Fury Friday: All flash and no gain makes CES a waste of time

Fury Friday: I'll be jumping on the soapbox each Friday and letting rip into the things of the week that have annoyed the living daylights out of me. This week: CES 2011 tradeshow.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Every Friday, I'll be jumping on the soapbox and letting rip into the things of the week that have annoyed the living daylights out of me. Think of a dumbed down version of Peter Griffin's 'Grind my Gears'.


CES, to me, is like one of those bug zappers in a bakery. You are enticed in with a warm and glowing sense of wonder, and before you know it you are laying on your back, twitching uncontrollably as you're being cooked by a thousand volts.

I imagine that's what it's like, granted, as I've never been. Nor would I go, for that matter. I would rather spend three days of my life discussing the polymorphism in the angiotensin converting enzyme gene accounting for serum enzyme levels with Peter De Savary.

From the stories I've heard from associates and colleagues there, one has resorted to rubbing Adderall into their gums just to make it through the most tedious Intel press conference known to mankind, and the other nearly died of exhaustion within the first half hour.

And that's before they get to the gizmos and gadgets designed to take our breath away like some oxygen-guzzling gruffalo, a relic from the last MacWorld Expo. For the record, I hear that is just as hard to navigate as CES, with a mist of ego so thick it's like walking through custard.

Like entrepreneurial startups, the very vast majority of these so-called 'revolutionary' concepts and devices will fail at the first hurdle: the consumer market.


So many of these devices on show make me wonder whether the press and the spin doctors there hang up their official titles for the three day event and transform into Oudezijds Achterburgwal streetwalking temptresses. It's a good job I'm not there otherwise my Tourette's would be having an absolute field day.

One of the key devices that threw me off my chair as I enjoyed my morning glass of scotch was the new and improved Surface. Sure, it's 'version 2' and more suited for the home environment in a more compact, secure and strengthened shell. But who in their right mind would think, "well, I was going to take my partner on that second honeymoon, but sod it, I'll them this $7600 glorified, electronic coffee table instead".

At least you'll be able to choose the half you keep in the divorce proceedings after your other half saws the damn thing down the middle.

To say that the 'Consumer Electronics Show' is designed for consumers in mind, it isn't. It's for overly excited software developers from multi-national corporations to come pervaciously spread their evangelised messages across a sea of numbed faces, hoping instead that they'll see a glimpse of a new build string attached to the desktop of an early Windows build.

Oh, let's all get sweaty knuckles at the thought of a centered-text window caught in a blink of an eye by an over-eager buzz-killington. Let's not.

But as you would expect, what seems to happen every year is that once the buzz of the show has worn off, the truly amazing technologies will fade into the dark never to be seen again, and the best devices designed for exactly their target audience in mind will not be sold.

Like any tradeshow, you'll walk in and see something amazing. That is, until you see the next thing that blows your mind. And within the space of ten minutes of holding the metaphorical Holy Grail in your hand, you wonder why you trekked half way across the world for what is essentially an LED mug with 'Jesus' flashing around it.

All that CES and any other tradeshow makes me thankful for is that I am at home on a day of sunshine, tapping away this vitriol of hate as I sip my cup of tea and enjoy the comfort of my own bed.


Editorial standards