"My left shoe won't even reboot."
February 21, 2019 4:48 PM   Subscribe

 
"My left shoe won't even reboot."

We are truly living in wonderous times.
posted by TedW at 4:53 PM on February 21, 2019 [58 favorites]


The internet of things is inherently a bad idea. Marty McFly never had to put up with shit like this.
posted by KHAAAN! at 4:55 PM on February 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


This timeline is so weird.
posted by avalonian at 4:58 PM on February 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


lol.
posted by valkane at 4:59 PM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


That’s because he had a time machine. The rest of us are stuck in the world where Biff still has that damn magazine.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:59 PM on February 21, 2019 [31 favorites]


We are truly living in wonderous times.

It's incredible. "My left shoe won't even reboot" is the saddest six word story of the 21st century.
posted by Ouverture at 5:00 PM on February 21, 2019 [121 favorites]


YOUR JACKET IS NOW DRY
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:02 PM on February 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


Kicks’ schtick bricks quick.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:09 PM on February 21, 2019 [50 favorites]


This actual thing someone wrote in earnest seems an apt summary of the capitalist world in 2019:
"The first software update for the shoe threw an error while updating, bricking the right shoe. App will only sync with left shoe and then fails every time. Also, app says left shoe is already connected to another device whenever I try to reinstall and start over."
posted by glonous keming at 5:10 PM on February 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


So you say the shoe won't... boot? That the firmware is laced with errors? That there's a sole point of failure? Was the engineering team caught flat-footed? Did they try to shoehorn in too many features? Were they able to cobble together a fix?

*takes deep breath*

ok. I'm... ok. I'm done.

sorry to be such a heel
was the development platform arch linux
posted by phooky at 5:12 PM on February 21, 2019 [171 favorites]


There's a joke in here somewhere but it would take a literal genius to untie all the knots.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:16 PM on February 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Every day it gets harder and harder to tell what's satire, because the world of 2019 is so much dumber than I ever could have imagined.
posted by bongo_x at 5:18 PM on February 21, 2019 [59 favorites]


Something something index funds
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:28 PM on February 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


I won't say our world today is as stupid as it is vile, but stupidity's working hard to catch up.
posted by treepour at 5:30 PM on February 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


It's incredible. "My left shoe won't even reboot" is the saddest six word story of the 21st century.
posted by Ouverture at 5:00 PM on February 21
[16 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I know it’s only February but I nominate this for Metafilter Comment of the Year.
posted by ejs at 5:37 PM on February 21, 2019 [19 favorites]


was the development platform arch linux


You know the mods are going to make up a policy on pun cascades, and then make us toe the line on it.
posted by ocschwar at 5:39 PM on February 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


It's going tough to beat this for tech headline of the year.
posted by symbioid at 5:51 PM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


🤦🏼‍♂️
posted by photoslob at 5:58 PM on February 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Between this and Nike's shoe blowing out on the potential #1 draft pick at one of the most watched NCAA basektball games on recorded video that was even called out by President Obama this has been a bad news week for Nike.
posted by Karaage at 6:00 PM on February 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


What I want to know is, who's going to get the boot for this failure - who'll be handed their walking papers? Will they have to slink out of the office like a stinking sneaker?
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:09 PM on February 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


It just really blows my mind how little graceful degradation is implemented as a design principle for this sort of thing. A friend of mine splurged on a bike with SRAM electronic shifters, and if they're out of charge they just don't work, no mechanical/manual fallback whatsoever. I assume that most such design choices are down to prioritizing planned obsolescence, but it seems to be an inviolable rule of the universe that such products end up being shitty even while they're enjoying full support from the manufacturer. In worse moods I end up wanting to trace this all back to the utterly stupid and harmful ethos of "worse is better" in software, but I'm sure that corporations would have managed to pull this same nonsense even in a world where that never became a thing.
posted by invitapriore at 6:15 PM on February 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Darth Vader: Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed.
posted by jadepearl at 6:20 PM on February 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


I'm looking to root them so I can have a foot massage while playing.
posted by srboisvert at 6:30 PM on February 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I’m trying my best to imagine a prod-dev meeting where the idea of an internet-connected shoe doesn’t get laughed out of the building, and I just can’t.

I am, apparently, utterly out-of-sync with the age.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:36 PM on February 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


In response to the reports on Google Play, Nike said, "We are aware of the issue and are actively working on a solution."

Solution: literally any other footwear alternative.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 6:39 PM on February 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


Cobbler, stick to your last.
posted by aws17576 at 6:39 PM on February 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


In "IOT" : the S stands for security shoe
posted by lalochezia at 6:41 PM on February 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that sneakers probably don’t need to have firmware.
posted by bondcliff at 6:58 PM on February 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


For sale: baby shoes, won't reboot
posted by miguelcervantes at 6:58 PM on February 21, 2019 [50 favorites]


Now that we've been trained to accept the appalling shoddiness of almost all software we're going to have to accept a physical universe in which basic usability is a premium feature.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:01 PM on February 21, 2019 [22 favorites]


Now that we've been trained to accept the appalling shoddiness of almost all software we're going to have to accept a physical universe in which basic usability is a premium feature.

Imagine a bluetooth boot stamping on a human face, forever

Or at least until a stack overflow
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:09 PM on February 21, 2019 [18 favorites]


I can see these shoes as being a wonderful and useful product for people with motor control or mobility issues, or for amputees -- people for whom putting on and lacing a shoe is difficult or impossible. Of course, that's not why Nike made them, or why people are buying them.
posted by sarcasticah at 7:13 PM on February 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


Bad sneakers and a kernel corruption my friend
Stomping on the avenue by Redwood City with some
Transistors and a large sum of money to spend
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:22 PM on February 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Knowing my luck if I had bluetooth boots I'd never get a pair.
posted by traveler_ at 7:29 PM on February 21, 2019 [12 favorites]


I can see these shoes as being a wonderful .... lacing a shoe is difficult or impossible.

cough, velcro, cough

From what I read it was purely a tech challenge stemming from Back To The Future film and I really get that it's a cool challenge and a fun prototype, what I don't get about this world is how there is any kind of a market other than novelty, but then I struggle to find sufficiently (non clown shoe) boring sneakers.
posted by sammyo at 7:31 PM on February 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


I can see these shoes as being a wonderful and useful product for people with motor control or mobility issues, or for amputees

I’d like to think that if they were made for this purpose, someone would make sure they were actually reliable. Am I naive? I may be naive. But it does seem to me as if electronic assistive technologies were more reliable before they relied upon firmware or internet connections.
posted by ejs at 7:32 PM on February 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


My initial reaction to the idea of app-driven self-lacing shoes is exactly the same as what I felt when first learning that all those stupid Facebook invitations I was suddenly getting floods of were because people were uploading their email address books to it: WHO ON EARTH WOULD WANT TO...

brb buying Nike shares
posted by flabdablet at 8:07 PM on February 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I guess this answers the questions of whether you take your shoes off inside the house or not - these shoes make their own decisions about when they come off.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:45 PM on February 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


more like "your floor is now clean"
posted by ryanrs at 9:40 PM on February 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


these shoes make their own decisions about when they come off

Or they communicate with a home's Nest or Alexa or whatever and together conspire to turn us all into Canadians.
posted by St. Oops at 9:40 PM on February 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that sneakers probably don’t need to have firmware.

I used to work for an engineering firm that did a lot of projects for Nike, and there was a period of my life when I got paid to write firmware for shoes. It was great fun, and I did some of the cleverest work I've ever accomplished on that project, but I have to agree with you: sneakers probably don't need to have firmware.
posted by crotchety old git at 10:08 PM on February 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


Never mind firmware, what about batteries? Please tell me that these things at least run off piezo cells built into the heels that turn footsteps into electricity.
posted by flabdablet at 10:41 PM on February 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine splurged on a bike with SRAM electronic shifters, and if they're out of charge they just don't work, no mechanical/manual fallback whatsoever.

The batteries on each derailleur are interchangeable. They're deliberately designed so you if one dies you can use the good battery to e.g. shift the front mech on to the small ring, then put it on the rear mech to continue riding with a reasonable selection of gears.

(whereas if the cable snaps on a mechanical shifter, which is endemic to some recent designs, you're stuck trying to ride in the highest gear)
posted by grahamparks at 12:07 AM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Did we learn nothing from The Wrong Trousers, here, people? You IoT your shoes and the next thing you know, you'll wake up upside down in the middle of a museum heist, being controlled by an evil penguin.
posted by halcyonday at 1:44 AM on February 22, 2019 [25 favorites]


Oh it's gonna be the way you always dreamt about it
But it's gonna be really happening to ya"
She gotta dance, she gotta dance
And she can't stop 'till them shoes come off
These shoes do, a kind of voodoo
They're gonna make her dance 'till her 'till her legs fall off OR THE SOFTWARE GETS AN UPDATE
- Kate Bush The Red Shoes
posted by Lanark at 2:03 AM on February 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Life turned into a Neal Stephenson novel so gradually, I hardly even noticed.

Fortunately this means I'll never die because my life won't have any kind of actual ending. Heyoooooo!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:22 AM on February 22, 2019 [16 favorites]


Self-lacing shoes seem a bit like a self-winding watch; they automate a job that’s already been eliminated.
posted by Segundus at 2:56 AM on February 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


*quietly patents self-knotting necktie*
posted by Segundus at 2:57 AM on February 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


Well, I guess bootstrapping finally means something again.

I came here for the puns but I see that path has been well and thoroughly trodden. I guess we can wait for the other shoe to fail.
posted by loquacious at 3:01 AM on February 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


This is making me think of that ramble about how everything from the '50s, from cupboards to cars, required "the knack" to operate.

We are recreating that glorious age by putting software in everything. You can get your shoes to work; you just need the knack.
posted by clawsoon at 3:40 AM on February 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


"cough, velcro, cough"

So, because of severe osteoarthritis, I have only about 25 degrees of movement in both my hips. I haven't been able to touch my feet in about 18 years. If I could reach my feet, tying the laces would be no problem. But I can't reach my feet. For all this time, I've been wearing slip-ons. Boat shoes, mostly. I'd really like to wear some other kinds of shoes. My ears perked up when I first heard about Nike's self-tying shoes. Then, I learned that there's a button you press on them to untie them, or something like that. Not that I was much interested in flashy sneakers (with lights!). Just the basic idea for disabled folk like me.

Last week, in between these alternating bouts of snowfall and ice, I had to go outside to charge a car battery for a car that hadn't been driven for awhile. I was uncertain about the safety of my footing. I removed the rubber foot from my cane, leaving the aluminum edge exposed, which I thought was clever. But the boat shoes I usually wear seemed a bad idea.

So I have two pairs of Doc Martens, one brown and one black, that I bought in 1999. That was right around the point in time when it was difficult, but not impossible, for me to lace shoes. But it was difficult enough that I think I wore either pair of those boots no more than three of four times. They are not broken-in. They are pristine, and I've kept them in my closet as I've moved, on the theory that if I really wanted to wear them, I'd be able to have someone tie them for me.

Almost twenty years later, that day came last week. Someone helped me with my socks and then I put the boots on and they tied them for me. Then I put on a jacket and went out to set up the battery charger.

I'm having to pause for a moment to decide how to explain how good it felt to be wearing those boots. Heavy, solid, tightly fitting and laced, and my footing outside was great. It felt very good. It made me happy and it is making me happy right now just describing it. The joy of small things, the things you don't notice until they're gone.

Then I finished my chore, came in, and had someone untie and remove those boots.

All of this is to say that anyone who is inclined to reflexively mock "self-tying shoes" (no one here, but I think in the prior thread) ought to consider that such a thing could be (even if it currently is not) very enabling to some of us.

Also, I wish I could wear those Doc Martens of mine more often than once every twenty years.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:56 AM on February 22, 2019 [26 favorites]


You IoT your shoes and the next thing you know, you'll wake up upside down in the middle of a museum heist, being controlled by an evil penguin.

It's evil penguins all the way down.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:11 AM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


i bet the people at nike are fit to be tied

(someone had to say it)
posted by pyramid termite at 4:49 AM on February 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


GOOD FUCKING CHRIST STOP PUTTING FIRMWARE IN THINGS THAT DONT NEED FIRMWARE.

FUCK!
posted by uberchet at 6:44 AM on February 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Self-lacing boots, my foot. It's just (k)not right. Some things should be left alone.
posted by h00py at 7:00 AM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


For sale: Nike sneakers, can't reboot

Has the future always been this stupid and we're just now noticing it?

Edit: Just noticed I was well beaten to the joke. Wish I'd held my tongue.
posted by "mad dan" eccles at 8:48 AM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


These boots are made for crashing
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these bo
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:12 AM on February 22, 2019 [18 favorites]


Ivan, thank you for sharing that. And in the small chance you live in the Portland area, I volunteer to come lace your shoes any time in exchange for a cup of tea.
posted by eggkeeper at 11:49 AM on February 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Now that I know they barely work, I kind of want a pair to add to my museum of pointless tech wearables.

What if I could make my Pebble lace them?
posted by saysthis at 12:09 PM on February 22, 2019


(whereas if the cable snaps on a mechanical shifter, which is endemic to some recent designs, you're stuck trying to ride in the highest gear)
A friend was just telling me about the electric shifters and he noted that if a mechanical one breaks, you cut off a bit of cable and tie the shifter in the position you like, so apparently you’re not stuck in the highest gear if you know the trick. I don’t know personally, not being a bikeist.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:10 PM on February 22, 2019


I think something is wrong with uberchet's firmware
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:19 PM on February 22, 2019


Obama: "His shoe broke."
posted by porpoise at 9:02 PM on February 22, 2019


Sure, velcro is great, unless you can't bend down to use the velcro strips, or you lack the hand strength to pull it tight enough to secure the shoe on your foot. Not everyone can do that. So dismissing technology like this with a "cough, velcro, cough" isn't really helpful.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:33 AM on February 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I warned you I warned all of you with your goddamn BlueTooth Borscht and WiFi-Enhanced Chicken Noodle I WARNED YOU
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 10:36 AM on February 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


My left shoe won't even reboot.

If the shoe quits, forswear it.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:39 PM on February 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


If I could reach my feet, tying the laces would be no problem. But I can't reach my feet.

As I am currently fat enough that putting on my socks involves a manoeuvre like (in Louis CK's memorable phrase) trying to fold a bowling ball in half, I share this problem. I am, however, fortunate enough to live in a climate where going barefoot all year round is actually feasible and, as I'm now retired, practicable.

It's not the electric lacing mechanism in Nike's boots that I think is howlingly 2019-grade stupid: as you correctly point out, there are perfectly reasonable uses for that even if it does smack of Complicator's Gloves. The howlingly stupid part is networking the fucking things, with the consequent requirement for firmware and (worse) firmware upgrades.

I can see no reason at all why motor-driven laces, if motor-driven laces there must be, should need anything more complicated to control them than a $5 keytag dongle with feel-distinguishable thumb-operated Tighten and Loosen buttons. Using a phone app to do it instead is both an incredible wank and works worse.
posted by flabdablet at 7:02 AM on February 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


"His shoe broke."

That incident has been widely reported as an instance of a shoe "exploding". But now that the self lacing ones are a thing, does that mean we can look forward to actual shoe explosions, Galaxy Note 7 style?

Strikes me that having a lithium battery fire tightly laced to your foot, where the only means for loosening the laces relies on the battery not having caught fire, might perhaps not end well.
posted by flabdablet at 7:26 AM on February 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


What if I could make my Pebble lace them?

I've been waiting for some kind of pebble in shoe joke.

I actually would like self lacing hiking boots or muck boots that didn't suck. It would be really cool to be able to step into a pair of boots easily and have them automatically close up like a piece of Iron Man armor. They'd be amazing for camping or rural environments where your shoes are always dirty and you just want to pop in the tent or house for something.

But I'm thinking less Back to the Future or Nike streetwear and more just plain old working grade boots that reliably and invisibly do their thing. I'm visualizing how great it would be to swing my feet right out of my hammock and right into boots that I don't have to lace up, or just easily stepping into knee high rubber muck boots on the porch without doing any gymnastics at all.
posted by loquacious at 1:37 PM on February 24, 2019


flabdablet: "Strikes me that having a lithium battery fire tightly laced to your foot, where the only means for loosening the laces relies on the battery not having caught fire, might perhaps not end well."

A clever mechanical mechanism could be derived that could involve no electricity at all. Action force could be generated either like a self wind watch or ratcheting a spring via foot steps. Activation could be with a simple button that could be remotely activated like the latches on x-country skis are. Or maybe some sort of magnetic thing that was activated when a person clicked their heals together.
posted by Mitheral at 8:11 PM on February 24, 2019


A clever mechanical mechanism could be derived that could involve no electricity at all.

No! Really?
posted by flabdablet at 8:22 PM on February 24, 2019


Those are fine but they don't grip like a laced boot and they don't provide much in the way of ankle support.
posted by Mitheral at 9:18 PM on February 24, 2019


I can see no reason at all why motor-driven laces, if motor-driven laces there must be, should need anything more complicated to control them than a $5 keytag dongle with feel-distinguishable thumb-operated Tighten and Loosen buttons. Using a phone app to do it instead is both an incredible wank and works worse.

So. Much. This.

Having the phone apps shows it was pointless internet of things wank rather than something designed as an actual useful thing for those of us who might not be able to actually tie our shoelaces.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:08 AM on February 25, 2019


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