Sunday, January 31, 2010

Technology answers the call

Do you enjoy watching your favorite television show only to be interrupted by not one, not two, but numerous back-to-back commercials?

I'm old enough to remember when there was a break at 15-minute intervals by a 60-second spot to sell advertising by a single sponsor at a time. Today, that is certainly not the case. We see ad after ad after ad, selling everything from male enhancement drugs to a cure for baldness. At least learning about the age-old cure for diarrhea comes with a little jingle a half-heart attempt to entertain us.

The worst commercials are the ones by drug companies. How many of those have caused naive television watchers to go to the doctor to ask for a drug only to learn that it was later recalled because it caused heart disease or kidney damage? Some people are so gullible that they believe the drivel they see on TV. They believe the actors who are paid to make certain claims, even if they are untrue. How stupid!

Technology's answer: Use your DVR and Tivo. Either record it to watch at your convenience. Or, if you want to watch the show and not the commercials, simply hit pause when the show starts. Do something else for a little while. You have some time. When you come back to it, just watch your show and fast-forward during the commercials. If I forget to hit pause, I will simply let the show go until I'm ready to watch. Then I rewind back to the beginning and watch as usual, fast-forwarding through the commercials. As long as you give your DVR a head start, it will let you control your television viewing.

Speaking of marketing, have you ever been preparing dinner, doing six things at once, when all of a sudden the phone rings? You drop what you are doing and pick it up only to find an unfamiliar voice asking questions about your product usage? Often times you have to strain to hear because the pot is boiling, radio is blasting, husband is talking, and your mind is on so many other things. It is easy to recognize the voice on the other end of the phone is unfamiliar. To make matters worse, the caller has such a heavy accent that you can't understand what they are saying. You want to be polite, but frankly you have no idea what they are saying or why they are calling you. Eventually you realize it is just a marketing consultant. You try not to be rude, but no amount of explanation will get rid of them. So, you hang up, knowing they will probably call back. How rude!

Technology's answer: Caller ID. What a wonderful invention. When you see the 800 number pop up, you know not to even bother picking up the phone.

Now, if only someone could find a technological answer to 'stupid' and 'rude' people, we would really have something. C'mon all you geniuses out there, get cracking on that one.