Now available: Windows Key Shortcuts for Windows 10

(Update 20231122: you can find the list of current Windows 10 and 11 shortcuts available at Keyboard shortcuts in Windows – Microsoft Support.)

Before I go on hiatus from the blog (as I spend a lot of my free time on our internal sites in support of customers and partners, as well as occasional musings on Twitter), I’d like to share this handy guide listing the various shortcut keys available via the keyboard in Windows 10. As you’ll see, these include the Windows key shortcuts specifically, not all shortcuts involve other key modifiers (Alt and Control).

Available here as a Word document, you can find these any many more Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts online.

Desktop shortcut keys

Shortcut Description
Windows key clip_image001[1] Open and close the Start menu.
clip_image001[2]+1, clip_image001[3]+2, etc. Switch to the desktop and launch the nth application in the taskbar. For example, clip_image001[4]+1 launches whichever application is first in the list, numbered from left to right.
clip_image001[5]+A Open the action center.
clip_image001[6]+B Highlight the notification area.
clip_image001[7]+C Launch Cortana into listening mode.[1] Users can begin to speak to Cortana immediately.
clip_image001[8]+D Switch between Show Desktop (hides/shows any applications and other windows) and the previous state.
clip_image001[9]+E Switch to the desktop and launch File Explorer with the Quick Access tab displayed.
clip_image001[10]+H Open the Share clip_image003[1] charm.
clip_image001[11]+I Open the Settings clip_image005[1] app.
clip_image001[12]+K Open the Connect pane to connect to wireless displays and audio devices.
clip_image001[13]+L Lock the device and go to the Lock screen.
clip_image001[14]+M Switch to the desktop and minimize all open windows.
clip_image001[15]+O Lock device orientation.
clip_image001[16]+P Open the Project pane to search and connect to external displays and projectors.
clip_image001[17]+R Display the Run dialog box.
clip_image001[18]+S Launch Cortana.[2] Users can begin to type a query immediately.
clip_image001[19]+T Cycle through the apps on the taskbar.
clip_image001[20]+U Launch the Ease of Access Center.
clip_image001[21]+V Cycle through notifications.
clip_image001[22]+X Open the advanced menu in the lower-left corner of the screen.
clip_image001[23]+Z Open the app-specific command bar.
clip_image001[24]+ENTER Launch Narrator.
clip_image001[25]+SPACEBAR Switch input language and keyboard layout.
clip_image001[26]+TAB Open Task view.
clip_image001[27]+, Peek at the desktop.
clip_image001[28]+Plus Sign Zoom in.
clip_image001[29]+Minus Sign Zoom out.
clip_image001[30]+ESCAPE Close Magnifier.
clip_image001[31]+LEFT ARROW Dock the active window to the left half of the monitor.
clip_image001[32]+RIGHT ARROW Dock the active window to the right half of the monitor.
clip_image001[33]+UP ARROW Maximize the active window vertically and horizontally.
clip_image001[34]+DOWN ARROW Restore or minimize the active window.
clip_image001[35]+SHIFT+UP ARROW Maximize the active window vertically, maintaining the current width.
Restore or minimize the active window vertically, maintaining the current width.
clip_image001[37]+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW With multiple monitors, move the active window to the monitor on the left.
clip_image001[38]+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW With multiple monitors, move the active window to the monitor on the right.
clip_image001[39]+HOME Minimize all nonactive windows; restore on second keystroke.
clip_image001[40]+PRNT SCRN Take a picture of the screen and place it in the Computer>Pictures>Screenshots folder.
clip_image001[41]+CTRL+LEFT/RIGHT arrow Switch to the next or previous virtual desktop.
clip_image001[42]+CTRL+D Create a new virtual desktop.
clip_image001[43]+CTRL+F4 Close the current virtual desktop.
clip_image001[44]+? Launch the Windows Feedback App.

[1] If Cortana is unavailable or disabled, this shortcut has no function.

[2] Cortana is only available in certain countries/regions, and some Cortana features might not be available everywhere. If Cortana is unavailable or disabled, this command opens Search.


RSS feed reader blues? Get your feed in Microsoft Outlook and Office 365

ICYMI, Google Reader, Google Voice App for Blackberry, Google Cloud Connect, and Snapseed Desktop are shutting down. Hilarity ensued on the Internet with the melt down on social media over the change. As Danny Sullivan noted here, “Google should have done better by Google Reader & Google users than to bury its closure in a “spring cleaning” post.”

All the talk about RSS Readers reminded me of how important it is to listen and respond (this from 2011 via TechCrunch).

But I digress.

If you’re impacted by this announcement, have no fear: there are options, many great options.

First off, Good advice from Sara Hevans (@prsarahevans) on how to backup your Google Reader account

Once you’ve backed up, you’ll need a new reader.

With all these options, you may already have an option on your desktop: you can also use Outlook in Microsoft Office to subscribe to an RSS feed as noted here.

So if you’re looking for RSS subscription and management? our own Office 365 Home Premium has that:

Quick links:

Tags: Microsoft, RSS, Outlook

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How do I survive SXSW in Austin? By “attending” virtually

As you may know – and some may even be reading this from the great state of Texas – the South by South West (SxSW) festival kicked off in Austin.

Unlike a few of my friends, and contrary to my thoughts in 2011, I won’t be there this year. There are some great reasons to attend SXSW, I know that from many of my friends who’ve made the pilgrimage to Texas (and March can be a very nice time in Austin).

Once again, I was asked not once, not twice but a half dozen times in the last day for various restaurant or event recommendations for SXSW – which last time I compiled into some helpful hints. But I decided not to make the trek this year, and appears I’m in good company.

Of course, reading Gene Marks’ post on, I have to disagree with some assessments…

"For example, we sell Microsoft products. I know…they were also a sponsor at SXSW. But who are we kidding? Those guys are so…yesterday."

Really? I beg to differ. But that’s for a different post.

One of the reasons I’m not at SXSW is that, just like CES, it’s become quite large. And with so many people there covering it live (just search the Twitter hashtag #sxsw) I get much of what I want from it on line. Lots of news coverage is available (here via Bing and via Bing’s SXSW news feed) and from many prolific tweeters – you can see recent public updates on Bing.

Here’s some advice:

The 7 Best Ways To Follow #SXSW From Home via Jon Dube, Contributor at Forbes…

"More than a dozen talks will be live-streaming on the SXSW site, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman on Saturday morning, AOL founder Steve Case on Sunday morning and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone on Monday afternoon. You can find a complete list of the talks and links to the live streams here."

SXSW Social Viewer: Check it out here.

Jon’s SXSW DAILY, with popular SXSW stories daily. You can view the paper here and sign up to get daily updates via email.

Panels: As Jon notes, many panels aren’t streamed, but you can get live feeds from folks in the sessions on Twitter as each has its own hashtag. You can browse all of the panels and find the hashtags by clicking through to the details for each here.

Twitter feeds to follow at SXSW:

SXSWOfficial user of the SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals

SXSW PartyList! The Party List for #SXSW Email us:

@livefromsxsw – has lots of info

@CNNSXSW CNN News will be there in force with news and stories.

Jennifer over at has a list of who to follow "to find out what’s going on all over Austin during (and before) South By begins is to load up your twitter feed to be sure you’re following the most South-by savvy users." Of particular interest:

@sxshhh: Our friends over at @sxshhh are creating a spreadsheet of events/parties for SXSW ’12

@SouthByFreeNoms: Real talk: I hate the term ‘noms’ for food. Real talk: despite the name, this is one of the best users to follow during SX – always on it with the free food, which comes in handy mid-day Thursday when you just want a free taco.

Following your favorite blogs/venues always helps with keeping up with chaos. Our favorites: @MohawkAustin, @BeautyBarAustin, @CheerUpCharlies.


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

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Surviving TechReady 14 in Seattle 2012: A few helpful tips and hints

Here’s a link to my post with some helpful hints on Surviving TechReady in Seattle, from 2010. Many of the links and info points are still relevant…

Going to TechReady next week in Seattle?  It seems from what I read on Twitter that we will have a number of people visiting the fair Emerald City for next week’s geek festivities.

To aid in your visit to the fair city by the Sound, I’ve posted here a few hints along the lines of my notes from Surviving CES in Las Vegas and Surviving MGX. Using that post as a template, here are a couple of resources for you – I will add to the page later as I have time.

First off, a public service announcement.

I have to agree with LyalinDotCom: remember to watch what you say online when you talk about #tr14. What I said about tweeting (remember to be thoughtful) still stands,

Head over to this post for more general information.

First, an update with couple of things you should know.

Weather? Oh, yes.  We haz plenty, so pack light and perhaps a light jacket.  Keep in mind that it’s winter in the Puget Sound area, and following our Snowpocalypse a week ago there is still a chill in the air.  As opposed to TR in the summer when it’s a lovely high 70s to low 80s, you can expect rainy, cool weather

Weather in Seattle via Bing Weather

°F | °C

47° / 41°

49° / 42°

49° / 40°

48° / 38°

47° / 40°
Weather Maps: Temperature · Doppler Radar · Precipitation · more (Data from AccuWeather on

A couple of quick tips…

General information. The City of Seattle has a great online online visitor’s guide with lots of helpful information, complete with virtual tours, tips on staying safe, places to eat and shop and more.

What to wear. Weather will get down into the high 30’s so bring an umbrella and a warm jacket… unless you’re Canadian or Scandinavian, then bring shorts and t-shirts. 😉

Dress in comfortable clothes and wear great, comfortable shoes.  And don’t bring the stylish shoes, go for comfort as you will be standing and walking.  A lot.  My pick: your favourite sneakers (perhaps a cool new pair of Vans), anything from Ecco, Rockport or New Balance. And see also a few travel recommendations from Colin Cowie on packing.

Also, bring a shoulder bag (a messenger bag works well) for hauling around all the schwag you’ll likely pick up and for toting your phone, mini notebook, digital camera, and other essentials: a bottle of water or juice, snack bars and fruit… oh, sorry, I mean Red Bull and Jolt, family sized Hershey’s and a package of gummies.

Getting from the airport to anywhere: A great resource is available at the official Seattle visitor’s travel page, with a special money-saving nod to the new Link Light Rail which will get you to and from SeaTac airport in comfort and high-tech style, in about 35 minutes for under $3 a ride. As the site notes, it’s the best deal in town. You may still have a trek to your hotel, but likely it won’t be far from one of the light rail stops.

A taxi ride will save you a few minutes but run you a little more, costing between $35-40, closer to $50 if you’re staying in Bellevue (closer to Microsoft main campus and our offices in dowwntown Bellevue). If you decide to take a cab, pair up (or three or four) with folks going to the same hotel and split the taxi fare.

Getting a taxi at SeaTac is pretty easy – there are ususally plenty of taxis in the official queue. Please don’t take an unlicensed cab: we want you to get to the event safe and sound!. .

Have anything to add? LMK in the comments.

For now, here are a couple of additional links: and – Both online versions of these Seattle magazines are great resources for where to eat, what to see and where to go when in Seattle. SeattleMet has a calendar right on their home page of what to do in the city.

Tags: Microsoft, Seattle, Bellevue, TechReady, travel tips.

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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 (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:

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, and find CES on:


CES Registration assistance numbers and email addresses:

Inside U.S.: 866-233-7968, and

Outside U.S.: +1 301-694-5243, and

Press: 703-907-4365, and

Exhibitor: 866-233-7968, and

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.


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.


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’s list of top Vegas restaurants as well as 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 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 Many of the restaurants still show availability on 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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