Bing Blog

CES: Down but not out

Canon 50D Mark II

I guess the 3D television in the LG booth was the best thing I saw. It was very, very cool. I forget what programming they had on it. It might have been 3D football. It's not enough that the 1080P HD pigskin is as clear as a marble before your very eyes, now it has to come flying at you out of the screen. If the purpose of marketing is to sell you something you never knew you needed, then this place is a marketers dream. Around the corner at the LG booth, a group of penguins was frolicking across an iceberg on a screen that was less than a millimeter thick, I think. Is that possible? Less than a millimeter? I believe so. Like, .85 of a millimeter. That's thin. And the penguins were amazingly clear and compelling.

For some reason, by the way, most of the programming on these amazing LCDs and Plasmas and other gigundo display units seemed to center around fruit, insects and fish cavorting. Plums so juicy and compelling you felt like reaching out and picking one from the screen. Tiny clownfish darting amid the coral. And sports, of course. If I didn't know better, I would come to the conclusion that those who slaver over this hardware were interested in nothing but fruit, fish and football.

Panasonic (PC) featured a booth showing a 3D movie, which was huge, filling an entire screening room. Stuff was flying out at us all over the place -- helicopter blades and aircraft wings and confetti and a lot of other objects small and large. I have to admit that I might not be a candidate for genuine 3D motion pictures. I felt like the experience was resonating in a part of my brain that had yet to be accessed by other human experience so far, and didn't appreciate the intrusion. My head hurt afterwards. It was technologically impressive beyond belief, though. One day I suppose everything will be in 3D like this, and people will have surgically altered corneas to make the clunky gray/blue glasses unnecessary.

Microsoft's (MSFT) booth was very impressive, with exploding demonstrations of its new Windows 7 platform, and the camera makers were there, too, showing off enormous ranks of digital toys with more megapixels than you can shake a memory stick at. I wanted one. Honestly, I think it's kind of churlish of these guys. They show you all this cool stuff and they don't give you one for free? I would have been happy to take a Canon 50D Mark II off their hands.

I won't make you guess which displays were the best attended. I will simply tell you that if you want to collect a group of men in one place and have them fight over the best seat, simply put out a gaming demo. Chairs that immerse you in a battle zone. Full body armor that responds as a second skin to protect you during an all-out space war. Steering wheels more sensitive than a stressed out CEO. The rest of the sector could go screaming down in flames, but games will rule forever. This is perhaps why the gaming convention, which is called E3, is now on the upswing, while this one is showing a little softness around the edges, like a fine cheese.

There were also, as always, the inexplicable products and services that transcend the "Hey that's awesome even though I have no idea why anybody would want or need one" category and enter the "what the frig is it?" dimension. Like, who needs a watch that is also a phone? I don't. And how many iterations of a personal music or video player are we going to require? As far as I'm concerned, what this society needs at this point are more experiences that are social, that bring us together in large places to feel the same things, not new ways to go into our closets and pleasure ourselves on tiny screens.

Speaking of which, I misinformed you. The porno convention starts Monday and is not running concurrently with this one this year. I suppose this makes it possible for the 100,000 people who are here, 90 percent of which appear to be somewhat needy men, to stay an extra couple of days to see if they can experience the ultimate social experience. I'm not sure what I think of this development, which is a change over prior years. Perhaps it explains why that number of attendees, as impressive as it is, is rumored to be down between 15 and 25% over prior installments of CES.

I will say one thing. The mood here breaks down into two camps, like the rest of the country at this point. Group 1 says it's over, the party has ended, CES will soon be no more, the sky has fallen, the good times are done, this is a permanent crimp in our shorts. Group 2 says wow, look at all this cool gear, all this great programming, this plethora of invention and desire and magnificent tropical fish dancing across screens the size of your living room, it's a great world, our potential is limitless, we will be back. In the meantime, let's gamble.

I'm with Group 2. I've won more than $400 this week, incidentally, mostly at craps, and I intend to keep all of it. Which is why I'm taking off this morning for the left coast. I can't wait to get home and fondle my cameras. Viva Las Vegas and all that, but this is more than a great place to be. It's also a great place to get out of.

11 Comments Add Comment

There are places difficult to leave, others you wish you could live there, a few others you are indifferent when you have to return back home, I agree with Bing, Vegas, with all the glitz, fantasy, fun, "big easy-ness" it is a great place to get out of, I'm personally always glad to leave it and return back home, contrary to other places.

Have a safe flight Mr. Bing. I hope you disinfected yourself coming out of "The Zone"..the strawberry perfume/mark worn by females in Vegas is semi-permanent. You eventually always have to get a Silkwood shower to get the smell off.

Stan, you've successfuly described a plethora of advisers, brokers, carneys, politicians etc., and the zoo species of the contrived world we live in.

you've conveyed the illusion of modern tools presented to the,
(feed me, I'm hungry!), crowd of aspiring wannabees.

Since we're engaged in illusions, my trivial "illusion" on the "big lcd screen" might be fun:

Put Capital Hill and Wall Street on an ice float with lots of penguins, and push out to sea to see if they can to swim.

Perhaps a rude cold awakening might get some splashes of economic activity started, and awaken them from their nice warm comfort zone.

So Bingster...Bing-a-ram-a-lama...the Dick Tracy LG wristwatch phone, I saw it on the CBS Morning show before I left for work the morning of opening day of CES...this dainty little reporter put it on her slight feminine little wrist, and boy did it look silly...nerd-alert gear...exquistite in its obnoxiousness...holy crap I gotta have one...but instead maybe I'll pay the mortage this month...I have to laugh...

Thanks for the posts, safe trip outa Sin rock!

Leaving Vegas with money in your pocket,,,,WOW,,,the chances of that happening are about the same as getting hit on the head by a metorite while wearing one black sock and one white sock. With that kinda luck, I want you to buy all my lottery tickets for me.

Too bad about the porn starting on monday and you not being there to be our eyes and ears,,,,, gonna miss your graphic and insightful comments.

Group 1 or Group 2...I'm a group 1 guy with Group 2 optimism, but then I lie to myself all the time.

Old habits die hard.

I have not been to Vegas in 20 years, mostly by choice. Although I have a close friend who has been married there three times in the 20 years, to different women each time. He swears it is the greatest place! Somehow I always miss his weddings, since they are never planned in advance. But that is another story. Not for this blog.

On my last business trip to Las Vegas I rented a car and went to Hoover Dam, and then explored the desert. It was delightful. I also was glad to leave Las Vegas at the end of my work there. I felt like an outcast, and wondered if I was just too much of a hopeless geek, feeling that way.

All this is to lead to my real point. Maybe Vegas is just too far out for most of us? Ugly by daylight. Great place to get out of. Odd in so many ways. A magnet for strange people.

I've said it before, so please forgive me for repeating myself. Bing, you always make me think. And I appreciate that more than I can express.

Thanks Bing for bringing the techno action to this blog as only your words could do.

Imagine porno on those 3D TVs! It would be the ultimate way to view writhing flesh.

Well Group 1 and Group 2 are both right - but next year's show will probably be held closer to the larger market with disposable income for these toys which will not be here(not here-maybe Dubai?) given current outsourcing trends and job cuts.

I am reminded of how impressive Epcot's international sampling of countries is until you see the real thing. Epcot is enlightening, staffed by natives for each country,selling authentic items in the gift shops and restuarants and by gosh, the structures look just like they are supposed to.

But like Las Vegas, porn, crackberry alerts, the next qtr reduced US labor costs, there's an instant gratification but also a regret that more mindful, authentic alternatives aren't achieved.

Glad the craps were good to you. Hope the giant crap table returns something to us all soon.

Since the forward looking camp breaks down into two moods, group one and group two, as infered by the "Consumer electronics Show", a caveat might be in order.

Economics seem to have silently switched moods from business as usual to business as unusual.

The usual way is to carry all the baggage, accumulated historically, forward until the burden gets so great that it becomes too weighty for current economic dynamics.

The unusual way is anybody's guess; but, it better be good, or we'll see more and more factories with parking lots chained shut containing jungles of weeds as habitats for wild small game.

Factory assets seem to be dwindling from tools and machinery to compact discs, with information for forging silicone into high tech chips.

Sudenly, we're in a micro economic system--faded out of a macro econmic system.

We'll live and die just like everything else. Doomsday has never happened to humanity because its too boring. So what, cycles this and cycles that, and que sera effing sera. One day I believe, the next day I'm an agnostic. One day everything goes to crap, the next I have the best orgasm of my life. The stock market is just in reruns right now. Maybe the dow will bottom at 4 to 6 thousand or maybe it will surge to 24 to 26 thousand. I breath and it makes me age because oxidation is the very reason we wither away and die. Que Sera se cough then cognac.

Bing, you don't need a drink, so have one....please. Start with a relatively inexpensive single malt like glenfiddich.

Way ahead of you.