Best of Shows

Two trade shows in three days. Wow.
It started Wednesday with MacWorld Expo. As mentioned here in an earlier post, I led a panel with Apple’s Ken Bereskin on Mac OS X Secrets. The panel went very well with a full house of about 200 people. We got to about half our tips in 90 minutes. Since we didn’t have a handout of all the tips, I made the mistake of promising that I would put them up on the web. So I’ll be spending some time doing that this weekend. And you’ll probably be seeing many of the tips on The Screen Savers eventually. There were some really cool ones.

We also covered a few key applications we really liked. Ken introduced me to a little utility for OS X (originally written for NextStep, OS X’s grandpappy) called LaunchBar. LaunchBar gives you access to any program, file, URL, or e-mail address on your computer in just a couple of keystrokes. Your hands never leave the keyboard. Command-Space starts the program then you enter the first few letters of the name of the item you want to open. LaunchBar narrows the options down as you type. It’s the most efficient way of working with a computer I’ve ever seen. I wish there were a version for Windows. Wouldn’t be too hard to write. Hint, hint.

I didn’t get much time at MacWorld Expo, but it was obvious that the new Macs, a revitalized Apple, and OS X have really awakened the Mac world. This show was noticeably more exciting than any in the past five years. More importantly for the company, Apple is winning converts for the first time in a long time with slick looking products like the new iMac, leading edge technology like the DVD-RW Superdrive, and, finally, competitive prices. OS X is UNIX with a pretty face ‘ and power users love it.

On Thursday I flew to Las Vegas to catch the last two days of the Consumer Electronics Show, CES. CES is starting to eclipse Comdex as the most important technology show of the year. It was huge this year, filling the one million square foot Las Vegas Convention center with 15,000 new products. I was struck this year by how digital tech is changing consumer electronics.

This year, as last, TechTV sponsored the Best of CES awards. There was quite a battle over the Best of Show award with the judges evenly split over the HipTop cell phone/PDA from Danger and the Moxi Media Center.

The HipTop is the size of a deck of playing cards and combines a GSM cell phone, GPRS data for web surfing and e-mail and a full elegant PDA with a keyboard and flip up screen. You can synch the PDA with the web over the GRPS link. It even comes with a tiny camera for sending still pictures over the network. One of the big cell phone providers will offer the HipTop this Spring for around $200. Only AT&T, Cingular, and Voicestream offer GSM in the US, and only AT&T offers both GSM and GPRS so my guess is that their deal is with AT&T Wireless, but Danger’s not saying. The judges awarded the runner-up prize to Danger, but it was a tough call.

The Best of CES winner was the Moxi Media Center. And rightly so. It combines all the functionality of a Tivo with a DVD player and CD ripper. You can store a ton of TV and music on the 80 GB hard drive, and best of all, with the little wireless remote units you can watch video or listen to your MP3s anywhere in the house. Moxi uses the new 802.11a wireless networking that can do 20-30 mbits per second. Echostar will offer Moxis for the DISH network (and presumably DirecTV if the sale goes through) by the end of the year.

All I can say is that I plan to buy both the HipTop and Moxi when they’re available later this year. Very cool.

19 Replies to “Best of Shows”


  2. Sorry about that. I upgraded the blog software and made a configuration error that blocked posting comments for the past 24 hours. I’ve fixed the problem, so please feel free to post away!

  3. How excited am I to be an Indianpolis resident to know that AT&T is lighting GPRS here before the coasts? FINALLY!

  4. Hey leo,
    It was great to meet you at CES and have you sign my book. The party at the best of CES was great and I had a awsome time and I hope to see you next year but bring morgan, martin, and kat, not to say you were not fun.

  5. the moxi system is cool, i want the new imac, drooling…sorry. check out my website, it is imcomplete, but i used a message in the blog for content, hope you enjoy and i hope to make a fully functional site with material about everything from sports to astronomy. here is the link, tell me what you think.

  6. I was just saying I’m going to buy a cell phone/PDA combo in the next year, when the devices get smaller and prices go down. The Hiptop still looks a little awkward, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
    Now I will only lose one gadget at the bottom of my purse instead of two.

  7. Thanks, for the scoop on CES. Interesting and cool products. Love the S.S. show and your site.

  8. Wow, the Moxi thing is cool (sounds cool anyway) and now I wonder if my Tivo is now the latest “laser disc” ??????
    (I still have one of those, too, sheesh.)
    Anyway, everyone who is out there buying up dvd’s, better put on the brakes, a friend of mine who was also at CES said that there will be yet another format to re-purchase those movies in a few years, yes, High Definition DVD’s of the very same movies you just bought on regular dvd last month! The newer players will be backward compatible and play older version dvd’s, though.

  9. Leo,
    Thanks for the CES coverage. I wanted to go, but am saving my pennies for JavaOne.
    The Moxi pick for Best of Show was perfect!
    Not a month ago, I had Dish TV installed. They had to drill into the house to bring the cable in and then they had to route it to two rooms. I told the installer that, soon, wireless technology would eliminate this horrible wiring exercise and allow a satellite subscriber to receive the signal anywhere in the house. I showed him how I could access the Internet with my notebook using LinkSys wireless router and a wireless PC card. I mentioned how 802-11a was almost 10 times faster than 802-11b, which would then be fast enough for video.
    I really think Moxi, and the flock of copy-cat competitors that will come, will change everything about how we view television and listen to music, but most importantly, how we view computers.
    Bill Gate’s vision for tablet computers makes no sense without high speed wireless access throughout the home. With wireless access, computers become untethered from the den or home office and can become more appliance-like. Even tasks as simple as maintaining shopping and to-do lists will be easier when items and tasks can be added from anywhere in the home.
    We certainly live in exciting times!
    Jack Frosch

  10. Leo – VoiceStream is the first US network to be fully GSM + GPRS enabled. AT&T is only lighting select markets at present.
    Check for the November VoiceStream Announcement.
    AT&T only has a handfull of markets lit so far – here’s their press release:
    So AT&T has GPRS in Michigan(major cities,) Chicago, Indianapolis and K.C. – VoiceStream is their entire network footprint.
    Now we can spend 2002 catching up with the rest of the world – get 2.5G while they are deploying 3G elsewhere. Looks like CDMA/TDMA have become the Betamax of the 2000’s.

  11. Those poor weather persons…..
    This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for
    2 days and a very embarrassed female news anchor who
    will, in the future, likely think before she speaks.
    What happens when you predict snow but don’t get any….
    True story… they had a female news anchor who, the
    day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn’t,
    turned to the weatherman and asked “So Bob, where’s
    that 8 inches you promised me last night?”
    Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the
    crew did too they were laughing so hard!

  12. in regards to yesterday’s shooting in grundy,va. yesterday at 1:15 pmest, six people were shot at a loaw school in grundy, the dean of the shool along with a professor and student died with three more wounded and in serious condition.
    grundy is like marion, which is where i live, placed about forty minutes from my home, it is a small town with small schools, a coal mining community. many of the people that live here are shocked by what happened, we expect things like this to happen somewhere else not here.
    the shooter was a disgruntled student who had failing grades and was soon to be expelled. he is 42 and was wrestled down by other students before anyone else could be hurt. i do not know the victems but would hope that people pray for the survivors and families of those slain.

Comments are closed.