After having criticized the Huffington Post for some of its stories, I'm happy to give them praise for some appropriately spot-on coverage of a very funny tech video gone wrong. Making this all the more remarkable is that their pointed comments concern a product that they've otherwise been falling over themselves in their coverage.
The heart of this, though, is the video. It's a demo being done for CNET, one of the leading tech news organizations. Their reporter, Scott Stein, was showing off his Apple Watch and describing how cool it was, presenting a few apps (that didn't all work quite right) before moving on to the app for Amazon. While describing how cool it was to be able to buy things on your wrist, he made sure to explain that because the screen was small, you had to be careful about what you touched -- when all-of-a-sudden he did exactly what he was warning about, touching the wrong thing -- and discovered that he had just accidentally bought an Xbox One. Much laughter in the room ensues, particularly from his fellow reporter, Dan Ackerman (whose work I've read and find pretty good).
Making this all the funnier is that this isn't a video that the guys made offline and then decided.to post in a self-effacing way -- rather, it was done...LIVE. As a CNET article on the mishap describes (to its credit, their own ensuing article was good-natured and self-effacing), the live demo was immediately followed by a slew of "lol" social media comments from those watching at the time.
(By the way, no humans were hurt in the making of the video -- CNET notes that Scott was able to use his computer to log onto his Amazon account and cancel the $300 purchase.)
What surprised me so much, though, is the ridicule heaped on, not the goofed-up demo, but the Apple Watch itself by, of all people, the Huffington Post, which as I've long noted tends to live in Apple Heaven. And whcih has been raving about the Apple Watch. Yet here, reporter Sebastian Murdock calls it "the dorkiest piece of technology to come out since Google Glass." And he ends the article by writing with dripping sarcasm -- " there to do an without the small, useless screen." After which he adds in a standalone paragraph, "Well, at least he looked cool doing it."
To be clear, this is just a demo gone wrong. These things happen. That it went wrong with a practiced tech expert, though, shows the potential minefield ahead for others less normally adept.
Here's the video, following a commercial announcement.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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