Daze of My Life: Wire Is That?

Daze of My Life
Wire Is That?

As ill-prepared and inexperienced as I am when it involves technology, I understand that time waits for no man, and the only thing that's constant is change. That being said, and known to me, doesn't effect the reality, unfortunately, of the difficulties I have integrating and assimilating these ever-changing technologies into my daily routine.
What irritates me most about this process is the cost. And not simply as a cost of doing business, but rather as a cost of redoing business. It's as if the technology is driven by the need to find new revenue streams to feed a cash-flow cow. If at first you don't succeed, retry, retry, retry, again, sort of like a sequel in the movies.
A prime example is the music-selling and producing business. First there were LPs/records, then eight track tapes, followed by audio cassettes and now, CDs and DVDs. As each successive medium replaces the old, and becomes the new standard, if you want to continue to listen to your favorite music, you have to re-buy. The playback/listening options available in-dash or in-house make it impractical to utilize your old technology so, if you want to listen to what you love, you have to upgrade, for a price, of course.
It almost feels like a racket. When in debt, when in doubt, reproduce, repackage and resell. Who says you can't make money selling the same product over and over again? It's a version of the old adage, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, except in this context it's more like; if it was never broken, then why not re-fix it? And all things being equal, if improving/replacing the recorded music I own didn't cost me anything, I wouldn't care, but it does; boy, does it!
The example to which I now finally refer, the example which has spawned this current rant is, the digital-ready, Monster-type cables, required for premium audio and video digital cable service, for high definition televisions and for cable boxes with DVR built in (digital video recorder). They're not cheap.
And based on the conversation with the salesman who sold us our high definition television, a necessity, if we wanted to truly enjoy the high definition experience. And $200 later, with free installation to follow, we were the proud owners of really expensive audio and video cables. But at that point, we were in for a dime so, I figured, what's another dollar. And I wouldn't have cared or written this column if in a year's time, I wouldn't have needed, unexpectedly, to have to replace my mal-functioning, digital cable box (the replacement of which didn't cost me anything.).
Guess what happened when the cable-television technician came to my house with a replacement digital cable box? The fancy, schmancy, $200 cables that I bought one year ago, cables that were still in the prime of their working lives, no longer mated to the "new" digital cable boxes. Once again, if I wanted to enhance my high definition-television listening and watching experience, I had to re-buy. My perfectly good - and expensive - Monster brand cables had to be replaced because, in less than a year, the digital cable box technology or the design or whatever had changed, thus making them obsolete. (The free cables, as provided by our digital cable provider, were insufficient, we were told, to allow us to truly appreciate this new television technology.) That didn't seem right so I when I returned to the store where I originally had bought these cables, to replace/upgrade them, per this most recent digital cable box situation, I explained my circumstances to the salesman, hoping for some kind of consideration/exchange; and you know what I received instead, another $200 bill.
And now that I was already in for a dollar, I figured I was stuck for yet another dollar so I shook my head, mumbled something unpleasant, took out my credit card and bit the bullet.
When I returned to the store that day, I had hoped that maybe we'd work out some kind of trade. Yeah, we worked out some kind of trade all right, their cables for my money. Technology is a wonderful thing, especially for the retailers.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.