Technological Advances

The news today that HBO will be making shows available on iTunes has some people in commenting like crazy. “Why buy items for a disposable device” “Why have Tivo when you can watch online” “Why not wait for the DVD to come out”. It cracks me up. The people just start mouthing off and don’t listen to one another.

Look, I have cable, an iPod, satellite radio, and Tivo. As a matter of fact, I had the Tivo before I had any of those things. Had to be the only person in the state that had Tivo with a set of rabbit ears coming off the back of it, but there you go. I bought it and paid the full subscription price up front about six years ago. Now, I’m the Tivo people’s worst nightmare. I’ve had the same device for two or three years longer than they would expect without upgrading, and therefore have no fees, no nothing. The only reason I got a land line when I bought this house four years ago is because I needed it for the Tivo to dial in. (And I like the availability of a land line, but that’s irrelevant). I purchased the machine three days before I was leaving to go to South Korea for two weeks–and I realized that the fall TV season would be starting while I was out of the country. How was I to know that there was going to be a hurricane and I wouldn’t have power at the house for ten days while I was gone. Go figure.

Three years (more?) ago, I bought an iPod as my Christmas present to myself. Love that little bugger. On my second one, because the hard disks in the first one slipped off center and rubbed against one another. Messed up the player. Best dang invention in the world. I listen to it at work, at home, in the car, while shopping, while flying kites, while laying in the hammock, you name it. Even been known to pull the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy off iTunes for girls night when the TV goes wonky.

Next came cable. Had to get it when I enrolled in grad school–dial up internet and online masters research just don’t jive. I did the basic Comcast cable with the $9.99/month cable option–it was cheaper than just getting cable alone. NEVER AGAIN will I use Comcast–the customer service is atrocious. And did you know that they run something like 5000 volts of electricity through their wires for the sole purpose of deterring squirrels from chewing through the coax? Yeah, me neither. Doesn’t make a difference though, as in six months there were out here at least two dozen times and couldn’t ‘fix’ my internet issues. Switched to a digital packaging service which had all three options (phone, cable, internet) bundled, and voila I love my cable company. Have to get them to reboot sometimes from the central station, but hey it’s a computer–it needs to be rebooted on occasion. And it works with Tivo–not complaining! Finished grad school, didn’t get a raise, and still have the cable.

My most recent acquisition is XM radio. I was given this as a gift by my father for Christmas. While I have a feeling that he is a tad disappointed in the manner I use it I have really enjoyed it. I don’t play it in the car–it’s not worth it for my seven mile commute to work, and on long trips I prefer to listen to NPR interviews on my iPod. But I have it running in the house. It’s a great companion to rainy afternoons or Sundays when I’m reading. It’s almost permanently on a classical station, which cracks me up–I never play classical music anywhere else. But I have truly enjoyed it. And I really like it during college football season. It will go back in the car then–I promise!

All these things may be extraneous items in my life, but you know what I love them all. Tivo allows the girls to watch the soapy Grey’s Anatomy at the same time each week while enjoying the one night out. Cable saved me after the Virginia Tech shootings with Alton Brown and the Food Network–it was the only station that wasn’t running 24 hour coverage in Blacksburg. My iPod keeps me from killing people at work, and at the same time allows me to focus on the work that I am doing by tuning out all around me. And the XM is just fun.

So these people need to quit their bellyaching just because HBO is trying to make money by making individual episodes available through the top media downloading service. Money for them, customers buy it, everyone is happy. If it makes them so upset, then maybe they should pull out Monopoly to entertain themselves. Or go to a football game. And you never know, I could be that crazy lady in the car next to you yelling at the radio because someone just scored against my team–and I heard it first on XM radio!

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