Scoble on Donny Deutsch’s “The Big Idea”

OK, so I’m not getting to meet Donny Deutsch here at CES (because he’s not here). But glad to report that Scoble and the Bloghaus Bus o’ Bloggers will be on “The Big Idea” the show tonight on MSNBC.

Blogging is a pretty big story here at CES and I’m hoping to get some comments next week from CES CEO Shapiro about his decisions to bring bloggers in as a “separate but equal” press category. In fact the second hand stories I’ve heard indicate that the press actually was complaining they couldn’t get in the blogging lounges which were generally less crowded and more comfortable than the press rooms (they are allowed them in now).

I just talked to Plantronics who is sponsoring the lounges. She said last year they did have a blogger lounge but it was out in a tent and not as comfortable as this year’s lounges. Thank you Plantronics.

Another blogger upgrade are all the “blogger only” parties here. Intel sponsored the one yesterday at the Atomic Testing Museum, and Monster the night before at a Paris Hotel Suite. Hey Silicon Valley – YOU could learn a lesson on how to treat bloggers from the CES sponsors, though CES has the advantage of filtering folks via the cost to get to Las Vegas. This effectively reduces the number of folks who, for example, might just start writing the day before they got here. I’m hoping to ask CES if they did any screening for eligible tech bloggers. I understand there are about 200 registered here as “bloggers”, but most of the blog folks are here as Press because they are with other media outlets.

FastMoney with … Scoble!

CES – the dark side?

Adam is clearly not enjoying himself as much as I am here at CES.

Aside from the digital picture frames… What you talkin’ bout Willis?!

I’m pretty unsympathetic to the silly life challenges faced by those of us who can afford a trip to CES. There are technology guys here from Kenya which is now falling into chaos after questionable elections, and Rwandan’s President who watched (and stopped as opposition forces leader) the butchery of almost an entire culture. What are they to make about concerns that CES isn’t hip or cool enough for snotty suburban tech elitists? Sure, have some wrath – but use it to tool up those without technologies rather than bash those who have too much of it.

Mary J Blige Rocks the Monster Retailer Awards at Paris Las Vegas

You have new Picture Mail!

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Mary J Blige was awesome last night as she performed after the Monster Retailer awards party held at the Paris Casino Ballroom. Monster wasn’t a name I thought of as a technology giant but they sure make a mark here at CES, often having the best entertainment of the conference as part of this awards show.

Wikipedia says that MJB got her start recording in a mall soundbooth. A friend shipped her recording to record folks. Some 23 Grammy nominations and 6 Grammys later Blige is one of the finest and most respected R&B performers in the world.

Cadillac Provoq debuts at CES Las Vegas 2008

Cadillac Provoq debuts at CES Las Vegas 2008
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

The Provoq is a concept car, and will be ZERO emissions, using fuel cell technology.

GM CEO Rich Wagoner’s Keynote here at CES 2008 contained some impressive innovation in the automobile space. He showcased OnStar innovations which to GE’s credit they started developing some ten years ago. (In a case like OnStar I think people need to sort of socially evolve into acceptance of the new technology rather than pushing for adoption). OnStar moves into China this year.

He brought a Chevy VOLT hybrid on stage and noted developments in that space, and showed film of the DARPA challenge, recently won by the GM “Boss” adapted SUV Autonomous vehicle which is here, on a test track at the Convention Center. I just talked to another blogger who’d ridden in it and he said it was remarkable to be riding in a car with no driver.

One of GM’s themes in the presentation was that the automobile in some ways is now a giant computer, and that this change offers new flexibility in design and usability, especially now that GPS can be integrated into the driving experience. GPS is a technology that appears to be going completely mainstream without us even really noticing. Auto navigation, phones, cameras, and more.

As a finale Wagoner introduced the Cadilla Provoq, a new high mileage high style offering from GM.

Meraki – Mesh networking & portable solar power. Awesomely innovative.

Meraki – Mesh networking & portable solar power. Awesomely innovative.

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Sanjit Biswas, CEO of startup Meraki. Speaking on bringing technology to developing world.

Meraki was a real standout here at CES in terms of bringing cheap, powerful innovation to the connectivity space. They are using mesh networking to bring cheap connectivity to remote areas like a Chilean fishing village (see this mesh network real time at Surprisingly they are also after some pretty big markets such as San Francisco, where even Google is conspicuously failing to bring free ad supported wireless broadband .

TechCrunch noted about a week ago:
The company expects that it will only cost a few million dollars to cover all of San Francisco, compared to the $14 to $17 million estimated for the Earthlink/Google plan. “There is a pretty drastic cost advantage,” says CEO Sanjit Biswas. “Our network will come in at the low, single-digit millions,” he predicts. Meraki will even offer residents free repeaters to amplify the WiFi signal inside their homes, and shoulder the entire cost itself rather than ask for public funds.

CES 2008 South Hall Convention Center

CES 2008 South Hall Convention Center

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Several companies here have video screen glasses and I’ve tried a few of them. Not impressed so far although I did not try the total immersion gaming specs that might make some sense.

I think this technology is simply not ready for prime time. I’m not convinced we are designed to pull information in this fashion – part of the reason the glasses tend to have about a 40 degree field of view “screen” rather than full view, which can create motion sickness. None appeared to connect to internet (via smartphone seems simplest) although this would not be a big deal and we’ll see it soon. I think I’d rather watch a tiny ipod screen than wear these – but maybe it’s just me? Fashion seems to be important to the mass market, but I’m not convinced people really *want* this techology – do they?

CES 2008: Hemp Webcams!

CES 2008: Hemp Webcams!

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

This one got a double take from me so I thought a picture would work better than a description. Turns out the company makes high end personal webcams in designer colors like wood, steel, and … hemp?

It’s probably an oversimplification, but CES is almost divided into two camps of companies – perhaps a few hundred global players like Intel, Microsoft, GM who spend hundreds of thousands if not millions advertising and partying and working at this show and getting most of the press buzz, combined with thousands of little players from all over the world. Part of the CES appeal to those folks – who get very little media attention – is that they can meet with suppliers and buyers and presumably learn about the latest in their industry as well.

The diversity is staggering here – from concept cars to robot lawn mowers to ipod cases. From junk to the latest good stuff.