Why I'm Not at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show is a pageant of products barely distinguishable from one another, let alone the models released the year before. It is my pleasure to report to you that I am not attending this year.

I'll miss seeing my pals in the industry in Las Vegas, one of my favorite cities to visit (and favorite cities to leave). I'll miss talking to vendors and PR folk over limp shrimp cocktails and aggressively thumpy music to which no one will dance. And I'll miss that hope that by wandering through row after row of identical vendor stalls I'll find a product interesting enough to write about that miraculously hasn't been covered by the literally hundreds of other bloggers on the floor.

Instead I'll sit here in my comfortable office, sipping good coffee, listening to the sounds of my snoring dog while picking out the highlights from the press releases, all of which were sent out over the weekend while other bloggers were rushing around trying to figure out how to make snapshots of HDTVs interesting.

I'm being a bastard, of course, and I really will miss a bit of the frantic experience of trying to cover such a massive show with a relatively small team. It's a challenge I've rarely been able to execute, but I enjoy the attempt. But I do think that CES is generally a distraction for everyone in the industry, and like the Electronic Entertainment Expo before should be scrapped or overhauled. It's a waste of money and energy that would be better directed towards a company's bottom line and the media's sanity.

Ultimately, I had to ask myself if you guys would be missing out on anything if I didn't travel to CES this year and cover it from the ground. I don't think you are.

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  1. Bravo, Joel!

    You are indeed brave to not go, and even braver to bring it up with your audience. The irony of your situation, “Gadget King Bows Out of the Big Event”, may deflate some, but I think is a simple indicator of changing attitudes about the over-saturated tech world.

    Faced with too many choices of essentially similar products, the weary, wary tech consumer/reporter retreats. Just how many new tech devices does one need to play a mp3, anyway? etc.

    Perhaps we need a complete new dimension of products to be introduced…like cheap Levitation Belts or after-market bicycle HoverTires…

  2. you’re not being a bastard. “chromed robot turd” is being a bastard.

    when i read about the photography limitations at CES, i knew fonzie was more than halfway through his apex. if a product is not ready to be “consumed” (e.g. purchased by a member of the general public), then it probably shouldn’t be at a “Consumer Electronics Show.”

  3. For me the key problem with the usual gadget blogs covering CES is that they lose focus in much the same way that the mainstream media has lost focus on covering politics. Their excitement about attending such an event takes over and they end up spending as much or more time talking about CES the event as they do about the technology that can be found there. As a consumer, I couldn’t care less about CES the event, the food they serve, the parties the vendors invite bloggers to, the prettiest booth, or the accomodations provided for attendees. What’s truly new or interesting about the technology?

  4. Jeebus, next you’ll be telling us that the 30 or so posts that most gadget blogs had about the Zune before they ever put their hands on the damned thing weren’t useful EITHER.

  5. It sounds like a loss of enthusiasm in the lust for gadgets. It is definity a sign of maturity, and it lands you in a very marginal position to write about gadgets, since the lust for gadgets and maturity seems to be quite antagonistic…

  6. oh my god, i haven’t looked at my feeds since this morning. 110 posts @ engadget in less than 12 hours?

    ehhhh… “Mark all as read” who the fuck has time for this?

  7. Wasn’t it you that stated that this blog will be about products that just interests you?

    If I want information overload I’ll read gizmodo or engadget, bbg’s more of a… breath of fresh air.

  8. I’m experiencing a waning of my gadget lust as well, also possibly due to my advancing age (41) and a realization that most of it occupied me for a short time only to end up being sold at a loss, given, or thrown away over the years.

    It’s a new year and maybe time to rethink some of this shit.

    “…a breath of fresh air.” -agreed.

  9. You could at least send Team Gendi to hit the stalls with specific requests for Linux drivers, POV-stabilized H.264 streams from digicams, ATSC -data micropower stations and car batteries by Apple Design.

  10. Well, after having a look at David Pogues reviews from the CES it turns out the hottest product is…a TV. An 11 inch TV. For $2500. hahahaha

    To quote Dave ” SONY XEL-1. This tiny, 11-inch TV is the closest thing C.E.S. had to a blockbuster. When you learn that it costs $2,500, you might wonder why. ”

    Sure, it’s a “realistic” picture, but…hey, it’s a TV. For that money you would think it would at least puke out a 3-d working replica of whatever you see on it.

    Hmmm, excuse me, but isn’t this called regressing? Or is de-evolution a better term?

    At least they’re finally letting us have Dick Tracy watches.

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