iLounge to feature Apple Products at CES in large new exhibit Space

Even as reports come in that CES 2010 won’t be as big as CES 2009 or CES 2008, an exception to the size reductions is coming from an unlikely direction.   The Apple iPod .   The CES  iLounge, sponsored by the website iLounge, will feature a large number of Apple products and accessories.   The plans are to exhibit in a very big way at this year’s CES.

According to a report much earlier this year by Mark Harris at TechRadar, Apple is not only abandoning MacWorld  Expo but they are allocating massive space to showcase products at CES 2010 in Las Vegas in January.   The iLounge exhibit at CES  had 18,000 square feet as of the article’s publication in January.

“Leading Apple developers and retailers are excited to have such an outstanding stage at the 2010 International CES,” said Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief of iLounge.
“Whether they’re showing off iPod accessories, iPhone applications, or the latest and coolest new Mac products, they know that they’ll find the world’s largest audience at this great new pavilion.”
Harris quotes Jeremy Horowitz, the man in charge of the iLounge exhibit:
“Leading Apple developers and retailers are excited to have such an outstanding stage at the 2010 International CES,”
“Whether they’re showing off iPod accessories, iPhone applications, or the latest and coolest new Mac products, they know that they’ll find the world’s largest audience at this great new pavilion.”

Historically Apple has had a very limited presence at CES events, tending to make a big splash at MacWorld instead.    It’s not clear why the big change this year and it seems odd for Apple to abandon one of their most prominent venues, but in the fast pace world of computing loyalties can change almost as fast as the technologies.

Tech Tip: Printing Problems from Browser Window

Print troubleshooting is one of the most frustrating aspects of computing. Although printer quality and cost has become very reasonable, there’s nothing more frustrating than printer failure during a deadline for an important paper or letter.

Some good troubleshooting rules of thumb are as follows if you suddenly experience a dreaded printer FAIL:

1. If you seem to be able to print text documents but cannot print things appearing in the browser, note that some printer / browser combinations won’t allow printing from within the browser window.   For example to print a PDF file from some Lexmark printers you’ll want to download the PDF first, then open it up in Adobe and then print.    Otherwise the document may come out blank.

Still not printing?

Some printers have good diagnostics so use those first, but I find that the generic Windows help often sends me down a garden path of confusion so consider trying these ideas first:

1.  Reconnect cables and reboot both system and printer.

2.  Confirm your have the correct printer driver installed.  The driver is the small program that allows your printer to communicate with your computer.   Usually the name of your printer plus “driver” at Google will quickly take you to a driver installation routine for most major printers.

3.  Confirm you have ink in the cartridge (for ink jet printers).   The simplest way to do this is often to install a new cartridge.   If it works then you are good to go, but if it fails then ink was probably NOT your problem before.

No Touch Computing via 3D Sensors

The San Jose Mercury News has a summary today of the advent of “no touch” computing that will be coming fairly soon thanks to three dimensional sensors that represent the world to the machine in a much richer fashion than simple flat, 2 dimensional models.     3D sensors will allow people to interact with many devices in a much more natural way – for example via simply looking at a screen and moving your hands you could have dramatic control over a gaming environment.

The Mercury News seems to be suggesting that useful applications are about 5 years out but I’d guess we’ll have robust no touch devices within 3 years and high quality direct brain control within a decade.    Braingate is already using brain control and  Emotiv has developed a commercial version brain control device that uses theta waves that are read froma sensory “cap” with about 16 sensors.      The Emotiv headset will be available to consumers this year.

Mercury News article

10″ Laptop Reviews from Laptop Magazine

Laptop Magazine looked at several of the new 10″ Netbook computers and has a nice write up of models from ASUS, Aspire, HP, Lenovo, MSI, and Samsung.

The ASUS and Aspire appear to be their favorites when all factors are considered but if you are in the market for a netbook you’ll want to read these and other reviews.

Happily for consumers if not for the industry at large, price in this category does not appear to correlate all that well with features and quality.

India Dept of Education to debut $20 Laptop on February 3rd NOT

UPDATE:  Reports, pictures, and details are still murky but this appears to be a case of overhyped nonsense where the device is simply a flash drive system without monitor or keyboard:  http://education.zdnet.com/?p=2131

The Times of India and others are now reporting that a team of students and the Government of India have developed a low cost laptop that is expected to be put into widespread use throughout India very soon. The initial cost is reported to be $20 with a mass production cost expected to be $10.

Yes, you heard that right – ten bucks for a computer.

Although the specs on these machines will obviously be marginal, it is not longer important for most users to have a robust machine – rather cloud storage and applications and internet-as-network computing has become dominant even for many high end computer users.

As admirable as the One Laptop Per Child project has been to this process it appears the India machines may wreck the One Laptop train. Although it’s not clear yet if the India systems will be self powered and have mesh networking capabilities as the One Laptops do, I think the key brilliancy of Negroponte was to create machines that were accessible to a dramatically greater number of people than have had access in the past to advanced technologies. The India project combined with the dramatic innovations in smartphones and cellular connectivity combined with Intel’s falling out with One Laptop last year may obsolete the One Laptop project in its current form, though Negroponte can certainly be proud to have ushered in an era of “extremely low cost” computing.

Simcraft Racing Simulator

John will have more later on this topic as he had a chance to test one of the world’s top racing simulators on display at CES by Simcraft but I wanted to get these pictures online .  We had a nice talk with Simcraft’s CEO about his plans for moving forward with this remarkable driving simulation tool.    Rather than the arcade market with its liability challenges he explained that one of  Simcraft’s major projects right now is a contract with the Department of Defense to use the simulators to train drivers for high speed runs when they must avoid IEDs in Iraq and other combat environments.

At $44,000 this is not accessible to most but with a remarkable cage suspension system that gives the driver 3 degrees of motion this really is likely to be the sim of choice for high end drivers who can pony up the cash.

Autoblog has more on this device – easily one of CES’ most impressive demos.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally at CES 2009

Ford CEO Allan Mulally really impressed the crowd and reporters after his CES Keynote about Ford in vehicle connectivity and navigation innovations including systems to merge cellular connectivity with vehicle systems, a customizable dashboard, and a humanized communication interace called “Eva” which will allow the driver to request features and “talk” to the car.

Mulally was even more impressive after his talk when he answered questions from the tech crowd about Ford’s plans.   His enthusiasm or Ford and for technology in cars came through loud and clear.

I had a chance to ask him if he thought all this innovation would require money from the government as part of the auto industry bailout.   Ford is the only one of the three key US manufacturers that has not asked for money, and Mulally indicated they did not have plans to do so based on his assessments of the quality of Ford vehicles and how their new models are gaining acceptance even in Europe, especially Germany where Ford remains a popular brand name.

Although I wouldn’t bet on Ford not asking for a piece of the bailout pie eventually it is great to see a charismatic and technologically sophisticated fellow in charge of one of American’s most complex and valuable industries.  If Mullaly can’t pull Ford’s feet out of the fire, nobody can.

Palm Pre – will it steal the show here at CES?

Palm just released the product many have been anxiously awaiting, their new Smartphone the Palm “Pre” which uses Palm’s new operating system called Nova.    Engadget is reporting from the Palm press conference and has a good and postive early review of the Pre, which Palm is desparately hoping will resurrect their flagging Smartphone market share which has been dropping since the Palm Treo’s early successes in this niche.

Palm needed a knockout phone and this could be the ticket – anxious to handle one later in the conference and I’ll have more to say then.

Here’s Engaget’s first look at this amazing new mobile device.

CES 2009 – ASUS’ New Netbooks are Impressive

ASUS PC T101 H

ASUS PC T101 H

I think I was more impressed with the ASUS than Liliputing, but I found the idea of converting the netbook to a tablet with a quick flip, and then being able to attach this unit on a dashboard for a big GIS unit most excellent. The rep told me the GIS application will not be Google’s and I’m not clear how they’ll run that but one possibility would be the trick Blaupunkt was showcasing, also as CES Unveiled, where the user connects a device to their phone via bluetooth and then uses the mobile wireless plan to power these in-car broadband applications. Maybe I fell off the pumpkin truck but I had not heard of doing broadband in this fashion and I think that has some excellent implications for in-car mobile.

later…. at an HP presentation waiting to play with HPs similar offering which is already out, the HP tx2 tablet.   They’ve done a lot of studies in India and concluded that touch can “unlock access” to people who would not have access in tradtional form.   This is a very interesting aspect of emerging countries technology though I’m somewhat skeptical that building for illiterate folks is superior to … teaching them to read first.