Friday, July 22, 2011

It's not a real Bulldog

The problem with SKY is that it takes up to a minute to change channels – and I cannot record or fast-forward. This is a problem because the only stuff I watch live is sport. The only other things I watch are from History or Discovery or National Geographic and I record these so that I can fast-forward through the advertisements.

When I am watching sport I change channels when there are advertisements on. I hate advertisements – I am already paying a vast sum of money for the service anyway – and the advertisements are totally irrelevant – they are for a UK audiences and I live in Austria – and they are completely stupid – mostly involving furry animals. When did this start?

In one there is a couple sitting in their lounge room and there is a bulldog sitting on the other lounge chair and they are looking at insurance for something and it starts to talk to them about the best insurance – and they listen to it and base their decision on what it says.  

Clearly it is a member of the family. This raises a number of interesting questions. Where did it gets its knowledge of insurance – does it have a business degree – does it work in  the industry?

If I had a bulldog that talked it would not sitting at home on the lounge chair and I would not be worried about insurance. 

But here’s the thing. I can see that it is not a real bulldog. Its movements are stilted and not natural. It is mechanical. These people are being fooled. So is the audience. It is a trick.

In another ad a woman is sitting in a restaurant with her family and a polar bear sitting at the next table starts to talk to her about sea food. She seems a bit surprised – but not as surprised as I would be.

Sure when I was younger and running trading rooms and drinking a lot I used to have experiences like this but I knew what was causing it.

This women seems to think she should buy the seafood that the polar bear recommends and seems reluctant to let her family know that she is in communication with a polar bear. Quite.

And then there are the Meerkats. I have no idea what they do but there are infestations of them and they sing and dance.

So this is all quite normal now and people just sit there and accept it? Well not me. I just move it – well I did until my SKY box broke.

Wolfgang from the local supplier took me through the very many processes necessary to find where the fault lay. This involved software and hardware resets and much farnarkling. 

I could have  solved the problem easily by asking at the outset ‘Wolfgang – what is the most expensive thing to replace?’ and he would have said ‘Why – the SKY Box of course’ and I would have replied ‘Well that’s where the problem is.’

But it took us two days of telephone discussions and a visit to his shop to get there and a new box is on its way from London at a cost – to us – of €290. See you – like me – thought that a faulty SKY box would be replaced by SKY but we were both wrong because my contract is not with SKY it is with Wolfgang.

Wolfgang said I will be pleased with the new box because it is smaller. He showed me a new box and it is indeed smaller – half the size of the old one. I am not sure what I will do with the space we have saved because it is going in the same spot as the old one. 

I asked Wolfgang if there was any way I could get BBC and he said it was theoretically possible but that I would need a dish with a diameter of six meters and it would cost about €20,000 to buy and install and that after the next storm we might have to go to Graz to get our roof back. I said I would think about it.


  1. I hate cable companies. We have the same problem with Dish right now. I could have the technician come and examine my receiver, but it would cost me $95 and the guy could possibly tell me the problem is with my 9 month old TV or with the HDMI cable (same age) and if it is the receiver, I will still have to pay some sort of fee to have it replaced. This is all after paying what feels like a huge sum for hundreds of channels we don't want, but had to get in order to get the 5 channels that we do want. It's a racket!! Perhaps I should change careers...

  2. I can't resist:

    "The SKY is small-ing, the SKY is small-ing!!!"

    Okay, I'm done now. It was a hot day on the road HVACing today, and the road was twice as long - because bolts broke.

  3. Yes, indeed. It is so neat nowadays. Contracts are removed by at least 3 degrees from those whom you might think are responsible and it is a complete impossibility to find out what is going on or to get redress. One simply pays up and hopes to remain troublefree for a brief interlude.

  4. Can you get the BBC iplayer in Austria?


  5. Janice: I hate SKY - but Wolfgang is a nice man.

    esbboston: Why are there bolts on the road - is this some new American money saving thing?

    Merricks: Well Wolfgang fixes all my problems - all I have to do is pay large amounts of money to SKY.

    Rattlebox: Theoretically possible - and I have done it. I have to use a fake name and address and a proxy server but it just does not work well enough.

  6. That sky picture is gorgeous (no pun intended)!

  7. Oh, the bolts and the road being twice as long, sorry if this was confusing. I had to swap out a motor on a condensor unit and my mentor sent me with a used motor to the far west side of town. But when I got there I discovered the mounting bolts in the good motor had to be switched with the bad one BUT for some reason the bolts had a wear pattern that weakened them so they snapped into two pieces, so I had to drive twice as far back into town and try to find some replacements, while racing against possible rain clouds. So factoring in all the one time costs for new tools, extra diesel, extra parts, I made possibly enough to get my grilled chicken sandwich at my new favorite restaurant. At least the gentlemen at the bolt store gave me a very good price for the bolts. I did get my online college materials (books) yesterday to get started with my HVAC training, so I am about ready to take my first test as soon as my current headache dies down.

  8. Merisi: I blued it up a bit to give the moon more contrast - but it does look rather good.

    esbboston: Well as long as you did get the grilled chicken sandwich - and get rid of the headache. And thanks for clearing up the bolts thing.