where that goes is not easily predictable. I suspect that once the novelty wears off there will be new elitism since no one can read all the output of a thousand blogs, and the good writers with hustle will get most of the readers -- but how will they be able to stand out from the great mass? I never did try to compete with breaking news; my specialty was informed opinion, strong opinion but, I hope, reasoned and founded on information. I think I can still do that.
But it's an interesting journalistic world out there. Just who is Press? CES is saying almost anyone who says he/she is Press is Press indeed.
CNET coverage of the Intel announcement on Sandy Bridge:
I saw the La Cie $1000 flat screen monitors last night. They're worth it -- if you need that color quality. Most of us don't and I doubt I can tell the difference between La Cie and Acer for the kind of work I do, but if you need La Cie you will need it bad. I wonder where the new Intel on board graphics will fit; I suspect you will not need a La Cie monitor to take advantage of it. Intel has built DRM into the system: for the movie industry that's a plus and tells us what market the new chip was designed for. For some of us that isn't a plus at all. It will be interesting to see how secure movies will be from copying now.
Live blogging of events is pretty standard now. I was one of the first to do it, way back when: I sent stuff about Gates' keynote as he was giving it at a WinHEC and at the next WinHEC the high speed Internet coverage was turned off during his presentation. Now all that is encouraged. I am not sure how valuable it is -- I did it because it was a lark and new and cool, but now everyone does it. But then I never was into breaking news. As I've said, informed opinion has been my shtick, and much of that was based on actually using stuff to get the informed part of the opinion. A live blog of a press conference isn't likely to be something to base your buying decisions on, but it is interesting I guess. Sure is a lot of it here at CES.
One reader comments on the Intel announcements:
All true. Now factor in DRM and the movie industry paranoia. And of course Intel has been worried that the GPU (the graphics processing unit) would replace the CPU. When Microsoft started off loading some of the Windows code to the GPU, alarms must have sounded at Intel. Graphics processing -- Alan Teng, actually -- bailed Microsoft out of a deep hole in the early days of Windows, when Word took 15 seconds to do a page down of text, until ATI's Windows graphics board made Word not only usable but a winner to beat out Word Star and Word Perfect. Here is hardware catching up, getting it all on the CPU. It's another driving force for Intel to take Nvidia's market. Good enough is where the money is, not with niche excellence like La Cie.
I have been discussing the CES journalism imbroglio -- or perhaps positive restructuring -- with John Dvorak, who says:
I will be at PepCom tonight. For the moment one assumes that these smaller peep shows will not be so crowded that you can't talk to the presenters, as the Press Pre Show was on Tuesday night. What happens when that becomes known as it surely will, and the egalitarian people's press -- bloggers -- demands equal access may be interesting. I note that the traditional Press Room in South Hall wasn't crowded today while the one in the Venetian was filled to the floors and hallways with bloggers; a situation that won't last long as the new blogger Press discovers it. I look for interesting times. And yet I can't help thinking that some good may come of some of this. But will the vendors think that having 5000 credentialed Press at an event like this is a Good Thing?
I don't want to sound like too much of an elitist. On the other hand, I did earn my spurs by going to Every Blasted COMDEX...
And shortly I will be off to Caesar's for Pep Com where Alex and his crew are providing the connectivity. (They're doing Show Stoppers, another important peep show, tomorrow, too.)
Well, the point is that unless I continue to write stuff that people want to read, I probably should not have all that advantage over the young hustlers. I'm pretty good but I am slowing down. I really don't need all that access, and they do. We will see how all this works out.
I have just come back from Pep Com. A lot of stuff, some interesting, but nothing I'd have come to Las Vegas to see. I am beginning to suspect that this show is just not my cup of tea. Like Dvorak I came hoping to be blown away with wondrous things, but that doesn't so far seem to be happening. It's good solid advances on the past few years, but no miracles. Maybe the young guys will ferret out the new good stuff hidden away in tiny booths. I used to do that at West Coast Computer Faire...
January 6, 2011
1540: a long day and long to go. Tried to park in the Hilton parking lot but no luck. Traffic was horrible everywhere and eventually went to a place I know in the Venetian complex that always has parking because not many know about it. I intended to take the shuttle to the convention center. The line for the shuttle bus was about 2 hours long. I decided to explore the old SANDS convention center: it was hard to find and never mentioned in any CES signs, and when I got to I found that most of it was empty, but one floor -- part of one floor -- had the Adult show. I have a picture, which will go in the CMR column, but it's not racy just scene setting. How are the mighty fallen! In COMDEX and early CES days the Sands convention center was just as full as the main LVCC, and functioned as a spawning ground, as well as a sort of underground adult market, and outlet for junk. I found some interesting startups over in that area. Now it's empty space and porn, and CES doesn't recognize its existence. However, the old entrance has a taxi line and no one knew about it, so I was able to get a cab to LVCC.
There are two themes to CES this year. The first I gave before: WHEN EVERYONE IS PRESS NO ONE IS PRESS. There are people who managed to get invitation to things like the Lenovo exhibits in Restaurant Row, which are closed to anyone without an invitation. I didn't try to get an invitation because I hadn't thought I would need one given that I have been writing about Lenovo for a long time, but no one at the door had the remotest idea who I am and I didn't want to press the point. I was exhausted anyway. I presume Lenovo has plenty of reliable reporters on their invite list so you can see what they have in some other reports. I'll keep looking.
Dvorak, Magid, and I will be doing a TWIT with Leo Saturday morning. We'll pick what we thought worth seeing. I already have one, a software product that supposedly lets authors augment their eBooks with cut scenes, video clips, and podcast stuff, seamlessly integrating it into the ebook. Do not know if it works but if it does I will be using it, and it will be important.
Lunch at Piero's. Pat Meier hosts that, lunch for Press with some exhibitors who want Press attention. Not as crowded as in the COMDEX days. The hordes have not found out about it yet. Lots of hard core press, though. Had lunch with Michael Miller of IDG, an old friend from BYTE and INFOWORLD days. Some good products there. Exhausting PepCom last night, tonight is Andy Seybold's Wireless dinner, and Show Stoppers. I have to get to both and they are at the same time. This won't be easy.
The second theme of the show is WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOOD ENOUGH HOW DO YOU TELL WHAT'S BETTER? There is an awful lot of good enough stuff out there, everywhere, halls and halls of it, and telling the stuff apart is not easy at all. It all works, but not thrillingly. I know Android boosters and Mac stalwarts. Even a couple of enthusiasts for the new Windows phones. None of those are the pocket computer I dreamed up in the 1970's, but some are getting close to it. None leap out at me. So it goes. Maybe something will tonight.
Time to rest up for Andy's dinner and Show Stoppers, another exhausting peep show with probably 50 things worth seeing out of several hundred on display (and to be fair some of the things I don't consider worth seeing will be important to others...)
2115: Back from Andy Seybold's Wireless and then Show Stoppers. At Show Stoppers both John Dvorak and Leo Laporte told me Gina Smith, the new BYTE.COM editor, was looking for m, but we managed to miss each other -- it was a big show. We're now communicating. We may have an announcement shortly. We'll see, there are always possible devils in details, but it looks interesting. Informed opinion, weeding the better out of the good enough is what I have always done, and that's what the new BYTE is going to be about. We'll see.
And I confess I am exhausted. Interesting show but it's too big for one guy to cover. So tomorrow I will concentrate on what interests me, and leave the rest to run itself. Found many old friends at PepCOM and Show Stoppers, and at Seybold's Wireless. There's still life in this industry. And found one piece of software at Pat Meier's Lunch at Piero's that could be important, more when I get it running at home. Worth the trip if it works.
January 7, 2011
.Off to brave the storms of CES. No particular agenda today.
I have put up some mail with short shrift...
I have walked through the silly show, and much of it is, uh, Real Soon Now. The shower of tablets is all prototypes, and it is hard to tell what the shipping units will do. The show is enormous and although all the CEO's start their spiels with statements of how this is the most important technology meeting in the world now, it isn't really. It is a big show room and a place for previews. It's also a street of broken dreams for many of those attending. It's hard to see how the companies will make back the expenses the show costs - ut then my vision on that is limited since I don't really have any experience at translating show appearances to sales income. Shows make money for me by giving me something to write about. Perhaps the buzz from 5000 registered credentialed press will do something for the sales of little outfits that sell cables or iPad holders or game furniture or plastic battle axes or --
Anyway I am exhausted. No plans for tonight. The room has horrible facilities for writing. I'll try to make do. TWIT tomorrow at Noon or I'd be on the road home tonight.
From the AFA President:
Tablets everywhere, but none I want off the shelf. Coming Real Soon Now. Which can be a good thing.
And this goes well with what I am seeing at CES. There are readers everywhere and more iPad accessories than you can shake a wand scanner at.
Like Kris, I saw things coming, but the speed is a bit astonishing.
Dinner with some of the gang. I give up on party chasing at CES. Off to bed. Busy day, will be on TWIT about noon tomorrow.
January 8, 2011
0815 Up and getting out of here. TWIT at noon. I'll take off for home when that's done. Another CES.
2028: Got home safely about 1830. No incidents at all. Even the lines for the shuttle busses between Venetian and LVCC were fairly short and all moved swiftly. Saw some interesting things on the show floor, did a good TWIT, and aff we went. Dvorak left earlier than I did, and Larry Magid about the same time.
I'll have a full report along with Orchids and Onions for the Column. A bit tired tonight.
The news is full of the shooting in Arizona. Some nut shot the most popular Blue Dog Conservative Democrat in the Congress. I have heard a m0und of speculations but no data. I am sure the story will come out.
And now off to bed.
January 9, 2011
Leo Laporte's TWIT broadcast on clear channel radio went out live on radio Saturday from CES Las Vegas. I know because many heard it. I was on it with Larry Magid at the noon, Las Vegas, time slot.
Today I was listening to Leo's live broadcast from CES this morning.
Leo's crew were doing video while the radio broadcast I was on went out, and it was on this morning so I presume it went out live yesterday. I gather that's available as both video and audio podcasts, but I haven't figured out how that works. Leo does many interviews, and digging out new products is best done with a staff and interviews, which he had; as show coverage Leo Laporte's coverage is about as good as it gets. He has boundless energy, and grabs everyone who might be interesting. He got me not only at the scheduled show at Noon Saturday, but at the Show Stoppers invitational show Thursday night. He also interviewed a lot of other people, on camera. Of course interview shows, particularly live or broadcast of the unedited stream, takes a lot of time to watch, but if you're interested in what's going on at CES you will find out a lot about the show by watching Leo's coverage. Apparently that takes some kind of subscription (both audio and video) which I haven't investigated yet, but it can't be hard to do, and I'll get that done later today.
Anyway I am home and writing up CES, and I'll try to have my -- written, with still pictures -- report done for the column early next week. What you get from me is not even an attempt at show coverage; I can't pretend to have seen everything or even any large part of what's interesting. There was a time when we tried to cover COMDEX and give the show awards, but COMDEX was smaller, and wasn't so consumer oriented, and BYTE had a staff and went to a lot of trouble to have staff find things to recommend things to look at. I was also a bit younger and better able to walk the floor -- and there was less floor to walk.
If you want to know for yourself what was going on at CES, Google Leo Laporte and figure out how to subscribe to his TWIT videos from both the show floor and the peep shows like Show Stoppers. My report won't even try to be complete, but it will have my views of what was important. Do note that CES is more for the flash than the information. It never was a show to go to for learning new technologies: the orientation is consumer products, and many of the product shown in prototype (or in videos) do not actually make it to market. It's a picture of things yet to come, sometimes as may be, sometimes as will be.
Astonishing! The aristocracy is richer than the rest of us! Even with the burden of DC to bring down the average. What a surprise. We are shocked, shocked
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