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]

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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. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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