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Susanna's Marriage [0:27]:

TEASER: Susanna: married? I have the story! After this!
CONTENT: Susanna got married. I wore a tuxedo. So did John (ye groom), and a bunch of his young cousins. We all stood around at Tuxedo Junction and had pictures taken of us. It was jolly good fun. The next day there was a reception in Bakersfield. Everyone who was anyone was there, except for certain someones. Sumana looked glamorous in various dresses. Susanna looked glamorous in one dress. Life became a dizzying blend of cake, sliced fruit, and more pictures. Party followed the previous portion of the same party. Would it ever end? Yes, but not til pretty late.

Next week: I head to Utah to attend a second reception there, and then to sneak up on some trilobites with a geologist's hammer. Try to hide in the sedimentary rock, will you, trilobites? Take that! Whap!

: Maybe they sent me my DSL equipment today. I got the welcome email I was told would signal their sending the equipment, but the order status webpage says they haven't done squat for two weeks. Since DSL companies do everything in batch mode, my working belief is that the email was sent out with a batch of emails today, the order status database will be updated in a batch update at midnight tonight, and the actual equipment will be shipped as part of a big shipment in November, to beat the holiday rush.

: Now, some laying of a foundation here for a conversational edifice covering topics Sumana has hinted at, the actual capstone to be placed in a future entry.

I got a Tivo, and it is a lot of fun. Instead of a taskmaster determining the times I can do exercise without being bored, basic cable is now an obsequious chimpanzee offering me delicacies off a salver. Then I crack my whip and send it scurrying into the underbrush, and fifteen minutes later it comes back with a rabbit between its teeth. I don't know where I got a whip.

When you buy a Tivo, it starts out completely unusable because its commercial-skipping functionality is crippled at the implicit behest of the broadcasting giants. Basically, you can fast-forward so slowly that you effectively see all the commercials without sound, or so quickly that instead of skipping commercials you skip the pesky intervals between commercial breaks. However, there's a secret cheat code, just like in the game "Contra", which lets you reinstate the famous 30-second skip functionality. There are lots of other cheat codes which aren't as useful, but some are cool.

Originally I thought I'd like some way of doing a 10-second skip, because that's the way I would ideally watch TV: is this program more interesting 10 seconds from now? How about now? But after about two days Tivo had enough stuff recorded for me that now I can just pick something I'm pretty sure will be good. If it turns out to be boring I can just delete it and watch something else. I don't have time to watch everything it records, but who cares? I don't want to; I'd turn into a couch legume. Tivo is a prefetching cache, and when the thing being fetched costs a fixed amount, there's no need to complain about a prefetching cache.

A lot of times people will say "I don't watch much TV, except..." then rattle off a list of about five or ten programs, their desire for accuracy trumping their need to seem hip and TV-illiterate. That used to be me, except for me it was just two programs, so I managed to avoid embarrassment. Now it's five or ten. The difference wasn't that I was purer before Tivo, but that I was lazy and couldn't be bothered to stay up 'til midnight to watch Space Ghost. Now it's in my queue and I don't have to

I sort of wanted to be really cool and build my own PVR using off-the-Sourceforge-shelf technology, because then I could then 1) affect a superior attitude to nearly everyone, and 2) implement neat things like my ten-second skip and a smarter preference-guessing system (for some reason it thinks I like 1960s television Westerns, possibly overcompensating for the negative publicity caused by "My TiVo thinks I'm gay"). But it turns out I actually went and bought a Tivo; ostensibly to test the waters but actually because I couldn't justify spending all that time making a hacked-up free software PVR when I might not use a PVR at all.

It turns out I will use a PVR, but with the 30-second skip in place the Tivo is good enough for now. Send me mail when your cool open-source PVR product costs less than $300, or when it costs more than $300 but Tivo does a 30-second-skip-crushing software update, and I'll look at it.

PS: One thing I don't like about Tivo, but which is probably unavoidable due to the underlying technology: you can't record two programs simultaneously, and you can't watch one program while recording another.


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