01. 06. 2005
Women at CES
After an arduous 18-hour trip (almost arrested for forgetting to leave my pepper spray in the car and bringing it into Dulles Airport. After an hour of "processing" during which I believe I was entered into the international terrorist database, I discovered my Treo was missing and was egged on by some airline workers to get back on the shuttle bus to retrieve my phone even though the flight was leaving in 10 minutes. Honestly I've never seen more enthusiastic people in my life; they were cheering, they were crying, it was like the last scene in a movie where Hugh Grant is trying to stop Julia Roberts from getting on a plane because if she takes off, he will never be able to contact her again as she apparently has no postal service, telephone, or email. How could I let them all down? So I ran back to look for my phone. I didn't find it. And we missed our flight. We got a flight through Denver but had to spend about 6 hours in CO, hoping that we'd get on a flight on standby, and praying that the snow and fog wouldn't close the airport. It takes less time to get to Tokyo) we're in Las Vegas for CES. It's going to be a quick trip, we're only here through tomorrow morning (the conference goes on through the 8th), but eager to see what new products are introduced.
Ryan Block at Engadget has a detailed account of Bill Gates's keynote address last night at the Hilton Theater (soon to be the Manilow Theater) if you want a blow-by-blow. Instead of a speech, Conan O'Brien was on hand to interview Gates Late Night-style, making the event immeasurably more entertaining, as Conan almost worked up a sweat trying to get a laugh out of the ever-laconic Gates. It looks like "convergence" is about to become a hated buzz word again, since Microsoft is eager to bring television to the PC, mobile phone, and the, um, television. This time in High Def. After explaining how easy it would be to make the operating system Media Center 2005 control all your audio/video devices, there were three big tech glitches in the product demos, including a blue screen of death. Oops.
Conan noticed something that I noticed too.
There aren't a whole lot of women here. Conan said the theme of this year's CES was "gadgets aren't just for geeks.... they're for nerds and dweebs too." He also said it was the whitest crowd he'd ever seen and joked that CES was definitely not a "magnet for the ladies". Alright so this picture proves absolutely nothing but we did a random sample of 5 rows in the theater, and averaged that there were 5 women per row of 33 people. That's 15%. Just eyeballing the crowd, that seems overly generous, actually. I don't think it's CEA not making an effort as Carly Fiorina of HP and Judy McGrath of MTV are both giving keynotes, but it's distressing to see. But after last year's CES conference session on women and technology which made much of the study showing that women actually spend more on electronics than men, there is no such content addressing this issue this year other than the "Gadgets are a Girl's Best Friend" exhibit which includes a low-end camera with a vanity mirror. Lovely, that's all we need, megapixels, what's that, giggle.
Lots of products and pictures coming later today.