06 February 2024
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Home Again Again


No, I'm Not Opening a Department of Redundancy Department

It's just that between the previous blogitem, whose date is fraudulent at best, and today's blogitem, whose date is accurate (for now) I've been away and back and away and back and away and back. I do not spend all my time at trade shows; this year's CES will receive short shrift and NAMM no shrift at all. Mexico? Perhaps a bit. We'll see, as I pants my way to the end.

Q: Oh yeah? What about Santa Fe? And Los Alamos?
How did you know about that?
Never mind. Let's have some pictures. And some shrift.
OK. You got me.

Santa Fe. And Los Alamos

I've been to Santa Fe before. Evidence! Several times, in fact. I've also been to Los Alamos once before. Evidence! Both are among my favorite places in the West. Los Alamos, for this fan of atomic history, exerts a special attraction, albeit neither gravitational nor specifically associated with the strong force. On the previous visit, an impossible-seeming 13 years ago, the Bradbury Museum had more atomic bomb exhibits and less about our current fashions and concerns. But that visit was impromptu, and I didn't even know about Bathtub Row. This time we took an organized tour. It culminated in an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of one of my physics heroes, Hans Bethe. In my misspent youth I missed the opportunity to hear him lecture and possibly to even have met him. And there I was, walking unimpeded through his home on Bathtub Row!

That's my reflection in his window in the window of Hans Bethe's house on Bathtub Row in Los Alamos, New Mexico
This is a painting of fire demons at the Wheelwright Museum. (Click it for a closeup.) I'm not usually a fan of flat arts and the Wheelwright did have plenty of artifacts. But somehow this painting attracted me. Did we go to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe? Of course we did!


We ate food in Santa Fe. In addition to a sentimental trip to the French Bakery we had an extravagant and delicious dinner at Sazon and another at Geronimo. Not that we starve in Sedona, but Santa Fe is a culinary paradise.

CES 2024 Was Much Like CES 2023

I "reported" in several parts on last year's Consumer Electronic Show. Part One was devoted to the impossibly goofy and uniquely hazardous Skytrack invention whose web site remains up but whose exhibit, if any, I was unable to locate. Part Two reviewed some medical advances and 'advances.' Part Three promised a discussion of automotive autonomy but succumbed to RIKLBlog digressions, as often happens. And you're welcome to find words and pictures from previous years if you're not yet put off. So what about this year?

The Future

Last year I didn't bother to take pictures of all the The Future Of signs. This year I did and now I'm too lazy to excerpt and edit them to fit. Please, Marketing People: Find a new phrase!

The Tesla Charging Robot

The Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall is its newest facility, and it's gorgeous. You can walk there from the hotel or walk to the Central Hall and take one of the Boring Company tunnels to the West Hall. Not sure which is shorter, but the tunnel is more fun.

At the far end of the West Hall (where I started) was Autovoltek, a company that offered a Tesla Charging Robot. They consider themselves, as so many companies there did, "the future of" EV charging. They exhibited a device that would automatically charge (at least) a Tesla.

I was immediately intrigued by this because it seemed to me to be singularly useless. It has been my pleasure to have a Tesla for the past four years, and my charging procedure is probably similar to that of most owners: I extract myself from the vehicle in the usual way, walk over to the wall charger (two or three steps) and take the charging adapter in my manipulative appendage. Next I walk another step or two to the car's rear charging socket, press the button on the Tesla adapter which opens the charging door, and insert the adapter in the car socket.

No longer! With the Autovoltek device, it is all done automatically! As many as six steps saved! I'm not being totally sarcastic here. Because I (and most drivers) would do this routinely and with no problem, I wondered who would want one of this devices. I had a nice chat with the representative who reminded me that a small percentage of drivers would actually have difficulty doing what I just narrated. People with physical challenges immediately come to mind, but also, my interlocutor suggested, some females might be happier to remain inside their vehicle while it is being charged. Even so, I couldn't help wondering how many of these charging robots could really be sold.

Perhaps the company had similar thoughts and they're branching out. Checking their web site just now, it looks like they've stolen and enhanced one of my long simmering ideas: To have a mobile charging service. Someone will eventually make money by offering a service that will send a car to your car when your EV runs out of energy a few miles from a charging station. Maybe Autovoltek?

Mr. Sphere

Have you met my new friend? It's Mr. Sphere! He got up at about the same time as I did, and he was looking at me through my hotel window. He has quite the range of expression!

Reviewing my photos, I realized that there was nothing so totally bizarre or immensely attractive or world-changing that compelled me to expatiate. It's an enormous show, there's full press coverage in mainstream and specialized journals, and most likely you saw something that I totally missed. Sure, there were bizarre typos on the English signs of many Asian companies, but few were so cringeworthy that I couldn't resist. Sure, Eureka Park sported some amazing (and some misbegotten (often both at once)) startups, but none that promised to save or destroy the planet.*

Do I Sound Disappointed?

Perhaps I do, but I wasn't. My actual purpose for going to the show was fulfilled. I made some useful business contacts and found a source or two. And Mr. Sphere is my new friend!

What About NAMM? Will You Blog About That?

Nope. Didn't go this year. It's a very long drive, had another trip shortly thereafter, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I was too defective to go. (Not true! I was just snuffling a bit from a minor cold that had already dissipated, but sometimes one knows when not to argue.) It worked out OK, though. All my colleagues who were exhibiting at NAMM were ill by the time the show was over and came home with Nammthrax. At least I have nobody to blame, and I'm safe from their accusations as well.

Tesla Full Self Driving

Unfortunately, I had also intended to use the long drive to NAMM to experiment with Tesla's "Full Self Driving" which I rented for the month, and which has now expired. I tried it a few years ago and was somewhat disappointed. Maybe I'll try it again for NAB in April. I'm hopeful it will be truly autonomous by the time I reach my middle dotage.

* Impossible to be sure, of course.

Richard Factor


"Ugly Mascara"




Cheeky was a rock and roll band of the '70s. Not just any band; one of the members was Robert Agnello, brother of Tony Agnello whose wisdom occasionally appears in this blog. Sometimes he even gets credit!

Robert was the vocalist and bass player, Ritchie Caruso the guitarist; together they wrote the songs. They made a 45, now lost to the pebbles of time. Bonus! I do believe Robert at one point played in the Chase Manhattan Band.

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