Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Without your televisions

I learned something this week. I learned that nothing says 'dodgy' like sauntering across Trafalgar Square carrying a smallish TV, except possibly hurrying across Trafalgar Square carrying a smallish TV.

Which is what I was doing yesterday morning.

(Even a small CRT tv starts to weigh a fair bit after a while, and anyway, I didn't want to be late for work.)

So why was I braving the suspicious looks to cart a tv into work? Context might help.

I record broadcast tv for use in class, under an ERA license. This is a good and fruitful source of resources, and well worth the investment in licence fee and tech, but does mean that I have a tv set up in my office, which isn't exactly standard equipment.

Our old set-up was getting more and more unreliable, so we recently upgraded the key bit of kit - the DVD recorder.

One shiny new DVD recorder - one cranky old tv that didn't want to cooperate. Problem.

Specifically, the cranky old tv is of the age that means it doesn't respond to the signal that new devices send out to signify 'switch to Aux mode now'. Cranky old tv has no remote control, no button for 'Aux', no desire to cooperate with any of the same-brand or Universal remote controls we could scrounge up to test with.

Which is roughly when I discovered that it's no longer possible to buy cheap nasty tvs - one can only buy sleek, flat-screen, lovely tvs, and they're not particularly cheap.

Frankly, I'd rather we spent the money on something we need, that will make life better in some way for our students, faculty, or staff, so I've been keeping an eye on my local freecycle and reuse groups. This past weekend I spotted that someone very local to me was was offering a portable tv. A flurry of emails and a 20 minute walk later, said tv was mine, ready to be donated on to work.

Right now, it's sitting on the side in my office, doing it's job of letting me see that the DVD-R did, in fact, record the test-program I set it to record last night. I think that's worth a few suspicious looks!

* Photo by Susan E Adams, used under Creative Commons, with thanks.

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