The sun rose over the Las Vegas Strip and the official first day of the giant Consumer Electronics Show. I came here to Las Vegas for one simple reason — to report back to you, my loyal readers, everything I can about all the latest high-tech gadgets in televisions, monitors, wireless, computers, audio devices, and mobile phones. A convention this big requires more than one person to cover it. That’s why this year, I brought along Gadget Girl herself, Sophia.
After our delicious "breakfast buffet" at the Palms Hotel, it was time to head out to the "big event." I had read that it was impossible to park at or near the Convention Center, so we decided to park at the Bellagio and take the "CES Shuttle Bus."
After a half hour of trying to find parking at the Bellagio and walking through the enormous casino, we finally made it to the CES shuttle bus stop. It was 10:35 A.M. We were promptly told that the shuttle bus stopped running at 10:30 A..M.
But it was no big problem. The Bellagio valet told us that we could take the Las Vegas monorail right across the street at Bally’s.
Simple enough. We walked across the street to Bally’s.
Have you ever driven to the Grand Canyon? At a certain point, you pass a sign reading "Now entering Grand Canyon Park." In reality, you still have to drive an hour and a half until you can see anything.
Keep that in mind as we entered Bally’s. There was a sign pointing to the monorail. We then walked for twenty minutes through the casino, up two flights of stairs, up and down three flights of escalators, past the restaurant, the pool, and the spa — until we got to the monorail, which cost us five bucks each to be crammed in with hundreds of other CES geeks for a three minute ride.
At last we made it to the Holy Land. The Convention Center. CES. Oh, wait, not yet. First, we had to wait in line for forty five minutes for "registration" and to pick up our name tags.
We entered CES, completely exhausted and cranky. The show is enormous, taking up 28 football fields, and that is not counting three other huge venues.
Now we had to figure out what to look at. The next version of Windows? The new Sony HD camera? The XM Radio display? Sophia and I sat on the floor to look through the 700 pound CES directory.
Suddenly, Sophia found something exciting. MOXI was at CES!
"Who the hell is MOXI?" I asked.
"They make the DVR box for my Adelphia Cable company."
"They have the worst interface ever. If you press the button to see what movies are playing, it only shows you the moves that are playing RIGHT NOW, even if the movie started forty-five minutes ago, but not the movie that’s going to be on in five minutes. It was developed by a complete idiot."
"So, what do you want to do… tell them that?"
"Exactly. How often do you get to talk to the developers of a product you hate? Maybe they’ll listen."
So, off we went, to the South Hall of the Convention Center, past Motorola and Microsoft and Samsung and two football fields of space, trying to find MOXI. After twenty minutes of walking, we were hopelessly lost. We asked some woman carrying a cool orange cloth tote bag if she knew anything about MOXI. She never heard of them.
"Did you get that nice tote bag here at CES?" I asked the woman.
"Yes, over at some high-def company over there. All the other tote bags are cheap plastic. But this one is really nice."
"It really is," I replied, admiring the bag.
"If you want one, you better go fast because they’re running out!"
Sophia wanted to continue looking for MOXI. I thought we should first get the tote bag before they run out.
"What do you need that tote bag for?" she wondered, slightly annoyed.
"Did you see how cool it looked? It would be nice two put these huge books into something. Come on, let’s do that first, and then we’ll find MOXI."
So, off we went, wandering around like the Israelites in the desert, looking for the orange tote bag company. Fifteen minutes later, we realized that we had mistakenly walked into the North Hall. We were lost.
"Why don’t you ask someone for directions?" Sophia asked, like a typical woman.
"Directions to what? The company with the cool orange bags?"
"I’m not going to look like an idiot asking for that."
"You’re the one who wanted it! Just ask someone."
"I think the company on the bag was Abracadabra Media."
"It wasn’t Abracadabra."
"It was something like that."
"JUST ASK SOMEONE."
Some self-assured man, about 35, wearing a blue suit approached. He looked like someone who was knowledgeble. I took a quick look at this name tag. It read that he represented the William Morris Agency. I couldn’t move my tongue as he passed by.
"Sophia, you see that guy? He works for the William Morris Agency. What is he doing here?"
"Maybe he works for their tech department."
"Maybe he’s a literary agent."
"Go talk to him."
"And say what?"
"Tell him you’re looking for a job. Tell him to go read Citizen of the Month.."
"Forget it. Let’s find the orange Abracadabra bags."
"Are you stupid? This is more important that a tote bag! This is a perfect opportunity to do some networking? If you’re not going to talk to him I will."
"OK, OK, I will… "
"Which one is he again?"
"He’s wearing a blue suit."
We looked over towards the X-Box display area and there were at least forty men wearing blue suits. It was like a Hitchcock movie where we needed to find the killer with a black umbrella among thousands of people with black umbrellas.
For the next twenty minutes, we weaved in and out of various-aged computer geeks trying out new X-Box games, vainly searching for the William Morris agent in the blue suit. We never found him.
"I’m tired." said Sophia.
We had hardly seen any gadgets at all.
"What about MOXI?"
"Forget it. You still want your orange bag?"
"Let’s go back to the Belllagio and play the slot machines."
"You read my mind."
We pushed our way through the crowd and made it out of the convention center. We saw a sign that the CES Shuttle Buses are running now. We sighed in excitement. And then we noticed that there were at least 500 people waiting to get on the bus.
An hour and a half later we fiinally made it back to the Belllagio.
Day 1, CES: That’s my report.