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August 30th, 2011

Interbike Trade Show

Interbike International Bicycle Expo (Interbike) is the premier bicycle industry business-to-business (B2B) event, bringing together leading manufacturers, retailers, support industries, cycling advocates and media to tend to the business and technology side of cycling. The event assembles over 1,100 cycling-related brands and draws over 20,000 attendees every year. The 2011 edition of the show will once again be held in Las Vegas from September 12th to 16th.

To move or not to move?

It almost wasn’t so. Last year Interbike announced it was moving its 2011 show from September to the month of August. Almost in passing, the organization mentioned that the location was moving, too, from Las Vegas to Anaheim. The announcement unleashed a flood of feedback, surprising Interbike’s top brass.

It “elicited a very real response,” said Interbike show director Andy Tompkins. After “countless conversations [with] exhibitors and retailers” the group reversed course. “We are hearing loud and clear,” admitted Tompkins, “that [the] industry prefers September dates and the convenience of Las Vegas.” CRE is particularly experienced in serving the great convention centers of the West, even if you just need a dozen tablet PC rentals for your team.

Interbike shifts paradigms

During the scheduling kerfuffle, Interbike execs heard from numerous industry insiders about the show’s importance to the marketplace. It is still “the industry’s show,” said Tompkins, and “the market’s passion and commitment” to it means that the 2011 and 2012 events will be “groundbreaking.” Expect large, milling crowds, and stay connected with iPad rentals – they’re notepads, display devices, phones, e-readers and Internet appliances in one slim, slick package.

If you’re exhibiting in a major way, CRE’s excellent event production services will make your trade show appearance a hit. You can also put together your own booth a la carte, so to speak, and draw passersby into an interactive presentation on a Interbike plasma rental . If you’re attending to gather materials and distribute your own, you can set up a mini branch office with CRE’s vast range of office equipment rentals.

Green is keen!

We can help you make your tradeshow experience greener than ever, too. Save on four-color printing by handing out business cards or flyers with URLs listed, so interested folks can save a few trees while reading your “virtual marketing materials.” Multiply your presence with CRE’s interactive kiosk rentals, which can be configured to your specifications to dispense info (and collect it, too). Very handy, and kiosks don’t take lunch breaks. (But you should!)

If you’re working yourself to a frazzle setting up your exhibit or strategizing a breakout session, let CRE help. We’re seasoned trade show specialists that also happen to have one of the largest inventories of high-tech rentals anywhere. One call or e-mail, or a few minutes with our Quick Rental Quote form, is all it takes to get you on your way to Interbike.

August 25th, 2011

In Part 1 of  “10 New Technologies You’ll See in 2012″, we gave you the first 5 new technologies to expect in the future. Today, lets get the last five blockbuster developments which includes even more hardware, software, smart appliances and multipurpose devices.

6. Android 4. Technoids are looking forward to the Samsung Nexus, and not because of the phone – it will be the first smart phone to run Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4. Android 4(Android 3 was called Honeycomb. Go figure.) Although Apple holds the lead in smart phones and tablets with its iOS-powered devices, Android is a solid alternative in both product categories, and new ones like embedded systems.

7. Branded tablets. Following the successful Kindle 3, Amazon is revising its approach to branding and product development. There has been talk of a touchscreen version, and the rumor mill now suggest that Amazon will release two different Android tablets in 2012. Aggressive pricing is a given, as is the entry into the tablet market of innumerable other companies.

8. Hybrid hard drives. Solid State Drives (SSDs) are fast, but expensive. Rotating-platter hard drives are inexpensive and offer huge storage capacities, but can’t keep up with CPU and system bus speeds. Until SSD prices come down with time, hybrid drives will combine fast-booting SSDs with big conventional drives to speed things up a bit. For swift, large- scale storage today you can rely on Ethernet disk RAID rentals, but tomorrow’s technology will encompass a variety of drive types and configurations.

9. Multi-touch commands. The futuristic trackpads on the  new MacBook Pro rentals and Apple’s Magic Trackpad, introduced multi-touch commands to modern computing. Other manufacturers’ laptops, tablets and digitizing pads are moving the same direction, as the touch interface is natural for humans. As the screen costs continuing dropping, you will find touch commands on everything from vending machines to refrigerators.

10. Wireless everything. We had a blog with that title last November, which is ages ago in “tech time.” Suffice it to say that we really mean everything this time. You’ve seen the WiFi all-in-one office devices, right? HP was a trailblazer, but WiFi printing and scanning is old hat now, especially compared to the astonishing new “EyeFi” SecureDigital cards. They’re so astonishing, in fact, that they made our “Gadget Fun for August” blog last week. Pay attention, in particular, to advances in wireless power and charging stations.

CRE pays close attention to tech trends, as well as what its customers need. With great service to complement the expertise of our Account Executives, your call or e-mail will get you the right answers, right now. If you know what you need, of course, our Quick Rental Quote form will get you in, out and on your way.

August 23rd, 2011

We’re deep enough into 2011 to make some “tech predictions” for 2012, despite the big non-tech prediction calling it humanity’s last year of existence. We prefer to think positively, and we’re positive you will find the  “10 New Technologies You’ll See in 2012″ Parts 1 and 2 – as useful as they are interesting.

1. Windows 8. Windows 7 came out ahead of the usual Microsoft (MS) schedule due to the low adoption rates of Vista. Windows 7, more stable than its predecessor, has been well received on CRE computer rentals. (Meanwhile, so many people stuck with XP that MS finally had to declare an end to XP support in April 2014 to prod its installed  base of users along the upgrade path.) Watch for Windows 8 in 2012, with cloud integration and a complete overhaul of the file system.

2. New components and form factors. The cylindrical tube in the accompanying image looks very much like a futuristic scroll.  Cylindrical tube componentUnlike great laptop rentals, this device isn’t ready for work yet, but computer scientist and designer Hao Hua’s “next generation laptop design” does feature emerging tech like a flexible OLED screen, flexible pull-out keyboard, straps with USB outlets and a wrist-mounted webcam. You will see these features debuting independently in new products that will compete for attention (and buyers) starting next year.

3. Smart TVs. The Vizio XVT3D6SP has a very easily satirized model name – it looks like comic book swearing – but it won CNET’s Best of CES award in the TV category and is a major hit. Passive 3D functionality, LED backlighting and Google in the DNA makes it part of a true dynamic duo when paired with an Android phone or tablet. The era of net- and computer-connected TVs is fully upon us, and this is the trailblazer.

4. iPhone 5. Rumors of a radical new design are based on the assumption that the Apple iPhone 5 needs a new lease on life. Instead, say other observers, Apple will follow its usual evolutionary path. The iPhone isn’t new, and doesn’t need much in the way of new excitement to stay wildly popular. It is much more likely that internal improvements – an A5 processor, FaceTime cameras like those found in MacBook Pro rentals, improved battery life – will get the nod, as the body and screen are already gorgeous.

5. LightPeak aka Thunderbolt. Sony is incorporating leading-edge technology throughout all its product lines. For its VAIO PCs and laptops, some of which are in our computer rentals inventory, Sony has now added the same next-gen connection technology (LightPeak, aka Thunderbolt) that the new iMac rentals have, and other computer makers are poised to follow.

Unfortunately, we can’t help you with these new technologies just yet but we can offer you some other digital strategies to improve your company’s workflow. Talk it over with an expert Account Executive in a phone call or e-mail, or use the Quick Rental Quote if you know what you need. We’re always ready to help!

Don’t forget to check out Part 2 – “10 New Technologies You’ll See in 2012.” 

August 18th, 2011

Today, we are wrapping up our list of best iPad apps for Marketers (check out Part 1 ). These mobile marketing tools include iPad apps for event organizers to news aggregators and more. Let’s jump right in.

iPad apps

iPad apps for planning and event management

Great marketing campaigns succeed because the responsibilities are defined, the tasks organized and the schedule followed. Personal planners, like Todo, help make all that happen, and document how, as you proceed step by step to your goals. The app syncs with iCal or Outlook calendars, including ones shared on iMac rentals, enabling you to schedule reminders, set alerts, keep a conference team in sync and manage your contacts. ($4.99)

Bento is something like Todo, as it also helps you organize customers and contacts. It has a “big brand” pedigree, though, as it is from the makers of Filmaker Pro, a full-fledged relational database. Like Filemaker, Bento can track projects, organize meetings and plan events. With 25 templates to customize for whatever you could possibly have to organize – a Keynote presentation, your customer contacts, an event schematic or date/time lists of things to do – Bento will take you all the way. ($4.99)

Apps for news, info and connections

Flipboard is an “aggregator,” not a creator of original content. According to your preferences and how much personal data you are willing to give up, the app scours the Internet to present just what you want in a slick, magazine-style layout. Mix business magazines with The Onion, subscribe to whatever feeds you want and monitor your Twitter, Google Reader, Facebook and Flickr accounts. You can keep multiple “boards” with different kinds of contacts and information, making Flipboard an excellent communications solution for business and personal use. (Free)

It’s not the first app to turn into a cult, but Instapaper Pro users in the millions (yes, millions) swear it changed their lives. This potent product lets you save Web pages for later offline reading – just click to save the “good stuff,” which you can then access from smart phones, laptop rentals and other devices. It is unsurpassed as a browser tool for researchers, writers, corporate creatives and tech professionals – and the marketing pros that sometimes wear all those hats. ($4.99)

All apps are available at the App Store, iTunes, the developer’s site and other locations.

CRE doesn’t just have the best, most powerful high-tech tools – from Xserve rentals for networking to the post-production pro’s best friend, our render farm rentals – but expert Account Executives to provide specific solutions to your unique challenges. A quick call or e-mail, or a visit to our Quick Rental Quote page, will get you what you need to get you to your goal. It’s what we do.

August 16th, 2011

One reason for the Apple iPad’s astonishing success is its versatility. CRE’s experience with iPad rentals shows they can be all things to all people – a sketchpad for designers, a portable presentation platform for exhibitors, even a mobile video editor. It’s because of the high-quality apps developed for iOS, the software platform iPads share with the iPhone.

iPad Apps

The App Store launched in July 2008 with 500 apps. Apple approved the 500,000th app in late May of this year. From among them, pundits and end-users have made various lists of iPad marketing apps, many overlapping in their suggestions. Of the many apps for tracking trends, leveraging social media, publishing content, planning marketing campaigns and analyzing results, here are the Best iPad Apps for Marketers (Part 1 today, Part 2 on Thursday, August 18th).

Socializing = networking

You will need some or all of your networking apps – Twitter,  Foursquare, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. – but it is easy to overload and get bogged down. Here comes HootSuite to the rescue, managing your multiple profiles. HootSuite integrates them all so you can post breaking news, locate people, manage schedules, track stats and monitor lists, #hashtags and keywords. (Free)

Content is king

If you have a WordPress blog, the WordPress app for iPad is a no-brainer. A “lite” version focused on easy blogging, it’s best to do page design and other major work on a computer. Still, the widescreen layout gives you plenty of room to write, edit, moderate comments, add/remove images and stay on top of your content wherever you are. WordPress also released a plug-in that makes Web sites “iPad friendly”. (Both free)

Photos and graphics

Pictures do speak louder (and faster) than words.  They bring life and energy to blogs, marketing brochures and e-mail ads. Photoshop Express, now at version 2.0, is the perfect photo-editing tool for on-the-go marketing pros, a simple but sophisticated app for creating, cropping, rotating, revising and repurposing photos and images. (Free, optional tool pack $3.99)

Analyze sites and monitor ROI

AnalyticsPro is a powerful, flexible app that uses your Google Analytics account for on-the-fly decision-making. You can get detailed reports on Search Keywords, Top Content, Top 10 Countries, Referral Sources, Traffic Sources, etc., and analyze the Return On Investment (ROI) of your marketing campaigns. You can export those reports as PDF and other formats, and view them on everything from smart phones to tablet PC rentals. ($5.99)

All apps are available at the App Store, iTunes, the developer’s site and other locations.

Deadlines ahead? Conference coming? An Account Executive will help you get just what you need, to get where you need to go. Make a call, send an e-mail or fill out the Quick Rental Quote form, and we’ll get you what you need to succeed – indeed!

Watch for Part 2 of Best iPad Apps for Marketers coming up on Thursday, August 18th.

August 11th, 2011

As Apple adds superfast Thunderbolt ports to all new Macintoshes, the technology is beginning to appear on PCs, too, under names like LightPeak, Intel’s code name for the multi-partner project. The Information Age has already given us numerous connectors and cables, but the relentless march of progress means we’ll see more. This quick cable review will show you what’s up today, and offer a glimpse of tomorrow, as well.


Cable standbys

If you still use an older computer as a server or mail station, you still need parallel, serial and SCSI devices. Many PCs still have PS-2 type keyboard and mouse ports. And, there are the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) connectors (for keyboard, mouse, modems) that Apple abandoned in favor of USB.

Today’s major Cable players

Despite the rise of wireless everything there are still physical RJ-45 ports for Ethernet on most computers.

USB has gone from 2.0 to 3.0 with the peripheral-connector looking the same, but it has five hidden pins for SuperSpeed 3.0 capability. The computer end of the cable, however, gets a new piece above the existing, square-ish Type B connector.

FireWire will not likely develop beyond its current 400Mbps and 800Mbps forms, using the connectors/cables shown in Illustration below. It is much less widespread than USB, but it’s been around since our Macintosh laptop rentals came in rounded, candy-colored cases.

Monitor connections

VGA is the oldest, most prevalent monitor connection, while today’s other popular protocols are DVI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort. A variety of adapters are available to connect most kinds of computer rentals to most kinds of monitors, regardless of what ports are built in.

I/O for tomorrow

New Apple models like our iMac rentals have Thunderbolt, which uses the same connector as a Mini Display Port to carry audio, video, user data, network data and power. You will see Thunderbolt adapters with audio, Ethernet and other connections, as well as cables that use some or all of the available 100W of power to run external devices.

On iMacs or MacBook Pro rentals, a single Thunderbolt port provides two channels with 10Gbps of two-way throughput each, twice as fast as USB 3.0. You can connect Mini Display Port-equipped displays directly, or other kinds with appropriate adapters. Thunderbolt handles data, too, so  firms are also developing adapters to connect FireWire 400/800 and USB devices to the new ports, with the peripherals working at the same maximum speed as on their own native buses.

At CRE Rentals, we work at maximum speed all the time, too, with maximum effectiveness to meet your need for computers, plasma rentals, conference gear and post-production technology. One call or e-mail puts our experienced Account Executives on the job just for you, finding the solution you need – now. (Need it even faster? Use our Quick Rental Quote form.)

August 9th, 2011

The “green” movement promotes the wise use of existing energy and the development of new, renewable resources. It’s a long-term goal, certainly, and one that CRE supports, but in the meantime you can still bring green thinking to your company’s meetings, conferences and other events. Stay on the road to sustainability with 7 simple steps for greener meetings.

1. Save trees. Materials can be distributed via Web sites, e-mail or peer-to-peer communication using iPad rentals, WiFi-enabled laptops and smart phones. For everything from pre-event PR to post-event customer follow-up, cross-platform file formats like PDF and HTML make it easy to reach wired and wireless devices of every kind.

2. Make a personal pitch. Whether in a PC video chat, over the phone, in a YouTube clip or, better yet, in person, you need to open your mouth and promote that meeting, seminar or trade show presence. Put promotional materials on the tablet PC rentals that you provide your conference team.

3. Cultivate “enviro-allies”. Share your company’s green statement, or a new one created for your planned event, with vendors, attendees, exhibitors and speakers. Get everyone on the same page and working together toward a mutual goal.

recycling bins

4. The three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Your efforts to use the three Rs should be visible and accessible. As you reduce the use of paper, also reuse glassware instead of buying disposable cups and recycle as much metal, glass and plastic trash as you can.

5. Energy saving plans. Whether you’re running the show or using CRE’s event production services, you will need to ensure, among other things, that lights and air conditioning are turned off in empty rooms. You can tailor other energy-efficient strategies depending on the event type and building.

6. Eat green. Make local, seasonal produce part of the fare if you are also playing caterer. Fresh, healthy foods are never out of style, and eating wisely is an important part of a positive lifestyle.

7. Save gas and time. For off-site events, keep traveling distances short. The host city should be close to as many attendees as possible, and within that city pick one of the hotel conference centers near the airport.

Meeting planning and convention rentals are just two areas of CRE Rentals’ broad expertise, which ranges from all kinds of computer rentals to serious post-production gear. A simple call or e-mail gets an experienced Account Executive on the job, focused on the solution to your unique challenges. (Know what you need? Use our handy Quick Rental Quote form to start “greening” your next event.)

August 4th, 2011

Once a month or so we like to show you that high tech can be fun, too. With new ways to connect you to the world – the real one you’re photographing or the virtual one you’re immersed in – and inventive ways for you to express yourself, gadgets may begin their lives as “cool new things” but often wind up being indispensable new tools for creative pros. Let’s check ‘em out.

Hasbro My3D

Hasbro My3DThere are lots of ways to watch 3D movies, so that’s not the aim of this new device that you use with your iPhone or iPod touch. Hasbro’s My3D has seven applications that insert you into virtual worlds like a shark tank (that’s fun?) or an asteroid belt in space. Sure, people have figured out how to watch 3D material on computers like our iMac rentals, but those attempts fail to deliver the “immersive experience” of My3D’s closed goggles. Like the venerable ViewMaster, Hasbro’s My3D opens up new worlds for you to explore.

Eye-Fi Direct Mode

Eye-Fi Direct Mode

Eye-Fi Direct Mode SD cards send photos wirelessly from your camera to your smart phone. What’s the big deal? Before Direct Mode, you’d use Eye-Fi cards to transfer photos to a computer, a photo-upload service like Flickr or a social site, but you had to access a Wi-Fi hotspot first. What a hassle. Now you can take advantage of the wireless network you carry – your smart phone, CRE laptop rentals with 3G dongles, anything like that – and upload directly to Facebook, Twitter or wherever you want. In essence, it gives your camera the power and connectivity of whatever 3G device you use. Cool!

Wacom Bamboo Stylus for the iPad

Wacom desktop tablets are the unchallenged standard in the industry. Now Wacom Bamboo for iPadthe company has released the Bamboo Stylus and a companion app, Bamboo Paper, with some of the same great functionality. With the firm, nearly frictionless black rubber tip, using the stylus comes very close to the feel of pen on paper. Using it in place of your finger feels strange the first few times, but you get used to it fast. The Bamboo Paper app is free in Apple’s App Store whether you have the stylus or not. And if you do have the stylus, you can use the app on CRE iPad rentals or your own iPad, as the device is not linked in any way to any certain device.  Great stuff!

Whatever cool gadgets you need to plow through your digital workflow, a call or e-mail to CRE’s experienced Account Executives is all that’s required. Use the Quick Rental Quote form if you know what you need, talk to us if you don’t. We don’t charge anything to help you figure out what to do, and then we provide the best tech at the best prices for your CRE solution.