Hard News by Russell Brown

151

Electrickery

Where possible, we've been watching our real-time TV via the Freeview HD decoder in the past week. The pictures are so good we can do without the benefits of a PVR. And yesterday, my darling switched on the TV in anticipation of the news. She turned to TV3, where Home and Away was supposed to be on. It wasn't.

TV3 was trialling a broadcast of Bones, one of its initial HDTV offerings. The scene was an autopsy: a very hi-res autopsy. It was gross (indeed, it might have breached the watershed). But awesome.

Then they switched back over for the news, where Hilary Barry's words were not in sync with her lips. This may have been a sign of the apocalypse.

Further on the TV tip: I've noted in the past (and more than once) the weird and unsatisfactory service to be found at Noel Leeming stores. As I explained to the manager who contacted me last time, it's (mostly) not the people: there's something wrong with their system. It's just hard to get help when you want it, because staff seem to be tied up forever in sales, and even then (this happened to me while I was out price-comparing there last week) the person on the shopfloor may not know much about the product.

Well, now my Mum has had the same experience. She wanted a new TV to watch her son's TV show when it launches on TVNZ 7 next week. She spied a Samsung that, with a $200 trade-in for her old set and a free HDMI-capable DVD player, seemed like a reasonable deal. She'd had a little trouble getting help in the shop, but I told her to go for it, and I'd buy her the Freeview box to go with it. She went back the next day in and signed up for their terms -- a process that meant she spent an unbelievable two hours in the store.

That wasn't the end of it. She paid the delivery and installation fee, and the drivers turned up and had to borrow a screwdriver from her to do the job. And there was no DVD player. To get that, she had to fill in another form and wait for Samsung to email her with a link to the offer, and when that was fulfilled, Samsung would send her the DVD player.

But my Mum doesn't have email. She doesn't have a computer, and doesn't want one. So she gave my email address. Days later, I haven't seen the email (yes, I've looked in the spam folder in my webmail). Why can't the retailer and the supplier simply cut out the pointless email step and have the DVD player delivered to the address supplied? This seems quite hopeless. And people, this is my mother. I'm not impressed.

The famous Muldoon Toby jug, the prize for the when-Muldoon-was-Prime-Minister quiz at our Christmas party with the Wellingtonista last year, is up for sale on Trade Me. This should be an auction worth watching.

Pew has interesting media numbers on Barack Obama's A More Perfect Union speech on race. And one of Obama's bloggers writes that along with the higher-resolution version, the speech has racked up nearly four million views on YouTube. He points out:

That means Obama's speech has been seen more times online than the original Wright clip -- by a factor of six. More people have watched Obama's speech online than have watched every single clip on McCain's YouTube channel -- for the entire campaign.

Even if you don't think the speech got Obama off the hook over his former pastor's unfortunate raving, surely there is something remarkable in a politician responding to a campaign emergency with a sophisticated, positive and thoughtful piece of oratory, rather than the usual risible damage control.

Anyway, we have another giveaway for you, this time from our new friends at MarchFest, which is staged in Nelson this Saturday. It's a right old bundle:

- A large rigger of beer of one of the special festival beers, which are made usuing only locally-grown hops. (you can pop through to the MarchFest site to read the details on each).
- A MarchFest t-shirt
- A double pass to MarchFest this Saturday
- A copy of Songs from a Dictaphone by SJD, who are headlining the festival.

The idea is that you'll only enter if you actually plan to go -- and I know we have readers in the area. Go ahead, hit "Reply", then, and I'll randomly choose a winner this afternoon.

PS: Speaking of SJD, guess who's done the theme music for Media 7? Cool, huh?

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