Boldly Go Where Others Think I Want to Go
by Mad Dog
sure there are people who think this is a convenience, theyíre
probably the same people who think running 26 miles for fun isnít an
oxymoron. Face it, if I canít find anything worth watching, what are
the chances a box on my TV can?
Iím tired of being
second-guessed. Itís bad enough that for years my mother did it
("I figured since you like bananas and lemons youíd love a pair
of yellow pants."), my teachers did ("Since you worked so
hard on the essay I know you want to be the first to read it aloud to
the class."), and my bosses did it ("Being a team player I
figured you wouldnít mind foregoing your raise so we can increase
the dividend to stockholders who do nothing to further the
company."), now inanimate objects are getting into the act.
TiVo, the new digital video recorder, is a good
example. Itís a handy way to record and save more TV shows than you
could ever bear to watch, storing up to 60 hours before it fills up,
at which time you come home to find last weekís episodes of Big
Brother 2 in a puddle on the floor since it had to dump something
so it could tape those three episodes of Knight Rider you
needed to complete your collection.
Itís not enough that you can enter a long list
of programs to tape, tell it to skip reruns, and ask it to record
every show that features your favorite actor, sports team, or cup
size, the TiVo also keeps track of what you watch and records shows it
thinks you might like. Thatís right, the TiVo thinks itís smarter
than you are. While Iím sure there are people who think this is a
convenience, theyíre probably the same people who think running 26
miles for fun isnít an oxymoron. Face it, if I canít find anything
worth watching, what are the chances a box on my TV can?
The truth is,
if I really wanted the software to modify itself so it would behave
the way I want it to behave it would kick in some super-secret option
that would make it stop crashing five times a day.
Internet search engines also
like to second guess, which isnít surprising since their sole reason
for being is to try to figure out what weíre looking for. In their
quest to help they not only come back with a list of wildly irrelevant
sites I can waste time looking at, they also offer to send me to other
sites whichógasp! óare designed to separate me from my
money. This is whatís known as the New Economy. Itís just like the
old economy except itís falling apart faster.
If you enter
"garbage" at AltaVista (www.altavista.com)
youíll find links at the bottom of the page offering to help you
"Shop the web for garbage", "Find garbage at
eBay!", "Search for garbage in your local yellow
pages", and "Save on Garbage products at Amazon and other
stores." Okay, this might not be a good example because the
places they want to send you to have plenty of the item in question,
but trust me, itís not always this accurate.
Microsoft loves second guessing me. Each time
they put out a new software upgrade it has features which are designed
to make it act the way it thinks Iím going to want it to act. And
you know what? Itís wrong 98 percent of the time. Maybe more. Itís
a pain. Itís annoying. And it has to stop. Is it any wonder one of
the first things I do is search the options and preferences to figure
out how to turn that crap off? The truth is, if I really wanted the
software to modify itself so it would behave the way I want it to
behave it would kick in some super-secret option that would make it
stop crashing five times a day.
Sure theyíd assume that just because I bought a set of
fireplace tools one time and a dog collar the next that Iíd want a
painting of dogs playing poker sent to my door without having to order
it, but who wouldnít?
Itís presumptuous of these
companies to think they know what I want to do. Hell, I donít
usually know what I want to do. It would be like walking into a
restaurant and instead of the server telling you the specials they
say, "Hi, my name is Ashley and I think you should order the veal
parmesan." Or better yet, they just walk up and slap some food on
the table, figuring they know what you want based on what you ordered
the last few times. Hey, if I ordered the fried chicken one time and a
steak the other, wouldnít it figure that Iíd be in the mood for
chicken fried steak tonight?
Prepare yourself for more of this. The next car
you buy will probably take over while you drive, making turns and
heading for places on its own based on where youíve driven in the
past. Elevators will stop at the floor they think you want to get off
at based on where other elevators around the city have told it youíve
gotten off in the past. And the airlines will start routing your
luggage based on where youíve gone in the past, not where youíre
going today. Sorry, they already do this.
Of course if they take their tips from the
search engines theyíll all be trying to hijack usóI mean, steer usóto
businesses that have paid a fee to have us dragged there. Why donít
they just save us the aggravation and start taking money right out of
our bank accounts, sending us merchandise they think we might want
based on what weíve purchased in the past? Sure theyíd assume that
just because I bought a set of fireplace tools one time and a dog
collar the next that Iíd want a painting of dogs playing poker sent
to my door without having to order it, but who wouldnít?
In this wonderful world of the future we wonít
have to leave the house or waste energy making annoying decisions
anymore. It will be heaven. Especially because it will leave us more
time to sit around and watch those programs TiVo recorded for us
thinking we might be interested. I canít wait.
Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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