Quick. What's the company everyone loves to hate? The cable company, of course. The aggravating installation, the inexplicable outtages, the maddening programming bundles, and the fees. Oh yes, the fees. But there's hope, and possibly change. President Obama has endorsed a proposal that would eliminate perhaps the most annoying cable TV fee. That's good, right?
Whether you support it or not, few of us are completely comfortable with the fact that the government can read our e-mails and listen to our phone calls. On the other hand, without much thought, most of us freely give away our privacy to various companies. Now, that privacy debate is coming into our home theaters.
When you buy a Rolex Submariner from a guy with a dozen of them in a cardboard box in Times Square, there is absolutely no chance of misunderstanding. Both parties fully understand that the timepieces in question are fakes. But what if you buy a pair of high-end headphones from that kind-of-weird stereo store across from the mall?
Over 10 million of them have been sold, and it seems like everybody has one. Some are pink, some are green, some are blue, some are black, but most are white. Owners caress them, lovingly running their fingers back and forth across "my precious." Some can hold 10,000 of your favorite songs, and they'll follow you wherever you go.
Audiophiles laughed when the CD was first marketed as "Perfect sound forever." They rejected the notion that digital was better than analog, or that the CD sounded better than the LP. Today, it's generally accepted that 44.1-kHz, 16-bit files (with modern improvements such as noise shaping) can challenge the ability of most listeners to detect aural format flaws.
MAKE NO MISTAKE: The equipment reviewers at Sound & Vision aren't nice people. Without naming names, I'll just mention the following: three restraining orders, steel-cage death-match champion, and a lifetime ban from the National Hockey League. And that's just one of the reviewers. Frankly, they're curmudgeonly, tough SOBs.
Parrots, hooks, peg legs, pieces of eight, the Spanish Main: Everybody loves pirates! Surely you know that September 19 is annual Talk Like a Pirate Day (I'm not making this up). Instead of your actual name, like "Kenneth" or "Colonel Sanders," wouldn't you prefer to be called "Cap'n Slappy"? Everybody loves pirates.
First, congratulations on your brilliant presidential campaign, convincing election results, and historic inauguration. I am impressed by your fresh thinking and your eloquent call for change. I was therefore surprised when your administration recommended that the switchover to digital TV be delayed beyond the February 17 deadline.
Someday you'll tell the grandkids about the old days when TV sets were thick. There was something called a "cathode-ray tube," and it stuck out from the wall and had a tiny screen. Then, along about 2008 or so, people pretty much stopped buying CRTs.