How do New York Times reporters use technology in their work and in their personal lives? Aisha Harris, associate television editor for The Times, spoke about the technology she uses.
What is your setup for watching the TV shows or movies you criticize? What better ?
Much of my work TV and movie consumption involves screens, which are sent to the press before release. For TV, these screeners are almost always in digital form, via the network press site or an email link, so I usually watch them on my laptop. On rare occasions, I don’t feel too lazy – or if it’s a show, like “Homecoming,” that really rewards viewing on a bigger screen – I’ll hook up my laptop to my TV. If I am unable to attend a press screening of a film I am reviewing in person, I will review the DVD at home on my television.
My fiance and I recently upgraded our home entertainment setup, with a 50 inch 4K Amazon Fire TV. We also have a Sonos soundbar and a Sonos Play: 1 wireless speaker set for two rooms that sound amazing.
The only downside is that the wireless speakers have been cutting off for a while when paired with our TV. Troubleshooting on our own so far has not yielded great results, and the hours of technical support coincide with when we are on the job. This is a pretty common problem, based on the multiple forums I’ve stumbled upon, so hopefully someone can help us find a quick and easy fix soon.
How has your setup for watching TV and movies changed over time?
When I moved to New York City in my early 20s for graduate school, my roommates and I had a common area with a TV, but I rarely used it. I was the millennial who no longer saw the need for cable once I could stream almost anything I wanted, and I was just watching mostly on my laptop. With rare exceptions, I never had the time or cared enough to watch shows while they were being broadcast live, so finding it online later was my choice.
I still don’t have cable, but I have pretty much all of the major streaming services – Netflix, Hulu Live (which is basically cable), HBO, Showtime, Amazon and, once upon a time, FilmStruck (RIP ).
Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu give you a plethora of program options to watch. The downside is that it seems impossible to decide what to watch. How do you choose a program to watch?
The short answer: I keep a list of movies and shows that I eventually want to see on my Notes app (it’s very long and endless), and when I’m able to watch something that is not directly related to the work, I check out the app and choose what suits my mood.
The long answer is that often none of the titles on this list match my mood at the moment. This conundrum is almost as infuriating to me as having a serious writer’s block. To put it bluntly: There have been times when, after going through the various services and browsing the latest “new streaming” articles online, I suddenly look at the clock and realize that 90 minutes have passed. I didn’t watch anything! I could have had a whole new movie watching experience back then. Or binged about four episodes of “30 Rock”.
In fact, almost as embarrassing as spending so much time just trying to decide what to watch is the fact that I usually end up seeing something that I’ve seen a million times before, like “30 Rock” or “The Twilight Zone”.
Related: How Do You Determine Which Shows Or Movies Are Worth Written?
The ‘dignity’ of a show or film in terms of coverage can be built in: the names involved, the subject (is it adapted from a very popular book series? Are our writers and critics excited about it? that?), the network or platform on which it appears. Social media also plays a role, however – if something that isn’t initially on my radar is making a lot of noise on Twitter, I’ll at least check it out and see what it’s all about.
In the past, cutting the cord was an impractical option because people missed live sports or news broadcasts. What is the situation today ?
I have no interest in live sports or broadcast news – I get most of my news online and through my daily RSS feed. (I’ve been using Feedly for years.) But it seems quite possible not to have cable and still be a sports fan and a news junkie, especially with Hulu Live or digital media players. like Amazon Fire and Roku. Of course, you end up replacing one cord with a bunch of separate cords in this case – I’m probably paying about the same amount as if I had a wire harness.
Outside of work, what tech product are you currently obsessed with?
A recent addition to my house is the Eufy RoboVac 30C. We have hardwood floors and a molting dog, which makes keeping the floor relatively clean an almost impossible task. But it did a good job reducing the amount of dust I find on the bottom of my socks.
I’m pretty sure he listens to our conversations and that my dog runs across the room or jumps on our bed when he walks past her, but I love it.