This thingy is a bitch!
October 17, 2008 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Prepping for the Digital Conversion is Harder When You're a 99-Year-Old Grandmother. (SLYT)
posted by shockingbluamp (39 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by dersins at 5:23 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

wuh wuh wuh period
posted by leotrotsky at 5:26 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I hope she cuts her greatgrandchild out of her will for posting the video.
posted by francesca too at 5:31 PM on October 17, 2008

Aw, I like her.

Whenever I'm watching older people get frustrated with technology, I picture them as in their twenties, in the dress of their era, futzing around in front of me with the keyboard and mouse. It makes me suddenly not impatient.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:37 PM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]

Ha ha ha old people are dumb.

Well, let's see YOU bake a tasty pie from scratch.

The secret is suet.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:39 PM on October 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

Yeah, my grandparents fought in WWII, raised six kids, and ran their own business for 40 years, so if they don't know how to program a VCR I gotta cut them some slack. They probably did more productive activity in one week than I've done in a year. Or a decade.
posted by desjardins at 5:47 PM on October 17, 2008

February 7, 2009?!? omg I'm screwed.

How many doubleyous was that?
posted by DU at 5:54 PM on October 17, 2008

I think I might be the only person who actually watched that video.
posted by DU at 5:56 PM on October 17, 2008

not so much
posted by subgear at 6:00 PM on October 17, 2008

If you don't have metal stucco lath, use carbon-fiber stucco lath. Now parge the lath!
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:00 PM on October 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

You must have.
posted by shockingbluamp at 6:01 PM on October 17, 2008

I think I might be the only person who actually watched that video.

I saw it a couple of weeks ago.

When my 63-year-old father forwarded it to me.

It's a single unfunny joke repeated over and over again for two minutes.
posted by dersins at 6:08 PM on October 17, 2008

LOL Do I ever feel for her. I'm in my seventies and I spent a week partitioning my hard drive and installing Linux. I had to do three installs. A year later they came out with Ubuntu. If only I had waited. I could have saved myself so much aggravation.
The problem is though, at my age you can't afford to wait.
Tomorrows are no longer as certain as they used to be.
You all will find out.
Ummm. That is if you're lucky you'll find out.
posted by notreally at 6:13 PM on October 17, 2008 [15 favorites]

> Digital Conversion


> LOL Do I ever feel for her. I'm in my seventies and I spent a week partitioning my hard drive and installing Linux. I had to do three installs.

Linus only has to do a new install twice. Stallman can't do it at all.
posted by jfuller at 6:21 PM on October 17, 2008's a JOKE folks. she is an ACTOR and in on the friggin' joke. Lighten up already. No wonder everyone seems so pissy on the Blue. No sense of...
posted by shockingbluamp at 6:46 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Meanwhile, Technology LOVES the Young.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:01 PM on October 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

Ha ha ha old people are dumb.

Well, let's see YOU bake a tasty pie from scratch.

Dammit, I make better pies than either of my grandmothers or my mom.

I love them all, but they never understood the secret to the flakey crush, always overworking the dough.
posted by piratebowling at 7:10 PM on October 17, 2008

Hooray, millions and millions of 40 Watt energy sucking devices plugged into the walls at once! Yes, 21st century; we are HERE!
posted by buzzman at 7:37 PM on October 17, 2008


*in front of computer*
"is this my new tv?"

yes, grandma. yes it is.

great, a coupon. how much does it cost? to get brainwashed by how many commercials per hour?
yessir, come feb 7th there's a much smaller chance i'll be getting a dtv box than that i'll be putting a much bigger box on the curb. anybody else thinking of making the switch to "off"?
posted by sexyrobot at 7:41 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't think this video is parodying the grandma, but the really, really bad infomercials which are serving to alert people about how this transition affects them.

Despite the fact that DTV comes in over the same old rabbit-ears you have on your analog TV, many of the spots I've seen claim that "analog antennas, like rabbit-ears" are the single obvious criterion for realizing you need one of these boxes.

posted by tomierna at 7:57 PM on October 17, 2008 [3 favorites]

tell me about it. My lovely nan is 95 and will be 96 when the conversion comes. I have my gift all set.
posted by parmanparman at 8:12 PM on October 17, 2008

it is the tuner but the aim here is to infom ppl who have old tv sets who have rabbit ears. if they already own a flat LCD/plasma..then they more than not know what this is about. for my 94/91 aunts who last bought a curtis mathis in 1981 and spent a fortune...and who use rabbit ears outside town...this is what the target is.
posted by shockingbluamp at 8:22 PM on October 17, 2008

Oh, I know what the aim is, but when you couple the simplistic misinformation with slimy or untrained salespeople at big box stores, you can be sure that more than a few people will be getting these conversion boxes who don't need them.
posted by tomierna at 8:32 PM on October 17, 2008

slimy or untrained salespeople.... I guess you mean Fry's, Best Buy, CC....but the things only cost $35 w/ the coupon...not even slimy or untrained salespeoplen even one is up selling to the old lady..unless they are truly slimy or untrained salespeople.
posted by shockingbluamp at 8:38 PM on October 17, 2008

shockingbluamp - I find your Favourites list to be a lot more amusing than that video.
posted by gman at 9:12 PM on October 17, 2008

so if they don't know how to program a VCR I gotta cut them some slack.

you know when I learned how to program a VCR? When I got Tivo
posted by any major dude at 9:23 PM on October 17, 2008

I think I might start pronouncing www as "wuh wuh wuh."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:38 PM on October 17, 2008

Isn't this the lady who shows up every now and then on Conan O'Brien etc.?
posted by Xere at 9:38 PM on October 17, 2008

The secret is suet.

Nope. It's lard.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:05 PM on October 17, 2008

...more than a few people will be getting these conversion boxes who don't need them.

I'm a technical person in my mid-30s and I have no idea if I need one. The entire HDTV thing is completely opaque from the outside. I'm just going to turn my TV on on D-Day and see if it works. If not, I'll get a box.
posted by DU at 2:41 AM on October 18, 2008

OK I'm only 1/2 99, and when I tried to purchase a digital converter box , with my goverment coupon, from Echostar (Dish Network), they told me I couldn't because I was already a customer of theirs. Consumer reports says that the Echostaer converter box is one of the best. Where else can I get one?

Why do old people always put things they don't understand up to their ear?
posted by Gungho at 4:31 AM on October 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

We're trying to determine if it's alive??? It's tough when your hearing is 75% impaired. (Many of us)

That's 'alive' as in live. Maybe humming or, I hate to use the word vibrating???
posted by notreally at 4:51 AM on October 18, 2008

Some of the stations in my area have started running new "DTV Conversion" PSAs that subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) equate/confuse/combine the need to upgrade to DTV with their HDTV broadcasting, leaving the less technically savvy (i.e. many, many, not necessarily elderly, viewers) to assume that they will need to invest in a new HDTV before the DTV conversion comes.

Reprehensible shit, that. Though, I'm sure the local electronics advertisers love it.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:29 AM on October 18, 2008

I think I might start pronouncing www as "wuh wuh wuh."

Yeah, me too. Definitely. I'm all for solidarity with old ladies. After all, I spend a lot of leisure time doing crossword puzzles and I've been known to play a mean game of cribbage.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:50 AM on October 18, 2008

(My nana makes horrible, horrible pies. All of her cooking is g-dawful. I love her anyway. When I want pie, I go to my mama, Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year at Lake Wobegon [no joke] High School, 1974.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:51 AM on October 18, 2008

This reminds me of conversations I had with my great aunt over a number of years. It was the eighties, I was a badly-dressed teen with a mullet and a subscription to Popular Science, and to me, back then, it seemed like computers were the greatest thing ever invented. My great aunt was in her eighties, with a penchant for cardigans in Georgia summers and a subscription to Reader's Digest, and to her, the world was full of wonders.

She was one of those bright-eyed women with a keen sense of the world, and was interested in computers solely because I was, and because she trusted my sense of the world enough to think that I might be interested in them because they were another of the marvels she expected to see in her lifetime.

Trouble was, I couldn't really demonstrate what they were good for, at least to her. I always fell back on the old saw of all computer-crazed lemmings back then—"you can balance your checkbook on it!"—which I wasn't smart enough to see as the idiotic line it was. You actually could balance your checkbook on it, with some crummy piece of prehistoric code like Visicalc, and it would only cost you three thousand dollars for the hardware and software required to do what my aunt did with a pencil, moistened periodically on the tip of her tongue, in a frayed little book that had dates going back to the early sixties, when she'd bought the leviathan Impala that held pride of place in her immaculately-kept garage.

I'd come at her with apps like Applewriter, which she'd answer by pointing out her beautiful and gently worn Hermes 2000 typewriter (the same model William Gibson used to write Neuromancer, as it turned out), or show her software in which she could draw out her garden plots for her meticulous fruit, flower, and vegetable gardens and print them out on a buzzy Epson MX-80, but she had a pencil and a pad of graph paper that worked quite nicely.

I made my attempts with various games, but she'd usually just look panicked by the cascades of moving light and say "Joby, I think I'd much rather just take a walk down by the orchard if I need to relax. This just looks like chasing flies around with a stick inside a TV set."

I'd chuckle, thinking the joke was on her.

She died before I figured out one compelling reason for her to want to use a computer.

In point of fact, they were useless back then. No email, no web—none of the communication applications that are the computer's real utility outside of a small realm of specialty fields. If she and I were having this conversation right about now, I'd have a world for her, something far outside of what I'd ever thought there'd be in the 2000s, and could set her up with a little netbook and a simple browser, and it'd be like a library for her, but that's now, and that's after all the idiots in the world I've been have wasted the thousands and thousands of dollars on machine after machine heading in this direction.

If a selection of TV sets all over the country go dead forever come February, I don't know how much of a tragedy it will be for people who haven't yet been drawn in to the compulsion of becoming a human peripheral to a lot of lousy engineering. I suspect that a lot of them will just pick up a book and their reading glasses, or re-cane a chair, or go out and weed their garden. With American Idol and To Catch a Predator and the sea of infotainment dissolved into fuzzy static or a blue screen, a generation that haven't been drawn in might just take a walk, breathe the air and watch the birds and talk to the people they meet on the street, and want for nothing.

Pushing them into a world that doesn't have anything to offer beyond the wealth they already have seems even more pointless than me trying to convince my aunt to type all her recipes into a Hypercard stack, so she would have had to buy a Mac and boot it up, load the program, and step through all her recipes on a tiny little screen instead of just reaching for the little wooden box her husband had made her and pull out a familiar card with wear-softened edges and the stains of errant bits of butter and brown sugar.

So sad, how we've all been so brainwashed by all this, and by the mythologies of progress and a complete ignorance to the simple notion of appropriate technology, as to believe that being left behind by the shambling idiot circus of television would be something to regret.
posted by sonascope at 11:48 AM on October 18, 2008 [11 favorites]

sonascope: Yes! (Or there will be riots on the streets, when the morons can't get their American Idol)
posted by amuseDetachment at 1:35 PM on October 18, 2008

My grandma turned 85 last week. She is excited as hell about digital and already more competent than I ever hope to be. Last time I was there she made me and my aunt and uncle sit there while she demonstrated how to program her TV and select channels from the listing.

grapefruitmoon: congratulations to your mama! One of my aunts was a BCHotY around 1966.
posted by hippugeek at 10:05 PM on October 18, 2008

My mom (who is in her 60s and calls me to complain that "Not enough broadcast TV is in 1080i") is of the opinion that the internet will be a tremendous mental health boon to the elderly. The reason old people watch so much TV is that it provides at least a simulation of real human contact. The internet is worse than gossiping at the diner counter all day, but it's way, way better than soaps.
posted by nev at 9:12 AM on October 19, 2008

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