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Surviving CES in Las Vegas: A few helpful hints for 2012

 

 in this post, I offer a few tips for those heading off to CES 2012 in Las Vegas this week…

As you may already know, CES 2012 begins this week in Las Vegas (officially, CES is January 10-13). Yes, it’s true that researchers have determined that stress may cause the brain to become disconnected, but you don’t have to be disconnected at when traveling to Las Vegas.

BTW, you can find Microsoft this year at Central 7244 (here’s a map). Yes, we announced that the 2012 CES tech show will be our last where we have a booth.

As noted in the Wall Street Journal

“CES, as the event is universally called, is used by many high-tech companies to show off what they have developed—as well as product plans for the rest of the year. The event has assumed increased importance as consumer purchases of goods have topped revenue from business customers for many electronics companies.”

Once again, I was asked not once, not twice but a half dozen times in the last day for a couple of restaurant recommendations and a link to my past, popular post, “Surviving CES in Las Vegas: A few helpful hints“. So with a tip of the hat to my old friends and definite foodies at Rogers (love Aureole), I offer a few tips for those heading off to Vegas this week for the event, updating the bits from previous blog posts.

I’ll add additional tips this week as they come in. I can’t wait to see what there is to offer from Microsoft and many other exhibiting companies.

Attending CES virtually:  I certainly agree that regular visits to Engadget and Gizmodo is a good start start, particularly as Robert notes…

“Engadget has more than 10 people walking the floor for you. Why? So you don’t have to!”

I’ll be watching the CES feed from ZDNet and other reporters on the scene, and following some of the suggestions and links in Scoble’s “how to-survive CES without getting off the couch. 

Who to follow on Twitter: If you want to watch the tweet streams in the Twittershpere from are a great number of folks attending CES active on Twitter,follow the unfiltered Tweet stream in the Twittershpere by searching the Twitter hash tag #CES12 and hash tag #CES.

You’ll also find many Microsofties, reporters and commentators (including the erudite , , and ) as well as many media outlets.

As noted by @ednmagazine recommends you follow the (my view) irrepressible @sylviebarak, in addition to @Patrick_Mannion, @awolfe58, @junkoyoshida, @EDNmagazine, @DesignNews and @ee_times.

Real-time coverage and daily wrap ups: In addition to the Microsoft CES News Center, the central online resource for Microsoft news at CES, here are a few more feeds to watch:

And don’t forget Steve Ballmer’s keynote, taking place LIVE on our Facebook page this Monday, 1/9 at 6:30pm PST at http://on.fb.me/ywDHN1 (per our own Kristina Libby, Frank Shaw and others).

Additional “be prepared tips” for CES:  For some additional tips, see Betsy Aoki’s Tips for surviving CES, and other survival tips courtesy of Bing, including CES 2012 survival tips from Reginald Levine of the Atlanta Examiner, and Preparing for CES 2012: Trends, Tips, Keynotes, & Hotspots by Canadian Marketnews’ own Christine Persaud.

Microsoft At CES

As noted above, the Microsoft booth at CES is at Central 7244 (here’s a map). Yes, we announced that the 2012 CES tech show will be our last where we have a booth. And no, once again, I will not be there: you have to leave someone at home. (I have already seen a few cool new things making a debut at CES, such as the very sexy [redacted] from [redacted] and the incredible [redacted] from [redacted]. 😉

For more on all the Microsoft and partner happenings at CES, be sure to visit The Microsoft CES News Center, the central online resource for Microsoft news at CES.

Steve Ballmer’s CES Keynote: Planning on going to Steve Ballmer’s keynote? Remember that attendees attending in person must have their CES conference badge, required for admission. While no other special credentials are required, you should plan on getting there at least one hour prior to the keynote: general admission is first-come, first-served and seating begins at 6 PM. Watching virtually? Steve’s keynote will take place LIVE on our Facebook page this Monday, 1/9 at 6:30pm PST: http://on.fb.me/ywDHN1.

A Few General Travel Tips for CES

Flight and Hotel: If you don’t already have either of these, good luck. You’ll have a better chance of winning big on nickel slots than finding either at this late date. Stay home and read the daily CES blogs.

But if you must go, try booking online, going stand-by, or fly and drive from another major city. As for hotels, call a well-connected travel agent or try to find a room in town (downtown Las Vegas)… otherwise, find a friend staying at the Embassy Suites across from the LVCC and snag the pull-out couch, offering to go Dutch for dinner at Aureole (where you’ll be buying the wine, of course ;).

Show Passes: If you haven’t already done so, register now. This year, use use priority code AN14 when registering. You can also register at the Las Vegas Convention Center (CES Central Plaza, Main Registration Area, or the Las Vegas Hilton Ballrooms) and at the Venetian Meeting Rooms, Level 2).

If you have your badge… Go straight to any Badge Holder pick-up location. As the CES notes, be sure to bring your personal ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. You’ll also need one business ID such as a business card.

As CES reminded me, “if you received your badge in the mail, be sure to bring it with you to the show. Each registrant who received a badge by mail will need to go to a badge holder pick up location to get their official International CES badge holder. Admittance without a badge holder is not permitted.”

To avoid lines at registration, pick up your badge holder at any of the following badge holder pick up locations starting on Sunday at McCarran Airport, ARIA, Circus Circus, Excalibur, MGM Grand, Mirage, Riviera, Westin Casuarina, Wynn and Venetian, or on Monday at the LVCC.

If you don’t have your badge… go to one of the CES registration areas to pick it up. See just below for locations or check out the yellow highlighted areas on this show locations map. Again, bring your personal ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. You’ll also need one business ID such as a business card.

If this is your first time at CES… check out the CES official newbie guide. CES includes a few helpful hints of their own on navigating The CITY

CES TechZone: More than 20 targeted areas focusing on technologies and topics that interest you. From the latest in 3D to ZigBee, you can see all the 2012 CES TechZones here.

Official CES Social information… New and improved for 2012, CES Social Circle is the official social media site for the 2012 International CES. In association with CEA, digital marketing firm Pyxl designed and developed this dynamic data visualization site. Social Circle intelligently finds, indexes and aggregates social content from around the web in one easy-to-digest visual dashboard. By utilizing a variety of social media APIs, Social Circle visualizes articles, tweets, Facebook posts, photos, videos and official CES content, before, during and after the event. Visit Social Circle at http://social.cesweb.org, and find CES on:

       

CES Registration assistance numbers and email addresses:

Inside U.S.: 866-233-7968, and CESreg@CE.org

Outside U.S.: +1 301-694-5243, and Internationalreg@CE.org

Press: 703-907-4365, and Press@CE.org

Exhibitor: 866-233-7968, and Exhreg@CE.org

What to Wear

Pack light. Keep in mind that it is cold in Vegas this time of year: the weather will be near freezing at night (“but it’s a dry cold”) and up in the mid 50-60’s during the day (or about 10-15 degrees for my friends outside the States). Check the weather report for Vegas here.

image

CES attire: depends who you are, what you’re doing there.  If you are doing demo duty, chances are the standard dress includes khaki or dark pants and company provided shirts: ask for two shirts and have one laundered daily if you are on booth duty each day. (Shame on the companies that only give out one shirt to booth staff, and double for those companies that don’t spring for padding under the carpet at the booth.) See also a few travel recommendations from Colin Cowie on packing.

For after the day’s event, you’ll need bring a jacket that you can wear as you brave the winds from the Arctic tundra as you make your way from the LVCC to your hotel. But wear a stylish shirt underneath just in case for the late-night antics around town… or better, bring a nice shirt allowing for a quick change prior to dinner and doesn’t require a trip back to the hotel. I mean, c’mon: this is Vegas… (Please note that this part of the post is shallowly geared towards the boys: ladies heading off to Glitter Gulch should pack accordingly, but still bring comfortable shoes for the show floor. They may not be pretty, but you’ll be happier come dinner time.)

No matter what: wear great, comfortable shoes. And don’t bring the stylish shoes, go for comfort as you will be standing and walking. A lot. If you’ve been to CES in Vegas previously, you’ll recall that many smart execs are often seen roaming the floors in walking shoes or sneakers. My pick: anything from Ecco, Rockport or New Balance, which all have nice shoes in black to go with your winter wool suit or trousers.

Getting around CES and Las Vegas

Getting from the airport to anywhere: Remember, if you need to get a taxi cab at McCarran airport, look to the departures area where people are exiting the taxi. (Just a suggestion, not an endorsement.) If you arrive into Vegas with other folks on the same flight, consider renting a limo or get together an impromptu set of people going to roughly the same hotel on the strip: that way you’ll pay one limo fee.

Cars and parking: Last, unless you plan on traveling off the main strip, generally don’t rent a car (take a cab). You’ll avoid the hassle of trying to find a space in a short period of time, and any hassles with daily hotel parking – it used to be that rates on the Strip were as near and dear – and just as expensive – as a flat in SoHo. My Twitter friend Mary Branscombe notes at CES 2012, many hotels on the strip (or nearby) offer free parking, which is great if you’re driving to Las Vegas. But CES recommends and encourages attendees to take the shuttles as parking at the LVCC and around the strip can be tough during the show, as well as a hassle (I once waited 30 minutes for my rental car at one theme hotel).

Travel from the strip to the LVCC. On the strip, well, you’re on your own. I suggest comfortable walking shoes. Lots of good info on the CES site when it comes to travel via car and parking,  Most CES-affiliated hotels have shuttle busses to the LVCC, but get there early as many are filled to capacity. When leaving the LVCC and faced with a bus line longer than the The Road Ahead, check out the busses with shorter lines destined for other hotels that may be within walking distance of your destination (get the map of shuttle bus stops for more details).

Shuttle busses: While taxis are ubiquitous around Vegas, there are other modes of transportation to get to and from CES. The International CES offers complimentary shuttle service on all four days of the International CES. We’ll even help you get to the airport as you head home after several successful days of networking and deal making.

The Las Vegas Monorail connects the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and Las Vegas Hilton to a variety of hotels, including MGM Grand, Bally’s, Flamingo, and Harrah’s. Traveling at a top speed of 50 mph, the monorail is often the quickest travel option to and from the International CES. And the Las Vegas Monorail is a deal when you consider the costs (in cash and time): $5 per ride or the incomparable deal of the three-day pass for $40. Heck, you’ll spend that much in a single cab ride in the wrong line of traffic.

Food

Bring your favourite snack food. See below on booking restaurants early (call before you fly) and be sure to bring your favourite portable snack foods (such as trail mix, snack bars) as the food selection on the show floor leaves something to be desired. (Note that the cafeteria at the main entrance does serve a reasonable selection of breakfast items.)

Personally, I find that Odwalla bars travel well, particularly the C Monster and Berries GoMega. You’ll be the envy of all waiting in line for the hot dogs that have been slowly rotating on the burners since 2007. (I’d also like to call out Mrs. May’s Trio bars for quick, light snacks. Rob Pegoraro is partial to Clif Bars, which will do in a pinch, tho’ I find them quite woodsy for my tastes. 😉

There’s nothing like dinner in Lost Wages: I like standing in lines waiting for a table about as much as enduring some of the things you probably won’t ever see on the evening news. Unless you already have a reservation at one of the better places on the strip, and if you lack an invite to a team or company event (or even if you have one and they chose the buffet at Circus Circus – private joke), there are lots of great places to consider for dinner (many of them off the strip, if you don’t mind a drive). Let me know your own best selections for the area!

For starters, check out Vegas ratings on Gayot.com’s list of top Vegas restaurants as well as Frommers.com list of top Vegas eateries.

  • On the strip… price-is-no-object favourites include Aureole (awesome), The Rosewood Grill (with huge, photogenic lobsters), Piero’s Italian, The Palm Steakhouse, Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse, Nobu for sushi at the Hard Rock and Seablue at the MGM. If you are dining with a small set of people (two or three people) then consider eating at the bar at one of the better places: you’ll bypass the wait and often get the same food as in the main restaurant.  Mary also raves about the fantastic food at Shibuya in the MGM.
  • Off the strip… favourite restaurants include the India Palace, Thai Spice, Roy’s… and my personal favourite, Rosemary’s Restaurant, which reminds of the great food of New Orleans, courtesy of Michael and Wendy Jordan.
  • To keep within your per diem… I like the always wonderful Lotus of Siam for Thai (just off the strip), Market City Caffe at the at the Monte Carlo Hotel, the Burger Bar at the Mandalay Bay, Capriotti’s Deli and the Bougainvillea Cafe at Terrible’s Hotel (great breakfasts). Add to that in addition to the buffets at many of the top hotels (a great list is on gayot.com noting top buffets). One way top top out the per diem in a single sitting (but so worth it) is at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand Hotel is an awesome value for the money, with an incredible French tasting menu.
  • For breakfast or dinner, go for the amazing French cuisine at Bouchon at the Venetian, from Thomas Keller of the famed French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley. A great place to splurge. As noted above, yogurt and basics are available at the LVCC entrance. Avoid anyone on the street offering you a flyer “to a great place for breakfast” that looks like anything but a great place for breakfast. If you’ve been to Vegas previously, you know what I mean.

A note on booking tables… Consider booking your table through your hotel concierge as noted above: if you haven’t called them in advance, ask for their help in booking a table (tip, please) and get their business card with their phone number after you check in… and give them a tip if they offer a direct dial number. A good concierge may be able to score a reservation to a hard-to-book place: I have found that your best bet is a well-connected hotel concierge if a direct call to the restaurant doesn’t pan out. Also, look to your credit card company (many offer a concierge service) or try your hand (or mouse) booking a table at OpenTable.com. Many of the restaurants still show availability on OpenTable.com as of today, so book early.

A few general travel tips for CES

Say hello your new best friend: the hotel concierge. Introduce yourself and hand them a business card. That one move may come in hand later more than you know. See ‘dinner’ and ‘getting to the airport’ for starters. If you plan on doing a lot of schmoozing at CES, call them and introduce yourself now to let them know you will be staying at the hotel. As Cowie notes, “ask your concierge to make some reservations for you now at top restaurants so you don’t find that you can’t get in when you arrive there in peak season. Tip the concierge the moment you arrive…” See, you can learn helpful travel hints from a man that you thought only had great party design sense. 😉

Know what’s going on off-show hours. “No, really… we were entertaining clients at ‘O’ last night…” Before you depart, visit the New York Times’ guides to Las Vegas and go to the Time Out Las Vegas Site for a list of sights and attractions around this gambling capital. Vegas is not just about casinos and floor shows: there are fine art museums like the Venetian Guggenheim, the roller coaster at New York New York (which is usually quite crowded).

Unfortunately, with a nod to my own geekyness (and many others in Windows, not naming names) the Star Trek: The Experience at the Hilton closed. A toast to my old friend, Ian, who I believe will likely be in LV for CES: he originally introduced me to Quark’s Bar and Grill long ago (in a galaxy…) which actually had some reasonable lunch fare. C’est la vie.

The Times has a great 36 Hours in Las Vegas guide that should not be missed (Bookmark or print an XPS file of their Las Vegas restaurant listings and main attractions).

See the Review Journal’s Best of Las Vegas site prior to heading to Vegas. The Journal has the rankings from everything from the best restaurants to the best Elvis Impersonator (it’s Trent Carlini, according to the ‘Next Best Thing’). Great shows include Blue Man Group, Celine Dion, Donny & Marie (really!), the always classic Mystère Cirque du Soleil, O Cirque du Soleil, and the incomparable Penn and Teller.

All in all, try to have fun… just don’t try to expense it. And if you must, tell folks that the night out at Penn and Teller really was for a business meeting, that you had to go and it wasn’t very good. (But careful, as it truly is a great show.)

Going Home

Getting to the airport. Finding a cab on the last day of CES is like looking for your 25-character product ID code for software you first installed a year ago. Trust me on this one. Arrange a car in advance through your concierge for more than one traveler. Or that concierge you tipped earlier just may have arranged a shuttle for a small group that has an opening.

If you don’t have a ride from the LVCC… I have found that when leaving the LVCC directly for the airport, go to the head of the line and ask if anyone else is destined for the TSA security screener at McCarran… and if there’s room, offer to pay for their ride. Best if you have carry-on luggage and not the 12-spaces high demo rack destined for cargo check in. (Please note that I have used this tactic once or twice and found it to be tremendously helpful, but do not endorse the practice… particularly when the line is long and tempers are high. In these cases, be discreet 😉 This strategy also works in hotel lines, just don’t do it within earshot of a taxi driver. (You saw “Taxi Driver,” right?)

If you’re press (blogs are press, right?) there is a shuttle service to McCarran every 30 minutes on January 9 and Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm from the LVCC and Sands front entrances for $5 per person one-way, cash only. (Thanks to Tara, Jaime and Sarah for the info on their site, and see Sarah’s tips here on surviving CES with links to the items that “other CES veterans have brought to past shows here.“)

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox 360, CES 2012, CES, travel tips.

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Surviving CES in Las Vegas: A few helpful hints for 2011

 As you may already know, CES 2011 begins this week in Las Vegas (officially, CES is January 6-9). Yes, it’s true that researchers have determined that stress may cause the brain to become disconnected, but you don’t have to be disconnected at when traveling to Las Vegas.

As noted in the Wall Street Journal

“CES, as the event is universally called, is used by many high-tech companies to show off what they have developed—as well as product plans for the rest of the year. The event has assumed increased importance as consumer purchases of goods have topped revenue from business customers for many electronics companies.

“The show formally opens Wednesday night, with a keynote address by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive, while exhibits are open Thursday through Sunday. It is only open to industry professionals.

“Some 2,500 exhibitors are expected this year, including more than 1,200 from outside the U.S.—a 25% increase over the 2010 CES. Mr. Shapiro says the only notable company missing is Apple Inc.; the Silicon Valley trend-setter has long stuck to a strategy of introducing new products at its own events.” 

Once again, I was asked not once, not twice but a half dozen times in the last day for a couple of restaurant recommendations and a link to my past, popular post, “Surviving CES in Las Vegas: A few helpful hints“. So with a tip of the hat to my old friends and definite foodies at Rogers (love Aureole), I offer a few tips for those heading off to Vegas this week for the event, recycling the bits in the blog post

I’ll add additional tips this week as they come in.  I can’t wait to see what there is to offer from Microsoft and many other exhibiting companies. If you’re one of the estimated >125,000 people expected to attend this year, take some consolation: the CE association has taken steps, according to the WSJ, “to limit attendees by raising fees and tightening requirements to attend… [and] reduced exhibition space for CES, which mainly occupies the Las Vegas Convention Center but had temporarily expanded to the nearby Sands Convention Center.”

Here’s the excerpted original post (with a few corrections/updates):

Flight and Hotel: If you don’t already have either of these, good luck.  You’ll have a better chance of winning big on nickel slots than finding either at this late date.  Stay home and read the daily CES blogs.

But if you must go, try booking online, going stand-by, or fly and drive from another major city.  As for hotels, call a well-connected travel agent or try to find a room in town (downtown Las Vegas)… otherwise, find a friend staying at the Embassy Suites across from the LVCC and snag the pull-out couch, offering to go Dutch for dinner at Aureole (where you’ll be buying the wine, of course ;).

Show Passes: If you haven’t already done so, register now. This year, use use priority code AN14 when registering. You can also register at the Las Vegas Convention Center (CES Central Plaza, Main Registration Area, or the Las Vegas Hilton Ballrooms) and at the Venetian Meeting Rooms, Level 2).

If you have your badge… Go straight to any Badge Holder pick-up location. As the CES notes, be sure to bring your personal ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. You’ll also need one business ID such as a business card. 

If you don’t have your badge… go to one of the CES registration areas to pick it up. See just below for locations or check out the yellow highlighted areas on this show locations map. Again, bring your personal ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. You’ll also need one business ID such as a business card. 

Registration assistance numbers and email addresses:

Inside U.S.: 866-233-7968, and CESreg@CE.org

Outside U.S.: +1 301-694-5243, and Internationalreg@CE.org

Press: 703-907-4365, and Press@CE.org

Exhibitor: 866-233-7968, and Exhreg@CE.org

Pack light.  Keep in mind that it is cold in Vegas this time of year: the weather will be near freezing at night (“but it’s a dry cold”) and up in the mid 50’s during the day (or about 10 degrees for my friends outside the States).  Check the weather report for Vegas here.  If you are doing demo duty, chances are the standard dress includes khaki or dark pants and company provided shirts: ask for two shirts and have one laundered daily if you are on booth duty each day. (Shame on the companies that only give out one shirt to booth staff, and double for those companies that don’t spring for padding under the carpet at the booth.)  See also a few travel recommendations from Colin Cowie on packing.

For after the day’s event, you’ll need bring a jacket that you can wear as you brave the winds from the Arctic tundra as you make your way from the LVCC to your hotel.  But wear a stylish shirt underneath just in case for the late-night antics around town… or better, bring a nice shirt allowing for a quick change prior to dinner and doesn’t require a trip back to the hotel.  I mean, c’mon: this is Vegas… (Please note that this part of the post is shallowly geared towards the boys: ladies heading off to Glitter Gulch should pack accordingly, but still bring comfortable shoes for the show floor.  They may not be pretty, but you’ll be happier come dinner time.)

Wear great, comfortable shoes.  And don’t bring the stylish shoes, go for comfort as you will be standing and walking.  A lot.  If you’ve been to CES in Vegas previously, you’ll recall that many smart execs are often seen roaming the floors in walking shoes or sneakers.  My pick: anything from Ecco, Rockport or New Balance, which all have nice shoes in black to go with your winter wool suit or trousers.   

Bring your favourite snack food.  See below on booking restaurants early (call before you fly) and be sure to bring your favourite portable snack foods (such as trail mix, snack bars) as the food selection on the show floor leaves something to be desired.  (Note that the cafeteria at the main entrance does serve a reasonable selection of breakfast items.)  Personally, I find that Odwalla bars travel well, particularly the C Monster and Berries GoMega.  You’ll be the envy of all waiting in line for the hot dogs that have been slowly rotating on the burners since 2007. (Ed Note, 2011: I now also include Mrs. May’s Trio bars for quick, light snacks.)

Getting from the airport to anywhere: Remember, if you need to get a taxi cab at McCarran airport, look to the departures area where people are exiting the taxi.  (Just a suggestion, not an endorsement.)  If you arrive into Vegas with other folks on the same flight, consider renting a limo or get together an impromptu set of people going to roughly the same hotel on the strip: that way you’ll pay one limo fee.  Last, unless you plan on traveling off the main strip, don’t rent a car (take a cab) unless you enjoy paying daily hotel parking rates akin to what you would pay for a flat in SoHo. 

Travel from the strip to the LVCC.  On the strip, well, you’re on your own.  I suggest comfortable walking shoes.  Most CES-affiliated hotels have shuttle busses to the LVCC but get there early as many are filled to capacity.  When leaving the LVCC and faced with a bus line longer than the The Road Ahead, check out the busses with shorter lines destined for other hotels that may be within walking distance of your destination (use the shuttle bus link for more details).

And the Las Vegas Monorail is a deal when you consider the costs (in cash and time): $5 per ride or a three-day pass for $40 (you’ll spend that much in a single cab ride in the wrong line of traffic).  It runs between various hotels (MGM Grand, Bally’s/Paris) and the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and Las Vegas Hilton.

Say hello your new best friend: the hotel concierge.  Introduce yourself and hand them a business card.  That one move may come in hand later more than you know.  See ‘dinner’ and ‘getting to the airport’ for starters.  If you plan on doing a lot of schmoozing at CES, call them and introduce yourself now to let them know you will be staying at the hotel.  As Cowie notes, “ask your concierge to make some reservations for you now at top restaurants so you don’t find that you can’t get in when you arrive there in peak season. Tip the concierge the moment you arrive…”  See, you can learn helpful travel hints from a man that you thought only had great party design sense. 😉

Steve Ballmer’s CES Keynote: Steve Ballmer’s keynote will take place Wednesday, January 5, at 6:30 PM in the Las Vegas Hilton Center and Theater. Attendees’ CES conference badge is required for admission. While no other special credentials are required, you should plan on getting there at least one hour prior to the keynote: general admission is first-come, first-served and seating begins at 6 PM.  You can watch Steve Ballmer’s keynote speech at CES live, Jan 5, 6:30PM PST on the Microsoft Facebook page, also available via http://on.fb.me/gU67SM.

Microsoft at CES: The Microsoft booth at CES (#7144) will be open beginning Thursday, January 6.  Booth hours are: Thursday, Jan 6 – 10 AM to 6 PM; Friday, Jan 7 –  9 AM to 6 PM; Saturday, Jan 8 – 9 AM to 6 PM; and Sunday, Jan 9 – 9 AM to 4 PM. And no, I will not be there: you have to leave someone at home. (I have already seen a few cool new things making a debut at CES, such as the very sexy [redacted] from [redacted] and the incredible [redacted] from [redacted]. 😉

For more on all the Microsoft and partner happenings at CES, be sure to visit The Microsoft News Center, the central online resource for Microsoft news at CES

There’s nothing like dinner in Lost Wages: I like standing in lines waiting for a table about as much as enduring some of the things you probably won’t ever see on the evening news.  Unless you already have a reservation at one of the better places on the strip, and if you lack an invite to a team or company event (or even if you have one and they chose the buffet at Circus Circus – private joke), there are lots of great places to consider for dinner (many of them off the strip, if you don’t mind a drive).  For starters, check out Vegas ratings on Gayot.com’s list of top Vegas restaurants as well as Frommers.com list of top Vegas eateries.

  • On the strip… price-is-no-object favourites include Aureole (awesome), The Rosewood Grill (with huge, photogenic lobsters), Piero’s Italian, The Palm Steakhouse, Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse, Nobu for sushi at the Hard Rock and Seablue at the MGM.  If you are dining with a small set of people (two or three people) then consider eating at the bar at one of the better places: you’ll bypass the wait and often get the same food as in the main restaurant. 
  • Off the strip… favourite restaurants include the India Palace, Thai Spice, Roy’s… and my personal favourite, Rosemary’s Restaurant, which reminds of the great food of New Orleans, courtesy of Michael and Wendy Jordan. 
  • To keep within your per diem… I like the always wonderful Lotus of Siam for Thai (just off the strip), Market City Caffe at the at the Monte Carlo Hotel, the Burger Bar at the Mandalay Bay, Capriotti’s Deli and the Bougainvillea Cafe at Terrible’s Hotel (great breakfasts).  Add to that in addition to the buffets at many of the top hotels (a great list is on gayot.com noting top buffets).  One way top top out the per diem in a single sitting (but so worth it) is at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand Hotel is an awesome value for the money, with an incredible French tasting menu.
  • For breakfast or dinner, go for the amazing French cuisine at Bouchon at the Venetian, from Thomas Keller of the famed French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley.  A great place to splurge. As noted above, yogurt and basics are available at the LVCC entrance.  Avoid anyone on the street offering you a flyer “to a great place for breakfast” that looks like anything but a great place for breakfast.  If you’ve been to Vegas previously, you know what I mean.

A note on booking tables… Consider booking your table through your hotel concierge as noted above: if you haven’t called them in advance, ask for their help in booking a table (tip, please) and get their business card with their phone number after you check in… and give them a tip if they offer a direct dial number.  A good concierge may be able to score a reservation to a hard-to-book place: I have found that your best bet is a well-connected hotel concierge if a direct call to the restaurant doesn’t pan out.  Also, look to your credit card company (many offer a concierge service) or try your hand (or mouse) booking a table at OpenTable.com. Many of the restaurants still show availability on OpenTable.com as of today, so book early.

Know what’s going on off-show hours.  “No, really… we were entertaining clients at ‘O’ last night…”  Before you depart, visit the New York Times’ guides to Las Vegas and go to the Time Out Las Vegas Site for a list of sights and attractions around this gambling capital.  Vegas is not just about casinos and floor shows: there are fine art museums like the Venetian Guggenheim, the roller coaster at New York New York (which is usually quite crowded).

Unfortunately, with a nod to my own geekyness (and many others in Windows, not naming names) the Star Trek: The Experience at the Hilton closed. A toast to my old friend, Ian, who I believe will likely be in LV for CES: he originally introduced me to Quark’s Bar and Grill long ago (in a galaxy…) which actually had some reasonable lunch fare. C’est la vie.

The Times has a great 36 Hours in Las Vegas guide that should not be missed (Bookmark or print an XPS file of their Las Vegas restaurant listings and main attractions). 

See the Review Journal’s Best of Las Vegas site prior to heading to Vegas. The Journal has the rankings from everything from the best restaurants to the Best Elvis Impersonator (it’s Trent Carlini, winner of the ‘Next Best Thing’).  Great shows include Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and even Monty Python’s Spamalot. 

All in all, try to have fun… just don’t try to expense it.  And if you must, tell folks that the night out at Penn and Teller really was for a business meeting, that you had to go and it wasn’t very good.  (But careful, as it truly is a great show.)

Getting to the airport.  Finding a cab on the last day of CES is like looking for your 25-character product ID code for software you first installed a year ago.  Trust me on this one.  Arrange a car in advance through your concierge for more than one traveler.  Or that concierge you tipped earlier just may have arranged a shuttle for a small group that has an opening. 

If you don’t have a ride from the LVCC… I have found that when leaving the LVCC directly for the airport, go to the head of the line and ask if anyone else is destined for the TSA security screener at McCarran… and if there’s room, offer to pay for their ride. Best if you have carry-on luggage and not the 12-spaces high demo rack destined for cargo check in.  (Please note that I have used this tactic once or twice and found it to be tremendously helpful, but do not endorse the practice… particularly when the line is long and tempers are high. In these cases, be discreet 😉  This strategy also works in hotel lines, just don’t do it within earshot of a taxi driver. (You saw “Taxi Driver,” right?)

If you’re press (blogs are press, right?) there is a shuttle service to McCarran every 30 minutes on January 9 and Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm from the LVCC and Sands front entrances for $5 per person one-way, cash only. (Thanks to Tara, Jaime and Sarah for the info on their site, and see Sarah’s tips here on surviving CES with links to the items that “other CES veterans have brought to past shows here.“)

More tips: For some additional tips, see Betsy Aoki’s Tips for surviving CES, and other survival tips courtesy Live Search.  Also see the suggestions and links in Scoble’s “how to-survive CES without getting off the couch. [And added 010308…]  I certainly agree that regular visits to Engadget and Gizmodo is a good start start, particularly as Robert notes that “Engadget has more than 10 people walking the floor for you. Why? So you don’t have to!”

Additional tips and information added 010411:

Here are a few tips courtesy of the Consumer Electronics Association:

The CES Social:  New and improved for 2011, CES Social Circle is the official social media site for the 2011 International CES. In association with CEA, digital marketing firm Pyxl designed and developed this dynamic data visualization site. Social Circle intelligently finds, indexes and aggregates social content from around the web in one easy-to-digest visual dashboard. By utilizing a variety of social media APIs, Social Circle visualizes articles, tweets, Facebook posts, photos, videos and official CES content, before, during and after the event. Visit Social Circle at http://social.cesweb.org

CES TEchZone: More than 20 targeted areas focusing on technologies and topics that interest you. See all the 2011 CES TechZones.

Taxi alternatives:  While taxis are ubiquitous around Vegas, there are other modes of transportation to get to and from CES. The International CES offers complimentary shuttle service on all four days of the International CES. We’ll even help you get to the airport as you head home after several successful days of networking and deal making. Running from 7 to 3 a.m. Friday through Sunday (7 to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday), the Las Vegas Monorail connects the Las Vegas Convention Center to a variety of hotels, including MGM Grand, Bally’s, Flamingo, and Harrah’s. Traveling at a top speed of 50 mph, the monorail is often the quickest travel option to and from the International CES.

 

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox 360, CES 2011, CES, travel tips.

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Surviving SXSW in Austin: A few helpful hints

Added 031210:


@Microsoft: Tag #sxswHaiti on Twitter, @PayPal & @Microsoft will donate $0.25 to @SavetheChildren: http://bit.ly/918YAk Pls RT!


imageLooking for something to do? Check out the list of nearly 700 SXSW side parties http://bit.ly/aO6zkS from 360sxswi!


SXSW food parties (scroll down for today’s lineup) http://bit.ly/b4oH32 from 360sxswi. Thinking about lunch? A roundup of guides to food near SXSW: http://bit.ly/94kEOR  
 

Once again, I was asked not once, not twice but a half dozen times in the last day for a couple of restaurant recommendations in Austin as SXSW is just around the virtual corner. And another person asked today if I planned to reprise a past, popular post, “Surviving CES in Las Vegas: A few helpful hints” for SXSW, given I have family in and around the Great State of Texas.


This weekend will be another busy one for us at home, otherwise I would have found a way to travel to Austin with several of my friends to attend South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, at the Austin Convention Center. So with a tip of the hat to my old friends and foodies, I offer a few tips for those heading off to Austin this week for the event, with a few recycled bits.


Toby, I expect you to do more than an obligatory Tweet. 😉  (You can catch him in the panel “Customer Support in a 140 Character World” on Monday, March 15 at 5:00 pm in Hilton A/B.)


For those of you who don’t know, a good summary is offered from The Statesman last year (the local paper):



“South by Southwest is a music lover’s heaven. But wait — it’s also a film lover’s dream. And, yes, it’s a techie’s delight. What started as a small Austin music festival 22 years ago is now a full-blown music, film and interactive jamboree known worldwide.


Welcome, SXSW. You’re grown up and spectacular but still very much a genuine Austin experience.


Starting Friday, Austin’s downtown will swell with people and events as SXSW kicks off. Bring on traffic and people congestion. Austin is ready and thrilled to host this year’s 10-day happening that is expected to draw 100,000 attendees. This is just the kind of festive event the city needs to shake off the blues of a slumping economy. The Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau estimates that the SXSW jamboree will generate about $103 million for the Austin-area economy.”


The SXSW conference also offers a music fest offering musical acts from around the world. Although I’ve never been to one in the 24 years it’s been going on (outside of NAMM, CES, NAB and a host of others, I was a New Music conference attendee), I always resolved that I would when I made it back to the music business I left so long ago. Now more than ever at is a destination for media, technology, music and art. (I went to my fair share of New Music conferences in New York, which offered dozens and dozens of bands, but that was pre-Internet, and when I had a Compuserve address that ran up a hefty monthly bill that eclipsed even the most precocious teen texter today.)


Next year. To paraphrase Spinal Tap, I’ll go in ’11.


BTW, I’m reminded that next time you’ll change your clocks for daylight saving time is March 14 2010, as we will Spring Forward in much of the States and Canada on Sunday at 2:00am. Be aware! (added 031010 – thanks to renegade500 for the reminder!)


My hat is off to the many folks making their way down to Texas, just south of Big D to Austin for a little SXSW this year. So, once again, after the family drifts off to sleep this weekend, I’ll catch up on the goings-on over the filmmaking, music and technology.


Here’s a collection of what you can find yourself via Twitter’s search engine for SXSW tweets. I’ll leave it to you to find your own favourites (and LMK if you have good links to attendee coverage).


Microsoft is going to be at SXSW in a big way. Check it out here http://dfoc.us/cv2k6F. For Microsoft news and happenings at SXSW, be sure to follow msftsxsw on Twitter and watch #msftsxsw: also search out #sxsw and #SXSWi for general coverage on Twitter.


As kathyblackwell notes: Overwhelmed? For Interactive, follow @360sxswi. For Film: @360sxswmovies. For Music: @360sxsw.


The SXSW site offers their recommendations for first time visitors here, but there is so much more to think about. Plus, you want it on a single page. So here are a few tips for those heading off to Austin this weekend for the event. I’ll post links to more tips as I get them as updates to this post.



Getting to and around SXSW


Flight and Hotel: If you don’t already have either of these, good luck.  You’ll have a better chance of finding a real Davy Crocket cap at the Alamo than finding either at this late date.  Stay home and read the daily SXSW blogs.


But if you must go, try booking online, going stand-by, or fly and drive from another major city (Dallas/Fort Worth is one option).  As for hotels, call a well-connected travel agent or try to find a room in town… otherwise, find a friend with an extra bed or snag the pull-out couch.


If you do have a flight, the Austin Airport has a site with lots of detailed information here. You can still register on site as of today (so says http://sxsw.com/attend).


SXSW FAQ and Information:  Want to know more about Austin, where to pick up your badge or get your copy of the SXSW Registrant’s Directory?Be sure to check out the official SXSW FAQ Page.


First-timers Guide to the SXSW Experience: SXSW can be overwhelming to first-timers. Here are a few pointers to guide you, courtesy of SXSW.


SXSW 101 features SXSW information for both newcomers and veterans, SXSW 101 answers frequently asked questions and highlights ways to make the most of the event.


Transportation: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/austinairport/transportation.htm


Getting from the airport to anywhere: Remember, if you need to get a taxi cab at Austin airport, look to the departures area where people are exiting the taxi if there’s a big line.  (Just a suggestion, not an endorsement.)  If you arrive into Austin with other folks on the same flight, consider renting a limo or get together an impromptu set of people going to roughly the same hotel on the strip: that way you’ll pay one limo fee.


Want to know what a taxi ride will cost? Check out the Austin Taxi Fare Finder or Yellow cab’s trip estimator. YMMV.


Getting around at SXSW.  It’s said that the service will be greatly improved this year for SXSW, with hotel shuttle service (during Music dates) for 35 hotels outside downtown, available day and nearly all night (8:30am to 3:00am), running ~30 minutes. This from the SXSW hotel shuttle page



SXSW and R&R Limousine & Bus are offering SXSW attendees a pay-to-ride shuttle service to most SXSW hotels outside downtown to help attendees get to the Convention Center for the conference and trade show activities during the day and back to their hotel after conference hours, film screenings, late parties, and late night showcases during the music festival.


If you’re staying at a hotel outside downtown we recommend you buy the unlimited shuttle pass online at the R&R website for just $40 per person for 5 days (March 12-16 for Interactive/Film or March 16-20 for Music) or $60 per person for all of SXSW 2010.


Capital Metro opens the new rail line, Capital MetroRail, after SXSW this year (March 22, 2010), but there are still plenty of options for getting around town. (http://www.capmetro.org/) Courtesy of the Austin transit system site, here are a few helpful links to schedules and maps, including…



What to do at SXSW


Setting up your schedule: New Scheduling Feature at my.sxsw.com, with my.sxsw.com/events. You can build your own personalized calendar of events for SXSW, including conference sessions, parties and more.qrcodesmall.jpg


“Badges?… We don’t need no… stinkin’ badges!” But you want to know about QR Codes:  The Quick Response Code (aka QR Code) is a bar code you’ll find on every badge that can be read by mobile phones equipped with the right read software, so install one now. The QR code links to more info (such as online information) on my.SXSW.


Use link.me/sxsw a reader selector to automatically get the right reader for your camera equipped smartphone.



Parties and Events at SXSW: Here’s a link to the Official SXSW parties page.

Opportunities to Connect with the Microsoft Team: As Dominic notes on the page above, Microsoft has quite the contingent at SXSW and shares what we have planned and how you can connect with the various Microsoft teams onsite. Also, be sure to check out the Microsoft News Center for daily updates during the event. Here’s an excerpt:

Microsoft Booth: Be sure to stop by the Microsoft booth to check out the latest from Windows Azure, Bing, Internet Explorer and WebsiteSpark.  


We are in the Expo Hall Booth # 904, 906, 1005, 1007.


Microsoft Sponsored Parties, Lounges and Contests:


Be sure to join our folks in Austin for the official Microsoft SXSW party at SpeakEasy for drinks and to check out technologies from Windows 7, Windows Phone, Silverlight and Surface, among others. Monday, March 15 from 8:00 pm ’til midnight. More details are available here on eventbrite.com.


Stop by the Silverlight Interactive Lounge located in the 4th floor corridor of the Austin Convention Center, outside of the panel rooms to experience the digital living room showcase. Friday, March 12 – Tuesday, March 16; Hours: Friday (10 am – 7pm); Saturday (9:00 am – 6:00 pm); Sunday & Monday (9:30 am – 6:00 pm) and Tuesday (10:00 am – 4:00 pm). 


Check out the Windows Phone Bloggers Lounge, located at 19A, to experience the Windows Mobile device bar and grab some snacks during the conference. Friday, March 12 – Tuesday, March 16; Hours: 9:30am – 6:00 pm daily


Strike up a conversation with the Microsoft Tag street team to obtain your personal Tag, which will allow friends and other attendees to scan your Tag using their smart phone. The attendee with the most scans at 6:00 pm on Monday, March 15 will win $5,000!


What to wear


Pack light but warm.  Keep in mind that it is cool in Austin this time of year by Texas standards: the weather will be near freezing at night – that’s what they call weather in the 40’s and 50’s, or about 10-12 degrees for my friends from outside the States – and the high 60’s to low 70’s during the day. You can get the latest weather forecast via MSN Weather.


See also a few travel recommendations from Colin Cowie on packing.


Here’s a link to Austin’s latest weather information. For after the day’s event, you’ll need bring a jacket that you can wear as you brave the winds from the north (WFAA in Dallas always talked about the cold winds coming down from Canada).  But wear a stylish shirt underneath just in case for the late-night antics around town… or better, bring a nice shirt allowing for a quick change prior to dinner and doesn’t require a trip back to the hotel.  And when you get pictures (and you will) be sure to post them as appropriate on the SXSW Flickr feeds.


Wear great, comfortable shoes.  And don’t bring the stylish shoes, go for comfort as you will be standing and walking.  I’ve learned from many years of travel and duty in Vegas, Atlanta, New York and LA that smart folks are the ones roaming about in walking shoes or sneakers.  My pick: anything from Ecco, Rockport or New Balance, which all have nice shoes in black to go with your winter wool trousers or jeans.



Say hello your new best friend: the hotel concierge.  Introduce yourself and hand them a business card: most don’t seem to have grasped the idea of the “bump” yet for exchanging v-cards.  That one move may come in hand later more than you know.  See ‘dinner’ and ‘getting to the airport’ for starters.  If you plan on doing a lot of schmoozing at SXSW, call and see if your hotel has one (or some young upstart at the front desk) and introduce yourself now to let them know you will be staying at the hotel.  As Cowie notes, “ask your concierge to make some reservations for you now at top restaurants so you don’t find that you can’t get in when you arrive there in peak season. Tip the concierge the moment you arrive…”  See, you can learn helpful travel hints from a man that you thought only had great party design sense. 😉


A note on booking tables… Consider booking your table for dinner through your hotel concierge as noted above: if you haven’t called them in advance, ask for their help in booking a table (tip, please) and get their business card with their phone number after you check in… and give them a tip if they offer a direct dial number.  A good concierge may be able to score a reservation to a hard-to-book place: I have found that your best bet is a well-connected hotel concierge if a direct call to the restaurant doesn’t pan out. 


Also, look to your credit card company (many offer a concierge service) or try your hand (or mouse) booking a table at OpenTable.com (also via their smartphone apps), and getting recommendations from Urban Spoon. Many of the restaurants still show availability on OpenTable as of today, so book early.


Gear at SXSW: Be sure to check out SXSW’s official Gear Alley Expo


Power at SXSW: Heading down to SXSW this year? As I noted, you might consider taking a travel power pack for when you get caught in the airport or in a session where you can’t find a power outlet when your devices are running on low. And as @omarg notes in his pro tip from http://www.sxswbaby.com/, remember ABC: Always Be Charging http://bit.ly/aqR93O.


imageI have to recommend the Energizer XP8000 Rechargeable Power Pack. (And no, I’m just an energizer customer, not shilling for Energizer. But in the interest of full disclosure, Microsoft and Energizer have been close, as with Microsoft managing some of the company’s IT operations as noted here.)


On a recent trip, the compact unit – about the size of a deck of cards provided many extra hours of use of our phones, PDAs and small electronics as well as one netbooks. It has several power outputs and comes with a bundle of extra connector tips for popular mobile phones and mini netbook PCs.


I was able to lave several power bricks behind at home on our last trip and travel much lighter (important when you’re also arranging a vacation’s worth of family electronics). I used the USB charger/sync cables for our mobile phones and game units in place of the wall warts that we have for them, and left the power supply for our HP netbook. image


I found the Energizer XP8000 available at Amazon if you can’t find it locally: on sale, you can find this available for in the $70 range.


For smaller uses, there’s also a mini Energizer XP4001 that runs about half as much on sale (many if the office supply stores carry it – I found it locally on sale for under $40). 


Food at SXSW is not a problem. Perhaps you’ll get an invite to one of the many events (like the SXSW food blogger bash last year). As noted on the SXSW web site, they partnered with Foodspotting to invite folks to contribute to their Foodspotting crowd-source guide “What to Eat at South by Southwest.”



Whether you want to get involved in the Street Food Scavenger Hunt, or want to track down a party bus headed to the famed Salt Lick BBQ, or would rather live off of Free Food and Free Drinks all week, Foodspotting’s dish-centric dining guides will help you spend less time thinking about good food and more time nomming and noshing! You will also be able to access these guides and discover foods around you using Foodspotting’s newly-launhed iPhone app. Meet the people behind this app (and help satisfy your hunger) by attending the Street Food Celebration in Brush Square Park on Saturday, March 13.


As Austin360.com reports… (I love this web site!)



“You can’t throw a stick during the 10 days of the South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive conferences and festivals without hitting a party that’s offering free food. But an interesting phenomenon has been happening in the past few years: parties where food is the headliner, not just a trick to get people in the door. Here’s a short list, and links to RSVP and more events are online at www.austin360.com/relishaustin.”


And see their post SXSW to-do: Go to panels, see shows, drink cheap American beer.


Also, Layne Lynch of The Daily Texan Online has a list of SXSW 2010 festival offers…



When South by Southwest commences in the live music capital of the world, human normalcy takes a backseat. Life becomes all about entertainment for one week while festival attendees adopt a more nocturnal state. 


Those who are most in-tune with the music festival manage to find any and every way to survive on all the festival provides — and it provides all that is needed for its visitors.


Anybody looking for ways to stay hydrated and nourished during the festival should know that free food and drinks will be provided at several events throughout the week.


Many of these events will serve the basic Tex-Mex and pizza, but anything free is worth trying. Keep in mind that many of these events require RSVPs and have an attendance limit, so RSVP early.


Below are just some of the many events taking place that provide free food and free drinks. Check various Web sites and blogs for updates on any free food and drinks offered throughout the festival.


Last (but not least!) the Austin Town Hall offers their own SXSW food guide (via guest contributor Bonnie Walton) along with a handy map and a list of list of various shows during SXSW



If there’s one thing I love more than good music, it’s good food. I know, I know, grab the torches and pitchforks. But, in keeping with the independent spirit of the festival, I though it fitting that we recommend to noobs and visitors our best independently owned eateries that, as the locals say, keep Austin weird.


The Raw Foods Witch also offers her eat healthy selections for SXSW.


See below on booking restaurants early (call before you fly) and be sure to bring your favourite portable snack foods (such as trail mix, snack bars) just in case.


Getting to the airport.  Finding a cab on the last day of SXSW is like looking for your 25-character product ID code from your Windows 7 Party Pack. Trust me on this one.  Arrange a car in advance through your concierge for more than one traveler.  Or that concierge you tipped earlier just may have arranged a shuttle for a small group that has an opening. 


If you don’t have a ride… I have found that when leaving events directly for the airport, go to the head of the line and ask if anyone else is destined for a date with the TSA security screeners… and if there’s room, offer to pay for their ride. Best if you have carry-on luggage and not the 12-spaces high demo rack destined for cargo check in.  (Please note that I have used this tactic once or twice and found it to be tremendously helpful, but do not endorse the practice… particularly when the line is long and tempers are high. In these cases, be discreet 😉  This strategy also works in hotel lines, just don’t do it within earshot of a taxi driver. (You saw “Taxi Driver,” right?)


Photos and video from SXSW.  Be sure to tag your photos on flickr with sxsw2010: Brian Gorbett, an architect in our developer & platform evangelism group, has set up a photo stream on his personal web site for you to check out at http://bit.ly/dc9My1.



Articles from around the Web & Social media. I’ll post articles queued up to read from SXSW on the web. More news on SXSW can be found at Bing Search News.


@geekygirldawn offers her 10 Tips For Enjoying SXSW


SXSW 2010: The Complete Social Media Guide from @mashable 


From @natanyap: The http://austinfoodlovers.com/sxswguide now features bkfst tacos by @tacojournalism & a “list of awesome” by @BootsInTheOven


Where do you grab a bite when rushing from Alamo to Paramount? Check out slackerwood‘s SXSW guide @ http://bit.ly/ahkzJK 


Twitter.com Briefly Enables Location Feature via Softpedia


Robert Rodriguez Brings Predators ‘First Look’ to SXSW via Wired News


CNETNews reports that Tech finds its place at SXSWi (roundup) http://bit.ly/9iYLWj


imageThe return of the Pepsico Zeitgeist, powered by data from Twitter, Flickr, SXSW, and foursquare. I also heard that Pepsi will have “pods” around SXSW to allow attendees to easily and comfortably broadcast to their fans while staying close to the action. 


FTW! SXSWi B.S. Bingo Cards, Now Available!  I need these for everyday office use. (here’s the direct link to the PDF)


broylesa has a list of SXSW parties where the food is the headliner: http://bit.ly/cV6iLv


omarg gives you a list of good people to follow on Twitter during SXSW: http://bit.ly/anYQlx


You could win 5k with @MicrosoftTag at SXSW – Get your unique tag on the 4th floor at the @silverlight booth on the 4th floor! Most scans wins!


From petersmeg Attend #SXSW virtually by using @Journerdism‘s guide from 2009 http://bit.ly/aUYi60 (via @mckennaewen)


From Starbucks Hey #sxsw, need coffee now? #StabucksVIA is now at #SXSW! Stop by the SXSW Blogger Lounge or the Rackspace booth. http://yfrog.com/1gfdsxj


12 iPhone Apps for Surviving Conference Season, courtesy of Amybeth Hale at Mashable. I liked the post but thought that something was missing, so I offer…


12 Apps & Services for Surviving Conference Season for iPhones… and Windows Phones:










































Apple iPhone Windows Phone
Priceline Hotel Negotiator  Via www.priceline.mobi
Free Wifi Finder  Pocket Wifi Radar
RobotVision na
Foursquare WinMoSquare
Gowalla Via Gowalla.com
TwitPic Uploader ceTwit and Quakk 


Ustream Live Broadcaster

Livecast (touchscreen)


Livecast (no touchscreen)

More @ livecast.com/mobile/
Facebook Facebook
Brizzly ceTwit, Quakk, TinyTwitter, PocketTwit
Glympse Glympse
WordPress Pocket Sharp 
beamME pro Contxts.com 


Additional Austin link for visitors


  • Austin Convention Center

  • Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • City of Austin

    Tags: articles, what I read, blogs, SXSW, Microsoft, travel tips.



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    Tablets & Slate PCs in Steve Ballmer’s CES keynote? The debut of Apple’s new iTablet? Dunno, but the Kindle DX does wireless worldwide on Jan 19th

    amazon_kindleCES is off to a great start with plenty of new product news… and we haven’t even had the keynote kickoff!

    As I noted last month (all of a week or so ago) I decided to get on the ebook reader bandwagon and finally ordered a new Amazon Kindle. I was torn on the size: the 6" appeared best for my needs at home, but the overwhelming majority of feedback I received was in favour of the 9.7" Amazon Kindle DX, and I agreed.

    But I found that the wait was 3-5 weeks! http://bit.ly/6qUwlx from bit.ly

    Now I know why, thanks to chatter at CES on Twitter from engadget last night (http://bit.ly/5I04ex), the WSJ Blog and now this latest mail from Amazon: the new Amazon Kindle DX includes global wireless support, shipping January 19th for $489. I love it when a company takes the initiative and beats my email query to the punch, asking about my back order…

    From: Amazon.com Customer Service 
    Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2010 12:11 AM
    Subject: Update on your Kindle DX order

    Dear Kindle Customer,

    Today we introduced Kindle DX with Global Wireless – the next generation of our 9.7” wireless reading device.

    Because you already ordered the original Kindle DX and are awaiting its arrival, we are pleased to inform you that we are upgrading your order to receive a Kindle DX with Global Wireless at no additional cost. You will receive the new Kindle DX as soon as it becomes available later this month.

    We kept everything readers love about the original Kindle DX, then added global 3G wireless coverage and improved battery life.

    Kindle DX with Global Wireless now enables you to wirelessly download content in over 100 countries and territories. With an extended battery life, you can now read for up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of 4 days.

    Read more about Kindle DX with Global Wireless at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0015TG12Q/

    With your Kindle DX order already placed, you will be among the first to receive Kindle DX with Global Wireless, and you do not need to do anything.

    You can cancel your order or check on order status by visiting your order summary here: <link>

    If you purchased a 2-Year Extended Warranty for Kindle DX, your warranty will automatically apply to your new Kindle DX with Global Wireless device. If you have not purchased and are interested in a 2-Year Extended Warranty for Kindle DX, visit the product page at www.amazon.com/dp/B002GYVVY2

    We hope you enjoy Kindle DX with Global Wireless.

    Amazon.com Kindle Customer Service

    So, why get one now rather than wait for a new Apple tablet or a Windows based slate PC? (Or as Brandon coined, a "slablet". "Tablate" sounds horrible 😉 Perhaps "Slate PC." Whatever it is, imagine netbook performance w/ touch: that would be sweet.) As I said last month to stephbu, No, I have a tablet PC (actually, two) and wanted a Kindle for the Amazon book offerings and simple business model for buying content, and I expect there’ll be subscription fees tied to an Apple tablet offering.

    As noted by njeaton and others on Twitter, the venerable New York Times reported here that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will reveal "slate-like" PC tomorrow during Steve Ballmer’s CES keynote (http://bit.ly/6JBX07), and there’s already a (Kindle) app for that. (Regardless of tomorrow’s CES keynote, I’ll keep my Amazon Kindle (love it) & adopt the “Kindle for PC” app.)

    You can follow Microsoft’s going’s on at CES via http://www.microsoft.com/ces/ beginning Jan 6 @ 6:30PM PST with the live keynote – it will be streamed live from the convention.

    And, no, to answer several mails from friends and associates this week: I’m not at CES this year (that’s two year’s running I’ve missed it in person, and my wife just asked, "when were you last there?"  Hey, Al Roker’s there covering the gadgets along with the weather, so you’re good.) So I offer my post "Surviving CES in Las Vegas: A few helpful hints", with a few tips for those heading off to Vegas this week for the event, recycling the bits in the blog post. I figure that with the number of great folks following the play-by-play on the ground in Las Vegas on Twitter (what’s the best hashtag to use? I’m following #CES generally) and in the news, I think that I’ll get my fill of new gadgets and devices. Plus, the various email alias subscriptions and RSS feeds will likely blow out my Outlook mailbox quota.

     

    Tags: Microsoft, Xbox 360, CES 2010, CES, travel tips.

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    Surviving CES in Las Vegas: A few helpful hints

    Personal Photo by Kcferret of the Las Vegas Sign. June 2005 {{GFDL}} As you may already know, CES 2010 begins this week in Las Vegas (officially, CES is January 7-10). Yes, it’s true that researchers have determined that stress may cause the brain to become disconnected, but you don’t have to be disconnected at when traveling to Las Vegas.

    Once again, I was asked not once, not twice but a half dozen times in the last day for a couple of restaurant recommendations and a link to my past, popular post, “Surviving CES in Las Vegas: A few helpful hints“. So with a tip of the hat to my old friends and definite foodies at Rogers (love Aureole), I offer a few tips for those heading off to Vegas this week for the event, recycling the bits in the blog post

     

    Tags: Microsoft, Xbox 360, CES 2010, CES, travel tips.

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