I went back to Comdex for a second day. There was still a moderate crowd. There were lots of gee-wiz products especially with Microsoft's tabletPCs. However, I will bet they are quite expensive to use and too delicate to just plop around the house or in the yard. Gee-wiz products of yester-years that managed to survive that have hit the mainstream are coming down in price. For me, this would seem interesting. One product, in particular is the touch-screen. They have become affordable because I am seeing 15" listing for under $300. This is wonderful if you want to create a product that is essentially a kiosk. Living in Vegas, I see a ton of those in the casinos.
There was also voice-recognition but unfortunately the computer still doesn't know what to do with your words. File-manager browsing would be nice.... for the moment, it's just a thought fancy though. DVDs are starting to hit the mainstream because there is an entire section of DVD-writer manufacturers, DVD media suppliers, and a whole slew of DVD software makers. Springing off of the DVD craze are movie making software. Movie making is now consumer territory.
I just got back from the first day of Comdex 2002 at the Las Vegas Convention center. This is my second Comdex and getting there just reminded me of my first one I attended in 1996 when I was working for HP. As I recall, I told myself "never again..." back then. I was so overwhelmed by the crowd and fervor that it was almost the worst experience I ever had. This time, I was hoping for less of a crowd because of the state of the economy this year. In truth, the crowd was thinner than before. However, the show is still like a bazaar marketplace with everyone selling, selling, selling.
I was shooting for attending the Scott McNealy keynote speech. Arriving a little late, I felt bad coming into the filled conference room. The entire front were filled and there was a large screen projection showing McNealy for the people in the back. I wanted a closer look so I just walked to near the front and stood listening. McNealy was bashing Internet Explorer and Microsoft. Then he talked about how wonderfully open Sun was. Then he bashed IBM. Then it's back to bashing Microsoft. Everyone was lapping it up as if it were gospel. Ok, after 30 minutes I was disappointed and slowly walked out of the room. Nothing to learn here.... just more marketing for companies that have more than enough marketing already.
I wandered around the exhibit hall for a while and got more and more lost. That's ok... I figured I would pick up some toys and such since Comdex was known for those. Well, everyone is skimping this year and there were none to be had. Instead, there was advertising literature and CD ROMs everywhere. The candy trays were even skimpier than Halloween. It must be a bad year.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed there was a Forum Discussion event happening. Curious, I decided to poke my head in for a listen. It was Kevin Mitnick talking about circumventing security. (in case you don't know, Mitnick was a famous/infamous hacker that got sent to jail for his hacking in the 80's and was barred from touching a computer) He talked on about social engineering and how all the gadgets in the world won't protect your company's data if it is leaked out by employees. He talked about his start with hacking and the subsequent brush with the FBI and the law. His talk continued on about his book and obviously he was promoting it. Surprisingly, Mitnick was quite eloquent while speaking; I didn't expect that from a hacker. The topics were engaging so I stayed for the entire talk. He mentioned that Kevin Spacey was also in town and they are collaborating on a movie about enterprise security measures. That should be interesting and is slated to come out in 2003.
The feature for reading the New York Times is accessible from the frontpage of jotsite. I have just finished coding a new feature that allows system to separate the entire page into several separate linkable pages. This is much preferable than one single large HTML page since the large page takes too long to load. For slow-bandwidth users, the large page is absolutely unusable since their computer never finishes loading.