There and Back Again, Surviving CES 2009

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I’m still wading through video footage from CES, so most of it will start showing up this weekend. I don’t travel with a crew of editors, which means my time at the show is largely spent looking for interesting things and then I scramble to process it all once I get back, this year is no exception.
The most significant change for me at CES this year: how I got there. Steve Broback from Parnassus Group invited me to join a group of bloggers riding on the LoveSac bus from the Bay Area to Las Vegas. If you’ve never had the pleasure of sitting in a LoveSac, you don’t really understand how great this is – these things are comfy. The company specializes in beanbag style chairs and sectional furniture that you mix and match to build your own couch and love seat combinations. The entire bus is outfitted with this furniture, which makes the bus more like traveling by living room.
All was good until the alternator failed about 90 miles outside of Las Vegas, which is basically the middle of nowhere. We exhausted all options for hiring a car to come get us, resorting to Twitter to save the day. The kind folks from 12 Seconds drove 90 miles and picked 4 of the 8 passengers up after reading of our plight on Twitter. I haven’t used their video service, but I’m guessing their support must be phenomenal. The other half of us were rescued by the store manager from the Las Vegas LoveSac retail location. After leaving Burlingame, CA about 3pm, I arrived at my hotel at 8:15am the next day. If the LoveSac furniture hadn’t been comfy, the breakdown would have been far less pleasant.
Dr. Dre and Jake Ludington The rest of the week was far less interesting by comparison. Palm announced their new Pre phone, which is awesome, but it’s just another touch screen phone. Sony announced a new Viao which is incredibly small, but it’s only marginally better than the netbook class of computers because it integrates 3G wireless and a GPS. A personal highlight for me was meeting Dr. Dre during the Beats Tour in-ear headphone announcement. Love or hate hip-hop, Dr. Dre is one of the most influential producers of the past 30 years. The headphones sound great too!
In spite of the troubles on the way to CES, when it came time to leave, I found myself back on the LoveSac bus. The number of riders dropped from 8 to 4, with three of the original crew and one newcomer, along with the two LoveSac representatives who handled driving duties. The return trip was relatively quiet as we all took advantage of onboard WiFi to get work done between stints of watching movies on the 10 screens on the bus. I’m currently debating about ordering some LoveSac furniture for my Seattle office, although that might increase my likelihood of napping.

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