Sticking It to the Man
A few weeks ago, Arbitron, the broadcast rating service, sent me a letter asking if my household would be willing to participate in their rating program. Since I don’t watch much TV except for quality shows like PBS, etc, I readily agreed. They also would send me a small cash bonus every month. They sent me a small monitoring device that looked like a pager. The pager would hear a sub audible sound sent over the audio portion of the TV show and send the data over the phone line.
Immediately, I thought of ways to create mischief. Could I stick it to the man? Why not set the device in front of a TV playing PBS all day? Maybe I could skew the results in favor of quality programs.
First, I had to answer a few questions. They asked my educational level. I am now “Dr. Mel.” My income (they think) is over $250,000 per year. This would appeal to advertisers who wanted to make sales to important people.
My plan to have the device sit all day watching Public TV didn’t work. If the pager is not moved every thirty minutes it shuts down. So clearly, I needed to find a way to automatically jiggle the pager every 20-25 minutes to reset the cycle.
After a little thought, I came up with a plan. I ordered a small battery operated timer over the internet that I could program to turn on every few minutes. The next step would be to find a device that would jiggle enough to reset the pager. I thought of a cell phone set on vibrate. That would not work. Someone would have to call the phone and the vibration would not be enough to reset the pager.
I thought and thought. There must be something. The vibrating object would have to large enough to tape the pager to it and vibrate enough to reset the timer.
Finally, inspiration struck!! Of course! I went to an adult toy store and purchased a long object that clearly would vibrate. I rewired the object so it had an external battery source with wires and a spliced-in timer.
I placed the long object facing the TV set. At the rear of the object, there were two sets of batteries, one to power the long object and the other to power the timer.
After a few minor adjustments, I got the thing to work. Hopefully, the Arbitron TV ratings will reflect a trend toward more quality TV programming. In any case, I finally got to stick it to the man.