THE LEARNING CURVE
27 April 2005
Maybe it's true. Maybe you can't teach old dogs new tricks.
I have been looking forward to this day for weeks. I bit the bullet and ordered Comcast DVR, Comcast's Tivo-type system, whereby (theoretically) you can have the machine record your favorite programs for you automatically (no more missing half the show when I doze off), record two shows at once (no more conflict between Survivor and Jeopardy).
The appointment was between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and I got up at 5 to get ready for the installation guy to come. (Naturally, he showed up at nearly 8).
The guy got the box installed, handed me a new remote and a booklet that he promised would explain it all for me, and he swept out of here, leaving me eager to start programming my favorite programs into my new DVR.
Not so simple.
First of all, if you turn the box off, it takes a good 15-20 minutes before the list of programs comes up again (and I kept accidentally turning it off by making the wrong selection which, when you push "set" turns off the recorder).
Then I went searching for programs by name, figuring I'd set it to record L-Word each Sunday. Well, L-Word (which is on in repeat tonight) does not come up on my recorder list at all.
OK...let's try something else. Jeopardy. Let's program Jeopardy to record nightly in case I miss it. I found Jeopardy and set it to record indefinitely. But when I was showing it to Walt, he asked why it was recording Jeopardy at noon. That's when I realized I had set the recording for the old episodes on the Game Show Channel.
Only when I tried to delete it, it wouldn't let me and when I went to press "set program options" (thinking maybe that screen would let me delete it), it turns the box off, which meant I was up a creek for the next 20 minutes.
However, it was nice when nature called just as a segment of The Today Show that I wanted to see was about to come on. I just put it on pause, went to the bathroom, and didn't miss a thing. Good feature.
The problem with this ability to pause and fast forward live programming is that when it is "live" it is on a split second delay. This would normally not be a problem except that I watch TV in my office while I work and Walt might be watching the same show in the family room, and there is a discrepancy in the audio which I suspect will drive us batty.
I'm sure I'll eventually get used to the quirks. I'm sure we'll eventually work around the idiosyncrasies. I'm sure that sooner or later I'll figure out the "series record" feature and learn how to delete something once I've set it to record accidentally, but for now I'm feeling frustrated because what the installer led me to believe would be intuitive with the help of a pamphlet appears to be a little more complicated than I realized.
The news this evening reported that the City of Davis has a neat new feature on the police web site. You can log in and check the crimes that are reported in your area. If you want the URL, all you have to do is log onto the KCRA web site, because there is a link there. Well, the KCRA web site is the least intuitive web site I've ever visited. I've checked news, I've checked community news, I've checked "links," I've run a search, and I'll be damned if I can find it, so I sent another note to the web master letting him know yet again how terrible I think the web site is.
But I'm not a dummy. I can find the web site by googling the Davis Police, which I did. And there it was--the url for the crime checker web site.
Only it doesn't work with Firefox, which is the browser I use. It will only work with Internet Explorer. Sigh.
So I fire up IE, put in the URL and get an error message saying it only works with IE 5 and higher. I check my version if IE and it's 6 and my java is all up to date as well, so I don't know why in the world it doesn't work.
I'm probably better off not knowing that there is a rash of home break-ins or car thefts or whatever in our neighborhood--but my blood pressure went up several points just trying to get to the damn web site. And I still haven't succeeded.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Chippa is lovin' living on a farm.