14 January 2022
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RIKLBLOG Review: CES Part Four

Superannuation and the Trade Show Attendee

That would be me in both cases. One of the tragedies of getting older is the realization that you don't need more stuff. That's a subject for serious rumination that I shall defer for now. Of all the stuff (and, yes, things) available at CES, I only actually purchased one item, and it wasn't even for myself. But I do plan to get one of these kits in due course.

Skeuomorphism and the Tesla 3

Back when the earth was molten, automobiles had dashboards with knobs and buttons. In the current interregnum, hopefully a lengthy one before, as many believe, the earth will become molten again, a new breed of autos with touchscreens replacing dashboards, knobs, and buttons have become available. An exemplar is the Tesla model 3. Pretty much anything you want to do, such as adjust the windshield wipers or eject the passenger, requires interacting with this screen, often more than once, to find the correct control group and then activate the desired function. This process enhances versatility at the expense of speed and intuitive feel*.

But where does that leave those of us who learned to drive when cars had clutches and no air conditioning or power steering? (At least the accelerator in my first car didn't have the outline of a buggy whip engraved in the rubber.)

It leaves us, or at least those who don't really love touchscreens, whether driving or passenging, in distress. So I'm dedicating the purchase of these reverse-skeuomorphic tactile controls to my and my associates' Teslas, and to the women who hate them.

You are looking at the "Anatomage." Physically, it seems to be two television screens laid end-to-end on a table. But the software driving those screens allows you to peel a human layer by layer, in effect dissecting him without the usual bloody mess and aromatic insult that a true dissection, autopsy, or less benign activity would engender.

I believe this is an extremely clever and valuable device even if the realization of the hardware is almost trivial. I was surprised at how few people were besieging the booth denizen trying to buy one as a gift for the aspiring doctor in the family.

(My mother, if the timing were right and she thought having it would make me into a Doctor instead of whatever it is that I am, would have somehow paid for it and made space in the living room. I was such a disappointment!)

But I digress. I visited a "gross anatomy lab" when a friend was in medical school, and I was surprised at how nonthreatening all those corpses seemed. If anything, this product is in some respects more likely to be of educational value for the med student than the real thing, and it's certainly easier to share.

I didn't linger at the display long enough to ask whether it gave a good account of my own personal favorite organ. But I'll bet that, by replacing some of the layers removed for this demo, it would acquit itself very well.

I neglected, perhaps deliberately, to get the name of the company touting this red light "therapy." We have all seen ads for devices that are somehow good for your hair, your face, and here, apparently your back and a knee or two. These devices incorporate red LEDs and somehow their miraculous emanations improve some organ or its underpinnings. They do have one thing in common: They're expensive. The other thing, in my opinion, is that they're useless. I share that opinion, now that she's tried it, with someone near and dear to me.

Sometimes different colors are used for a different effect, perhaps on a different area of the body. But what puzzles me is: How can they always claim their products to be salubrious? After all, exposing an area to radiation might be expected to be good, harmful, or possibly neutral depending on the energy level. Like the discredited nostrums of old (radium, diathermy, literally snake oil,) someone's making big bucks from people whose birth occurs on the tick of a passing minute.


This is an underwater propulsion jet. Unlike the red light treatment above, I have no doubt that it works. Although I don't have any idea about its efficacy in water compared to, say, an outboard motor, I think it looks neat, what with the hydrospike or whatever they call it. If I didn't live in the high desert and I had a boat, I'd seriously consider getting one of these just for the coolness.


This One's for Jake


Jake actually has a Cat, albeit not the all-electric one pictured, or as I guess it's officially called, a Bobcat. A Bobcat is an earth-moving machine. Jake and his Cat visited us at home a couple months ago and, with the virtuosity of long practice, demonstrated the capabilities of this remarkable machine. He moved earth! He built walls of rock! He created parking spaces! And most thankfully, although he regaled me with tales of how houses could succumb to the ministrations of his Cat, when he was done, our house remained intact.

I'm assuming that Jake did not attend CES, and so may not be aware of all the presents he might bestow on his Cat, which surely deserves enhancement. I invite him to click on the image for a more readable version.

Jake will be back. We're hoping there's a water feature in our future!

I don't want to imply that the only CES exhibits worthy of mention had arresting or at least explicable photographs attached to them. My purpose in taking photos is multi-fold:

  • It makes collecting all that literature unnecessary. This year I came home with a small fraction of the annoying and expensive paper that was necessary in years past.
  • It reminds me of why I was interested in a particular exhibit.
  • In the case of an exhibit for which a follow-up is necessary, I often ask the future contact to hold his business card in front of his exhibit or device or brochure and take a picture of both. This prevents the cards from getting separated from their raison d'être and reminds me why I was interested to begin with.

Here are a few products and exhibits I found compelling whose photos weren't at all prepossessing or were irrelevant.

In the virtual reality department, Melody Tech had a microphone that I was eager to test but for whatever reason the demo didn't seem to show off the product. Click on the "What People are Saying" link before the get their act together and you'll find what they aren't saying. Even so, it looked like it could be very useful when they do.

Also in virtual reality, there appears to be a very serious problem which I haven't encountered and definitely don't want to. I've occasionally been nauseous due to flu or whatever, and don't approve at all. It seems that a very large percentage of those who have tried VR headsets have to remove them in minutes or even seconds due to the motion sickness they induce. Seenetic has what they claim is a simple and presumably cheap solution involving a couple of arms with lights that slip over one's headset and eliminate the nausea. I'm not sure they had a "working demonstration" on the off-chance that there are people for whom it wouldn't work and who were wearing masks. Think about it.

Dr. Craig Kornick, representing 5GMDs. Here's a direct quote from their home page: We know some will call us quacks. We are prepared for that. I don't know how or why you need to be prepared to be called a "quack." I have been called far worse, often accurately, and usually with no preparation on my part at all. Nonetheless, Dr. Craig represents a point of view that is surely anathematic to most CES attendees and probably to all wireless providers and cellphone manufacturers. That POV: Wireless devices, transmissions, and signals are potentially harmful. Again a quote: Unfortunately, we were shocked to find a growing body of evidence linking the use of wireless technology to the development of serious medical disorders and even cancer. I think one can be wrong, even if he's a genuine doctor, without being a quack. And regardless of your own belief about this matter, I suggest that it's worth reading their statement. Unlike the pros and cons you read about in the conspiracy-theory literature, he has evidence, is clearly sincere, and may be correct, despite my opinion and that of most experts.

The FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration, was well represented. They were there to discuss the safety of certain items that were illegal to ship via air. Unfortunately they weren't near the drone exhibits or much of anything aeronautical. At least when I stopped by, nobody cared to discuss removing lithium batteries from their luggage. Consequently, seven government employees had nobody to talk to except themselves and, of course, me. I leapt into the breach with the news that a VIP TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) had just been issued for Las Vegas for Friday afternoon. I thought they might be willing to disclose which VIP, most likely the President or other very high official, was going to show up. But they weren't even aware of the TFR. In the flying biz there's a life-saving mantra: "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate." The order is important.

Missing Products and Exhibitors

What is a camera nowadays? It's really a lens and a lot of electronics, and for sure belongs at the CES. But if the regulars—Nikon, Panasonic, Canon, Sony—were showing consumer cameras, I was unable to find them. My camera preference is for the "ultra-zoom" or "bridge" type which I feel is good enough for a non-professional photographer. It's much better than a cell phone, but doesn't burden one with bags of gadgets and lenses. The problem is that the cell phones keep improving, and if you don't get a new bridge camera every five or so years, the older one is hardly worth carrying around. This year, I didn't even bring my ancient Panasonic model. Maybe the NAB show will host the usual suspects later in the year.

Where was the Hall of 3D printers? Where was the Hall of iPhone cases? Like the difference between apathy and ignorance, I don't know and I don't care. Perhaps nobody else does, either. I was also surprised at the relative lack of crypto-finance in its various guises. I might have just seen only a small overflow section while the pululating mass of crypto-wallets and sillycoins was being, well, crypto.

Speaking of missing, what's missing from this series of reviews is my real purpose for attending CES! Many exhibitors represented future business opportunities, had products or services (or even software!) in which we might be interested. Quoting myself "the show itself, notwithstanding or perhaps because of the differences [this year], was really good." Hopefully next year the plague will truly be over, the Hall of iPhone cases will return, and we can lose the padlocked covers on the water fountains.


Q: Richard, are you done yet? You've committed an awful lot of blogging in just a few days. You, and possibly the rest of us, would benefit if you take a nice nap.
A: I can't disagree. It's getting late, I've run out of photos except for the one I took on the way home of a mangled J.B. Hunt truck being towed in the opposite direction on the interstate. It cost me and hundreds of others at least an extra half hour. All I have left are a couple of gripes, OK?

Q: Can I stop you?
I don't think so.

No RIKL Review would be complete without a gripe, and one subject of vexation was Samsung. One subject, in fact, but two gripes. The lesser gripe was about their irritating policy about allowing attendees to view their wares. They had registration stations on the periphery of their enormous display and a phalanx of armed guards** preventing people from entering. After you registered, they would send you a text a number of minutes later (40 in my case) authorizing you to enter. It was ostensibly a method of preventing crowding, and of course it enabled them to scan the badges of thousands of worshipers for future pestering. (For whatever reason, I get from two to ten emails from Samsung pretty much every day, often duplicates. Yes, I'm a customer, but they do need to work on those lists!) Nobody else had those requirements, and I'm sure the forced delay caused more bad will than served any legitimate purpose.

What about the other gripe? Even though they manufacture memory cards, Samsung's latest two-years worth of cellphones have no card sockets! Despite whining by me and even by legitimate reviewers, they adhere to this policy. I tried to talk to them about this, but of course nobody had a clue or, if they did, lied. Presumably we'll find out if the next Galaxy S22 Ultra will have that option when it's introduced in the next month or so.

* I have a Tesla S and have to admit that I have no idea how to turn on the headlights. Not that I care, really, since they themselves know when they should be on. But I do fumble with the radio controls when the Grateful Dead channel icon isn't visible. I don't think I need a physical Grateful Dead button, but it would be nice.

**Well, they did have arms, and they were at least a bit forbidding. I'm being a churl, as is my right as an American.

Richard Factor


"Dream of Desolation"

The Collectors



I guess the idea here is that you look down and then look up and somehow relate your shirt to the stars and constellations.

I have to admit that I've never been a big fan of "the constellations" which are mostly arbitrary groupings of stars that aren't friends at all. I mock natal horological astrology by telling people who ask my "sign" that I'm an Asparagus.

But...Pretty shirt!

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