Digital tantrums…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s dictionary word is ‘dittography’ – unintentional repetition of letters or words in copying a a manuscript.

What a great device is the PVR… the ‘personal video recorder’.
Long gone are those days of messing about with, and rewinding, clunky VHS tapes and setting timers. Ah the joy of new technology…
I had a ‘Digihome’ brand PVR, which was simple to use and was pretty reliable, and had an attractive, rather retro, 1970s look about it. Well, sad to say it finally gave up the digital ghost a couple of weeks ago. One morning after switch-on it petulantly froze on Lieutenant Columbo in mid syllable, and shrugged its electronic shoulders and totally ignored anything I commanded it to do with the remote.
‘Did you try switching it off and on again?’ I hear you chirp. Well, yes, dear reader I did; the thing then refused to even light up again or show any sign of enthusiasm for life at all… Well, that was that then!
I removed it from its dusty shelf it to prepare it for its environmental recycling – (which sounds like a good thing, but I heard recently that piles of defunct items like this apparently end up in massive containers on the their way by ship to India, where they are picked apart in very unhealthy conditions by child labour for extremely low wages. I think I’d better stop feeling so smug about recycling stuff now…). Out of curiosity, I wondered how long I had used it. I found the receipt and realised that it lasted exactly five years to the day! Aha! I’ll bet they build them with a five-year timed self-destruct mechanism in them so that you have to buy another one… It make good marketing sense!
So, I bought a new one… I would have liked another ‘Digihome’ one, as the old one was good value and easy to use, but no-one seemed to sell them any more. Maybe the manufacturing company had a five-year self-destruct built-in to it too? I decided on a ‘Humax’ brand one because although it was twice the price of my old one, it had pretty good reviews and seemed to have lots of ‘features’. Mm… well it turns out that it seems to work quite well, but the on-screen display and the operation of the buttons on the remote control are ergonomically and logically very time-consuming and most annoying… In the first few days I used up my complete vocabulary of expletives…
I don’t really want this to turn into a PVR review page, so I’ll get to the point. The other day the new ‘Humax’ had a small tantrum, a syncope, a moment of digital embarrassment. I had set it in the normal manner to record an episode of some hour-long detective show I was unfamiliar with, and thought that I would give a try. The next day when I tried to view it I found myself watching the start of a Nicolas Cage film. I tried to delete it but the ‘Humax’ wasn’t having any of that – the strange thing was that it seemed to be still recording a full day later… On examination of the on-screen details of the recording, I found that the start time was set at 21.00 hours, and the end time was set at 21.00 hours too! So, logically the length of the recording should be zero… Then, I looked at the thing which shows the duration of recording, which should have said ’60 minutes’, or possibly ‘zero’. It didn’t say that, it said that the recording was set for ‘73,375,411 minutes’. Yes, seventy-three million minutes… Let’s see now, where’s that calculator? Ah yes, according to my reckoning, that is about one-point-two million hours, or fifty-one thousand days, or a hundred-and-thirty-nine years… Of course it was still recording, and still refused to stop. ‘Did you try switching if off and on again Dave?’ Yes, I did dear reader…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in Grumpiness, observations, physics, TV and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Digital tantrums…

  1. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Even one minute of Mr. Cage is too much, much less 73 million. Perhaps your new PVR is actually a time machine or a device that gives one immortality. Better not return it. You’ve got a lot of TV to watch.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      I know what you mean about Mr Cage. He is usually so troubled and miserable in his films. I did like him in that soppy old-fashioned film “It Could be You” though.

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