Ode to My New TV

My new TV

Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with technology. So often it’s a tease, promising pleasure but then withholding it until you complete a fairy tale-worthy series of tasks, chasing software gremlins, slaying hardware dragons. In theory it’s great, for example, that blogging provides authors with quick access to an audience for their work.

Hacked & Snapf**ked!

In fact, within one minute of my proud announcement on Facebook that I’d launched this blog, I learned that mobile users were being redirected to a site called Snapf**k. You can imagine the image associated with that name, though you might not want to. No judgement if you do.

I quickly hid the site back under the “under construction” widget and hustled to fix it.

I called GoDaddy, which hosted the site, about the problem. They were not helpful — though in defense of this particular agent, once he looked at the Snapf**k image, I suspect he could no longer focus. On the advice of a friend, I switched hosts to Namecheap.com. They were very helpful and, as their name suggests, economical, though their advice was so complicated I had to get another friend to decode it. They got rid of the malicious porn code — please don’t ask me for it — during the site transfer. The techs seem to be Russian, which I like. All the biggest, most complicated site hacks trace back to Russia, so I’m pleased at the idea of having good Russians on my side.

In the course of moving my site I forgot to make some essential changes, so anyone who tried to reach me on my old GoDaddy account got an error bounce back message. Oops. When you are trying to create a Kickstarter campaign, it is never good to let people think you are out of commission or dead, though I suppose an ability to come back from the grave is something that might get funded.

And that’s just for starters. I won’t bore you with tales of weird rss feed codes, pictures not showing up in emails, etc.

The Robbery & the Replacements

In the midst of all this I got robbed (see Beating the Home Invasion Blues). I had my desktop, TV, Blu ray/DVD player and camera stolen.

Misplaced police reports. Reams of insurance paperwork. Slowly, slowly, it all got filed and the reimbursement process commenced. What I didn’t realize: To get money back for items that depreciated (almost all of them), you have to replace them with items approved by the insurance company. You don’t just get a big check to do with what you will.

Return of the iMac

Messy desk

Before

I was glad the external backup drive for my iMac was not stolen but when I transferred the data to my new iMac, the many little software glitches that drove me nuts on the old machine came along.

Desk post robbery

After. I figure maybe a month before the desks are indistinguishable

The glitches do turn up much more quickly, I’ll grant that.

A new camera

Replacing my camera went fine, but I have to confess something here: I’ve never much liked taking pictures, even in the days when you could just drop off a roll of film at the corner drugstore and get back finished photographs that you could try to force people to look at. The only reason I take pictures now is to have something to put on my blog and social media sites so people will read my writing.

And you can’t just stick any old images up there. They have to look decent. You have to crop and resize them. But first you have to find them on your computer.

The Pleasure Principle

With the TV, as with the other items, I was planning to take a letter-of-the-law-approach to its replacement. I researched models that fit the budget the insurance adjustor gave me. My decision to get a smart TV was purely financial. I figured if I could connect to movie channels via the internet, I could give up cable, which would save me money. But I was convinced a smart TV would present tech complexities, be yet another frustration-filled time sink.

Luckily my friend Kate came with me to look for TVs.

No great shock: The two in my price range turned out to be blah. Kate owned one of the models and said it was really slow. The clerk at Best Buy, a self-professed TV snob, did not recommend either of them. He proudly showed us a model that was so new it wasn’t on the price comparison list, a Samsung 40″ 6300 series (I’m now convinced that it fell off a truck because I can’t find the model number anywhere, even when I tried to register it on line).

I hesitated.

  • It was $200 more expensive than the ones on my list
  • It was so new that it wasn’t on sale. I’m from New York, where it’s against the law to buy retail.

But Kate, out of earshot of the clerk, said the TV he’d recommended was far better than hers and far better than anything in the price bracket. She thought that maybe my insurance agent would agree to fold in the reimbursement for the stolen Blu ray player if I argued that streaming movies on TV would replace it.

She turned out to be right.

The picture was beautiful, sharper and clearer than the ones on any TV I’d ever owned. What the hell. I decided to go for it. I also bought an antenna that would — fingers crossed — give me access to local channels for free. The Best Buy guy looked it up on his computer and said my address was signal-stealing heaven.

He too turned out to be right.

A Cinch of a Set Up

But the best was yet to come.

Kate and I brought the TV home and we had it assembled and standing within 10 minutes. It took about 5 minutes to stick the antenna — a Winegard FlatWave, in case you’re wondering — on the wall. It’s extremely light and came with two-sided Velcro picture hangers (Kate didn’t recognize them, but I often used similar versions to fix loose hems, on the rare occasion I wore anything with hems).

We turned the TV on. It asked me a few questions about connecting to the internet. I gave it a few answers. And then voila: an image! Just like that, I was getting all the local channels and a program guide — a program guide! — for free. The icons for streaming services like Hulu and Netflix popped up on the screen when I pushed a button color coded to look like the icons.

The remote was far less confusing than the one I had for my old cable-enabled TV.

Mission accomplished, Kate left. Another friend, Cynthia, came over. We enjoyed the single malt that yet another friend had sent me as a surprise thank you gift. The week was definitely ending on a high note.

Cynthia, Madeleine, and me. That shocked look? Madeleine is a purist. She disapproves of any cubes in single malts

Cynthia and me, celebrating. Madeleine was the designated driver.

When Cynthia left, I watched “Call the Midwife,” “The Good Wife,” and “Wolf Hall,” all my favorite Sunday night shows, in sumptuous color. The image was so well-defined it was practically 3D. My new TV wasn’t demanding anything of me, just providing me with pleasure. This was technology I could embrace without reservation, and love truly, madly, deeply.

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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

6 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Laura Kelly says:

    I told you all that web launch tsuris and mishegas would make good blog fodder. And I was right! Congrats on the wonderful new TV; now I wish someone would come and steal *our* 12 year old behemoth (unfortunately, they would just turn and run).

    • Edie says:

      Ha, I thought of you while I was writing this post, Laura! Of course. Maybe your old hulking TV will act as a robbery deterrent…any robbers who look through the window will see and say, Nah.

  2. Marilyn Sutin says:

    Then you best not display this tv for window peepers to see…

    • Edie says:

      Very true — though it doesn’t look like anything special, just a standard flat screen. You have to turn it on for the magic to appear!

  3. Kate Kaemerle says:

    I have TV envy – the picture on yours is so sharp you could see every blade of grass. Enjoy!

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