11 January 2022
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RIKLBLOG Review: CES Part Two

Almost in the Manner of Dave Barry's Holiday Gift Guide

Every year Dave Barry comes up with "suggestions" for gifts that are ill-conceived, ridiculous, or downright dangerous. In previous years this hilarity could be yours with a click. It now appears that the newspaper in which they appear, The Miami Herald, has Barry behind a pay wall. I would be inclined to charge for my blogs, too, if I were a group of endangered journalists, and if I thought anyone would pay for my intrepid and sagacious insights. I'm not and I don't, so enjoy these somewhat goofy entries, mostly from the Eureka Park section of the CES, where the universities and starts-up hang out.

First up, a two-fer. Or, more properly, a tooth-fer. SpoonTek has created a mouth-friendly electrical device for better care of your toofers. Of course, your first question will be "Just how many negative ions does this device generate"? You might (or might not) be surprised that it is over 840 trillion! It's not just the "food scientists who are always searching for ways to enhance flavor sensation while neutralizing after-taste." I and probably you have been searching for a way, too. And SpoonTEK has the solution! Click on either image for a readable version.

You know how there's always a countdown timer in bombs?

Terrorist 1: "Ze bombe is complete! Ve vill destroy the [ship|building|world]."

Terrorist 2: "No it isn't! First you must install a visible clock so the hero can see when [He|She|They] will be killed!"

Billed as "The Most Intense Game You've Ever Played," the word "Game" seems to imply that this is not a bomb of the exploding kind.

But is it?

Although there's a bit of spare space between the two halves, I would definitely be putting this in "checked luggage" rather than carry-on. I'll let the photo speak for itself.

Be careful.


Remarkably clever, remarkably unnecessary, and possibly in all of our futures. What3Words had a stand at substantial cost for space and personnel that touted their system of converting the surface of the earth to 10-foot squares. This article describes the system in some detail. It took me a minute to figure out what the company was about since there was no "product" being demonstrated. I confess that I became a bit contentious with one of their booth folk once I understood what they were doing.

I suggested "Why?" Don't we already have latitude and longitude, which can pinpoint anything? Don't we have Maidenhead squares that could arguably do the same? (She had never heard of the latter.) Yes, but the charm of "three words," which is only somewhat more complicated than it sounds, is a really convenient way of giving humans directions.

Of course, I can hear the arguments now. "Dear, wasn't that chances.verb.sofa"? I suppose ending up underwater would disambiguate that in a hurry.


Fisker, the Electric Vehicle company had a gorgeous show display. With my mind in the '60s and the memory of a song celebrating an even earlier age, I kept thinking "I've got a '22 EV and it isn't a woodie."

Which brought back the memory of the "contact paper" of my youth which a few seconds of research revealed its proper brand name Con-Tact.

I guess that inverted-shark-surfboard was a bit of a distraction. What was this exhibit about again? Cars?

If I didn't have my own felt-tip pens with me at all times, I know the extreme trepidation I would feel when I went to the bank to fill out a withdrawal slip. Use a bank pen? Pick up that slimy plastic cylinder that had been touched by another, different, human being, with hands that could have been anywhere? Yikes! I learned about the "germ theory of disease" in school and remember that lesson, yessiree!

Relief would be in sight with the "scientifically tested & proven" STERI-Write pen sterilizer if the bank had one. I offered (sincerely, believe it or not) to take one to my bank and see if they were interested. The exhibitor didn't take me up on it.

Not every photo requires commentary!

Yesterday, I ended with:

"Despite the above, I don't think we're having enough fun yet. Tomorrow I hope to get to some of the (apparently, to me,) goofy offerings."

Below is both the most and least goofy offering in today's RIKL review, and I deserve the credit and I deserve the blame. Neither Liddle, who makes the perfectly reasonable Bluetooth speaker pictured, nor poor Valerie, (who at the very least is a good sport and who could receive partial credit for starting a movement,) should be held reprehensible for this wacky notion. The Liddle speaker is a nice-sounding Bluetooth speaker among whose distinguishing characteristics is its ambiguous verticality. Unlike the usual speakers with a "base" that practically screams "put me on a horizontal surface," the Liddle has a magnetic base and it can be placed anywhere and at any angle the magnetic domains align.

If they don't align—think stainless steel refrigerator or trade show back wall—you can glue a thin magnetic ring (supplied) to the surface and stick the speaker to that. It's light and small, as Valerie confirmed when I asked her put one on her forehead. This was not harassment* but rather a legitimate effort to brainstorm a notion I had on the spot. The speaker is shown FPO; I'm sure if this takes off there will be an available magnetic headband to hold it on rather than gluing a magnetic ring to a person with sensitive skin**.

At this point, you might be asking "WHY?????" Practical reason! Even without masks, it's often hard to understand people speaking in a trade-show environment with all the background noise. At CES, more than one exhibitor used a microphone to amplify their demonstrator's voice. A forehead-mounted speaker makes a great and very self-contained "public address" system. If it advertises the exhibitor's product, and directs the listener's attention to the person speaking, so much the better! Is Liddle listening?

*At least I don't think it was. If I'm wrong, I hope I got away with it.
**Or Valerie hopes there will.

Richard Factor



String Cheese




The original publication of this blogitem accidentally duplicated yesterday's T-shirt in this space. Who better than Dilbert to point out my incompetence!

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