Digital Smidgital

've got a bone to pick with the digital revolution. It's gone overboard. Everything is going digital even if unnecessary. On many occasions it has made matters worse.

Take my car stereo ... Please!

I had car radios over thirty years ago that were better than this "slug". Whoever designed it should be sent to Devil's Island and the idiot that passed on the design ... well ... some body parts should be cut off.

It used to be that when you found a station you liked, you pulled the button out then pressed it back in all the way thus setting the station. Now, you just hold the button down for 2-3 seconds and it beeps and sets the station. No improvement here ... just different.

When you pressed the button, it hopped right to that station and it was instantly "tuned" in. Now, with the digital revolution you have to wait about a second for the program to catch up to your selection. This is a "drag" if you're station hopping - looking for a good jam. Score one for the "old style".

It used to be that when you tuned in a station, you knew what station it was by watching the red indicator line move over to the corresponding number on the display. It stayed there, visible for you all the while you were tuned to that station. Now, with digital technology, you get just the number for two seconds ... then the clock comes on. Like I really need a clock to listen better.

The only way I can find out what station I'm listening to is to change the station ... then ... the new station number comes on and ... hmmmmm ... there is no way to get back to the other station unless you already know what station it was. This is a true example of what I call "stupidity". Score another for the "old style". At least with analog, you just looked at the display and saw where the red line was and that's it.

It gets better.

Yesterday, I heard about three minutes dead air. "Hmmmm" ... says I, "This is unusual". I went to another station. After a few seconds, same thing ... dead air. "Why are these stations going off the air?" So next time I tried turning the volume knob and sure enough the station comes in. With analog tuning, this would be impossible. The radio can't turn itself down. But it can with digital. Since the volume control has no direct (analog) mechanical connection with the radio, the radio "program" can screw up and auto-volume down. Isn't that wonderful? Score another for the "old style".

And another thing. The clock cannot be set by any easy method. That is, it's easy ... but ... not unless you've memorized the owner's manual. That's the only place where you can get the information on what two buttons to press simultaneously to change the time. It's not indicated on the buttons. Yeah, like I'm gonna' memorize every electronic gizmo manual I've got. Do you? Score another for the "old style".

Another laffer.

If you happen to press the button on the right of the last station button ... all the stations go out and the radio auto-selects new stations for your area based on what is coming in clearest. It's easy to restore the old selections ... but ... again I just don't remember how so I have to either get out the owner's manual and look it up again ... or ... what I actually do ... manually reset all the stations whose numbers I have memorized by manually tuning them in and repressing and holding the buttons. I do this about once a week. With the old radio, this can't happen. Of course, it won't auto-tune in the stations in the area I'm vacationing in so I'd have to manually tune them in ... once a year. Score another for the "old style".

I have other gizmos to complain about ...

My stereo can be programmed to come on at any time I want ... automatically. Unfortunately, after working the manual for over an hour and straining my brain, I was unable to find any way to turn off this functionality. So, since somebody accidentally set it to come on a certain time, it comes on all by itself and if the volume was "up" ... it scares the Bejeesus out of everybody. The best I could do was reset it for a convenient time. Then, I get up and manually turn it off.

I found out that it doesn't work if the clock is not set. It won't come on if the clock time is "flashing". So if somebody sets the clock by accident (which is easy to do), I climb back behind the TV-Stereo-VCR-DVD-Satellite decoder-Antenna-DirectTV-VHSrewinder-pole lamp-4speaker-subwoofer set up, and pull the fucking plug out of the fucking multi-outlet which saves your devices from power spikes and lightning thingy ... and then ... if I get lucky and grab the right plug and don't get tied up in the spaghetti back there ... then ... then ... the fucking clock starts blinking and I don't get the shit scared out of me when the goddam music comes on full blast while I'm watching the History Channel.

Why is there a clock on everything? I don't want a clock on my TV or Stereo or Microwave or Toaster or Mr.Coffee or anything else ... except the clock ... and I'll manually put the batteries in it so I don't have to set the goddam thing every time the lights go out.


PS. If you have cable TV and are considering getting Direct TV ... there is a big problem. You can't record a program and see another simultaneously. For that you have to buy/rent another decoder which they'll be happy to give you for another 10 bucks a month. And if it's raining forget it. You get nothing but big fat square pixels if that. You may have no TV for minutes or hours ... depending on the weather. Also, it takes 2-3 seconds to get your station after you've selected it. With cable you record and watch a different station, the weather doesn't affect it and your station comes in instantly. And you can cheat them and split the signal and have cable in another room as well. You might be able to split the Direct TV cable too but you'd have to watch the same station of every TV.

They say you get a bigger selection with DirectTV but they don't tell you that you also get a much bigger bill. I've had both. Get cable if you have a choice.

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