Archive for January 6th, 2010

Zipper Hell

Fully tagged and ID’d by the folks at CES, I wear the much coveted “geek badge of honor” … a CES show pass that hangs around my neck like a lucky talisman. So do about another 200,000 people, but mine is special … it’s mine. It’s mine to swipe through the new handheld machines at almost every booth, guaranteeing me a year of full inbox garbage.

Last year I was inundated by a Chinese zipper company. It’s not that I have any great penchant for zippers; it’s rather that I made the mistake of eye contact with one their folks in their booth. Rushing to greet me and place an armful of brochures in my already overstuffed backpack, he was just too polite and gracious to say “no” to.

At first, my conversation with the rep was very normal. Then the reality hit that this guy is obsessed with zippers. Now, you want a doctor to be absorbed into his work. You want your plumber to be fully versed in pipes and valves. But this was creepy … He’s not going onto my Christmas party list.              I looked directly at him and thought “what does his wife say to him to get him to shut up?”. It was at that moment that another reality hit me. I do exactly the same thing, blabbing on about electronics and cars at home to my wife. In an act of love, she listens to my rambling. She may not have a clue about what I’m talking about, but she listens. I doubt the wife of the guy from China finds zippers nearly as much fun to discuss.

Tomorrow when I see the zipper booth, I’m actually going to stop and see what breakthrough (no pun intended) has occurred in the world of zippers. This is CES after all …

Calm before the storm


Gordon Biersch’s finest brings in the 2010 CES a day before the big show. I’m going typically geeky, with a live broadcast for the show using nothing more than an iPhone and AT&T’s creaky 3G system. I expect the viewing crowd to be dutifully bored at the prospect of me droning on about some gizmo that absolutely no one has any idea of what it does, beyond myself and the inventor. That of course doesn’t mean it won’t be significant somewhere down the road.

3D is supposed to be the next big thing … that is of course, if wearing giant shutter glasses has any appeal to the masses. I just can’t see having to wear a another pair of glasses over my existing glasses just to gawk at the news. Oh yeah, I can can see the prospect such as it is with sports and movies … but it also brings to mind cooking dinner and the latest blurb on the news about the “dog lost on the ice flow” and rushing to put on your shutter glasses. There is a divide there that will never be overcome unless the glasses don’t become part of the equation. But in fairness, I will ignore the same old groans you hear that are typical with any radically new tech item: “too expensive, too bulky, not enough to watch, etc.”  and try to have an open mind tomorrow.  I heard the same thing when DVD made its’ first introduction seemingly a century ago. Going into the VHS rental store           I would point out to my very patient, but bored wife, that this was all changing. Well, change is upon us again, albeit a different form.

The first 3D sets I saw a few years ago ranged from spectacular (even from today’s perspective) to simply nothing more than a headache producing mess. I can only hope that someone at Sony (and other manufacturers) understand this as well. Tomorrow, in conversations that will certainly occur, we’ll find out.

CES has always been nothing less than a road map for the future of everyone. I’m always amazed that beyond the geeky crowd, no one seems to pay too much attention. But a year or three down the road, your fellow cubicle prisoner will tell you about a new must-have tech item that surprises you … but we saw it first, here in Vegas … at CES. A lot has changed since the first CES in June of 67′.

But one thing remains constant, this is the only place on the planet where you can see tomorrow.