Gizmodo's Guide to CES

Whether you're attending CES in Vegas this week or are just curious about what to expect from our coverage, you need to be prepared. Here's our guide to everything from press conferences to strip clubs.

For the Readers at Home:
CES is taking place now through the weekend in Las Vegas. We're rolling in with a large crew, as usual, ready to attack the press conferences and booths like locusts on crops. If you're watching from home:

Press Conferences
These are the times that you can expect big news to drop. We have loads of embargoed news releases that we're allowed to post right when these start, so even in the cases when we aren't doing liveblogs, check in for all the news from each particular company.

Wednesday
8am PST/11am EST – LG
9am PST/12pm EST – Monster Cable
9am PST/12pm EST – Netgear
10am PST/1pm EST – Toshiba
11am PST/2pm EST – Audiovox
12pm PST/3pm EST – Sharp
1pm PST/4pm EST – Cisco
2pm PST/5pm EST – Samsung
3pm PST/6pm EST – Panasonic
4:15pm PST/7:15pm EST – Sony
5pm PST/8pm EST – Microsoft's Steve Ballmer keynote speech

Thursday
8:30am PST/11:30 EST – Sony's Howard Stringer keynote
11am PST/2pm EST – Palm
1pm PST/4pm EST – SanDisk
2pm PST/5pm EST – WirelessHD
4pm PST/7pm EST – Blu-ray Disc Association

We have all sorts of other interviews and meetings schedule as well, so news will be dropping all throughout the week in addition to these times. But really, you should be setting your alarm for all of these so you don't miss a single iPod dock or digital picture frame. (Actually, if you stick to Giz, you'll miss ALL the boring ones.)

Volume of Posts
CES causes us to go into severe posting overload, doubling the number of posts we do each day. If you're the type of person who refreshes the site every 5 minutes while you try to avoid the soul-crushing dullness that is your job, this is good news for you. If you're the type of person who logs on once each day to catch up, well, you might want to check twice per day.

Luckily, our new design allows for more posts on the front page than before, but you may need to go back to page 2 in the morning to stay caught up. Because you seriously don't want to miss when Chen inevitably posts that infernal video of me dancing again, that bastard.

For those going to be at CES:
You poor bastards. Well, we've been going for a few years now, so we'll humbly offer up advice on surviving the show and the city based on our experiences.

Hotels
The Gizmodo crew has stayed in the Imperial Palace in years past due to the fact that it costs about $15 dollars a night and is about to fall down. It's worked out fine since the location is great, right on the strip with a monorail stop that will get you right to the conference center. This year, however, we've upgraded to the Wynn, which is somehow cheaper than the IP (seems like a bad sign for both of them, doesn't it?). But really, most of these casino hotels are the same unless you're some kind of high roller, which I'm assuming you definitely aren't. As long as you're near a monorail stop, getting to the LVCC is a piece of cake.

Buffets
Every casino has a buffet, and it's usually an awesome way to eat an unhealthy amount of food without breaking the bank. The standouts are definitely the Bellagio's and the MGM Grand's, both of which offer up super high quality food (the MGM had a mashed potato bar last year, but I think they've since removed it for some bullshit reason).

If you're stuck in Vegas until Sunday, hit up the buffet at Harrah's, which offers an all-you-can-drink champagne brunch. It's only right to fly out of Vegas completely hammered, isn't it?

Restaurants
In addition to buffets, nearly every casino has a restaurant helmed by a celebrity chef. They run the gamut price-wise, but if you choose carefully you can spend way less for a great meal than you would at these chef's NYC or other locations. For example, Thomas Keller's Bouchon in the Venetian has entrée's in the $25 range, which meals at his NYC and SF restaurants run $250+ per person. Wolfgang Puck also has like half a dozen restaurants at various hotels, with prices all along the scale.

If you're looking to go all out, Joel Robuchon has two restaurants in the MGM right next to each other. L'atelier De Joel Robuchon will run you $125 per person, if you're a cheapskate, while the even fancier Joel Robuchon can run you upwards of $385 per person before tax, tip and booze. It's the best and most expensive place in the city, and is where we will be eating on Friday night. Brian just doesn't know it yet.

Gambling
All the casino floors are basically the same, and it's about choosing if you'd rather lose money in an Epcot-like approximation of New York, Paris, Venice, Rome or just in a general tacky room with no windows.

If you're looking for cheap tables, hit up O'Shea's. They have beer pong tables and the food court features Taco Bell rather than Thomas Keller, so you know what you're getting into here.

Gizmodo's favorite blackjack pit is the Dealertainers pit at the Imperial Palace, as it's the only place on the strip that you can play with the worst celebrity impersonators ever as your dealers. If you haven't played blackjack with a Filipino J. Lo impersonator, you haven't truly experienced Vegas.

Hanging Out
We're planning a Gizmodo reader meetup in Vegas on Thursday night. The details are still being ironed out—and we will likely be dead tired by then—but prepare yourself for a great opportunity to get hammered with us. It's more fun than it sounds, I promise! But a word of warning: No matter what Mark Wilson claims, he's not an accredited masseuse. Don't believe his lies.

Weather
Vegas is in the desert, so look for the days to be warm and the nights to be pretty cold. It should be in the low 50s in the daytime, but temperatures will drop at night, so bring some warm clothes in addition to your party guy floral print shirts and short shorts.

Pranks
They might seem like a good idea at the time, but you'll really want to make sure they are before going through with any pranks. Just trust us on this one.

AVN
AVN, the porn convention, takes place at the Venetian over the weekend at the end of CES. It's insane. The date for registration has passed, but there is on-site press registration (as well as a day open to the public, full of all the creeps that you can imagine would go to a porn convention). What to expect? Well, there are booths for various porn production companies featuring porn stars hanging out in skimpy outfits. (No nudity allowed, however—see the next section for that.) On the fringes, there are loads of booths for various products, from terrifying sex toys to Egyptian cotton sheets.

It's worth experiencing at least once, although it will fill your soul with an infinite sadness, so be warned.

Strip Clubs
Just get in a cab and ask to be taken to Treasures. They'll know where to go.

Depression
This year's CES promises to be one of the most sad CESes in recent memory thanks to the current recession. I mean, all of these companies are going to be reeking of desperation, as they're perfectly aware of how few people are interested in spending $2,500 on a non-essential TV when they can barely afford to feed their families.

Luckily, you're in Vegas, so you'll be able to drink the sadness away out on the street. Just try to prepare yourself emotionally for what promises to be a downer of a week. But hey, at least there will be some open bars, right? We'll make the most of it together. [CES 2009 Full Coverage]