Friday, September 17, 2010

Was released from Astak/EZRead.

Dear All:

I have not yet decided whether to keep this blog going or not.

I was terminated at Astak/Team Research/EZRead.

Maybe I will get on with another eBook device or bookstore. That would be great.

This blog, also, was never appreciated by that company. On the other hand, they totally devalued just about every contribution I made.

I do not wish to rant and rave here. Have no desire to say bad things about my old "friends".

But I think you all should know that the best laid plans and best intentionsdo often go astray and this is that case.

eBook Readers are still an incredible asset to the environment!! Please stick with "reading green"!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

New eBook store launched and new company

The new name for Astak's eBook division is now "EZRead, Inc." This is the start of a massive change in where we are going from here. EZRead, Inc. is not a divsion but a separate company with its own CEO and its own game plan. It is an exciting time!

Yes, some people have written and stated that the lowering of prices by Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and Sony mean Astak should follow suit. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to lose money like these others. They are now selling at lower than their cost to make the devices. We have beem selling at our cost for quite some time. We have built up a large following of loyal end users that realize EZRead makes a great product that is consistently lighter, faster, and far more full featured than the other choices. We want to keep them happy also!

We cannot lower our prices any further as we are at cost already. These large three can sustain losing for years if they want. Many other eBook Device makers have gone bankrupt and that is sad as it means that less innovation and less creativity will be the result. While some end users may love the lower prices... most onnovation comes from samll to medium sized companies and not giant conglomerates. So, EZread will continue to make and sell new models and existing models that will continue to offer a better value. They will have more features and far greater value. They will be competitively priced; but are not going to sell at a loss. The first of these (EZ Reader PLUS) will be selling before the end of July.

What we are putting a large investment into is our eBook Store ( That is getting a complete redesign by a professional firm and will offer more eBooks, more author interviews, a wish list, a better search engine, and a lot more that is confiential right now. We aim to make this eBook Store (now open during remodeling) fabulous. Right now you will note that prices are lower than at other bookstores and we will keep it that way! Keep your eyes on that eBook Store for real excitement!! Yes, you could shop elsewhere for the same book and pay a lot more... but why not get the ideal eBook for less and support EZRead? Also... EZread supports and courts the Independent Authors and Publishers in addition to the major Publishers!! You will find titles there that are fabulous and not available elsewhere! If you utilize Adobe Digital Editions... shop EZread!! We have 400,000 "pay" titles and the entire Google Free Library of 1 MILLION FREE eBooks!! Membership is FREE!!

I am going in for Knee Surgery on July 14, 2010... and will not be posting for 2-3 weeks. Please be patient. This blog will soon be buzzing with a lot of new information on devices and eBooks!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New EZ Reader PLUS being ordered from factory

The new EZ Reader PLUS, which will make ALL the difference, is being ordered from the factory. The shipment will be in our warehouse in about 4 weeks.

The new PLUS is a very, very strong 6 inch contender. WHY? This has 16 level grey scale, the Epson controller with 400MHz processor for blazing page turns, USB 2.0, SD card memory expansion to 16GB (enough for 8,000 novels and your MP3 music), 64MB SD RAM (double the norm for faster opening of eBooks), a USER-Replaceable Rechargeable Battery, comes with the quality crush-resistant case and ear buds included, has 20 formats and displays 26 languages, ported with Adobe Digital Editions, and has the now-famous Astak Dedicated Forum where you can get answers to your questions and help from Astak ONLINE! Price will likely be about $219.
AND... of course... buying eBooks or getting free eBooks is simple at the new Astak eBook Store: where we have 400,000 pay titles and more than 1 MILLION Google Free Library eBooks.

Now, we still have a few hundred EZ Reader Basics left in stock. We have them on sale now with a free 2GB SD card, preloaded 500 classics, and a FREE download of the bestseller: "The Girl With the Dragon Taatoo". You can find that at: (domestic)or (international). That price is $199 with all the free goodies until July 4. That is still a remarkably able 6 inch that has a fabulous screen and has proven to have almost zero returns.

In any case, those must sell out first!!

We HAVE to move out all the EZ Reader Basics before we put the PLUS on sale.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Some interesting statistics from IDPF/BEA

Astak went under the name EZRead, Inc. This is our new name as we break off the eBook Readers and eBook Store ( into a separate and much stronger company of its own. EZRead, Inc. is ramping up with a major push and this is the type of kick-off we needed.

The following statistics were announced at the conference and are a result of polling 40,000 eBook Reader owners. These statistics have a 95% confidence level:

eBook sales really started to take off in Q1 of 2009. eBooks have finally come into their own.

39% that own an eBook Reader said that they purchase just as many Printed Books (pBooks) as they did before they boought their device. eBooks are not hurting pBook sales like most thought they would do.

There is an average savings of $6.25 in purchasing eBooks over pBooks. This may drop some now that the Agency Model is in place by the publishers.

In Japan, 75% of middle school girls do all their reading of novels on their smart phone. This may be as a result that some Japanese books are horizomatal read or read right to left and EPUB is not yet set up for this.

51% of all eBook Buyers are now Male. This is a small change from 60% of sales were female in 2008.

The higher income segment (over $75,000 annual) is growing on eBook Readers.

48% are from the suburbs.

Why people buy eBooks instead of pBooks (in order):

1. Affordability
2. Ease of downloading
3. Readability
4. It helps the environment

37% of all eBook Reader buyers purchased in the last 2-6 months.

44% buyeBooks online.

Favorite vehicles for eBook Reading are:

Computer (37%)
Kindle (32%
iPhone (10%)
Sony (9%)
Nook (3%)
iPad (3%)
Astak (1.5%)

28% said they have a major issue with DRM
39% said they have a small issue with DRM
30% said they have no issue with DRM

Reasons why people buy eBook Readers in order:

1. Portability
2. Instant Access instead of driving
3. They can carry entire libraries with them.
4. There is a great availablity of FREE eBooks on the market.

Favorite Categories of eBooks:

1. General Fiction
2. Detective
3. How-To Guides
4. Science Fiction
5. Business/Finance
6. Romance

I hope you enjoyed finding out about these statistics. Astak (EZRead, Inc.) will be growing a lot this year so we are fine with 1.5% in 2009. We look to grow steadily in 2010!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What is new, huge, and will shape everything?

Every year about 250 people assemble for a 1 day conference known as IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum). Here we hear what will be facing the eBook and Reader industry for the next year. Big names like Adobe, Google, Apple, Sony, Kindle, and more will all give their views on the state of EPUB as a format, new devices, the Agency Model, DRM and Non-DRM strategies, iPad, MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices),new eBook Stores, and a lot more. The Statistics alone that are released are amazing.

BUT... this year this little conference joins with the giant BEA (Book Expo America show). Now the show runs about a week long and brings in about 200,000 book lovers. This means that the publishers will be in full force at the event. Every author you can imagine will be represented there as well as hundreds of independent authors and publishers. Astak will be meeting with the actual publishers and authors... trying to build for the future.

The first thing that will come out of this combined event is statistics on the industry. What is working and what is not. We will start to hear from websites that are NON-DRM and how they are doing with that. Every genre from erotic to politics to espionage and crime will be talked about and new titles shown. Hundreds of publishers will be planning their first foray into eBooks and away from Printed Books.

Two years ago we went to BEA and found almost NO support from anyone for eBooks. We were dismissed as a nuisance. This year most of the hour long sessions are on eBooks with advice on how to get involved to new titles in Spanish and other languages. You would not belive just how major the impact of eBooks is on the Printed World.

Yes, the iPad will be there... all two pounds of it with 8-10 hours of battery life. Think the end of the Dedicated eBook Reader is at hand? Think again. Changes are coming to eBook Readers to make them more interactive and the dawn of the MID (Mobile Internet Device) may make the bulky tablet obsolete. Imagine a device that does MORE than the iPad, has a web cam and a camera, gets a few days to a charge, is color, weighs about 14 ounces tops, and costs quite a bit less.

So where will this leave Dedicated eBook Readers? Better, faster, stronger, lower priced, and the light weight champion for reading by far.

Anyway, from May 24-28, I will not be blogging but will be getting info for some great new stuff.
I will try to give you a better perspective soon on this show and what is coming up soon!! It will effect you and you should know about this!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dictionary Support in the hopper

In answer to a comment sent to me, I am responding with good news. We finally have the factory in the process of adding Dictionary Support to the Pocket PRO and we hope the 6 inch EZ Readers also. It is going to take a while... guess is 6-8 weeks... but it finally is moving forward.

I know that this has seen a lot of stops and starts before... but this time it really looks like it is for real.

Meanwhile, I would love to invite all on this blog to join our new discussion forum (Astak Dedicated Forum) at:

Also, be aware that we now have the ideal place to get eBooks:

This new eBook Store is different. The search engine is more specific, the prices are lower, it has 200,000 "pay" titles and the entire Google FREE 1 Million library. Soon, it will also have a forum on eBooks that is interactive. You can request eBooks and authors, read eBook reviews, and read "Meet The Author". You can complain or post thanks! You can chat with others who share your interests! Plus, we are going after Independent Authors and Publishers at Book Festivals all over the nation to get their titles on our website! It is a very different eBook Store and a great one. Why not give it a try?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New eBook Store announced!!

Tired of worrying about finding the right books at the lowest price in the right format? Spending more time hunting for eBooks than reading? Worried about DRM?

Join Astak at the newest eBook Store: You will find most of our eBooks are either FREE (Google Free Library) or pay titles at the lowest price. We have 1 Million Google Titles and 200,000 PAY titles. IF your device uses Adobe Digital Editions (and most do with the exception of stubborn Kindle)... this site has it. We simplified everything: all titles are in either PDF or EPUB (both ideal for Adobe Digital Editions).

The site has a very sophisticated search engine, sub-category search, and search by Title, Author, or BOTH! One button gives you the latest BESTSELLERS straight from the New York Times charts. Not positive if you have Adobe Digital Editions? The site lists all applicable devices PLUS has a link for free download of Adobe Digital Editions.

You can either stay worried about hunting up sites OR join the crowd at:!!
Simplify your life! Get the best price, the perfect format, and a huge selection at this new eBook Store! Coming soon to this site: a full-fledged forum with eBook Reviews, chatting, and making requests!

EZ Reader PLUS a hit already, wait 4 weeks.

Demand for the EZ Reader PLUS is already building. It will be available first at: and This will be in about 3-4 weeks when the devices arrive. Astak does not like to promise something and not be able to deliver. So, we are waiting to post full info.

This PLUS will be a major player. The original EZ Reader Basic is a tried and true design known as having incredibly problem-free life, far less returns than other products on the market, more than 20 formats, great MP3 capability, and a USER-Replaceable Rechargeable Battery. Nobody that owned the Basic ever said it was not fast enough and they loved the E-INK screen giving 8,000 pages of text to a single charge!!.

The EZ Reader PLUS takes that same perfect design and interface and ruggedness and puts it in steroids! The fastest controller on the market (EPSON) is mated to a 400MHz processor. The speed increase is amazing and rivals or beats ANY OTHER eBook Reader. It still has all the goodies mentioned above... but now the screen is 16 level Gray Scale. The USB is now 2.0!! The memory is a cinch to increase (SD card slot to 16GB). The SD RAM is doubled to 64MB. Internal Memory is 512MB. PLUS, it still comes with a leather crush-resistant case and free ear buds!!

Compare this to anything else on the market! This is lighter (under 6 ounces), far faster, and handles 20 formats and includes Adobe Digital Editions for DRM! If the battery fails: no need to wait 6 weeks and send it off to the factory. Astak will have spare batteries for sale at no mark-up and it takes about 50 seconds to change. The MP3 is fabulous AND you can listen to music while you read!!

The price? Same as the Basic: about $229.

Worth the wait?? You aren't kidding. This is going to be a real blockbuster!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

New 6 inch EZ Reader PLUS unveiled.

A major surprise, the new Astak EZ Reader PLUS was announced by the factory. We do not have a release date yet butexpect it to be selling within 6 weeks.

Everyone LOVED the Astak EZ Reader Basic. It was of decent speed but had only 4 level gray scale and was held back a wee bit by USB 1.0. This device was rock-solid, though, and was one of the best six inch devices on the market. Many reviewers praised it as a direct competitor to the Kindle 2.

Well, the factory looks like they took an old suggestion of mine and dramatically improved it.

First, they added blazing speed. With a new state-of-the-art Epson Controller and 400 MHz processor... page turns are immediate and books come up quickly. This, by itself, made it better that almsot any other 6 inch.

Then they added 16 levels of Grey Scale for fabulous illustrations and images, USB 2.0, and 64MB of SDRAM!! Now we are talking world class,folks!! Oh, and they also went to 16GB on the SD card slot (enough for 8,000 eBooks and your MP3 music).

Lastly, they left the price the same!! WHEN have you ever heard of a device being changed this much without a price increase?? This will still sell between $229 and $249!!

So, now you get the same rock-solid reliability and easy controls on a device that is a speed demon! Think of your Chevy Cobalt being greatly increased in amenities and receiving the hottest 600 horsepower Corvette Engine!! This new PLUS really moves.

I will post when it starts selling. Save your nickels and dimes and get the ideal 6 inch!! Yes, it now has Hyperlinks and a Search Engine! It now has a Visible Clock too! It also has, as always, twin page-turn stations, a by-the-numbers control system, the crush-resistant case and ear buds included, and the same Grade "A" perfect screen. No corners were cut! The MP3 is still on the Music Zone for wonderful sound quality and yes, it still plays music WHILE you read! OH, and it still has 20 formats on it, Adobe Digital Editions, 26 languages, NINE font sizes in ePub and PDF, and a USER-REPLACEABLE rechargeable battery.

Now, let us see Kindle begin to measure up!!

Seeking help for any problems

Astak has a Dedicated Astak Forum at MobileRead Forum. Here you can go to have tons of fellow Astak device owners help you with problems. It is a great way to get things done and I monitor the forum much of the time. The link to go to that Dedicated Astak Thread is:

You can also contact Astak direct at: 1-866-368-8788 or by sending an email to:

I am not a tech person... we have specialists for that, of course. We ARE here to help! But, in any case, the forum is a wonderful and easy way to get advice and make reading on an Astak device a real pleasure!

Also, thank you for all those who wrote about the User Replaceable Rechargeable Battery that Astak puts in all their devices. We see this as a HUGE plus as dealing with a faulty sealed-in battery is very expensive and time-consuming!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

User Replaceable Batteries and type of battery

Once again I have received word that another person made the choice to buy the Astak over the Sony because of the User-Replaceable battery. People should realize (and that means REVIEWERS also) that this is growing more important.

Here is why. As prices for quality eBook Readers have broken the $199 barrier... the projection is that new chipsets now in development and new screens now starting development will bring the price down to the sweet spot of $150 for a basic E-INK machine. I don't know when... but likely later this year. This makes the User-Replaceable rechargeable battery that Astak has in ALL their models a major decision maker.

WHY? Let us suppose you buy a Fernley eBook Reader with a sealed-in battery. I use that name as purely fictitious BUT most of the major brands have sealed-in. This Fernley has sealed in. After a year the Fernley starts to hold a poor charge and the battery charge life gets awful. The end user calls Fernley and is told he must pay to mail it to Fernley. Fernley will charge him $80-$100 to replace the battery for their trouble. Fernley than charges him to send it back. The poor end user is left without a device for six weekls! Now he hates Fernley and he understands WHY USER-Replaceable rechargeable batteries make the Astak a great idea.

Now, every eBook Reader has different power requirements. It has to do with providing a long battery-charge life and powering all the features. One battery (maybe a Nokia phone battery) may not work well in all situations. Astak stocks spare bateries which cost very little. And they pop in and out with one screw. Maybe it is a 2 minute job to replace the battery. This allows two things: the swift and cheap replacement of a bad battery and the carrying of a fully-charged spare battery the user can pop right in for long trips. But, my point is that Astak also wishes all batteries can be as readily available online as the 6 inch EZ Reader. Unfortunately the wonderful Pocket PRO has Text-To-Speech and numerous other features that required a battery other than a phone battery. That is the way the factory designed it.

One end user did urge me to please try to use phone batteries in the future. This is an intelligent request; and we will try. But, fundamentally, the factories design the unit and its insides and they decide what battery is needed. Astak only can recommend and we will.

But, whatever Astak model you buy (or REVIEW) it has a USER-REPLACEABLE rechargeable battery and that makes economic sense. The Fernley and its real sister devices are out of step with economics!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

NINE font size increases standard

When the Pocket PRO first hit the market it came out with three font sizes. As Astak is the ONLY eBook Reader manufacturer to have an Astak Dedicated Forum on MobileRead Forum, we immediately heard from end users that three font sizes were not enough. Within one month this was enlarghed to five (5) font sizes. We expected applause on our forum. The reaction was "still not enough"! Within one more month we went to NINE (9) font sizes!!

THAT did the trick and people loved nine font sizes AND the two pages of font style choices to choose from as well.

Every day, I, RobertbEZ, am on that Astak thread listening, solving problems, finding answers, and thanking every end user personally. WHY? Because those Astak Forum members chose the six colors of ther Pocket PRO! They also asked for and got: hyperlinks, a Search Function, better battery charge life, and a visable clock. Astak reaches out to end users!

Yet, some reviewers persist in living in the past. They do not realize the quiet improvements we and 0ur Forum Members have made! They play down the Pocket PRO for only having 3 font sizes! That is ancient history! We have been at nine for many months now!

Now... is this customer service? You bet it is! We let the most learned eBook Reader people on the planet make our devices better by encouraging complaints as well as accolades! Join in on our Astak Dedicated Forum. Go to under "support" and see our FAQ sheet for a link to our forum!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Problem with Simple Reason Sometimes

Today we received a letter from a person who purchased an Astak EZ Reader and went to purchase eBooks for it. The person contacted customer service and asked what format(s) she should buy in. She was told that we recommend EPUB and PDF as we have Adobe Digital Editions on the device and that would allow the loading of DRM (copyrighted) eBooks.

Unfortunately, she went to and purchased a DRM eBook in eReader DRM. Astak is still trying to gain approval to port eReader on their device. We have been trying for a year and it has been well documented. I have said we do not have eReader yet and, although we are trying, there is little to report. The box the unit comes in states the formats that the EZ Reader will accept... some 20 formats. eReader is not listed!

Now she expects to be reinbursed for the device and the eBook she purchased from Fictionwise in the wrong format. So, I again urge everyone to read this blog, tune into the Astak Dedicated Forum on MobileRead Forum, and read the box about what formats you can download in. All of the formats are also on our FAQ sheet at: under "support".

You can download DRM eBooks in Adobe Digital Editions now. Those formats are EPUB and PDF. All other formats are for non-DRM eBooks and there for your convenience for the downloading of even the most obscure titles that are NON-DRM!!

I realize that DRM is confusing. Astak is praying that someday there will be no DRM. But, right now if you want copyrighted eBooks they have to be in EPUB or PDF.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Astak products coming!

CES resulted in a lot of new ideas and concepts for Astak. One of the first new products out is a wireless router that is far more!! Shaped like a beautiful football, this device is Touch Screen. You'll be proud to set it on your finest furniture and on your nightstand. It has a full clock and alarm function. It plays videos and does a slide show of your favorite pictures. Using twin side-firing stereo speakers you get internet radio and excellent sound. It has 2GB of memory to store all your stereo music. You can customize it to bring up YOUR favorites... everything from the latest news to weather to stock quotes and more... always right at your fingertips!

I do not want to give out all the details yet as it is due to release in two weeks.

What I want to do is make eBook Reader fans aware of the scope of Astak Consumer Electronics. Every now and then we are going to chat on here about Security Cameras, IP Network Cameras, the latest in eBook Readers, amd new and creative products. Astak is becoming a major force in this Consumer Electronics arena and you will want to know more.

Details upon release!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where to purchase the Mentor Lite Version 2

The new Mentor Lite Version 2 is exciting. It has: the now famous Epson Controller for far faster page turns (VERY fast), 8 levels of Grey Scale, Adobe Digital Editions, 16 formats, plays a great several rounds of Sudoku, and has one-touch buttons for: "Go To Main Menu", "Switch from verticle to horizontal display and back", "Go to Sudoku" and more. Of course, being an Astak product, it has the USER-replaceable, rechargeable battery, and an SD card slot to 8GB (enough for roughly 4,000 eBooks)! It comes with a fine carrying case included and plays your MP3 music WHILE you read. Also because it is an Astak product, it is "Open Format". That means you can purchase eBooks from 400 different websites or the Astak Bookstore. Astak believes in FREEDOM for end users to find the best pricing and always find what they seek. NO single eBook store carries everything. But, with 16 formats to choose from, you can often find even the most obscure eBook title. Downloading eBooks is a cinch on your computer and essentially drag&drop to get the eBook from your computer onto your Mentor Lite!

You can presently only find the Mentor Lite at:! That is alright as we sell for less than most retail stores would anyway, with their margins.

You have a one year parts and labor warranty, Astak all-USA technical support and customer service, and online support at the Astak Dedicated Forum on MobileRead Forum every weekday. There you can find answers to your questions, learn what other Astak-lovers have done, or just chat! It is a friendly and very informal place... we think this speaks volumes for Astak follow-up after the sale!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

6 Inch screen seems whiter

The screen on the 6 inch EZReader Basic has four levels of gray scale. The screen on the Pocket PRO has eight levels of gray scale. When you put them side by side, the 6 inch screen is considerably whiter. The 5 inch will appear a light gray.

Yes, this is normal.

Both are a pleasure to read from. The 8 level gray scale of the Pocket PRO is designed for far better PDF imaging (such as when you look at illustrations). This is what gives it the slightly gray look by comparison.

There is news coming very soon. It regards a new website that will have all the latest titles in EPUB and will also have the 1.5 Million Google free ebook library. Cannot give this away... but the announcement is coming soon!!

Astak is also hard at work on new models that will be released in a few months. Rumors talk of a crystal clear Touch Screen. A new 7 inch MID (does all a tablet PC offers and a lot more) is also due to be released soon.

So... stay tuned!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where is the industry going?

The eBook Reader market exploded over the Christmas Season. eBook Readers at CES had their own pavilion and drew a huge amount of media! I think it is worthwhile to look at some statistics.

Total eBook Reader sales were $2.92 Million in 2009. They will double to $6 Million in 2010. By 2013, eBook Readers will generate $20 Million!! This is almost doubling growth every year.

Why? Features have come up and prices are dropping. The Astak Pocket PRO is now at $199 cost to the public at: This is for a full-featured beauty in 6 colors with 20 formats and Text-To-Speech!! It has a scroll wheel, can hold a whopping 8,000 eBooks and your music, and it weighs under 6 ounces! You can fit it in a jacket pocket!!

What effect are items like the Pocket PRO having on the public? Those who only scoffed before are seeing they must have one. They are light, fast, hold an entire library, and even read to you!! From an environmental standpoint... people are realizing that they make total sense.

Now, the latest is that prices may approach a sweet spot of $150 in the next five years (Yankee Group). Old roadblocks like cloudy touchscreens are giving way to clear-as-a-bell touchscreens.

Where does this leave Astak? It leaves Astak leading the way! Astak was the first eBook Device to break the $200 barrier and is leading the charge toward more features at a lower price. People like the fact that Astak has 20 formats on their devices. People like being free to buy from 400 websites. People like buying "free" eBooks for free (do not laugh, many competitors charge for free eBooks).

It leaves Astak with so many new devices coming. In the hopper is an MID (7 inch Mobile Internet Device). In the hopper is a clear touchscreen with Wi-Fi. 9 inch devices are coming soon. 3G devices are a few months from now. And... all the time Astak is leading the charge to lower costs and far more value. Are you aware that Astak devices come WITH a crush-resistant leather case with magnetic clasp INCLUDED? And now Astak is going to have a website where you can purchase eBooks, Newspapers, Periodicals, Lyrics to Songs, and get free eBooks for free!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

9 days at CES

You will read from other writers about the four days of CES. That is the official days when the show is open. I am here to describe to you what happens before the show opens and during the event.

Think of CES as a small city onto itself. There are about 3,0oo exhibits and some are almost a city block long. Others are as small as a 10 by 10 foot booth. Some have 2000 TV screens showing waterfalls and plabes flying overhead. Others are lucky to have a few brochures.

You do not so much enjoy a CES as survive it. The first five days before the show opens are horrible. All the aisles are filled to overflowing with boxes, giant crates, carpets, furniture, cables and debris. To work your way to your booth you must first negotiate The Maze. All the aisles are blocked in some way or another. Many aisles are impossible to pass through... you have to go back and explore other ways. If it takes 5 minutes to get to your booth space during the show, it takes an hour to get there before it opens. For me, I started on Sunday to try to find my booth space and the show opened Thursday.

Every booth is not concerned for safety or ease of passage. Their only concern is blocking the aisles to build their booth. Where during the show you can walk through huge booths... you find them roped off and no passage before the show. Aisles can lead to a total dead end before the show. Skilled mountain climbers might find the hodgepodge of piled crates and cables and rubbish too much to attempt. Many of the exhibits are 2-3 stories high so seeing over them is largely impossible. Only a keen sense of direction can save you from The Maze.

I twisted my left knee on Monday. There is no quitting at CES. You work no matter what malady befalls you. All the time you know you have four days of standing at booth duty to put up with at the end. You find yourself constantly putting restroom breaks off until the last second. Often there is no place to eat open before the show. You try to find your booth space, your booth sleleton, and your furnishings... plus 40 boxes of brochures, TV's, signs, placards, samples, and much more.

Someone wondered why I did not post on our new introductions during the show. There is no time. During the days before the show you concentrate on getting badges for booth builders and finding your materials, you pick up people at the airport in the early night, and you answer enmails and phone calls all night. During the show there are at least ten people at any time expecting you to answer their questions, media interviews, film crews, and people trying to sell everything from leather cases to new Text-To-Speech. You do not enjoy lunch... you eat just to sustain energy. You drink water when and if available. You eat dinner with your fellow employees and hope to get 6 hours of sleep. Everyone seems cross with you, demands your complete attention, and has no respect for formality. People walk into the booth demanding homage much of the time... and homage to what they are trying to sell to you. You DO treasure those that you pleased and regret those who left angry. You are trying to learn about new introductions and relay them to attendees while on the fly. Often you have no training on a new device... you may no very little more than its size and shape.

It is a true nightmare and yet a joy. You love the accomplishments and despise your failures. You soldier through everything and try to smile through it all.