NOTES FROM THE FIELD: CES grows fat, NAI slims down

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: CES grows fat, NAI slims down

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 60-inch 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, 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 mobile phone plan, and play those nickel slots till you drop. Go crazy — you deserve it.

NAI on SlimFast: In December, Network Associates sold its Magic help desk 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.

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