A gummy printer?
They gotta do Haribo Sugar Free Gummy Bear flavors.
As the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show winds down, it's once again time for the Worst in Show Awards, an enumeration of ill-conceived tech products as determined by various technology advocates. The Worst in Show panelists each focused on different criteria – privacy, environmental impact, security, repairability, "Who asked …
My first thought was gummy bears, which was very confusing, but I think they actually mean chewable nutrition supplements. Chewable because tablets and capsules are too old fashioned I assume? Or perhaps because we've decided to give them to our children instead of just feeding them properly in the first place?
I've had to deal with an easy-to-upset stomach my whole life, and I prefer gummy multivitamins. The little bit of simple sugar helps ease the nausea from the vitamins themselves. Tablets can be too harsh.
That said, I'd rather buy them in person and with consent/advice from my GP rather than through some sketchy printer deal!
I can't see that much that makes them worse except that they cost a ridiculous amount (you can get everything else for a third of the cost and if you're willing to take out some of the features, for much less than that). The screen means extra hardware that will never get used because it's going to be a bad UI that takes up space and power.
Otherwise, they're basically the same as any other set of TWS headphones.
> Otherwise, they're basically the same as any other set of TWS headphones.
True, I wondered too.
My TWS earbuds also have an additional battery inside the case (which recharges the earbuds), magnets (that's what holds the earbuds firmly inside the case), the only difference is my case uses a simple button and LEDs to indicate charge level. I'm pretty sure they are made by the same Chinese factory to the same specifications, with just a change of shape and color to "make a difference"...
"How are those particular wireless earphones any worse than any others?"
None of them are very environmental. Apple's tend to be super expensive.
Something with an unserviceable Li battery is likely going to be scrap in 2 years. Most consumer devices have very little in the way of battery management that would extend the life of the batteries much longer than that. The drive to make thingys ever smaller also means that batteries are only going to just barely have enough on-time to be anywhere near acceptable in the market so it's not long before they get frustrating to use due to a shorter and shorter time between chargings.
Whatever the cost of these items is, divide by 24 months to get the cost per month. A cheap set of wired earbuds is $10. A set of Apple Airpods is $5-$10/month or more. Which one is going to make you cry when you discover that you left them in a pocket when you did laundry?
i Have a lenovo tablet which is used daily and still has a 2-3 hour battery life after 7 years and a pair of sony wireless in ear headphones which are going strong after 4 years, these are used almost every night to listen to podcasts to hep with my insomnia, Ironically I replaced the Sony headphones last year as the were lost, but then found them again, I've recently lost the replacements and they have turned up in the washing machine and are no longer working.
"I've recently lost the replacements and they have turned up in the washing machine and are no longer working."
The older you get, the more things you have that wind up having gone through the laundry.
One thing I find about wired earbuds is that I can take them out of my ears and have them hanging around my neck so I'm not needing to put them in a pocket. The downside is the wire snags on damn near everything.
I like to have an audiobook going to help me get off to sleep. I built some BT powered speakers that I put next to my bed for an old pair of 'computer' speakers. Rolling over onto the ear with the bud in would always wake me up.
The Neutrogena SkinStacks system works off a selfie by firstly reading the metadata. If the selfie was taken with an expensive camera/this years flagship smartphone (android OR iOS) then they will recommend MUCH more expensive "vitamin packs" for hundreds of dollars.
The image is also AI scanned, and if you appear well-groomed or something like an expensive gold watch is in view, the system will again ramp up the price.
Neutrogena have been the worst sort of "health" scammers for a LONG time in the UK.......
Why does anyone anywhere take a dietary supplement without medical supervision? How many hundreds of thousands of years have we just been eating stuff?
I can only assume that the same people who purchase these pointless products wash them down with a swig from their two hundred dollar coffee mugs.
"Why does anyone anywhere take a dietary supplement without medical supervision? How many hundreds of thousands of years have we just been eating stuff?"
Why do people choose their own diets, without Parental supervision? Repair their own vehicles without Certified Repair Person supervision? Choose their own News sources without Professional monitoring?
Perhaps because intelligent, investigative persons, relatively free of effects of psychological manipulation, choose to determine their own best course of action in life?
RADICALS!!! Better to just do as you are told.
A more accurate train of argument:
Why do people drink four litres of vodka a day without being a Qualified Mixologist? Stick their fingers down their throats without the supervision of a Nutritionist? Set fire to their wallets without being a Certified Arsonist?
Now, if your
> intelligent, investigative persons, relatively free of effects of psychological manipulation...
*are* taking vitamin supplements, without first finding out whether they need to (by, um, asking medical professionals to perform tests using calibrated equipment) then at best they are likely setting fire to their wallets (some unneeded supplements are simply pissed out harmlessly). Or they are setting themselves up for some fascinating new symptoms in the not too distant future.
And they should really reconsider whether they are as intelligent and investigative as they believe (go on, tell us we "must do your own research" and then suggest a few Youtube videos, pretty please?).
"Why does anyone anywhere take a dietary supplement without medical supervision?"
All of the advertising for years has told people they need to make really expensive urine to be healthy and beautiful.
My doctor has told me all I need to take is some additional vitamin D or add more fish to my diet (or both). Beyond that I do just fine with my diet that includes plenty of fruit and veg. Testing for deficiencies is part of my health care so it's being tracked at the same time as cholesterol and blood sugar. Since I'm a cheap Scot, spending money to self-medicate is not on my to-do list.
Considering a decent multivitamin can be about £15 for a year's supply, I don't think its something that needs GP input.
The balance of risk is simple with a normal, off the shelf, multivitamin. There's no risk for the vast majority of people, and there are potential benefits if you are deficient in something due to your not doing everything right with your diet (which, with the way everyone eats these days, is likely).
Because my GP doesn't want to perform a few consecutive tests over a number of days to test overal levels and thus only looks at a single data point and goes "well x and y are a bit low but Z is fine (but actually also a bit low) so everything is fine" you don't need anything. And because just taking a few general supplements or a multivitamin doesn't really harm anything even if my diet should provide everything normally.
Problem is when I'm having a bout of IBS issues my intestines don't always pick up the "should normally be sufficient" amount of stuff in my normal diet and a boost in levels can be just what's needed to keep things normal.
Firstly, El Reg missed a golden opportunity here with a product that seems to be both figuratively and literally taking the p*ss.
Secondly, U-Scan just seems like someone looked at Theranos, and thought "how about we try this with p*ss?" and market as an unregulated "health" device and not for medical use.
I'm all for the somewhat questionable health/fitness data that already comes from my phone and watch, but I'm not spending $500 (!!!) on a gadget to p*ss on.
At the moment, for instance, I'm working in quite a warm climate. I suspect my salt levels are down a little and a quick glance tells my I'm a bit dehydrated. I don't need to p*ss on a $500 gadget to tell my I need more water and some potato crisps.
>God, it’s like reading a comment by an elderly maiden aunt
Since the Reg has gone USAsian we need to be culturally appropriate and more careful with offensive language.
Before you use words like *unt you need to ask what they identify as and what their pronouns are
After all the fun comments here, time to be a party pooper...
And point out that buying a $500 gadget and using to test someone else's piss will still net you a profit when you turn them in for a Texas reward. And you can probably rinse it out and use it again. Which at least means the marketing guys have set the price point just right to get the old grey market sales rolling.
Analytically: maybe (and I work in a lab). Common ions like sodium, etc is not too tricky to detect, at least semi-quantitatively, in the real time. Of course, general health screening of this type has various problems, and is generally seen as a total and utter waste of resources by the medical profession (with a few exceptions). In brief: statistically around 5% of the population will fall outside the "normal" range, but with no symptoms there is no reason to be concerned. But the punter will get the report, call his health care provider and get a checkup. And perhaps there is a small possibility that there is a problem, and if the customer insists a treatment is started. Now we have wasted not only money on the initial screening, but also wasted the medical staff time, cost of the followup tests, etc. And the treatment is likely to have side effects, we hope mild, but make no promises. And all of it almost certainly for no reason at all. The exceptions is when a reasonably priced test (for a relevant and identifiable sub-population) can reliably identify a serious disease state early enough to affect treatment outcome. Probably true for e.g. breast cancer and prostate cancer, but not for most diseases. And never for random test packets like this one.
But I see another "market" if they could get it to work: drug testing. How many companies would love to have real time data on drug use among employees? Down to the users of a single urinal? Not saying this is even remotely ethical, but the interest will be there. Fortunately I doubt that the tech is there for that. Yet.
Screening is now done on a community level (e.g. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.11022), but should be doable on a single toilet basis. Far to involved for the device in question at this time, but give it time: the market is there.
The last time we used a piece of technology to p*ss on I found out my ex was pregnant with my son, there are much worse uses of technology and the modern pregnancy tests are so much easier to read than the ones available when we conceived my daughter just a couple of years earlier (this was in the early 80's) where we couldn't get a definite result until we had one from our GP.
Definitely. Compared to the modern pregnancy tests the ones from 40 years ago was pretty dismal. And such a specific test is, relatively, easy: you are looking for one molecule, semi-quantitatively. Also useful, since there is a specific question rather than an analytical fishing expedition.
 Still, even those were better than the frogs and mice used a further few decades back.
I mentally placed the digital toilet puck product in the men's urinal, where it would not often show a positive pregnancy test. Drugs are perhaps another matter.
I read somewhere that many recent "electronic" pregnancy tests are just doing a cheap "paper" pregnancy test inside and then using a light sensor to detect the state of the paper and to light up "Congratulations!" on the LCD display or play "Rock A Bye Baby" on a little buzzer.
"Quite frankly, I think anyone stupid enough to pay 200 anything’s on a coffee cup deserves to be scammed. Just how cretinous do you have to be?"
I agree but oddly, at the same time, I'd not criticize somebody that spent that much money making their own if they put enough thought into the design. Something in a Steampunk vein with moving gears could be really cool.
Shouldn't that be a Steamed Milk Punk coffee cup?
There is nothing odd in your final lack of criticism.
Building a one-off coal-fired coffee cup that self-stoked when the contents threatened to become tepid would provide a sum total of more than 200 smackers worth of joy in all those lucky enough to encounter it.
 wood would also do in a pinch but not gas-powered; if you're going to have gears then just turning a valve slightly couldn't hold a candle to wielding a poker. Ooh, candles - how about an Bronte Punk teacup (sorry, has to be tea this time) that works by judging the correct amount of candle lighting, snuffing or extinguishing to maintain the brew in a drinkable state, no matter how much Wind & Wuthering it sustains? If this hasn't already been made - don't want to Trespass on another's idea - mayhap Foxtrot down to those patent chappies and outline this result of the Invisible Touch of one's muse.
I did some work with a refrigeration company, the management team were all chemists so when they decided to buy insulated mugs they knew exactly how to keep coffee hot. The mugs were bought to celebrate a huge reduction in the number of accidents in the offices. The production plant was a COMA site, theoretically one of the most dangerous places to work but was virtually incident free, there were no chlorine discharges, hydrofluoric acid spills or burns and no explosions in highly reactive processes.
The offices were a nightmare, people literally falling off their own shoes, tripping over things left on the floor, pouring hot over each other walking down the corridor.
After a 12 month campaign the offices were nearly as safe as the production site.
It was decided to provide insulated coffee mugs with screw on lids, the first accident was reported about 3 hours after they were first distributed when one of the directors came back from a board meeting and took a big gulp of his still nearly boiling coffee. The burns to his mouth were serious enough for it to be a reportable incident, the plant manager was not impressed as he had to adjust the 'days since last reportable incident' board on the front gate from 200+ to 0.
"A device that tells you your toilet has piss in it :)" as far as I can see no one has ever been penalized for stating the bleeding bloody obvious. Clearly some can make a decent quid ot two out of doing so.
I wonder how said tool handles number twos? Or techicolor birdsong for that matter.
These days it seems more sanity is likely to be found inside your local loony bin than outside (or is that a retreat for the neurodiverse?)
I read this excellent book “Vitamania” about the supplement industry, they hired lobbyists specifically to keep it deregulated so that supplements don’t have to meet any standard. Consequently, a lot of herbal supplements are literally just dehydrated random weeds from wherever!
Most of CES is worthless junk, they artificially limited themselves to pointing out only the worst one thing they found so far.
"After all your lawn requires regular mowing, why shouldn't you make a little profit off it."
I had a neighbor with a really nice lawn that he fertilized the carp out of. I gave his kid a couple of bucks for the clippings to put in my composter. Given what nutrients were in that grass, I almost never had to use any amendments in my veggie garden. I also wound up with some really kickin' tomatoes.
This week's BBC "Life Scientific" interview was with a bloke who went from identifying mystery meat in supermarket meals, to detecting leaves in some supplies of culinary oregano that are not, in fact, leaves of oregano. You get some oregano and some other stuff in it. On the question of who is responsible for such surprises, he said "Criminals". Understand what the problem is, then address it.
> says nothing about what it's going to do with that data that is collected
It says all we need to know.
I.e. that unless the data stays solely within the device, it's gone. You have no control over it, it could end up anywhere.
While the original company can make all sorts of promises and assurances, they cannot guarantee what will happen when / if they get bought, hacked, closed-down or simply change their minds.
"> says nothing about what it's going to do with that data that is collected
That's the really scary part. I would expect that to get the most out of the data, you'd need to have it measuring every time. At least they'll tell you that, I'm sure. Did you have a poppy seed muffin? Do you enough a pint or two of an evening? Big coffee drinker? Most pharmaceuticals of any kind leave a trace that can be picked up. If you are on medication for blood pressure or cholesterol, that will certainly be noted.
I love that Cory Doctorow points out the distinction between secrecy and privacy. It can be very important to preserve the latter even if you don't have anything worrisome in the former category. If you don't have any secrets, you likely aren't getting out enough.
> says nothing about what it's going to do with that data that is collected
You probably posted before the highly informative "update"
"Withings ...said it U-Scan data will be subject to company data privacy policies."
>"Implying the use of Withings U-Scan could potentially land a person in jail is preposterous and legally not the case,"
Clearly Withings believe Delaware isn't part of the US and thus subject to US law, unless the person attempting to sue resides outside of the USA...
"I thought that CES was the Worst Show?"
There's a ton of completely useless rubbish, but even that can give you an idea of where things might be going. It certainly lets you know what can be done these days for pennies. I've been thinking of purposing one of my domains to make it appear I have an electronics business so I can get membership/passes to CES, NAB and NAMM. Maybe even AES. With 3D printing and Photoshop, I can show some really cool products. I still try to make it to design and manufacturing shows just to be able to keep up with things. Who knows? It may spark an idea for a new product I can prototype and sell to somebody. I make a few really niche items that bring in a bit of money as a side hustle and I'm thinking of a few more. Principally replacement parts for obsolete audio products that still have a following.
It's raining here!
(I've also heard it call Veganuary too. I just ignore all these social media drive "special months". When I first heard of "moovenber" I thought I was supposed to eat more beef than usual. Turns out it was just poor diction of the person talking about it and something about beards or something.)
>shudder< You've reminded me of the mandatory drug tests from my time in the army. I'm not particularly shy, but having to wee into a pot in front of an NCO was not fun, especially since the tests were random and sometimes it was a major effort to produce enough pee for a valid sample.
"Do you need a $3,300 self-driving stroller to be a good parent? No, but marketers want you to think so"
"The Ella smart stroller uses artificial intelligence to navigate and is filled with bells and whistles like a white noise machine and an automatic parking brake. It’s the Tesla of strollers, basically."
"is filled with bells and whistles like a white noise machine "
Parents shouldn't be using white noise generators or keeping a house particularly quiet when a young child is sleeping. You want them used to normal household noise so they aren't bothered. Even now that I'm older, I've noticed that after a move I need to get used to the normal sounds at my new house before innocuous sounds aren't waking me up. Babies and little kids sleep when they are tired and wake up when they aren't. I'm not saying that it isn't good to put off hoovering or practicing the drums, but making sure to put on soft shoes and tiptoeing isn't necessary or beneficial.
This is presumably for going outdoors with the kid in the stroller, possibly sleeping, possibly just twiddling their fingers. Restful noises are appropriate. On the other hand, bells and whistles can be fun.
Also if it follows the adult around, I don't have a kid and I want this product for groceries. Trigger warning - I think it was Andy Hamilton on ISIHAC who alternatively completed a supermarket slogan, "Everything you want from a store and a little..." "dwarf who carries your shopping." At the time I didn't remember that he himself is far from tall.
The problem with many modern products is that they all want to talk to your phone. This is not only a nuisance -- many of us don't go around all day with a phone in our pocket -- but it opens the door to all sorts of security and spyware issues. Device manufacturers might see this information as an additional income stream. I see it as a 'make product useless' feature. Some of these products also don't have forward thinking built into them. Forget the dumb coffee mug, look at the in toilet bowl urine analyzer. For this to be useful it has to be capable of being calibrated. The way this is done is to have test strips, single use with an expiry date for the active chemical. I'd assume that the in-bowl device uses a similar mechanism, it just uses electronics to read the testing agent relaying that information to the user. This implies that there's renewal, cleaning and what-have-you going on --- but not a word from maker or reviewer.
> For this to be useful it has to be capable of being calibrated
For this to be useful it simply has to sell, wholesale, enough units to recoup the development costs and a bit of profit before everyone catches on. Oh, you meant useful to the end-user? Sorry, that's not on anyone's actions list.
> This implies that there's renewal, cleaning and what-have-you going on
Or it implies that this is a single-use throwaway device, no renewal or cleaning or anything else going on. Simple, easy and a five-pack is 8% off.
> but not a word from maker or reviewer.
The maker staying silent on the realities of his product? Say it isn't so!
And the reviewer has already got all the ammunition needed to get the salient points across - that this is ridiculous and potentially harmful - without needing to go into any lesser details.
Sorry, I'm having some difficulty understanding here - what's the point of having an LCD on a thing that goes on your ear?! Is there some fancy $250 after-market head mounted gimballed mirror doodad so you can read it out of the corner of your eye?
Alternatively, why didn't they build in an *audible* message to indicate whatever is on the little screen....
How things change, I remember Llamasoft for Revenge of the Mutant Camels, Hover Bovver and other quality 8 bit games. I know they moved on to other titles and platforms but this seems a leap too far...
Jeff (Minter) - I'd ask you to tell me it isn't so, but I'm supposed to be working right now, so anonymous it is...
"Wiens concurred, adding, "I don't understand why we have to add batteries to everything. I feel like the battery-ification of the world is an ongoing problem." "
Well, it's a cordless TV. How else is it going to work without batteries? It's far from the daftest product out there. It could be considered the latest in a long line of battery tellies (https://stock.adobe.com/uk/search?k=%22crt+tv%22&asset_id=546771900). In the UK, you could legally use this in someone elses' home, if you have a TV licence, as it is powered entirely by its internal batteries.
The product itself is almost certainly too expensive, and too complex, but a battery powered entirely cordless TV you can just plonk in a room and use would have some use cases.
Whoever wrote "Implying the use of Withings U-Scan could potentially land a person in jail is preposterous and legally not the case" clearly hasn't spent much time in Texas recently. Women are being advised not to tell their doctor when their last menstrual period was for fear that this information could be subpoenaed. Remember citizens can make $7,000 cash by reporting someone they suspect of having an abortion.
personally, if I were silly enough to live in Texas, I would get a list of female relatives of every politician who voted for that nonsense, and report them on a monthly basis. if I found any female politicians who supported it, report them on a weekly basis. use fake ids.
I don't see how the Pee thing will work in a family with multiple people? How does it tell who is who? Your housemate may have some sort of condition affecting their piss, but you may not. How does it know who to tell? I wouldn't want to have to push buttons to log on to such a device, and speaking to the toilet would feel a bit weird.
Not that I am going to buy the device anyway. I'm happy to have my personal data processed by SOME companies, but this seems a little too personal.