CES in Las Vegas this week showed off a bunch of wacky new robots and electric cars that probably will never see the light of day, at least not for a long time. Still, they’re fun to read about.
However my favorite news of the weird comes not from the yearly electronics show, but from the Japan Times.
A local professor has invented a true TV dinner. Let that sink in.
It’s a prototype “lickable TV screen that can imitate food flavors, another step toward creating a multisensory viewing experience,” per the Japan publication.
"The goal is to make it possible for people to have the experience of something like eating at a restaurant on the other side of the world, even while staying at home," Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita said.
“Taste the TV” uses flavor canisters that spray onto a roll of hygienic film. It in turn fits over a flat TV screen for folks to lick, I guess, in-between the commercials.
The only word that comes to mind is “yuck.”
If we’re hungry, why not just go into the kitchen and get something that’s a little easier to cook up? Something perhaps that we could, say, put onto a plate? Me thinks the professor could other more fruitful ways to spend his time.
In other TV news, a bunch of TV announcements were made at CES that won’t affect most of us, at all, unless you’re in the market for really ultra-expensive nearly 100-inch flat screens. CES has a tradition of announcing giant size TVs that rarely get shown in stores. TCL, which has quietly become one of the top TV manufacturers, unveiled a 98-inch set with built-in Roku streaming. CNET says to expect to pay around $8,000 for the set. And for those with richer blood, rival LG showed up a 97-inch set using richer OLED technology that CNET says could cost as much as $40,000.
Last year I splurged and spent $500 on a really, really nice 65-inch LG set. Just sayin’.
Even though many top brands bowed out of CES due to the never-ending pandemic, the show went on. Many companies showed off stuff on the showroom floors, and virtually.
Cue the hype: metaverse & robots
There was lots of talk at CES about the “metaverse” that Facebook, Apple and other companies expect to be big this year, with lots of attention on new virtual reality/augmented reality goggles and headsets. Sony wowed gamers with a tease on the next PlayStation gaming system, which will step into the metaverse with virtual reality.
True reality check: a few years ago, every TV manufacturer thought 3-D was going to be the next big thing—again! And they all came out with sets that flopped. No one wanted to sit on the couch wearing stupid glasses. I see history repeating itself again with the metaverse. I’m waiting for Apple to prove me wrong when it unveils its headset later this year that’s said to be akin to ski googles.
For gaming, yes. For everything else? Forget it.
And beyond the metaverse, the headturner at CES, at least from the videos I’ve seen, was an ultra-realistic “humanoid” robot named Ameca, which company Engineered Arts calls “the world’s most advanced human shaped robot representing the forefront of human-robotics technology.”
It looks cooler than most robots, but like most, it’s just a concept that could take years, if not decades, to come into our lives. Great for a tradeshow booth, but beyond that, who’s actually going to spend money on such a thing?
2022 reality: prints are really easy to come by
I heard from many of you in response to last week’s post about organizing your photos. To my comment about using a combination of hard drives and online backup to archive your photos, Peter Zaharkiv basically told me I was a loon. His point: hard drives will fail (they all do die, eventually) and online back-up services will disappear. “Companies come and go and they aren't obliged to save your precious photos,” he writes. “Your grand parents Kodak Instamatic Camera photos will be viewable by your grand kids years from now. Your digital photos will probably just end up being a memory. “
Arif Belgaumi chimed in, with similar thoughts. “After I'm gone my photographs are history. Either the storage will deteriorate or the storage technology will become obsolete. My grandfather left us two trunks full of small black and white photographs documenting the family in the early part of the 20th century. Those images are still available to his great grandchildren. I'm not sure who will be able to see my digital images.”
I have two comments. First, on the hard drives, buy lots of them and have double backup of everything plus online backup. That will put you in good shape as the drives start to fail. As for the images left behind for the great grandchildren, there is a ready answer to Arif’s concerns and thy name is Bay Photo. Or Mpix. Shutterfly. Etc. Photo labs with affordable prices that would love to make you prints, or help you create digital books of images. That’s what I’ll be leaving behind, along with my online portfolios, which I expect to live on. How about you?
One year later
Beyond the 1/6 insurrection anniversary, I had my own little timeline marker this week. On 1/5/21 I hung up my USA TODAY hat and went out on my own, after three decades of being known as Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY.
Now, I’m “the Photowalks guy,” “the photographer,” “I heard you on the radio,” “Saw you on YouTube,” or my favorite, “Where’s your next trip?”
It’s been such a productive 12 months that people quickly stopped asking about “retirement,” which isn’t a word in my vocabulary. Thank you. I love making things.
Many people, when I left, said, “I can’t wait to see what you do next.” Well, here’s my past 12 months: I followed my passions in photography, video, writing and music. I still start the day at 5 a.m., and I’m having an absolute ball.
I started a new podcast with my pal Scott Bourne, all about mobile photography, called the iPhone Photo Show. New episodes drop every Friday.
I taught five video classes for the KELBYONE.com website and led several live photowalks in Manhattan Beach, Palm Springs and Flagstaff, Arizona, making lots of new friends along the way.
I photographed 20+ local photo and video events and did a paid music gig at the Manhattan Beach Roundhouse Aquarium with buddy Paul Ellis. I’m hoping that in 2022 I’ll find the time to hunker down and actually become a really good guitar player.
I penned over 100 posts here, an experience that brought me great joy. The experience of going direct to your inbox brings us closer, me thinks, and I feel I’m writing directly to you. The feedback has been incredible, even more than when I toiled at the largest circulation newspaper in the nation! And my readership here has doubled from January, 2021, which is fantastic.
But the majority of my focus over the past year has been on my PhotowalksTV series. I spent a lot of time editing, but was also able, with cameras in hand, to hop in the car and shuffle off to Santa Fe, Taos, Bosque Del Apache and Pie Town, NM, San Francisco, Pismo Beach, Zion National Park, Flagstaff, Palm Springs and Las Vegas. I flew to Atlanta and Savannah Georgia. Coming up next: a return to San Francisco and Big Sur, Paris in the fall and hopefully Japan when they open up to international travel. And I’m dreaming of six great places to visit in April.
Season 3 of PhotowalksTV is set to debut 1/11/22 and I have a big announcement for Tuesday that’s the most exciting of them all. So stay tuned for that!
As always, thanks for reading, watching and listening!