Published Dec 11, 2005

Junior may have finally done it; he’s always been (like any cockatoo) a bit of a destroyer of precious posessions, but he may have finally destroyed the one thing I love more than him. Yes, that’s right, my bird ate Tivo.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with TiVo, there’s a button at the top of the Tivo remote:

You click on that button to go from normal TV into the Tivo interface. Without this button, it’s all normal TV — and, as any Tivo owner knows, that’s a frightening thought. And, of course, that’s the button that Junior decided to eat:

See, where there’s that happy Tivo character at the top of the first photo? See where there’s the hole at the top of the next two photos, with the exposed green circuit board and the two shiny dots of solder the form the contacts for the switch? Yeah, so I walked away from my living room for a minute, and was called back by a big a “thunk”. Junior had picked up the entire remote, extracted the Tivo button and the switch on which it sat, flung them some distance away, and then dropped the remote itself, making quite the crash. When I returned to the living room, he was sheepishly looking down at the remote, chewing on a fragment of the Tivo button.

Now, I looked at ordering a new Tivo remote, but, hey, it’s vacation, I need to be able to watch a big ol’ pile of TV, and, let me tell you, I ain’t watchin’ that live. So I had little choice; I walked to Best Buy, took a look at their universal remotes (“none of these work with Tivo,” said the sales guy, but I looked a little harder and saw four “works with Tivo!” labels so I stuck around anyway), and picked out the bargain-basement model:

Now, compare this to the original Tivo remote:

Believe it or not, I picked the universal with the least buttons that could possibly do the job. However, it’s clear that the thing is a human factors disaster. Look at the different-sized, different-colored, cleverly-designed buttons on the Tivo; now notice how everything on the universal is the same size. And note how the buttons on the universal are clustered by type, rather than by use, without any real physical differences between the groups of buttons? And the simple shape of the item, hard-to-hold, unlike the Tivo remote, which rests comfortably and naturally in the hand?

But I’ll stop complaining, really, because for just $18 I got a remote that works with my Tivo, and I got it right now. And it is nice to get rid of the awful Sony DVD player remote, which is even more obtuse than the universal. So, the day was rescued and my reputation as a fat, lazy American male saved by watching yet more endless hours of football.

Now if only I could figure out why Junior has coffee breath.


My Tivo is looking forward to January:

Dorothy no longer finds it amusing when I wave to Heather every time we pass one the show’s promotional billboards currenlty scattered all over town.

I love that movie actors are going to TV. My next hope is that Jessica Alba will return to the small screen.

please accept my deepest apologies for your loss.