Richi Jennings

CES cyclopaedia (and robotic reptile)

January 09, 2006 6:51 AM EST
In today's IT Blogwatch, we take a final, lingering look at the madness that was CES 2006. Not to mention some clever slithering robots ...

» Engadget has a special CES section. A quick sample: "Toshiba was showing off that concept laptop ... with a detachable display that communicates with its body by way of WiFi. It's also DLNA compliant so you can cruise around while watching video or interacting with your machine (so long as you don't get out of signal range). We got to handle the actual display part of the unit, and we have to confess, we fell a bit in love ... We've been hearing of Wireless USB for a while, but Seagate finally has a W-USB prototype 1.8-inch drive ... They're saying that they're about 12 months away from mass production, but we'll need see a lot more support for the spec before we can expect to give this drive some serious consideration. ... we spotted a neat little device at the Microyal Industrial table ... the 4-in-1 Health Fan Heater really caught our eye. Resembling a small bird cage, the HFH features a speed-adjustable fan that distributes heat, negative ions, and 'far-infrared rays' which we're sure will keep us from ever getting sick or dying. Price and availability are kind of pointless here, no?" [And many posts about dual core laptops]

» Gizmodo similarly has a CES section (natch): "Tiny DLP-based projector from Premier was very appealing ... can be run from an optional lithium-ion battery for over two hours ... The screen size was dialed in to around 30 inches or so and was not as bright as even a dull LCD (unlike many projectors that can get very near to flat-panel brightness), but considering the target market—folks who need a large screen on the go—it was ample. It was also light enough to be worn and wasn't much bigger than my hand ... At Intel’s ViiV showcase there was this… artwork?… that didn’t work. Basically those long tubes had glowing orbs inside, and by swinging them around, or rubbing them or something, it’s supposed to bring up different videos ... this works about as well my four-year-old remote control when the batteries are nearly dead. Just another example of the great things that are possible with ViiV."

» IGN: "A new technology from Toshiba promises to do the unthinkable and combine the best of CRT with the best of flat-panel displays. If we hadn't seen this impressive new tech for ourselves at CES 2006, we'd be quick to shrug it off, but having beheld it, we're here to confidently state that plasma and LCD better watch out ... The technology is called 'Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display' ... SED for short ... nothing else compares ... the deepest black levels we have ever seen on any television, including CRT - and these televisions are as flat as any plasma ... contrast ratio of 100,000:1 ... These babies are beautiful and nothing else that we've seen even comes close ... previous reports on the technology state that it can be mass-produced on a cheaper scale than competing plasma or LCD televisions ... you'll just have to take our word that this tech is going to deliver big in 2006." [So, as far as we can make out, SED is a CRT without the R or the T]

» Nicholas Carr goes on about Google Pack: "There's nothing particularly interesting or surprising about what's in the Pack - it's something of a dog's breakfast, actually - but that, I'm pretty sure, is by design. Google wants the initial version of the Pack to be inoffensive because the overriding goal is to get as many Windows users as possible to download it ... The Pack will enable Google to get its two desktop search tools - Google Desktop and Google Toolbar - onto more PCs and, in the process, to install a little trojan horse named Google Updater ... In other words, it gives the Googleplex a direct channel into your PC, bypassing Microsoft's operating system and updater ... Defaults have a big influence over how people operate their computers and thus over which browser and search engine they use - and defaults are often set when you install or update a program." [Enough about Google already]

» Tech Digest has a whole section on CES 2006 here are just a few: "Weighing just 2.4oz, the ElekTex fabric keyboard is light enough and compact enough to fit inside your pocket though you do have to bash the keys in order to get the text up on your mobile phone ... Skype and VoIP in general have been big themes this year ... Technically I suppose this offering from Netgear, purveyor of a huge amount of networking products, has a little more right to that title than most others ... All you need to use it is a wireless internet connection and a Skype account, then you enter your details into your handset and make free calls."

» JKOnTheRun:  "Betsy Weber was giving away copies of SnagIt! the best screen capture program on the planet. A new OQO with the Tablet Edition was being passed around for everybody to play with- I love the hinged hard cover case!"

Buffer overflow: And finally... Snake robots (our Antipodean blogwatcher says she won't be rushing out to buy one of these, seeing as they have quite enough of them in her part of the world)
Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at Also contributing to today's post: Judi Dey, our very own Antipodean.