For the last 10 years Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has conducted the CES keynote and this year it was rumored it would be his last, so the buzz was even greater than normal.
It was harder to attend his keynote than getting Wicked tickets. His speech was set at 7:30 p.m., but bracelets for admission were handed out that morning, thus a line to to later wait in a line since people began queuing up at 5:00. Luckily we had VIP tickets, which still required us to line up before 5:50 p.m. otherwise our seats would be given up. The line streamed up two floors in the Venetian and was longer than an entrance to a Disneyland ride but unfortunately without the amusing diversions or snacks.
The waiting was worth it though, I could feel the electricity and I was looking forward to seeing the King of all Geeks. Looking quite a bit older and resembling Mr. Rodgers in his purple sweater set, I was surprised by his sense of humor. The best part of the keynote was the fun star studded clip show that featured George Clooney, Brian Williams, John Stewart, Hillary (yay!) and humorously depicted what Gates' last day would look like come this summer when he retires. You can see it on YouTube without the line here. Speaking of retiring, he did confirm that this would be his last keynote at CES.
Another surprise came at the end while Gates was competing at Guitar Hero III and Guns N' Roses lead guitarist Slash came out at his ringer and played a few chords.
On the tech side he discussed Microsoft Zune and its upcoming community features and the success of XBox Live. He also said we are currently in the "second digital decade," which had a nice ring to it. He predicted that more and more computers would be controlled via hand gestures and would be more intuitive to use--"natural user interface."