Monday, January 31, 2011

MacWorld 2011

A few pixels from the Other Spread
by multi-platform reporter Bayle Emlein

At long last the San Francisco Macworld show has sailed out from under the shadow of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) by moving to the end of January. Now we can have our dessert after digesting the early January megashow in Las Vegas.

Macworld--the trade show as well as the magazine--started as a celebration of all things Mac, as in Macintosh Computers, OS Seven (and later), the graphical interface with a color display, built-in sound, and other innovations to drool over. This is the second year that Apple has had no formal association with Macworld, though the show still revolves around their products and is attended by groupies whose enthusiasm would delight any rock star or evangelist.

The Macworld Expo differs from CES in several other dimensions, some literal. With around 225 vendors crammed into a single hall, it is possible to cover the whole Expo floor in a meaningful way. Vendors are supported in, if not encouraged to, sell items right there on the floor. The target audience is the general public, or at least as general as the Mac/iDevice using public might be imagined to be. And there appears to be no minimum age-limit for attendees. I crossed paths with a giggling high-school field trip that was learning how to interview presenters and identify the salient aspects of a product and a display. 

This is just a tease, the full report will be in our March issue!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Targus at CES

Targus had their usual slew of products aimed at every fact of the accessory market. I had specifically asked to see products aimed at the Samsung Galaxy Tab (my personal favorite of the current tablets) and saw several great products. The first thing is the simplest: the Targus Stylus for Apple iPad, AMM01US, which can be used by any touch screen tablet. I am blessed/cursed with extra large hands and fingers and find the touch keyboards on phones and tablets to be close to unusable. The Stylus solves those problems for me. It’s only $14.95 and well worth the money. I use one every day and it has made my life much easier.

The new cases for the Galaxy Tab are in the Truss series and should be available soon. They are made of leather and provide protection and are designed to work as a stand when they are opened up. We hope to have one to review shortly and we’ll let you know how it works.

The third Targus product we saw for the Galaxy Tab was the Screen Protector with Bubble-Free Adhesive. If you’ve used a tablet then you know how easily the screen gets messed up by greasy fingerprints! Targus solves this problem by making screen protectors for most models of tablets and book readers on the market. They’re only $19.99 list and do a great job of protecting your screens from scratches and smudges. Check out all of Targus products at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tablets at CES

Now that I’ve had a chance to reflect a bit on what I saw, and didn’t see, at CES 2011 in Vegas I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

The first conclusion is that WiFi systems can be easily overtaxed. There were times when the WiFi pipes were so overloaded that no one was able to connect to the internet. One of the evening events we attended actually asked the press to turn off all of their WiFi devices so the vendors would have access for the products they wanted to show off.

When you consider the number of different products we saw at CES that offered wireless connectivity it’s no surprise that systems get overloaded. And what are promised for the future? Why even more wireless of course! I’m getting more convinced every day that Powerline networking is the smart path for many home/SOHO users.

The second thing that I noticed was the “wave” of tablets that were announced or hinted at. Vendors announced over 80 new tablets/slates using many OSs. Android seemed to be the OS of choice with Win7 and WebOS both far behind. We had a chance to try some of them hands-on and expect to review a slew of them this year. HP had no announcements at all but I was told by a very reliable source that they will have an announcement in early February.

Many companies that had tablets/slates all had the same caveat: the products we saw didn’t necessarily reflect what the final product would look like or the software would be like! It was obvious that the catch up with the iPad scramble was on!

Monday, January 24, 2011


This has been an interesting 24 hours for Chicago. Da Bears lost, no surprise, and Rahm Emanuel has been removed from the Mayor's race primary ballot. What does this mean for the Mayor's race you ask? Nothing!!

This is Chicago!! You don't need to be on the ballot or even actually receive an actual vote to win. If THEY decide you'll be Mayor then you will win. Emanuel will win, no matter what. It's the Chicago way, after all.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Vegas crud

Once again this year I caught the Vegas Crud while I was there covering CES. The crud is best described as a nagging head/chest cold that stays with you for weeks. It's the ultimate proof the "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" is wrong. What you catch in Vegas stays with you forever.

Between the crud and the blisters that I always get, I pay the price for my trip to Vegas every year.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

February newsletter

I just finished sending out the February edition of our newsletter and it has the largest distribution ever. There's a lot of CES 2011 coverage and there will be a lot more of CES in our next issue (or 2!!).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The five and dime

When I was a kid there were stores called 5 and 10 cent stores. We had a Ben Franklin across the street from our church and the biggest one was the Woolworth 5 & 10 in Easton on the circle. I guess today's equivalents are the Dollar Stores. Considering inflation, that's about right.

Sprint has just announced their version of nickel and diming their customers. If you're a Sprint smart phone user then your $69.99 a month cost is about to go up by $10.00 a month. Hmmm, why don't they just say that smart phone plans are $79.99 a month? I'm sure they did a marketing study group and decided this was going to make more money for them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Flash drives

I'm in the middle (or is it in the muddle) of preparing my reports on CES 2011 and I've noticed a trend. I received very few paper press releases, only a few CD-ROMs but a ton of flash drives. And most of the flash drives were of a usable size, 1 to 4 GB.

Some of them were actually very cool to look at too. Here are two of my favorites. One is from Casio and one is from Olympus. Both represent the new cameras they introduced this year.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs has taken medical leave for the third time from Apple. He has had major health problems over the past few years and has always managed to come back and lead his company to greater heights. Please join us in praying for his full recovery from this latest fight.

In our opinion, Mr. Jobs, more than any other single person, is the driving force behind the Apple juggernaut. When he was not involved with Apple many years ago the company floundered and was dieing. He brought them back to life and has done more to create new ways to use technology than anyone else. Yes, there were cell phones before the iPhone, MP3 players before the iPod and tablet computers before the iPad but Apple took those existing ideas and perfected them.

May Mr. Jobs and Apple live long and prosper. The tech world needs people like him.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


While I was at CES last week I had a chance to meet Rohan Marley, Bob Marley's son, at an event for the 1Love Foundation. He proved to be a warm and charming person and I'm glad I had the chance to meet him.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

iPhone on Verizon

Well, it's finally happened. AT&T has finally lost their stranglehold on the iPhone users.Verizon is now an official iPhone provider and I'm sure many people are dancing in the streets. Choice is finally available!!

Oh wait, choice has been available for a long time. You can choose to use a different phone! If you're like me then you are a happy Android user who can do virtually anything an iPhone can do, and lots of things they can't.

I'm sure the real reason for the change in policy is to try to stop the bleeding at Apple!! Android phones are outselling iPhones and, once again, they are about to be a niche product.

I love Apple. They provide technology for users who can't handle real computers. Just as soccer provides a sports outlet for people with no hand-eye coordination. May their 15% of the market live forever.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


All day today I've been going through my bags of information from CES trying to get things organized for my CES reports. Some of the things I found could have changed the way I covered the event.

I have always been a pen and paper note taker at all of my meetings and events. I've always love the long, thin spiral notepads that are usually available in the press room because they have always been ideal for me. I may have found another solution.

I have been testing a Samsung Galaxy Tab for a few weeks now and have really learned to love it. My problem has always been finding a good way to carry it to trade shows. At the Real table at Showstoppers during CES they were giving away free cases for cell phones. I wasn't too interested until I saw they had a case for the Tab so I picked one up.

Tonight I tried it on the Tab and it's magnificent! It provides safe, compact protection and is a very attractive black "leather". By combing a well protected Tab and the InkPad app I could have saved myself a lot of trouble at CES. I'll be using a lot from now on to see how it works.


I'm back home from CES 2011 and owe all of our followers an apology. I should have blogged each day about what I saw but I just didn't have the time!!

Here's a new year's resolution: as I write my CES reports each day I'll make sure to include pat of it here in ythis blog.

CES was great this year. The crowds reminded me of the old COMDEX days with long cab and bus lines and people everywhere. Hotels were even sold out this year. Maybe the economy really is turning around!

Monday, January 3, 2011


It's the Monday before CES in Las Vegas and I'm finishing my pre-show prep. I have a brutal schedule again (when will I ever learn!!) but it should be lots of fun.

I'm looking forward to seeing a ton of new tablet computers and 3D should be everywhere.  As I find new and exciting products I'll try to post about them each day. No promises mind you, but I'll try.