The Ghosts of CES Past

With the 2015 edition of the annual Consumer Electronics Show upon us, it’s time to reflect on how various companies utilize their time in the sun. And, unfortunately, the signal to noise ratio is not always favorable for the gadget blogger given a large number of introduced products that skulk away with nary the follow-on discussion and no product on shelves.

Some of the more intriguing CES 2014 items we covered that pulled a Houdini:

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Amazon Launches Ad Network


As a for (gadget) profit entity, we’re often on the lookout for new methods of delivering relevant yet minimally intrusive advertising. And, one effective tool has been Amazon Associates. As Amazon sells just about everything, we can hopefully maintain a certain level of editorial neutrality by spiking the occasional post or tweet with an affiliate link to whatever product we happen to be discussing (and only endorse products worthy of endorsement).

Well, beyond Amazon sales, select Associates have been granted early access to a whole new program of banner advertising – beyond Amazon inventory and paid per impression, versus a sales commission.

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CES 2014: Oh, The Miles

While I mostly classify activity trackers as novelties, with limited actionable intelligence, CES is the absolute best place to put them through their paces (ha, punny). With my buddies Brad Linder of Liliputing and Kevin Tofel of GigaOm each stepping up to the plate. Kevin sports a Fitbit Force wristband and Brad rolls with a Withings Pulse puck – so … Read more

CES 2014: Day Zero

After a harrowing and uncertain journey, I successfully arrived in Vegas (without my luggage) for the 2014 edition of CES — the largest US tech trade show. While the convention center floor doesn’t actually open until Tuesday, press events begin tomorrow. Not that the timing deterred me from going on a quick recon mission while awaiting my suitcase. And, as you can see above, the CES media trailers are in full effect (with Engadget’s studio under construction). As to themes, 4K HDTV and wearable tech top the pre-show buzz, with a healthy dose of Audi chatter and the requisite glut of iPhone accessorizing (despite Apple, Inc not actually having a CES presence). Plus you can’t walk 100′ without encountering something Samsung-branded.

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Photo Fun at CES

CES is over for another year, but the photos live on. There was the minion who visited the blogger lounge, the Panasonic sand sculpture, and the masses of entirely non-goofy-looking people wearing 3D glasses. I also snapped a pic of a dude named Mo, who was selling solar chargers in the middle of the night … Read more

How Starbucks Free WiFi Will Save Me Big Time


In case you hadn’t heard, Starbucks announced they’ll be offering free, unlimited WiFi beginning July 1. Unlike the AT&T-powered wireless service they launched two years ago, this won’t require a login and occasional purchase. And, of course by being “unlimited,” connectivity is no longer restricted to two hours. Most interesting is the “Starbucks Digital Network” which will provide SBUX visitors access to premium web content, like the Wall Street Journal.

I assume Starbucks’ goal is to increase store traffic and thus revenue, something their shareholders will certainly appreciate. However, as a regular I’m a concerned with what could happen to the Starbucks atmosphere. The obvious comparison is Panera, an establishment I no longer patronize on a regular basis. Their overrun environment is more akin to a computer lab or Kinkos than a bakery-cafe these days. (See iMac man, above.)

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CES 2010, Day 0 Summary

Vegas, Baby, Vegas! After sharing a flight with Walt Mossberg, I’m on the ground for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Mari will be joining me in about 24 hours. We’ve made the command decision to stay fewer nights this year for a variety of reasons. Certainly the trip is not inexpensive, in terms … Read more

ZNF: The Year in Stats


Following in Brent’s GeekTonic footsteps, I’d like to point out a few fun facts from 2009 ZNF blogging as we enter our 6th year rocking the suburbs.

Despite my earlier assumption, given our evolving strategy of fewer but more meaningful posts, blog traffic was actually up about 30%. We averaged 66 posts a month in 2007, 48/mo in 2008, and hit an all-time low of 42 in 2009. I’ve yet to crunch the numbers, but suspect revenue growth was flat year over year as the global economic situation negatively and significantly impacted advertising during the first half of ’09. ZNF is a largely labor of love, so we’re not really sweating it.

In terms of visitors, as you can see from the Google Analytics query up top, nearly 70% ran Windows (at least some of the time) in 2009 and were pretty evenly split between Internet Explorer and Firefox. And there’s still too many on IE 6 – 18% of total ZNF traffic to be exact. I imagine a portion of those also account for the 1.32% who visited via dialup. Dialup?! Which brings us to source referrals. Like most websites, a vast amount of our traffic comes in via search engines. Well just one in particular:


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