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CES 2011: More Stuff For Businesses And Consumers by Daniel P. Dern
Review by Daniel P. Dern
Events  ISBN/ITEM#: DPD110112
Date: 12 January 2011

Links: Imation Defender Collection /

Here's a few more brief notes on items you might have seen at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (or at some of the associated multi-vendor press events), from the useful to the expensively frivolous.

Again, I, sadly, wasn't there this year; what follows is based on press releases and other information sent to me by the vendors, and/or by the Lunch At Piero's, Pepcom, and ShowStoppers multi-vendor press events.

Schwup picture/movie-sharing site, plus iPad and iPhone 4 support. MSRP $79.95; 15-day free trial. Sounds interesting, I'll be checking this out.

Imation announced new features for its Defender Collection Software Suite of interest to savvy businesses and individuals alike, for use with the company's

Defender Collection of flash drives and other removable/external media and drives. (And possibly with other vendor's devices.) New features include central management, PC-based removable storage management, storage device management and encryption. According to Iomega, "Central management enhancements include the addition of forensic-level auditing and reporting at the file level for compliance in regulated industries" -- plus a 'remote kill' function that lets you disable lost/stolen/strayed devices.

The Defender Collection Control Client "will also have the capability to define how removable storage devices can be used, granting full access, read-only, or forced encryption, giving administrators the flexibility to grant or deny access to specific files without affecting access to other files on the device. In addition, Control Client software will include functionality to control the types of files that can be copied to removable storage devices, either by all or part of the file name or file extension, and administrators will have the ability to deploy antivirus or force a scan prior to reading any removable storage device." This sounds useful, especially if it's not limited to use with Iomega media.

One of my favorite technologies to check out at CES and other events is AA/AAA batteries and chargers. 15-minute chargers have been available for a few years now, from Rayovac, Duracell, and Energizer. These, along with one-hour chargers, keep getting nicer looking, and somewhat more compact. (The fifteen minute ones are still inevitably bulky, due to the bigger AC adapter needed.)

Now, chargers are also getting "smarter" as well as more informative -- although not necessarily always faster. For example, the Energizer Recharge Smart Charger, which Energizer introduced back in 2010 and was showing, includes a charging countdown timer and charge status, and will shut off charging if it detects a too-old NiMH battery or a non-NiMH battery (e.g., a non-rechargable battery).

Automotive is a big -- and still-growing -- part of the consumer electronics biz. Pandora announced some gear for use in cars and it's no longer just about onboard stereo -- move over, Sirius!

TV watchers not on a cable service know they need a digital-TV capable machine (or a converter box) -- and there's now also the Mobile Digital TV standard for signals going to mobile users -- currently form about 70 local TV broadcasters -- e.g., with smaller devices. RCA announced a new line -- portable digital television sets that can receive both standard and Mobile DTV signals -- an alternative to burning mobile wireless bandwidth just to watch local TV broadcasts (or where there isn't enough mobile service). The new RCA portable TVs include three, with 3.5" and 7" screens, battery/AC powered and starting at MSRP $109 (the $149 model has more features including FM radio); and a Mobile DTV Car Tuner Receiver intended for automobiles.

Absolute Software introduced LoJack for Laptops -- software for theft recovery and data security for, as the name suggests, notebooks. (Presumably it will also work on desktops, but they're less likely to go astray.) Features include "device freeze," data delete, and geolocation. Absolute also showed Absolute Manage Mobile Device Management, an enterprise tool for Apple iOS4 devices (including iPads and iPhones). (I don't -- yet -- know whether the IOS4 tool is useful for single-device owners, like me and my iPhone 4.)

Mobile app developer Avatron Software demoed its apps, including Air Display, which turns your iPad into a wireless computer display; and Air Sharing, a document manager that "lets you mount your iOS device like a wireless flash drive, copy files onto it, and view your documents on the go...[and] the Pro and HD versions also let you connect to remote file servers and print documents."

And, last but never least, the category I learned from Jerry Pournelle, the world's first computer columnist -- still doing his The View from Chaos Manor column (and Jerry was, I hear, at CES this year): The Dangdest Thing I Saw. I wasn't there, but based on the info I've got, I've got a two-way tie for The Dangdest Thing I Would Have Seen If I'd Been There:

  • Simplehuman Sensor Can, a sensor-activated trash can that opens automatically. (Do the people who created this have pets? Did they test this in a house with toddlers?)
  • Novero's Victoria Collection of "Bluetooth earpieces in jewelry form (valued at $120,000)." Whether that's for the entire collection, or just one, I don't know. I do know that for this price, you could hire somebody to deal with your phone calls.

And that's it until next year -- unless I get enough other interesting show follow-ups, or turn up stuff in what friends collected on my behalf. (Not counting articles on specific products or topics based on my show-related correspondence, that is.)

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