I Love This Time of Year – Part I

There’s no question that a new year brings a sense of anticipation for better things. The whole resolution thing is a great indicator that people at least psychologically want to make things better and are excited about what is to come. 2009 in particular seems to be a year that people are more than pleased to see kicked to the curb, as is the whole “oughts” decade. At the University of Mary Washington, it is another new semester (starting on 1/11) and students are once again filled with the excitement from the anticipation of new classes, and maybe a fresh start. For me this time of year means a re-dedication of my efforts as a New Media Specialist. Part of my job is a technology evangelist. Not of the corporate fashion, but in the educational technology sense, advocating for technology that enhances teaching and learning. So in general, this time of year also means new technology, that I evaluate on both a professional, as well as a personal level. One of the showcases that I always look forward to is CES, or the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Today is the first day of the show, where ironically consumers are not welcome:

The International CES is not open to the general public and all attendees must be in the consumer electronics industry to be eligible to attend the show.

The show is a monstrous event (I’m told) where you literally could walk for miles to see all of what CES has to offer. So instead of going to the show, consumers rely on news organizations and “gadget” web sites to cover what’s new. Which coverage (and how much) you follow depends on how geeky you are. For my money one of the best tech sites period is Cnet, which I often recommend to faculty, students, and others for researching technology products that they are looking to buy. They have an outstanding crew of technology reviewers, so it’s not surprising that their CES coverage is outstanding as well. A steady stream of new technology posts comes from their Crave website, which is what they refers to as their Gadget Blog. Other places to get CES coverage includes Gizmodo, Engadget, PC Magazine, and ZDNet. Two other resources worth a special mention are the Live CES coverage provided by Leo Laporte’s TWIT (This Week in Tech) network, and by a site called GDGT. The TWIT coverage is kind of a grass roots approach to what is at CES. Leo and crew are attempting to do live, everyman style coverage (at live.twit.tv) of the new tech and it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off. TWIT is attempting to become a new style of network, with less of a corporate approach and more of a user-centric feel. So far it has been a wildly successful venture.

GDGT (yes, pronounced gadget) is a website that is a geeky tech guy/gal’s dream. When they are not covering CES they are a site that bills itself as a social gadget platform, where you can connect with other gadget owners and get support for the technology that you use. You actually can register for an account and add the gadgets that you own to a list and connect with others who use the same gadgets. How geeky is that?!?

Part II of this post will be a write-up of what I think will be the exciting products for the new year.


3 Responses

  1. I never knew CES was closed to the unwashed masses. Surprising, since my uncles have attended before. One is a lawyer, one a psychologist. The third does work for a software company. I guess the vetting isn’t that good. 🙂

    This year, my brother is attending as part of his duties for the Department of Commerce. I’d love to go someday, but the whole time I’d probably feel like a poser. I think I’m a geek, but I suspect by some standards I fall pretty short.

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