Friday, January 11, 2008

Thanks for making my point, Goofy!

I was among the millions going to the movies over the holidays and once again the folks at Walt Disney® proved they're simply the best at what they do. I hope you had a chance to see "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." Without giving away the plot, I am happy to report that there will be yet another sequel! I wonder what's on page 47?

A nice surprise before the movie started was a genuine, old-style Disney cartoon starring Goofy. At first I thought it was a nostalgic cartoon from the Disney archives. When I looked at the art and animation, I thought I was in for a wonderful trip back to the days of my childhood when before every movie there were a few cartoons.

The subject matter, however, was definitely 21st century. In the cartoon, Goofy is portrayed as a TV and sports nut who realizes he's missing out on the modern technology of HD flat screens, Digital Video Recorders with movie theater sound along with satellite or digital cable.

So ole' Goofy heads to the nearest electronics superstore and buys the latest in video and audio technology in sight.

The cartoon takes a hilarious turn when he waits for everything to be delivered. You know, the “between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.” promise that is never met. Once his packages arrive, Goofy is surrounded by stacks of boxes with “easy” instructions that look more like the plans to the International Space Station than directions on how to set-up your new flat screen TV.

Goofy gives it his best shot but when he plugs in the power, everything blows up, including the roof of his house sending Goofy into orbit.

This, of course, reminded me of the commercial featuring a couple of guys who are playing a baseball video game using sensor controlled hand devices . One of the guys accidentally tosses the controller at the flat screen TV on the wall, shattering the TV.

When mainstream media starts poking fun at something, you know it's truly arrived.

In order to keep up with the ever-changing technology, I decided to produce our “Digital Devices Made Easy” lesson.

It is very likely that there was a high-tech device under your tree this year from phones that play videos, music and yes, even make phone calls to a home theater sound system and flat screen TV that actually places you in the middle of your favorite sport or movie.

And this week video rental giant Netflix® announced an agreement where they'll deliver rental movies directly to your television via a set-top box produced by LG Electronics. You'll need to have high-speed Internet to use the system.

More wires and more boxes.

While all this is very cool and fun to use, hooking it all up is another matter! Instruction manuals remain complicated. You can choose the option of hiring someone to do it for you, just remember the installers do not work for free and always come with a “between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.” promise.

I would hate to see you end up like poor Goofy, or go goofy trying to hook cables to outputs and inputs, making sure your woofer isn’t where your satellite dish should be or vice-versa.

I recommend you take the least goofy route and try “Digital Devices Made Easy” for free.


John W. Scherer