The High-Tech Texan Blog

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Living In A Vista World

We know what was on your mind today. The radio phone lines were jammed with Vista questions today. Mostly asking if their machines had the minimum specs to add the new OS.

Thanks to Jennifer Heard, Microsoft's Southwest Region GM based in Houston, for calling in. I asked her if the public was going to grab copies like hotcakes or if the anticipation was a bit tempered. Now there's compelling radio!

I received several calls and emails from people who "camped out" at stores Monday night. Here's an excerpt from frequent listener Marc Nathan:

Last night was really was ridiculous and there were more staffers there than customers. At 9:20 - less than 40 minutes before the opening
there were 8people in line - and two were self-proclaimed Mac Guys.
Microsoft and HP represented strongly and there was one guy from Sony. The
event company was playing Kenny G (I swear) while we were waiting in line. There
was no demo's or giveaways for the two hours up to the midnight sale but Mario
Williams was a good sport about taking photos with the fans.

When it came time for the grand prize laptop drawing at 12:15- there was no
build up, just an announcement and then everyone left. That came from the
regional VP of marketing from Microsoft, who really needs to get his team in
check. I saw a lot of people milling around in the Mac section in the back
of the store and they still had XP and Office 2003 boxes on the shelf - along
with Linux OS's right next to the 2007 boxes.

I've been to tons of product launches, and this ranked in the lower third
of them. Also, no good deals. The same Jabra Bluetooth headset I bought for $30
with a $30 rebate two weeks ago, was $60 with a $60 rebate last night. I
did get a $20 gift card and a 256mb USB key - so at least the schwag was worth
the time.

Seems like this was the norm across the country.

More Vista talk and questions sure to come this week. Waiting to receive a shipment of Vista cases and then we'll start giving them away. But just because you may win one doesn't mean you should use it yourself. Check your machine specs first.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

The Vista Has Been Reached

I won't even try to write the millionth story and review on Vista. There are too many out there. Here is one recap I found that sums everthing up nicely.

Tuesday morning I will have Jennifer Heard from Microsoft's Houston office on my radio show to talk about the product launch. She'll talk about a local launch being held at the GRB on February 13.

And even though you may not need Vista (or want it) I will have many copies to give away. They should arrive later this week so keep tuned in or logged in here.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pssst, Wanna Copy of Vista?

Have you heard that Microsoft is releasing a new OS? Yeah, me neither.

January 30 is the date and Vista will be available to download along with the traditional retail distribution model. Pricing for the many different versions is almost as confusing as airline fares so start figuring out which one you need.

Ah, screw pricing. About the only place to get Vista cheaper than a black market copy in China is to tune in to my radio show. We're not calling ourselves the official Houston Vista station but the boys and girls in Redmond are shipping us copies to give away.

No exact details yet but I would tune in daily if you're interested. If you have nothing else to do between 9a-10a while at your desk, feel free to stream the show and log on to watch the in-studio proceedings. If you've got a webcam, you may want to have a Vista logo at the ready. Hold it up to the webcam when I tell you and you may be able to win a copy.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Hey, I Came Up With The iPhone First


Good Morning, Once Again

Good thing I have a pretty flexible schedule. My show moves to 9am this Monday, again. Word is that Rush Limbaugh called and was pissed my 12 noon show was hurting his ratings. So it's back to mornings for me.

That's cool. Now you can log on and stream the show from work instead of catching it during lunch. Still gonna be upbeat, fun, topical and technological. Got lots of things to talk about including the impending announcement of Houston's citywide wireless project.

I'll be doing the show live on Thursday, January 25, from the Total-Tec Technology Expo at Sam Houston Racepark. Make plans to come out to this FREE event and check out new VoIP solutions with ShoreTel products and much more. Free breakfast, too! You must register online to hold your spot. Bring your officemates.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Back From Vegas

CES 2007 is in the books. We now can only wait to see what products and gadgets will actually be released, which ones will be winners or losers and just how much that dang 108” Sharp LCD monitor will cost when (and if) it’s launched.

Thanks to my guests who stopped by CES Broadcast Central during the week to be on my radio program. Here are links to their sites so you can follow up on their products and services:


Home Automation Inc (HAI)


I spent the rest of my days in the Las Vegas Convention Center with a camera crew shooting segments for Hot On Homes. I’ll post links to the stories as they air over the coming months.

Final thoughts…Flat-panel monitors were everywhere. I swear I got a tan just walking through the aisles of big, bright displays. Panasonic, Olevia, Sharp, Toshiba, Sony, Pioneer, Samsung and dozens of other companies I had never heard of were showing off screens the size of thumbnails to 15’ foot HD projections. Who has a media room large enough for these monsters?

Once you have these units what are you going to watch? Companies like AT&T, MediaFlo, Dish Network, AOL and other non-traditional broadcasters are ready to pipe in programs, music, videos and photos. Watch for content deals to be struck on many levels so you won’t miss one episode of The Apprentice (Seasons 1-5).

Someone should create a campaign based on the MTV’s early slogan called “I Want My DVD.” I’m not placing bets yet on the HD-DVD v. Blu-Ray format war as each was touting how great they are. HD-DVD was the first format released and its players are a bit cheaper. Movies in this format are outselling Blu-Ray DVD movies at a 3-to-1 clip but since the Playstation 3 has a built-in Blu-Ray player, I expect a lot more sales and traction from it this year.

Media Centers and smart homes continue to abound. Every year more and more devices and controllers are released to make your crib seem like George Jetson's sky high penthouse. HP was part of a group who built an actual house in front of the convention center. Software on your television can control lights, thermostats, security and webcams. HP had a very cool new computer with touchscreen called Touchsmart PC which is perfect for a kitchen.

A few cool, useful and fun gadgets to mention…The Tornado File Transfer Tool from a Dallas company called Data Drive Thru. Connect this retractable cable between two PCs and you can quickly transfer all files. Good call for when you get a new computer and want to get all your info from the old one to the new one.

I still am laughing at the Astro GPS from Garmin. You’ll never lose your dog but it may be hard to get your pooch in the vest (complete with antenna).

And realizing that unique products come out year round and not just at CES, I got a press release this morning upon my return for the Fish ‘n Flush. You gotta click to see this thing – an aquarium for you toilet. Come to think of it, it makes it convenient when the fish die.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Day 1 Almost Done

I wanted to post some comments throughout the day but I have literally been on the run, or walk, since I finished my show. I've been scouting products and companies to feature when I return Wednesday and Thursday to shoot segments for my HOT ON! TV pieces.

A few trends I notice:
  • TVs. Bigger, brighter, more expensive. Sony has some great concepts called XDRS (laser light) and some monitors that are literally razor thin with full HD capacity. I did see that 108" Sharp LCD monitor - it was almost as tall as me.
  • Can't get lost with GPS. This subject continues to be one of the most called-in from my listeners. No shortage of units here from Garmin, Magellan, Microsoft, NavTech and more. Two odd ones that stood out - a GPS for a motorcycle and one for your dog. I am not kidding. God forbid you lose your dog.
  • Sync your ride. Auto accessories are everywhere and even take up almost an entire exhibit hall. Microsoft's announcement about SYNC with Ford looks cool. Saw some SUVs with touch-screens, remote controls, antennae...everything but a bed.
  • High-Def DVD wars. Blu-Ray and HD-DVD each have huge displays. The picture quality of both is excellent and no one is picking a winning format yet. Saw LG's new entry that combines the best of both worlds.
  • Hybrid videocams. Mini-DV tape cameras are dying as DVD cameras are catching on. If you want more storage look for Hitachi, Panasonic and others to release models that have both DVD burners and an internal hard drive. Just download video from the camera directly to your PC.

I'll try to upload some photos soon. Have to hit a private Dell party and then see if I can win back some money I lost at the craps tables last night.

Tune in to my show Wednesday at 12pm CST (950AM). I'm expecting some guests from Vonage, Belkin and Microsoft.

CES Musings

Traffic. Construction. Crowds. Walking. Yep, it's CES.

Arrived late Monday afternoon and hit a private media reception showcasing about 100 new products. Wireless ways to recharge cell phones and cameras, new types of Bluetooth earpieces, WiFi in cars, remote controlled toy helicopters, remote webcam and TV watching. I DON'T WANNA LEAVE!!

The Las Vegas Convention Center is enormous and the CES spills over to other meeting places. Glad I brought my running shoes; this is actually good training and tapering for the half marathon this Sunday. Name a tech-related company and they are here. The big daddies like Microsoft, Sony and Samsung spend millions on their booths alone.

Getting prepped for my first show out in here in about an hour. Hoping tha that my guests can find my broadcast location. Palm is scheduled to be first on the docket today and we are giving away a new Treo.

More rants and pics to come...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Off to Vegas

Getting ready to do my show and then high-tail it to the Consumer Electronics Show. I plan to do my next few shows (Tue-Thu) live from the show floor. Got to round up a bunch of interviews and see if they can bring some SWAG for you. If so I will give it away next week on my show, but you need to tune in this week for the trivia answers.

I'll try to post as much as I can though I will be all over the place plus I hear that connectivity is not that great on the floor (imagine that at a TECHNOLOGY convention!).

In the meantime, here are some links to CES reading material:


Saturday, January 06, 2007

And on Saturday, He Rested

Saturday, January 5, 2006

Dear Blog,

For the first time in almost 5 years, I slept a bit longer on Saturday morning. Watched the VH1 Top 20 countdown as usual and laid in bed reading the paper. What I DIDN'T do was prep and get psyched up for my show. Kind of nice.

12 o'clock Noon rolled around and I was in about mile 6 of an afternoon run. Normally I would be sitting behind the mic in the KPRC studio at that time. Got home, showered and had lunch with the kids. Now I'm getting ready to take them to the Reliant Center and check out the Boat Show.

So this is what a weekend is supposed to be like. No big plans. Hanging with the fam. I could get used to this.

But it's back to work on Monday.

Monday, January 01, 2007

PS3 In Da House

I was killing time at the Sugar Land Best Buy Monday evening (actually I had heard they got a shipment of Nintendo Wii). No luck on the Wii but sitting there on a shelf in the Playstation aisle were several new PS3 boxes.

I struck up a conversation with a sales person as we debated the different platforms. He told me that they have been randomly getting shipments of both video game systems over the past few weeks and the Wii has been flying out the doors. According to his observations "many" people have been returning their PS3 machines but he has yet to see a returned Wii.

If you feel like dropping 600 bones plus more cash for cables and games, get over to that location quickly before they are gone.