CES grows fat, NAI slims down

While Comdex fades, CES keeps growing. This year's show drew 130,000 gadget hounds -- all of them loitering directly in front of me, gawking at the Victoria's Secret fashion show on a 60in plasma TV.

Last week I called in "sick" and vamoosed to Vegas for the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show. And suddenly it hit me: Las Vegas was created by aliens. They landed in Area 51 and built the city as a vast experiment in human excess. Wayne Newton? David Copperfield? Siegfried and Roy? All alien lab technicians. It’s the only answer that makes sense.

Viva Las Vegas

While Comdex fades, CES keeps growing. This year’s show drew 130,000 gadget hounds -- all of them loitering directly in front of me, gawking at the Victoria's Secret fashion show on a 60in plasma TV. This must be what CES organisers meant when they hung pink posters proclaiming "Technology is a girl’s best friend." Rumour is, they used the same posters at the Adult Entertainment Expo, which was being held down the road at the Sands … not that I was there to confirm the reports. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Between meetings and stops at the oxygen bar, I managed to find a few truly useful gizmos -- like a $US5000 massage chair that uses infrared sensors to locate your acupressure points, and a web-ready stove/refrigerator that stores food and follows remote commands to cook it. The way my love life is going, I'm going to need things like this.

Viva lost wages

According to a survey by Janco Associates, salaries for IT pros jumped an average of $US234 last year, or $US19.50 a month. Now you can order imported beer instead of domestic, upgrade your cellphone plan and play those machine slots till you drop. Go crazy -- you deserve it.

NAI on SlimFast

In December Network Associates sold its Magic helpdesk division for $US47 million. Now my spies report that NAI has agreed to sell its Sniffer network security business, though the buyer and purchase price are still a mystery. (NAI declined to comment.)

Like no business I know

Readers who rushed out to buy The Ethel Merman Disco Album, mentioned in my column a few weeks back, got a bonus: according to Cringester Carol Warren, when played backwards, the CD sounds just like David Hasselhoff.

How will you spend your $19.50? Send answers and hot gossip to cringe@infoworld.com.

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