Monday, January 7, 2008

Next up: CES 2008

Well, Rob and I enjoyed the snot out of tonight's Wire debut---it was only a little disappointing; I suppose that's always the case as we transition from one story line to the next. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long to know if McNulty survived the Season Break with his resolve to eliminate binge drinking and womanizing intact... I must say, I reacted rather badly to that. But I guess its appropriate, I was beginning to like him and we simply can't have that.

CES 2008
So with a whole week to wait for the next episode, what shall we be fired up about? The Consumer Electronics Show, 2008 for starters! Opens manana and runs through the 10th in Vegas. A geek bonanza, CES brings us glimpses of about-to-rollout or pre-market gadgets and techie pieces/parts and as a person who has attended far too many professional conferences, this is probably the only one that I would actually spend my own cash to attend. Alas, its for market professionals only so I can only hope that my esteemed brother-in-law will pump lots of info out for me. What I'm most looking forward to, personally, is the possibility of new manufacturing processes for solid state hard drives that would reduce the costs of mp3 players, laptops, iPods and iPhones in particular. Let's all cross our fingers and keep our eyes on the techie blogs this week. They should be humming! Its kind of like Christmas all over again...without the shopping!

Favorite Techie things recently
So you all remember, of course (of course!), that my iPod died rather inconveniently while I was in Canada and I was more than a little put out by it. I was actually so miffed that it took me a while to recognize a number of very nice improvements in the "Classic" line of high-capacity pods. First, at long last, you can continue to listen to your music while playing games on the devices (except for the music trivia thingie---doh!). I don't even want to comment on why that was a problem previously... Secondly, I had always been disenchanted with the on-board controls of the iPod versus the Creative Zen (which died inconveniently when Rob was hospitalized in Baltimore...). I see now that Apple has added a bona fide search utility (very handy in large collections; why did that take so long to figure out?) and infinitely improved control of on-the-fly playlist creation and editing. So with those things worked out, I have very little to grouse about except the cost which is still too high BUT---see CES 2008, above.

There's a new little flame in my heart for electronics. Its called the Kindle by the creators over at and it is amaaaazing. I bought one for the boy upstairs for Christmas and it took, oh, about 2 days to develop a full-out covetous rage for one of my own. It feels like a book in your hand, it reads so much like the printed page you won't believe it except better because you can manipulate font size and type. It has a full QWERTY keyboard for searching, annotating, etc. The page turning keys are located on either side of the viewing space to accomodate the multiple hand positions any reader might choose. I have found it to be much like reading a magazine folded back except not as heavy and not flimsy. You can easily manage reading with one hand, or none at all. To make it even more useful, it has onboard Dictionary (you select your favorite from a handful of choices), thesaurus and access to Wikipedia. Delivery of periodicals and books is handled over Sprint's network and is referred to as Whispernet (all costs included in purchase price)---I've found that a full length novel downloads in far less than a minute, selection of titles is great and growing, previews of text are available prior to purchase. Selection of daily and monthly periodicals appear very very good and we've already cancelled our paper subscription of the Post in favor of the Kindle version---less expensive, no ink print stains on our clothes, furniture or hands, and no "convenience envelope" solicitations for holiday tips from the carrier. Finally, there's no need to have a pc involved in this reader unless you'd like to back up your media. That must be a major plus for many. The Kindle supports about 128 megs of materials and that appears to be about 75 books worth--of course purchased media area always available on Amazon's website in user accounts but there's also an expansion slot for an SD card---on which readers might also like to store and read personal documents or even music files. Its a very nice little device. Easy to carry, too.

So here I am, waiting for my very own to arrive in the mail. The devices have been met with great enthusiasm and I've been on the waiting list for some time.... I know Rob is eager for me to leave his the hell alone.


Special K said...

Do you know Stephen Fry (he's an English actor and writer)? He's got a tech blog you might be interested in:

Marietta said...

we are hooked on the wire too!
and i know actors in it!