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Notes from a Senior Editor: This Blog Contains At Least 50% Linux Content by Weight (CES Day Three)

Jan 08, 2006, 19:00 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by James Turner)

By James Turner
Senior Editor

Last full day at CES, a chance to wander around, have a few last appointments with vendors, and reflect on the show. I actually did see a few Linux-related things today, starting with a streaming media player with built in tuner and PVR capabilities. The MediaReady 6000, from Video Without Boundaries, has Linux at its heart, and can even mount a shared MythTV file system and play recorded content.

Yet another video appliance implemented on top of Linux, what a shock!
Yet another video appliance implemented on top of Linux, what a shock!

Avega Systems gets my "You Mean There's Linux in That?!!!" award for CES 2006. Their Oyster 802.11g speaker systems allow you to plug a DVD or iPod directly into one of their units, stream audio from Internet radio stations, or hook it directly to a receiver. Using a uPNP remote, you can then configure the speakers to act as an 5.1 surround system, move your music from room to room, or anything else you'd like. And yes, each speaker has an embedded copy of Linux inside.

And in an emergency, you can turn your 7.1 surround system into a Beowulf cluster...
And in an emergency, you can turn your 7.1 surround system into a Beowulf cluster...

This pretty much completes the Linux-related news I have for day four, now on to the silliness. First off, we have a classic example of why good translation is a must for show attendees. As you can see from this Asian exhibitor's signage, should it become necessary to protect you, this dark angel is prepared to assume an alert posture. Personally, I think she's looking fairly informal in the picture. Maybe I didn't need protection enough.

What happens when good artwork happens to bad translations...
What happens when good artwork happens to bad translations...

I told you that someone at the show was selling ladders. "Hah," you said, "he's blowing smoke up our butts." Here, presented for your viewing pleasure, is the Least Relevant CES Vendor award for 2006.

Call this guy if you want to climb to the top of the corporate ladder.
Call this guy if you want to climb to the top of the corporate ladder.

Finally, as a parting gift, I present the "Guess Which Trade Show This Person Was Attending" Home Game. As I mentioned previously, CES and the Adult Video News (AVN) Expo share the Sands Convention Center. Around 4PM, all the folks from AVN headed off to their annual awards dinner, crossing right through the CES attendees. I snapped a few photos, try to guess which attendees were from CES and which were from AVN. Badges have been obscured for reasons of privacy and to prevent you from reading the name of the shows. (Answers below.)

Entry A
Entry A

Entry B
Entry B

Entry C
Entry C

Entry D
Entry D

For the insatiably curious, I did gamble while at the show. I dropped about $40 on the slots (Wheel... of... Fortune!), made about $60 on blackjack, and won $45 on the Patriots-Jacksonville game ($50 straight bet on the Pats, GO PATS!) I've got two more bets pending, Pats to win the AFC championship, and Pats to win the Super Bowl. If they both come through, it'll have been a very very profitable CES for me.

My parting thoughts on the show. If you went solely by the billboards and vendor presentations, it would seem like Microsoft dominates the consumer electronics industry and will soon be a part of everything you see on TV, listen to music with, or play games with. But when you dig a little deeper, you realize that Linux is actually a major behind-the-scenes player in the business. But because Linux has no branding or badging requirements, vendors can hide it in products without anyone knowing that they just bought a Linux system. I talked to one member of the press who talked about how difficult Linux was and how he wouldn't let it in the house. I asked him if he had a TiVo. Yes, he did. Did he own a broadband router? Yes. He was then surprised to learn that he in fact had at least two copies of Linux in his house.

For Linux to really become noticed in the consumer electronics biz, it needs to become more visible. Since we can't force vendors to identify their products as Linux-powered, we can only use friendly persuasion.

ANSWERS (select to reveal): [A - AVN, B - CES, C - AVN, D - AVN]

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