Welcome to the Wow

12 Jan

Just when I had adjusted to the three-hour time difference, I’m back from Vegas and very tired.

Overall, it was a good trip, as I’ve already said: productive and cost-effective as far as my work objectives go, and fun as far as everything else goes.

Here are some “reporter’s notebook”-style things I thought I’d mention:

* According to the Consumer Electronics Association, this was the largest CES ever, with 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space and more than 140,000 attendees from across the globe. That’s huge.

* Among the notable products I saw was: a cell phone that can broadcast live TV, a stereo attachment that makes MP3s sound better than CDs (and it actually works really well), a player that will work with both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs, a cell phone you can drop from six feet that won’t break, a $1,200 high-end remote control (that’s right, twelve-hundred dollars for a remote control), a zero-gravity massage chair, and much more. But as cool as some of the products at CES were, none came close to the iPhone. I was in the press room on Tuesday when details first started to emerge about it, and as people were logging onto Engadget and other sites, you would hear about it all across the room. “Oh cool!” “Did you see that?” “Check this out.” “Oh man, I so want one of those.” “Oh wow.” It was pretty exciting, as “you had to be there” kinds of things go. Microsoft might have used the tagline “Welcome to the Wow” to launch Windows Vista at CES, but the iPhone was the real Wow of the show — and it wasn’t even there. (Apple has its own show, in San Francisco.) And of course, I totally want one. (Then again, not everyone likes it.)

* It’s amazing what suckers we all are for a big TV. Sharp’s 108-incher put people into an almost-orgasmic state. Hordes would stand around and take pictures of the thing as if it was a celebrity or something. I mean, there was a model standing next to it too, but she got almost no attention. Still, there were so many TVs at CES that it kind of got a little boring and redundant, and eventually they all began to look alike because picture quality aside, they’re basically just black rectangles. That said, you could stand there and stare at the clips from Ice Age, or the colorful promotional shots, or whatever was being shown, forever. And generally, the picture quality was impressive. (I hear you asking: So how much does a 108-inch LCD TV cost? Price is TBD, but if Panasonic’s 103-inch plasma TV costs $70,000, then take your best guess.)

* 3 Doors Down did an acoustic set Tuesday afternoon on the ESPNHD stage. It was pretty cool. “Let Me Go” and “Be Like That” were particularly great.

* The more things change, the more they stay the same. Rhapsody has had the same basic booth for at least four years now: there’s a fake game show host and a game show where three people answer music-related trivia questions. The other two times I went to CES I jumped at the chance to play, and I beat my opponents handily. Well, the game changed slightly this year, but it was basically the same. And suffice it to say, when I got my chance to play Tuesday afternoon, I kicked ass and took names once again. The other two didn’t have a chance. Another change this year? Better prizes. No more messenger bags or blankets. Instead, I won a camcorder. I suppose I could have asked to trade for an MP3 player, but alas, I didn’t want to be lame like that.

* One of the weirdest things about Vegas is that people don’t cover their mouths when they cough there. I thought it was just the foreigners, but it seemed like no one was doing it. So gross. No wonder Airborne was giving out free samples at the show.

* Yahoo! gave out free Cold Stone Creamery ice cream in its Big Scoop tent. Yum. I had it twice. Yum yum. And while Krispy Kreme was also in the house (or at least in the convention center), I resisted. But by far, the best food I had all week was at the really slick Warner Brothers press event to launch Total HD, a new kind of DVD that has Blu-Ray content on one side and HD-DVD on the other. There was some freshly-sliced steak that I just kept going back for, and with the steak sauce … Man-o-man was that good.

* Sometimes it’s nice to be a member of the media. Wednesday afternoon I got a free massage at the new Qua spa at Caesars Palace. I had what they call the Raindrop Therapy massage, and without being all TMI, let me just say I haven’t felt that good in a long, long time. Then that night, I was taken to dinner at Bradley Ogden, also at Caesars. And while my meal was good, it was the buttered, salted rolls that I really loved. I just couldn’t figure out why they were so small, and why the waitress would only give me one at a time.

* Best thing I saw all week: two Elvis impersonators in full costume hanging out together at CVS on the Strip buying bottles of water. If I could have done it without being caught, I would have taken a picture. It was that funny. Only in Vegas …

* I ended the week up $85 from playing about six hours of blackjack at New York New York. Go me. Sure, one night I was up $120 and another I was up $75 and didn’t walk away, but a winner is a winner is a winner, and I played three nights, and each night I walked away up. I might actually be good at this game, and not just in Connecticut.

* Yes, I took more pictures of the Bellagio fountains and of Paris. What? You stand there and try not to capture how cool they are. At least I stood at different places every night so the pictures I took didn’t all look alike. I may not be the world’s wildest single male when I go to Vegas, but I certainly enjoy myself on my own terms. Each time I go back I challenge myself to take the best possible picture of the fountains. Don’t think I did it this time, so I guess I’ll have to go back and try again.

Anyway, there’s more to tell, but I’ll cut it off there. If you want to see more pictures of the show and Vegas in general, here’s a link to my album. Otherwise, I’m done talking about it on here. Now it’s back to work, back to life, back to reality. Oh well.

One Response to “Welcome to the Wow”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Insanely Great Jobs « Martin's Musings - March 24, 2012

    […] Here’s what I said about it back then: But as cool as some of the products at CES were, none came close to the iPhone. I was in the press room on Tuesday when details first started to emerge about it, and as people were logging onto Engadget and other sites, you would hear about it all across the room. “Oh cool!” “Did you see that?” “Check this out.” “Oh man, I so want one of those.” “Oh wow.” It was pretty exciting, as “you had to be there” kinds of things go. Microsoft might have used the tagline “Welcome to the Wow” to launch Windows Vista at CES, but the iPhone was the real Wow of the show — and it wasn’t even there. (Apple has its own show, in San Francisco.) And of course, I totally want one. […]

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