Thursday, December 09, 2004

Fixing What Works

I get a lot of people asking me to help them with their computers. I've even been asked where I learned everything. I started using computers in the mid-80's and was an early BBS user (think AOL before AOL.) But I got most of my information from a man and a channel or two.

Leo Laporte changed the way I see my computer. His shows (Call For Help and The Screensavers) gave courage to the person who is afraid to open their computer and take a look. Call For Help went through the rudimentary information (daily it mentioned that there are no stupid computer questions) while The Screensavers covered the advanced side with news and information about modifying your system. The shows were carried by ZDTV before the network became TechTV and recently was bought by Comcast to merge with their struggling G4 channel. Although a name change didn't hurt either show, by the time of the latest merger things changed immensely. They cut Laporte to only Call For Help. Then after pleas from fans of the show he came back in pre-taped info segments on Screensavers as Call For Help was axed. He is no longer there now. And the information for novices and advanced computers alike has been replaced with show topics including collectible toys, actor interviews, SeaScooters and movie trailers. What does this mean? Well... if you need to get your channel out to more people, you buy an existing one with a good market share and replace their programming with your own.

Fixing a squeaky hinge or dripping faucet is one thing but fixing something that works or replacing a good product with your own half-hearted generic is offensive. I can only hope that there is a day when someone says, "Hey, let's create a television show that will help people use their computers for more than email!" Not only will I tune in but I'll send people there to watch.

No comments: