Aye, Jon, I’m afraid we’ve got
It’s Jontober here in Tiburon, when people from all over
the world come to celebrate my birthday and bring me gifts. Each year
they ask me or secretly ask Kathleen or Robert, What would Jon like?
Is there anything Jon needs? As a result my wine cabinet is never empty
and I have enough T-shirts to clothe most of Iraq.
But what I really want is a guy—a dude who will put
things together and keep them working for me so when I come back from
a trip I don’t have to fix things and remember how things work. And
my wife especially wants such a guy (I know this is sexist, just bear
with me, OK?).
We have state-of-the-art entertainment stuff. What we
don’t buy (and we don’t buy cheap) we get to test and play with. We
lack for almost nothing—except time. Time to hook it up, figure
it out, and even to use it.
What that means is, as much as I love the stuff, and strongly
believe in best of breed, what I really want is a simple TV with a remote
that has five buttons: on/off, up channel/down channel, up volume, and
down volume. That’s all I really want. Then, when I turn it on it works.
What I have is a screen that comes out of the ceiling,
a projector that talks to me as it’s warming up, three DVRs (no joke),
two satellite receivers (on HD, of course), an upscaler, two DVD players,
a gigantic AV system with 1000w subwoofer, a secondary amp for the extra
speakers for 6.1 sound, and of course all three game consoles with Internet
connections—that’s just the downstairs entertainment center. Parts
of it are replicated in various other rooms.
Watching TV is a challenge. First off it’s remembering
which remotes to use, reminding the projector what the aspect ratio
is (as expensive as it is it can’t seem to figure out when it it’s 16:9
and when it’s 4:3), and then which one of the 250 channels we can watch
(I’m ignoring all the ones in strange languages, infomercials, or pornographic),
do we choose from, or do we look at, some of the 50 hours of video we’ve
got stored on the various DVRs?
I remember in the old days I’d come home from work on
a Thursday night and one of the kids would be in the living room waiting
for me and we’d watch “Star Trek,” or “Dukes of Hazard.”
Hell, I even remember watching—and looking forward to watching—”60
Minutes” or “20-20.” That was before reality TV and news
shows had to worry about their entertainment rating.
But forgetting content, because if I wanted to watch any
one of 22 years of “Star Trek” (regardless of what it might
be named) I could, either on one of the hundreds of channels, or the
DRV, or even a DVD—content is not the problem.
The problem is even though I’m a PE (professional engineer)
and have a lot of degrees, I can’t figure out my own system, and if
anything happens while I’m gone, like a cat checking all those wires
in the back, a power failure, or a visitor, it’s never the same when
I get back.
So I need a guy. His job is easy: just keep the system
working, and clean off the disks of the DVRs. It’s kind of like having
Scotty from Star Trek—just keep the system working, Scotty, never
mind the dilithium crystals, just keep it working.
And then, when Sony or ADS, or Logitech, sends me something
to test, I can say, “Scotty, hook that up, will ya?”
That’s what I want for my birthday—I want Scotty.