Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Beam Me Up, Scotty

A few dribs and drabs of electronic minutiae:

Had to walk over to the local supermarket earlier today. Passed a woman standing in front of the Rite-Aid -- apparently she had just come out the door -- who was talking loudly on her cell phone.

Woman: "What? No, I'm not at Rite-Aid! I told you I wasn't going to Rite-Aid, didn't I?"

Not my business, of course, but I confess to grinning and thinking, just for a second, about yelling out: "Attention Rite-Aid customers! Does anybody drive a white Ford? Your lights are on!"

I wouldn't, since I didn't know the situation. She might have a jealous old man, could be a lot of valid reasons for lying about where she was, and not knowing them, I kept my mouth shut.

But, still, I incur whatever karma it's worth for thinking about it ...


A few years back, when my TV cable company switched from analog to digital, they made me an offer I couldn't refuse. If I switched over, they said, they'd give the Gold Package, for less than I was paying for the two-premium channel package I had. All the HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Stars I could eat, for less.

They were, they said, trying to encourage customers to switch, and the price would hold for a year.

I did it.

And when the deal expired, I was used to being able to watch any of ten movies I wanted at any given time, so I didn't cancel it, allowing inertia to keep me sitting in the chair.

Prices went up, of course.

A while back, we started looking at our overhead and realized between paying for TV and computer cable, a landline and a couple of cell phones, that our e-expenditures were getting up there. There were some competitors coming in now, too, offering cable or satellite feed, So I found a package that would give us cable TV, computer link, and telephone for considerably less than we were paying if we dropped all those premium cable channels. Plus the phone would offer unlimited long distance in the USA for free. So I took it.

That'll go up eventually, though it's locked in for two years.

And all those premium channels and movies and original programming? I can't say I really miss them. Sure, there were some guilty pleasures I'd watch, The Tudors, Entourage, like that, but if there was a movie on I really wanted to see, I could catch in on pay-per-view, and limit myself to a couple of those a month and still save a bundle. And if there comes a series that is must-watch, I can get the series DVD and do so at my leisure ...


And a final note from the electronic frontier. Yesterday, I beat the chess game on my iPod Touch. Set on easy, but still, I was never very good as a chess player and it has been kicking my ass every time. Probably a fluke and it'll never happen again, but I'll take the victory.

Me 'n' John Henry ...


heina said...

Gratz on beating the computer. Shows you must know something about what you're doing.

Here is a jaw-dropper from Morphy. Enjoy!

Steve Perry said...

I surely don't know what I'm doing. And I didn't see that mate by Morphy coming. What a mind.

Dan Moran said...

Very cool mate. I do play chess and I'm fair at it -- used to beat Sargon at the medium setting sometimes, which isn't great but is ok -- I didn't see it either.

J.D. Ray said...

Jen and I, recently feeling the economic crunch, did a similar accounting of our expenditures. We cut off the land line phone, which meant switching our broadband to Clear, a good alternative if it's available in your area. As movie buffs (junkies), we decided to get a Netflix subscription, mostly for the Watch Instantly Over Broadband feature, which is limitless so long as you want to watch things they have available. So far the selection is pretty good, though not stellar. But for $8 per month, who's complaining? Not us.

It was fine for a while hooking the laptop up to the TV to watch movies, but that got old, and only worked if I was home (the laptop goes everywhere with me) and not using it for something else. Recently we picked up a BluRay player that has Netflix built in (it connects to the Internet). Now we can watch movies in our queue straight from the DVD player. Very nice. Between that and DirecTV, we've got as much entertainment as we need.