Viva CES Vegas: The Best Worst Way To Start The Year
It started as a trade show for buyers, it turned into a journalist’s cheat sheet to new tech, and it devolved into chaos when the marketers started showing up
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Every January for the generation or two, Las Vegas has hosted one of the largest conferences in the world. Nearly 200,000 tech geeks flood the city of sin for a single week, right around the time when most mere mortals are still nursing a New Year’s hangover.
That conference is called CES, or the Consumer Electronics Show, a place where every technology brand on earth (AKA, every brand on earth) showcases their latest and greatest products. Ever thinner screens, “smart” everything, biomimetic robots, pocket-sized supercomputers, bleeding edge wearables, and state of the art so-and-so, all on display for a thirsting technophile public.
The first time I heard about CES, it was in 2008 when Gizmodo’s video correspondent used a Magic Remote to turn off entire walls of televisions, leading to his eventual banning and an unfortunate photo of him flaunting his badge in his underwear that I will not surface at this time because it is one of the few embarrassing photos that appears to have been successfully wiped from the internet. If you’d like to see it ask Kidder, I’m sure he has a copy.
While the stunt was admittedly puckish and annoying, it was also very much in the spirit of “technical disruption,” literal as it may have been. That’s what these guys are all about, right?
CES is like a carnival for every shade of dweeb; a miles-long Best Buy from the future. It wasn’t always like that though. Originally, it was a conference for true uber nerds who were tasked with making buying decisions for major corporations.