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CTIA--Gear and clothing in New Orleans

reporter's notebook Did Boingo's Sky Dayton change suits between last year's cell-phone-cum-Interet conference and this year's? Apparently not. Also: Flushable gear.

reporter's notebook NEW ORLEANS--Sky Dayton left center stage at this week's Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association conference with a Reese's peanut butter cup in his pocket and the sting of being caught wearing the same outfit two years in a row.

Videotape captured the sartorial gaffe. A video clip was played of Dayton's appearance at last year's convention to reintroduce him and his company, Boingo Wireless, to this year's crowd.

In the clip, Dayton was wearing a black sweater, white T-shirt and beige khakis, the same outfit he was wearing on stage this week at the Ernst Morial Convention Center here.

"I'd like to compliment you on your new sweater" quipped Tom Wheeler, president of the CTIA. Wheeler was interviewing Dayton on stage.

The oversize Reese's came into play at the end of the 20-minute chat. Dayton calls the ongoing merging of Wi-Fi and cellular networks "the peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate thing," a reference to the old Reese's ad campaign about a surprising and initially unwelcome combination that turns out to be tasty after all.

Wheeler presented him with the candy bar as a parting gift.

Phone crushing
Some people download icons of furry creatures to serve as a background for their cell phone's screen. Others fill their tiny screens with just their name and phone number.

Skip Speaks, chief executive of handset maker Kyocera, does neither. He's adorned his phone's screen with the words "Crush Samsung," he said.

At least his phone wasn't broken. One handset maker unveiled a new cell phone with a screen that swivels 180 degrees until it faces outward. It's meant to make it easier for people to show off photos or videos.

Alas, as the vendor tells it, someone thought they had the "swivel phone" in their hands and tried to see what all the fuss was about. But he actually had the wrong phone, and wrenched it nearly in two finding out.

A rosy glow
The aforementioned Tom Wheeler would like to set the record straight: He's not pregnant.

Never one to miss a straight line, Wheeler was asked before the conference began whether he'd be announcing something of a "personal nature" to start things off. It was a stumblebum way of trying to confirm his supposedly upcoming departure as CTIA president.

"Something of a personal nature? Like, 'I'm pregnant?'" he responded. "No, I can put that rumor to rest. I'm not expecting."

Not only was the question badly phrased, it was badly timed. Wheeler had already announced his pending departure a few days earlier.

Ted Turner isn't called "Captain Outrageous" for nothing.

During his hour-long address to CTIA Wireless 2003 attendees on Wednesday, the air conditioning units made a loud whirring sound as they kicked into high gear.

"The war must have started," Turner said.

When interviewer Wheeler asked him about his previous failures, Turner suggested "my marriages."

And with his hour nearing its end, he suggested his own wrap-up question: What would he put on his tombstone?

"I have nothing more to say," he said, and left the stage about one minute later.

Swag that's flushable
What would a convention be without swag--the pens, hats, T-shirts and other baubles that vendors give away for free to attract visitors to their booths.

The prize for best giveaway goes to Nextel Communications, which announced a new business relationship with plumbing company Roto-Rooter at the show. To commemorate it, they were giving away coffee mugs shaped like toilet bowls, emblazoned with the Roto-Rooter logo.