Editor's Note: The following post is by MVP Lead Kari Finn.

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is in full swing at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Jake and I are having a blast so far!  We kicked it off Monday night by watching Steve Ballmer’s last CES keynote after waiting in line for two hours to get in.  There was an incredible turnout and by the time it got under way, the house was packed and full of excited energy.  It launched with a pretty hilarious video montage of Microsoft keynotes delivered at CES over the years that started with an auto tuned Bill Gates and ended with Ryan Seacrest being introduced as the “host” of the night. This year’s keynote focused on previewing the trifecta of innovations to come that are being highlighted at CES: Windows Phone 7.5, Xbox Kinect and, of course, Windows 8.  There were a few things I have never seen before that were totally cool, one of which was an interactive Sesame Street TV show that was created specifically for the Xbox Kinect.  

On Tuesday morning, CES officially opened its doors to 8 million square feet of exhibits and over 150K attendees. This is the first year I’ve been and, as a newbie, I’m overwhelmed by how enormous and packed the event is. There are literally six maps to help guide you. The vendors range from hugely popular to virtually unknown. There are the powerhouses like Lenovo and Microsoft to small start ups that create things like educational software. Samsung has a gigantic and beautiful exhibit that features a huge 3D TV screen on the back wall and a Windows 8 tablet. 

We’ve also run into a lot of MVPs at CES!  We caught up with SQL Server MVP Andrew Karcher at his booth where he was giving demos of a very innovative cloud-based educational software program called Thuze that he’s helped develop.  We ran into Xbox MVP Rick Wallace hovering near the Microsoft booth, where he was scoping out the Xbox Kinect and Windows integration innovations.  Enterprise Security MVP and technical author Debra Shinder is at CES covering the latest security news and Windows Touch and Tablet MVP Linda Epstein is at CES covering the latest Tablet news.  We also ran into Windows Expert - Consumer MVP Joli Ballew, who is at CES doing research for her latest writing gig as the co-author of Windows 8 Step by Step. Visual Basic MVP Andrew Brust is here as an official member of the press, working on a piece for Visual Studio Magazine that covers the latest news, including Nokia’s 900 Lumia phone. 

Thursday is packed with all kinds of fun CES events that we’re attending and we’re also hoping to hook up with Project MVP Tim Runcie and Access MVP Joe Anderson to find out more about what they’re doing at CES.  There’s so much more to do and share with you, so be sure to follow the #mvp, @karifinn and @jake_grey twitter hash tags to get the latest buzz from CES 2012 from your MVP community!

Update: January 30, 2012

Enjoy some great video footage from our time at CES 2012!

Author Bio

Kari Finn is an MVP Lead for Office Technologies in the United States. Sheis inspired every day by the power of communities and feels lucky to be able to work with one of the most thriving technology communities today. She enjoys engaging with MVPs and supporting them in their pursuits to share their knowledge and passion with the community. You can follow her on twitter @karifinn or find her on LinkedIn.