It's that time of year again - time for the most horrific waking nightmare in every techie's life, the Consumer Electronics Show. A few years ago I just stopped going, because the whole thing seemed not just crowded and noisy and unpleasant, but also pointless. But this year I'm being dragged out to Las Vegas and will do my best to remain upbeat about ginormous television sets that no actual human being ever buys, the boring keynotes, the endless taxi queues, the terrible service, the horrible, overpriced food, the grim hawkers on the sidewalks snapping their fingers and shoving escort service flyers at you, the awkward briefings in hotel suites, the greasy bedcover on your bed, which you know is alive with bacteria.
Pretending To Care
I will pretend to give a crap about pixel counts and clock speeds and camera specs. I will feign excitement about a new kind of Wi-Fi and cars that promise to confuse and traumatize drivers by forcing them to use software made by Microsoft.
Yes, friends, this is CES, and if there's one bright spot this year it's that Steve Ballmer will not be giving the keynote.
Otherwise, it's just the regular old tenth circle of hell, the four days in Vegas that make you lie awake at night wondering how your life has come to this and why didn't you just go to medical school like your parents told you to do and what other jobs could you do to make a living that would not involve subjecting yourself to this horror show every January.
But there is one thing that might redeem this show, and that is the opportunity to identify the absolute worst product of this year's CES.
You get the idea.
The Best Of The Worst
My colleague Taylor Hatmaker and I will be scouring the show floors, peering through the dim dusty dark corners of the far-flung back rooms where only the cheapest, stupidest, most pointless and scammy products sit neglected on card tables, hawked by sad-eyed people who speak bad English and carry in their shabby clothing the odor of utter hopelessness, which for the record smells like cabbage. (Don't ask how I know.)
But there's only so much two people can do. We can't spend all of our time looking for crappy products. So we'd like to throw this out to everyone else who's attending the show.
Find something awful. Take photos of the awful thing. Send us the photos and a brief note explaining why it deserves to be named the worst product of the show.
Send the note to: WorstOfCES.RW@gmail.com
Whoever finds the best worst product will win a shiny new Nexus 7 tablet, with 4G capability. No kidding.
The almost-but-not-quite-best-worst products will get posted on ReadWrite, with credit to the finder, so at the very least you'll get your 15 minutes of fame.
Also, if you want create any video the captures the horror of CES, please send that in too. We'd love to see it. Just keep it short. It's not fair to the world to subject people to too much of this stuff.
Again, please send all entries to: WorstOfCES.RW@gmail.com
Image courtesy of TV Hat.