Still fascinated by bright, shiny objects

welcome to las vegas

We just got back from four days in Las Vegas attending the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. We have been going off and on for several years as “industry professionals” (or something like that). Chuck swung this magical designation for us long ago and since then we keep getting invited. We don’t go to sessions, we spend our time roaming the (many) exhibit halls, looking at all the new technology that we may or may not ever see in stores near us.

I remember the first year we attended that cell phone tech was still a big still-developing thing and a lot of the innovation was around all the neat stuff you could do with them. Then there was the year that was all about autonomous driving and how it was going to change our relationships with our cars. Then there was the Internet of Things – where the Internet becomes embedded in all sorts of everyday objects. The big thing this year was 5G (what it is, how it will be implemented and what it will do for us all and honestly I’m still not sure I understand what the heck it’s going to do) and artificial intelligence as a part of everything in our houses and our cities. We spent three full days in the exhibit halls and managed to see a fair amount (but far from everything) and totally exhaust ourselves.

We were wowed by the various TVs from Samsung and LG (but try as I might I just can’t see a difference between 4K and 8K screens) and that 219″ Samsung screen was pretty crazy! I fell in love with the Sony DSC RX 100. And Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa appear to be in an all out battle of the virtual assistants. We have been looking for a tablet-type device that could function as a hub in the office for our various smart home devices (Ring, ADT, Insteon) so we don’t have to always have our phones handy. We saw some nice options but ended up thinking that the Echo Show may do the trick.

We stayed at the Plaza Hotel and Casino because we made our reservations kind of late and a lot of CES-priced hotels were already booked. It’s downtown across the street from the Fremont Street Experience and the Greyhound bus station. It’s an older hotel and smells like cigarettes and the casino attracts an interesting clientele that made me want to keep a close eye on my stuff (but hey, they have nickel slots!). Our room was small but okay (it was non-smoking and didn’t reek) HOWEVER the room had a connecting door so we could hear everything they guy next door was doing (and all he did for four nights was cough and hoik up phlegm – poor fellow really needed to see a doctor!) which meant that despite ear plugs I slept like crap every night. We spent very little time in the hotel once we realized what a dump it was. Happily the Golden Nugget was across the street and was a much more upscale (and better smelling) place to hang out when we weren’t at CES (and the free CES shuttle picked up and dropped off at the Golden Nugget) . I have always found Las Vegas pretty depressing, full of people wasting money they probably can’t afford to be wasting and this visit was no different. But I can see why CES comes here every year. With over 2 million square feet of exhibit space spread out over three hotels and the entire convention center, I can’t think of anywhere else that has the space CES takes up.

It was a fun, exhausting four days and we’re already planning for 2020 (and definitely NOT staying at the Plaza Hotel)! And poor Chuck, after inhaling many germs in tight quarters, now has a nice case of conference crud.

So it goes.