Technological Progress

I didn’t watch basketball tonight because it was too painful to navigate the television interface. When I was a child, I could flip through 100 channels in a minute in order to find what I was looking for–each channel displayed instantaneously. Now, I have some bullshit digital cable box attached to my television. So far as I can tell, the net effect is that it takes 8 seconds for a new channel to appear after I hit up. There is also a guide, which has a shorter but still terrible refresh rate.

It’s a good thing I don’t actively watch much TV–if I really cared about the medium, I’d be livid. Apparently being evil and cheating people leaves Comcast no chance to hire a halfway competent person to define an interface.

On an entirely different note, Tyler Cowen wonders why the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming. I’m not convinced it was a bad decision. There are only two players from that draft class who would be obviously preferable to Yao–Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer (Caron Butler also looks good, while we’ll never know what might have been with Jay Williams). But Boozer came from nowhere, and Stoudemire was coming straight from HS–both were risky picks. Yao put up good numbers in his first couple of seasons, and he did even better in the last two. Being injury prone will prevent you from being a great basketball player, but it doesn’t retroactively make you a bad draft pick.

I’m actually surprised Cowen didn’t make a point about pricing in the NBA. If the market was a bit more open in the NBA, someone like Yao could be great–worth 25 points a game when he’s healthy, but a team could make adjustments when he becomes injured.

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