CES 2008 – What is new this year

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CES started way back in 1967 and was first held in New York City. In 1978 the showcase was moved to Las Vegas and within a few years it doubled the number of attendees to 50,000. Currently each year nearly 150,000 people are now making the trek to Las Vegas making it the best and maybe the worst place to be at the same time. During the full days of the show, the traffic to and from the LVCC (Las Vegas Convention Center) and the Sands Convention Center is unbelievable. Taxis, buses fill the roads while other walk from the nearby hotels. Even with this if you ever get a chance to attend you must go.


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For the week that CES is in Vegas it literally takes over the town. Billboards, sides of building, trucks, cars, you name it, all have some sort of advertisement draping from them. Even in your hotel room you can watch the “CE Channel” with 24 hours of news, interviews, and highlights, but it does not stop there. NBC will be broadcasting some sort of CES information for 2 hours everyday. Also G4 has partnered up with CES to give you shows, news, and features about the 2008 CES.

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Like other large companies or groups The Consumer Electronic Showcase has gone green. They will be doing what ever they can to use recycled materials like drinking cups and other food items will be made from recycled items. Any unused food each day will be sent to homeless centers. The majority of the carpets that cover just about every square foot will also made from recycled materials. One of the biggest concerns is the amount of CO2 that is generated from the large amount of vehicles used. CES is making a large donation to plant trees to offset this issue. You can check out this program at www.carbonfund.org/ces . To find out more about what CES is doing to go green you can look here www.cesweb.org/green 

My first day at CES began late on Sunday and a good thing it did. You have to go over the convention to register for your press pass and get all the extra stuff you can get. Well as it turns out I had a bit of an issue with my badge. I went to pick my badge, you MUST have some sort of badge to enter the event, it went pretty quickly and I headed over to the Sands to get my press kit and bag. As I was walking into the press area I was stopped and told that I could not enter. “This is the press area” I was told “Yes I know I am here to get my stuff and then go the Keynote.” Sorry but you have the wrong color badge” I look down and see that it is green but most importantly it says Industry Affiliate… SH#$! This sucks I can all this way and now I can’t get in? I was instructed to go over to an On-Site Press Registration and see if they could help me. I explained my issue and got “Well the system shows you as an Industry Affiliate” “I know and it’s wrong. This is the third year that I have coming to CES and each year as Press. Can’t you look at my past registrations and see’? “No sir we can’t”. What I ended up doing was tracking down a manager, telling him what was going on and he said “Do you have any articles online that I can see to make sure?” “Uh, I own a website and have written a lot of articles, even one about last years 2007 CES.” I think he was almost not going approve my pass until I showed him my picture on the site with all my information. Finally I got my correct badge, good thing too as the first keynote was allowing the press into the ballroom in about 30 minutes.


The 2008 CES keynote by Bill Gates.

Once again getting a press pass is worth any trouble you might encounter along the way. With the keynote not starting until 6:30 PM most attendees where starting to lining up at 2 o’clock. The presse has their own staging area and are allowed in before anyone else plus we have a special area blocked off. I was lucky enough to get a third row seating just to the right if the stage.

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Bill Gates has given a keynote speech at CES 10 time with one other speech making a total of 11 times. This year Gates said that this will be his last year giving the keynote speech. I believe that his has been said before, like last year, but I think this time it may be true. Sometime in July of 2008 Bill Gates will be stepping down from the day-to-day control over Microsoft and will focusing on the foundation that he and his wife started some years ago. Gates said that there will be some special projects (software for education and medical) that he will still be involved with but the job that he has held since being 17 years will come to an end.

Gates is know to have fun about himself, unlike Steve Jobs, and uses it to his advantage by making himself more like the common person and approachable. This year Gates decided to make a tiny video of what his last day at might be like and as normal Bill Gates poked fun at himself. Very one from staff members and employees to countless stars and presidential candidates graced the screen in a very funny video. You can see the video here.

Gates stated that the last Digital Decade saw some major breakthrough’s but the next digital decade with brings us more. This new era will be about the connection of our lives thru these new technologies. Three things must happen in order for this to come true as Gates states “So a lot of big advances will underlie this new class of applications. Things that we haven’t tackled yet, like the ultimate change to all of TV, or to reading, or to health care and education. Those will be enabled by these elements. The three key elements I’d highlight are first, high definition experiences everywhere. Second, all of these rich devices will be service connected. And so getting the latest software, the browsing applications, and getting your data, you’ll just take that for granted. The idea that when you take a photo that it shows up in the place that you’d like it to show up, that would be extremely simple. No longer will users have to bridge between the devices, and they’re the ones who have to remember what’s where. Finally, the third element, perhaps one that people underestimate the most, I would say, is the power of natural user interface. The first digital decade was largely driven by the keyboard and the mouse. Just in the last two years we’ve started to see the emergence of other modes of interaction.” You can see the full keynote speech at http://www.microsoft.com/ces/ .

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