I have never really enjoyed Las Vegas very much.  Too much glitter and artifice.  I always think of broken gamblers dying in lonely bedsits.  But I must say that I have really enjoyed my day in the desert today.  Perfect antidote to the foot of snow around my Hut.  And going to CES without ruined sleep, jetlag, tired feet, or the endurance test of having yet another demo from yet another salesman without being able to break in to ask the only question that I really wanted answered.

Instead I have had demos of everything I wanted to see.  The aisles have looked fairly crowded but no-one jostled me. I have asked my questions , and even had sensible answers to some of them.  I started by working out exactly what I wanted to see: always a good move at a huge trade show but one that I seem to rarely accomplish.  I settled on a day of looking at Readers: Copia, the Liquidvista prototype, MSI eReader, PlasticLogic QUE (one of the most impressive – and a Cambridge UK development!), the Skiff,  Spring Design’s Alex, the Booken Orizon, the Entourage Edge and the Microsoft Courier dual screen digital codex (why are we suddenly into that word “codex”? – it produces Leonardo da Vinci in my mind).

Then I thought, if I had time after all those stands, I would like to look at the Samsung display and evaluate the E6 and the E10.  And I missed Steve Ballmer of Microsoft using the HP Slate at the opening press conference (I didn’t have a ticket!) so I would rather like to catch up on that, as well as previewing the Dell Streak and Cydle M7.  Well , I did get to see the Ballmer demo, and I also visited those other stands.

And I had a ton of help.  Hats off to Matthew Bernius and his colleagues at the Open Publishing Lab at RIT for gathering all this stuff up in one place for me.  And three cheers for the great people at Engadget , Gizmodo and Teleread for doing the videos and demos and evaluations of all these things, and for answering my fool questions for all the world as if I knew what I was talking about (and to their communities, who spotted a sucker immediately).  And to Bobbie Johnson and the Guardian for getting me in to the Ballmer session and then restlessly videoing the crowded aisles and fevered sales pitches: quite beyond the call of duty.

So I am off to bed now.  A little tired but quite energized by what I have seen.  But there is just one thing I cannot work out.  If I was CES , wouldn’t I put all of these links and demos and ideas on my own site, and run it year round, and offer to continually update punters like me, and create a community which includes all who went to Vegas, and those like me who stayed at home.  The current CES site is a good news site but hardly an eCommerce, 365 days a year community experience.  In the past year I have spoken to two of the greatest business event operators in the world about this, and while they talk the talk of network connectivity they do little more.  One day the physical event will be the satellite activity, and the web will be the core: I hope they transfer their brands successfully before that happens.


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