Tech Specs

There are few things as gratifying in this crazy mixed-up world than navigating the digital morass and making things work.

Greetings from Colorado, where I’ve been sick as a dog.

Antibiotics, do you take them or not? I wish all the people agitating against GMOs and vaccines would refuse to use antibiotics, not because I want them to be sick, but because I want to eliminate immunity to their effects. That’s what I find fascinating about the firebrands against modern life, they’re quick to use its benefits when they suit them. They’re against stem cell research until it’s going to cure their mother’s cancer, never mind their own. And these same upper class Westsiders who refuse to vaccinate their children don’t think twice about employing modern medicine at the hint of a sniffle. So if I finally decide to take a drug, it won’t work!

Not that I started out on them.

You see I waited a week. As my head spun and then became gripped in a vice and I could not sleep for all the coughing.

I resorted to web research. They said it’s usually a virus. I’m anxious about calling the doctor on the weekend. But then when I had that coughing fit where I felt my insides were turned inside out I saw no other option, I called the doc.

Who was loath to diagnose over the phone. Everybody’s worried about liability. But he did prescribe a Z-Pak.

Z-Pak? I don’t need no stinking Z-Pak, I need the big guns, Biaxin, Cipro, give me something nuclear that will kill everything in sight, I don’t want to wait another week to find out the heavy artillery is required.

Yes, this is how far we’ve come, where the overprescription and overuse of antibiotics has made it so they don’t work.

But mine seems to be.

Which is astounding, now I feel dumb, I should have called earlier. But I can’t be that sick, I’m not entitled to be, until I die. I had visions of Jim Henson twirling in my brain.

Now I’m on my way back.

But being locked up in the condo due to my malaise, Felice wanted to know, DO WE GET NETFLIX?

Ah, what I hate about the technologically-challenged.

I hate that they stretch a non-HD signal to fit the whole screen. I like my people to look normal as opposed to something you’d view through a fisheye lens.

And I hate those all-in-one remote controls. Because they too are a bear to figure out and they eliminate all the utility a power user like me needs. So, either leave out utility in the first place, just allow televisions to go off and on and change channel, or allow me to go behind the scenes and extract the object of my desire.

So, what you’ve got is a bunch of sets with wide pictures and no internet connection. Do I go in deep, do I risk the wrath of the hoi polloi?


First I set the picture to a normal width.

And then I try to figure out internet access.

Both TVs are too old, they’ve got no apps.

How about the receiver? Or the Blu-ray player?


Word had come down from on high, from those who’d gotten me into this pickle.

But I couldn’t even find the other remote controls. That’s right, the plethora of devices I needed to do my dirty work were hidden, so no one would mess up the system, it took me fifteen minutes to find them.

But alas, I did.

And I’m pushing buttons and finding out the receiver is too old.

But that Samsung Blu-ray player…it’s got APPS!

But how do you find them?

Samsung put in a chip so slow you could wait for Godot before the screen redraws. And then you’ve got the dreaded system upgrade, which I had to do twice.

And then you’ve got to download the apps. And use the arrow buttons to enter user name and password. But I got Netflix and Amazon working, voila!

But I couldn’t get HBO GO to go.

It’s a complicated procedure. You load the app and get a code. Then you’ve got to get on your laptop and enter it. Only you can’t, you keep getting an error message, saying that Time Warner is tied-up.

I’d like to tie up Time Warner. Dealing with the cable company is the new car buying, you spend hours and you still get screwed, everybody gets a different price. But since the cable providers are so worried about getting screwed by the internet, with the users going straight to the content makers, they put up hurdles that almost no one can jump.

But I love a challenge.

That’s right, I’ve got to tell Time Warner Cable I’m a subscriber before they’ll let me use the HBO I pay for on my distant TV.

But the error message keeps telling me to try again later, that the system is down.

But after three attempts over three hours I no longer believe this, I’ve got to go deeper, I turn to my trusted friend Google.

Where I find everybody’s been tearing their hair out about this for YEARS!

So I’m on the message boards, I’ve got multiple tabs open, and then I discover…

You’ve got to allow third party cookies.

First I thought it was a browser issue. But I stayed in Safari, allowed third party cookies, and I got HBO Go installed in Colorado…AND I FEEL LIKE A KING!

There’s no manual anymore. You can go to school and still not know how to do things. In the free economy there’s no instruction booklet, no help, and the end result is you’re either left out or you must dive in, go up the river in search of solutions.

Recent writing has told us the young ‘uns are not as smart as they appear, they cannot fix everything. But at least they know to push buttons, that you’re on your own. The young ‘uns are inured to the new economy, they realize it’s every man for himself, the oldsters are still waiting for someone to reach out and touch them, make it all good, but if you think that way you’re already on your way out.

We’re all digital miners today. We’re all pioneers in search of gold. Those on the cutting edge wreak havoc with institutions, never mind Ashley Madison, how about UCLA Medical Center, where my details were broached by a hacker? You see knowledge is power, and the knowledge of your digital devices unlocks all kinds of power, it’s like life is a video game and you have to keep going up higher levels.

You don’t want to get stuck at go, at the bottom, then you’re left out.

Like so many of my boomer brethren. They don’t know how to extract the power from their devices.

But I do, I’m up for the challenge. And when I succeed, when I make sense of the digital puzzle, I feel like a king.

In my own mind anyway, no one else is paying attention.

But I guess that’s how it is today, you’ve got to have self-satisfaction, it’s astounding anybody can even communicate, especially the oldsters, who have no idea what Kik or Snapchat are, never mind WeChat. As for the youngsters…they’re on overload.

So I look for satiation where I can find it.

And today I got it.

I’ll probably never watch more than an hour on the set, but I broke through, I chased the dragon down the rabbit hole and emerged victorious.

Take that digital industrial complex!

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