The Technology One-Sided Debate

(This started as a comment on a posting over at notesfromthetrenches, but I figured I would expand on it and be even more entertaining and self deprecating all at the same time.)

I'm a typical "guy" when it comes to electronics. If I can find a way to upgrade my stereo, computer, home theatre, etc, I'll obsess over it (and usually do about half of what I'd like to do). Future Shop is like gadget-geek Valhalla, but with post-adolescent people running about in shirts with dirty cuffs and bad neckties.

I've made some silly decisions in the past, not the least of which was getting the very loud home theatre system right before the Toddler was born. Why WOULDN'T you get to watch lots of loud movies that really give your Surround Sound a workout with a kid sleeping in the house. But dammit, it was important that I get a stereo that December -- and so I did. (And if you want to come over and watch Full Metal Jacket, we can so totally do that in 2009.)

When we moved house, I got a "free installation" of Digital Cable -- which, for the layperson, means "dozens of channels you never knew you could get, and which you never will watch". Oh, and some of them give you better picture and sound if you actually have a television on which you'd notice such upgrades. (We do not.)

What it doesn't say is this: it will ruin the way you watch and re-watch television in your house. You'll have new rules and protocols when trying to, ahem, "tape" television shows. You see, the FIL had digital cable for a couple of years, and we enjoyed the on-screen menus and TV listings, but we knew damn well it meant that their VCR become all but inoperable, to the extent that they bought a new VCR to pair up with a television in the spare bedroom.) He has since ditched the Digital Cable and is once again eating hot meals at suppertime.

I informed TLW that I had 'accidentally' ordered Digital Cable and it would be installed when we re-initiated cable service. I'll just say this revelation was met with rolled eyes and a heavy sigh. And, while I like the variety of channels, I pretend to like it a lot more and use it a lot more than I acutally do -- maybe because I don't want to be the guy who gave up digital cable because I was a technological dinosaur climbing a tree while the glaciers moved in (contrary to popular belief, the dinosaurs did not die out from smoking).

And so we had this exchange last week:

The Lovely Wife: "Do we really need Digital Cable? It's insanely difficult
to record shows."

Me: "Well... We could get the DVR and do it all electronically"

TLW: "Umm, no. I'm NOT shelling out $300 or whatever it
costs for one of those things. Why don't they think of these things when
they come out with new technology? Why make something that nobody can use with their system? Surely people are out there who still have VCRs."

Me: "Like us?"

TLW: "Come on. Are you telling me nobody else out there still has a VCR?"

Me: "Fiiiiine. Let's go to yard sales and pick up a second VCR so we can tape Sunday Night Football AND The Amazing Race."

She's got a point, of course. On the list of Pros and Cons, the Cons are definitely winning out. We can't (easily) record anything. We can't record anything without watching it at the same time (no recording a different channel than you have on.) Leaving something to record while you go to bed? Not exactly easy.* We might use five channels we weren't getting in the pre Digital Cable days. We do get to use the menu to find out what's on and what's coming on, but until 8pm we don't get to watch television anyway. We could watch movies if we could keep our eyes open past 10PM.

*My first foray into recording using the Digital Cable was 2 hours of US Open Tennis, recorded with no volume and the "mute" indicator atop the coverage. Brilliant, I am.

I learned a long time ago that if I want something to be accepted in the house, it better be seen as useful and easy to use by TLW. Case in point, I learned over the weekend that she can think of only one useful gadget I've advocated for in recent years (two if you count it as an accessory to the nano iteslf). Maybe someday we'll graduate from the VCR.

But seriously, we could get around all of this if we'd just get the Dual-tuner DVR and a 52" Plasma Television.

Come on, people. It's only practical!

Posted bythemikestand at 2:13 PM  

9 stepped up to the mike:

canadian sadie said... 12:34 AM, September 26, 2006  

Hey!! I've got a VCR and I know how to use it! If you ever need to borrow it, just let me know. It works WAAAAY better than the $30 dvd player i got at Walmart! I'd still not even HAVE a dvd player if stupid Blockbuster still rented videos!

Chair said... 1:50 AM, September 26, 2006  

I have a VCR!

Steph said... 8:51 AM, September 26, 2006  

I've got Pogey-vision (or Peasant-vision, whatever you prefer) and I don't have to pay a thing for it!

We get 4 channels (including the French CBC station) and we really don't miss having cable. Ok, except for the home reno shows. But I watch those when I travel with work.

themikestand said... 9:18 AM, September 26, 2006  

sadie: the vcr works fine, just not in conjunction with the digital cable. it's hard to explain.

chair: we need an extra. I'll give you $20 for it! Are you still planning that garage sale ?

steph: we could probably get by with four channels, but don't tell my wife. Actually, no. She's the one that demands all the sports networks, which means basic cable, plus two upgrade packages. Either way, the digital cable is only $7 more than what we had, but still it's a hard sell from day to day.

Brianna said... 2:05 PM, September 26, 2006  

your blog is trying to piss me off. I commented earlier and just came back to see if you had commented on my comment (because i am an ego-maniac) and my comment is GONE.

anyway, here's what i said:

DVR is awesome. i pay $45/month to dish network for about 60 channels (the're smallest package), the dish and the receiver with DVR built in. awesome deal. i can't watch something else while recording -- though, Geoff can, he has time warner cabel with DVR (and he pays WAY more).

Dustin said... 3:54 PM, September 26, 2006  

Kill your television. Sounds harsh, I know...but why pay for anything on TV when you can download it!! Come to the darkside of the force my friend and give into torrents.

Christine said... 9:53 PM, September 26, 2006  

my husband and i play at being amish, and do not have cable (digital or otherwise) or satelite. we read, play board games, and have lots of sex.

okay, we just don't watch much tv, but hey..

but i do have a vcr and i rent crap movies from the library. our dvd player is the children's playstation 2.

themikestand said... 9:33 AM, September 27, 2006  

brianna: G's hookup sounds good. I got a similar review from Jason at spacemonkeypants.com -- but I'm not sure my wife's been swayed.

dustin: I heart the torrents, but I seem to have strayed from them lately. I'm catching up on Trailer Park Boys, but still am behind on BSG and the Office (US).

christine: what is this "lots of sex" of which you speak? Also, our children are not playstation age yet (and neither am I.)

Ninja Knitter said... 7:53 PM, September 27, 2006  

Pshaw - 3 is plenty old for a PS2.

*waits to be stoned alive*

Mr. Munchkin likes to play "I <3 Katamari" with me and Mr. Ninja. Great game for kids - teaches hand-eye coordination, and it's kinda psychedelically goofy. Which adults need after spending 24-7 living with Bob the Builder and Pocoyo...everything's funnier when you're sleep deprived, no?

Of course...we're kinda big on technology around here. Some of the munchkin's first toys include a tv remote and a toy cellphone.

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