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Tech Culture: Digital City: CES 2011 Special Edition
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Tech Culture: Digital City: CES 2011 Special Edition

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If you missed our special live Digital City show from the CNET Stage at CES 2011, now you can catch it here. Dan is joined by G4TV's 'Attack of the Show' co-host Kevin Pereira for a wide-ranging discussion ranging from post-apocalyptic cellphone reception to high-tech digital name tags.

-Hey everybody, welcome to a very special edition of the Digital City podcast. So special, I'm the only guy from the show actually here. Our buddy, Scott, cannot be here today. So, joining me, I need 3 people to replace them. I've got my good buddy, Rich Brown from CNET; Jeff Bakalar, a CNET podcast legend; and of course, Kevin Pereira from Attack of the Show who I usually only see across the video transom 'coz occasionally, I beam into your program, so it's super nice to have you here in person- -Appreciate it. -with us in actual real life. -Thank you for having me. -How is Vegas treating you so far? -How it is really? -I just showed a 15-second iPhone snippet to this gentleman of my night, last night, which was the wildest bus ride I've ever had- -That's awesome. -through the destination. -[unk] not say for work- -Yeah, I still smell like [unk] and glitter and sadness. So, I apologized in advance. -You do have a glitter on. -Yeah. I do. I do. -Okay. That's a positive part of being here in Vegas, but I think the negative part is what I'd like to focus on being a generally negative person. This is the biggest Wi-Fi cellphone coverage, 3G coverage meltdown. -Meltdown. -As if we needed- -with the entire universe. -As if we needed another reason to hate AT&T, just- Look, I mean, you have more bars which is fantastic. They just don't need to anything. -They don't mean anything. -Yeah, they mean nothing. -It's all visual. -It's eye candy. -This is what happens when we get 50,000 nerds together in one place, and of course, everyone knew this was gonna happen, kinda like a big snowstorm in New York. -Yeah. -Everyone knew. A couple of the snow was gonna screw up the planes and screw up the planes and screw up the, you know, the problem, but oddly no one did anything. -No one really did anything. -I'm not really sure what the solution is. -It fall down, is that's what's going on? -I have not been able to, listen, text messaging, just basic phone-to-phone texting- -Yeah. -is usually the most reliable backup method of communicating with someone. -Yeah. -I have not been able to do that. -And hope that someone would have the foresight to, like, helicopter in more service- -or tower. -How does that work? I don't know. Can you do that? -I've resorted to semaphore, I'm just flagging everything everywhere I can. -I think we should just tell everyone the Verizon iPhone came out today, so they were just get off of AT&T and then the signal will be a little clear. -Right. -I'm at the point where I have to carry around 2 3G modems. I've got an AT&T one and a Verizon one just hoping that one of them will work and you just set them both up and they've kind of ping-pong back and forth between them as they gain and loss service. And there's an ultra backup, I'll tether my phone- -Yeah. -which will kill the battery and make it last about 45 seconds, but I make it that last little live blog message up. -And the extra $20 charge on the credit card for that service of course. -It's all in the service of what we do here for the good people of- -of Las Vegas. -We are surrounded by the most cutting edge technology in the world and none of it works. -It's like [unk]. -None of it ever works. -This is what's gonna like after the apocalypse. We're all gonna be like, "I don't get any service." Oh, it's just the same as it was before." -"Oh, it's just like CES." -Yeah. There's really no difference here. Live blogging, that is like the big thing now. And every time we go to one of these press conferences, we have to like, everyone has to whip out their laptop. No one is looking at the guy on the stage. -No. -You're just doing like this. And of course, you don't know if your messages are getting through or not. -Right. -But it kind of takes where the entire point is happening in elaborate stage show. -Nobody- -You kind of like at the guy. -Nobody looks at the guy until he yells at you to get off the Wi-Fi because you're sucking up- -That's the other. -[unk] the demo he's trying to run. -That is the other social faux pax. Can everyone stop doing things on the internet while I'm demonstrating this cool internet technology [unk] that I want people- I want you to tell people about instantly on the internet. -We have this bulletproof- -So, we could have been a round-robin. -full-proof streaming method that absolutely isn't working now because someone's playing Angry Birds and uploading their high score. Awesome! Thanks. Thanks manufacturers. -My buddy, Darren, had the perfect solution. He had some great ideas for like funny Twitter messages, but whether or not, you think it's a great idea to have a funny Twitter message as a another topic. So he had a little pen and a pad, and when he thought of something, he would sit down and right it down real fast. I don't know if he counted the characters out exactly. But then later, he'd get his phone and we had a spare minute and he had service, he type them in, and I think the last one was about, "If you're going to make it rain in Vegas, don't use casino chips 'coz they may hurt." So, he thought that was good enough to write down and save for later, -Yeah. -and then post. -That is nice. -The analog tweeting. -I will say that connectivity issues aside does a lot of crazy stuff here. -Yeah. -They always say that- Jeff, is a big gaming guy. Obviously, you're a big gaming guy while Rich is a huge PC gaming guy. They always say CES is not a big gaming show, but this year, maybe it is, right? -Did you see Jerry Rice's Dog Football? Anybody see that- -Yeah. -at the digital experience. You choose your real-life quarterback. You choose your breed to be your team, and you play dog football. -Finally. -It's like- -Well, that's Jerry Rice. That's not what we want from you. -Was he here in person? -I think he was. Yeah. -He was doing some interviews. -One of the celebrities. I've heard of him. I heard 50 Cent was here, but I haven't seen him. -Yeah. -And I heard Darth Vader was here and that's really about it. -The Darth Vader was here. -Were they some tall guy or is it the costume? -Or that was another Lady Gaga costume gone awry 'coz I know she was here as well, but I've not seen any of those celebrities wandering the hall so far. -Well, Seth Rogen was at the- -Okay. You know what, I did see that. Yes. But everything was blurry 'coz I didn't get a pair of those 3D glasses. I arrived too late. But did you guys see gaming? Was gaming present? I mean, I know it was for hardware manufacturers like on the console side of things. As I saw, liquid-cooled Xbox lens smashed into PC rigs. -Yeah. -But did you guys see applications or new gaming software or? -No. That's- -Not [unk] software. Yeah. -That's really the- -The things were void. -The 3DS, they're walking around with that. Jeff, you talk to Reggie about that earlier today? -Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I think obviously that's the biggest product, you know, here that I was able to get in my hands on. -You seen it in person before? -I had not. -Really. -And this was the first time I played it. -And- -I saw it back at E3, but I haven't seen it again since. -Yeah. It's- The best way I can describe it is sort of like, remember, Magic Eye where, you know, what, I mean, like you have to like cross your eyes a little bit to see it. -[unk] man, you're doing it wrong. -And then like in [unk]. That's sort of what the effect feels like. Nothing pops out. It's more depth in. -Yeah. -So- -But how is the viewing angle 'coz always find with this especially glassless 3D technologies, you have to put a color on or some sort of restrictive neck brace- -Right. -so that you don't break that magic 10-degree viewing angle. -I would probably not recommend breathing while playing this. -Really? -I mean, you know- -That is-- Is that locked in? -It's sensitive. The angle is pretty tight. But, you know, the effect is still there and it takes sort of like a half second for your eyes and your brains to sort of like handshake into it, you know what I mean? -Right. -And- -To negotiate the matrix. -Exactly, once you connect. And once that you have that effect, it really is cool. -The first time you see it is really kind of amazing. -There's really is a wow- There is a wow factor. -But then since then, we were at the Sony press conference and they have those little 3D screens on everything now- -Right. -on the flip-style cam, the bloggy- -It's almost old news. -So, now it's kind of old news. If that thing will come out in November, it'd be the most awesome thing ever. -I mean, I still think- -In March, maybe lesser. -Even March. But it's still, you know, widely available. It's gonna be, you know, it will be like that first product that everyone gets their hands on. It's affordable or we assume it will be affordable. But, you know, I think it will make us blush for sure. I mean, Nintendo, if there's one thing Nintendo knows how to do it's make a portable gaming system. -Just say that you don't have to wear glasses with it. It's- -Of course. -That's much easier to digest. -Absolutely. -No eyeglass 3D stuff here. I had here this morning. We did this crazy like 17 laptops in 20 minutes show- -Yeah. -where he had this Toshiba 3D laptop prototype. -Uh huh. -It's not a real product. Who knows if they'll ever make it. It's a 15-inch laptop. It's go a no eyeglass 3D screen, and the way it works is it uses the webcam to see your face and you can actually get a picture in picture view just for the demo purposes, and you'll see it circle your eyes. So it knows where your eyes are. -Really? -And as you move your head slightly, it will adjust the stereoscopic image, so it's always in focus for you. And, you know what, it's not ready to go yet. -Right. -But it's pretty darn good to see no eyeglass 3D on a big 15-inch screen that actually kind of works. -It's amazing how fast we went from mandatory glasses. A year later, forget about it. -Now, it's mandatory no glasses. -Yeah. -And I just want a 3D and I got all those goofy glasses now. -That's right. -You bought those? -He did. -Listen, I've realized something today- -That's bad news. -I'm a complete technology hypocrite. -Yeah. -I was very skeptical about the iPad. And then we got one in the office like a couple of days before it came out, and present day, I was like, "Damn, I'm gonna go buy one." So I totally backtracked on that. And then I was badmouthing 3D all year. "Nobody wants these glasses. It's ridiculous." When my TV died in November, what I do? I went out and bought a 3D TV. So- -Did you buy it for the 3D or did you buy it because that particular TV supported it because most higher-end TVs do now? -I bought it 'coz it was a great TV and I figured might as well get the 3D because not really that much more expensive anyway. And I haven't used it that much. Whenever somebody comes over, I go, "Hey, wanna see some 3D TV? -Right. -And they're all actually universally amazed. -No. Not really. I'm good. Thanks. -Putting glasses on. -Just swimming around. -I have 3 pairs, but, sorry, dawg, I did charge the last ones. You're gonna cross-eyed and have a migraine at the end of this football game. Enjoy! -I gotta know in advance when people are coming over, so I can just borrow more pairs of glasses from work. -Yeah. -And then, I could just have more set up for people. -There you go. -Let's have the glasses discussion and rather quickly because I've see LG had a great passive, the polarized lens version which obviously you can't tilt your head too much or you'll loose the image. But I thought that the picture quality was much better. I didn't see the ghosting, the artifacting, the double image with that, but it's still glasses. You're still wearing them. I know you have that on your set, but can we officially say no to that technology and focus only on the glassless ones? -Yeah, I said no last. As I said, "No. This is crazy." You know, they show images of the whole family wearing, the dog with the glasses on. It's like alright, "No one will do that." -So why this is happening? -Why are they doing this still? -They wanna sell more TVs. Everybody bought a flat screen TV now. And then, they're like, "Oh crap! How do we sell more of this?" -Right. -That's the hook. -The reason why the glasses don't work is it's almost psychological in a way the group viewing experience not to get too deep- -Oh, it's totally psychological. -There's a social utility to that. It doesn't matter what you're watching. It matters that the four of us are sitting around watching something. So when you loose your peripheral vision which these big glasses do, you lose that kind of social function of the group viewing experience. -It's right. It sort of just, you know, you sort of get isolated. You know, it's you and the television and you sort of like, "Oh, I got my buddy next to me, but I don't wanna look away." -I don't wanna see them shutter. -Exactly. -And that's why it works in the theaters because you're there. You're there for a reason. You're locked in. You're enjoying that big screen. -Yes. -There's no expectations that you're gonna be looking around having a chat, yelling at the dog. Whatever's you're doing in the living room. -and talking in the movie theater, "Hey! Did you see that? But what did they say? What's going on there? What happen to that guy?" Go back to gaming real fast. Actually, I had something else from gaming here this morning. I had the Razor Switchblade- -Uh huh. -which is this prototype, little tiny gaming PC laptop. It's a clamshell. I've actually got a photo right up here on this machine if they wanna flip to it real fast. We had it here in person this morning. -Uh huh. -And it's Intel Atom-based right now. Who knows what it'll actually be, but it's got a little screen and then they keyboard has a screen underneath it. And if you come up and can give you a custom keyboard layout for any game you play. We have like Warcraft going on there, so it showed up the custom Warcraft keys. And as a concept, I think it's pretty cool. Again, nobody knows that these kind of prototype piece will ever actually make it out there. -Right. -But it's probably the single coolest piece of gaming hardware that's uniquely here at the show. Not counting 3DS 'coz that's been around for awhile. -Right. -I just have a hard time wrapping my head around how I'll actually use that. -If you're a World of Warcraft addict on-the-go, likely it is. -No. I get it. -[unk]. I walked away- -He pulled the plug. He pulled the plug. -WoW addicts don't go anywhere. -That's the first rule of law, you stay and you play. -And you get the little- -That's [unk]. I'll give you that. -Now, Rich, as a PC gaming guy- -Yeah. -what's better for sort of on-the-go PC gaming, a little clamshell thing like that that plays the games locally or something like OnLive that will stream it from the Cloud if you've seen this OnLive Cloud Gaming service that actually kind of works? -Yeah. I like OnLive. I'm a fan of it, and the Cloud Gaming concept in general, I think it's pretty cool. As far as- But the question is, how you gonna play that on the go? You know what I mean, like, I hate cellphone gaming. Angry Bird is fun, fun, but, for the most part, like, it's- if you are a core gamer that's, I maybe going out in a limb here, but I don't think that's related to the experience you want. -No. -Something like that is probably closer to that idea, you know. Where it's got a screen. It's got a keyboard. You can kind of focus in and controls a little bit better. I'm not sure if that particular concept or product is the answer, but something along those line is probably a little more on par with like what the mobile PC gamer might be looking for, and I'm actually going for laptop. -We move forward into something else eventually. -Yeah. Yeah. -I think a lot of the cool prototypes we see here eventually see life in kind of a different form. Like that you- Do you guys remember the Lenovo U1 hybrid from last year? -Yeah. It runs with the Android tablet. -runs the Android tablet that plugged into like a keyboard, but it became a Windows laptop. -Right. -And, oh, this is great, I think we give it a Best of category award and then it never came out. -That's right. -So, it's back this year as an official Android tablet not like a Linux tablet that plugs in, and supposedly, actually coming out in, I think, the extra year they took makes it a lot better. -Right. -And- -And we'll likely see Honeycomb on it just like everything else which is fine. But I like the notion of, look, Windows 7, I'm sorry. It's a poor tablet operating system. Every example that I've seen of it is underwhelming at best. They really need to re-skin it and get the applications and the core OS. Good for touch devices. So, I think it was a smart decision to make it the netbook if you will with Windows 7 when you detach then it goes to Android. That was the right move. -And, I think we're seeing that with a lot of the tablets. You know, the tablet versus laptop sort of argument is one that we've been literally throttling each other over- -Right. -in the CNET office over the year. I think we're seeing the Windows tablet that we're seeing here at CES all have custom UIs. -Uh huh. -take a super, super- It's super important and the- so they matched up with the Android once basically. They're trying to see if we can give you the same experience and you can get on your corporate VPN and your corporate IT guys will allow you to have it. I know people that work in very big companies were very upset they can have like iPhone for instance- -Right. -because the IT guys just won't let them. So I think you wanna have that cool factor plus knew that IT factor. We got a couple of minutes left. I have a quick, kind of almost pool question. Every person I talked to here if I do like a radio [unk] or something, they say, "Hey! At the back of CES, in the back corner, there's always cool little wacky things." One of you seen like that. I go, "Well, I haven't had the chance to go out there, yet." Have you guys seen any of that wacky stuff like, I don't know, robot legs or I don't know? -Jerry Rice Football. -Jerry Rice Football- -Dog Football. -Dog Football, best in the show. The RoboSphere or the RoboOrb, did you guys see that? -No. -The iPhone-controlled little spherical ball. -Oh, yes. -Connects locally with Bluetooth that has an LED inside. You can select the color that you want it to be and you can drive it around. It will certainly enrage your cat, but it was a fun little toy. We had it on stage and demoed it and I thought that was a real fun device. Forget wireless streaming for a second. Forget tablets. Forget 3D. Let's have some fun with technology and that's what that was. -Yeah. -Yeah. -I got handed one just before I walked down here, which is why I bring this up. It is a video name tag. If you're an employee somewhere and you have a magnet here and you clip it on like this, and it's from a company called The [Unk] Group and it's supposed to run for 6 to 8 hours and you can put whatever video up you want under your name, whatever you're advertising. So, you know, it may not run all day. But I figured, if you have to walk around with a name tag for more than 8 hours, you might need to find a new line of work. -Might as well be flashy, though. -That is my hidden [unk] pick for the show. -Hidden [unk] award. -Hidden [unk] award. -That's what we should have. -Alright, I think they're giving us the- They're just about giving us the high sign here, so I'd like to thank Rich Brown for getting on stage with me- -Thanks for having me. -probably the first time ever in all those years. -[unk]. -Nice. -Jeff Bakalar from CNET 404 Podcast, always willing to step in when there's a shortage. I appreciate that. -Of course, my pleasure. -You pulled my butt out to the fire more times than I could imagine. And Kevin, here in person, not over the TV, always a pleasure to see you. -Certainly. Thanks for having me. -I'm Dan Ackerman and you can watch this regular Digital City show every Monday 3 p.m. Eastern time which I guess is noon for you West Coast types and it's at cnet.com/live or digitalcity.cnet.com. So, that's just about it for us today. Stick around because up next we've got Brian Tong who is still live on the floor with the backpack cam somewhere out there at CES and we're gonna check out what he is doing right now. Thank you everybody for tuning in.

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