Multiple sources of entertainment— how come I’m not happier?

Posted: 03.03.09

Jon needs a stimulus

If I wanted to watch TV on a television set, like the 37-inch 1080p LG that’s proudly sitting in my family room, I have four choices of source: OTA (we live in line of sight of the giant Sutro TV tower that bombards us with analog and digital signals all day and night), satellite (we also have cable but only use it for the internet), recorded (DVD, BD, or VHS), and IPTV.

That same TV can also provide us with bowling on the Wii, Halo on the Xbox360, or Killzone2 on the PS3.

And if I didn’t want to watch anything, I could listen to FM radio, CDs, an iPod, or XM radio (via satellite.)

All I’m missing is smellovision (I have cats for that) and virtual massages (and we have a vibrating chair that will satisfy that need.)

I don’t ever have to leave home, and yet I do. I go to the movies, occasionally an amusement park, and arcades with my grandkids.

And when I’m not in one of those pleasure places, like say in an airport or at a lonely traveling guy dinner, I have my mobile phone that can do almost everything my big screen TV can (plus take pictures), my PSP MID that can do almost everything my big screen TV can do including play games, and my iPod for music, newspapers, and audio books—or I can turn on my Kindle and read.

I’ve acquired these wondrous toys and conveniences over the past few years when the stock market was rising and so was the assumed value of my house and 401k, and I felt good about getting each and every one. I knew I’d have a richer, fuller, more productive and, dare I say it, more entertaining life. And, for the most part, that’s been true. In fact, I’ve probably been the poster child for the entertainment, and equipment industries—if they build it, I’ll come and get it.

And I still will, in spite of any silly recession, my only problem is what the hell could they possibly make that I don’t already have or need? And that is the real cause of this downturn for the tech sector. It’s not the ultra rich’s ultra greed on Wall Street with derivatives of derivatives, it’s not the lazier faire attitude and hollowing out of regulatory agencies by the Bush administration, and it’s not spectacular Ponzi schemes or the latest Texas Enron-like manipulations—it’s boredom—there’s nothing left to buy!

Oh sure, I could go get a new coat for 30% of its ticket price, but there’s no more room in the closet, where would I put it? And yeah, I could go have another swell dinner at my favorite restaurant, but that’s not the same as buying a new electronics toy. Clothes and meals are so, so, so temporary (although I do have some pretty old coats my family would like to see me get rid of.)

So, if we want to end this recession and get things moving, we’ve got to come up with some new gadgets. I’m bored, I don’t have anything new to do. Stereovision only keeps me entertained for a half hour or so. I’ve heard all the songs on the radio and my iPod a hundred times, and if I see one more episode of “House” where he limps in at the last minute with some obscure esoteric diagnosis for a disease no one in the universe has ever heard of, I’m going to throw my diet ice cream at the TV.

I can’t even enjoy driving my super-fast gas guzzling V8 car anymore because of the unapproving stares I get while zipping past the Prius drivers of Marin, which is just about everyone in Marin but me.

So this is an appeal to the manufactures and designers of the world—DO SOMETHING before I go completely crazy—I need a stimulus, not Citibank!