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CES Diary: Scenes from the show floor

Jon Gold | Jan. 9, 2014
CES, as you may have read in this very publication, is big. Like, really, really big. The Las Vegas Convention Center has 3.2 million square feet of floor space, of which CES this year used about two thirds, and it's easy to get genuinely lost in the vastness of the main halls.

The Grillbot, as it is known, looks and behaves sort of like the hyperactive child of some long-suffering Roomba couple, skittering around the surface and using its brass or stainless-steel brushes to grind away grime with an erratic aggression in stark contrast to its more deliberate parentage. (N.B. this is just my flight of fancy, the products are, as far as I know, unrelated.) At $120, it's a lot more expensive than most things you'll use to clean a grill, but also a lot more entertaining.

*Vinyl? Really?
CES 2014 features a car that can park itself in a garage, thanks to Audi. It's got gargantuan, mega-high-def curved TVs, thanks to Samsung and LG. It's got inventive new smartphones and slick gaming gear and virtual reality headsets.

And, thanks to the nice folks at VOXX International, CES 2014 features honest-to-anything vinyl record players. Fits right in there, like Wilford Brimley at a rave. Nor are these the sorts of turntables that DJs are using at said raves these are regular old three-speed record players, the sort that your mother listened to Brahms on.

Say what you will about the merits of vinyl recordings the devotees are still out there, and there's obviously something to be said for a purely analog method of sound reproduction (how's that for a lossless format!) but it's nonetheless a little surprising to see something so comparatively archaic amid a sea of the latest and greatest. It's even a little comforting.

*Michael Bay blowing a tire on stage and eventually just wandering off
OK, this is neither from the first day of the (official) show, nor was I in attendance, but frankly it had to be highlighted once again, in case you hadn't seen it already. Michael Bay, during a presentation hyping a characteristically feature-stuffed new TV from Samsung, lost the teleprompter and appeared to become highly anxious, fluffing his lines and abruptly leaving the stage.

Obviously, my sympathy is with Mr. Bay I'm a nervous person myself, and can only imagine how spectacular my own crack-up might be in a similar situation. Nevertheless, it does seem amusingly appropriate for the director of, well, Michael Bay's movies to have turned in a performance so readily described as a bomb.


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