A Peek Inside Peacock


We named it after the old NBC mascot, but instead of a bird we thought a cooler image would be…this glow stick?

Our family prides itself on not being early adopters of new technology or services. We prefer to let upstart projects and products get up and running, figure out their processes, work out their bugs, set a price point that’s worth the venture, and build up a reputation, preferably a favorable one. Then we might give them the time of day. Maybe. Sometimes.

Streaming services are subject to the same vetting procedure. We ignored Netflix until the advent of the Google Chromecast (later renamed “Googlecast”) dramatically improved our streaming capabilities. Also motivating us: we reached the point in our newfound Doctor Who fandom at which the only episodes we hadn’t yet watched up to that point were in their clutches. For years we likewise lived well without Hulu despite a few temptations, until an outrageous Black Friday sale in December 2018 (99¢/month for 12 months!) lured me into their den.

The internet’s Baby Yoda obsession notwithstanding, we have yet to pull the trigger on Disney+. Star Trek in and of itself is not enough to justify CBS All Access. I refuse to pay a monthly price for shopping privileges and am therefore one of six people nationwide who doesn’t have Amazon Prime. Every single detail I’ve heard about Quibi implies it’s my exact anti-matter opposite. And as for YouTube Red…is that still a thing? Not for us, it isn’t.

The next contestant up in these highly competitive lockdown-era streaming wars is Peacock, a product of the NBC-Universal-Viacom multinational conglomerate. In a world where “cord-cutting” has been the trend because everyone thought that would be cheaper, Peacock is my favorite kind of service: bundled.

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Reaching Out Through the Zoom Lens

Zoom Jazz Hands!

As you’d expect, our most requested pose. Special thanks to my sister-in-law for the screen shot.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: for the duration of the interim normal, all other human bodies are to be treated as walking land mines, held at a remove, and if one approaches you, go hide and let them detonate in someone else’s face instead.

In these extreme circumstances we’ve sometimes found ourselves doing things far outside the old, complacent, pre-fatality routines. Letting our hair grow into shaggy 1970s grotesquerie. Taking early morning walks around our neighborhood. Calling elderly relatives before they call us first. Posting on Facebook.

Our latest deviation from the norm: hopping on a communication technology bandwagon.

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Eulogy for Sixteen Years’ Worth of Files

Black Screen!

Thank you all for coming. I’ve gathered my wits today to say a few words about the losses my wife and I suffered in the Great Hard Drive Crash of July 1, 2015.

We’ve had the same PC since at least 2009, maybe even longer. It was neither top-of-the-line Alienware nor an eMachines glorified calculator when I bonded with it at Fry’s Electronics and brought it home to join our household. I spent more than I could afford at the time, but it served us well in the long run and more than made up the difference to us on a number of levels. It was terrible for gaming and I let that dream go early, but it served all our modest needs with an efficiency and speed that its predecessors could never touch. We were one big happy family.

Meanwhile behind the scenes, things were falling apart…

Apple’s 9/9/14 Superinfomercial and the New U2 Album, Track by Track

Songs of Innocence!

Ready and waiting for its future home on a Starbucks spinner rack.

I’m not a regular Apple customer. The last time I used one of their products was in college in 1991 when I took a “Statistical Psychology” class that was equipped with three rows of Macintosh units. In a time when DOS and BASIC had been the sole domains in my little computing world, the Macintosh was my introduction to the concept of the Graphic User Interface, which wasn’t a commonplace thing until the advent of Windows. Yes, I’m that old.

But I’ve never owned an Apple product, bearing in mind that digital downloads barely count as “ownership” in my mind, and my iTunes “library” so far is more like a Hot Wheels bookmobile. Apple’s ostentatious new-product announcements are usually outside my fields of interest. I’m not an early adopter in any tech-related areas. At all.

New iPhone? Pass. My phone is a Samsung S2 that accomplishes my simple daily needs as long as I remember to reboot once a week. (Longtime MCC readers may recall I was once staunchly anti-smartphone in general, until life gave me reasons not to be.) My phone isn’t broken, and once survived a ten-foot drop onto a metal catwalk with zero damage. I’m good for now.

New smartwatch with triple-digit price tag? Pass. I can’t function away from home without wearing a watch (see: “old”), but I rarely need to shop for a new one because any given fifteen-dollar waterproof department-store digital watch with a lithium battery will last me years. They’re arguably one of Walmart’s most durable products, and it’s faster for me to glance at my wrist than it is to pocket and unpocket any other time-telling gizmo, including my phone. And that lithium battery drains ten thousand times more slowly than any phone battery will.

But then Apple went in an unexpected direction with their third platform plank: a new U2 album. For free. Finally, a product in my price range and tangential to my personal interests. Sold!

Right this way for the listening results…

21st Century Digital Fogey

Google Chromecast

Welcome to the newest addition to our family.

Every few years there comes another time in a man’s life when it’s time to upgrade to the next level of entertainment technology. While the old gizmos might work fine and haven’t broken yet, sometimes it’s time to escalate our media consumption anyway. It’s never easy for me. The older I get, the tougher it can be to shift my paradigms to keep up with the Kids These Days.

Another one of those shifts was implemented this past weekend. I’m never excited when they come to pass, but circumstances warranted it, the money was available, the price was unbeatable, and so far the performance is competent.

This way to keep up with the Joneses…

Smartphone Test Post Requires Light Backpedaling for Longtime Smartphone Hater

If you search the MCC archives for “no smartphones” you’ll find an old entry in which this author grouses about his issues with our world’s favorite communication tool and/or babysitter.  Since humans retain the enviable privilege to change their minds as circumstances warrant, I’m invoking that privilege to give WordPress’ QuickPress app a whirl on the new phone I bought last weekend.

For the record: with my son leaving for college in the fall, setting up a means of keeping in touch and/or sending emergency notifications seemed prudent.  This tiny, cracker-sized gizmo won’t be usurping our PC anytime soon, but eschewing it merely because of other users’ disagreeable behaviors is no longer an option on the table.  I’m proud to report that so far I’ve yet to succumb to any temptation to use this while driving, working, or having dinner with my family.  Knock on wood.

I don’t expect to use QuickPress too often, but it’s nice to have an option in case inspiration strikes at the oddest times.

Gonna need lots more practice typing on this dollhouse keyboard, though.  Seems to be a device better suited for shorter thoughts and much, much shorter words.  With the way I talk and think, AutoText is only getting me so far.  Argh.

[UPDATED, next morning via PC: added link to last year’s entry in question.]

Area Man Marks Six Months of Consecutive Daily Blogging with Self-Promotional Solipsism

Midlife Crisis Crossover magical happening placeAfter long deliberation and some preparation, I launched Midlife Crisis Crossover on April 28, 2012, with “The Train Job“, my satirical plan to unite all the incongruous neighborhoods of Indianapolis with a haphazard subway plan that would still be more functional than the marginal mass-transit options of our reality. With that entry serving as my ribbon-cutting ceremony, I committed myself to creating one new piece every day for as long I could keep finding reasons to write and ways to test myself. If I were ever to be serious about finding a purpose for this alleged writing talent, then I needed to knuckle down and see if I could activate it on a regular basis without waiting for other Internet users to provoke or co-opt it.

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