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CES Diary-Part 1

Here’s my fellow Apexer Tom Crook’s diary from his visit to CES 2010.Some interesting observations.Thanks for sharing this with us Tom


Timeline of the visit

0200 alarm goes off…
0415 Vijay picked up from Oakland
0515 SFO
0700 Flight 178, US Airways

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1000 CES Badges Acquired

<<< CES 2010 >>>

1700 in line for cab
1800 cab acquired
1815 LAS
2000 Flight 710, United
2100 SFO
2145 Vijay returned to Oakland

Tom’s Travel Tips

Tip #1: If you’re an experienced traveler, stop reading this section now! You will only waste your time because you probably know more about traveling than Tom ever will.


Tip #2: Realize that, if you’re flying to and from a destination in a single day, you will probably spend more time traveling to and from your destination, than being at the destination itself. Accept this.


Tip #3: Always plan on something taking more time than less. Always. Why? Because you’re inexperienced at traveling (if this isn’t the case, shame on you for not following Tip #1 !), therefore you’re more likely to make mistakes (I sure did…). Mistakes take time, and, with a little luck, if you have enough time, you can recover from those mistakes. For example, if you somehow lose your car keys going through security at SFO, you may be able to get them back from the nice TSA folks before your flight leaves — if you have enough time. This of course, didn’t happen to me! I would never make such a silly mistake! Trust me on this — it’s just an example. Really.


Tip #4: If you’re carrying a pack onto the plane, transfer the contents of all of your pockets to the pack; everything goes through the machine together, and you’ve reduced the chances of something being lost between the time you put stuff into (multiple) trays, and the time you retrieve it.


Tip #5: Plan on getting to the airport two hours before your flight leaves. Is this still recommended? It still seems like a good idea because you can’t predict how long TSA will take to process an uncertain number of people.


Tip #6: Assume it will take at least one hour to get to and from the airport. If you’re lucky, it won’t take longer than this. If it does, hopefully having allocated the time recommended in Tip #5 will provide enough margin of time so that you will still catch your flight.


Tip #7: If you’re waiting for a cab, in a long line, and there are people helping to keep order, and you notice these people asking questions in loud voices and moving some people to the front of the line, try to catch the attention of one of these persons. I was thinking about how we could be among the folks moved to the front of the line, pondered the situation for a while, then had the idea of holding up two fingers (there were two of us — NOTE: be very careful with the one-finger scenario…) and saying the word “airport”. Worked great. The line was also a great lesson in capitalism! A limousine driver held up a sign with “$50” written on it. Then, as the evening wore on, and people were getting anxious about making their flight, it went up to “$60”.


Tip #8: Talk to the folks who drive taxis. I mentioned that I had seen more spectacularly beautiful people in one day in Las Vegas than I had the previous year and that opened up, well, a real eye-opening conversation about the local area and what some folks did for a living… Cab drivers can be very good teachers and some of them may be willing to share intimate details about certain aspects of life that you may not otherwise be aware of. Bottom line: not all that glitters in the Silver State is Gold…

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CES — An Introduction

One word: chaos. An insane number of people attending an insanely huge convention where an insane number of people from all over the planet are exhibiting an insane number of products and technologies. Understand that it will be overwhelming; two words: sensory overload. Plan ahead of time. Going through the CES website, you can find sites where you can list which exhibits you want to see, and then arrange the list so that the exhibits are listed in order of location; this way, you can minimize, somewhat, walking around. Plan on the plan failing — you will get distracted anyway. We came up with a list of 35 exhibits, narrowed that down to 10, managed to see most of ‘em and many other exhibits too.


Drink your lunch. No, not ethanol… We found a place that sold drinks made out of fruit and ice. Get whatever the person taking your drink order recommends. The other places will be too crowded, the lines too long… You didn’t go to the CES to wait in line; besides, there’s no good place to sit down. The fruit drink place was a little out of the way, small and unassuming with a small line. You can get your drink, stay hydrated, and chat up the nice folks at the exhibits — almost all at the same time. My only regret? Not getting another drink… Eat at the airport — after you’ve passed through security and located your gate… We had the vegetarian at the LAS California Pizza, hold the onions & garlic. It was perfect.

A surprise: the amount of paper guides/maps to CES! We’re talking a couple of forests here! Seems that, being a consumer electronics convention, there would be more electronics available to help people out…

The Exhibits

We visited Intel, Kodak, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, Polarioid, Sony, and many others. Where was Apple? What, they’re too good for CES?

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Then, there was the Gracenote ® exhibit. Special thanks to Jonathon & Olen. We saw Vadim too, chatting up a number of customers who appeared to be hanging on to his every word. From our perspective, you looked like you were doing really well, Vadim. Jonathon did a great job showing us automotive embedded Gracenote ® technology. Jonathon was very patient and obviously cared that his audience understood what he was sharing with them. Olen was patient as well with me as I, first unhinged a drawer with my backpack, and then leaned on an adjacent cabinet that wasn’t meant to bear weight… Fortunately, nothing untoward transpired other than yours truly feeling like a clumsy character out of a slap-stick comedy routine…

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I was relieved to see that the Gracenote ® exhibit relied on the strengths of the offerings and products alone, without crass appeals to the more prurient side of humans via the display of sparsely attired people… Gracenote ® had a, well, graceful presence. Very nice.


QUE had an interesting reader that offered news services; QUE is also interesting because of its involvement with plastic electronics which could have who knows what kind of impact.


Probably one of the most productive places to spend time efficiently was the “2010 Innovations” exhibit near the entrance to the Central Hall.

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I asked Vijay to bring his camera, a request he kindly obliged; however, I also took notes just in case… I’ve noticed, over the years, that the old pen & paper routine is pretty reliable… From a quality assurance perspective, there are typically fewer points of failure than with other technologies. However, we’re hoping to have some pictures accompanying this report… The most interesting thing about taking notes was the response of the folks around me. Here’s what happened: I would be diligently taking down notes on the “2010 Innovations” exhibits, and people would start to congregate right next to me. Intensely scrutinizing what I was taking notes on as if it was gonna turn out to be the Next Big Thing Forever Altering Human Existence As We Know It. At first, I thought it might be coincidence, perhaps I had simply picked an interesting product, by accident… So I repeated the experiment, picking a lonely product being sadly ignored. I furtively sidled up to it. Took out pen & notepad. Surreptitiously glanced to the left & right. Then I started taking notes. And it happened again! And again. I felt tempted to let folks know that, really, I didn’t have more of a clue than they did… Next time, I’m gonna find a heating duct and start taking notes. We’ll see what happens…


Check out Part 2 for what products impressed in CES 2010 tomorrow

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