I remember attending my first Consumer Electronics Show (http://www.cesweb.org/) at my father’s side when I was ten years old or so. Dad had to get special permission from the organizers to allow me in since I was so young. The show was held in the Coliseum in New York City. The year was about 1958 and I recall being dazzled by dozens of giant 21″ color televisions at the time.
Since then, I’ve attended twenty-five or more subsequent Consumer Electronics Shows. And I continue to be dazzled by some of the high tech gadgetry each year that’s poised to find its way into our lives.
In the past, CES has been hosted in New York City and Chicago. For the past several years, Las Vegas has been the venue of choice owing to the huge number of exhibitors and attendees. Having just returned from this year’s CES, I’ll just point out a few of the neat things that I ran across.
|When away from home, it’s usually a time to eat out. When dining, if you have a glass or two of wine or beer as I do, you may be interested in the BAC Track. This is a portable device about the size of a cell phone, accurately measures your blood alcohol content so that you’ll know if you are within legal limits for driving. The BAC Track is made by KHN Solutions (http://www.bactrack.com) and sells for about $49.|
|One of our stops was to see a preview of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7. As a Vista user who is moderately content with its operation, I can see that the new Windows 7 offers a few neat features for faster and easier interaction. I look forward to the new Shake that instantly hides/unhides multiple windows; Snap that automatically resizes windows; the Peek feature that lets you use thumbnails|
|for easier task switching; Jump Lists for fast access to commonly used files and or programs; and Home Group for managing a commonly set of devices e.g. desktop computers, notebooks, MP3 players, cell phones, etc. On Saturday of the show, Microsoft also released a Windows 7 Beta which is now available by download for anyone who would like to preview the upcoming operating system which is due out late this year Windows 7 Beta|
|Coincidentally as I was watching the demo of Windows 7, I spotted a cameraman recording Microsoft’s presentation on video. What was interesting is that he was using Canon 5D Mk II for filming. The camera was mounted on a monopod with an external microphone positioned above. This setup is meant to complete with a traditional video camera costing $8,000 to $10,000 and weighing three times as much.|
|After the demo I spoke to cameraman Marius Arnesen who told me that he has used this setup to record several other demos and interviews. The microphone is a Rode VideoMic, designed especially to sit on top of a video camera. Later, I checked out the microphone at http://usa.rodemic.com. It retails for about $250, but is available from a nearby Guitar Center for about $150.
To view Marius’ video, please go to Norwegian Broadcasting (the demo is in English). Thanks to Marius for his permission to show the Windows 7 Demo Video.
|Another neat preview was at HP’s booth where we saw their touch screen computer. With a large 25″ screen it was easy to select the icons and interact with the Windows prompts without a mouse. One disadvantage - you’ll have to clean the screen much more often, especially if you are fond of eating as you compute. More about this from HP Touch Smart|
|Speaking about cleaning, I ran across Alpine Innovations (http://alpineproducts.com) who make several convenient accessories for both photo and computer users. Their Spudz microfiber lens cloth hides in its carrying pouch when not polishing your lens. They also make the attractive Flip-E camera case with built-in lens cloth.|
|The Goldendance Company booth attracted my attention with their Audio Bone ear-free listening device. While looking like conventional over-the ear earphones, the stereo device actually sits on the jawbone to transmit sound. I like the sound based on their two-minute demo so I am now purchasing one for my wife who has no hearing in one of her ears. I’ll let you know how it works after she has a chance to use it. There’s more information about this at Audio Bone headphones.|
As you can see, I enjoyed walking through the exhibit halls and seeing some neat electronics. Reportedly, attendance this year was 110,000, a drop of about 20% from last year. It seems that the faltering economy has affected this year’s CES slightly.
Another CES has come and gone. We’ll look forward to the next same time next year.
P.S. My wife totally enjoys the AudioBone headphones. Not only are they comfortable, but she is able to hear when people are speaking to her even while she is listening to audio from an electronic device.
We recently purchased a large quantity of Spudz to use as part of our photography publishing. They have proven to be a convenient way to keep the lens and LCD surfaces free of dust and grease.