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Ars's Skeptical Take on Wired's NextFest 138

jamestech writes "Over the weekend, Wired magazine held its 'NextFest' in Chicago, a demonstration of what the future supposedly holds. Arstechnica's Hannibal visited NextFest, and was not impressed. Regarding a dolphin-shaped water vehicle and exoskeletons for the old, he notes, 'if you're being pursued by a senior citizen then you can use the dolphin to escape.' Wired's been more about style rather than tech since the late 90s, but have they finally dropped science in favor of science fiction?"
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Ars's Skeptical Take on Wired's NextFest

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  • by nokilli ( 759129 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:29PM (#12927088)
    Or rather, zombie dog points the way to the future.

    Seriously, the world is so fucked up today that I'm actually considering having myself exsanguinated and pumped full of near-freezing saline solution just for the chance of really seeing the future -- the really cool and distant future -- and not Wired magazine's take on it.

    I'm hoping for a Star Trek spin-off, only with virtual immortality and holodecks with locks on the doors so you can't be interrupted (self-cleaning would be nice too.)

    There may be something like only a one-in-a-million chance of success, but hey, if it works, it would be unbelievably excellent.

    Besides, I figure civilization's chances aren't much better.

    (and If I chicken out, I can alway use the cooling system for my homebuilt PC.)
    • You'll be revived by the last remaining living people who have somehow managed to avoid the zombie dogs and their humanoid zombie pets.

      Save yourself the trouble and start memorizing the lyrics to my zombie song (posted on my journal) :P
      • You'll be revived by the last remaining living people who have somehow managed to avoid the zombie dogs and their humanoid zombie pets.

        More likely you'll be thawed by the zombies themselves, hungry for brains, braaiinss.

        "Honey, can you get me another cold one from the fridge? I'm all out over here."
    • ...and the girls still won't date you.
    • I'm hoping for a Star Trek spin-off, only with virtual immortality and holodecks with locks on the doors so you can't be interrupted (self-cleaning would be nice too.)

      I agree; I've always thought that virtual immorality was the best use for a holodeck.

  • Yes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by amcdiarmid ( 856796 ) <{amcdiarm} {at} {}> on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:30PM (#12927100) Journal
    Wired has gone the way of Red Herring. They just don't know it yet. Perhaps they are going to try to reincarnate as Asmov's Science Fiction.
    • Perhaps they are going to try to reincarnate as Asmov's Science Fiction.
      Ummmm... Do you know Asimov's Science Fiction is a real magazine? Do you know it was created by Asimov himself? []
    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Funny)

      by bman08 ( 239376 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:37PM (#12927508)
      I find Wired fully relevant, man. There's nothing that makes me feel more at home here in the future than kicking back in my egg shaped acrylic chair wearing a silver jumpsuit with a primary colored chevron on the front and counting the number of times they describe something non-computer related as a 'distributed network'. That, my friends, is not tired or expired... it is wired. yea verily.
    • Wired has gone the way of Red Herring.

      Are you sure? That really looked like a dolphin to me.

  • threer has been little media coverage of this in comparison to Gnomedex IMHO, why would they go opposite of Gnomedex as it seems to be taking off?
  • Eye Candy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:32PM (#12927108)
    Wired has been more eye candy than anything else as long as I've read it
    • Re:Eye Candy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Leroy_Brown242 ( 683141 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:39PM (#12927160) Homepage Journal
      But you keep reading, so why should they change?
    • Don't mock style. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:29PM (#12927443) Journal
      Style is not irrelevant. Portable MP3 players have been around for years. Yet what really popularized them? The stylish iPod.

      Fashion has more to do with the future than most geeks are prepared to admit. And, as a recent NYT article pointed out (can't find the link), tech jobs are fleeing the country like rats from a sinking ship, but most of the major artistic design firms -- the ones who put the pretty boxes around the circuits -- are still in NY, LA, Chicago, etc.
      • It's not an either/or issue. It seems to me that given that technology is something that many people appear to find rather worrying, if it can be made less daunting, then surely those people are more likely to use it.

        To be sure, fashion is important, but I don't believe this is just about style. The success of the iPod (or any other device) is not only down to whether or not it looks pretty. Crucially, it is also down to whether or not it is user-friendly.

        So Jonathan Ive, head of design at Apple, trained
      • I don't believe it was style that popularized the IPOD. It was marketing.

        They wedged their way to the mac users community, (media centric people to begin with) then started the mother of all add campaigns once the product was out there. Getting it in the creative community in a way made it stylish, but it was really a very successful marketing trick.

        Before the Ipod, the majority of the MP3 players out there were erronious and from companies that most (non-tech) people had never heard of. "Creative Labs"
    • And don't forget long-winded. That is why I stopped reading.
    • Wired has been more eye candy than anything else as long as I've read it

      But the candy is made of poison. Magenta text on a turquoise background was NEVER a good idea.
  • Innovation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:34PM (#12927121) Journal
    It seems to me that innovation has been lacking lately... there is not a lot to report for 'NextFest' as it were.... at least nothing commercially exciting .... not like black boxes in automobiles, or search engines that really do know what sites you want to see, or maybe RSS in Longhorn...

    Geeez, with the amount of innovation being reported in the daily news on almost every major information provider's site, what was the point of NextFest? Its not like you can't turn on the television and find out about the latest in technology...

    As I write, there is some story on television about the lineman who now has bionic arms... what were the NextFest promoters thinking?

  • by ScaryMonkey ( 886119 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:36PM (#12927141)
    "You do not want to incur the wrath of our robotically enhanced, geriatric overlords." Damn! He beat us to it!
    • Actually, they were built by a slashdot controlled manufacturing facility.

      They might have the robots, but we have thier money and the remote.

    • From the article: "For instance, at the GE-manufactured checkpoint that I saw, the machine supposedly sniffs you for bomb residue. Interestingly enough, there was a long line of people waiting to go through that checkpoint and be checked for bomb residue, which is something that just baffled me. I mean, don't people dread going through the checkpoint at airport security? Why voluntarily stand in line in order to pass through an airport security scanner if you don't have to?" In other words, we've gotten
  • Wired is Tired (Score:3, Insightful)

    by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:37PM (#12927144) Homepage Journal
    I hadn't read Wired for many years. I recently "inherited" a subscription from a departed co-worker. The magazine has become a total entertainment rag. I spend less time on an issue of Wired than I do on an issue of Information Week (and it comes out 4 times as often!).

    Buy Wired? Nuh-uh.
    • Re:Wired is Tired (Score:5, Insightful)

      by billmil ( 59216 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:02PM (#12927305)
      IMO Wired is the "popular science for a new generation." Now that it's recovered from its New Economy religious fervor (circa 1999), it's quality has IMHO dramatically improved: the articles are (mostly) sensible and high quality and they've upped the gagdetry reporting. It's the place to go to see "what's new." ("what's new" is a longstanding feature of Popular Science).

      Yes, the "Tired vs. Wired" tastemaking stuff is passe, but for .80 US dollars an issue, it's very cheap. (And the $10 NextFest admission included a 12 month subscription). I think it's a lot of fun per buck.

    • Re:Wired is Tired (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DiggerDan ( 245280 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @10:36PM (#12927986)
      Sure, Wired is full of ads. And some articles weigh heavy on the entertainment industry. But it also provides some of the *best* writing on technology that any magazine has to offer.

      Case in point, this article from the April 2005 issue:
      La Vida Robot
      How four underdogs from the mean streets of Phoenix took on the best from M.I.T. in the national underwater bot championship. l []

      Take 15 minutes and read this. It is an amazing story, and extremely well written.
  • by Hannibal_Ars ( 227413 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:42PM (#12927177) Homepage
    There was some Wired bashing in the related Ars thread that I didn't really agree with, and it looks like that theme has been picked up by the slashdot poster. Just to clarify before this degenerates into a pile-on, this article was intended as sardonic, tongue-in-cheek humor. It wasn't intended as a slam on Wired or as a slam on any of the engineers whose hard work I ridiculed mercilessly. If it was a slam on anything, it was a slam on The Future, which has never really been all that it's cracked up to be.
    • I suspect "Wired bashing" is a pretty easy piss for this crowd as it might likely be for the Ars crowd.

      That said, I do get pretty tired of the "won't the future be greeeeaaaat!" boosterism in Wired (and elsewhere). But I've got V.1 #6 (or something like that, I'm too lazy to dig it out and look) and I'm still a sucker for their style and, before some wise guy pipes up, yeah, I keep reading it more often than not.

      Ciao, dcobbler
      • Agreed, I feel the same way about the mag. True there's a lot of flash there too, but it's still a good place to see interesting stuff coming down the pipe and is often a good, light read.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's nice and all, but most of the stuff there has been slowly developed over the last 10 years, and is hardly even remotely cutting edge. When one hears the name "NextFest" one tends to think there'll be some kind of new ideas, not incrimental developments on old ones.

      Hell, the robo dolphin has been around at least that long. I remember seeing it in the early 90's on one of the Beyond 2000-esque shows that were popular back then, still doing the same goofy twists and turns. Damn thing was in an episod
    • I was at NextFest (Score:2, Insightful)

      by redcone ( 838393 )
      I was at the NextFest and was familiar with a lot of the technology being presented. Seeing it in the real world is a lot different than reading about it or seeing it on TV. Compare your live to that of the average citizen of a century or two ago and you get a sense of how much technology and science has shaped our lives. But if your standard of comparison is not reality but the Jetsons, or Star Trek then yes, NextFest would seem rather ordinary.
  • It's not about what's practical, what's available today, what's cool (how many MP3 player stories do you want to read?), it's about the FUTURE and unfortunately it's not going to be rocket backpacks, cities under the sea and moonbases.

    It's going to be about taxes, regulatory regimes, investment timetables and all the other boring crap we put up with today...

    I'm happy to see someone like Wired still trying to convince us that the future is bright (the dolphin is seriously cool, by the way) but I for one am giving up hope of believing it.
    • Well, that's the problem with revolutions isn't it. If you can predict them, so can the people who have a vested interest in quashing them. Had Microsoft recognised that threat of open source back in '91 they would have crushed it then and there. As such, any well published prediction of revolutionary technology, people or philosophy is likely to be quashed. Therefore the only predictions of the future that can be accurate are the ones that re-enforce the status quo.
      • That's really assuming just because someone (like Microsoft or the government, etc.) knows something that they want to do, that they have the ability to do it.
        It seems to me that plenty of revolutions have seen the status quo get run over by a perfectly predictable yet unstoppable change.
        Off the top of my head, the only example that comes to mind is stagecoaches and railroads. I'm sure the stagecoach manufacturers would have loved to crush the railroad system as it was developing, but had no means to do it
  • Isn't it obvious? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:43PM (#12927181) Journal
    The guy was obviously in a pissy mood. I mean, come one, robotic exoskeletons for the elderly (a bit like that Centurions cartoon that used to be on TV) and he didn't see anything interesting or exciting? Did he have anything more to say about the Dolphin-shaped craft other than the shape reminded him of a dolphin? What about some actual information about what was going on at the show instead of trying to be funny with stupid tales of escaping by water when exeskeleton-enhanced geriatrics chasing after him? Maybe he should have taken some Alka Seltzer for his hangover. Nothing is as easy to spot as an article that's been written by someone in a bad mood, with a hangover, or both. Sheesh!
    • Re:Isn't it obvious? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sean23007 ( 143364 )
      I think that was the (perhaps unintentional) point of the article. I went to NextFest myself, and there was no actual information there. Next to each item on display, there was a piece of paper taped up with a one paragraph description of what the thing is and why it and the company that made it are great. Next to each paragraph was a salesperson who, when you ask a question about the product, would kindly read the paragraph to you.

      Don't criticize Hannibal for not pumping a lot of information into this art
    • Yeah, he should take some soma and stop complaining. And stop worrying about obsolete media like websites too.
  • by mikeophile ( 647318 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:43PM (#12927185)
    God I hope so. I loved that magazine.

    • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:10PM (#12927338) Homepage Journal
      Do not commit such blasphemy as to compare Omni with that magazine which does not deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Omni!

      Omni was a magazine of the thinking man.

      Wired always was "Ohh, look at us! We are so tragically hip we cannot see over our own pelvis! Look at this game, which you cannot hope to afford the computer to run! Bow before the computer we use to run it! Look at the trends which shall be cool, because we say they are cool! Spend hours reading our tripe because we hide our vacuousness behind insane color choices and bizarre layouts! You are honored just to pay us money!"

      Sorry, Wired is to a real magazine what MTV is to real entertainment.
  • Wired's been more about style rather than tech since the late 90s, but have they finally dropped science in favor of science fiction?"

    Has it ever been anything but style? I'm not sure this even qualifies as science fiction, at least not good, plausible, science fiction. It is reminiscent of the 50's versions of the future though...and it seems that inventors still haven't learned to actually try using their inventions before showing them off...

  • The irony of it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zaffo ( 755234 )
    It's hard to say Wired is lacking anything when it never actually promised something in the first place. The magazine has no mission statement. It accepts contributions from anyone, anywhere. By that fact, Wired could be considered a reflection of our digital lifestyle, and if we don't particularly care for what we see...
    • What's this about how Wired "accepts contributions from anyone, anywhere"...? You're absolutely kidding, right? Wired is a closed circle, one big circle-jerk of cronies. I call them the "Wired Mafia." The content is all the same people, all the same circle of friends. It's the first group-think magazine.
      • If you read O'Reilly's Make you'll see some familiar bylines. It's nice to see some of these writers applying themselves to something practical.
  • Isn't that by definition science fiction? And isn't science fiction a reasonable thing to indulge in from time to time, especially as it is presented as such, ie. as crystal ball gazing rather than as present ay fact? Wired is a completely crap magazine, but not because of articles like this.
  • I got tiny black text on a fire engine red background, and then the next article had blue text (in an certified "wacky" font) on a lemon yellow background. I gave up. And that was when my eyes didn't suck as badly as they do now. In fact, I think my eyes suck now *because* of that quick exposure to Wired.

    Hey, guys, there's a reason most people don't print their text in wildy, wacky colors, and it has nothing to do with coolness, style, culture or any of those dumbass things.

  • by billmil ( 59216 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @08:52PM (#12927244)
    The naysayers are wrong. NextFest was a lot of fun. It was like a science museum on steroids--with real live engineers and scientists there to answer your questions. The Nasa exhibit rocked--especially since the mars-rover programmers were there. Yes, it was subsidized by and represented the military-industrial complex, but that subsidy allowed the art-and-design institutes, the grad students, and even high schoolers to participate.

    Here's a copy of my original post from last weekend. I don't think people fully appreciated the wealth of talent that was present:

    I spent yesterday at NextFest and had really interesting conversations with the scientists and engineers behind the technologies. Whereas most trade shows have marketing-folk, NextFest had the "real deal" folks there. Conversing with them about their projects was quite easy:

    Example interesting conversations:
    * Electrical Engineers from Sweden working on innovative devices for monitoring power use
    * Doctoral CS candidates preseting their thesis projects.
    * Art/Design professors from Tokyo and Vienna working on interactive media projects.

    * Undergrads from Dublin working on a video game (controlled by breath) which they found equally popular with boys and girls.
    * The Mars Rover programmers were there. (I didn't get a chance to talk w/ them, however, but could have).
    * The La Vida Robot guys and their teacher (who bested MIT in the underwater bot contest).
  • Wired's been more about style rather than tech since the late 90s, but have they finally dropped science in favor of science fiction?

    Isn't that a bit like the pot calling the kettle black?

  • by Tenken ( 518324 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:04PM (#12927312) Homepage
    And I'm not talking about the article-- since when has it been hip to bash on Wired? I suppose it's one of those things the tech elite (or ignorant /.'ers) like to do because it reassures them of their status, or perhaps it's mere bandwagon jumping. What exactly is wrong with the magazine? (And give me something more original than the bad layout one liners) I've had a subscription for several years, and have always found the magazine a worthwhile read. Sure alot of the stuff we already learn from online publications and news sites, but then the magazine offers enough original material to warrant its existence. They're also different than they were a few years ago because of the increasing number of free tech-sites online. Sure they sometimes take a look at the tech of pop-culture, but this may have to do with the increasing adoption of technology in the public realm. This past issue they had an article on Spielberg's "War of the Worlds", and last issue they covered Lucas-- how is this not relevant to the discussion of technology and geek-culture? Both are revolutionary directors who, despite their occasional misteps and flaws, consistently push the art of film-making and its use of technology. Anyone who has actually read a recent issue of Wired and found nothing of value can't deny that the magazine offers something of value, especially in a world where we see decreasig numbers of hard-technology publications. After all, if Wired were as useless as some of you say it is, why do we keep featuring Wired stories on Slashdot?
    • I read Wired.

      It used to be cool and hip before greed and an endless fixation with the stock market took over the editors in the late 90ies. Since then, FastCompany-style commercialism has never gone away even in the dot-bomb bust - Wired is trying to sell readers on its own hipness, relentlessly so. That almost all of its predictions ever were complete failures does not deter them one bit.

      The reason I keep reading is that every issue contains at least one absolute gem, something that you would never read
    • My wife and I have a subscription to Wired. Every month when an issue arrives (just got the remix issue yesterday!) we spend a few days discussing all the cool articles. Inevitably we always remark on how consistently good the magazine is.

      Let's look at some cool bits in the past months:

      November 2004: Wired came with a cd containing songs all distributed with the creative commons share and share alike license! Want to remix some Beastie Boys and Danger Mouse?

      December 2004: Awesome issue on the present sta
    • What exactly is wrong with the magazine?

      I'm a current (and longtime) subscriber, and what I find wrong with Wired is more akin to the unnerving foibles of a loved one that make you grind your teeth but grin and bear it. Two things come to mind.

      First, their attempts to hip up their prose can wear pretty thin. If you have to mention the same object again and again in an article, it's good to introduce some variety by using synonyms. But at Wired, they go right for the hip slang: If they need to mention sh
  • by puppetman ( 131489 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:06PM (#12927320) Homepage
    The link to Arstechnica ( []) is not really to the correct site, Arstechnica []...

    Instead, you'll get a parked domain rife with popups.
  • Pictures! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by springbox ( 853816 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:10PM (#12927341)
    Pictures [] from the 2005 event. []
    Information and pictures from the 2004 event. []
  • Finally! Someone who feels the same way I do about Wired! I *HATE* Wired magazine. It's not a tech culture magazine anymore. It's a fashion rag for gadget guys. Gadget guys != technologists. We are technologists. We use technology to make lives better and easier for anyone. Gadget guys are the proverbial fools who are soon parted from their money.
    • Actually, there are plenty of technologists who are also Gadget Guys.

      The problem is, Wired has dropped the technologists entirely. Many of the *really* smart, very *productive* real geeks that I know still fawn over shiny new phones, flying cars, rocket ships, and slave-labor robots.

      It's just that they wanna hear about technology in the development and already implemented phase.

      Really, if you think about it, Wired does what most 'popular' magazines have done. They are 80% advertising, 20% discussion abou
    • For some reason there seems to be a lot of anger all the sudden about wired, like somehow it's let everyone down. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think I EVER had that high of an expectation from wired - I don't think it's SUPPOSED to be a magazine for technologists - it's light funny articles on crazy tech things, with an occasional more in-depth thing in there for kicks. I mean, maybe it has changed, and maybe it really did let everyone down, but personally, I still really enjoy reading it. For serious
      • Well... I remember reading the first few issues of Wired back in the early 90s. They were cool. then They focused more on technology for the masses rather then the people with a lot of money for big ticket items. They focused on people like Jaron Lanier (the "father of virtual reality") who actually contributed something to technology that could benefit everyone. Now they seem to be a mouthpiece for libertarians (they had some nimrod calling for the "breakup" of the U.S. Postal Service industry monopoly
    • My guess is that you're not reading the articles. Yes, there's an obnoxious gadget layout in every issue, but there are also long, thoughtful articles, good columns, smart letters -- and let's please not forget Infoporn! These items, which constitute the bulk of the magazine, are seldom about gadgets.
  • Ars posts an article that isn't about Mac history!
  • Ah, yes. Wired certainly has a wonderful record at predicting the future. From the Long Boom [] to Kissing Your Browser Goodbye [] and a world dominated by Sega [], Wired certainly has a fine track record. Keep up the good work guys!
  • by Solr_Flare ( 844465 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:15PM (#12927366)
    Now sometimes that fiction becomes fact, but in no small part it is because either:

    A) Someone states something completely obvious like "Television will change the way people see the world".


    B) People find certain science fiction concepts so cool, they try to make new technologies emulate the fiction. A good example of this? Star Trek and Cell phones. No, Star Trek didn't create cell phones, but it certainly influenced their direction and design.

    Pop culture does that to all aspects. Something becomes engrained and "natural" to us. So we make that idea a reality.

    But, no one can predict the future. You can guess of course, and the ones who get lucky tend to be the rich/successful ones. But more often than not people just guess wrong, in no small part because when you guess the future, you are focusing on one single(or maybea handful of things) and assuming that these things will evolve in a vaccum without outside influence. Problem is, very few things evolve in a vaccum, and the wants and needs of a culture change over time too.

    All inventions and technology are created to fill a need(be it entertainment, travel, communication, etc). People change, needs change, making the future impossible to ever predict.

    • People find certain science fiction concepts so cool, they try to make new technologies emulate the fiction. A good example of this? Star Trek and Cell phones. No, Star Trek didn't create cell phones, but it certainly influenced their direction and design.

      The design of cel phones (you are likely thinking of the "flip-open" ones - was that the original Motorola Star-Tac?) were more influenced by the 'buttons-pushed-accidentally' phenomenon rather than the 'Star-Trek-used-them' phenomenon.
    • A) Someone states something completely obvious like "Television will change the way people see the world".

      You'll have to tell me how this was completely obvious. Initial televisions weren't anything special - just a flickering blob of image for more money then most people could afford. In fact, if, when faced with a brand new invention not like anything you've ever seen before, you can accurately predict (so accurately, in fact, that it's 'completely obvious') its effects on society - maybe you should

  • Ars's Skeptical Take on Wired's NextFest
    Perhaps a bit more thought should go into the subject line next time, eh?
  • Why do pepole talk to this person? Why do people invite this person who is under investigation by the SEC? Why? Why? Why? Here is a popular science article about the person and his company. Sigh......,20 967,1006786,00.html []
  • by CousinLarry ( 640750 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:34PM (#12927475)
    Went to a small round table once ~2002 with a newly appointed senior editor at wired who had been brought in from New York Magazine to overhaul the magazine's image and style content strategy. This was just when the mag went to the new format with lots of short, punchy briefs, product matrices and gizmo reviews (and right after they dropped the 3-4 page graphic intro that was ad-dead). He explained that this format tested better with a wider audience than the more geeky tech format (my memory, not his words). This was in no small part precipated by Conde Nast's purchase of the mag.

    it's ok though with mags like MAKE taking their place and publishers like O'Reilly staying true to their tech demographic. Hopefully their success will inspire investments in more daring technology coverage.
  • As long as they keep promising flying cars, I'll keep buying Wired's vision of the future.
  • Yes, but... (Score:3, Funny)

    by BobVila ( 592015 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @09:57PM (#12927686) Homepage
    do the dolphins have lasers?
  • If thats the same dolphin water vehical invented by a NZer, i'm impressed. NZ do it again... Buggers!!! These things look fantastic, imagine jetski*submarine. Its a lesure vechical that can go under water... sweet stuff! :)
  • I for one, welcome our robotically-enhanced geriatric overlords and their leader, the life-like Philip K. Dick android.
  • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Monday June 27, 2005 @10:42PM (#12928033)
    I think the oddest idea was the treadmill cum mouse. There was a girl exerting not a little effort while turning what appeared to be bike handles and running around quake 2. The saleslady said that you could even use it to browse the web. I guess the treadmill would also act as the mouse wheel.

    But what was baffling was that they weren't promoting it as any kind of exercise equipment; the fellow I talked to even discouraged it, saying that it wasn't built the same way as one in the gym.

    The *real* kicker, though, was when I asked how you would move side to side. I figured the handlebars would move on a rail, but the guy insisted, with a certain amount of misplaced pride, that it would be a button on the handlebars, and then using the treadmill to do the actual movement.

    I'm a very meek, little person, so it has to be a dumb enough idea for me to tell someone, to their face, that is the most stupid idea I'd ever heard of. Good to know the future is filled with as many useless gadgets as the present.
  • B.S. At most of the booths there were iMacs. I only saw a couple of booths with PCs, and the GE booth alone had like 5 iMacs. The bomb sniffer at the GE booth was nothing like airport security. It was really cool to go through, though kinda slow. You step in and it shoots puffs up compressed air in sequence from your feet to your head and then back to your feet, which felt really odd but not unpleasant. Then you wait for 15 seconds or so till the green light comes on. The guy at the booth said that it coul
  • It is like the 1939 World's fair ... full of fun stuff that will probably never happen. They were talking flying cars 60 years ago. The Hal 9000 is nearly 40. I like idealized views of the future its fun and there's no harm in it.
  • will aparently all wear balloons on their heads. I enjoyed myself. After my free subscription renewal, it only cost me like, $3 service charge and I got to talk to PK Dick, sorta.
  • ... duke nukem forever will be the hottest game. evAR.
  • Want to know who really reads Wired? Graphic designers looking for cool ideas to steal.
  • Enter personal rant...

    If they can consider spending such ammounts of money to "stick a cork in the dam", why can't they consider using similar ammounts of money to combat the initial problem itself? Lower our dependence on fossil fuels which are among teh primary causes of Ozone and atmospheric breakdown.

    It just seems silly to me.

    My agenda if I ran the world:

    1. Get our shit together down here on earth
    2. Worry about patching up holes once the root of the problem has been taken care of.

    Just my

  • The future isn't what it used to be...
  • It's always been best to take anything Wired does or says skeptically. They push the boundaries of science fiction, from the inside.
  • That Wired's purpose has always been to create hype so people will buy Wired.
  • This comment [] in the same thread points out how useless Wired has been at predicting the future. But why is it so useless?

    Because it's a circus. Negroponte set the template when he created MIT's Media Lab. The goal was only ever to attract funding with high profile media gimmicks, which in practice involved lots of art students pinning carpet onto dumb robots. So he helped start Wired magazine to hype them. It was his baby, and Negroponte was the star columnist.

    Depressingly the same philosophy has now i

  • I can still remember seeing Wired atricles in the early 90's formatted with yellow text on a gray and red striped background. Readability?... in a magazine? Who wants that?
    I think their art directors are all stuck in a persistant flashback of Max Headroom.
  • Since when was Wired about science and _not_ about science fiction? I don't remember that time. Wired is stuck in the dotcom days like Steve Jobs, they think style is more important than substance. It's always been a fluff mag, but I still read it. You never know where you're going to find a gem of info.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright