On Technology

Let’s face it. Technology makes pretty much everything pretty darn easy for us these days.

Let’s face it. Technology makes pretty much everything pretty darn easy for us these days. And one area technology continues to revolutionize by leaps and bounds is entertainment.

Today people are walking around carrying thousands of songs they can listen to on demand in devices the size and shape of a credit card. Physical records or CDs have long become unnecessary.

Neither is it necessary for someone to drive to a theater or Blockbuster to see a movie. You can watch it on your laptop in your bedroom while wearing pajamas instead. You also don’t have to wait till tomorrow or next week when the next rerun of your favorite sitcom airs on cable. You can just do an online search for free episodes to watch now on that very same laptop. Unfortunately, this also means that money and inconvenience no longer keep you from disciplining yourself as much as you used to in taking in entertainment, which is a bad thing.

Now I’m the first to sign up for the entertainment on demand that our culture is fostering currently. Not only does it simplify one’s life and put less of a strain on one’s cash flow, but it also provides hours of enjoyment. However, the advent of online media sources like hulu.com, which offers free movies and TV shows instantly and in great variety, there is a subtle price to be paid. That price is that now fewer forces are keeping a viewer from getting lost in the content they are enjoying, and it falls to the individual to cut themselves off at some point. If you’re anything like me, that point usually comes far too late.

It’s something I both enjoy immensely and end up suffering from. Since summer has begun (and while I’ve yet to find a full-time job that I have to get up early for in the morning) I have definitely had a lot of time to catch up on my favorite shows on sites like hulu.com, NBC.com, CBS.com, etc. The convenience of this also makes for hours of TV watching when I could be doing different things. I should probably set up a system under which I limit myself to watching on certain nights of the week or for a certain number of episodes per sitting, etc. Of course I don’t, and suddenly I look up to find it’s two-thirty in the morning. I’ll regret it tomorrow (or should I say, later today) when the third cup of coffee proves necessary.

Certain entertainment sites actually have time limits on their content, only allowing a particular viewer 72 minutes of viewing time per day before the site starts making you wait something like 50 minutes before you can view any more. This fact, which starts to make such convenient viewing less convenient , can be helpful for people like me who are definitely addicted to their sitcoms and need an external force to shut off the supply once in a while.

Yet due to the fact that network sites hold libraries of full episodes without such time limitations, as does hulu, there is really only one way to safeguard oneself against the dangers of this subtle form of addiction. And that is to start getting tough on oneself. In this world of all the distraction and gratification we could ever ask for, we have to be the ones pulling in the reigns.

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