Saturday, January 1, 2005

How Elvis entered the building and CES went out the window


By David Gewirtz

As many of you know, the Consumer Electronics Show was two weeks ago, in Las Vegas. As always, your esteemed ZATZ editorial staff was on the case, prepared to cover the show in full. Unlike in previous years, uh, something happened on the way to the convention center.

You see, Denise Amrich and I -- the two co-founders of ZATZ Publishing -- got married, as shown in Figure A. And, yep, CES went out the window. To make things even more interesting, Elvis is part of the story.


ZATZ co-founders David and Denise tie the knot. (click for larger image)

To be fair (and before we begin the real story), ZATZ did cover CES. The bulk of the heavy lifting was done by Senior Editor James Booth, who kept things going while Denise and I were getting our groove on. Other editors and authors were on-site at the show and you'll see their coverage and analysis in the pages of the magazine.

Denise and I have known each other for eleven years. We first met when Denise helped me complete the book Lotus Notes 3 Revealed!, back in 1992. She helped me produce our early newsletters for Ziff-Davis Publishing, and helped manage the old software company I owned, Component Software. In addition to working together, she and I became best friends.

"We were married by an Elvis named Norm."

When it came time to start our own magazine publishing company, Denise and I formed ZATZ together. Like all companies coming out of the dot-com era, we experienced our ups and downs. Shortly after September 11, 2001, Denise felt she needed to get out of the metropolitan New York Area and moved to Hawaii.

We missed each other terribly. She was there for 18 months, and during that time we spent an average of four hours a day on the phone. This was in the days before all-you-can-eat phone services and voice-over-IP, so the phone bills were enormous.

We'd also chat with each other over Microsoft's Instant Messenger, and when we missed each other too much, we'd fire up the video client so we could see each other, albeit at very low resolution and with very choppy transmission.

If you've used IM clients at all, you know that there's an indicator that shows whether your friends are online. That "presence indicator" was, in many ways, my lifeline for those 18 months. When it was all green, I knew Denise was at the other end of the Internet, working on her computer in Hawaii.

What's funny is that this very indicator used to bug her out. She'd tell me that sometimes she didn't want me to know whether or not she was at her computer -- it felt too much like I was keeping tabs on her. After a while, it became something of a game for us, to be able to tell when the other person was around.