The Entertainment Gathering

David Pogue

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I’ve been reading his work for years so I’m thrilled to be listening to David Pogue, technology columnist and blogger for the New York Times. Tagged in the Gizmos & Gadgets session I wonder what he’s going to focus his presentation on. Well, we all get pleasantly surprised, and share in immense laughter, as David opens up his presentation with a self-written and piano-played song (sang to the tune of Imagine by the Beatles).

Imagine there’s no Apple. No products that start with I.

Imagine all the people, finding other things to do ~ ~ ~

Imagine there’s no bloggers, it isn’t hard to do. No viruses or spyware, no Windows Vista 2.

Imagine all the people, learning to get a life.

You may save me a nightmare, without Google Mac or Dell.

You might have real conversations. But the world would be dull as hell.

Imagine there’s not cell phones. Kiss console games goodbye.

No David Pogue or Mossberg, to tell you what to buy.

Imagine all those people, getting some exercise.

You may say I’m a looney. But rest assured I’m almost done. I’m pretty sure it’ll never happen.

So we nerds can live as one.

So I’m the weekly tech critic for the NYT. What I’m mostly doing this year is going on cable TV an answering the same question: What are the tech trends for next year.

Trends of 2009: What is most interesting is the combination of the Phone & Internet

We’ve come a long way since VOIP. Like Vonage. Now you hear a dial tone but it’s a fake out, a .wav file of a dial tone. As a result of VOIP, landline home phone service has gone down 30% in the last 3 years. College kids are most likely to have Skype. Free, 250 million downloads, computer-to-computer. The downside is you have to use a headset, like a nerd. Where VOIP gets interesting is when they start putting it on cell phones. Even though the technology for this has been available for 5 years, for some reason, no cell phone carriers offer it. Hmm, wonder why.

Actually there is one company who does it: T-mobile (I’m not paid for plugging them). “T-Mobile Hot Spot @ Home

We have a choice of phones that have wifi and anytime you’re in a wifi hotspot all your calls are free. How often are you in a hotspot? All the time because they give you a regular router for your house. This in effect becomes a stealth cell phone tower installation program – they give us a $7.99 router that functions as a cell tower, and we’re doing it for them. What’s amazing is that it’s a seamless switch over between wifi and the cellular service.

Another favorite of mine. Grand Central. They give you a new phone number and all your phones get rung at once. All going through the internet so you can set up the features – people get customizable messages and you can limit time intervals where people can or can not get through to you, etc.

Google Cellular: text 46645 – and save the $2 you get charged when dialing 411. The downside is it requires you to know how to text. Google just launched a voice service [800-GOOG-411]. It connects you directly. It’s like having a personal valet.

ChaCha [800-2CHACHA] – this is a service that you can ask anything. How does it work? There is a human being on the other end of the line – 10,000 people who get paid 20 cents per answer.

There are services that transcribe voicemail into text and then email you, and attach the audio file to the end of the message. Services: PhoneTag, Callwave.

PopularityDialer.com. Type in your phone # and the exact minute you want to be called. This is great for blind dates. But since in some instances people can overhear you, they have pre-set voices – check it out, it’s hilarious.

iPhone: The Legacy. The iPhone is a flawed masterpiece – has good and bad things to it. But one thing that is genius is the applications marketplace. It broke the dike. We’ve entered the new world of innovation where your cellphone becomes your laptop and you can do amazing things with it.

~ ~ ~

David Pogue is a riot. Great presenter, like Colbert for technology. On a personal note, thank you for the pre-lunch chuckles.