Comdex show on the leading edge of technology

Two hundred thousand people visited the recent Comdex show in Las Vegas. Rosalie and I were two of them. While we didn't visit all 2000 or so vendors present, we did walk a lot of the over one million square feet of display space in the Hilton and Sands centers. It was one big show and it was our first time there.

Comdex is the big West Coast computer show, originally called the COmputer Dealer's EXposition. Now it has turned into much more. Vendors from all over the world come to show their latest products and technology. And the attendees now seem to be young information technology specialists from companies of all sizes.

The floor displays were gigantic. To enter the South Hall, the main display area, we had to walk through the Microsoft pavilion where dozens and dozens of bright young people were displaying the latest Microsoft products. It's hard to imagine what Microsoft paid for this strategic location.

Since we particularly were interested in digital imaging, we headed for the Sony ( area. When we got there we had to elbow our way through the hundreds of people crowding the displays. Eventually we were able to see their line of video and digital cameras, notebook computers and their digital ready computers.

We liked the DSC-P1, a new, small, 3.3 megapixel pocket sized digital camera. It has a zoom lens and stores the pictures on the new Memory Stick storage device. All we were trying to do was figure out a good excuse to buy one when we returned to Tustin, since they were not for sale at Comdex.

To see more digital imaging, we next went to the Olympus ( display and looked at their new E-10 reflex, state of the art, 4 megapixal digital camera. It mimics the best of the professional film cameras and sells for around two thousand dollars. It's new and hasn't reached the stores yet. They displayed large prints made on color printers that were as good as anything that I have seen coming out of professional photographic laboratories. Neat. Photography really is changing

Of course we stopped at the Sanyo display to see their $35,000 computer projectors which showed on wall sized screens. Phenomenal color and detail. Actually we stopped by Sanyo because they were giving away really nice cloth bags to use in carrying all the show literature. We picked up two.

Comdex has a little bit of everything. Visioneer ( has a new low priced scanner, the OneTouch 8800/8820 USB, which will scan slides and negatives as well as normal flatbed items at 1200 dpi and 42 bit color. I liked it because it would scan my old 35mm slides as well as large black and white and color negatives.

When we went into the North Hall, we stopped and had our irises scanned at the Iridian Technology ( booth. We can buy software and eye scanners from them that can be used for secure access. The chances are one in a zillion that two people have the same iris pattern, which makes this method almost foolproof. Iris scanning is starting to show up at ATM and similar machines.

And of course, Veridicom ( scanned our fingerprints before letting us use their computer. They sell their software and scanners for less than $200 and they can be used at home to keep people out of your computers.

Many of the new devices we saw probably will show up at MicroCenter shortly. They have a new digital imaging section in their store that is quite complete.

We saw hundreds of other things that were interesting. However, probably the highlight of the trip was the dinner buffet at the unbelievable Bellagio hotel ( We started with Alaskan king crab legs, shrimp, sliced raw salmon and an assortment of salads. We ended with flan and two pieces of chocolate cream cake that would make your eyes water. We then walked by Tiffany's, Gucci, Armani and other Bellagio shops before heading back to our own room.

To learn more about Comdex and get your computer questions answered, don't forget to visit Coffee and Computers at the Senior Center any Friday morning.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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