Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Good news for me, and bad news for some cable TV subscibers

This is a day when, for one reason or another, I am finding answers to my burning questions -- well, two of them, anyway. I thought I'd share them with you.

First, I've been adding a lot of links to my Firefox toolbar. Finally, I out-linked myself. Most of the links that I wanted to show up on my Firefox toolbar, so that I could have that one-click convenience, were truncated -- and I learned, to my chagrin, that unless you're a programmer, you can't add a second toolbar to Firefox that will let you incorporate your own links (turns out, the type of toolbar that accepts links in Firefox is called a book marks toolbar, and you only get one of those unless you've taken serious geek lessons).

But there's a fix. You can expand the bookmarks toolbar in Firefox so that all of your links show simultaneously. The answer? An add-on, available from Mozilla, called Multi Row Bookmarks Toolbar. It's free, it works, and you can download it here (you just have to sign up as a user, but I can deal with that).

The second burning question to which I received an answer this morning -- and it was not the answer I wanted -- was: Will I really need to rent a box from my cable TV company once the switchover from analog to digital takes place? The bad news is that I probably will, and so will everyone (supposedly) who connects their coaxial cable directly from the wall to their television set. Seems that there are two conversions taking place simultaneously: the conversion of all television signals from analog to digital, and the separate (and highly annoying) conversion of only cable television signals to digital cable television signals.

In a nutshell, everyone who wasn't impressed when the local cable company offered an upgrade to digital service will now have to get impressed -- or live without television-watching capabilities. The latter could be a tough road for a book publicist to traverse. Can you imagine booking an author on "Oprah," and then not being able to watch it? Or imagine not being able to keep up with the new shows on TV?

Or, from the author's perspective -- imagine getting on "Oprah" and not being able to view it? That won't work!

So all cable TV viewers will soon become digital cable TV watchers (read about it here). That will mean renting a digital converter box from the local cable TV company. And that will also mean hooking up the digital converter box to the TV set and the DVD player and the VCR, and figuring out how to use a new remote control, and probably putting up with several additional indignities and inconveniences that I haven't even thought of yet.

So it's off to get a digital converter box from the cable company. And I thought I could avold that hassle.

Oh, well.