Start the madness

Wednesday January 4, 2006 – After a brief and uneventful drive into Las Vegas we made a stop at Fry’s Electronics. This perennial favorite is probably the most interesting and best stocked brick and mortar electronics retailer in the United States. Known for their deals, Matt was able to pick up a five port Ethernet switch for $5 while I looked over the current prices and stock. Following our visit to Fry’s we drove back up the strip to the Sahara where we had lunch at the Nascar Café. I’ve eaten here before but I was distinctly unimpressed with the food this time and would probably not go back again. After lunch we walked over to the Hilton to pick up our show badge holders. The line was quite short and we had no trouble getting this done. By this time I thought our hotel room might be ready so we drove to downtown Las Vegas and checked into the Plaza hotel at the intersection of Main and Freemont. We ended up with a Freemont facing room on the 14th (really the 13th) floor providing a great view of all the action downtown. After finding an open access point and a brief email check we drove back to the Sahara where we parked and walked to the Hilton for Bill Gates’ pre-show keynote. Because we did not have tickets we ended up sitting upstairs in a ballroom watching via monitor but this is where I have always ended up watching it so that wasn’t a big disappointment. After a demonstration of what Microsoft’s view of a future day might look like we got to see the most extensive demonstration of Windows Vista to date. When Bill wrapped up we were pretty hungry so we drove down to New York, New York and had a late dinner at the America Restaurant. When we got back to the Plaza I went down to Freemont Street and watched two of the shows on the giant screen covering the street before returning to the hotel and getting some sleep to prepare for the first day of the show.

Thursday January 5, 2006 – The plan this morning was to park at Sahara around 9:15 and hike to the convention center but for the first time Sahara was monitoring their parking and wanted people to park in a $20 a day dirt lot across the street. Instead of doing that we drove to New York, New York which is an official show hotel and attempted to take the provided shuttle bus to the show. Unfortunately, we read the sign incorrectly and waited for almost an hour before finding the correct door and a bus came by. We finally made it to the show around 10:45. Last year I had a good time looking through the future technologies in the “Innovations Plus” area so after finding the DL.TV booth and my local friend Vinny we went off in search of that. Instead of the usual home in the parking lot tents Innovations has grown large enough to warrant an additional venue, the Sands convention center. This brings the total number of CES venues to four, the Hilton, LVCC, Sands and Alexis Park. We waited in a short line for shuttle to the Sands and spent the rest of the day canvassing the exhibits there. After returning to LVCC Vinny drove us down to Caesar’s and we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory before Vinny drove us back to our car at NY, NY. Once we got back to the Plaza Matt went down to Freemont Street to watch the show and I caught up on some email and information from the first day of the show before heading to bed.

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