Just give him a home where the interactive don't roam

Joe Lavin's Humor Column

From The Boston Herald

Just give him a home where the interactive don't roam

August 12, 2000


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A few observations just in case anyone with power in the computer industry happens to be reading:

Interactive television is something I neither need nor want. When I'm watching a television program, I really don't want to chat with other people who are watching the same program, no matter how riveting their chatter may be. To be honest, I don't care what they think, and I'm reasonably certain that they don't care what I think. If, by chance, I do feel compelled to make a comment, I can always yell back at my television. Don't worry. My TV's used to it.

If the new version of your product looks identical to the old version and will do over 90% of the same things in the same exact way, it is not an upgrade. It is merely a marketing gimmick.

Instead of releasing a new version of your software that has all sorts of fancy bells and whistles, which I will never use, perhaps you should just release a version of your software that doesn't crash my computer every few hours. Well, it's just a thought.

Having my cable, my telephone, and my Internet connection charged to me on one convenient bill isn't exactly my definition of progress. It might be a tad easier to write just one check a month, but to me this sounds a lot like one giant monopoly replacing three smaller ones.

I don't want my computer to become my television. And I don't want my television to become my computer. I already have a cheap 13-inch television next to my computer. That will do just fine. Seriously, I have never understood why anyone thinks I would ever want to watch television in the corner of my computer screen or vice versa. Neither my television nor my computer monitor is big enough for such shenanigans. Granted, it might be nice if I could watch television on my computer at work, but somehow I just don't think my boss will like the idea nearly as much as I do.

I have no interest in surfing the net on my cell phone or on any other device with a screen smaller than my hand. If given a choice, I will gladly choose the phone without the Internet connection. I use a computer at home, and I use a computer at work. If, at other times, I'm unable to surf the Internet, this is probably not a bad thing. In fact, I'm pretty sure the carpal tunnel in my hand won't mind the break at all.

As for Palm Pilots and other portable products, if I buy one, I will probably just lose it. I'm already afraid to spend more than ten bucks on an umbrella because I know I won't be able to find it in a few weeks. I really don't want the chance to lose a $500 "personal assistant." That's what I like about my desktop computer. It's big enough so that -- on most days -- I don't misplace it.

Any sort of device that can read my handwriting is also unnecessary. When I'm not at a computer, I can simply write in a notebook (you know, the cheap kind with paper and a spiral) and transcribe later. Besides, any device with enough artificial intelligence to decipher my handwriting probably also has enough artificial intelligence to do some real damage. I don't want it around.

And perhaps most important of all: Under no circumstances, have I ever attempted to perform an illegal function while at my computer. The problem is yours, not mine. Stop telling me otherwise.

Thank you for your time.


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