MY CES JOURNAL
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FRIDAY, JANUARY 7
Whew! What a day. My friends and family won't believe this, but I've had enough of gadgets for a while. What an awesome display of EVERY electronic gizmo imaginable. CES is way too big to be seen in two days, especially when you've got millions of CNET users depending on you to find the coolest products out there. I didn't get the chance to find a solution for my wireless printing, but I've got a pretty good wish list started for purchases in 2005. This has been the coolest opportunity. I really appreciate the help and enthusiasm from CNET's staff. They are some of the nicest people I've ever worked with, and so many of them told me how much they love their job. (They can rest assured I won't be trying to get it!) I'm exhausted, but I'm psyched about completing my assignment without any major disasters, and I'm looking forward to exploring Las Vegas for the next few days. Thanks, CNET, for a wonderful adventure. Charlotte Caldwell signing off.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 6
My adventure started Wednesday night. With just a quick flash of my CNET Backstage Crew pass, I was ushered to the 11th row to watch Conan O'Brien moderate Bill Gates's talk-show-style keynote at the Las Vegas Hilton Theatre. I was impressed with Microsoft's Media Center.
Lexar's Lightning thumb drive
TEAC's tiny 1.8-inch USB 2.0 hard drive
Ion USB 2.1/FireWire Tri-Select Instant Backup
Belkin's Wireless Pre-N router
On Thursday, I began my quest for the coolest new products in my categories. Though I was looking for networking and storage/burners, right off the bat, I was sidetracked by Visart's Album TV display--beautiful, framed television monitors for your wall or table top. Next stop, Pro Media International, where I found a 700MB CD-R with a "vinyl record" design and a black bottom--very cool. Then CTA Digital Accessories showed me their new Universal DVD player battery, DVB-EXT, featuring 12 hours per charge. RealWorld Technologies' Sicuro Digital Entertainment Center TV tuner card with S-Video and RCA ($149) seemed really easy to use and similar to Microsoft's Media Center, but you'll have to wait for the next model if you want to schedule recordings with your cell phone. Lexar's new Lightening thumb drive (18MB-per-second read speed, 24MB write) is a beautiful unit, available in 1GB and 2GB. TEAC has a really sweet external 1.8-inch USB 2.0 hard drive that's smaller than a deck of cards. The 20GB or 40GB unit will be available in February for about $145 to $190. TEAC also showed me a beautiful DVD-RW/CD recorder (model DV-ROS, available in blue or white), with built-in software accessible on your TV or monitor via the included remote, and iLink and A/V in/out. Ion's USB 2.1/FireWire Tri-Select Instant Backup unit was just what I need: three programmable buttons for quick backups using the included Dantz software. By the way, this version of Retrospect was specifically customized for the unit. After being sidetracked briefly by Belkin's VoIP, I checked out their new Wireless Pre-N router, which provides 800 percent greater coverage than standard 802.11g. Netgear's new Storage Central is something I'd really like to take home with me. It shows up on your network as an IP address, and formatting is block-based, so Macs and PCs can access it without a problem. It has RAID1 mirroring, and you can do a remote backup, too. D-Link showed me their brand-new 40GB DSM-624H USB D-Link Wireless Central Home Drive.
At 2:15, I scurried through the maze of booths and people to get ready for my appearance on the CNET Next Big Thing panel. I was up with a Sony VP and the Intel marketing director and really enjoyed being in front of 500-plus attendees. I even got a few laughs when I talked about my four-year-old's PC proficiency, while my husband can barely operate a mouse.
I figured it was time to get ready for the CNET party at the Palms Ghost Bar, so I took my first monorail ride (all the way around since I missed my stop) back to the hotel. The party and bar was absolutely fabulous, and I met lots of cool, energetic, and classy CNET people. By 3:30 a.m. (5:30 my time), I was ready to call it a day. What an awesome experience!
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5
Hello, CNET readers. I'm Charlotte Caldwell, owner of WideEyed.com, a one-woman Web hosting company based in Lexington, Kentucky. It's exciting to be a part of CNET's Backstage Crew at the 2005 CES in Las Vegas, and I'm looking forward to reporting on the coolest, smallest, and most reliable storage devices at the show. I'm also hoping to zero in on the best networking devices, especially anything that will facilitate wireless printing through my Mac OS X and Windows XP Pro home-office network.
With more than 20 years in print production and desktop publishing and experience as a Mac network administrator for a design firm, I know what to look for in networking and storage equipment, and I can't wait to share the best treasures of CES 2005 with you.