Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Las
Vegas, viva Las Vegas. What a wonder of a city Las Vegas is. Sculpted out
of the desert into one of the glitziest places on earth. This is where
COMDEX, the world’s largest Computer Technology Show is held every fall.
First of all, it was huge. This “exhibit” consumed all of the floor space
and more of the Sands Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The downside of the size and the number of people attending was the traffic
and congestion both on the streets of Las Vegas and in the event centers.
However, that should not deter you, it was well worth the hassle.
Hopefully, this article will convey what seems to be coming along in the near future for computer users. Everyone has heard of ISPs by now, but at this event, there was a plethora of ASPs (Application
These are companies that will let you connect to their website and utilize
their services and software applications, including just about anything
you could imagine from utility products to business management and relationship
products to leisure/interest products to organizers. These providers allow
you to utilize their products for a fee. The beauty of this is that you
do not need to have the software product downloaded onto your machine or
network. If you use a service, you pay for what you use, rather than paying
for the software and having it sit idle much of the time. This allows more
freedom and flexibility for your resources and allows you to save your
precious data securely on your system.
Other major areas found on the convention floor included a Linux section
with many applications and products. For those of you who thought maybe
Linux was just a passing fad, think again, my friends. It seems that Linux
is here to stay. Mobile computing and networking were also big. Wireless
technology has come a long way and appears to be on the verge of breaking
through into the mainstream in the not too distant future. Let me share
some of the specific products I thought were outstanding.
The QuickLink Pen and related products provide you with these devices
that look like pens but are really miniature hand held scanners. You can
scan individual words or whole lines and they can be used to obtain definitions,
pronunciations or to transfer parts of text (as opposed to whole pages)
into documents. They can also be used to help those learning English as
a second language or for people with reading difficulties. There were several
similar products but I was very impressed with this one by WizCom
Technologies based in Acton, MA.
Even though I don’t own a laptop, there was a product by Nvidia
that makes one of my reasons for not owning a laptop moot. The GPU or graphics
processing unit is now available for the mobile computer. GeForce2 GO is
the product and if you are planning on buying a mobile computer, this is
a real enhancement, allowing you to display better, faster graphics while
using less of your main CPU’s processing power. Mobile DVD movies, 3D games,
eye-popping presentations and business demonstrations are all beneficiaries
of this technology.
What also struck me about this event was the world representation. There
were companies from Europe, Australia, and Asia there. Taiwan Software
is a conglomeration of Taiwanese companies that has a large assortment
of titles to choose from including games such as Seventh Seal by Softworld,
Deep Raider by Infobank or informational titles Birds, Animals, etc. by
Dance and Jump Software.
Interactive Inc., offers patent-pending technologies for transmission,
display and compression of interactive video. The company claims innovation
in providing companies with the ability to “video e-mail” high-quality
marketing messages to prospective or current customers that can be viewed
without downloading and require no file attachment. Another service, Bannervision,
adds full-motion, advanced audio and video to web banner ads, potentially
making them more effective.
Microsoft is clearly still a major player, their area was huge and they
helped sponsor many “partner presentations,” as did several other larger
companies such as Kodak, Sony and others. Microsoft often had lines forming
to attend their demonstrations of Windows 2000, the Pocket PC or Office
2000. You have to give Microsoft credit; they know how to market their
is a digital media management and recording software company. It is a division
of Adaptec and produces such products as Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe, SoundStream
and GoBack. Easy CD Creator 4 lets you record analog data from records
or cassettes and even download MP3 files. You can use this program to record
and even edit photos and video onto a CD. SoundStream lets you record MP3’s
to CD, burn music CD’s with any combination of artists and songs you want
and even design your own CD labels and disk covers. Staying with the CD
burning theme for a moment, CD Stomper has a new product out, Click’N Burn
Pro version 1.5 which adds a few features that Easy CD Creator 4 does not
have, see www.clicknburn.com
for more specifics.
Finally, there were the Orange Micro Inc., products. These are add-on
cards that need to be installed into an empty slot in your computer, but
they are well worth the trouble. For example, FireWire (IEEE-1394 technology)
products let you take advantage of the newer Digital Video cameras. However,
I was most impressed with their FireWire/USB PCI board. In a single PCI
slot, you get both FireWire input/output serial technology and two
USB connection ports. At the demonstration, there was a side-by-side comparison
of input using older USB 1.1 technology versus their FireWire/USB 2.0 card.
There was no comparison, the USB 2.0 presentation was like watching a normal
speed video clip of a skier, while the USB 1.1 was like watching the same
skier in time-lapse photographic images. They have multiple products and
combinations, so please check out their
web site for more details. This is just a glimpse of the many outstanding
products that impressed me greatly. There were far too many others for
me to cover them all in this short article.