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Alt.CES: Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design
Alt.CES: Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

altCES1.jpgThe gadget orgy of CES, and the angry kerfuffle over the SparkFun Free Day, made me think of this viral video from an appearance of comedian Louis CK on Conan O’Brien. We take so much of our modern technology and modern services for granted. They seem to almost instantaneously become birthrights to us.

Example: A few months after getting my first iPhone, my son and I went out to lunch. It was the middle of the workday and we were in the middle of putting one of our Make: Books to bed. Thanks to the iPhone, I was able to continue to answer the flurry of email that was gusted into my inbox as we waited for our meal. But this was the first-gen iPhone, with that lovable Edge technology. It was taking “forever” for my mail to load and my responses to woosh their way back out into the aether. I started cursing. My son said: “Yeah, it’s such a drag to have to wait a few seconds to answer your email, on your phone, while you’re out having lunch.” It definitely put a different perspective on things. Without this net phone, I wouldn’t have been able to go out to lunch, wouldn’t have been able to read and answer any mail, at any speed — and I hadn’t been capable of doing such a thing just a couple of months before. But already, I treated high-speed Net services on my mobile like a right that was being cruelly denied to me.

Louis uses this very example in the video (“Give it a second. It’s going into SPACE!”). And the part about how we all take air travel utterly for granted is poignant.

Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy [Non-embeddable video]

14 thoughts on “Alt.CES: Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

  1. Matthew says:

    While I don’t disagree with his points and I greatly enjoyed the clip, cell phones don’t connect to satellites, they connect to towers around town. This is a very common misconception, and I don’t know why so many people believe it.

    1. Brian says:

      Everybody has misconceptions about SOMETHING. I know you said you don’t disagree, but I feel it needs to be said:

      While his facts may be wrong, his point is correct. It’s incredible technology that we take for granted.

      Whether it’s flying to space from a source back to earth to a target, or from his hand, to a tower and through a complex network designed to route your call to some other arbitrarily located cell phone, it’s amazing.

      In addition, the truth would make for a less effective joke for the average person.

  2. Dirk says:

    And maybe you should’ve stopped mailing alltogether and have concentrated on your lunch and your company instead.
    I know that lunch and lunch aren’t the same things, but in many cases it’s sensible to eat without too much distration and polite to concentrate on your company, especially if it’s one’s family.

    I’m not saying that I handle it this way all the time, but one might consider this thought.


  3. Tim says:

    Agreed. Next time don’t even take your phone. No one is going to die if they don’t get a reply RIGHT THIS SECOND!!

    Your son deserves some undivided attention.

    1. Simon says:

      A friend of mine who is an engineer used to comment how cell phones always see to be the highest interrupt. Made me very aware of how rude it is to ignore someone you are with just to answer your phone for someone who isn’t there (doctors and other ‘on call’ type people aside).

  4. Anonymous says:

    How long would you stay on hold when trying to order a product over the phone? 5-10 minutes? Ok, this isn’t unreasonable. But say, 2 hours? Probably not and you might likely stay away from that retailer in the future. Nothing about entitlement and everything about respect for the customer, who has every right to choose where he or she will shop next time.

  5. Anonymous says:

    These are services that are touted by the service provoder– and, you’re paying a pretty hefty price for them. So I’d be frustrated too if they don’t work as advertised.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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