Vuoi Vuoi Mu, Idjagiedas
The Sami of northern Europe have always been squeezed by their powerful southern neighbours, but have managed to survive for thousands of years
despite the considerable pressure brought on them.
— Last yoik in Saami Forests
While we were away
Admit it: the current fantastic summer makes it hard to go back into your airconditioned offices and stare at computer screens. But, while the southern hemisphere tries to winds down and get outside, the northern one gets busy in the cold. Annoying, that. Can't these people relax a bit and let us have a proper holiday?
Obviously not: this years Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas drew some 130,000 visitors, even though the event seemed a bit humdrum overall.
The biggest news from CES was possibly Da Warna Bruddas dumping HD-DVD in favour of Blu-Ray, as the high definition optical disc format of choice. Some say this means the death of HD-DVD, a statement that its proponents vehemently disagree with - at least until they've sold off their existing HD-DVD stock and come out Blu-Ray models, perhaps?
While I'm still officially Mac-less and expect to remain so for the foreseeable future unless a massive payrise comes my way, I can't help being impressed by the Macbook Air. Not so much for the technology inside it — Apple has managed to devise yet another device without a removable battery, for chrissakes - but the design of it and the sheer cool imparted on it somehow. Everyone I know wants one, a sentiment no other manufacturer I know of manages to create. Full marks there to Apple.
In NZ, a few things have happened too. Telecom has named its network access unit Chorus for instance. Even though some people have suggested it's a ridiculous name, I don't think it's so bad. Could've been "Cabinets" or "CockasnookatCunliffe" instead, for instance.
So, err, how was your break then?
Robert X. Cringely
Of CES, Billy G, and jumping sharks
So I managed to slip away from the chains that bind me to my InfoWorld hovel and schlep out to Las Vegas for the annual gathering of the geek tribes, otherwise known as the Consumer Electronics Show. Maybe I'm getting old (ok, that's a given — I am getting old) but there's something decidedly yawnish about this year's CES. Having assumed the mantle of The Big Show from Comdex at the turn of the millennium, CES is still an anarchic sprawling mess, but attendance seems a little down from last year's 140K. The cab and bus lines aren't as long. Attendees are leaving town faster. Vendors are grumbling about being gouged by the Vegas tourism Mafia. Even the hookers seem more morose. Worse, there's little new to report. Flatter flat screens, fatter wireless connections, and now you can send YouTube videos directly to your TV, isn't that special? When the most exciting news is the absence of something — the possible extinction of the HD-DVD format — something is clearly amiss. Not that there weren't highlights. Bill Gate's last-ever CES keynote was a snoozer, naturally, but it was preceded by an exceedingly clever video montage of Billy G's last day at work, with cameos by Bono, Jay Z, Jon Stewart, George Clooney, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore, and nearly every other Big Hollywood Name who isn't currently doing time. They all pitched in to make fun of the world's second richest man. Thus disproving two cliches: money can buy friends, and Microsoft can do something well, even if it's only poking fun at the boss. The real action in consumer electronics is in the convergence of mobile devices and groovy new web services. There's a little of that here, but it's lost amidst the booming subwoofers and the barking booth bimbos. That's why shows like CTIA and smaller confabs like Demo and All Things D are where the really interesting stuff can be found. Steve Jobs had better hope he can pull another rabbit out of his hat at MacWorld — or at least a 3G iPhone — or his show may soon suffer the same malaise. Bottom line: CES has jumped the shark. (Note: The phrase 'jumped the shark' has also jumped the shark.) That doesn't mean it's going away tomorrow. But Comdex went from its highest all-time attendance to being defunct in about four years. An increasingly irrelevant CES could suffer the same fate. And then I'd have to find somewhere else to sneak off to during the second week in January.