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Copyright © 2001, 2002.
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The VCR: A Journey to the Center of Another Earth

page 2

In the case of taping and playback, go ahead and insert a tape, but only if it is absolutely necessary. Press record or play, whichever disaster you are in the mood for. If you are really a show-off, you might want to try recording one program and watching another. That’s still easier than the next step; understanding that auto TV/VCR feature which controls whether the picture signal is emanating from the VCR or the television. Two important questions abound: which remote is which and, if we are in my house, where are they both?

VCR tape trials Unwanted screen displays involve patience, understanding and appreciating the menu selections as only its mother can. The date, time, channel and speed are all fine to know, but are not more important than the program I am attempting to tape! The ugly truth is that I can’t figure out anything beyond turning the damn machine on and off! The PIP (picture inside a picture) is one of my all-time favorites because once its there I have no idea how to get rid of it. I don’t even understand why anyone would want it in the first place. If you can’t see the big picture, why choose the smaller one? It’s all Greek to me (and even to some Greeks I know).

I am including below a glossary of terms. I’m not doing this because I think it will change anything, but it might give you the illusion of having some control over your machines.

"Input" refers to the energy expended to make the damn thing not work.

"Output" is the result of the energy expended to make the damn thing not work.

"Power" This is something you will never have over any machine. The sooner you accept this premise, the easier things will be.

"Record" To create evidence of your mistakes. It’s probably better and more productive to take notes instead.

"Remote" Something that is somewhere in your house. Test yourself. Hide it or them and then see who finds whom first.

"Rewind" means to accept errors and start taping all over again from the beginning as soon as possible.

"Stop and eject" Stop and think for a moment here. Otherwise, you might make a rash decision and opt to throw the entire machine out the window instead of just the tape! It’s not for me to make a judgement call. Only you can prevent forest fires.

"Tape Speed" Fast or slow. SP (EP) or SLP, Super play, standard play or no play. The play’s the same. It’s the game that has to change!

If all of this is still perfectly obscure, I can only urge you to join the growing numbers among us who cannot operate our VCRs. Maybe we could form a club or support group. It could even be tax deductible and the dues could go to support a new and different sort of anti-technological think tank We have nothing to be ashamed of (I don’t think). Even if we do, there’s always hope. Look on the bright side. There’s nothing good on television tonight anyway!

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"Technology has enabled man to gain control over everything except technology."

"Never trust a computer that you can't throw out the window."
Steve Wozniak

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