The march of technology is like a drunken sailor on his way to the next bar. He more or less knows where it is, but his pickled neurons send him on an erratic path. Thus we get driverless cars that run over a pedestrian in the dark because the car forgot to turn its high beams on while its human monitor was not looking at the road. Slavic (I won’t be more specific about nationality) hackers can read the world’s emails. Social media is a pit of digital vipers. The guardian of our creditworthiness can’t even find their car keys. The CIA loses laptops. And my smart TV gets repeated TIAs whenever there’s a sporting event on the set.
Here’s the problem. The DVR works from a guide. The guide has the time when whatever you wish recorded will start. There are often sporting events scheduled on days when another, and later, program is due to be recorded. The sporting events often last longer than the guide says they will. This throws the rest of the day’s schedule off course. If you’ve set the DVR to record something it will start too late and end too soon. You could tell the DVR to tack more time onto the recording, but that would require more knowledge of when sporting events are to be broadcast than I wish to acquire. Also assumed is that there’s something on network TV that’s worth watching. Occasionally there, but who wants to watch commercials, hence the DVR. It not only allows time shifting, but you can fast forward the commercials.
But if a hockey game was on earlier, or even worse a soccer match, the DVR is too stupid to adjust the start of As The Stomach Turns or whatever it was you wanted to watch. As just about all of us younger than Millard Fillmore are carrying around in our pocket or purse, depending on our gender identification, an instrument far smarter than all of us combined and as many of us have an another smart device that answers to a girl’s name and which knows Ty Cobb’s lifetime batting average among an almost infinite number of extraneous facts within shouting distance, why can’t a DVR figure out when a TV program really starts as opposed to when it’s supposed to?
Reading my sentence of near Joycean length, contemplating it and also trying to decipher it caused me to be seized with the possibility that maybe I was the fault my DVR was dull. Perhaps most normal recording devices can provide the service the absence of which I am bewailing. Could it be that my DVR was IQ matched to its owner? After all, I’ve had the device, actually several, for years and am only now complaining about it (their) poor chronology skills. No one I know has complained about the show stopping effects of Ice Dancing on their enjoyment of The Ed Sullivan Show.
It’s very possible that I’ve flunked TV watching and gotten the DVR I deserve. Is there a way to test this deflating hypothesis? I’ve decided to turn the DVR over to my parrot, Groucho. I’ve written about him here before. Incidentally, he has a gender identification issue. He thinks he’s a boy. He says so repeatedly, but DNA analysis says he’s a girl. I’m careful to keep him away from public bathrooms. Anyway, my plan is to turn the DVR over to him. As he has no hands, he’ll have to manage the contraption by remote control. I’ve hooked Alexa to my DVR. Groucho will tell her what programs to record. She also has gender issues. When I first asked her if she was a girl she denied having gender saying she was an artificial intelligence. But now she says she’s female in character – whatever that means. I’ve connected her to my DVR. She now has control of all its recording function, but the decisions will be made by Groucho whose intelligence is beyond question.
When Groucho tells Alexa to record NCIS LA on the same day that women’s soccer is on the air we’ll see if the damn machine makes the needed adjustment to account for the shootout that inevitably will decide the game which will finish three hours late. Basketball should adopt the same procedure and decide tie games by foul shots. If the recorder turns out to be flexible, I’ll accept blame and limit my recordings to the Cartoon Network. If it still is recalcitrant, I’ll blame Elon Musk, and short Tesla’s stock whatever that means.