I consider myself to be of above-average intelligence, if scoring more than 75 on an IQ test is any indication. Right?
If posed a problem at work or at home, I can usually find a solution. Thank goodness for duct tape and WD 40. Throw in a couple of screwdrivers, a pair of pliers and a hammer and I’m good to go. Right?
As I like to brag, I haven’t burned anybody’s house down; nobody’s deck has collapsed; nor have any fixtures fallen from the ceiling. That’s a pretty impressive construction resume, eh?
When the computer revolution enveloped the newspaper business after Apple invented the Macintosh in 1984, the learning curve was pretty huge for me. I learned to type on a Royal manual (second best in my high school class!), learned to repair the early generation newspaper typesetting equipment 15 years later and then suddenly was faced with understanding the now-popular Mac after Steve Jobs unveiled the curious, boxy Macintosh.
Point is, I figured it out and became the guru for not only our Corning office but also my parents’ office in Hamburg, 90 minutes away. That, however, really was like teaching an old dog new tricks.
But in all of these minor construction, technological and computer successes, one thing has been lost to me: the complexity (at least in my head) of hooking up home theater equipment. Coaxial cables, component cables, audio out, video in, HDMI this, HDMI that, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Digital transfer of uncompressed video. Huh?
Audio Return Channel. What?
HDMI format digital audio transmissions require a longer time to be recognized. Due to this, interruption in the audio may occur when switching between audio formats or beginning playback. Say what?
For reasons I’ve never understood, stereo equipment always seems to be awkwardly located in dark corners on equipment racks that can’t be accessed without a considerable amount of frustration, cursing and pain. And then there are the cumbersome cables, much like nasty snakes writhing in a mass.
Now add to the mix a retirement-age dude who hasn’t been able to touch his toes in years, let alone bend or sit cross-legged for any length of time without passing out. And, of course, an obnoxious pair of tri-focal glasses that are as useless as breasts on a boar in this situation (paraphrased, of course, for politically correct purposes).
So, yes, it’s been a challenge to upgrade my system. In the middle of it all, I discovered that my cable TV box was as archaic as my stereo receiver. That required a special trip to the local Charter Communications office only to find they were out of what I needed.
Page 2 of 2 - Come back Wednesday, she suggested politely. That was on a Saturday morning. Without the upgraded box, I had to put everything back the way it was before I dismantled the whole dratted thing.
Now, as ingenious as I can be I had the foresight to take a picture of the backside of the stereo equipment on my iPhone so putting the original cables back was a slam dunk.
It’s been five days now since all the cables went back together, and the pain in the knees and shoulders is nearly gone. Now, it’s studying the pages and pages of instructions on how to calibrate the remote, how to make the AirPlay wirelessly sync my iPhone, how to balance the speakers, which music and video formats to use, etc., etc., etc.
In the back bedroom sits my great-grandfather Henry’s tube-driven radio. Plug it in, turn it on and dial in the station. Pick up a book, sit back and relax.
Doesn’t seem like much of a decision, does it?