Week in Geek: The Geekiest Week Ever (thank you iPhone!) for true geeks

By Ken Kerschbaumer and Jonathan Blum

Do we need to start off with talking about the thing that everyone else is talking about?!? Ya know, that phone thing? Nah…let’s save that for later. After all, there are other things that are going on in the world. Right? Right?!?

Infocomm took place last week and there was an interesting introduction from Roku. Dubbed the BrightSign HD2000 solid state media player the $499 unit is designed to serve as a storage device for digital signage applications. With more and more sporting venues adding video displays for signage it could find a sweet spot because, unlike DVD players or PCs it is designed specifically for digital signage applications. Digital signage is only going to get hotter so the future for devices like the BrightSign are, well, bright.

Web browsers are also set for a new round of battles, especially after Apple introduced a PC version of its Safari Web browser. We fully expect Microsoft not only to fight back but have to fight back. The move is all about moving up in the world as Safari is third behind Explorer and Firefox in market share. But there’s a side benefit as well: more Web sites will make their content “Safari friendly.” That might be only good to come out of the move if a review of the PC version by the Associated Press is worth believing. Simply put, they ain’t impressed.

While Infocomm brought together display folks Nxtcomm last week in Chicago brought together the nation’s telecommunications industry and new ways of turning the cellphone into a multi-media device dominated. Motorola introduced “See What I See,” the ability for one RAZR2 V9 cellphone user to send live video from their phone to another. Throw in the C960 cellphone from LG Electronics and its 5 megapixel camera and your giving sports fans a new way to share their experiences.

Last but certainly not least is the consumer electronic introduction of the year: Apple’s iPhone. Maybe you’ve heard of it? If press coverage of the impending arrival hasn’t quite reached “Lindsay Lohan is in rehab” proportions tomorrow it will move past “Paris Hilton gets out of jail” proportions” (in fact, the iPhone and Hilton came together in a white-hot story in People magazine saying she attempted to order an iPhone while in prison). The early buzz is pretty good but the Washington Post and the New York Times both go through some of the limitations and annoyances. Near the top of our list are the inability to port a SIM card from a non-AT&T phone; the lousy AT&T data network; the inability to download iTunes directly to the phone and, the topper, an email service that doesn’t push new incoming messages to the device automatically. And we aren’t always one to complain but Apple says iPhone users will need to mail in their iPhones when the battery needs to be replaced in a couple of years. With most people unable to live without a cellphone now how will they live without their iPhone? David Pogue of the New York Times has an entertaining video that shows all of the hot (and not so hot) functions.

And then there are the larger iPhone ramifications…other cellphone companies will begin marketing their next-generation, non-phone calling features…as people become accustomed to handheld convergence devices stadiums could be a winner…

And finally…Mac and PC, the rap video.