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Monday, April 2, 2007

The best thing I can say about the new satellite receiver is that itís here already, and itís working the way it was designed to work. I canít say that Iím happy with the way it works, because so many of the functions are counterintuitive (especially if youíve been operating within the very user-friendly TiVo system for the last five-plus years). But itís here, and I have my 250 channels at my beck and call (and point and click) once again.

It arrived in the middle of the afternoon, while I was doing payroll, so I couldnít drop everything and start playing with it, as I truly wanted to do. When the time came, it was a simple matter of transferring all the connections from the back of the TiVo box to the equivalent slots in the back of the new box. That part was easy. Then I had to call DirecTV to get them to reactivate my account, and even that was easy.

But learning how the remote works, and how the interactive menus get me to the programming I want to watch? Not so easy. Thereís a ďListĒ button that should take me to the list of programs Iíve already recorded, but it takes about six more clicks of various buttons to get that list on screen. And I still havenít figured out which buttons they are, and in which order. I just push and push until I see what I want. With TiVo: one click. (Okay, two at the most.)

The new box will also not let me delete the future recording of a single episode of a series. I either record each episode individually, or I settle for all of the episodes, whether I plan to watch them or not. I canít watch the Dancing With the Stars performance show, for example, without having it record the tedious results show, which I donít want to watch. So Iíll manually record all the Monday shows, and let Tuesday twist in the wind. (I will, that is, until I get so fed up with the show that I stop watching it altogether. That could happen any week now.)

Iím starting to discover some tricks, and Iím sure Iíll learn more, but that doesnít mean Iíll ever be as happy with the new box as I was with TiVo. But they donít make TiVo boxes for DirecTV any more. The satellite company manufactures and sells its own proprietary receiver/recorder, and theyíve simply left out the best parts of its predecessor. Itís too bad, and you can believe that I complained about it to the DirecTV technician. It wonít do any good, but I did register my disgruntlement.




10 March 2007

D.J. and his favorite animal, the cheetah.



I know I should be happy just to have all this at my fingertips, even if it doesnít work perfectly. And I am, really. It just seems like an unnecessary step backward. When the right answer is out there, why fiddle with it until you get something inferior? It doesnít make sense to me.




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One year ago: Shift
"I often start the post-change period with high hopes, only to find myself even more tired and cranky than usual by the middle of the first week, and still disoriented and malfunctioning a couple of weeks later."


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