I’ve only been a subscriber to satellite radio for about six months, and the first several were for Nik, I only experienced the service peripherally. But, that level of exposure was sufficient to entice me and I now have my own receiver and subscription.

(As an aside, the linked article also has a follow-up that is very down on the Stiletto. To an extent I can’t argue with the complaints: As a portable Sirius player it requires a very bulky and ugly set of special headphones and even then the reception isn’t that great. But on the other hand, the portability factor probably shouldn’t have been pushed as a big selling factor to begin with since satellite radio, in my experience, is a limited use product. By that I mean that the beauty of it isn’t necessarily in just having it on, but in having the entirety of it available. Specifically, the 100% commercial-free music is fine but I find that, as with AM/FM radio, one is rarely stuck on a single channel for music anyway since inevitably they will play something you don’t like sooner or later. But having dozens of channels each with the possibility of playing something good and not having any of them hampered by being “on commercial” when you tune in gives a pleasant, seamless experience that is ideal in a car where switching channels is pretty much second nature by now. Outdoorsy people hoping the Stiletto would approximate that will be disappointed in the same way they would find trying to listen to terrestrial radio disappointing, because channel-surfing on a portable device is rarely as simple as all that. In a home or car, satellite radio shines: Elsewhere it was only ever destined to be a novelty.)

Ever since satellite radio came onto my radar, people have been talking about the two major providers, XM and Sirius, merging. Now the talks have surfaced again, this time with more veracity. Personally, I don’t really care either way. I’ve experienced both services and I vastly prefer Sirius (hence the choice) but I doubt much would really change with a merger since the focal points would be the premium content channels (mostly stuff like Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey, major league sports and so on) which has, to this point, been spread between the two.

But were a merge to take place, the things I would want to see happen are as follows:

  • Leave the music programming to the Sirius guys. The XM channels—especially in my primary genres of choice such as Alternative, Rock and Indie—pale to the point of albanism compared to Sirius. The new 90s Alternative station on Sirius is a prime example of how well that company understands what actual people want to listen to.
  • I wouldn’t mind seeing some “talent” shake-up, however. One thing that XM seems to have over Sirius is less offensive DJs (or Stream Jockeys—SJs—as the forum lurkers call them). I could certainly live the rest of my days without ever hearing Jason Ellis, Madison or Bam Margera blather on in a lame attempt to connect with listeners. In my opinion, for a service that bills itself as a smart choice for savvy consumers over the alternative (FM), they seem to have carried over the worst parts of it in some cases.
  • Anything that could be done to improve overall reception would be most welcome.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, even think about making the sports content require an additional monthly fee. Should a merge happen I’d finally get all the major sports on one service (right now MLB is only on XM) and I would be happy. If they try to charge me for hockey games, I’ll cancel my subscription, sell my Stiletto on eBay and write as many nasty things about the executives and their heritage as I can think of.
  • Now get off my lawn.

On the Random Tip

Because you never demanded any such thing, I offer… more bullet points.

  • I hereby decree the end of the trend on the following phrase and all its variants: “…because that’s the way we roll.” It was funny for a while, but it isn’t anymore.
  • You know what I think the XBox 360 controller should have? A jog wheel. Think about it: The D-pad is only ever used in modern games for inventory or issuing orders to squad members or that kind of secondary input. Wouldn’t a jog wheel be easier to use than a clunky eight-point pad? Plus if they did that they could replace that atrocity with a real D-pad akin to the one on the DS. As it is that thing is almost unusable, even for games that need it like the old arcade classics ported over to XBox Live Arcade. It’s a shame, too, because other than that D-pad, the 360 controller is one of the best ever.
  • Why do french fries go so well with dessert? My favorite food from McDonald’s (the word “favorite” is being loosely applied here): French fries and apple pie.
  • I’m sorta learning to play piano after acquiring a very nice keyboard (free!) from HB. Currently, I know four chords: C Major, F Major, G Major and A Minor. That’s not a lot of musical variety… but I can at least play them with over 100 different sound effects! They sound really cool with swooshy 70s-style synth sounds.
  • I guess Norv Turner is going to the Chargers. I think it’s dumb that they had such a great record in the regular season and because they lost a playoff game the coach gets the axe. By that logic they should fire/trade LaDanian Tomlinson, too, right? Anyway, it’s kind of weak for the 49ers because Alex Smith seemed to be doing much better under Turner than he had before, so it will be interesting to see what happens now with Mr. First Round Pick.
  • Rhetorical Question of the Day: Why is it that when you have no use for change, it’s everywhere, as if it were multiplying like Tribbles all over the house, car, couch, etc. But the instant you need a few coins, you can barely find two pennies to rub together? Also, it seems like the more paper cash you have on hand (ie, the larger the denominations of your bills), the less change you can actually find.
  • They’re showing that professional fisherman (*snort*) on ESPN tonight who gets all “extreme” when he does his thing and, like, yells at the fish he catches. He literally taunts them as though they were some kind of crafty opponent instead of near-mindless beings so far down on the food chain from us that we’re like a dot to them (metaphorically speaking, of course). It seems like he may as well be talking smack to his Wonder bread, you know?
  • “I totally pwned that whole loaf, man! Did you see that? It was like 24 slices vs. just me and I ruled over it like a malevolent dictator! Woo!”
  • This just in: Professional athletes take themselves too seriously. Film at eleven.
  • You know what I don’t understand? TV shows of radio shows. Like, Getty and Armstrong or Mike and Mike. They literally just put a camera in the radio booth and show the people talking into a microphone. Even that tweaker Jim Cramer basically has the same “format” except he acts like a raving lunatic in the studio. What’s up with that guy?
  • It was slow at work last night so I was fiddling with the TV that is supposed to show CNN and I ran across TNT showing a 24 hour marathon of Law & Order. Turns out I can stand about five episodes in a row before that incessant “bah-BONG!” sound goes from semi-cool to completely grating. Also I decided that the show was best when it had Chris Noth and Jerry Orbach on as the detectives. Carey Lowell was the best ADA, even though she never overlapped with the Noth/Orbach pairing.
  • Here’s what I don’t get: When you order a hamburger with no mayonnaise at a restaurant, you get the driest slab of shoe leather stuffed between two Sahara-like buns. When did mayo become the de facto moisture apparatus on a burger? Mayo, to me, is like raw eggs: It has its uses but as an ingredient in and of itself? No thanks. Let’s try to work with something that actually tastes good on its own, hm? Ketchup: Think about it.
  • Also? I hereby decree the official end of the idiotic spelling “catsup.” Whatever the origin of that term is, it no longer applies to anything. From here on, it is “ketchup” only.
  • Although, “ketchup” is kind of a random term anyway. It ought to be something more descriptive like “tomato goo.” Either way, it turns out “catsup” is not in Firefox’s spell checker so maybe someone beat me to the punch in declaring that spelling invalid.
  • Way to go, Firefox spellchecker guy.
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