23 January 2018
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CES 2018, Part 3

Still More CES?

Yes. Notwithstanding yesterday's commercial but nonetheless gratifying interlude, there are still more CES items of interest, dubious or otherwise. For example, did you know that someone makes

A Flying Selfie Camera!

I didn't actually see it fly, but if the testimony of the hand in the photo can be believed, it felt and looked real.

Something Clever and Maybe Even Practical

Remove your bike's front wheel and install this electrified version. You now have an electric(ish) bicycle without having to buy a new electric bicycle!

This is in the "I wish I had thought of it myself" category. No idea if this will be successful or a big flop. I don't ride a bike at all regularly, have never ridden an electric, and just looking at the mass distribution have to wonder if it will be permanently irritating or as easy to get used to as bicycling itself. Nonetheless, very clever!


By no means a comment on personal hygiene, Eureka Park is the moniker of this special, always out-of-the-way area, that stretches the goofy-to-amazing spectrum beyond recognition. Here are the tiny starts-up, many from overseas, trying to make their fortune with stuff nobody has ever thought of. Most of them will be missing next year, but a handful will have serious booths and serious custom in the future. Which ones? Sorry, I was a non-prophet visitor here.

While I wish I could tell you about some of the wonders I saw, I never seem to have enough time to get here and look around before the end of the show. Many of the stands were partially disassembled when I got to do the tour.


Although I go to CES for business reasons, they tend to be pretty mundane. More interesting are the products and trends that I observe, willy-nilly, while wandering about the cavernous convention center. Along the lines of the excess of LIDAR products and my favorite, the Hall of iPhone Cases, is the Annex of 3D Printers. You don't have to be nearly as old as I to remember when the first of these was introduced. They've been the next big thing for quite a while, and are finally finding their niche in serious manufacturing. Did you know that jet engine fuel nozzles are now printed? Nonetheless, at least until there is a killer consumer application for 3D printing beyond dashboard figurines and game tokens, I think there is a limit to the number of manufacturers who can successfully sell them. How many companies in the Annex are overly optimistic?

Other trends—cellphone charging power packs in bizarre forms, not to mention charging cables in candy colors and other cellphone accessories, silly beauty products, and hypertrophied sound systems for vehicles of all sorts including motorcycles, took up far more space than any market I can anticipate could justify. Then again, I am a fossil and have possibly misjudged consumer appetites before.

One trend I was happy to see was the number of companies and variety of products for consumers to evaluate their medical condition. Not just fitness bands, but spirometers, hearing testers, vision evaluators, etc. I've always felt the government is too paternalistic on medical issues. The time and money wasted in getting doctors and the medical bureaucracy involved in simple diagnostic devices for home use is astonishing. I'm particularly pleased that hearing loss and augmentation is no longer relegated exclusively to a priestly class.

USB Toaster

They tried to convince me that this is a joke but I know better. Somewhere, possibly in Eureka Park, they are working on the energy accumulator and crumb recycler right now, and will be offering this as the next minor appliance. Now if it only came in a four-slice model.

Chocolate Review

No trip to a trade show would be complete without a word about chocolate. I humbly take credit for the first trade-show custom chocolate bars. My company offered them for many years when we were still in the memory board business. We made Big Byte bars out of genuine Belgian chocolate, and yes, they were BIG. How better to emphasize the grandiose size of the product they touted? How long ago was that? The memory boards started out at 16kB and went all the way up to 48kB! While many exhibitors have little plates of supermarket chocolate—Hershey's Kisses and the like—quality pickings' were scarce. This year's RIKLblog award, at least for quality, goes to XPERI, who cleverly mixed some small but delicious custom chocolates with a large plate of individually wrapped Lifesavers as a decoy. They were no match for my grasping hand (see above). Thanks!

Who is that Shadow Puppeteer?

I'm not sure Who it might be, but the scale is very impressive! Click for a closeup.

"Children and Flowers"
The Critters



Back to the age of unremembered shirts. Nice lettering, and blue to boot. But looking up Tymlabs brings an irrelevant result.

Richard Factor

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