CES 2010 at Technology Report

Over at the tech blog Technology Report we’ll have a lot of coverage leading up to and through the CES 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

A big thanks to the Aria Resort and Casino and Vdara Hotel.  These amazing new properties in the  Las Vegas CITYCENTER Project are sponsoring our CES 2010 coverage this year and into the show in January.

Aria will open in December and along with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel the Aria will feature the world’s most advanced guestroom technology along with CityCenter’s incredible WiFi footprint that covers the entire campus with broadband thanks to thousands of antennas and WiFi access points.

Over at Technology Report I’m going to feature a “First Timers Guide to CES” focused on people who have never been there and also some tips on how to find out the party and event schedules.   CES is one of the world’s largest conferences and even in these troubled economic times I’m sure that Las Vegas will be rockin’ with some amazing technology and events at the January 2010 CES.

For more about this please head over to Technology Report‘s CES 2010 coverage, starting …. now!

Bud Light Hardbat Classic at The Venetian in Las Vegas

The Hardbat Classic Table Tennis Ping Pong rumors are not only true, they are truly Table Tennis and it’s going to be Vegas, baby!

I’ll be competing in the Bud Light Hardbat Classic which starts this Friday at the spectacular Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.   Top prize is … wait for it …  $100,000.00   That’s  enough money to pay the interest on our blossoming national debt for … well…. a couple of seconds.   But never mind that….

I’ll try to keep up with some real time reporting via Twitter or here at the blog, though this may depend on data access at the venue and my own good or bad luck in the tournament.

There will be about a thousand players of all skill levels competing – many after winning their regional bar tournaments held around the USA over the past several months.   Even though I won our local tournament it wasn’t a qualifier for the big one, so I’m making my own way there after they opened it up to everybody.

There are also brackets for a special group of “stars” chosen by the Hardbat Tournament, another for walk in players, and one for “pros” who have a rating or have played in USTTA tournaments over the years.     Although I haven’t played in tournaments recently I was actually the USTTA National Table Tennis Champ in the “1300” rating category  in 1992   (ratings in Table Tennis are kind of like handicapping in golf).

The Bud Tournament is “over handicapped” , meaning that the very best players will have to spot a lot of points to lower ranked players – as many as 17 out of 21.    My take on this tournament  is that it will tend to favor  unrated players who are very experienced with the “pips out” type of rubber required at the Hardbat Classic.

Hardbat Classic Official Website

The Venetian Hotel

Follow the Tournament on Twitter

Follow the Killerspin Team on Twitter

Blogs are talking about the HardBat Classic in Las Vegas at the Venetian:

Spin Mantra

Tournament Guide Magazine

Leased Ferrari

License Magazine

Web Hosting Talk

Table Tennis Top

Las Vegas 1

CES 2008 coverage coming soon

The Consumer Electronics Show – CES 2008 – the number one technology event in the world, is coming up fast and I’m excited to go as a first time attendee/press dude.    One of the nice tech blogger press perks is I’m getting invited to a lot of cool parties all over Las Vegas.   There is so much activity it’s hard to get a handle on it all. Like Las Vegas, there are far more things available than you could possibly do in a single day.  

The whole city of Las Vegas is basically taken over by geeks, geek wannabes, and even major pop celebrities during the several days of CES excitement.  I just heard that Kevin Costner’s rock band will be performing at one of the award shows.  Thousands of exhibitors and about 140,000 attendees make this the world’s premier tech event, where many companies will showcase and release hardware and software and hope for a good reception, because a good showing at CES can make or break a small company and even some large ones. 

Sunday’s keynote will be by Bill Gates, but I have to admit I’m more excited to attend the Monster Cable retailer awards at the Paris Las Vegas where Mary J. Blige will be performing as part of the party.   Now *that’s* a party!

In addition to my take on the event hundreds of other bloggers and CNET and all the mainstream media will have a lot of good coverage. Even MSNBC’s bombastic Donny Deutsch will be blogging the event for his “Road to CES” specials for his show “The Big Idea” 

Hotel Booking Tip – day and date matter!

Today’s travel tip is about booking hotel rooms, especially in big cities, especially Las Vegas Nevada. DAY and DATE MATTERS! The chart below is for rooms at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino. This moderately priced, off the Las Vegas strip Hotel gained notoriety today as the location of O.J. Simpson’s armed nabbery of some OJ Memoribilia getting sold by some guy at a room at the Palace Station.

But the key travel point is that if you have *any* flexibility in your travel plans you can save a bundle on the *very same* hotel room. In this example staying weekends at the Palace Station can cost you two or ever *three times* as much as staying mid-week at the very modest $39. New Year’s Eve in the same room is going to run you $189! I stayed at the Las Vegas Hilton two years ago at about $55 per night but then moved to a Fremont Street place for my final night, saving over $100 dollars over the Hilton’s weekend rate and getting to see the nittier and grittier side of Downtown Las Vegas.

Differences like this are greater in Las Vegas than in most places, but the midweek and flexibility rules often apply even in rural America. How to make sure you get the best rate? There’s no golden rule, but generally the best approach is to surf early and surf often and ask a lot of questions of the property itself. In the case of places like the Palace Station this could save you hundreds of dollars.

1 $99

Powerball Lottery redux

OK, I’m mathematically confused again about whether there are unusual times when the *after tax expected return on a lottery ticket can be > $1*

Powerball website reports these odds for the Grand Prize:  1 in 146,107,962.00

I assume an extension of this means that you could *guarantee* a winning grand prize ticket if you bought a ticket with *every single possible combination*.  This would cost $146,107,962.     Now, the recent payout was way above this, about 341,000,000.    Even with a tax bite of 50%  if you were the *only winner* you’d be way ahead.      However, if there were other winners  you’d have to share but I’m not clear that the previous analysis I noted had taken a prize of this size into account.

So, anybody out there willing to lend me $146,107,961 ?   I *promise* to split the winnings with you!

Powerball? Think again.

Here’s a great summary of the expected return on a Powerball ticket *even when a big jackpot is in play*. I have not checked the math but assume he’s done his homework to note that it’s not a good idea to buy tickets even when, as is the case at this moment, a huge jackpot is in play (unless the lottery has proportionate entertainment value for you).

Note that the before tax returns might actually be positive in extraordinary cases (as I think exist right now), but after Uncle Sam nabs his chunk of huge winnings you’ll be down on this “investment”.

Mary is Meeker than yesterday on revenue estimates?

I’m still digesting this amazing story by Henry Blodgett  about how Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker’s seems to have 1) inadvertently miscalculated YouTube revenue potentials by a factor of *1000* and then,  adding insult to injured fuzzy math, seems to have reworked the calculation to “back into” a new number that is closer to the original than the one you’d get from the original assumptions.

I need to read her side of this but Blodget is no stranger to the perils of fuzzy math and I remain amazed at how few in the media question how the big players estimate this stuff.  This certainly indicates that for many years big players have used bogus valuations, fueled by the casino-like buying behavior of clients.     Without more critical review this will keep on trucking for some time.

Viva Las Vegas for Casino Profits

This Hotel Interactive article offers some great data about the Las Vegas Casino scene in terms of economic impact. As you’d think it’s a staggering cash flow – some 2.1 billion profit on 24 billion in revenues from the 274 properties in Nevada reporting more than a million in profit for the year.

Here are some notable items from this report:

Gaming accounts for 49% percent of total revenue = $11.8 billion.
Rooms = 20% = $5 billion
Food = 14%
Average revenue per casino hotel resort was $88 million (!).
Casinos paid $928 million in state gambling tax and license fees (!).

Slot machines accounted for 67% of gaming revenue.
Poker accounts for only 1.4 percent of gaming revenue.

The Las Vegas Strip: $14.9 billion revenues and profits of $1.25 billion.
Downtown Las Vegas: $1.2 billion in revenue and a profit of $140.6 million.

Hey, here’s my brief Las Vegas History based on the PBS show about Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Blog