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Pepcom Wine/Dine/Demo NYC November 2008
Review by Daniel P. Dern
Pepcom  ISBN/ITEM#: Pepcom112008N
Date: 02 December 2008 /

At Pepcom's November 2008 "Wine, Dine, and Demo" in New York City, several dozen vendors, from Asus and HP to ClickFree and PlantSense, showed recent, new and upcoming consumer/prosumer/business tech products.

There were only a few dozen exhibitors at the Pepcom "Wine, Dine & Demo" on Thursday evening, November 20, 2008 in New York City, but I found many of them extremely interesting, and enough to merit at least this brief report. (And, to be fair, there were other vendors with interesting products, but due to traffic delays, I was slightly over an hour late in getting there.)

The event was held at the at the Hammerstein Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios in New York City, kitty-corner to Penn Station (Amtrak and Long Island Railroad, plus several subway lines) and next to the Tick-Tock Diner -- right where many of the new low-cost inter-city buses like the BoltBus (www.BoltBus.com) do pick up/drop off -- if I'd taken the BoltBus from Boston, I would have been twenty feet from the event.

On to the products!

New Asus Eee's nearly ready!

Among other notebooks and subnotebooks, Asus had a non-working mock-up of the new Eee 1002HA netbook. (The real thing is scheduled to be available early December, 2008.)

The 1002 has a 10.2" screen, a 92%-of-full-sized keyboard, 1GB RAM and 160GB hard drive, 1200x800 backlit LCD screen, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, 4-in-1 media card slots, 3 USB ports, and will be running Windows XP/Home. (I don't know whether a Linux version will be available.) MSRP, $499.

The Asus person I spoke with guesstimated the battery runtime at four to five hours. (He hadn't done his own test yet.) No longer-life battery will be available. Based on my brief tests of the keyboard (and I'm a touch-typist, and do a LOT of typing), this is now the netbook I want. (I like Lenovo's IdeaPad S10 -- which I'm using to write this report -- but its keyboard is just a tad too small for my fingers.)

ClickFree Converter Will Use Any USB Storage

Storage Appliance Corp.'s ClickFree Portable Backup products are dedicated backup devices (USB hard drives, and software-based DVDs). Connect them to a Windows XP or Vista machine and the software automatically does continuous backup, which you can access read-only through Windows Explorer.

The new (due out mid-December) ClickFree Converter is a cable with a lump of chip-and-firmware that "can turn any USB drive into a Click-Free." It can use any USB storage, e.g. a hard drive or even flash (capacity permitting) you might already have kicking around. MSRP $59.00. The ClickFree Drive makes a lot of sense as a dedicated, one piece device for travel; the Converter offer a more affordable way to have a separate dedicated office/home backup device

Pharos Trips & Pics Trax Where You've Snapped

So where did you take that digital picture? Your digital camera time-and-date-stamped it, but do you remember where you were? Take Pharos' new Trips & Pics external GPS along with you, and when you upload the picture, it will sync by matching times (make sure your camera's clock is set right), and geo-tag them, including working with Google Earth. (MSRP $99.00) And you'll also know where you have been.

Iomega ScreenPlay: Play Computer Video On Your TV

Your desktop or notebook lets you get video, but maybe you'd rather watch it on your television. Somewhat like the SlingBox SlingCatcher, which I've seen but not yet tried, Iomega's ScreenPlay let you connect your computer to your TV -- or store the video in the ScreenPlay, so you don't have be schlepping or cabling your computer, and connect this to your TV. Two models, the ScreenPlay HD (MSRP $179) and ScreenPlay Pro HD (MSRP $299)

Or if you already have your media content on something, just get the Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link, connect your content to this via USB, and then the Link to your TV. (There's a bunch of useful features, see the web site.)

3M MPro110 Handheld Projector Shows All

3M was showing its first handheld projector, the 3M MPro110, weighing less than a pound, connecting to video output, e.g., from a laptop, DVD player, or handheld video game, and projecting VGA up to 50" high. The MPro110 uses an LED as light source, so it's quieter than most displays, and won't burn out bulbs. MRSP $359.00

EasyBloom Plant Sensor USB

There's almost always one -- to borrow a phrase (or continue the tradition) from Jerry Pournelle -- "dangdest thing I saw" at an event.

This evening's DTIS goes to PlantSense Inc's, EasyBloom Plant Sensor (www.easybloom.com), "a gardening solution that can recommend exactly which plants will thrive in a particular spot, and diagnoses what is wrong with ailing plants... Using the same technology NASA used on the Mars Phoenix Mission, EasyBloom collects environmental data, including soil moisture, sunlight, moisture and temperature, over a 24 hour period. Algorithms on the EasyBloom Web site then interpret and analyze the collected readings against a database of more than 5,000 plants, vegetables and trees, to recommend exactly which plants will thrive in that particular spot."

The MSRP $59 EasyBloom is intended for casual and amateur as well as expert gardeners; stick it in the dirt, and then remove, and plug into a USB port on your computer. It can be used to recommend what plants will grow in your location; monitor the environment, e.g. temperature, light and soil drainage; and tell you if a plant needs watering.

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