404 Product Not Found

Last night, I went over to REI to pick up my cycle trainer. It’s a little frame I can drop my bike into to provide some resistance while riding inside. I plan on making all of my Star Trek watching a little more productive. I’m also hoping a little evening exercise will help me sleep better.

However, I was also seeking out the following products at REI and the nearby Best Buy and Staples:

  • Goggles for winter night riding I need them to be anti-fog, polarized for headlights, but otherwise mostly clear. All of the ski goggles REI had were for daytime snow glare; the one set of cycling sunglasses they carry was out of stock and unnecessarily expensive (read: Oakley), and the lenses were clear and not anti-fog. I want full goggles anyway, for the wind protection.
  • Wireless USB (WUSB) hub There are a bunch of press releases about these products from almost a year ago, but none of them actually exist yet as far as I can tell. When I ask people are stores, they think I mean USB wireless hub, where wireless is being used as an overly generic term for 802.11 wireless networking. I don’t see what’s taking so long; the standards have been out for a while, and the products were demoed at expos earlier in the year. I want one now.
  • Bluetooth remote control The only ones that exist are cruddy little presentation remotes with slide forward/back buttons. Most of the remotes come with their own dongle; my computer has built in Bluetooth! This would be like shipping a USB card with every USB device. What I basically want is a programmable, TV-size remote that connects via Bluetooth.

I know I’ve ranted about it before, but it all comes back to orthogonality of feature sets. I know that anti-fog coatings exist; I know that full goggles exist; I know that nighttime lenses exist. I want the three in combination, but I am apparently in the long tail and so my product does not exist.

The fundamental problem, of course, is that there are very few people who ride a bicycle at night during the winter, there are very few people who watch their TV through their computer, and there are very few people who have a projector in a separate room from the components that feed it video.

I also have the problem of knowing that all of this technology is possible, and then getting frustrated when I can’t understand why I can’t buy it yet. I should just start buying my own Bluetooth chipsets.

All The Way Up To Heaven” from Lost And Gone Forever by Guster


10 responses to “404 Product Not Found”

  1. I bet they have Bluetoooth-enabled goggles somewhere.

    Or they will soon.

  2. I should just start buying my own Bluetooth chipsets.

    Or move to somewhere like South Korea or Japan, where (as engagdet.com constantly whines about) all sorts of nifty technology is available sooner than the US.

    I keep forgetting to ask you about your tv-through-computer, since I still haven’t gotten around to buying a tv yet…

  3. I don’t think you can do polarized without fairly dark. The polarization process cuts too much light. My solution for this problem has always been to pick up a $4 set of safety goggles at the hardware store and not worry about fog. (You could probably put some rain-X on them if you wanted.)

    I’d love a set of changeable-lens sunglasses with clear options, but they are v. expensive (Oakley was the only brand I’ve tried on that fit me decently). So I stick with $20 polarized wraparound sunglasses and safety goggles.

  4. You can’t get my particular TV-through-computer setup, both because it’s Mac only, and because the product is no longer available due to changes in HDTV recording laws. The cable companies won, the consumers lost.

  5. For clear or clear-ish (read: yellow) goggles, look for goggles intended for night skiing (which a significant number of people actually do, so they exist).

    For non-cold-weather biking, you can get fairly inexpensive glasses with interchangeable lenses from Nashbar or Performance Bicycle. I previously got a pair from one of them for $15, and now have a nicer pair that cost $40.

  6. Try Sailing Clicker?

  7. I may have ranted about this already, but T-Mobile didn’t ship their RAZR v3 phones with JSR-82, the Java interface to the Bluetooth module, which Salling Clicker requires. Naturally, T-Mobile won’t install JSR-82 because they don’t support third-party software, and they won’t give me the tools to do it myself, because that would void my warranty. Can you imagine what would have happened to PCs if they had started locked down by your ISP???

  8. it’s like you said, there are too few people with your whacky needs to warrant the research and production costs necessary to produce a product that matches your design specifications.

    solution: become super-rich and custom order things yourself. case in point: http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/2006/09/zeiss-super-tele.html

  9. Something you could try is getting a Wiimote (similar form factor) and getting the darwiinremote stuff for mac. Bluetooth + free software, and you get 3-axis accelerometers to boot. You might have to do a bit of configuration, and it’s probably not the cheapest solution out there at $40, but it might be worth your while.

  10. Heh. I had already thought of this, but it was back during the ZOMGwii period a while back when you couldn’t get them. As it happened, my mousewheel died a week or two later so I just got a Bluetooth mouse, and I carry it out to the livingroom for viewing.

Nurd Up!