April 22, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Gadget Guy

Time for the CES 2009 Keynote. I’m sure by now you’ve heard about it, or heard what was discussed. No? Yes? Doesn’t matter, because you haven’t heard what I have to say, so pay attention. The line to get in was, how shall I say, short. As a matter of fact, I really had to work hard to find a way to get a photo that made it appear to be busy. In retrospect, I can’t figure out why that was the mindset I was in, but I will confess now, the photos you see here, were taken with the explicit desire to make things look, well, full.

Yea, that’s about the best I could get. Mind you, this was the line for Press, which you would expect to be even more jammed up than the place where the “others” were waiting. I still can’t help but also point out, that in this line, the illustrious members of the Press, with their Mactops, er, Laptops, sat quietly and waited. I ended up surrounded by a group of Austrian reporters, whom I felt quite comfortable with. We all seemed completely at peace with using our jackets as pillows and simply sprawling out on the dirty carpet for a rest. Security seemed high, and they even brought by sniffing dogs a few times to check on us. Fortunately, the dogs were sniffing for bombs or drugs and not for BS, because after an hour sitting around people waiting for the keynote, listening to how each of them knew exactly what was going to be announced, there was no shortage of it to find. Alas, we were told to stand and file into the main room for the shindig.

I was fortunate enough to be near the front of the line, and the seat I quickly snagged reflected it. I was dead center and a handfull of rows back. The room was flooded with a blue light, somewhat of a cool, light, giving me the feeling I was in a scene of the Little Mermaid and was under the sea. Some super seats were there for the picking, but somehow, even though no people occupied the seats, they were being held for people clearly more important than I.

Sigh, so it goes. I found the next best seat and plopped myself down, and did what every other person was doing. I waited.

After the usual introductions were made, the guy we were really all there waiting for came up onto stage. The Man. The Microsoft Man. The Steve Ballmer man.

Bottom line, Steve did a good job. There wasn’t anything earth shattering to discuss, but he talked about Microsoft, about how he is “A PC” and the like. Windows 7 is coming to public Beta and the Microsoft Mantra about the screens. They want to bring together the TV, the Cell phone and the PC screen. Sync it all over. Your stuff everywhere. Cool. Then he brought out this chick, to talk about Windows 7

If I had to predict, they will be having this gal do more public speaking. She was cute, seemed confident and most importantly she appeared to actually know about the product she was discussing.

Windows 7, Windows Live, lots of goodies all coming to fruition. Good stuff. Windows 7 is like Vista but slimmer and trimmer. It will work faster and utilize less system resources. She said they learned from Vista what to add and what to take away from an operating system. I bet that was a lot of lessons. Next they decided to show off some young talent. Using Xbox they brought out a youngling to show just how easy it was to actually write and create your own video game.

This was the turning point of the Keynote. It was mildly amusing to see this kid drag, drop and click around as she manipulated her own private virtual world. However, it seemed to go on a bit long. The distant chuckle from one person soon turned to the shaking of heads by many. This type of gameplay was clearly not for everybody. A saw a few people begin to walk out, turn and then walk out. They were still playing up there. Finally, the game play ended and Steve came back to chat once more.

He wanted to leave us for the night with some chit-chat about the future. Where technology was going and things we could expect. This was quite vague and after counting 5 people who were getting up and walking out, I stopped counting and just tried to find focus in what I was hearing. Steve decided to bring out one last person, to show us just how futuristic things could be. This young lady brought out a piece of cardboard to show us how, perhaps, maybe, someday, it could be, technically possible, to have a computer screen this thing and flexible.

In this demo, they were showing how doctors could use screens like this to advance medical research. This display was painfully long, non-focused and for the heck of me, I couldn’t see what it had to do with, well, anything. Steve cleared it up a bit, when he commented that perhaps this was the future of electronic books. Save us all.

I’ve seen Bill Gates do the CES Keynotes in the past, and he did hold the house. The information was on topic and it was easy to follow the fact that at the end of the day, the keynote was about Microsoft. I never saw anybody get up and leave. Unfortunately, this keynote left me with more questions than answers. I have been hearing about Microsoft’s plans for the future, well, since the past. I keep hearing about where they are going, but, well, I suppose I’m still waiting for them to actually get there. Ballmer did fine, the best anyone could do with what they had to work with. I suppose, at the end of the day, Microsoft wasn’t there to announce any major breakthroughs, and as the keynote presenter at the Consumer Electronics Show, that’s what we’re hoping to hear about.

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