Brian.oco 0 Posting Whiz

CNN’s Rick Sanchez is the latest victim of the “Twitter” curse. Sanchez, a CNN on-air anchor, reportedly fell victim to a phishing scam that could undermine the investment rationale for Twitter by big investors, one of the most popular social networking sites on the internet. In a “tweet” on Monday, Sanchez’ account displayed the message "i am high on crack right now might not be coming into work today".

For the record, Twitter says that Sanchez’s account was hacked, another red flag for investors looking to plow money into social networking sites.

Social networks are a lot of fun, and perhaps even useful commercially. But investor crave stability and sustainability. Twitter might have a problem there.

This week also offers the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which threatens to be overshadowed by the dark economic climate. But one day the economy will rebound and today’s consumer electronics breakthroughs will be tomorrow’s hot sellers for companies we’ll all want to invest in.

Remember that Sony’s Wii and Research in Motion’s Blackberry were once exhibition hall prototypes so there is plenty of hope for both companies presenting at CES and curious investors. A lot of technology offerings that are being introduced have been in the pipeline for years, way ahead of the recession curve, so nobody expects there to be a dearth of quality products (we’ll see about CES, 2010).

In addition, consumer electronics companies can ill afford to sit on the sideline while a competitor gets a leg up on a particular market. With consumers now placing a significant premium on value, developers have to stay one step ahead and give customers a good reason to dig deep and invest in a new 3-D plasma screen televisions (offered this year at CES by Sony, Samsung and LG,).

Some highlights from this year’s CES party . . .

-- Mattel has a new brain-scanning head set called Mind Flex that responds to actual brain waves – aka "thoughts" in human terms. It’s going to retail at $80 – a bit high for consumers. But Mattel is a current favorite among investors who think that parents will still buy toys and games, just not at steep prices. We’ll see where Mind Flex fits into that picture, but it might be a product that needs a better economy to make history.

-- Nvidia Corp., which makes graphics chips for computers is rolling out new $199 glasses that turn compatible monitors into three-dimensional displays, got video games like "Far Cry 2," "Spore" and "Left 4 Dead." 3-D gaming is an emerging hit with gamers and should be a big hit with investors at CES. Lest we forget, gaming is one of the rare sectors that is still healthy.

-- A host of companies are offering wireless televisions, hopefully ending the era of snaking television cables hiding behind TV sets. Right now the technology is there, but the price points are high, perhaps too high for this economy. But wireless television is going to be a factor, no doubt about it. Could be one of those deals where nobody wants to be an early adopter.

-- Blaupunkt, which produces car stereos is introducing what it terms the first Internet car radio. And a host of computer makers are touting new netbook computers. Interl even has a netbook especially for kids that offers touchscreen navigation and a collapseable tablet.

-- Palm Inc. has been taking it on the chin from Apple and RIMM in the smart phone market. Hoping to make up ground the word is that Palm will be introducing a new software application for the Palm Centro and its Treo. Probably too late for Palm, unless the technology really blows people away.

Hey, CES is a win-win. The tech industry needs a shot in the arm and so does recession-wracked Vegas. At least we have something to look forward to.