TiVos are raining from the sky!
September 25, 2000 6:04 PM   Subscribe

TiVos are raining from the sky! Jason Kottke won, so I entered. I won, and while my piece was obviously a piece of literary genius, it wasn't *that* good. I think we need to do a scientific study -- who can write the stupidest "Why I Want a TiVo" essay and still win?
posted by benbrown (167 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know.. mine was pretty stupid (mostly blatant "I'm a poor college student" begging), and I even added a heartfelt haiku on the end and.. I didn't get one. Anyone want to send me yours? I can write you a haiku..
posted by zempf at 6:26 PM on September 25, 2000

Hmmm - I think I'll give it a try.

It'll be hard though, as I don't really *want* a TiVo at all.
posted by aladfar at 7:10 PM on September 25, 2000

I've gotten four or five emails from people who have won thanking me for pointing them to the contest. Six other people (seven with Ben) I know have won as well. Even though they are giving away 10 TiVos a day, it seems like I know a disproportional amount of the winners. Maybe they're giving away more than 10 a day, just to get them out there?
posted by jkottke at 7:19 PM on September 25, 2000

I'd thought about entering, but then I realized winning would in fact be losing. TiVo is the anti-gift. Observe:

* I'd waste more time watching TV (currently down to about an hour a week)
* I'd probably have to get cable
* I'd lose $9.95/month to the TiVo service

If I could write an essay to win money and, more important, time, I'd be all for it. But to lose the same? That's nuts.

Then again, the set might come in handy in my next performance art installment.
posted by luke at 7:20 PM on September 25, 2000

The TiVo boxes they are giving out are selling on eBay for $200-$300. I don't want it, but I won it for free, paid $10 for one month of service, and I hope to turn around and make $250. Not bad for 250 words...
posted by benbrown at 7:27 PM on September 25, 2000

I wrote something rather silly and stupid myself and did not win. But I really want one! Anyone of you who wins one and doesn't want it could pawn it off on me or write essays on my behalf.

Sheesh. I can't even write to win a silly gizmo. What does this say about my senior thesis?
posted by stefnet at 7:35 PM on September 25, 2000

If I wrote well enough to win one (and I did), what does it say about the contest's standards?

posted by wendell at 7:40 PM on September 25, 2000

Bug. I actually kind of liked what I wrote and I didn't win either. I think it's rigged!
posted by evixir at 8:08 PM on September 25, 2000

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that only members of the internet elite can win.
posted by benbrown at 8:29 PM on September 25, 2000

wendell, weren't you a professional comedy writer at some point?

Care to show us your winning entry or "spread the wealth" by helping out with some other essays?
posted by mathowie at 8:30 PM on September 25, 2000

Damn cabal. Your day will come . . . and when it does, everyone will be able to digitally record all the Simpson's repeats, transfer them to video tape, and then sell the box.

Hey, I just had a dogma inspired idea . . . . does this mean if you do win, and you're not a part of the internet new media l33t cabal, you're automatically granted membership? Without having to pay that ridiculous entry fee?
posted by alana at 8:36 PM on September 25, 2000

I would like to see everyone's essays, just to see what sort of things the TiVo folks were looking for. Anyone willing to donate some space and time to post these things?
posted by stefnet at 8:53 PM on September 25, 2000

Hm.. I proabably need a television first, huh?
posted by Avogadro at 8:56 PM on September 25, 2000

You can see the unedited, unreduced version of mine at this url. I hacked out all the adjectives and adverbs to get it down to 250 words.
posted by benbrown at 9:10 PM on September 25, 2000

I'd go for it, if I had been born a month earlier. Damn age restrictions!
posted by tomorama at 9:32 PM on September 25, 2000

Before you begin to write your work of heartbreaking, TiVo-ass-kissing brilliance, be advised that the Contest is void in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, North Dakota, and Vermont and to the residents of these states. I guess I have been precluded from ever being l33t so long as I live here.
posted by donkeymon at 9:35 PM on September 25, 2000

I entered today, and I don't even live in the US. I hope I win... I had a 160 word entry that was sooo lame, it's sure to lose. Ah well, I'll give it till thursday and enter again. and again. and again!
posted by Neale at 10:04 PM on September 25, 2000

I wrote a entry about my current lack of furniture except for the love of my sweet sweet tv. Plus poor college student stuff.

We'll see if i win.
posted by sugarfish at 10:28 PM on September 25, 2000

I entered last Thursday, when Jason won, and had my winning TiVo code by Friday afternoon. So much for the internet elite.

My co-worker, who has no web presence, wrote an essay on Saturday, and won today. The TiVos are certainly falling from the sky at an alarming rate. Had I not typed mine impromptu into the form box, I would reprint. I know I started with a quote, "I have a dream."

posted by Awol at 10:28 PM on September 25, 2000

I get to be in the cabal?!?!

....you like me, you really like me......{sniff sniff}....

Either that or I just Homer'ed into the Free Masons.
posted by Awol at 10:32 PM on September 25, 2000

Ok, that whole thing about the internet elite was obviously a joke. Or maybe not so obvious. Jeepers, everyone wants attention, don't they?
posted by benbrown at 10:34 PM on September 25, 2000

Everyone wants attention? No, I think it's just you Ben.

posted by mathowie at 10:38 PM on September 25, 2000

Oh yeah, that's right. Pay attention to me! Pay attention to me! I'll let you play with my TiVo.
posted by benbrown at 10:40 PM on September 25, 2000

Pay to play with your TiVo?
posted by alana at 10:51 PM on September 25, 2000

FORM SUBMIT: Apologetica Officina
TO: Mr. B. Brown, Esq.
RE: Elite joke

Dear Mr. Brown,
I heartily apologize for unscrupulously building on your latest joke. It was inappropriate, and apparently not well delivered. I shall endeavor in the future to only steal your best material, and bookmarklet it for later usage (in another forum).

posted by Awol at 10:52 PM on September 25, 2000

Good plan! Now stop trying to steal my spotlight! heh.
posted by benbrown at 11:03 PM on September 25, 2000

Now, if the people at TiVo have a clue, they know that feeding the gadget lust of the [there is no] cabal is damn fine viral marketing.
posted by holgate at 12:04 AM on September 26, 2000

from the rules page:

). 5. ELIGIBILITY: Open to legal U.S. residents, except void in AZ, FL, MD, VT and ND and to the residents of those states, who are 18 years of age or older as of contest start date.

So none of us non-US types can get one.

also, Contest open to amateur writers only. Professional writers (persons who have been paid for their writing ability and/or performance in the past one year) are not eligible. So Ben, it's actually a Good Thing you haven't gotten your name on paper yet! :-)
posted by cCranium at 6:21 AM on September 26, 2000

I too have been denied the mythical state of 31337ness. But I saw that coming when I moved to Florida...

My essay was going to be a melodramatic plea for restoration of my lost faith in the magic and wonder of television. The joke being that I don't have a TV anymore. Not sure if that would help or hinder the freeloading cause... anyway, feel free to steal my idea, I mean, be inspired by my idea and use it to help you learn, if you like.
posted by Sapphireblue at 6:55 AM on September 26, 2000

I wrote a little essay and won the TiVo as well! I'm glad to part of the Internet elite!

I'm also suspicious that they aren't just using this to get people hooked and they're really giving away more than 10 a day. Either that or they don't get many entries.

It's probably run through an automated filter to count how many times you use the word "TiVo" and how many unique features you mention: "TrickPlay(tm)", "Now Playing", "Instant Replay", and "Season Pass(tm)." Who knows? That was my strategy. I didn't even write a personal essay, it was a story, like Jason's. But it worked!
posted by daveadams at 7:48 AM on September 26, 2000

I got one too. I spent time on it and wrote a personal essay. I kind of wonder if they might wanting to dump the cheaper 14 hour TiVo's and this was a good way to do it?
posted by Dean_Paxton at 8:19 AM on September 26, 2000

I won one too. And my essay was REAL dumb. Like, written in 5 minutes without spellcheck kinda dumb. I'm curious now to read essays written by other people who have won these things. Maybe set up a special thread or something.
posted by Optamystic at 9:11 AM on September 26, 2000

So I told someone who was in the market to buy a Tivo about this contest. This someone called Tivo to bitch about the contest not being valid in our state, and asked outright if he could just use a shipping address in another state. After a minute on hold, the nice Tivo man said "You're not supposed to do that, but we can't stop you from using your imagination. And don't say Tivo told you to do it."
posted by Sapphireblue at 9:20 AM on September 26, 2000

Post your essays here. If I win, I'll post mine there.
posted by mathowie at 9:24 AM on September 26, 2000

Hey, this just in -- apparently the 14 hour models they're giving out are "more hackable" than any other available model! WOO! Maybe I won't sell it on eBay.
posted by benbrown at 10:12 AM on September 26, 2000

Hackable == good.
posted by daveadams at 10:15 AM on September 26, 2000

yeah, i'm thoroughly pissed that my parents moved me to arizona 15 years ago =(
posted by pnevares at 10:16 AM on September 26, 2000

i won one, too.

being unemployed for six months and developing an unhealthy obsession with law & order worked for me!
posted by maura at 10:19 AM on September 26, 2000

I just won too, weird.
posted by owillis at 10:25 AM on September 26, 2000

This is incredible. I just won, too.

I was going to offer it (for modest cash or barter) to the Metafilter community, but it appears everyone here already has one.

posted by luke at 10:36 AM on September 26, 2000

I just won one too. Entered the contest after I saw this link on MeFi last night (200 words, written in like 5-7 minutes). What can I say? Thanks MeFi!!!

(does MeFi rhyme with Semper Fi? I am not a Marine, but a battle cry for a website, not *that's* original!)

posted by costas at 10:47 AM on September 26, 2000

Wait all I was doing was reading this thread and considering visiting the Web site and *I won one too!*

posted by geestarr at 10:54 AM on September 26, 2000

Damn, they must be trying to dump these. It took one hour to find out that I won.

I count 11 winners on this thread alone. Maybe we should spread our eBay barrage out so that we don't glut the market. You know, OPEC style...
posted by Avogadro at 11:02 AM on September 26, 2000

Well, sign me up for the Internet Elite sex party, I won.
posted by alana at 11:21 AM on September 26, 2000

Add me to the not so elite list of winners. I'd say yes, certainly looks like they are just dumping them.
posted by yupislyr at 11:25 AM on September 26, 2000

TiVo Sex Party, my house! Only hottt chixxx tho! And Haughey.

OK, but seriously, this has sinister implications. Are they giving away tons of these things just to up their sales? And to snag that minimum $10 registration fee with the hopes that, with our high paying internet jobs, we won't cancel the service?
posted by benbrown at 11:28 AM on September 26, 2000

Supposedly, the hack works really well. Here's some info on hacking your TiVo as well as some general TiVo info.

And I think that if TiVo had its way, it would give away machines to everybody. I don't think they are making anything on the hardware anyway...they might even be selling them below cost. The "give away the razor, sell 'em the razor blades" business model still works very well.
posted by jkottke at 11:33 AM on September 26, 2000

I won one just now, too. Sheesh.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:44 AM on September 26, 2000

Well I won one too- It seems like the $199 price tag isn't too steep for lifetime service no?
posted by TuxHeDoh at 11:46 AM on September 26, 2000

Hey, has anyone tried to win more than one TiVo? Sign up for a hotmail account and send it to yoru friends house.

Sounds like a business plan . . .
posted by alana at 11:54 AM on September 26, 2000

Actually I did not. I don't want one so I did not try, but I want in on the good times.
posted by thirteen at 11:56 AM on September 26, 2000

Wow, there are TiVo easter eggs. How cool is that?
posted by mathowie at 12:07 PM on September 26, 2000

You guys should get these all together, and run them parallel, and be able to replay years worth of television at a time.
Imagine how pissed you would be if you actually paid for one of these boxes, and then stumbled accross this thread. I think
poor Boycaught actually paid for his (forgive me if my memory is faulty).
posted by thirteen at 12:09 PM on September 26, 2000

I wrote a REALLY lame 159 words (thanks BBEdit!) about how much I love TV. It was so lame I refuse to post it on the MetaTalk thread with the others. I'm embarrassed at its lameness.

I won in about 45 minutes. Wheee! TiVo Sex Par-tay! Nothing beats free stuff.
posted by sjarvis at 12:26 PM on September 26, 2000

Well, I'll be damned if I didn't just win one, too. Thank you, benbrown.

I guess the money i'm saving by turning off my web hosting is going to be spent on tivo service.

oh, and i didn't mention a single "feature" in my essay... i just wrote that i was a poor hash slingin' college student with no furniture.
posted by sugarfish at 12:43 PM on September 26, 2000

I'd be much happier after winning one today-total time from essay start to Congratulations! e-mail was 48 minutes-if I hadn't bought one for $99 two months ago. I suppose some friend of mine will enjoy all that is TiVo . . .
posted by dizzycow at 12:52 PM on September 26, 2000

Ok, that's more than 10 today. Man, I feel really sorry for anybody who doesn't win. Geez.
posted by benbrown at 12:54 PM on September 26, 2000

this is absurd. won one in less than an hour.

maybe the boxes have cooties or something.
posted by syn at 12:58 PM on September 26, 2000

It took me over an hour (about 1.5) but I won too.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 1:02 PM on September 26, 2000

My cat's ass could write a better essay. I've slugged in greeking that made better sense. I'm too embarassed to put the essay on Metatalk, and I sit here a winner. I feel almost as excited as when I "won" a CueCat. Of course, this will be more useful.
posted by mimi at 1:06 PM on September 26, 2000

I won too. (Well, technically, my mom won, since I'm ineligible due to the paid-author restriction.) I did a parody of Britney Spears' "Oops...I Did It Again." Only 155 words, half of which weren't mine. And tah dah!

I'm pretty sure this is a thinly veiled give-away-the-cell-phone-buy-the-monthly-service gig.
posted by werty at 1:09 PM on September 26, 2000

Oh, c'mon, share! I posted my lame-o story. It was easy enough to write, though, being that most of it really happened this past weekend--all except the part about the baked beans.

mmmmm....baked beans....guess I know what's for dinner toNIGHT
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:12 PM on September 26, 2000

Okay, so I'm on the bandwagon as well - this has got to be WAY over 10 boxes per day. I won mine with a lame-ass essay in under 1 hour as well.

It smells like they are either desperate to get their subscriber base up, or they're sitting on a truckload of Philips TiVo boxes that they don't know what to do with.

I was always curious about this, but had no intention of laying out the $350 or so for the box. Thanks to MeFi (and kottke) for the tip.
posted by kokogiak at 1:13 PM on September 26, 2000

I'm aboard the TiVo gravy train! Woohoo! Total elapsed time from conception to entry to e-mail confirming my win: 23 minutes. My entry, in limerick form, in MetaTalk.
posted by bradlands at 1:14 PM on September 26, 2000

I wrote a cranky bitch about local TV spots, and used the word TiVorific a few times. I won in 5 minutes, about as long as it took me to hammer out < 200 words.

I think they're really trying to give this shit away. But, if it bores me, I'll send mine to Ben. He's collecting them, ya know.

posted by Snarl at 1:19 PM on September 26, 2000

OK, I just entered my pathetic essay. I'm too embarrased to post it. Especially if I don't win one. Ouch.
posted by phichens at 1:34 PM on September 26, 2000

For tracking purposes, I would like to note that I too won, in about 45 minutes. My essay was pure stream of consciousness about football and Martha Stewart living. I kid you not.
posted by norm at 1:35 PM on September 26, 2000

My essay wan't an essay at all. I took the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and replaced various Lifes, Liberties and Pursuits of Happinesses with Instant Replays, TrickPlays and Pursuits of TiVolution. And it still won.

I'd post it, but I didn't save it.
posted by dizzycow at 1:38 PM on September 26, 2000

so has anyone actually received the box yet?
posted by sudama at 1:41 PM on September 26, 2000

This is baffling. I submitted an essay yesterday, and it was -- get this -- rejected. Sure, it wasn't any good, but clearly that's not a deterrent to winning. So, I submitted a new one today under another email address. This one's much better (not that it matters), but i haven't heard back yet.

Has anyone else been turned down?

posted by sandor at 1:52 PM on September 26, 2000

Hey Ben, if I hack my box, can I come to the TiVo sex party too? (My TiVo box, perv!)
posted by bradlands at 1:55 PM on September 26, 2000

I won two! Well- my mom won one, and I won one, but it was the same essay. A buddy of mine who sits in the aisle next to me won one today, but theres another co-worker who didn't win. Don't know what's going on- but it's fun to watch!
posted by TuxHeDoh at 1:59 PM on September 26, 2000

Maybe there is a keyword minimum... I made sure to throw in several feature names, as well as multiple instances of the name TiVo. Either that or maybe they just recognize total luzers when they see 'em.


posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:05 PM on September 26, 2000

Phew, I was getting a bit worried there when I was coming up to the two-hours-between-writing-and-winning mark - but I guess they went for lunch. Yes, I won. Since I'll only be a US resident for two more weeks I guess my roommates get it.
posted by rory at 2:07 PM on September 26, 2000

Stupid companies and their lack of support for Canadian consumers. That's fine.. just fine.. and anyway, who needs cool new toys when we've got cheap maple syrup? Huh? Anyone? Fooey.
posted by jess at 2:09 PM on September 26, 2000

well, let's see what happens when you post a crappy Haiku about That 70's show
posted by tj at 2:10 PM on September 26, 2000

I won, and my entry clearly states I live in Australia. It's also only about 150 words, and mentions two features and says they will be useless. wtf?
posted by Neale at 2:31 PM on September 26, 2000

All these people won as well. I'd say the 10 winners a day thing is out.
posted by jkottke at 2:41 PM on September 26, 2000

Apparently they don't really care if you live in one of the excluded states, either. My friend wound up submitting an entry about how the man was keeping him down just because he lived in Florida... and he won. Had to call them to fix his blank state entry (Florida wasn't an option in the form), and they were just as fine with it as they could be.
posted by Sapphireblue at 2:54 PM on September 26, 2000

did you people submit a photo? what's up with that?
posted by amanda at 3:20 PM on September 26, 2000

I submitted a photo. I had one, so why not? Here's my essay. Don't know if I won, but it only took 20 minutes so it was worth a shot.
posted by wiremommy at 3:33 PM on September 26, 2000

There's an article on news.com (dated Sept. 15) that talks about TiVo's motivations with regard to the contest: cheap marketing and getting rid of out-moded inventory.

It seems to be working well for them...with the happy side effect of getting them in the hands of people (like the MeFi crowd) that are in the position to spread the TiVo meme very effectively. A TiVo tipping point in the making?
posted by jkottke at 3:35 PM on September 26, 2000

Okay, here's my winning entry. And I challenge Neale's claim to be the first Australian to win/own a TiVo, even if I did enter from within the US. What was the time-stamp on your notifying email, Neale? Mine's Tue, 26 Sep 2000 13:50:03 -0700.
posted by rory at 3:43 PM on September 26, 2000

Okay, I'll admit to having entered and been rejected, 'cause I know I'm not part of the in crowd anyway.

My question is, did they reject it because I mentioned that we already have a Replay box, or because I'm a professional writer?

posted by Dori at 3:46 PM on September 26, 2000

There you again again, Jason, spreading your memes all about the place. :)

(The TiVo meme and the Tipping Point meme, yet.)
posted by rory at 3:46 PM on September 26, 2000

Okay, mine is Wednesday, 27 September 2000 03:18, but take away 14 hours for time delay in the US, that's about 13:18 on Wednesday, 26, which beats you out by about 30 minutes.
I'm still the first person in Australia to own a TiVo, either way you cut it. Now, what the hell to do with it?
posted by Neale at 3:56 PM on September 26, 2000

Hmm. I see that the rules state that 'Participant assigns and transfers to Sponsor all rights, title and interest to the Essay' - the usual competition guff, but it means that posting them on MetaTalk is probably a little dodgy. Oops.

(Mental picture of the TiVo police surfing the entire web for illicit essays, and sending out the troops to retrieve their discontinued stock.)
posted by rory at 4:14 PM on September 26, 2000

Ok, this whole thing has caused me stress.

First I was hesitant to enter as I didn't think I could write something clever enough to win.

Then I kept reading how nearly everyone was winning.

Then I was afraid that if I entered and was rejected, I would be booted out of the MeFi elite.

But I eventually started to write something. I got carried away with my lame essay and next thing I knew it was 366 words.

I then became stressed out trying to reduce it to 250 words.

I submitted the slim-down version and got even more stressed out after 23 minutes went by without a "You've WON" message.

I went to lunch. I listened to the radio. I tapped my foot a bunch of times.

Finally I received the "You've WON" mail, about 1.5 hour after I submitted the words. Phew. It better actually show up....
posted by gluechunk at 4:40 PM on September 26, 2000

I, also, have won. It was a highly, um, original *sniker*, well thought-out *heehee* essay. Obviously a lot of time and effort *rofl* went into this.

Oh well. Here it is.
posted by Lirp at 4:49 PM on September 26, 2000

I got denied! And I actually thought it was funny. Oh well. Maybe it's based on zip code or something. I know two people that wrote really good ones and got denied.
posted by mathowie at 5:00 PM on September 26, 2000

Count me in as well. Sent the essay off this morning, and a few hours later I won one. Whoo Hoo. This is the first time I've ever won a contest.
posted by captaincursor at 5:23 PM on September 26, 2000

I hate you all. However, even though I did not win, as I noted in my first post, I have become inspired by everyone on here saying "I wrote a terrible essay and got one!" and have decided to try again.. I'm assuming that since TiVo is bending the rules a bit as far as giving them away to people outside of the US and whatnot, they shouldn't have a problem with me using a different email address.. of course, I'll probably just get rejected again.
posted by zempf at 5:29 PM on September 26, 2000

Hey mathowie, and other denied folks.

Why not give your essays to someone in a TiVo deprived area, let them enter it, and see if they win?
posted by alana at 5:40 PM on September 26, 2000

Those who have writers block can find my essay in Metatalk. See I have the gift of rhyme, don't arrest me it's not a crime.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 6:17 PM on September 26, 2000

Hey, I actually won something cool! Is anyone keeping count of how many people here have won today?
posted by isidore at 6:21 PM on September 26, 2000

Mine's in metatalk alan. Go nuts.
posted by mathowie at 6:22 PM on September 26, 2000

Geez. I won one also. Guess they felt sorry for me after my horror story of accidentally taping over my daughters copy of "Little Mermaid" with the 1964 Masters at 4am on the Golf Channel.

I don't actually intend to claim mine though - so if somebody wants it lemme know and you can have it - really.
posted by schlyer at 6:45 PM on September 26, 2000

Thats an awfull lot of winners! (self conciously making the 100th post)
posted by davidgentle at 7:13 PM on September 26, 2000

i112 -- that makes 35?
posted by sudama at 7:28 PM on September 26, 2000

Add me to the list of winners (for those of you counting, that makes 36 people on this thread alone) ... I just got an email from TiVo telling me I won. For what it's worth, here's my award-winning essay:

The clock on my VCR reads 12:00, as it had since I first brought home from the store. Blink. Blink. Blink.

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

Since the introduction of the VCR in the 1970s, the Sony's and Panasonic's of the world have added feature upon feature, gizmos and gadgets, knobs, buttons and lights. And yet the one feature I crave - simplicy -- is seemingly nowhere to be found.

SP? SLP? EP? Counter Reset? TV/VCR? All I want to do is record The Simpsons! Why do I have to take a course in electrical engineering to tape a simple television program?

Give me a TiVo! Easy-to-use interface, one-touch digital recording, Season Pass, TiVo Suggestions, Instant Replay and Trick Play -- these are features I can actually use!

I've already cleared out a spot for my VCR, in the garage, right next to my 8-track tape player and black & white television.

posted by dandot at 8:16 PM on September 26, 2000

My first entry was rejected, so I submitted another one... and we'll see. I'm encouraged by this "TiVo folks really good about bending the rules" chatter I'm hearing.
posted by evixir at 8:18 PM on September 26, 2000

Did anyone notice that in order to claim the prize, you have to agree to buy their monthly service? That's why they're tossing all these TiVo's around like candy. it's a brilliant loss leader ploy - they're the crack dealers of the online world!

posted by mikewas at 8:49 PM on September 26, 2000

Someone already said that. Also, you only have to buy once month. $10 is a pretty good price for a $300 machine that you can eventually sell on eBay.
posted by tomorama at 9:03 PM on September 26, 2000

I won.

I suppose the anti-cabal is allowed in on the game, too.

posted by rich at 9:11 PM on September 26, 2000

the following Haiku won a TiVo:

Working late again
damn, missed that 70s Show
should've bought TiVo
posted by tj at 9:12 PM on September 26, 2000

maybe every other entry is getting one or something? now it's time to try to win one for my parents, my friends, my friends' parents....

or not.
posted by sugarfish at 9:27 PM on September 26, 2000

Doesn't all of this sound like some episode of the Outer Limits?

Unable to pass a free tech toy, thousands of the Internet's brightest receive a free mind-controlling device in the guise of a personal television programming appliance. As they all watch their idiot box, their minds are slowly manipulated to eventually become slaves for the world dominance of the Transforming Interplanetary Venomous Orbs.
All hail the TiVo!!!

I can't wait for the one I won...
posted by Sal Amander at 9:41 PM on September 26, 2000

Phew! I'm not such a loser after all. I finally won for my song, T is for TiVo. Too bad I don't have cable.
posted by sandor at 7:08 AM on September 27, 2000

OK, my sad sad entry did win. I'm not posting it, though. It's just too damn embarrasing.
posted by phichens at 7:22 AM on September 27, 2000

Someone (me) should have written a parody: "The TiVolution Will Be Televised"

Oh well.
posted by daveadams at 7:32 AM on September 27, 2000

OK, I'll do it. And if I don't get bonus points for using the word "Hurricarana", there is no justice in the world.
posted by harmful at 8:07 AM on September 27, 2000

So has anyone been a complete loser and tried to win with someone else's winning entry? Just curious...
posted by smackfu at 11:12 AM on September 27, 2000

Ok...to those of you who have won awhile ago, let us know when you receive a shipment confirmation or when you actually receive the unit.
posted by gluechunk at 12:25 PM on September 27, 2000

I won mine today! I will post the story tonight.
posted by 120degrees at 2:40 PM on September 27, 2000

Well I had a long wait to find out, but I too am apparently a proud owner. That'll teach me to enter at 11pm, although it does indicate that someone is actually reading these, as opposed to some kind of keyword parser. The winning entry: The MalTiVo Falcon.
posted by raku at 2:49 PM on September 27, 2000

I won on my second try! Woo! My essay is posted up in MetaTalk. The BF is going to try and win one tonight.
posted by stefnet at 3:19 PM on September 27, 2000

What is the record for the longest thread on MeFi?
posted by thirteen at 3:25 PM on September 27, 2000

Yeah, 2nd time is the charm. I basically took my original entry and turned it into a cheesy little story. Here's my winning entry.

But I'm worried about the "service" part of the deal. I live seriously way out in the middle of nowhere and I don't know if there will be a local dial-up number or not (if you read the FAQ, you'll see that only the initial set-up phone call is a 1-800 number. The nightly update is supposed to just be a "local" call). I was convinced that was the reason I hadn't won (until I did).
posted by hit-or-miss at 4:04 PM on September 27, 2000

The longest thread on MeFi stands at about 180 posts. And still growing.
posted by Neale at 4:27 PM on September 27, 2000

I entered under a different email address this morning. Seven hours later I received word that I did not win...

Maybe I should have changed my essay more. The only changes I made were to change any mention of "The Facts of Life" to "Family Ties" and any mention of "Tootie" to "Mallory."
posted by gluechunk at 4:47 PM on September 27, 2000

Yeesh. my essay won too. These guys are desparate to move product.
posted by harmful at 5:57 PM on September 27, 2000

According to a release on their website, TiVo will use the toll-free number if there isn't a local access number in your area. I would imagine there's an access point in Kirksville, though. I'd wager TiVo is using one of the national access networks that the bigger ISPs use to provide widespread POPs.
posted by bradlands at 6:02 PM on September 27, 2000

me too. i entered and i won. thanks MeFi!

posted by palegirl at 6:31 PM on September 27, 2000 [1 favorite]

I won! I won! Took 'em six hours to get back to me. And the entry was lame. But I'll be gutsy and post it...
posted by dan_of_brainlog at 6:59 PM on September 27, 2000

Won on the second try, though it took 'em over a day to let me know. I guess I can stop bitching now.
posted by evixir at 8:31 PM on September 27, 2000

Two thoughts:
1) Mine was 242 words (I counted). The submit page was sure that it was more than 250 and wouldn't take it. I ended up writing a shorter, spur-of-the-moment one instead bitching about how it wouldn't take my essay. I actually think the second one was better. I'll let you know if I win. You can view them both here.
2) It's been pointed out that the reason that TiVo is giving these away is to get our money for the subscriptions. This is probably true, but has anyone thought about them using some of these entries as ads? I mean, I've read a lot of people's essays, and many are good enough to run as ads in magazines and stuff. Just a thought.
posted by crawl at 8:42 PM on September 27, 2000

Won on the 2nd try, first try was an essay about VCR vs. TiVo, second was a list of reasons why I want the TiVo...
posted by riffola at 9:43 PM on September 27, 2000

I had a lot of time on my hands today at a meeting. I sat there, Powerbook speaking to the building airport (not even my company's but don't tell the neighbors!) filling in entry forms for everyone on my Christmas list. This evening I checked my e-mail and I had won twelve TiVo's. Every entry I wrote won including one that was run through the Swidish Chef filter, the Courtney Love filter and one in Yoda speak (Good Tivo is, replay instant can do...).

Now my Family will rule the cabal!
posted by DragonBoy at 10:21 PM on September 27, 2000

I've read a lot of people's essays, and many are good enough to run as ads in magazines and stuff.

So, by running this competition, TiVo has inadvertently created a generation of advertisers-in-waiting? Or was it intentional? (A shame da man himself is otherwise occupied at present. I'd love to see his former-advertising-exec spin on this.)
posted by rory at 11:13 PM on September 27, 2000

i won too, first try and my plea was an embarrasment. will this thing work without paying the monthly fee?
posted by stazen at 11:25 PM on September 27, 2000

...has anyone thought about them using some of these entries as ads? I mean, I've read a lot of people's essays, and many are good enough to run as ads in magazines and stuff.

From the Rules posted on the TiVo site:

By submitting an Essay and/or photograph, participant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and grants Sponsor permission to post their Essay, photograph (if submitted) and name on the TiVo web site without further compensation.... Submission of entry constitutes permission to use winners' names, likeness, Essay and/or photograph for publicity purposes without further compensation (except where prohibited by law).
posted by phichens at 11:48 PM on September 27, 2000

I won one too, and my essay was so unbelievably lame that I refuse to post the contents here. The gist was that I complained about how my fiance (who lives 3000 miles and three time zones away) seems to call me when I'm in the middle of watching shows on the WB Network or UPN, shows I'm to ashamed to admit I'm watching but hate to miss. Lo and behold, they picked me. I'm not sure why they did, but they picked me.

I'm starting to wonder if this is a ploy by the TiVo folks to get more units in the market, to scoop Replay TV, and to make money from the service contracts, which is probably more profitable than selling the units themselves. Hm..
posted by likorish at 2:28 AM on September 28, 2000

I didn't have the foresight to keep the 8 sentences of drivel I submitted. Yup, I got my ticket to the sex party.

posted by plinth at 5:01 AM on September 28, 2000

In case someone is keeping tabs on the number of winners, I won one too. Mine, too, was a ten-minute off-the-top-of-my-head drivel.

posted by karen at 5:17 AM on September 28, 2000

Another option, besides actually using the unit, or posting it on ebay:

The 14 hour unit that they're giving away contains a 15 gig Western Digital IDE hard drive. Now where did I put that screwdriver......
posted by Optamystic at 9:31 AM on September 28, 2000

FYI: I just spoke with TiVo customer service about the possibility of transferring ownership of the device to someone else, and he said that it was not hard to do. He also said that the device will ship 2 to 4 weeks after service is started.
posted by sandor at 9:54 AM on September 28, 2000

So what I wonder is, if we won't be getting the thing for a month, are we paying for that month of service we can't use? Lame, not that I'm complaining. Okay, yes I am.
posted by daveadams at 10:08 AM on September 28, 2000

I've taken heart and now calling everyone I know, which just happen to be the same people I called when I won my TiVo last week. I'm telling them basically that they're giving these things away and if they want one, to let me know and I'll submit the essay for them if they want to be lazy. I wonder how hard we're going to get bounced on this. I'm thinking that if the TiVo rep is saying 2-4 weeks for shipping the box, then that could be more like 6-8 weeks and thats two months of $9.95 service wasted on nothing. Does anyone feel like we have a big screwing coming upon us all?
posted by Beau at 10:22 AM on September 28, 2000


I spoke to a TiVo customer service person about that yesterday and they said that, yes, you might be paying a two-month minimum if you want to actually use the service. Cause it takes up to a month for you to receive the unit but they start charging you for the service right away.
posted by karen at 11:03 AM on September 28, 2000

Ok, so I didn't win on my first try. The one where I bitched about their word counter being wrong. But I'm going to try again now. I've gotta win eventually!
posted by crawl at 11:28 AM on September 28, 2000

Oh, hell. This thread has begun to Suck. [via EOD]
posted by harmful at 12:24 PM on September 28, 2000

Every entry I wrote won including one that was run through the Swidish Chef filter, the Courtney Love filter and one in Yoda speak (Good Tivo is, replay instant can do...).

Damn, somebody beat me to submitting entries that have been dialectized.
posted by phichens at 12:46 PM on September 28, 2000

Heh. Dummy pipe.
posted by cCranium at 12:46 PM on September 28, 2000


Unless becoming an advertising copywriter for free bothers you. :-)

"I like the peaches that come in heavy syrup. They just taste better!"
posted by baylink at 1:17 PM on September 28, 2000

No one's becomming and advertising copywriter for free. They're paying $20 bucks (2 months) to become a copywriter, and get a nice big hard drive.
posted by cCranium at 2:18 PM on September 28, 2000

Hey, forget two months people - how about two days! As in, UPS just delivered a new TiVo to my door, 48 hours and thirty minutes after I was notified I'd won!

And get this - it's no 14-hour job, this is a 30-hour TiVo! Woo-haa!

I guess Neale is right - this does make me the first Aussie to own one...
posted by rory at 2:37 PM on September 28, 2000

16 hours; not even a reply, either way.

posted by baylink at 7:34 AM on September 29, 2000

I'm quite happy to let the fact that I'm disqualified before even entering by my geographic location be my reason for not getting a TiVo.
posted by cCranium at 8:40 AM on September 29, 2000

I just submitted the first 150 words of Finnegan's Wake with the word "TiVo" at the end. We'll see what happens.
posted by solistrato at 11:55 AM on September 29, 2000

So far:

-Entered an essay on the 26th. Won a few hours later.

-Entered again on the 27th. Took awhile to find out that I lost.

-Entered for a third time yesterday (the 28th). Have yet to receive an email about it.

Have they run out of units to give away? Has anyone won recently?

posted by gluechunk at 12:14 PM on September 29, 2000

I got my unit yesterday, but as too busy to figure out how to patch it into my arlready complex TV set-up. I'll hook it up and play with it tonight. But this means that I recieved my TiVo exactly one week after entering the contest. Not a bad turnaround at all.
posted by Awol at 5:22 PM on September 29, 2000

I was doing some idle surfing on the TiVo Community site this morning and noticed a bulletin board post by someone associated with the company admitting that a server burp essentially shoveled out a truckload of free units to entrants a couple of days back. TiVo, however, will honor all of the awards rather than cancelling the contest or withdrawing the erroneous winners. (He also said that the contest judges seem to have a fondness for haiku and limericks, which I didn't know before I entered. Woohoo!)

In addition, many folks are reporting that they have received 30-hour units instead of the promised 14-hour models, which augers well for later entrants.

The general tone of the message boards seems to indicate that TiVo offers friendly and great customer service. Now, even more than before, I'm looking forward to receiving my unit, and the positive remarks I've read about the product, the company and the community surrounding it really move me to consider purchasing products from them in the future.

posted by bradlands at 2:22 AM on September 30, 2000

Hey, you already won, you don't need to write another essay.

posted by cCranium at 9:18 AM on September 30, 2000

You know, I have yet to win despite my (so far) 2 entries, so people who keep winning over and over again kinda piss me off. I mean, it's cool that you're getting all this free stuff, but you're also lowering my chances. So at least lay it off for a few weeks to give other people a chance. Whadda ya say?
Also, bradlands, do you have a link to that posting? I searched and searched that site, but could not find the post of which you speak.
posted by crawl at 8:46 AM on October 1, 2000

They don't appear to allow direct linking into the forum, but this thread is basically the equivalent of this MeFi thread, and contains the remarks from the TiVo guy and several happy winners.
posted by bradlands at 11:04 AM on October 1, 2000

I entered what I think was a hillarious essay, and 3 days later I haven't heard whether I won or not. My guess is not, but I am unable to submit a second entry because the TiVo site says that my address is already in the database and only 1 entry per household. So how are all the people on this thread sending multiple entries?
posted by terrapin at 12:41 PM on October 2, 2000

terrapin, I used various email addressed combined with various versions of several different shipping addresses i.e. instead of "apt 666" put "#666" or "Ste. 666." That line just needs to be slightly different. Misspell a street name perhaps.

note though that it appears the TiVos are no longer falling from the sky. i entered for the forth time several days ago and have yet to receive a response.
posted by gluechunk at 4:19 PM on October 2, 2000

btw the minimum # of daily winners is 10, so it's not a big deal if more than 10 win in a day.
posted by riffola at 10:53 PM on October 2, 2000

Proving that again, I was wrong, UPS delivered my Contest TiVo today....it was the 14 hour thing and it took me most of the evening to get it cabled in with my VCR, cable box, TV, and DVD (which still isn't working). Now I'm waiting for the finishing touches after the download to start playing with it...just in time for Premiere Week....WooHOO!

posted by BeauRN at 9:20 PM on October 3, 2000

I just got my TiVo, and went to the website to register it. I was surprised that they asked me for my credit card information again. It leads me to suspect that they don't know who I am, don't know that I'm obligated to subscribe. I've been plannng all along to subscribe for a month, then sell the unit on ebay. Now I'm thinking I won't have to subscribe....
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:42 AM on October 11, 2000

My TiVo arrived yesterday. My husband found it just sitting on our front porch. Since we almost always go in and out through the garage, there's no telling how long it was actually out there.
posted by phichens at 4:14 PM on October 11, 2000

My TiVo arrived today, it's the 30 hour version, I'm so stoked. I got it activated via telephone, so they didn't need my credit card info' etc.
posted by riffola at 10:50 PM on October 16, 2000

For anyone still reading this thread, I JUST NOW received my free unit, over a month after winning the contest. I wish I had kept constant updates on this whole ordeal. I even have voice mail from a program manager at TiVo who discovered that I had entered multiple times (under different email addresses). Maybe I'll try to summarize this matter somehow soon.
posted by gluechunk at 10:32 AM on November 2, 2000

For the record: My free 30 hour TiVo's modem died on June 11th 2001. They're going to exchange it for me. I've got to pay about $100 labour charges + shipping.
posted by riffola at 4:07 PM on June 15, 2001

This thread is alive, I tell ya!

posted by Avogadro at 5:47 AM on June 17, 2001

there's a duck tales episode where huey, dewey, and louie freeze time during a baseball game and set it up so their team wins. the mefites in these old threads are frozen in time, but how do we win?
posted by register at 9:06 PM on June 19, 2001

there was an episode of out of this world in which Evie was mis-using her powers (freezing time) & one of the ways in which she did this was to freeze time while she was up at bat and take the softball out of mid-air and put it behind the pitcher's heel on the ground. The pitcher's foot then came down on the ball and she fell over while everyone else was confused and Evie rounded the bases.

She also cheated on an exam.

bad Evie! she was punished... ooh.
posted by palegirl at 2:23 AM on July 20, 2001

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