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12 February 2023
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Autonomy at CES

But first, a word about "The Future [of.]" At some point during my peregrinations I realized that I had seen any number of exhibits proclaiming their particular product or service was "the future of" whatever they were touting. If I had realized it earlier, I might have provided photographic evidence similar to my collection of Apple spokesperson declinations. I didn't, so we'll have to settle for just a few.

As cars get more connected, radio is disappearing! The Tesla has no AM. I didn't even notice right away, despite a life in radio. The auto manufacturers are counting on that indifference. Why? Greed!

Opportunities for the future, yes. Views of the future? Physics says we can only look at the past.

"Marketing!" He cursed.

Did you know that many parts of the human body have appropriate frequencies? No, neither did I!

Shades of Asimov. How could I resist!

I could use this product to look ahead to the NAMM and NAB trade shows for more "future" examples, but that would be cheating.

I made a promise to tell you about my "incredibly luxurious" hotel room. I know you've forgotten, and most likely didn't believe me anyway. But for once my invisible <Sarcasm> tag was not in use. Due to its convention-center proximity, I usually stay at the Westgate Las Vegas hotel twice per year. Unlike the fabulous and expensive hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, and also unlike the impossibly cheap and occasionally life-threatening motels in the vicinity, it's serviceable and reasonably-priced*.

The rooms are inevitably clean (as if I notice), the bananae astonishingly overpriced, and the bed(s) average-comfy. I qualify for a free banana by forgoing housekeeping for the two nights I'm there.

I present this meh review because of a blessing the hotel bestowed on me for my CES stay: a gigantic suite with a gigantic bathtub! How did this occur? The registration clerk assured me it was the luck of the draw. A Las Vegas jackpot! Thanks to the tub, I was unusually clean every day at CES, but while I was enjoying my unexpected good fortune, my iPad fell in the water and has been life-free ever since.

Blog Fraud

It seems I have committed same. The title promised some Autonomy at CES and all you got were the pictures and comments above, none of which were about vehicles. Although an entire exhibit hall was devoted to "progress" in autonomous driving of various persuasions, I seem to have neglected to take photos of the rather humdrum exhibits therewithin. The modest claims and improvements don't seem to have impressed me nearly as much as the medical "advances" chronicled in these review pages.

Punished by Tesla

So, I'll leave this blog with a not very comforting story about an oddity of the Tesla "autopilot." There's a stretch of highway between Kingman AZ and Las Vegas that's boring and tedious and not very interesting, although there is a turn-off for "Chloride." The speed limit is 65 MPH, and most drivers honor that by going 70 to 75. The road itself is straight, the hazards seem few, and Arizona really, really needs to re-pave its portion. Nothing out of the ordinary, just driving in America.

And if you've driven in America, you've occasionally encountered the driver who is some combination of tired, drunk, incompetent, and weaving in and out of their** lane. My—and I'm sure your—reaction to this driver is keep away! Unfortunately, these drivers often don't control their speed any better than their position, and it becomes necessary to pass them. You know the drill: Wait until they've drifted to the right of their lane and then zoom by as quickly as possible. That's what I did, with the Tesla autopilot engaged. The car emitted an outraged whine and shut off the autopilot. No safety issue, since I actually do keep my hands on the steering wheel. Escape maneuver completed without further incident, I was notified that I was now unauthorized to use the autopilot until I shut down and restarted the car!

In previous blogs I've mentioned some other undesirable (and dangerous) characteristics of Tesla's self-driving feature. But it's never deliberately punished me before! (And, because the car might read this blog, I should remind it and you that I really do like autosteering and adaptive cruise control, not to mention it's a wonderful car, too. Good car. Good car.)

And, I've now purged myself of my Blog Fraud by mentioning Autonomy pre-CES.

 

 


* Those "reasonable" prices somehow increment whenever I want to stay there, coincident with the hordes at CES and NAB. Even so...

** I don't mean to imply the driver is plural, that's just a bit of political correctness and the admission that it could be a person of any persuasion, since one tries not to get close enough to guess.


2023
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Quad Eight electronics was an audio manufacturer from 1962 to the late '80s. Presumably I got this shirt in their final decade.

They seem to be studio survivors. According to their web site, they are "Alive & Well." History on a T-shirt!


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