NAB 2000

I’m back from Vegas where I spent the past couple of days wandering around this year’s NAB convention. I was pleased that so many of the vendors were aware of Linux and either had or were working on Linux software for their products. There were several MPEG boards, some audio boards, and a variety of other non-driver software. One audio board manufacturer had some stuffed penguins and a sign that read “ask us about our Linux drivers”. The Broadcast 2000 guys even had a booth there. I was also pleased to find in reading through some of the trade journals being distributed there that, for the most part, the video hardware manufacturers understood the whole DeCSS thing. I read one editorial that said they understood that what we were trying to do was develop software to play our DVD discs, not pirate movies. I was less pleased that the MPAA guys didn’t have an exhibit this year – I was hoping to spook them by visiting their booth while wearing my DeCSS T-Shirt. And, of course, I stopped by the Play booth for a few minutes to watch Kiki Stockhammer demonstrating the latest version of the Trinity software (maybe when she gets back from NAB she’ll fix her web site).

Well, back to work now… I’ve got several hundred emails and quite a few phone messages that piled up while I was gone.

VAIOs and Other Dinosaurs

The Sony VAIO has left the office and returned to its owner. Despite a smooth 24 burn-in of the refurbished machine, I don’t have high hopes for its future stability. But it should be good for web surfing and playing solitiare.

While eating lunch today at Frijoles, a family of Mallards wandered onto the patio. Only in Texas do you see baby ducks going out to eat at Mexican restaurants. A couple of waiters gave them a plate of tortilla chips to munch on.

I also saw some small plastic dinosaurs while I was at lunch. Which got me thinking… how many of you have plastic dinosaurs on or near your computer? Taking an inventory of the plastic menagerie around my computer at home I find a Stegasaur, Triceratops, Brontosaur, Parasaurolophus, Tyrannosaur, Brachiosaur (all gifts from an ex-girlfriend), a blue pterodactyl that for several years sat on the dash board of a red Honda CRX, three other pterodactyls that were gifts from my wife, and finally, two foam rubber human brains (one from NAB ’98 and one from SuperComm ’99). Nearby on my bookself are several small plastic robots and somewhere in a box I think I may still have my bag of over 100 realistic ants. Hmmm… what does it all mean?

Supercomm 1999

I’m back from Supercomm ’99 in Atlanta. My advice to anyone thinking of planning a convention in Atlanta is, don’t! Atlanta simply doesn’t have the hotel capacity for a reasonably large convention. Supercomm is hardly NAB or Comdex but it was more than enough to have every hotel room in town booked up. And if you did manage to get a hotel room, Atlanta doesn’t seem to be a 24-hour city. If it’s 1 am, don’t expect to be able to get room service, much less find a restaurant that’s open. On the other hand, if you enjoy riding public transportation systems filled with deranged homeless people having loud arguments with invisible companions, Atlanta is probably the next best thing to New York City! As far as I’m concerned all conventions should be held in Las Vegas. I took the tour of CNN while I was there, since it was just across the street from the convention center. But I didn’t see Ted (or Space Ghost) wandering around CNN center anywhere.