(Of course this isn’t about shows at all any more — if indeed it ever was — but the title is a minor tradition, thus demonstrating exactly how dumb traditions can be.)
I’ve talked before — more than once — about how More Technology Is Not Always Better. In particular, I’ve talked at least four times about how this applies to arenas. (What can I say? I’m not afraid to tan the hide of a moribund equine.)
To recap: Once upon a time, when you went to an arena to play hockey (or some other sport) there was usually a sign of some sort, often on a blackboard or equivalent, that told you which dressing room(s) your group had been assigned.
Simple. Logical. Told you exactly what you needed to know. Dare I even say… foolproof.
Which means, of course, that it had to be changed. (I’m reminded of the old joke about a woman shopping for what used to be called ‘foundation garments:’ “Was madam comfortable? Could madam breathe freely? Did madam feel able to wear the garment for an entire day without distress? Well, clearly, madam needed a smaller size.”) So starting a couple of years ago (around here, anyway) ‘they’ started to replace the blackboards with large (because Bigger is Better) television sets that displayed the same information.
Or, rather, that sometimes displayed the same information.
A couple of weeks ago I arrived at the arena (the one 9 kilometres away) and the television set telling me where to go wasn’t particularly helpful. Heck, it wasn’t even working — instead of displaying a list of times, groups and room numbers, it showed only a corporate logo and a slogan. I guess it had crashed (something blackboards don’t do. Just saying.) so instead I went and tried the searching algorithm they tell you not to use in Computing 101. In other words, I tried doors in sequence until I found a familiar, er, face. (Of course it was also cold, because being autumn in Canada they had CUT A HOLE IN THE ROOF. But that’s another story.)
A week or so after that I went to another arena (the one two kilometres away) and things started the same way: the TV set, the blank screen, the logo, the slogan, the lack of information. But that’s where it stopped, because there, on the pillar just to the left was a clipboard hanging on a hook. On the clipboard was a piece of paper. On the piece of paper someone had scrawled some room assignments in black marker. We were in rooms 4 and 5. Off I went. (If you care, it was a successful game — meaning I didn’t hurt myself and didn’t barf. Keep the bar low, I always say.)
On the way out I stopped to look at the TV one more time and reflect on the superiority of a four dollar clipboard over a four figure electronic sign. Speaking of which, it still said (with an almost tangible sense of pride)
Innovation in digital signage.
So that’s what ‘innovation’ means. Good to know, I guess.