Thursday, March 3, 2011

The WAF (Wife Approval Factor)

Recently I went over to my good friend Jason’s new house to check it out. In the interest of full disclosure – it happens to be the very same Jason who is the purveyor of this here blog.

It is Jason and his lovely wife Natalie’s first home purchase. And I must say they picked a dandy. As Jason was giving me the grand tour, I noticed that the basement was unfinished; and as men are want to do – I started imagining all the possibilities just waiting to be created in the always exciting art of home theater. At this point I hadn’t said anything out loud.

When we got back upstairs to the kitchen where Natalie was working on something with their cute son Davy, I braved the friendly air with a casual: “You know it’s great that the basement isn’t finished yet cuz we can pre-wire it for a nice home theater!”

At this point Natalie looked at me with a hint of a smile - but try as her body most assuredly did, she could not force back the inevitable rolling of the eyes that is almost as natural as blinking for women when they are forced (consciously) to think about anything that has electricity flowing through it.

Now at my age, I’ve learned to overlook such blasphemy from the unwashed, and put it down to a lack of (audio/video) education. It reminds of a time when I was first married (now 20 years ago) and my wife would look at me with disgust and disdain after I had just purchased yet another piece of audio or video gear. It took many years of proving over and over again why something was better or improved and how it added joy to our home movie viewing.

One of the things that didn’t help was the fact that for every new piece of gear that you would buy – another remote control was added to the arsenal. And finally after a while – our coffee table started hinting that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factory was just in the other room. It seemed that manufacturers would never come together to solve this very unfriendly-to-wives situation.

Enter Logitech. That’s right – the famous computer mouse and keyboard making company that we’ve all come to love as one of the best makers of cool working devices for communicating with our beloved PC’s. About 6 years ago they decided to buy a little company called Harmony. A company whose name was so inspired – it seemed as if God himself had a hand in it - probably to ward off the ever increasing divorce rate from out of control husbands who couldn’t figure out why their wives had a problem with 14 remotes!

Harmony had started building remote controls that were designed to control ALL of your gear! Imagine only having to pick up one remote and you could control all 10+ devices in your system!

Harmony’s idea was so beautiful and simple – that it’s one of those that you wonder why it took so long in the computer age. Harmony’s idea was to take their remote, hook it up to your computer via a USB cord, fire up the Harmony remote program and tell the program the brand and model number of each piece of gear that you wanted it to control. It would then program the remote with the correct codes and voila! But they didn’t stop there. They also programmed the remote for your system so that whatever activity you were going to do – watch TV or DVD or play a video game – it would know which devices to turn on AND which inputs and settings to set each device on. Couldn’t you just hear the angels singing? I could.

They even went one better and included a HELP button. Which is designed that if during the setup of a particular activity – something didn’t get set right – you just hit the help button and it re-runs the macro and then asks you a series of questions to see if everything is as it should be.

After I bought my first Harmony remote – (that’s right – I’ve owned a few and currently have 2 – one for each room) my wife no longer looked at me with that hint of “what made me say yes to you all those years ago?”

It’s these little inventions that bring man and woman together; and let’s face it, ensure that we can keep buying more crap and not be single again.

After years of me teaching my wife how an audio system should sound or how a calibrated TV should look – she finally gets it AND more importantly – appreciates it.

I remember the tear in my eye a couple of years ago when she came home from a friend’s house and said to me – “They were watching a movie or something and I could tell that their TV was way out of whack! – It made me appreciate ours more” Honey – you had me at “I could tell”.

Having children and watching them grow up is awesome – but having your wife notice when someone else system isn’t as good as yours? That’s a keeper.

So remember gents – harmony in the home is worth its weight in gold. A Harmony remote? – Priceless.

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