It used to be that it was hard to explain the TiVo. I'd tell people, "It's like a VCR, but it's smart enough to program itself."
Now I've got a new description: "It's like a VCR, but it it's evil enough to screw you over if some rightsholder demands it."
Hey, TiVo: since 1984's Betamax decision, Americans have had the right to record TV shows even if the rightsholder doesn't like the idea. That's straight from the Supreme Court's mouth. I don't know what kind of special privilege the enteraintment industry has offered you in exchange for this spectacular display of wanton shark-jumping, but it wasn't enough. I sold my TiVo when I left California. You can be goddamned sure I won't be buying another one. Ever.
Note to potential TiVo competitors: MythTV is like TiVo except it includes all the features that the entertainment industry has intimidated TiVo into leaving out. And it's free. Go make a product out of it, put it in stores, and you will sell a squillion of them. Now that TiVo's blown its brains out, the field is wide open.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.