Useful gadgets of CES past

I’m getting ready to go to CES right now. The big consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. A group of eight of us are driving a small bus down there and we’ll be reporting along the way. But one thing I’m going to look for is useful small gadgets. See all the really cool gadgets will get lots of coverage. But what about the small weird gadgets off in the Sands Hall? Even Engadget or Gizmodo don’t get to all of them and, even if they did, you’ll forget them really quickly because during CES week they post six gajillion gadget posts.

What’s an example? Our Dymo DiscPainter. We store a lot of stuff on DVD because we shoot so much video and photo stuff. Making our DVDs look cool is mondo fun, but also makes us look professional if we ever need to send out video, etc.

Because it’s pretty pricey, $250, you probably won’t read about it too many places but it’s easy to use and prints right on the CD/DVDs. I just did one with photos of Milan. Seeing his smiling face on the disc looks a lot cooler than just writing on a label. The Dymo DiscPainter is a small footprint, single cartridge USB inkjet printer that does high quality printing directly onto the media. Goodbye stick-on labels! The printer comes with an ink cartridge, a few blank inkjet printable discs, USB cable and software that lets you add any photo and text you need. Just prepare your photo in your favorite editor, crop it to a 5.25″ circle, import and print. It’s that easy. High quality images/settings take only three minutes to print. Pluses: Small footprint, fast printing, great quality, easy to use. Minuses: A bit pricey. Printer is around $250.00. Ink is around $40.00.

Anyway, do you have any favorite gadgets like the DiscPainter? Ones that are a little more off the beaten path?


What real-time keynotes need (VentureBeat wins Apple keynote race bigtime)

You will read TONS of stuff about Apple’s keynote. I’m watching it right now on several screens.

Why? Because in real time everyone is putting up slightly different stuff.

Venture Beat has a friendfeed room where you can watch in real time like a chat room, or you can view it standard threaded style.

That is very cool. Especially when compared to TechCrunch’s live coverage, which makes you refresh the page manually. So 1994. What, is Arrington trying to increase his page views artificially?

Compare that to Gdgt, which is where the two top guys from Engadget, Peter Rojas and Ryan Block are posting their coverage. They are posting pictures and flowing text in live. Really great stuff, especially when you put them in a window next to the VentureBeat live stream.

The standard place my son goes is MacRumorsLive. They are doing an excellent job too, but gdgt’s photos and VentureBeat’s interactivity are making them look old and tired.

ArsTechnica is posting photos and text live, but they make you refresh your page manually, just like TechCrunch does.

Finally, Engadget is doing their usual excellent job, but their page needs to be refreshed manually too.

What this does point out, though, is that there’s a real-time web, but that they aren’t integrated. Imagine if there was one place you could watch EVERYONE post in real time. Not possible yet, but I bet that by next year friendfeed will get everyone to build live rooms there. VentureBeat is winning this game by a HUGE margin!

Why is VentureBeat winning?

1. Their room refreshes live without having to refresh your browser page.
2. Their room has interactivity so people watching at home can ask questions.
3. Their room has text, photos, and potentially video from Qik cams and such.
4. Their room’s items and threads are all permalinkable. I could link you to something very specific there. For instance, here’s where they posted a photo of iPhoto Books. I can’t do that to the other live rooms.
5. Their feed can be reused and reshared in other places on friendfeed and on Twitter.
6. Ostensibly they could even mix in other feeds from their competitors through RSS searches. I have a CES room where I’m doing that, for instance.

This isn’t even a close race. If you want the best live experience there’s only one place to go right now. VentureBeat FTW!

Well, until I found Chris Pirillo’s Ustream where he’s posting the audio live. But I posted that to the VentureBeat room too. 🙂

UPDATE: It got worse for and macrumors live. MacRumors’ site was hacked during the keynote and was unavailable during part of it.

UPDATE2: other people are using friendfeed to report from the keynote, but I can only pay attention to so much! I’ll put the best of those on my “liked” page. 🙂

UPDATE3: I missed a few. Gizmodo has a nice live feed. AppleGazette is using CoveritLive. So is

Whew, that’s a lot of live feeds to watch! I think the smart ones are just going to wait to get the TechMeme
blog storm later. 🙂

UPDATE4: Pirillo’s audio stream went down with about 20 minutes to go. Luckily MacTips Podcast had a live audio stream going too.