CES Highlights HD

Las Vegas -- In early January, Las Vegas again hosted the annual International Consumer Electronics Show. CES has built its reputation as an enormous showcase for the latest and greatest electronics. And while this year didn't disappoint, there was a palpable sense of apathy on the Las Vegas Convention Center floor and other venues, as many of the gadgets seemed more like rehashes of past technologies than anything truly innovative.

The star of the show was Panasonic's 150-inch, high-definition plasma TV. Tipping the scale at an estimated 1,500 pounds, the massive television made its 108-inch cousins - all the rage three years ago - seem puny in comparison.

High-def ruled the day at CES; whether it was high-definition Blu-ray discs, HDTV, waterproof HD screens, HD monitors, HD video cameras - almost every booth featured at least one HD device.

Some products, such as Microsoft's Surface, that managed to make a splash without touting HD capability (although Surface is HD-ready too). Surface is a tabletop PC that users control with their hands. Simply place a digital camera on Surface, and using one finger, drag images to and from the camera and the hard drive. A finger-painting tool, an interactive wine guide and a travel planner were also shown. All the applications can be used without a mouse or keyboard, though an onscreen virtual keyboard is available.

There was also buzz about a potential 3-D revival. Manufacturers showed off the latest 3-D monitors, which don't require 3-D programming. Instead, new imagery technology allows any film, game or TV show to be viewable in 3-D -- but 3-D glasses are still required.

-- Chad Vander Veen, Politics and Technology Editor


California Gets Greener
Sacramento, Calif. -- IT workers gathered in late January at Government Technology's Green Government event to discuss how to embrace inevitable economic changes as California's economy goes green.

State Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, kicked off the event by inciting Californians to stop lamenting jobs lost due to globalization. Instead he said the state should focus on building an economy that serves the nation's growing demand for green technology.

Will Semmes, chief deputy director for the California Department of General Services (DGS), discussed the agency's green purchasing strategies. The DGS plans to analyze government fieldworkers' credit card records to determine where state employees buy gas most often. The DGS would then contract with the most-visited fuel stations to buy alternative fuel for government vehicles.

Semmes also discussed the state's effort to keep more accurate inventories, which would save money and reduce unnecessary consumption.

A Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) representative talked about the utility's energy conservation strategy. Ed Sanchez, program manager for energy efficiency, customer research and development at SMUD, said it might sound strange for a power company to urge customers to buy less of its product. But he said SMUD views energy-efficiency mechanisms as a way to avoid the expense of building new power plants. SMUD plans to offer future incentives for the deployment of products that reduce consumption by computer servers, he said. -- Andy Opsahl, Features Editor


Govtech.com Hot List

Here are the 10 most popular stories on Govtech.com from Dec. 27, 2007 to Jan. 27, 2008.

1.       ESRI Founder Jack Dangermond Predicts the Future of GIS
As interest in GIS grows, ESRI and its professional GIS tools may be approaching a crossroad.

2.       Top 10 Wireless Predictions for 2008
InCode forecasts events that will shape the wireless industry this year.

Chad Vander Veen  | 

Chad Vander Veen is the former editor of FutureStructure.