Julie’s comments are in BLACK, Judie’s are in
BLUE and italicized.
The last time Judie and I attended COMDEX was the
show in Chicago. Having never been to a Fall COMDEX, which is supposed to be a
huge show compared to the Spring event, I was very excited!
I was too! What with all the new PDAs and other
devices coming out, I figured we would really see some cool items and
Flying from Indy to St. Louis and then from St. Louis to Las Vegas Sunday
afternoon went without a hitch. Both flights arrived 10-15min ahead of time, and
I was only singled out once by the security people. Either things are calming
down, or I’m looking less suspicious lately :o)
I, on the other hand, was practically strip searched
in San Angelo. Since I had purchased my ticket before I was married, my new name
did not match my ticketed name. Even though Steve ran home to get our marriage
license, I guess I still looked suspicious. I got to watch as both of my bags
were emptied, my personal items were felt up and then repacked. Not fun.
At least my flight was enjoyable. I got to sit next
to Michael Vanover, a Visionary for IBM. Amazingly enough, that is what
the title on his business card says…and after talking to him during the flight, I can
understand why: the man is a genius. When I grow up, I want his job! ;0)
I met up with Judie at the Las Vegas airport. After grabbing our luggage, we
soon found ourselves waiting in the
taxi line from hell for what seemed like days, but was probably only 30mins or
(This taxi line was soooo long that I had a dream
about it that night – no joke!)
When it was finally our turn, we climbed into a taxi and were quickly on our
way to the Aladdin hotel. Earlier this year, we both attended
CES where we stayed at the Luxor. I
personally enjoyed the Aladdin quite a bit more.
The Aladdin was definitely a much larger and nicer room – of
course, we did pay the $30 extra (per night) to upgrade. Since the Aladdin has a
Starbucks on the second floor, it is my favorite hotel so far.
Each room actually had an LCD monitor / keyboard with a hook up to the
internet. There was also an Ethernet cable for connecting to an existing
laptop… The only thing that sucked was that they charged $9.95 for DSL internet access
per 24hrs. Since we both had our Fuji’s with us though, we went ahead and
shelled out for the high speed connection on my mini-me.
Yah, Julie and I thought we would be smart and use
one of our dial up accounts instead. But guess what? After the first couple
minutes (which cost something like $1.50), the hotel started charging a dollar
per minute! So there was no easy work-around there!
The only area that I felt the hotel really failed to
deliver was in entertainment. I was
counting on the Aladdin having a good show, like the Luxor had in January.
Instead, we were offered something in the "nasty girls in thongs" variety or the
Society of Seven show. Neither of which appealed to us in the least…
Since it was pretty late, we unpacked our luggage and went to find a place in the hotel
to eat that was NOT a buffet! We settled on Tremezzo, an excellent Italian
Definitely worth visiting when you are at the
Aladdin! We shared the calamari (of course) and Julie got the breaded veal while
I had the surf and turf…YUM. The only problem was that the portions were so
big that we hardly even ate half of what was on our plates!
By the time we finished, we were miserable and decided to explore the hotel a
bit to work off some of the calories. The Aladdin had a full mall inside with
many exclusive (a.k.a. expensive) shops. In the aisles were painted cows…
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Vegas was
doing the "Cows on Parade" exhibit that
I had first seen done in Chicago, back in 2000.
Tired and ready to check email, we headed back to the room. But not before
Judie stopped to get the first of MANY Grande Lattes at Starbucks. We had the
girl behind the counter snap our picture.
Hey, not since Seattle had I had such a great
opportunity to indulge – so I was definitely going to make the most of my
Monday morning we were up bright and early for a meeting with Sony Ericsson.
We couldn’t leave though till Judie had Latte #2!
Well, Sony was supposed to be treating us to
breakfast. But since I didn’t know what kind of food would be available at the
convention center, I figured I had better at least get some caffeine and dairy
food groups in…turned out to be a good thing, too…
We were then picked up at the hotel and dropped off at the convention center
where we met with two of their representatives at the Starbucks there.
No, I did not order another latte…but we also
didn’t get anything to eat, so I was glad I already had something in my tummy.
Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to hear our hosts over my belly’s
We crowded around a small table in the back of the store that had a variety
of phones displayed on top. They showed us the T68i which I had briefly played with before.
We also got to play with the T206 (Sony’s only PCS
compatible – but only available in the San Francisco area –
version), the T200, the MCA-25 (my personal favorite) and several others.
They also showed us small snap-on cameras for several of the phones, a very
tiny Bluetooth headset, and a
nifty accessory pack called the "Official 007 Spy Pack". It included a tiny
flashlight that plugged into the bottom of the phone. A camera that could plug
into the phone was also included.
We were really impressed with the P800 PDA/phone. It had a
removable flip down keypad that
revealed a large crisp color screen. It also has a Memory Stick Duo slot on the
side. While Julie and I had seen mockups of this card at CES, this was the first
time we saw one actually being used in a product. This PDA/phone combo includes all the PIM features that a person
might need, along with other
fun apps such as games and video players.
After the meeting was finished, we picked up our press badges and were
quickly on our way to one of the exhibits halls to have a look around until our next
meeting. On our way, Judie stopped at a Blue Fish station to get the COMDEX
guide beamed to her TT. Unfortunately, it didn’t work!
I felt totally ripped off, I wanted my COMDEX guide
on my Tungsten! :0<
One of the first products that we both spotted at about the same time was at the
Nite Ize booth. They had little flashlight stands that looked
kind of silly, but
at the same time I could see a use for them.
I think they would make great stocking stuffers –
and you wouldn’t have to argue with anyone at the office (or at school) about
which flashlight was yours…
Next Judie spotted the Pen Clic Mouse.
It was a mouse like device that you griped like a writing instrument. Not sure if I would personally ever
use something like that. But hey, someone might!
You’re supposed to be able to write with the Pen
Clic, but it looked really bulky and uncomfortable to me.
Our next stop was at the Palm Pavilion. Wow, was it
busy! It was crowded
every time we walked by in the two days that we were there. We got a chance to
see the Tungsten T hard case and the scuba case which were both in displays.
We also saw the leather slim case, which at first
looked really cute and small.
We actually each purchased one at the Palm Store there.
And I have already stopped using mine, after it
caused a disastrous battery drain on the way home…but I digress.
Our next meeting was with Palm. I was very surprised that they started out by
saying that they had read and loved our Tungsten
| T review. They also followed up
by apologizing for my nightmare Palm Store ordering fiasco.
They really did score points with us for that.
They had the Tungsten T and W models on the table to show us. Of course we
were more interested in actually seeing the W model since we’ve both had our own
T’s for a couple weeks. I thought the W was a pretty
good size considering the built in keyboard. The screen was also just as nice as
the T. They made it clear that this device isn’t a cell phone replacement…
Right. Several times they emphasized that the W was
best used for data, and that they figured people would use a separate
mobile phone for voice calls.
We were also shown several accessories that we had yet to see in the flesh.
This included the Veo Photo Traveler SD slot camera, the
Margi Presenter To Go, the Tungsten T hard
case, and something I was MOST interested in: the Real Audio MP3 player.
We begged to have them beam it to us, but
unfortunately they wouldn’t cave in, saying that it was still unfinished. But
when they demoed it, it sounded fine to us! Playback was really good thru the
external speakers that they had the TT hooked up to. I can’t wait to get it when
it becomes available in December!
This was also the first time that Judie and I had a chance to play around
with Bluetooth between two Tungstens. I asked if it might be possible to use a Bluetooth
enabled headset to listen to MP3s with the T. We were told no…
So of course Julie then asked if it would be possible
for someone to hack the headset or write a software driver to enable MP3playback, but the answer was still
"no." Well, we tried!
After a quick sit-on-the-floor-lunch of schwarma pita sandwiches from a Kosher
deli there at the convention center, we headed to another meeting. This time it
was with Sharp to check out the new
Zaurus. I was curious to see if the 5000 series device that I had
last year had been improved.
We were pleased when we found that Jason Perlow,
someone we already knew, was
to be our personal "tour guide." He demoed the new SL-5600 and we half jokingly
asked if we would be able to see the new SL-C700, which is as of yet, only
available in Japan. To our surprise, one of the
two that are currently in the United States materialized just for us. WOW…this
little unit was very cool. Almost like a mini Tablet PC.
I would buy one of these devices in a second. The screen was crystal clear
and very bright. In the tablet mode, it really wasn’t much bigger than a typical
Pocket PC. Unfortunately, when I asked if they would be selling them in the US,
the answer was not yes… (it wasn’t a "no" either,
though) But, they did ask what we thought would be a good
price to charge here would be, so I guess there is hope.
Since we were finished with our meetings for the day, we went back to the exhibit halls to
scout out interesting products. We once again headed back to the Palm Pavilion to finish
looking in that area.
Our first stop was the Rhinoskin booth to see what
their new products were. Even though we knew that we would be having dinner with
Michael, their PR guy the following night, he had invited us to come by and
check everything out beforehand. I was glad we did! Not only do they have a fashionable
low-cost case just for the Palm Zire, there were also new cases for the Tungsten
T, Handspring Treo
and various Sony CLIÉ models.
Next we happened upon the Parallax Inc.
booth that had robot kits using the Basic Stamp programmable module. My friend
David has always been interested in their products, so I snapped a few pictures
and grabbed a catalog for him.
I had never even heard of Basic Stamp (I guess I
have been under a rock or something), but it looked like pretty imaginative
Next we happened upon a test track for
Segway Human Transporters! The line was pretty long, so we just watched as
people tentatively tried them out. They really looked like fun! You can even
pre-order them from
Amazon.com for $4950!
(Too bad that isn’t an affiliate link!)
We would have loved to have given the transporter a
try, but the line was almost as bad as the taxi queue at the airport was… so we
had to be content with just watching.
After trudging around for another couple of hours, our feet were tired and we
were starving! So, we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel to
dump all the brochures that we had collected, check email and find a place
There was no way we could stay at the Aladdin
without eating at PF Chang’s! Once again, we enjoyed a scrumptious meal, feasting
on pot-stickers, spring rolls, mu shu pork, and moo goo gai pan. YUM!
Chinese is my fave! But, once again, we barely ate half of what was brought
to us. We vowed to split entries from then on out so we wouldn’t feel so guilty
for wasting such great food!
As we left the restaurant, Julie and I decided that
it was finally time to gamble. We saw a bank of slot machines with the moniker
"Winning for Dummies." Laughing at that, I decided to play the dollar that my
mother-in-law had given me before I left home. Almost immediately, I won $5! I
played my daughter’s dollar, and almost immediately lost that.
Hoping Judie’s luck would rub off on me, I sat down next to her and fed a
couple dollars into the machine. My $10 won me $12.50! Wooo, we were high
Julie and I liked the way these machines played, so
we hunkered down to do some serious (at least for us) gambling. We each figured
we were willing to lose $20, so that was our limit. I put in my first $10 and
promptly won $26.50! I was in a state of shock, so I quickly cashed out…then
put in a different $10 bill.
At one point, we took our cups of quarter winnings up to the cashier. When we
headed back to our lucky machines, we found that some other people had nabbed
them! Like dorks, we just waited around till they got tired of us staring at the
back of their heads and left!
Yah, and I think that those people snagged our good
luck, because even though Julie and I managed to make our money last for over
30 minutes while playing the slots – we still managed to lose what we were
playing with. We would go up and down, and every time we
thought we were about to go bust, we would win something! It was great fun, and
as most fun things do, it eventually ended. We felt like we got good value for
our money, though! ;0)
Tired from walking 900 miles in the past 8hrs, we turned in for the night.
We wouldn’t have been so tired if we had had our own
Tuesday was spent trying to see all the interesting things that we had missed the
day before. As our last day at the show, we knew we’d have to do fast walking.
We also had a couple other meetings to fit in as well.
We didn’t even think about leaving the Aladdin until
I had got yet another latte, though…
You are such a freak! Give me a nice cup of tea any day! :o)
So anyway, the day got off to a rocky start because
we were supposed to be picked up by Fossil and taken to a meeting room to
discuss their new alliance with Palm and their two new PDA watches. But
guess what? We totally got stood up! We waited…and waited…and waited. They
never showed. We knew which hotel we were supposed to be meeting in, but we had
no idea in which room we would be, because we were supposed to have been
escorted there. So long story short, we waited 30 minutes and then we said
"forget it." I guess they were teaching us a lesson for
dissing their first PDA watch.
Honest Fossil, the new version looks much better!
We did find out later that their driver had been waiting for us in a
car outside…while we were (of course) waiting for him in the lobby inside.
So we hopped the last shuttle, and headed over to
the Convention Center.
The first wacky device we spotted was a talking parrot called the PC
Mascot from Mitsumi. When plugged into your
PC, this plastic bird will alert you to new email, read the mail to you, remind
you of your appointments, and also function as a message board where you can
leave a message for other people to listen to.
This would be a great toy for those of you that get
steamy e-mails from your honey. Can’t you just imagine the same voice that
should be saying "Polly want a cracker?" saying "I can’t wait to see you
tonight, Baby?" <snicker>
Our next stop was the Pocket PC area where our friend
Dale Coffing was there
trying to get Palm users to take a chance at trading in their Palm OS devices
for a new Pocket PC. Neither Judie or I decided to risk our beloved Tungsten
If I had had my Palm m505 (the one with the broken
SD slot) with me, then I would have been happy to trade it up for the Dell Axim
that Dale was going to give away!
Here we got a chance to see and hold the new Dell Axim. Personally, I think
the device is too big and too cheap feeling. You can’t beat the price and features
though… It actually reminded us of a Casio E-200 Pocket PC.
Not just in the way that it had both the CF and
SD/MMC slots, but also something about it’s size and metallic coloring.
I just now figured out what the Dell really reminds me of! A
Philips Pronto remote control!
While the Dell PPC didn’t really excite me, the new HP Pocket PCs were another thing entirely. My jaw dropped when I
saw the 1900 series device. It was itsy bitsy and had the most gorgeous screen
I’d seen in a long time! I was in love and wanted to walk off with it.
Unfortunately, both it and the 5000 series devices were tethered to the display.
It was a trick prying both Pocket PCs out of the
people’s hands that were crowded around the display! These units were suh-weet,
and everyone wanted to touch them!
I know! There were people crowding around behind us that I think were getting
pretty annoyed at how long we were hogging them!
The lengths we will go to for our fellow gadgeteers!
The 5000’s looked really nice too, but wow the 1900! Too bad it doesn’t have
a 400mhz ARM processor! :o)
The 1900 almost looked too skinny to me, I really
liked the looks of the 5000 better. Combining WiFi with Bluetooth, biometric
security, a removable battery, and a FAB screen, this high-end device looks
I’ll take one of each!
Yes, please! :0)
After the people behind us almost physically pulled us away from the HP
booth, we resumed our walkabout.
Wandering around, we came across a huge display of
flexible keyboards. Every color, shape, and size that you could imagine was
represented. How do you all feel about this type of keyboard? I have to admit
that I like a harder one, such as the awesome new
Think Outside XT that Julie
and I both have for our Tungsten Ts.
I can see the application for these type of keyboards, like for use in dirty
areas… But, I find it hard to touch type with as much speed as I do a regular
Next we found a different kind of booth.
Remnant Entertainment, a
company that has a new "Massively Multi-Player Online Role-playing Game"
currently in development called Tales of the Unwritten. If you have some
bucks you might want to invest in a start-up, take a look.
The game had an EverQuest type feel to it, but is supposed to have more
things to do other than just hacking and slashing like EQ tends to be.
At this point, I think Judie and I both turned to each other and asked if we
were ‘over’ it and ready to go do something else. In agreement, we grabbed a
taxi and went walking and browsing in a different venue: Caesar’s Palace.
No trip to any major city is complete for me without
a trip to the Louis Vuitton store. Knowing that there was one located in the
Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace just gave us an excuse to waste the afternoon
window shopping and eating. While I didn’t see anything at the Louis Vuitton
store that I couldn’t live without (amazingly enough), we did manage to score
with yet another delicious meal, this time at the
Cheese Cake Factory, one of my
husband’s favorite restaurants. Once again,
Julie and I split the fried calamari, but this time we got smart and also shared
our entree, the pork chops, which came with mashed potatoes.
It was totally yummy! I’d never heard of this restaurant prior to this visit.
Now, I’m excited to know that there is one not far (60miles) from me in
Indianapolis! I’m definitely going to visit again!
We also saw a large display of LEGO there which was really cool! Look, Julie
We were just about beat, and since we knew we had to
meet Michael, Sarah & Alan from Rhinoskin for dinner, we decided to go back to
the hotel and rest for a little bit.
And of course, check email! Yes, we are total addicts!
We got to the Venetian a little bit early, because
we weren’t sure where our restaurant,
located. Entering the hotel, we marveled at the beautiful paintings on the
ceilings and walls.
The hotels in Vegas are just amazing! I’m glad we were able to visit a few
different ones on this trip.
Julie and I peeked at shops along the "grand canal"
and admired some of the items displayed. Of note was the chair carved of wood
that resembled a pair of overalls, a dress carved of wood by the same artist,
and a green glass horse – which I would have loved to have brought home…but
for its 95 thousand dollar price tag! <gasp!>
Does anyone really buy stuff like this? I mean come on!
Julie and I waited in the square while three
musicians played Italian standards. Julie and I were in an exceptionally goofy
mood. We were tempted to ask some of the older men sitting in the square to come
waltz with us, but we figured their wives might object. So instead, we
not-so-discreetly accompanied the musicians with a well-placed "la la la" or
two, or three. I eventually felt a spasm of remorse, so I gave the trio a three
dollar tip for entertaining us so well.
I still wish they should have taken requests… Roll Out the Barrel anyone?
Didn’t we start singing that one, anyway? Right after
we were singing "la la la" to "when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza
Soon, we saw Michael, Alan and Sarah approaching –
so we headed to Postrio’s entrance.
Once seated, we began what was easily the best meal
yet! Appetizers of foi gras and bacon wrapped scallops led the way. I ordered
the red snapper with asparagus and artichoke ravioli (heaven!) and Julie had the
In case you aren’t familiar with Jim Dory (I wasn’t!), it’s a type of white
fish. It was excellent! The whole evening was casual and fun. I really enjoyed
After three hours of talking back and forth with the
Rhinoskin folks about Palms, Pocket PCs, and other PDAs, we were finally ready
to call it a night.
Wednesday morning, the alarm went off at 5:30am (UGH!). Our flight was at
9:30am, so we had two hours to get ready and to the airport.
Of course, we didn’t leave for the airport until I
got my final latte! ;0)
Perish the thought! You know it!
The great thing about the trip back was that Judie and I were able to share
the same flight to the Dallas airport. We even got seats next to each other. :o)
This was the first time we have ever been able to do
this, so it was quite nice!
We had breakfast at Ruby’s Diner. They have HUGE egg sandwiches that are to
die for! Which once again, we should have shared, as
there was too much food!
…and Judie also grabbed a box of six freshly baked Cinnibon rolls for her
family to enjoy when she got back home. They are almost
all gone, now…
We parted ways at Dallas and each arrived home 3-4hrs later.
Then began the
process of unpacking, sorting through handouts, magazines, and other press
paraphernalia…and writing this article!
Even though it is being touted as one of the smallest COMDEX events in a long
time, Fall Comdex 2002 was a fun time. We saw some interesting things, had some
great food and met some terrific people. Now we have to figure out which trade
show we’ll check out next!