ECTS 2001: The Old New

May contain boobs. Apologies for the poor quality of the photos. And the boobs.

Way back when, before we had the Eurogamer Expo (or EGX or whatever it is called now), there was an annual show in that there London called ECTS. I think the initials stood for European Computer Trade Show or something.

ects 2001
Just look at all that technology! No, you need to squint. And imagine.

Although it was trade only, it was laughably easy to get tickets anyway. I just made up a company name and applied, and lo – tickets arrived in the post. Nobody questioned me or my friend (who was also my company’s “R&D Lead”) as we entered the ExCeL and illegitimately revelled in touching the as-yet unreleased Nintendo Gamecube and were overwhelmed with the glut of steering wheel controllers and incredibly realistic guns used in strange Vietnamese shooting games.

ects 2001
My first glimpse of a real live Gamecube

There was a stall selling brand new Atari liquidation stock, with piles of Jaguars and Lynxes up the wazoo. At one point they were selling for £5 each, but when I tried to purchase a couple, I was told there was a minimum order of 100 units. How disappointing!

Also disappointing was the lack of actual games on show. The Game Boy Advance, Gamecube and Xbox 1 (no, the original Xbox 1) were all brand spanking new so there was little see there, and the original PlayStation, the Saturn and the N64 were pretty much gone by then. Steering wheels though? Sorted.

ects 2001
Quality shot of a Shrek game. Remember Shrek? Shrek was quite a thing in 2001. Shrek.

Oh yes. And boobs. So. Many. Boobs.

These days, “Booth Babes” are generally frowned upon at such shows. Indeed, when I went to the Eurogamer show in 2011 there were very few, apart from a couple at a Russian shootmans game stand, and a tiny woman busting out of a skintight catsuit at the PlayStation Vita area. In 2001’s ECTS however, pretty much every company had boobs trying to promote their steering wheels, boobs you could deploy Hoverhands and pose with, and/or boobs handing out freebies.

ects 2001
The one on the right is only slightly less real than the other two.

ECTS didn’t last long after 2001. They tried something different with it for a couple of years, making it more publicly accessible (and allowed children to attend), but by then the big names had stopped attending and with them gone, what was the point?


Photos You Have But Don’t Know Why

You still have £5 PhotoBox credit.

I can’t be the only person who has a load of photos, digital mainly, that they’ve taken or been given over the years but don’t know why they were taken or how they ended up with them. It’s almost like someone borrowed my camera for a couple of snaps without me knowing about it.

Back in the days when you had to get your photo films developed, I once picked mine up from a local photo development shop place thing (there’s a name for them I’m probably forgetting) only to find that instead of the usual 27 or 28 pictures from a supposedly 24 capacity 35mm film (with 27 and/or 28 usually being half missing), I had my photos and 12 or so of someone else’s in the envelope. Being a Good Person, I returned them, although sadly they were pictures of someone’s garden or something so nothing worth keeping anyway.

At least those could be explained: there was a mix up and someone put the wrong things in the wrong envelope. These, though?

Things That Google Thinks Are Other Things

In the past, I’ve shown you some of the miscategorisation that Google’s software does with photos, detecting they’re cars and stuff when they’re not. It’s time for some more.

My Miitomo Photos Let Me Show You Them

Set eyes to “stunned”, Mr Worf.

Miitomo photos are a wonderful thing, even when you’re not trying to create any photos yourself and just rely on the app generating them randomly. Here’s a gallery of some of those from my private collection.

Photos that Google thinks are cars, Part 2

Vehicle. Four wheels. How hard can it be?

Remember when Google Photos mis-recognised a load of my photos as cars? It was hilarious, right? Well, things haven’t improved. The other day they rescanned them all or something and suddenly, I’ve a whole new gallery of not-cars to share! How exciting/tedious.

Photos that Google thinks are food

Wait, Google – I can’t eat that!

A while back, I posted some pictures I’d taken that Google Photos had helpfully categorised as cars. Well, it’s not just cars that Google doesn’t understand – it seems the search giant now wants me to eat these things. Urgh.

Photos that Google thinks are cars

Google Photos is a relatively new product from Google, at least in it’s no-longer-Google+ shackled form. It’s pretty good, in terms of some of the syncing and organising it does, and I’m a fan of how it makes animations from photos it thinks are quite similar – in particular, “burst mode” photos.

One of it’s “magic” features is how, when you search your photos, it automatically detects things in them and adds them to albums based on that content. Some are obvious, like locations, and some are a bit more clever, like Flowers or Playgrounds. There’s also one for “Legos” which, although it manages to correctly detect Lego models, uses the incorrect label “Legos”, which doesn’t exist as a word. The plural of Lego is Lego, of course.

However, the “Cars” grouping in my set of photos is… somewhat wrong. Sure, there are a handful of cars (and a few buses, tractors, a JCB and some toy cars – including Lego ones – all of which I’ll give a pass as they’re similar at least), but these? These are not even nearly cars.

New tiny Wii controllers, with sweets

No, not these ones here, which are about 2/3rds the size of a normal controller. These ones here, that I saw in Adsa this week – that are less than half the size:

The best thing is that they’re a bit like a Pez dispenser – letting you fill them with sweets, so you can encourage kids to put their real Wii remotes in their mouths. Hurrah for Nintendo!

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