March 11th, 2006


Don't change the channel, don't touch that dial

Starhub Cable is making more drives for new subscribers. They're in the habit of giving out gifts with new subscriptions or with continued ones; that's how I got a CD player/radio that I've been using mostly for its clock. That was the going gift when I set up my apartment. Last year they got me to renew my subscription as I would have anyway with the offer of a wireless router/basestation thingy for Airport connections.

Now, though, they've got to be launching some kind of desperate move to grab the ten people left in Singapore who haven't got some kind of cable service. They had been giving way various sorts of MP3 players, and ultimately gave in and made the giveaways iPods. But in the new display I saw today, the gift had been increased to an LCD television set. At that rate it's almost worth cancelling my subscription and doing without Playhouse Disney for a couple of months, just so I can re-subscribe and get whatever they're giving away by then, which will probably have reached home theaters and private jets.

Driven by some curious synchronicity, though, the CD player that was my now-pretty-meager gift seems to have died. The time is frozen on 12:05 am, the date on 99/9/99, and none of the buttons including reset or the one to open the CD tray work. I'm going to try a few more tricks before declaring it a loss, but I'm not expecting much. I did under-apply its CD playing aspects, but it was a handy clock, nice and prominent, with an appealing feature in which its background color changed for morning, afternoon, and night. Its color change took both spaceroo and skylerbunny by surprise, and they had to check with me that they weren't imagining it. You don't get that sort of challenge to the understanding of reality from most consumer goods.

Trivia: The HMS Bounty had, before its commissioning, been a merchantman named the Bethia. Source: Mutiny: A History of Naval Insurrection, Leonard F Guttridge.

Currently Reading: Alexander Hamilton: A Biography, Forrest McDonald.