Rainy Days and Updates Always Get Me Down

I recently had to send my favorite watch in for repair. I am especially fond of this watch because, in addition to looking expensive, it has both an analog dial and a digital display. Unlike with audio, about which one can argue whether digital or analog sounds better, the two timekeeping technologies combined in my watch are identical in terms of displaying the correct time. And, quite the opposite of so many digital AV devices nowadays, in the 12 years I’ve owned this watch, I’ve never once had to download new firmware or a new time-deciphering codec in order to keep the watch current.

But, I hear you say, updates keep us updated! Being able to download firmware revisions, new operating software, and general upgrades over the internet are the digital gods’ gift to mankind. Without that (and Google), we might as well be wearing animal skins and bashing each other over the head for entertainment. To which I ask, how is that any different than sitting on the couch in your underwear watching Tosh.0? (Other than the fact that Tosh.0 usually features people being hit in the groin rather than on the head.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some progress-averse update-phobic luddite who is probably still using an aol.com email address. I don’t have a problem with updates in general. On the other hand, I absolutely hate, despise, abhor, detest, execrate, and loathe required updates. Why? Because of what will forevermore be called, Wilkinson’s 1st Law of Digital Devices: “Any digital entertainment device that is capable of being updated will require a mandatory update at the most inconvenient time possible, with the size of the update and the amount of time required to download it, install it, and reboot the device being directly proportional to the number of people waiting in the room.”

Case in point: My family wanted to watch a movie while eating dinner the other day. As they settled in, I turned on my new Panasonic Blu-ray player and fired up the Netflix app. Unfortunately, I was greeted with a screen informing me that the app needed to be updated – not at some extremely convenient time of my choosing, like maybe next week or even midnight tonight, but now. (I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, the BD player was already over a week old.) Being the modern, techno-savvy man that I am, I initiated the update.

Some minutes later, as the clinking of forks on plates was growing louder, I decided to move on to my Sony PS3. Figuring the Netflix app for the PS3 would also need to be updated, I sagely avoided it and navigated to the Amazon Instant Video app instead. At this point, you might guess that the Amazon app needed to be updated, and you’d be sort of right. In fact, an update to the entire Sony PS3 OS was required before the Amazon Instant Video app could be updated.

After beginning the PS3’s update, I thought that surely Netflix on the Panasonic would be ready to go. More fork clinking and some distinct rumblings that did not come from empty stomachs... A quick input change back to the PS3 did nothing to relieve the tension. Desperate for something other than a download progress bar to watch on the TV screen, I decided to stream the movie from DISH’s BlockBuster at Home service using my DISH Hopper. As awesome as the Hopper has consistently been, this time it let me down. Naturally, the movie we wanted to see wasn’t available from DISH yet.

Regardless of whether it was being kept by an analog or digital clock, time was definitely ticking away. Unable to agree upon a different movie to watch, with plates nearly empty, we settled on watching some silly cable TV show recorded on the DVR. If I remember correctly, it had lots of videos of people getting hit in the crotch...

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