Wednesday, June 19, 2013


You can understand why I used to think my grandmother was a little batty. "Put on your clothes!" she'd bark as we walked through the living room in our bathing suits. "They can see you!" -- "they" being the people on TV. It turns out that she was merely peering into the future. From the Washington Times:

New technology would allow cable companies to peer directly into television watchers' homes and monitor viewing habits and reactions to product advertisements. The technology would come via the cable box... The technology includes cameras and microphones that are installed on DVRs or cable boxes and analyzes viewers' responses, behaviors and statements to various ads — and then provides advertisements that are targeted to the particular household. Specifically, the technology can monitor sleeping, eating, exercising, reading and more, AdWeek reported.

These guys make the NSA sound like the Welcome Wagon. What has the world come to when a man can no longer sit around the house in his underwear, slurping down his favorite beer, while watching TV? Thank you, Time-Warner Cable, for continuing to take away what's left of my ever-dwindling simple pleasures of life. All I've got left is flossing my teeth after eating corn on the cob.

From DVR... to ICU!
At least we know where cable's priorities lie. Our DVR doesn't have the ability to record two programs simultaneously while watching a third. Nor can it go a day without the sound dropping out or the image turning into dozens of pixels, appearing as if I had ingested some particularly good mushrooms. Hey, I'd he happy if there wasn't a three-second delay when changing the channel. But to actually spy on me?  No problem, we can do that! 

This Big Brother stuff is redundant, anyway. I already have technology to monitor my sleeping, eating, exercising and reading. It's called a wife. And talk about green energy: I don't have to plug her in, nor does she add another 13 bucks to our already-exorbitant cable bill. Her service, in fact, might be considered On-Demand in reverse -- she tells me what I want. 

There's a reason my morning workout routine is behind closed shades: I don't want people outside to choke on their 7-11 coffees if they were to see me. Yet someone three miles
New York's psyops headquarters.

at TWC headquarters in Columbus Circle is going to get a gander at me while I do my squats, lunges and planks during the traffic report? Brother, you don't know what you're in for.
(This morning, I saw a woman across the street brushing her teeth at her living room window. You don't need Shakespeare in the Park for free entertainment in New York.)

But... there are plenty of us sheeple who would gladly trade our privacy for this seeing-eye DVR if Time-Warner would let us choose the channels we want rather than forcing us to get a package that includes programming in Tagalog; some channel called Shop Zeal; France 24 (for all your snail recipe and anti-Semitic programming needs); and hundreds more which 99% of New Yorkers have no interest in but we're still paying for. Personally, I'd be happy with TCM and a couple of news channels. I mean, are there sentient people who really watch Lifetime?

Besides, I can let them know what my "responses, behaviors and statements" are to advertisements already: I pick up the remote, turn off the volume and say, "Not this fucking commercial again." As for what "particular advertisement" they could target me with, let me suggest one for a machine that allows me to skip through commercial breaks when the show is actually airing. Or maybe a promo for a black-market DVR that gives me everything free. That would be a good start.

And while we're at it, let me spy on the CEO of Time-Warner in his living room. I want to see if he's the guy ordering Hustler On Demand. 


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