The CES 2016 Swag Haul

ces2016-swag

Each year when I head to Las Vegas for CES I come back with much more than I came with. This is because companies love to give away swag! You know those little goodies comopanies have at their booth or suite and give to you as a thank you for coming to see them. This year I had quite the haul!

Typically I always would talk about the free press bag that us journalist get, but it was a total joke this year! It was a drawstring bag that was probably the cheapest drawstring bag I’ve ever seen! I think the drawstring bag I have from when I bought a pair of shoes is better quality than this thing is!

Anyways I did get some pretty cool things this year though. The best thing would have to be a new graphics card! A new Sapphire R9 Fury Nitro is not a bad thing to come home with! Even though the official CES press bag was garbage Zotac gave me a really awesome backpack that can hold a laptop and much more! SilverStone gave me a pretty heavy duty lightning cable, which is awesome because you know how often those break! I typically always get t-shirts but CyberPower hooked me up with a really awesome sweatshirt. It is like one you would see an eSports player wearing. TP-LINK gave me a water bottle that has an infuser in it, which was pretty cool too. As always I came home with a bunch of new flash drives and bags I can use for shopping at the grocery store.

All in all I came home this year with a lot of goodies and many of them I am actually going to make use of!

Startup Drinks Pittsburgh

I really enjoy hanging out with people in the Startup community in Pittsburgh. It is always great to meet new people, talk about ideas and see the cool projects these people are working on. I had actually never heard of Startup Drinks before. The night before I was out and ran in to my friend Zach and he told me about the event and I was pretty excited to check it out. This event was held at the Apple Store in Shadyside.

The whole idea of the event is to bring people in the Startup community together to discuss ideas, get advice, and maybe even meet people you could hire or do business with. The event kicked off with a speaker, Dave Nelsen. Dave is a entrepreneur who has raised $70 million in angel and venture funding. Of course his talk was on funding. It was a really insightful and interesting talk. Definitely gave you a good idea about how funding works, how to get started and Dave’s own personal experiences.

After the talk there were a couple of demos setup from AlphaLab and PGH Tech Council. The only one that I really got to check out was Tunessence. It is basically an online teaching tool for musicians. Currently it only supports guitar right now, but I do believe they plan to add more instruments in the future.

The event continued across the street at Steel Cactus for drinks and conversations. Overall it was a great event and I hope there are more events like it soon. Remember if you want to stay up to date on what I’m up to you can always follow me on twitter!

50 Finest Casino for a Cure Event

A couple of weeks ago I attended the 50 Finest Casino for a Cure Event. This event was held by Steve Persing, Andrea Bosco and Sarah Demarco. The event was a charity / fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis. The 3 people mentioned above are part of this years 50 Finest. Each year the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation selects 50 of the most eligible men and women for their activity in the community and success in their careers. 50 Finest events are held throughout the year to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Steve is a good friend of mine so naturally I would come out and support him at this event. The event was held at the ‘Smart House’ in Mt. Washington, which has to be one of the coolest houses anywhere in Pittsburgh. It is extremely modern and has a unique design, something you don’t find in Pittsburgh. The best part of the house is the view, you can see all of Pittsburgh from the backyard or any of the balconies.

The entire back-side of the house is glass, which makes for a pretty cool atmosphere. If you want to see more photos of the event make sure you check out WPXI’s photo gallery of the event.

The event was setup like a casino so you were able to gamble. I played mostly blackjack, our dealer was actually pretty funny, which made for a good time. You could not win real money, but the money you did win went towards tickets for the grab bags that they had downstairs. The party was also sponsored by Clique Vodka and I.C. Light so there were plenty of drinks to go around.

Check out the video below to see what the event was all about. Remember you can always donate directly to Steve, by checking out this link!

Awesome Weekend at FITES LANFest 2012!

It has been quite a while since I’ve been to another LAN Party besides Pittco. I always go to Pittco because ThinkComputers sponsors it and it is in Pittsburgh. My good friend Nik told me about FITES and suggested I signup as a sponsor, so I did and this past weekend I headed to Mechanicsburg, PA to check it out. It was about a 3 hour drive, which was not that bad at all since most of it was on the turnpike. The event was held at the Park Inn, which is actually a very large hotel, with quite a few buildings.

As soon as I got there the FITES staff was very friendly and helped me get setup. I brought 3 system for the ThinkComputers booth. This was also the first event that I was able to use the new ThinkComputers banner I had just got made. Check out the picture of our booth from the event below.

The event was great and it was the perfect place to spread the word about ThinkComputers. I met some really cool people and actually did some gaming. They had a 32 person Battlefield 3 server going and we had a great Team Fortress 2 match going on for a while. Also one of the coolest things was an arcade machine that someone made that had 4 joysticks and had pretty much every popular arcade game ever made! There were some awesome mods there as well. You can check out ThinkComputers full coverage of the event here. I will definitely be back next year!

Why is it Important to Attend Industry Events

Each year when I attend CES I am always reminded of how important it is to attend industry events. Even if there was nothing to cover at CES it is still very important to attend for many reasons, which I have listed below.

Showing Face
Most of the communication I do with companies I work with is via e-mail. So attending CES I get to see them in person and really talk to them about what we have going on.  It gives you a more personal connection with the person or company you are dealing with.

Networking
Being at an event like CES brings out everyone who works in and covers technology. This means it is the perfect place to make new friends, business contacts and more.  You can get so much networking done at the press events and parties at CES. Even if its the little things like meeting a site owner and now they will post your news on their site. It can even be bigger things like meeting a CEO of a company at an industry party and now you are doing business with them.

Motivation
After coming back from an event like CES I am always charged up and really motivated to work. I think that actually getting out from behind the screen and doing “real work” gives me this extra kick. It is a great feeling and something that should not be taken for granted!

Friends
Over the years I have become friends with many people in the industry and CES is like one big reunion for all of us. Most of us usually only get to see each other once a year.  So attending CES is a great time to not only hang out with old friends, but meet new ones.