Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tivo geek

I am one of the few people in the UK who own a Tivo. Tivo is hu-uge in America (even popularised on Sex and the City). It almost took off in the UK, but then Sky brought out their own version (Sky Plus) and that was it. I used to have Sky Plus, but I tend to move house a lot and live in places with shared cable or satellite - and Sky Plus doesn't like that. So I ended up getting Tivo (which I prefer - and not just because of the cutesy little animated tv icon). British Tivo users are an odd lot, with our own geekish "community" and a guru called Gary.

I always dread moving house because it means having to reset the Tivo to cope with a new area - hideously complicated, particularly for someone like me who isn't very technological. My last house move, 7 weeks ago was particularly worrisome because I was changing from satellite to cable. It has taken me 7 weeks (and lots of screaming) to figure out how to get my Tivo to work with the new cable set-top box. But I've finally got it to work - all by myself. The Tivo community is sneering at me (because the solution was so obvious), but I feel like I've really achieved something.

Listening in

High Camp Caress Morrel recently reported on the website and I have to say, he's totally right. What a great site. New Yorkers simply post up snatches of conversation they've overheard, and they're completely fascinating. My favourite one is entitled Morlock v. Eloi: The Prequel (a nod to one of my favourite books, The Time Machine by HG Welles, where the world has segregated into two social classes - the beautiful vapid Eloi and the monstrous cannibalisatic Morlocks):

A thugged out girl tests all of her ring tones as loud as possible for a solid minute.

Preppy girl: Are you serious with that? Can you do everyone a favor and stop?
Thug girl: I know you're not talking to me. You messed with the wrong girl.
Preppy girl: I'm sorry, I can't hear you. Your screaming phone made me deaf.
Thug girl: I'll f her up. But then she'll call the cops; her people love the cops. Go back to where you came from!
Preppy girl: I'm trying to. That's why I'm on the train, you stupid bitch. Look, you got a new cell phone and that's great, but figure it out at home.
Thug girl: I'll f you up. You're f-ing with the wrong girl. Don't be fooled by the pretty face.
Preppy girl: Pretty face? Where?

The editor of the site, Michael Malice perfectly sums up its attraction: "Overheard in New York is about the things people say that are censored out of all other forms of communication. It's amazing to me that site has been referred to as "X-rated" when they're literally just words. There's no naked photos, no blood, just letters and punctuation. I am interested in the phrases and ideas that are regarded as somehow invalid to the larger media. This is the artsy side. Of course it's funny, etc, but in my view the site is much more than that. This is why I always run racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic conversations. These views are very common, even in New York...yet how often have you heard someone make a racist statement in a movie? Does anyone ever not like Jews on TV, without being portrayed as a neo-Nazi demon?"


Lighting Ridder. said...

Hi, I just wanted to stop by and read some more of your blog. There is always something I missed the first time around so it's a lot like visiting for the first time. Like the famous words say "I Shall Return".

John G.

Olaf said...

There's another website that chronicles overheard conversations, too:

It's a little more west coast than the NY site, but it's still good.

comatose said...

the overheard link sends us to a Tivo site - are you recruiting to bolster your community?

JayMaster said...

We bought our Tivo about 3 or 4 years ago and love 'him'. He occasionally goes mad with recording programmes he thinks we love, including a fascination with the history channel, but is usually very well behaved and understands what we like. The interface is great and I would much rather support Tivo than pay endless money to Sky, especially as I have no need for extra Sky channels – Freeview is more than enough.

Unfortunately, Tivo may be relegated to the attic. The old digibox that supplies the signal is ready for retirement and a new box is needed soon. In our travels we have come across the Digifusion Digital Video HDD Recorder, FVRT200. An 80GB hard drive, 14 day EPG, twin tuners, search facilities etc. It won't be Tivo, but there are no signs of new Tivo functionality in the UK on any new machines.
Farewell Tivo – faithful friend and hoarder of daytime TV gems!