Archive for January, 2016

CES Day 3

January 8, 2016 Comments off

Today was my final day at CES 2016, and on the docket was Tech West at the Sands Expo Center (attached to The Venetian). Full disclosure, I only did Level 2 at The Sands, which is where all the big companies were (and lots of small ones too). Level 1 was nearly just as big, but full of “science fair” booths for startups and other smaller firms without the bigger marketing budgets that, honestly, my feet just weren’t up to.


Tech West plays host to several hot gadget areas, including health and fitness devices, kids/education, 3D printing and scanning, robotics, and home automation. I’m not the most fit athletic build you’ve ever seen, but I did snoop around and see some interesting stuff that you might be interested in. 😉

Upon entering the hall everyone is drawn to netamo’s outdoor security camera display, where they were demonstrating the ability to recognize people vs animals (vs aliens??). I’m hard to see in the pic, but I do have my #3 Russell Wilson jersey on … I won’t be blamed for missing Blue Friday during the playoffs. GO HAWKS! For the record, it correctly identified me as a person, so I’ve got that going for me.



Withings has gotten a lot of press at CES this year for their new thermometer, but they also had some really nice looking smart watches there too. If that’s your thing, include them in your perspective device browsing.

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I stopped by FitBit’s booth to see if anything caught my eye there. I really like the Garmin device I saw yesterday (I think I want something that combines smartwatch with fitness tracker in a small tracker format) but I’ve already got a data history with FitBit (though I did take a year or so off from using my FitBit One – I just restarted before leaving for CES). While nothing caught my eye for exactly what I’m looking for, they did have their new Blaze to show off. It’s a big device, but I like that the unit itself is able to be popped off one watch band/frame and inserted into another. From a brief conversation with someone at the booth it sounds like their pricing for bands is relatively reasonable, compared to the likes of Apple.

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Peleton has been advertising their new connected stationary bike experience a lot on TV and I was interested to see it in person. I guess 9am is either too early for those party animals, or they were all out riding their bikes – nobody was home at their booth. The bike looks nice, if that’s you’re thing.



Speaking of bikes, this Japanese company 3D printed one. WOW. They also have a turn-key solution … for whatever you want to turn a key to do. It has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and you can trigger anything you want through IFTTT or other methods. Would be cool to be able to turn the Internet off at home with a key. Winking smile

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There were a couple personal breathalizers at the show, though none of them were marketing themselves as “figure out when you’re okay to drive again after getting tanked.” They must have good lawyers. Puff puff and the Bluetooth connected app on your phone can tell you whether it’s time for another glass of merlot. They were even touting integration with Apple Health (remember how shit-faced you got last weekend? no, well your phone does.)



These were nifty looking glasses (and snow goggles) with a camera in them. The lenses are replaceable, and when they’re out the frames are incredibly flexible.



The Girl Scouts were there again this year drumming up interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) – especially for girls, I would imagine. I didn’t stay long, since they were also pushing their online ordering website … the one that charged me 33% of my order total for shipping last year, including for the 5 boxes of cookies (money) I donated to the troops overseas. WTF? SCREW THAT MESS. I excused myself before I used unladylike language – and it’s not like the kids made that decision, I’d just end up being the asshole yelling at a Girl Scout in front of 150K people.



This is a fancy new touch screen remote control. I politely informed them that nobody can feel for the volume down button in the dark without tactile buttons. They hadn’t thought of that. I’m sure they’ll be fine (not). But of course because it’s all fancy they got a CES Honoree award.



The one thing my wife asked of me this week was to visit the Square Panda booth. They teamed up with Andre Aggasi’s education foundation to develop some really captivating phonics and reading tools, including hardware and engaging apps for the kiddos. It’s really wonderful and I can see our 4 year old getting a lot of use out of this. Do go check them out – my wife already got a pre-order in based on my investigation today.

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Wonder Workshop was also at CES again – we got in on their initial Kickstarter campaign about 18 months ago and got a full compliment of robots and accessories from them for Christmas last year. Unfortunately our 10 year old hasn’t taken to them as much as we’d hoped, but I think that might change. They’re a great tool to teach programming concepts, as you can see in the video. New this year is a catapult. LOOK OUT CATS!


Edwin is the world’s first waterproof, haptic, light-up, bluetooth enabled, speaker, nightlight, learning device rubber duck bath toy. Seriously, this little device is really cool! It can be a nightlight, a play toy, a device that lets your child interact with a tablet (IOS or Android) to read books or do educational games. It can be a music box for your child at bedtime with internal tracks or you can stream Spotify or whatever your favorite music service is. I played a little game where the app told you a shape, like “rectangle”, and then you had to both find the rectangle amongst 4 different shapes on screen AND translate that into where on the duck to tap. Check them out at



Next up is a $450 Liter Robot: Open Air. I got a demonstration – I’m pretty sure it was fake poo. The floor is rubber, and as the thing spins a weight drops to dislodge the stuff that usually sticks to the floor. If my daughter wants to stop having to clean the cat box herself, she needs to save up – the ball is in her court. 😉 Oh, and don’t worry – it has sensors to know when a cat is in there so kitty doesn’t go for a spin accidentally.

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Speaking of things that spin, Whirlpool had a big booth this year, as last year. They’ve got designer magnetic covers for your washer and dryer, including a chalk one the kids can get creative with (and then the chalk can get all over your clean clothes). Beyond that, I got a demo of their new fridge design that has adjustable shelves, but not the way you’re used to seeing them. You can slide the middle of the shelf back to make room for taller items from below, which actually has the benefit of making those back coners a lot easier to get too. There wasn’t a 21” tablet on the door and it won’t send you pictures of your current stock level like others I saw at CES this year, but this does seem like a really good idea. If I needed a fridge tomorrow I’d probably go get one of these.

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Your paper airplanes are now powered, controlled by Bluetooth, and remote controllable while sending your a VR point of view. Yeah. Welcome to the future.

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Even the Swiss have been forced to modernize their watches.



And now, robot dinosaurs.


HumanScale has some really cool products. If you don’t have a standing desk, for example, you can make a standing workspace with their QuickStand. Your keyboard, space for a mouse, and your screen all instantly raise up with the touch of a lever (it’s counter-balanced hydrolics instead of motorized, meaning you can adjust the height 10X quicker than the standard motorized desk). They’ve got a hydrolic desk too, if you want the full deal. If you have lots of monitors but want to keep things simple, check out their M/Power solution that serves as a set of monitor arms with a power hub and, when combined with an M/Connect USB docking station, allows you to drive all those monitors (and anything else) through a single USB3 cord to your laptop. SNAZZY!



There are a lot of workout tech gadgets and makers, and a lot of young people hired to work out for the visual enticement of potential buyers. Some of these booths have “dancing” ladies on treadmills, full CrossFit gyms, and basketball courts that track players and the ball in real time. It’s nuts.

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I came across another Redmond, WA company and got lots of GO HAWKS! Sensoria, which happens to be started by a former Microsoftie, has a line of fitness trackers that actually ARE your socks. Great for runners, you can analyze your strike patterns, etc. and get coaching advice from their app. They have more traditional trackers as well. Side note: why is this dude creeping on the mannequin in the sports bra? SHOW SOME RESTRAINT!

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Track your dog for $5/month with this GPS cellular collar.

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Play with your cat from your office and post a picture to Instagram. That’s right, a remote-controlled laser pointer that has a camera in it.



TomTom: Nobody buys GPS devices anymore, but we heard of these things called wearables so we’re going to give that a go.



iHealth: with an “i” in the name, it *has* to be good.



I’m suprised I haven’t seen this pedal-powered bike/car/thing around Redmond.



LEGO! They’ve got a new LEGO Education kit that seems really cool for classrooms. With one kit you can build dozens of different tools and devices, all powered by a motor and Bluetooth controller. The kit also has a couple different sensors and a programming language so you can teach physical science and computer science at the same time. COOL!!!

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This company has won a crap ton of awards for putting shitty speakers inside of a headband. No joke. I inquired on this line of thinking with one of the founders – he can’t believe it either.

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In the same light, CES bestowed a “BEST of Innovation” award this year to a fish finder that you can drop into a frozen lake on the end of a fishing line. I’m not disparaging this product, but if THIS is the height of innovation this year, we need to try harder.



Here’s one for my dad, who blew up an oven once after broiling a steak when he forgot to turn off the burner when the meal was done (he closed the oven door … we had quite a fireworks show about 15 minutes later). Basically it’s a thermostat that, if it senses that very condition, will kill power to the appliance. I love you Dad!



Swarovski: We bring the bling!



I have a Quell pain relief device; I bought into their Kickstarted immediately after talking to them at CES last year. It’s amazing, and has done wonders for my knee (replacement 3 years ago) and significantly reduced the amount of pain meds I needed after shoulder surger this past May. It also helps make these long days on my feet at CES more bareable. I got a chance to talk to their CEO and one of their product managers, and I took the opportunity to both thank them for an amazing product and offer a few suggestions. They’re already working on a few tweaks and improvements, which should be out in a few months. Can’t wait! If you suffer from chronic pain, I can’t recommend Quell highly enough. And no, I’m not getting any kickbacks from them – this is my own personal opinion and experience. Your mileage may vary.



3D printing is cool, and there’s even more stuff at CES this year than last. The quality is remarkably better this year too, and we’re starting to see products that allow printing of flexible cloth-like material, printing in color (faces, etc), and all sorts of other coolness with the advances in 3D scanning. Here’s just some of what was at CES this year, and yes – that red hand is a prototype from the project that’s developing 3D printed artifical limbs!

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No stay with me here … the company behind last year’s CES darling (and purveyor of awesome e-Ink mechanical display boards) ooVoo is called Krush, and this year they went all in on an emersive VR rig called Moveo. It’s a 3-axis motion pod combined with a Oculus display that allows the participant to do just about whatever the hell they want. It was a huge booth with an LED display ceiling (because why not) for a product that, and I quote a guy I talked to here, “doesn’t really have a business plan right now, but it’s been so popular we’re going to go figure one out next week.” Ah, that .COM bubble-era spirit is still alive!

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Really nice picture frame, but even more impressive is the completely flat power cable that you can paint over. I honestly didn’t even see the vertical run of the cable until I was about 6 inches from the wall (in the 3rd/bottom picture it’s running from the blank white wall plate up to the display).

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And home stuff. LOTS and lots of home stuff. So much stuff that everything interfered with everything else wirelessly (a couple of the demos I saw were having issues, and my Pebble Steel lost connectivity to my phone 4 times, rebooting once).

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Win 2 points of off a ping-pong champ from Argentina in a game to 11 and get a free device. Many attempted. I don’t think many succeeded.



Incredibly awesome LED bulb that looks like an old-school filament. It was just being used as a display item, so I didn’t get any product details – but I did get a pic of the base of one. I can see this being a really popular item for certain design applications. They look fantastic.

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I might pick up one of these garage winches. Each will lift 100 pounds, and they’re controlled wirelessly from your phone. Even better, they’ll communicate with each other in a gang to lift heavier stuff, and they’ll adjust gearing to make sure the load is lifted evenly if the weight isn’t evenly distributed. Perfect for a bike or other stuff you may have lying around.

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Bosch: We make some of the things, and we also make things inside of lots of other things. We also make a fridge with cameras in it so you can see what you’re out of if you’re aleady at the store.

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And to round out the day, Microsoft. Only pseudo-officially at CES. No booth, just a crap-ton of rooms reserved for exec/partner meetings and a GIGANTIC sign.

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I’ll be posting a CES recap tomorrow. Time for a late dinner and packing up to head out in the morning.

Categories: technology Tags:

CES 2016 Day 2

January 7, 2016 Comments off

Today was an earlier start for the show than yesterday (9a vs 10a) and I took advantage of the fact that everybody else was out too late partying to get a bunch of the show floor knocked out before things got a lot busier later in the day. With that bonus time and some experience under my belt on how to best navigate the show floor, I was successful in knocking out the rest of Tech East at CES 2016 (the Convention Center).

I started out getting the last bit of the Central Hall at LVCC that I missed yesterday after my unfortunate crash and burn. Thankfully my knee was in decent condition this morning; swollen and a bit sore to be sure, but functional.

I got a quick view of the Samsung area without half a billion people in it. Pretty impressive!



Nerd porn alert, as always, from the Celestron booth. Good grief some of those telescopes are huge! It’s amazing how much tech is on those things too, from image capture and stabalization, to tracking, etc. It’s not just a couple of lenses in there.



I spent some time in the Sony area and, since there weren’t a ton of people yet, actually got to talk to a few folks about what they were showing off. We’ve got a ~4 year old (?) 55” Sony Bravia hanging on the wall at home, and the image quality is superb, but some of these new panels put ours to shame. I don’t think Sony had anything that wasn’t 4K on display, to be honest … and now that I think about it I don’t think many others did either (unless it was a display on a fridge…). Also notable was a front projection screen that is meant to sit right infront of the wall it’s displaying on. WOW did it look nice, and a cool form factor too.

I also got to see their GoPro competitor Action Cam line; the image stabilization was really incredible (I got to hold a camera with a live viewfinder and give it a good shake). I think I still prefer GoPro from a physical format perspective since Sony’s cameras are like a pack of cigarettes on it’s side with the lens pointing forward from the top, vs. GoPro’s smaller rectangle with the lens on the wider front surface. I’m sure you could find applications for both physical formats, and I’m sure the tech specs are very similar – other than that image stabilization.



Driving simulators are everywhere at CES this year, even for companies that I can’t figure out what their relationship to cars is. I’m guessing Konica was showing off the screens???



I saw probably 5 or 6 floating speakers today. I guess they’re all copying the one that I believe won a CES innovation award last year. INNOVATION! 😐



Kodak: We’re not dead yet either! What can we make you? You want a drone? How about an action cam? Oh, maybe a Virtual Reality rig? What else are the kids into these days? PLEASE LOVE US AGAIN – it was cold, dark, and scary in the land of dispair and bankruptcy, we don’t want to go back. Can you just give us a hug or something?



Samsung Gear lemmings (the seats moved with the VR action). Pass – I wasn’t impressed when I tried this out at Faraday’s booth yesterday.



Qualcom: We don’t make the things, we make the things inside the things. All the things.



Intel: If Qualcom didn’t make the things in your things, we probably did. We also have cool statues in our area. Oh, and our driving simulator has a camera that watches you so we can shift the field of vision as you turn your head (that was pretty cool).



Creative: We have to be creative because we’re really just selling the same stuff we always have, but our marketing makes it look like it’s all new.



And now, I bring you “CES 2016: Attack of the Drones”. They were everywhere, though thankfully behind nets so they couldn’t destroy us. Big ones, small ones, all sorts of colors and lights. I will say they were all much quiter than last year. Also, I *really* enjoyed the breeze from the rotor wash – quite refreshing.



Cool gear from Razer for multimedia (mic and 3D video capture)



The cutest little NAS you’ve ever seen (takes 2.5” laptop-sized drives) from Synology. They also had a fancy home WiFi router that does just about everything you could want (including inbound VPN to the home and IPv6 support), plus it can do “beamforming” to direct a better signal to where your device is. I’m sure math is involved, and I’m sure I won’t understand how it works. $149 coming in April. It was already out elsewhere in the world (thanks FCC!).



Duracell: We’re not just batteries. We’re all sorts of other cheap crap we can pay someone to put our name on too.



Linksys had a nice booth, though a bit blue. Their new WiFi range extenders have a really cool app that helps you figure out optimal placement (not too close to waste the extender, but not too far to have a weak signal itself to deal with.



The e-Ink both was also very cool. Not just Kindles. Their bigger displays (think a menu board or orther big display) were frankly stunning. They’ve got curved/flexible stuff too.



Optical lens anyone? Any size – it was there.



Lots of outdoors gear, especially solar powered charging panels. Seems to be coming of age. I really liked the little mini lantern from GoalZero. Folding stand, dimmer, you can turn on just half of it if you want, it can charge something via USB, it’s magnetic on the bottom to stick to something, and it has a tripod mount. A great little gadget to keep in a car’s emergency kit.



Cool hearing protection gear for construction sites.



“No” or “Meanwhile in Japan…”



Tribe has some really cool gear. Might need to get some. They mostly sell through retailers like Best Buy, Macy’s etc.



These guys joked that Microsoft should just buy them after learning I work on Sharpoint. At least, I think they were joking… ?






I’ve got 3 people who work from me that are remote (work from home 2000 miles away). These rigs from Beam were very intriguing, and sure would be better than our current solution of locked down Microsoft Surface RT’s running Skype. We might not get the “mega” model, though – it might not fit in our hallway. I got to drive one around in Kansas City from here in Vegas and terrorize a couple of their employees in their support office. FUN!



Leyard’s LED displays were absolutely stunning. This one has a 1.6mm dot pitch, and from just a few feet away you couldn’t tell it was LED (looked like a regular screen). No heat, super thin, very bright. I wish these were available when our church put in screens in our sanctuary, these would have been perfect. Too bad at the time the LED screen tech wasn’t nearly as nice. They even have panels that with a 0.9mm dot pitch, and some with a glass overlay that provides touch input. WOW!






Very spiffy activity tracker and semi-smart device (notifications, etc.) from Garmin. Only $150 for a touch-enabled device that has most of the features of the Microsoft Band; a much better pricepoint than the $250 device we sell in my opinion. They’re still making GPS units too!



+10 points to Happy Plugs for product packaging design: earbuds that look like musical eighth notes.






Yet another new USB plug format – I’m suprised they went bigger given the trend to shrink everything.


Seriously though, this booth was from Pilot Brand that has come up with a AA battery where the positive (pointy) end is held on by a magnet – remove it and it exposes a USB plug so you can recharge the battery. They also came up with a great way to expense a Ferrari. Cool!



Sennheiser had a good both, including a 3D microphone to help you create VR experiences.



Many people felt like this guy, so the massage chair booths were very popular.



Star of the show at LVCC: AT&T’s WiFi network kicked ass. I uploaded all my photos to OneDrive and Google Photos yesterday and today very quickly. Unfortunately there’s no AT&T WiFi in the South Hall, so I walked back over to Central to do today’s upload.



To round out the day I decided to treat myself with a solo test drive of a BMW 750i. The gesture control of the radio, heads up display, comfort, and raw power of this beast were remarkable. I need one. Not want … NEED.


Categories: technology Tags:

CES 2016 Day 1

January 6, 2016 Comments off

Today was the first day of the main show, and I saw a ton. I started off over at the Tech East area, also known as the Las Vegas Convention Center. I hit the North Hall first, and then made it through most of the Central Hall before I had an unfortunate accident and slipped on a wet floor, crashing down and slamming my bad knee into the concrete. Not cool since I had a knee replacement 3 years ago. Needless to say that cut my day a bit short as I got some ice and pain meds and made my way back to the hotel. Rest assured I’ll finish up the Central Hall tomorrow (Sony and a few other big booths to finish up).

Another note – I wrote a LOT last year, and it kept me up long into the evening. I’m going to try to just post a bunch of pics this year and do some limited commentary and snarkery. Hopefully I can get more sleep, and hopefully you can forgive me for not writing an epic tome.

I got to the show before the main doors open, so I got to be part of the early crowd that flooded in right at 10am. There were a ton of people in the loby, and several companies had displays out there separate from thair main booths. Engadget had a stage for interviews and some seating – much appreciated. They also have a charging station where you can secure your device behind a locked door while it’s filling up. Pretty cool!





Thule – we’re more than expensive stuff on your car’s roof.



Last year I killed the battery in my point-and-shoot camera on day 1 and nearly drained my phone using it as a camera. This year I’ve got a couple batteries I’m carying with me. This would would have matched the R2-D2 case on my phone a little closer, though.



I was very impressed with the Libratone speakers. They sound amazing, and you can network them together throughout your home. Lots of different sizes, and they’ve got batteries so you can have portable tunes. Check them out if you’re in this market.


Noke had a really impressive bike lock that doesn’t have a physical key – rather it’s unlocked by your phone. That also means you can share a “digital key” with your buddy and they can borrow your bike one time or on a schedule you set. Pretty cool if that’s something that you think you’d need. If not, they have Bluetooth padlocks too!



Toast from Portland, OR was displaying some incredibly intricate laser-cut wood designs that you can put on phones, laptops, etc. While you probably need to have a bit of patience and a steady hand to install them, they’re well worth the time. They’ve even got one for the Microsoft Surface Book that covers the flexible hinge! I’ll definitely be checking out their stuff when I get home and making an order.



There are A LOT of booths like this.



So how do you get people interested in your stuff if everybody else makes the same thing? CaseLogic served coffee. It was a popular booth earlier in the day.



I’ve always been a fan of Ogio’s bags, so I spent a few minutes drooling. My wife loves them too, and even has one of the handbag models.



If the standard Xbox controller is too small for your liking, perhaps this waist-high model will suit your needs.



I’d never live with myself if I bought one, but PureGear gave me one for free. It’s Bluetooth too. LOOK OUT WORLD!



Incipio had a nice booth too.



I’ve you’ve got a Macbook, check out Henge Docks. These are really cool, and quite similar to the design that Microsoft uses for our Surface tablet docks (simply extending all the various power, USB, and other ports into the device). They also have a traditional flat model too if you want to use your laptop keyboard.



Iottie has a pretty clever design for a power station launching soon. It’s a Qi wireless charging dock that you can put your phone on (many Android and Windows phones support wireless charging natively, but there are also cases, etc. that can enable your non-wireless device – cough – iPhone – cough). But it goes further – there’s a 4000mAh portable battery that fits in the middle and also charges wirelessly, and they’re thinking of LCD displays that could show notifications or the time that could also plug into the mix. Very cool indeed.



Otter Box – cool booth, big cases, and across the aisle Incipio was letting people trying to destroy an iPhone “dunk tank” style to show their stuff isn’t half bad either. Lifeproof was next door too.



When I travel I have a lot of tech gear and gadgets that I typically bring around, and not a great way to keep it organized and protected. I need to get some of these little padded “Safe Pockets”. They look perfect.



Next up was the auto tech area. This is a mix of car makers showing of new tech, component makers selling to the car makers and other customizers, and speaker/audio companies with booth babes cranking bass-y beats too loud. Here’s a sampling of the swanky stuff (and Volkswagen hoping you forget they’re purposefully killing the planet – Think New … or at least think about something else!).



Dodge had a full-sized car as a driving simulator that actually moved (leaned side to side and forward and back). The guy driving when I walked by was INTENSE.



Ford had a self-driving Fusion with 4 cameras on the roof spinning around a a high rate of speed. You could see the computing powere in the trunk, and on a screen above the car you could see the car’s view of all the people standing around. I’m the orange one. Winking smile



Lastly, I’d be remiss to leave out the new media darling from Faraday Future, the FFZERO1 concept car that is supposed to be giving Tesla a run for their money. And money it will surely take you – this think looks EXPENSIVE! They had a crappy VR experience that I tried – it was a Samsung rig. Video quality sucked and the experience of driving through a couple different sci-fi worlds left me ever so slightly nauseated. Meh – stick to the car, guys.



I headed over to the Central Hall next at the Convention Center and jumped into the fray at LG’s gigantic area. Pictures can’t do these new TVs justice – they’re absolutely beautify and incredibly thin. But I have no intnention of going out and buying one just for the sake of upgrading – the content delivery of 4K, HDR, etc. just isn’t there. But if you need to get a new TV and have the means, I highly recommend a 4K OLED screen from LG or Samsung.

LG also had a bunch of home appliances (because all these companies took the Best Buy model long ago). LG’s new thing there is a dual-washer, replacing the drawer in the pedestal with another washing unit because … they could. There’s also a door-in-door setup for their fridges now, which I guess makes sense for my kids who find it impossible to see behind a small bag of carrots to what’s back on the shelf.

LG also had a very cool model display where they were showing off cell phone camera features. I thought the display was cool – a good camera in a smartphone is table steaks these days.


And behold, because 4K content isn’t even mainstream yet let’s go 8K!



TiVo was there, and I got to thank them for back-porting some of the very cool new features from the new Bolt device to the older Roamio series, especially QuickPlay (running a show at 1.3X speed while keeping audio at the right pitch – no chipmonks). New from them is the ability to stream recorded content to an Amazon Fire or Fire Stick. Much cheaper than their TiVo Mini, and in theory it will work over the Internet. COOL! Oh, and the automatic commercial skipping feature from the Bolt is rolling out to Roamio users hopefully soon too – already live in San Franciso as a test market.



Victrola – remember us? WE’RE NOT DEAD YET! Here, have some retro designs.



I was shocked to not see more of this crap this year – but there’s always tomorrow. Hello, kitty.



Drones!!! I’m sure I’ll see more of these over the next 2 days (I overheard there’s 3X more floor space for drones this year over last), but market leader DJI was the first I saw. I enjoyed the breeze from the blades.



People still look stupid with VR glasses on, even if the glasses are “sleek and stylish.”



Tonly had a speaker with a floating tweeter unit on it because … reasons.


AR (Acoustic Research), known for super high end speakers, was displaying some of the first outdoor speakers that look really nice – and not like a rock. Speaking of AR, they were part of a hugh complex of displays from a parent company. Pretty common these days.



Great tag line from Klipsch.



Had a great chat with some folks in the GoPro booth. I got a Hero 4 Silver for Christmas (thanks Amex points!) and did some time lapse videos on my drive to Vegas. I’ll do a blog post on that soon. Was able to provide a couple product suggestions that were well received too! They had some impressively massive LED displays that wowed the crowd with their quality … and I guess the content too. One was a the size of half a tennis court!



I took a trip through the Nikon booth for camera porn. They didn’t disappoint.



Marley Speakers are absolute works of art, and sound great too. Worth a look. The little ones look like drums (of course lots of things look like drums to me – I’m a drummer).



The Samsung are was rediculously packed and horribly designed for traffic flow (unlike LG’s area). That said, I couldn’t tell the two companies’ products apart if there wasn’t a label. The massive screen on a fridge looks a dumb as you think it would.


Microsoft in the house!!! (at Samsung’s PC/tablet table)



Corning “invented” a giant “surface” that’s a touch computer. Gee, why didn’t we think of that? Oh yeah, we did that almost a decade ago.



New Segway “ninebot” that was demo’d at the Intel keynote last night.



And then it was crash and burn time. Janitorial staff at LVCC are assholes (it was effectively my fault for slipping, according to the idiot who was standing outside the restroom that had no slippery floor signage but had water everywhere). CES Info Booth people and LVCC first aid team were awesome and hooked me up with some ice, pain meds, and a trip in a wheelchair to the front of the taxi line (complete with embarrasment on my part). MEH! I’ve got a nasty lump on my knee where I basically pile drove it into the floor, but I don’t think anything is actually broken.



Time to find some late dinner and hang out with my wife’s Aunt who’s in town tonight to see Celiene in concert. Here’s to a better day tomorrow!

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CES 2016 Day 0: Intel Keynote

January 5, 2016 Comments off

I’m back in Vegas for CES 2016! I had a blast last year and was, in typical Microsoft fashion, “super excited” to get a chance to come back this year. Special thanks to my wife for giving me the thumbs up to take the trip (and leave her alone with the kiddos)! Smile

Unlike last year, the Keynote day this year is Tuesday – with the show floors open Wednesday through Saturday. Last year it was Monday Keynotes, and show floor Tuesday through Friday. I mention this all to say that while I knew the schedule had slipped a day, I screwed up my travel plans and still arrived here in Vegas on Monday and I need to leave on Saturday. MEH! I’ll have to walk faster and be a bit more discerning on where I spend my time on the floors, no sleeping in, and no leaving early. Rest assured, dear readers, I’ll still find the cool stuff for you!

I learned from folks last year who tried to do the Samsung Keynote and then the Mercedes Keynote that it’s impossible to actually do both. While there’s an hour between, there are always long lines at both, the venue will run out of space, and the first one always goes long. So while last year I went to the second session for Mercedes at the Cosmopolitan, this year I went to the first Keynote from Intel at the Venetian.

If you want a full blow-by-blow journalistic accounting of the event, you should check out The Verge’s live blog of the Keynote. They had better seats than I did. Winking smile That said, here are the cool things that caught my attention.


One of the big themes of the whole presentation was movement, and translating that data into experiences – from drawing to sports to music to drones to the workplace. Intel was showing off technologies that allow people to be “smart and connected”, provided a “sensification of computing” (their word, not mine), and that is “an extension of you. One of the key pieces of tech that powers a lot of what was show is Intel’s Curie platform, a $10 “system on a chip” or SOC that’s about the size of a shirt button (and not one of those crazy big ones either). There were demonstrations across three areas: sports and gaming, health and wellness, and creativity.

20160106_023130920_iOSBefore all that Intel CEO and un-energetic speaker Brian Krzanich said some stuff (marketing blah blah blah) and showed a video of some drones doing a light show in the night sky to the soundtrack of a live orchestra playing Beethoven’s 9th. Chef Boring Officer Krazanich went on to say that Inntel had “completely redefined the firework experience.” Look buddy, I know marketing BS when I hear it, and nothing exploded. Move along.

The first demo was a preeminent professional gamer who thanked her Intel sponsor for building a CPU that’s even better than the last generation. No shit?!? She then went to a console and threw down some action in Rainbow Six Siege, broadcast on Twitch, and with her image in the lower-left corner of the display. It was actually cool, using Intel’s RealSense camera tech it superimposed her on top of the gaming action like she was standing in front of a green screen (which she definitely wasn’t). I can see that being useful for teleconferences from my home office where I can crop out the rest of the room (my home office got turned into a playroom a decade ago – it’s typically a disaster area of toys).

Next came some more camera wizardry with some extra software that allows you to have a lifelike head on your avatar in a game, in this example Fallout 4. Cool factor, but not really my thing.

Blending e-gaming and real-gaming there was a demo of the freeD platform that lets you seamlessly switch between lots of different camera angles during the middle of a replay. It may have actually been letting you create your own camera angle and the software was figuring out how to render the real action from that position, but the demo was quick and that wasn’t super obviously. Cool if true, but not something I see the average Joe doing from his couch on Sunday afternoon. Maybe the NFL could use that for their instant replay system, though…?

Next came some stuff about that aforementioned Curie chip. ESPN is going to be using them at the Winter X Games coming up later in January on all the athletes’ boards/skis/whatevers. They’ve linked that up with a transmitter that should let you see what’s going on in realtime on TV. There was a demonstration of some BMX bikers doing tricks, including jumping over the Intel CEO. There was also a free runner from Red Bull – but they were too coy about what they were actually announcing to be worth saying much.


20160106_030725469_iOSYuneec showed off their coming-soon Typhoon H autonomous multi-rotor drone. That was pretty cool actually – it can follow you or stay in front of you, keeping its 4K camera pointed in your direction. But beyond that, it leverages an onboard CPU plus RealSense cameras to make sure it doesn’t run into anything or anyone while it tries to follow you. They had someone ride through “the woods” on my side of the auditorium and they dropped a fake tree at the drone – it missed it. Pretty spiffy!

Oakley announced a new integrated device on some *really* expensive sunglasses that keeps track of your training activities and then takes that data one step further and actually gives you coaching about pace, what routes you should do on your next training run, etc. “Radar Pace” from Oakley is effectively a personal coach that interprets all that data you’ve been tracking and helps you decide what to do with/about it. The athlete demoing it was a 3-time triathlon champion, so his next workout was a 15 mile run, with 1200 feet of climbing over 12 medium hills. Said Krzanich, “Thank God that’s customized for you!” Amen brother.

Then came New Balance who, after a brief history lesson of the company and announcing the creation of a new Digital Sport division, let us know that not only are they 3D printing shoes but they’re also working with Intel to develop the ability to take 3D scans of your feet and then custom print shoes molded to your exact needs. Oh, they’re also going to launch a wearable (smart watch) for holiday 2016 because … well, everybody else is doing it so why not us?

20160106_032506600_iOSA company call Daqri was up next with their Smart Helmet, which started shipping today. Frankly I think this is what Microsoft’s HoloLens is going after for a business application. The demo is someone wearing the helmet in an industrial setting, with the device digitizing and recording analog dial readings, diagnosing problems, and suggesting issues for the wearer to go fix (and instructions on how to do it). Ikea should have these at the impulse buy stations right before the checkout line so you can get help putting that stuff together.

Next up was creativity.

I’m sorry, but I wasn’t impressed at all. AH Rahman was on stage to show how you could use Curie-enabled devices strapped to your hands and feet to make music. As a musician I can tell you the demo bombed – it was misfiring all over the place, or more accurately not firing when intended. We were promised he’d be back for more. Please no.

There was some weird video announcement about a partnership with the Recording Academy (The Grammy’s), Lady Gaga, and Intel that would be announced during the Grammy’s in February. Consider me uninterested. The teaser video left me more confused than inspired, and frankly seemed to be featuring Lady Gaga’s ego more than anything else. She’s an incredible singer, but I don’t get her act. Then again, I’ve long ago aged out of her target audience.

20160106_033501650_iOSAlso in the Creativity section (huh?) was a very cool Segway robot from ninebot. This was used at the beginning of the show too as a “hoverboard” kind of device. The big moment of the whole show is when the thing went from personal transportation device to robot. Arms were added. “Are those my arms? Awesome!” says the robot. Teehee. We shall call him HAL. We’ll all be obsolete, if not dead within 5 years. 2016 is the year our robot overlords start to take over, and it starts with a good joke so we think they’re funny and can’t hurt us. MARK MY WORDS, HUMANITY! SDK coming later this year, with a consumer product “after that.”



20160106_034845940_iOSNext up was an announcement for a new TV show called America’s Greatest Makers, coming to TBS this Spring. Chris Hardwick was on the video and asked us all to admire his giant head on the screen, and reminded us to use hand sanitizer to prevent Nerd Flu while at CES. I like Chris, and I’m excited to see where this show goes. I think he’s hosting? Very cool.

Intel chose to spend about 15 minutes of Keynote “capital” on some very important topics, focusing on The Human Experience. I was disappointed to see some folks start ditching the session at this point, but to me I think this content was some of the most important for our industry and I can only hope that other companies (including mine – Microsoft) keep pushing the bar here.

20160106_035313782_iOSDiversity. Intel made a big commitment to diversity in both hiring and retention last year for women and minorities. More importantly, they tied everybody’s pay to making sure they did just that – great idea! They exceeded their 40% goal for hiring (43%) and their retention rate was the same as “non-diverse employees” (white guys?). Kudos Intel! New goals will be announced for this year soon.

20160106_035351084_iOSHarassment. Intel’s CEO took a very explicit stand against the turd brains on the Internet who use the anonymity of the ecosystem to empower them to be complete assholes. “There are real people out there behind ever comment, tweet, etc.,” he said. We need to make the Internet a “safer and more inclusive online experience for everyone.” Amen.

Lastly, Krzanich broached the touchy topic of “conflict metals”. Everything in tech relies on some pretty specific and rare metals and other materials that can only be found in certain places on Earth. Unfortunately, one of those places is the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Mining these minerals is one of the few industries left in that area, and there are some nasty people profiting 20160106_035845647_iOSfrom exploiting people and resources there. While some may consider a boycott of those goods the way to go (ala conflict diamonds), Intel has chosen to remain engaged in the trade there to keep at least some positive industry going for the people, while at the same time investing heavily in programs on the ground to help address the political and humanitarian issues. Whatever your opinion on the right course of action, kudos to Intel for not turning a blind eye. All Intel products will be “conflict free”, and there will be a certified logo to look for in the next few months (guessing they’re trying to push this across the industry). Intel is also supporting a documentary called Merci Congo, by Paul Friedman. It comes out in a few months, and we go to see part of the trailer. Definitely one to watch. Check out (though currently the site appears down) or

20160106_040456158_iOSThe show closed with another musical performance from AR Rahman and a chorus of other singers and musicians.


It was bad. Here’s a great summary:

That’s all for me tonight! Off to the show tomorrow!

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