You'd think I would have recovered by now from the Consumer Electronics Show at the beginning of January. But it's difficult to recover when every morning brings more news of the love affair between the media and technology. Reading each account (not for the faint of heart) of CES's coolest thing or biggest announcement is a little like the movie "Groundhog Day" except there's always more.
This weekend, I wanted to use the cool rolling bag distributed to attendees. (And if I had to take a guess, it would be that the bags next year will be sans wheels, since crowds of people plus rolling bags leads to lots of tripping.) That meant pulling out all the magazines and flyers I acquired in Las Vegas. (A paperless society yet? I think not.) So that set me to thinking about the show... again.
First, a confession. I cut a line. There were lines for everything -- exhibits, taxis, shuttle buses, the fabulous Monorail (I'll never stay at a Las Vegas hotel not on a Monorail stop). So when I had the good fortune to run into Nightly producer Mario Garcia producing a spot and shooting at the NextGen home, I jumped the line to go along to watch video screens where you control everything from entertainment to the temperature. ("But can it core a apple?")
Actually, home networking of computers, TVs, etc. was one of the big themes of the show. And since it took me far too long to get my new DVR hooked up exactly the way I want it, it further indicates to me that soon we'll all have "technology consultants" as part of our posse right in there with our dentists and gardeners.
Also highlighted at CES was High Definition TV -- you can say you don't need it, but once you see it you'll never go back -- and everything mobile. It was such a dichotomy -- all those huge HD TVs (several claiming to be the largest) and the plethora ($20 word?) of devices that deliver TV and movies to the palm of your hand. It was dizzying. One of my colleagues, I'll protect his name, walked around tuning all the cell phones to NBC Mobile which, here comes a shameless plug, I hope you're all watching. It's TV produced specifically for your cellphone and includes news updates, entertainment buzz, and consumer info. We even have wine reviews from Ed Deitch, Nightly's own broadcast producer who also writes a wine column on MSNBC.com. Short of walking the dog, it's a great way to meet people as they come over to check out what you're watching. (Not recommended for use in a movie theater -- even during the trailers.)
A few of the things less written about after the show but which I personally thought fascinating were:
- Hillcrest Labs version of navigating a directory of offerings on your TV set where you hold a mouse that looks like a bracelet and move the cursor by moving that "bracelet" through the air.
- The Power Squid -- for handling all those plugs.
- A watch that wakes you at the most optimal time for you to be at your best. (Wonder if the boss minds if it's noon on Thursday?)
- A Bluetooth wireless headset that also lifts the handset for you. (I felt very cool seeing this since I actually own one.)
And my favorite part of Bill Gates' speech, I have to say, was his demonstration of being able to locate any member of the family if they give you access to their whereabouts. It was like Harry Potter's Marauder's Map.
While it's a lot easier on your feet to read the blogs and reviews that come out afterwards, I would have missed the intensity of running between seminars, speeches and the several convention floors, the cacophony of beeps, buzzes and ring tones of everyone's devices. And of course, dodging that rolling bag. But not to worry if you weren't there. The commercial may say, "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas," but not in this case. Many of the products are coming to an electronics store near you faster than a high speed connection.