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Overwired Nation and Other Notes

By RD Heldenfels Published: January 4, 2006

I suppose I should be grateful to my cable company for my complete loss of service at about 10:50 p.m. Tuesday. After all, that way I got some sleep because I wasn't drawn into watching Penn State-Florida State all the way to its late-late-triple-overtime end. Nor did I get caught up in the miners' story nightmare, with the declaration of a miracle turning eventually into bitter reality.

But I was reminded that as we get more and more wrapped up in technology, we are also more prey to failures. My cable and Internet broadband come from the same service, so I was without access to either for a couple of hours at least.  So we find ourselves wanting not only fancy means of communication, but backups to those means.

In fact, it was backup that helped me know I was without cable for as long as it was. When the cable went out, I found the football game on my XM radio, and fell asleep listening to it. Waking hours later, I heard that the game was in overtime -- and turned on the TV long enough to see that the cable was out.

Elsewhere in too much TV viewing:

-- It should not surprise you that the Fiesta Bowl did very well in the local TV ratings. This is Buckeye country, after all, so the 33.4 rating for the game here was an impressive reminder of the importance of a local connection. The Sugar Bowl, in prime time, had less than half the audience of Fiesta. And consider what other bowls did that day in Northeast Ohio: Gator, about a 4.0 rating; Capital One Bowl, 6.9; Cotton, 3.6.

But an even more impressive reminder was in the rating for the Browns' last regular-season game. It had a 25.3. Consider that Ohio State was playing in a major bowl, with national rankings on the line, while the Browns were assured a sub-.500 season, with no shot at the playoffs, and going through another management soap opera. In spite of all that, they're still the Browns, and hometown fans were going to tune in.

-- Am I the only person who is sick of seeing CNN promoting its ''Pipeline'' video service? You'd think it was one of the biggest stories of the week, given how often the network is hyping it during time that could have been better used for real news.

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