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Screw the Luddites

by babbage

Most of us have heard of about the James Bond film “The Spy who loved me.” I have a new little wonder in my house I like to call ‘The Spy I love.’ Unlike James Bond, I’m not an usually early adopter. I like other people to make sure the ejector seat/nuclear propelled ski poles work before I buy. This year things have been a little different. I broke my early adopter rule and bought a Tivo. I read all the reviews; I looked at Replay; I considered waiting for the “it-will-even-cure-cancer” X-Box, and finally gave in.

Some things about Tivo are truly fantastic—there is always something good on my TV now. Some things are truly terrifying—my Tivo is a Bondian nightmare that calls the nemesis every night to report on my viewing activities. What’s worse? It does this no matter how many times I save its life or compliment it on its svelte body.

The literature swears they collect anonymous view habits . . . they say Tivo uses an advanced keyword search for the recommendations . . . but come on. After a couple weeks, this machine started to suggest I watch LEXX. Could this be because it deduced from my viewing habits? At first I thought not, then after careful consideration I thought again. I like Star Trek; I also like girls in bikinis, the Man Show & Baywatch (with the sound off, of course). I also watch the Discovery Channel, Tech TV, movies, PBS specials, etc. But this machine honed right in and said, “You may talk Discovery Channel, but I know you simply dig chicks and SciFi!” I figure a Cleopatra 2525 recommendation is just around the corner.

As for Lexx—it’s Sex and Scifi—if you like that kind of thing, take a gander… The Spy I love called it and I’ll be watching it again.

This darling bundle of joy reads my mind all the time. It records what I tell it too whenever it’s on. I can say “DON’T EVER MISS ANYTHING WITH CARRIE ANNE MOSS,” and it won’t. This is how I discovered my leather clad Matrix babe actually started in a show called Models Inc. that makes Melrose place look like a period drama—but more on that another time. I can tell my Tivo to catch whatever game I want. Thus I am guaranteed a vivid disappointment every season when I tell it to never miss a Red Sox game.

These pieces of magic pale in comparison to my favorite feature. “DON’T EVER MAKE ME WATCH AN AD AGAIN.” This simple phrase is why this spy will never leave my house. I’ve stopped watching ads completely. Forget “Pause Live TV.” I don’t know a single owner who watches Live TV anymore. It’s far too frustrating. But once you’ve saved seven minutes of ads for every 30 in front of the box, you will never go back!

So there you have it. “Don’t ever make me watch an ad again.” This is the catchphrase they were too afraid to tell you. But that’s why we Tivo-users love this baby. So go and buy one. Accept the fact that it will know your inner desires intimately. Accept the fact that it will hand them off to marketers. Accept the fact that it will report every time you watch Baywatch and Discovery. Because every time you hit fast-forward past those ads it will feel worth it!