CES: the Show Begins
Well, I made it to CES yesterday afternoon. And far more than in the past, I was very excited about making the drive -- something I normally don't expect since it's a bit under four hours. (How much "a bit under" depends on how much you want to go over 90 MPH through the open desert, as opposed to tooling along with the normal flow of traffic around 80 MPH.)
The reason for my anticipation was because for the past 15-20 years I've taken the 10 Freeway all the way to the 15 Freeway which takes you north into Las Vegas. The thing is, there’s an interchange just past downtown L.A. that always freaks me out because I have to cut over three lanes very quickly while traffic from another freeway is merging. And the last time I did this, I almost didn’t make it, and I was shaking for the next mile. It finally dawned on me after 15-20 years – clearly I’m a slow learner – that there’s another way I could go that’s maybe a mile out of the way, but still all on freeways, just two different ones, that seems sooo much easier which then connect up with the 10 again. (For those who know the L.A. freeway system, here's the gobbledygook explanation, it means branching off the 10 when it curves north and instead continuing straight when it becomes the 60 and taking that to the 710 which goes north and connects back to the 10. This will be on the test...) There's no merging convoluted interchanges, no shifting lanes, just branching off to other freeways and then back to the 10. So, I tried it for the first time, after 15-20 years of not realizing this might be a better way, and – it worked! And it was wonderful. O, joy!! Yes, there were more turns and freeway changes compared to just taking the 10, but I was calm the whole way with no gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. And it only took me 15-20 years to figure this out.
The traveling wasn't great for everyone. I got to the area past Baker which is where the highway is completely open through the desert and people zoom through. (I was going 75-80 and cars were zipping by me.) It's where I generally pick up a lot of time. But suddenly the traffic came to a near-complete halt. Annoying aside, that struck me as Not Good -- not because traffic slowed, but why it slowed. Although it could have meant construction ahead, usually there are advance warning signposts for that. I suspected an accident. And after about 20 minutes of bumper-to-bumper in the middle of the desert -- it was indeed a very bad accident. Paraphernalia all strewn around, and at least one car upside-down. Hopefully just injuries and no worse than that. I'm not a gawker, so I couldn't see if there was more than one car there. There was what appeared to be an ambulance, though it wasn't speeding off, so perhaps it was just a regular emergency vehicle.
But all's well on this end.
By the way, perhaps more than years in the past, CES got somewhat more attention before the doors opened this year. The show is of course about technology, and politics rarely has crept its ways through the ozone here. But this year it’s a little hard to avoid since (as you may have read by now) the tech and business whiz Ivanka Trump was announced as a Keynote Speaker.
The general reaction among tech professionals was basically along the lines of “Good god, what on earth are they thinking??” And “How tone deaf do they have to be???” It’s the closest I’ve come to saying after 20 or so years of attending CES, screw it, and not coming in this year. But then I figured it was more insanely stupid than offensive. The only thing that really surprised me is that the topic of her talks isn’t “One Easy Way to Get Patents for Doing Business in China.”
Instead, the topic of her talks is, “The Path to the Future of Work.” Which, when you think of it, the content ultimately isn't all that different. I suspect her speech will be very short – “Have a very rich father who becomes president of the United States. And hope he and you stay out of prison without destroying the world. Thank you.”
Making it all worse is out outraged many tech folks are over the Trump tariffs which have especially hurt the tech industry. I was speaking to people at an event last night and they were aghast at the choice on a whole bunch of levels.
So, for those still wondering, no, I don't plan to go to the Keynote speech, so you’re on your own to track down what pearls of tech wisdom were delivered.
Anyway, I'm all checked in, and last night went to one of the two evening events I love. More on that later, because the doors are now open, and I have to rush off.
Leave a Reply.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor