LOS ANGELES—My usual trip to Comdex, once the world's largest computer trade show, was up in the air until the Tuesday before the event began when my publisher decided to allow two or three days to cover the abbreviated convention. Unlike previous years, where 44 hours over five days was not enough to see everything, I did the entire thing in just under two hours!
Key3 Media, the company that formerly owned Comdex declared bankruptcy last year and, in a move some consider dubious, reorganized into MediaLive, the firm that now owns the event. They then decided that "the glitz and glamour" of previous conventions was counterproductive to their new theme of business to business, and limited vendors to those they felt fit the profile.
Unfortunately, this, coupled with a strict no free-entry policy, left the new Comdex with little to showcase, and few to see what was there. All the Asian mini-companies that formerly were shunted off into the dark corners of a vast convention hall were front and center in the drastically downsized lower main hall, while the big boys, Microsoft, AT&T, Dell, filled a meager corner of the upper main hall. The press was shunted off into a far, and uncomfortable, area where popping in to use a computer or phone, grab a snack, or just chat with peers, was inconvenient. In view of the new company's attitude toward the press, several of us wondered if the snub was deliberate. However, since so few of us bothered with Comdex this year, it probably doesn't matter.
Given the lack of exhibits and demonstrations, and the general aura of despair that permeated the show, the journalists attending were more than usually alert at the various conferences and "press only" events. Showstoppers, as always, was the "must do" evening affair, with the interesting and innovative companies we've come to expect to see.
Had it not been for Showstoppers, I'd have had next to nothing about which to write. I'll be devoting a future column to several products seen there.
Well, Comdex is over, perhaps for good, CES isn't until January, and I've received quite a few requests for more in the fun and free files category, so here goes.
Is your desktop full of those little file folder icons, you know, the dull yellow ones that all look the same? Don't despair; you can now color-code the folders in a myriad of hues. You can also attach a note to each file, pretty neat, and free! rainbowfolders.aionel.net/
If you've managed to delete an important file, and are ready to tear your fingernails out with a blunt instrument, fear not, grasshopper. Windows works in mysterious ways, and when you delete things, they don't always disappear immediately. Windows just regains the ability to write over them. Unless you've done tons of processing since you emptied the Recycle Bin, there's a good chance your file is still somewhere on the hard drive. If you're lucky, and you use "Restoration," you may be able to salvage the deleted file.
One thing that really burns me is finding that the icons on my desktop have migrated into an unfamiliar pattern. It's no big deal, but it bugs me that my one refuge from the chaos in my office goes haywire if I have reason to change the display resolution, or somehow manage to end up in "Safe Mode." So, I've downloaded the Restore Desktop file that remembers and automatically restores my icons' positions on the desktop after a display resolution change, it can even memorize positions for different resolution settings, if you make that change often. softwarium.com/rdwin.html
And, finally, do you ever wonder just how fast you're down or up-loading data? Here's a handy free test.
Next month: CES previews, and product reviews. Happy holidays!
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