In my 20+ years of attending the CES show in Vegas, this one will go down as the strangest ever. Ranging from bizarre Covid rules and its utter lack of common sense, having to deal with Biden and his entourage in my hotel, and then the “silver lining” of finding the singularly coolest thing I’ve ever seen at a show.

There were a few items that for some unknown reason, seemed almost everywhere in the show … dog monitoring collars and robots of every style, most of which seemed utterly ludicrous for their uses. Most of the robots reminded me of an old patent from the 1930s for a machine that dunked your donut in your coffee for you. Ah yes, they were that helpful.

The show entry requirements were the strictest I’ve ever encountered and the most counterintuitive at the same time. Mandatory “CLEAR” app, vaccination and masks … but, CTA decided to shorten the show by a day. That caused the attendees that had flown in from across the globe to panic and jam in much, much more closely as they couldn’t space the show out over an additional day. That meant crowds where there shouldn’t have been. That in turn caused the few remaining exhibitors to panic on the last day and begin packing up early. Some people were so freaked out by the media hype that “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!” that one guy decided that he needed gear appropriate for the moon for his safety. And yes, even in the world’s largest high-tech show, where weirdness is a staple of the industry, people were laughing …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

As a Tesla owner, I was really excited to finally ride in the Elon Musk tunnel.  I thought it would be a true thrill … I was wrong, because that was the wrong way to look at it. I considered that when using public transportation, I don’t want excitement. I want efficiency and safety. (And oh yes, free … because free is good.)  That’s precisely what I got. The typical Musk haters were saying things that only a true low-information Musk-hater could say, because the tunnel was an absolute model of safety/comfort/speed. Reading the negative comments about it made me shake my head.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

BMW showed a car wrapped in eInk similar to what an Amazon Kindle uses. Except the installation of this unique material, at the world’s largest high-tech show, was clearly handled by a ten-year old as it was peeling off and bubbling everywhere as a clear demonstration of what is happening at BMW.      As usual they had excellent snacks, but that didn’t hide how their cars reeked of old tech when you sat in their latest designs. As an decades old BMW fan/owner, this sadly showed me just how far behind Tesla the company has fallen. The entire display was, to put it politely, a mess of awful “art” and other things that simply didn’t belong at a tech show.  If you weren’t told that you were in a BMW display, you’d have no idea. I was struck with the feeling that maybe they forgot they were going, and just took whatever they could get their hands on. Quite frankly, I was shocked that they showed their “latest” car. It reminded of just an “ok” car from 1998, with imitation carbon fiber stickers on the door sills and cheap materials inside … not a tech/performance marvel like the Tesla that is poised to overtake them in world sales in late 2022 or early 2023, as Tesla possibly will with Mercedes and Kia.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Samsung showed a fun item called the “Freestyle.” A fully self-contained $900 HD projector that had multiple optional adapters that allowed it be used in ways you’ve probably never imagined. You could mount it on a little stand to project on your desk/table in lieu of a normal monitor or attach the light bulb screw-in adapter to project whatever you want below, such as the floor or simply use it for movies. Projecting onto any surface doesn’t get any simpler than this. Regardless, it looked like a fun addition for any geek.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Now comes the unveiling of the undisputed winner of the show and you’ll understand why I believe it is, to date, the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen at the show. You’ll be amazed also because I’m one of this company’s harshest critics for their boneheaded decisions causing it to slide into mediocrity. Sony displayed their satellite … no big deal, right?  However, this isn’t like any other EVER launched.  These new low-orbit satellites (there may be as many as four) are fully controllable by ANYONE!  You can access it for 10 minutes a time to point it anywhere you want, zoom in/out and take picture and videos. This has NEVER been available to individuals, only governments and the occasional academic. With gyros to maneuver the camera, which uses zero fuel, and small thrusters to keep it from heading to a flaming destruction, it promises another stepping stone for “regular” folks into space.    In another example of the democratization of space, I was told that it may be Musk’s SpaceX launching it into orbit.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Every show has items that make you wonder if the “inventor” showed his latest gadget just to evoke giggles.

I watched the inventor as he dipped his “special” spoon into yogurt, and watched the look on his face when it began shocking him.  Apparently, even he hasn’t adjusted to having his tongue “electrically stimulated” to improve the flavor of food. He visibly winced when the volts hit … then he had to fight gagging when he dug back in for another go. I quickly stepped back … after all, I didn’t want to wear yogurt spit on my freshly-pressed slacks for the rest of the day. One must ask … exactly how is a Taser spoon going to help your meal? But as I said many times before, you can’t stop progress.        So, I guess we’ll be carrying a battery to dinner to recharge our silverware for a multi-course meal.   Or will you be a pretender and use only a dead battery version when in polite company?

Is he hoping that there will be a Tesla-branded version?  So many options …

Regardless, when queried, he said his strawberry yogurt tasted like chicken. (Insert you own joke here.)

I walked away as I was bent over and choking on laughter … he didn’t notice, though his eyes were excruciatingly wide-open when the spoon’s voltage screamed “let’s dance MF’er” … and he obeyed as his face pulsed with voltage …

 

« »