News and Information

Comdex Fall Las Vegas, November 2000

A computer show with hardly any computers to look at ??

If this show was any indicator than the world is indeed changing. Notable by their absence was companies like Dell, Compaq, Apple, IBM, and Gateway to name a few. What was notable was wireless, eCommerce, and the mobile platforms. More on all of these to come as soon as the box with my notes makes it back to the office.

Best of Show

Comdex show folks gave out some interesting awards this year and here are a few of them: Best Vision of the Future: The Tablet PC, soon to be available from companies like Samsung, Sony, and others. Tablets have been with us a while but here they see some new promise. Best Wireless/Mobile: nVidia GeForce2Go, is the graphics processing unit for mobile computers saying that it will rival the desktop video capabilities. Best Consumer Product: Gateway Connected Touchpad, it is a $599 internet appliance based on Transmeta?s Crusoe processor. See the entire list of ZDNet?s best of Comdex at,12245,2654423,00.html.

New Items this Fall

Instant Power Charger uses disposable zinc air power cartridges to allow you to recharge a phone up to three times allowing you to keep going when you can?t plug into a charger or have a spare battery handy. Not too expensive and a great idea for traveling to electric unfriendly locations. is the web site.

If you are having trouble keeping track of what digital media uses what interface to connect to your computer, then Techcessories has a solution for you. A Three in One media reader that in one device, will read SuperDisks, the LS120 drives, Compact Flash (CF) cards, and the new Multimedia cards.

Lava computing is coming up with some new add in cards including a Firewire IEEE1394 PCI adapter. Firewire will be the new digital input medium for high performance media transfer between digital movie cameras and your computer. They also make a Firedrive, an IEEE 1394 hard drive enclosure to add a FireWire hard drive to your computer. Been using their cards for years,

Need some capacity to your network ? Look at the PowerFile C200 DVD/CD Changer. It has the dual DVD and CD rom drives, connects by FireWire, supports both Macintosh and Windows systems and can give you access to 200 CDs online. For $1799 from

High and low tech is combined in this new security system from Videx, They call it the intelligent access control system but what it is is a replacement lock for your front door or any other door you choose to secure. Using a virtually pick proof cylinder lock system, it replaces many standard type cylinders to give you an electronic lock. You connect the base station kit to your computer to determine when what locks are available for entry and by holders of which keys. Kits start at $582.

You knew that it wouldn?t be long before someone actually marries a digital phone and PDA (and I don?t mean the current slate of shotgun weddings where they cram them together and see what works). Microsoft has a Smart Phone Platform in the works that looks very promising. Look for Samsung to be first out of the gate with something in 2001.

Speaking of those shotgun weddings, several companies have come out with wireless systems for the PDAs, cellular connection units, and digital cameras. OmniSky has a wireless internet and email service, as does Metricom, Inc, and Sierra Wireless, Inc. Socket Communications came out with a Bluetooth Personal network card for the Pocket PC. Much more on many of these as the year goes by.

AMD (Advanced Micro Devices, was showing off quietly in a couple of corners a desktop system based on the 1.5 gigahertz Athlon chip. Needless to say, it was fast.

New and Unusual

TravRoute,, has come out with a Pocket PC GPS system. With real time directions, maps, and mileage, voice prompts, and GPS tracking and navigation, you will never get lost unless you have an accident trying to read the screen and drive at the same time. Of course, you will have to plot your trip on your desktop and then download it to the Pocket PC before you take off but still, pretty neat. See it at and available for around $349.

Intel is at it again with their design studio coming up with some amazing computer systems. How about a new Pentium4 system in the form factor of a lunch box at 10 by 13 by 4 inches. This new machine, called ?Deep Forest? has more horsepower than I have ever seen on a desktop and does things like support 7 USB ports, LAN, ATI Radeon AGP4X video (more on that one later) and a host of other features. Really neat.

TeraOptic, Inc, has two new products worth taking a look at. The first is a consumer targeted CD Video Recorder to use CD-R or CD-RW discs to record straight from your camcorder, VCR, or on air broadcasts to disc. You can also mix in audio sources from anything to tape, CD, computer, to records as well. Their second product is also consumer based and is a TV Videofone. An affordable videoconferencing system now only setup for two way connections. Plug in a phone line and connect to your TV and you are on your way.

If you have been playing with some of the really neat digital image stitching software, you have found that one of the real problems is keeping the camera level and taking the pictures with enough overlap to allow the stitching software to blend the images into a panorama. Well to help you along comes SpinScape I, a digital camera control system. They are looking for funding and when they get it, prices will come down and it will be a great seller.

Aiptek, has a digital camera that looks like an oversized pen. But it can be plugged into your PC to become a USB based video camera, a stand alone still camera, and allows you to record live video away from the computer.

Updates and Improvements

Casio has updated the E115 PocketPC with a new model, the E125. It pretty much looks and works just like the other one but a bit faster, 150mhz versus 133mhz, and it has USB support.

McAfee is the first to move into the PDA area with an antivirus product for the Palm Pilot. Look for them and hopefully Symantec to get into the Windows CE world of the Pocket PC.

CardScan500 is the latest business card reader from Corex. It connects to your USB and synchronizes with many of the top organization programs like Act, Organizer, Notes, Goldmine, and Outlook.

I always love going to Comdex to see the new printers. Lexmark did not disappoint us this year with a new lineup of Z series printers that for the price are incredible to see. Low end printers are up to $69.99 and the high end Z52 2400 dpi beauty is only $179.99. The samples are stunning, the printers are fast, and I want one.

A couple of companies including Preco New Products Corp, have finally come out with really good cable organizers. Their Lan-Minder is a spool of 8 feet of Ethernet cable that spools and unspools as you need it, about $20. They also do the same for telephone cords.

DVD is getting bigger in the computer world all the time and Panasonic has come out with their latest DVD RAM drive that will store 4.7gb of data per side. It looks like the DVD-RAM standard may become the one to get but the drives are still expensive at around $549 for this one. What I like about this one is that it will read all the current DVD and CD formats out there.

Several companies have been doing a lot of things in the internet and security market with devices that will scan your fingerprint to your iris. Chicony has a keyboard with a fingerprint scanner and Biolink came out with a Umatch mouse with a fingerprint scanner on the side.

Zoom Telephonics has come out with the first new V.92 standard modem. Promising faster downloads using a new V.44 compression technique and upload speeds up to 48,000 compared to 33,600 for the current V.90 standard.

LG Electronics has come up with a new flat panel screen technology called the Flatron. A new technology in building and sandwiching layers into the monitor make this one really stand out. Look at the Model 915 Plus is a 19 inch monitor that will carry an estimated retail price of $550.

And then there is?.

Probably the most unusual exhibit is from Sheikh Mohammed?s web site at Learn about a remarkable man and his efforts in the middle east. They had the most visually appealing and most expensive press kit too.

It seems like many of you (most according to dubious surveys) want to get internet access in your car. You want to do email while driving, get navigation directions, locate restaurants, and do live real time chats with everyone from your mothers to support technicians. Just think, if you are going to be on hold for an hour, you might as well be driving someplace. Despite my misgivings on the intelligence of some developers, and users, I do realize that there will be a number of people and situations where all of the above is important and essential and so a number of companies will be coming out soon with such systems. We are in the initial stages, Hertz now puts GPS navigation systems in many of the larger cars and in fact, while we were buzzing around Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, found it to be very useful and helpful. Look for a lot of these technologies to surface in 2001 but I might wait for another year before getting one for my car. InfoMove, is one such company that is attempting to integrate internet, wireless, and GPS technologies for auto based PDAs, hand held PCs, and in-dash computers and phones. Soon, look for internet based appliances to be based in your car emailing the dealer when something goes wrong as you travel. Well, maybe not next year?

And speaking of getting the internet when you want it, how about at 35,000 feet in the air while flying around the country? Boeing and Connexion were showing off an airplane cabin with (naturally first class seats) high speed internet connections.

Web based imaging and photo processing systems were all over the place this year. The two basic themes are to give you a different way to share your images on the internet with others and to have an internet based company print your images on photo quality paper for you. Expect to see a big shakeout in both of these markets. As to the former, are there really that many people that want to use all these web sites to share their pictures ? and what about the printing houses? I suspect there will be times that the old ink jet printer will not do the job you want it to despite what the glossy brochures about them say.

Annoyances at Comdex were many but this year; there were not as many bimbos in the booths. Could it be that these companies are getting a bit more correct these days? Mercedes Benz was one of the show sponsors this year, don?t ask why, and they took one of the big parking lots across the street so that if you were so inclined, you could take one of the dozens they had on hand for a test drive. And people did! How about the EDS ?Herding Cats? ad that you saw at last years (2000) Superbowl. Once or twice was enough for me but as EDS was another major sponsor, guess which ad was played to death on these incredible huge screens everywhere.

The next comdex event is scheduled for Chicago, April 3-5, 2001. Comdex Fall for those of you that like to plan ahead will be again in Las Vegas November 12-16, 2001.

Short Takes

Many computer makers are coming out with their new ?Legacy Free? computers and you had better be prepared. It means no more ISA card slots, nor will you find parallel or serial ports on the computer as they are replaced by USB and FireWire. Personally, I would not buy a parallel or serial device any longer, go with the USB connections. They are still somewhat flakey at times but when you update the computer, you may find that is all you have.

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Copyright 2001 Sanborn Software Systems LLC
This Page Last Updated: January 24, 2001.