Scott Adams’ blog is about the funniest I’ve seen. Sometimes even better than his cartoon, which has been a daily antidote to office boredom than I can’t live without–no that’s no logic error. I can’t live without office boredom because I can’t live without a day job in the office (at least for now), and therefore I can’t live without a strong antidote to office boredom either.

One of his latest pieces is about how to avoid knowing the result of Australian Open before watching his recording. I remember seeing somewhere that humor is about absurdity, which is definitely true here:

Halfway between my home and my office – a 47 second walk – lives a friend who is a tennis pro. He knows the result by now. He might have stayed up all night to watch. If I see him, or either of his tennis-playing sons, my plan is to jump into the community pool and stay underwater until they leave.

But the next paragraph isn’t absurd at all in itself, but it still makes a banal everyday event funny:

When I turn on my TV to watch the match, there will be a two-second delay before I can hit the right sequence of buttons on the remote to switch to the TiVo. In the past, I have heard sporting results in that two-second gap. I’ll have to hit Power and Mute almost simultaneously, then switch to TiVo with my eyes shut in case there’s a picture of one of the players hoisting a trophy. I’m already doing some warm-up exercises to get it right. Power-mute-TiVo, power-mute-Tivo, power-mute-Tivo.


And how not to watch a recording? By not recording at all! Before we left for Hawaii, I setup the DVR to record the semifinals and finals, after I was very pleased to find that the program guide is available a week in advance. But when we got back, nothing was recorded. Not a single minute. I could swear I heard the TiVo God’s thundering laughter above.

BTW I read an article by TiVo’s CTO Jim Barton on ACM Queue (April 2006) about the history and technology behind TiVo. It’s a true fascinating piece of hardware, software, and network engineering, where every design decision is a tradeoff. The most important one that makes TiVo successful? “It just works.”

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