Dylan’s Desk: It’s the season for Monday-morning quarterbacking

As the San Francisco 49ers fumbled their shot at a Superbowl appearance on Sunday, you could almost hear the Monday-morning quarterbacks warming up their complaints.

It’s no different in Silicon Valley, where the competitive sport is tech business instead of slamming heads together. Just like in football, anyone who’s not on the field has a strong opinion about how each play should have gone down. That’s especially true for the plays that end badly.

Take Research in Motion, for instance, which this week announced that its two CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, would be stepping aside. Everyone in California, where software is king, has been chortling about how slow RIM has been to wake up to the new reality. To be honest, we’ve been shaking our heads about RIM for over a year now. At a panel I spoke on at CES earlier this month, the moderator asked us whether Microsoft should buy RIM. My answer was “Why?” I honestly couldn’t think of any reason why Microsoft would benefit from that acquisition.

But it’s easy for me to say that Lazaridis and Balsillie have driven the company down the wrong road. If I were in charge of RIM, what would I have done differently?

Read the full story: Dylan’s Desk: It’s the season for Monday-morning quarterbacking | VentureBeat.

Dylan’s Desk: It’s the season for Monday-morning quarterbacking

Dylan’s Desk: Saddle your horses and fire up the 3D printer

MakerBot from Venturebeat on Vimeo.

Is there anything more American than a robot that can create anything you want out of a spool of plastic and some electricity?

It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that 3D printers offer levels of Jeffersonian self-reliance that our founding fathers only dreamed of.

“We have a consumer product that’s anti-consumerist,” MakerBot Industries founder Bre Pettis told me at CES 2012, where I captured the short video above. “When you get a MakerBot, you have an alternative to buying things. You can download them … or you can design something and make it custom yourself.”

The new MakerBot Replicator is a $1,750 box that can print three-dimensional objects by melting and fusing bits of plastic line, layer by minuscule layer. A version that prints objects in two colors costs $2,000. It’s one of several new, affordable 3D printers that are hitting the market this year.

Read the whole story: Dylan’s Desk: Saddle your horses and fire up the 3D printer | VentureBeat.

Dylan’s Desk: Saddle your horses and fire up the 3D printer

Dylan’s Desk: 6 must-watch trends for 2012

I wrote this column sitting on a floor in a hallway of a big Vegas hotel, the Venetian, as members of the press and bloggers swarmed past me en route to one press conference or another. It was my seventh year covering the Consumer Electronics Show, a huge tradeshow that is both an endurance test and a massive festival of gadgetry and technological optimism.

CES is and always has been a buyer’s show, first and foremost. It’s where buyers for retail stores like Best Buy go to schmooze with sales reps for manufacturers like Panasonic and Sony. Sure, there are lots of new products here, but that’s hardly the point. The point is to put buyers and sellers together in one big, lavish, decadent city, get them all drunk, and then send them home with new purchase contracts in hand.

The press events are important, but they’re a sideshow, and I think that’s why members of the press like to complain about it: We’re not having our asses kissed quite enough.

Plus, CES is big, uncomfortable and noisy. It’s hard to get around the town, the hotels are all packed, the taxi lines are impossible, and you can barely walk a hundred yards without someone bumping into you or stepping on your foot.

Still, it’s where the electronics industry shows off its agenda for the coming year, and even with some significant missing players, CES still matters.

Read the whole story: Dylan’s Desk: 6 must-watch trends for 2012 | VentureBeat.

Dylan’s Desk: 6 must-watch trends for 2012

Dylan’s Desk: The most revolutionary products you’ll see in 2012 (video)

Anyone can pick most interesting phones of 2011, but it takes real foolhardiness to predict the most revolutionary products of the coming year.

Call me a fool. I’m placing bets on these five products that will revolutionize technology in 2012.

I made these predictions recently in a TV segment on Bloomberg West with host John Erlichman. See above if you want to watch the video. And now, on to my predictions. Here’s the summary:

5. Lytro camera

4. Kindle Fire 2

3. Tesla Model S

2. Nokia Lumia

1. Apple’s iTV

Read the full story: Dylan’s Desk: The most revolutionary products you’ll see in 2012 | VentureBeat.

Dylan’s Desk: The most revolutionary products you’ll see in 2012 (video)