Christmas is that special time of year when my generation, the very first generation of digital natives, disperses from urbs to rus to spend time with our families and therefore find ourselves briefly and quite involuntarily subjected to a dimly recollected thing called "scheduled programming". There's a sense in which of course I knew that someone out there was still making soap operas and even broadcasting the damned things at a set time every day, but I'd somehow forgotten what it meant for a house full of people to all sit down together to watch one at the same time.
So two fairly trivial points to share with you on Boxing Day from my media experiences of the season:
(1) a BBC review of the Corporation's highlights from the past thirty or so years included a number of grandiose claims for the record audience figures of the past. Various old comedy specials appear to have attracted audiences well ahead of 20 million, as little as a decade ago. Interesting therefore that the best anyone could do this year was in the low teens. Even with so many of us scattered around the country visiting parents or grandparents with only the scantest access to either the web or multichannel TV the record - set by Eastenders - yesterday seems to have been about 14 million. That's less than half the record of 30.15 million in 1986, also set by Eastenders 21 Christmases ago. Also, apparently the last time we got over 25 million is now more than 20 years ago, by one whole day.
(2) "Off the grid" really doesn't mean what it used to. I may be on a farm in pretty much the geographical centre of the least populous county in England but on the one hand most of the tools I use on a day-to-day basis (blogging software, RSS readers, Pandora for music etc) are distributed and I can access them from anywhere with an Internet connection, and if even that fails I have email in my pocket, I have the web in my pocket, I have a 5 meg camera and the bulk of my music collection in my pocket, I even have a film and a couple of episodes of my favourite TV show in my pocket. While there may not be 3G everywhere quite yet the combination of the mobile web and web-based solutions means you have to go a lot further than an obscure bit of England now to fall off the grid.