Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Estimating how long something will take is a tricky thing

It might have been in Julie Morgenstern's Time Management from the Inside Out where she mentioned the conflict between an intuitive sense of how long something will take and an intellectual one. (I can't check because I no longer have that book. Her Thing management system worked brilliantly for me, but her time management wasn't so successful.) She mentioned how she would sometimes put off what was supposed to be a "small job" for weeks before she managed to force herself to do it. There are occasions when these "small jobs" turn out to be just that, but her point was that the intuition is often right and the job does take longer than we reckon it should.

Her example was mending a broken waste disposal. In my case, it was setting up the new digital TV recorder.

I had this listed in my head as a "small job" that shouldn't take more than a few minutes, yet I kept putting it off and putting it off. Partly it was the fact that everywhere was so cold and my brain had gone into hibernation mode. Partly it must have been that my subconscious knew that it wasn't actually such a "small job" at all.

OK, connecting it up didn't take long, but I had to read the manual and puzzle out the menus and the two controllers and try to decide the best way to do things. But the thing that took some time to resolve was the fact that the picture, as viewed through the digital recorder, was not quite as good as viewing the TV plugged straight into the aerial. It wasn't much worse, but it was worse. For some reason, most people seem to like what are, to us, garish colours. I've noticed on Flickr that vastly over-saturated images get rave comments. When I set up the TV, I'd carefully tweaked the colours so that they looked more natural. But viewing the picture now, with the aerial going into the recorder, which then provided the image to the TV, all that subtlety had been lost and we were back to garish colours again. :(

G spotted the other problem, which I had somehow totally missed, which was that the screen ratio was wrong! So the next day it took another session with the instructions books for recorder and TV to find the right menu and right settings to adjust it.

But I still wasn't happy with the picture and spent some time staring into space, puzzling out what to do about it.

Finally, the answer came to me. We needed to be able to plug the aerial into the TV as well as into the recorder. Was there some sort of splitter available that would allow us to do this? A quick Google established that not only did such gadgets exist, but they only cost a few pounds. So I ordered one.

The gadget arrived today, so that was another 10 minutes or so spent rearranging the cables and trying out the new arrangement.

But I'm please to say it was a success!

So now if we want to watch TV live, we can do so with a direct feed from aerial to TV. If we want to watch something recorded, then a slightly less than perfect picture is a small price to pay for the convenience of being able to watch whenever we like.

But my initial reluctance was justified. It took 3 sessions and a bit of puzzling to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

In other news... Yesterday the snow had just about gone. This was what I saw when I looked out of my study window this morning. The snow is back.

Snowing again!

So I didn't get to my Welsh class after all, even though I had been determined to go. But even if it hadn't snowed, the class would still have been cancelled. The tutor phoned first thing to say that the pipes had burst in the community centre and there was water everywhere.

Let's hope we're back to normal next week.

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