Last week, I previewed my trip to the Consumer Electronics Show as I had just touched down and was getting ready to experience my first CES. Well, I am back from CES and to be totally frank, all I can say is "Wow, that was a good time!" Unfortunately, it took me until today to decompress and get enough sleep to be able to spill details about all that I experienced last week at CES. First things first, a big thank you Intel for sponsoring my trip out to CES as an Intel Insider. It was an unbelievable experience.
So how did the party I co-hosted at CES on Thursday night go? I would have to say it was a success but you can see for yourself by checking out some of the photos taken by Brian Solis (this set of photos & photo below)
Wm. Marc Salsberry also took some super pictures (this set of photos & photo below).
We had the entire Sportsbook Bar & Grill at the Palazzo which was formerly the 40/40 Club owned by hip hop star Jay Z, so as you can imagine we felt like kings in the palace of a hip hop legend. It was pretty amazing and the attendees were top-notch. I never thought as a corn-fed Northern Illinois sixth grader attending a junior high sock hop wearing what I equated to MC Hammer "hammer pants" (which are rather baggy pants) that I would years later host a CES kickoff party in Vegas that MC Hammer would attend. I guess you just don't think about stuff like that as a 6th grader growing up in a small town. Oh and we both wore regular pants to the event.
Friday was a blur as I headed to the CES show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. With so many people in town for CES and the “other" show, which happened to be one of the adult variety, it was difficult to get around Vegas. Once at the show I examined the Intel booth which was rather impressive and showcased the most Netbook computers that I could find at the entire Consumer Electronic Show. Intel showcased the Intel Atom Processor which is about the size of a ladybug and as thin as a couple sheets of paper. It powered a number of Netbooks at the Intel booth including the OQO model 2+ shown to below.
Friday afternoon, Intel Insiders Brian Solis and I were on the newly launched Pop17 24/7 technology video broadcast Techku hosted by fellow Intel Insider Sarah Austin who was streaming live video from the Intel booth. We had a great time covering some of the most interesting CES gadgets and happenings. Check out the video. Thank you Sarah, that was a lot of fun, I'd love to come back anytime.
Friday early evening, I teamed up with Sarah Lacy the author of Once Your Lucky, Twice Your Good to form the rock band "SomewhatLacy." No, this is not a lingerie website, that would be the other show in Vegas, get your mind out of the gutter and focus! Team SomewhatLacy took on NonSociety (Julia Allison, Meghan Asha and Mary Rambin). I am not sure if anyone out there has video of us playing but I shot this video (below) before we went on stage. I was on lead vocals for the Pearl Jam song Alive and I belted out "I'm still ALIVE!" and think I might have made Eddie Vedder proud. Sarah took on the six string and jammed away! We also had a drummer and bass that were provided to fillout the band. NonSociety took us on and decided to not even play or sing a single note and by miracle were granted the victory by dancing around harmoniously on stage and then screaming as loudly as they could when it was time for the audience to grant a winner by applause-o-meter. In any case, they decided one round was enough for them and quite ironically, SomewhatLacy was truly still alive for round two against Joystiq. Unfortunately, due to poor song selection and the quite obvious mismatch of going up against gaming bloggers, we did not win round two but it was ok because it was time to get ready for the evenings events.
Friday night was the long awaited Intel PC.com event featuring Counting Crows and introduced by the lovely Brook Burke. After a quick burger and lots of bubble water with Weblogs, Inc co-founder Brian Alvey, we headed to the LAX at Luxor to the red carpet where upon arriving we discovered we missed Brooke by 5 minutes. Ouch! Shouldn't have had that extra bottle of water. We rolled inside to see the LAX filling up while Intel logos shined on the walls. Within a half hour or so we took our place in row one, center stage as Brooke Burke introduced the Counting Crows.
Counting Crows Rock Intel PC.com CES09 Party from Frank Gruber on Vimeo.
The Counting Crows performed a magnificent show and I was able to snag a few photos (below) and video (above) from the show. This was an amazing event. Thank you Intel and PC.com for putting this event on.
After the show, the remainder of the evening passed in a blur of dance clubs and resulted in fellow Intel Insider Cathy Brooks and I hanging out watching an impromptu breakdancing show.
Saturday I headed back to CES to hit the floor hard in search for good new gadgets, netbooks and anything else I wanted to see before hitting the road. I saw hundreds of LCD's, some as large as 108 to even 150 inches. Finally, I experienced my biggest CES WTF moment which was orchestrated by Casio at the Exilim stage. Check out the video below and let me know if you understand it.
Overall, CES was a valuable and amazing experience, though I wish it was not so spread out across the entire Las Vegas strip. I think this is probably why SXSW has become so successful, as Austin is a little easier to navigate than Vegas on a normal day. Either way, I would go back for another one but next time I would stay closer to the Las Vegas Convention Center and try and get a place to setup interviews with folks ahead being entrenched in the chaos of CES in Vegas.