Saturday, October 27, 2001

The cool weather is here. Everyone has been outdoors enjoying it. My next door neighbor and his kids walked to the local convenience store to buy some lottery tickets. I rode my recumbent cycle over to pick up some tickets and met them there. It is supposed to get down into the upper 50's tonight which is very cool for us. After almost a year of hot and humid weather this is a welcome relief.
Had a neat experience that exemplfies why I find the internet and the web so interesting. I have been dabbling in PHP and MySQL lately. In case you don't know these are programming and database languages. Anyway, I was chatting with a friend who lives in New Zealand (that is neat enough in itself). The funny thing is that his name is Bob Brown too. Anyway, we had a great connection and there was virtually no time delay in our typing to each other. We were using the ICQ messenger to chat (typing to each other) in real time. Turns out NZ Bob is a PHP and MySQL guru. He gave me some great tips and pointers. Well, think about that. I am getting tutored by a guy who is 8,000 miles away almost as though he were next door. This ability to work as virtual teams regardless of the geographic distance between us is what facinates me.

Another project I have been working on is a new approach to scenery generation in the X-Plane flight simulator. I have been working with friends in Norway, Italy, and France on this project. While I have contributed little more than encouragement I have seen the team work and thought processes develop in spite of the distance and the language differences. In fact, I have become very good friends with these guys and yet I have never met them. I have had so many hours of discussions with them that I truly know that they are great guys and good friends. I hope some day to meet them all.

Friday, October 26, 2001

Hooray! It's Friday. Another week closer to retirement. It is supposed to be a nice cool weekend here. We have had lots of hot and rainy weather but now the first cold front of the year is passing through. We celebrate the first cold front down here like most people celebrate spring. It is the time when our most delightful weather occurs. It is the topic of conversation at work. Used to say around the water cooler but that does not apply any more as there is no water cooler.

Thursday, October 25, 2001

DirecTiVo 2.0 Software
Don't mean to turn this into a Tivo only Blog but this was a good link to document. I will also save it somewhere else.
Checked the Tivo and it recorded all of our shows. We were late eating but since it was setup to record the Evening News with Tom Brokaw we had no problem. We just watched it when we felt like it. Now, Barbara is watching her soap opera, Days of Our Lives. The quality of the recording is perfect since it is a digital recording. I continue to be impressed. Also, after we watched the news the unit asked if we would like to delete that episode or keep it. I said delete and it took care of it. No rewinding or anything. This thing is great.
Just checking to see if I am getting through with this new
site
After having the DirecTivo for only a few hours I can say that it is an unqualified thumbs up product. I never imagined that TV watching and recording could become so easy. In just a few minutes last night I setup a schedule to record half a dozen shows. This morning I was able to watch the Letterman show from last night as if watching live TV. It was sooooo easy. I think we made a good choice here. The navigation menus are pretty intuitive after a short time of use.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

So far I can only say that I am extremely impressed with the DirecTivo unit. The activation of the system went without a hitch. Installing in my entertainment center was the hardest part. Making adjustments to shelves etc. It is unbelievable to be watching live tv and pause it when you have to do something like answer the phone and then go back in and hit play and pick up right where you left off. It is also very, very, easy to record. You just look up a show by name and then hit record. The system takes care of times, channels, etc. This thing is looking every bit as good as people say it is. I like it a lot so far. It will take about 24 hours for the complete database to be downloaded to the system. Can't wait to learn more about the new system.
Went over to Circuit City this morning and picked up the new DircecTivo unit. Took a while because they had to open the box and scan the smart card in the unit's activiation slot. There was almost no one in the store. I hate to think how long it would have taken if the store had been packed. They were pretty nice though and the fact that the unit was $99 made it all worthwhile. Now I will fiind out what all of the hoopla has been about regarding the greatness of the Tivo units. If it is only half as good as people say it will be a hundred times better than a VCR.
Just adding an entry from my Opera web browser to evaluate the way Opera displays and handles the Blogger iinterface. There are some pecularities visible. The text entry area is much smaller than IE and the text fonts on some of the buttons are so tiny as to be almost unreadable.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Found a DirecTivo unit for sale at http://www.circuitcity.com/ for $99. I ordered one. Can't go wrong for that price. Interestingly, it combines the Directv receiver and a Tivo recorder. Because it takes its input directly from the Directv unit that is already encoded in mpeg format the unit requires less processing. In the standalone units the analog signal has to be converted to digital, mpeg, format before recording. Another interesting thing about the Tivo units is that they use the Linux operating system. Linux is showing up in all kinds of devices where reliability is needed. That should tell us something about Microsoft Windows since it is almost never used in appliances where reliability is required.
Native American Ethnobotany Database
This is a very interesting site. You can search on a keyword, rheumatism, for example, and get the plants that native indians used to treat it with. Pretty cool.
DealDatabase Forum - powered by vBulletin
US Gas Price Watch
Thought I would add this link for you to make it easier to find. Look in the upper right of the page and type in your zip code for a search of gas prices in your area. Below that you can become a spotter to help add information to the data base. I think you need to become a spotter for Manning, SC.
Hinsdale How-to TiVo upgrade

This looks like one of the best how to do it articles I have seen. Note that the recommendation is to buy a smaller unit and add a larger hard drive. My question now is if I already have a Directv unit what is my best choice? Circuit City has a combination Directv/Tivo unit for $99. A heck of a deal but of course they are not in stock.
Here is another very good link regarding hacking the Tivo. Everything I read about this device tells me that is renders VCR recording obsolete. I also love the fact that you can open it up, add a larger hard drive and get up to 245 hours of recording time. This just blows VCRs away. Also, the ease of selecting the show you want to record is mind boggling.

TiVo Upgrade components including Disk Drive, Mounting Bracket, Torx Wrench.

Monday, October 22, 2001

Just got back from a visit to Barbara's cardiologist. She got a very good report. Her lungs are clear and her heart sounds good. Also, her cholesterol is down due to the medication for that. So, overall, we are very pleased with the report. Dr. Shifrin also approved having a glass of wine every night. How about that? Funny, Barbara asked if Dr. Shifrin liked Merlot. Somehow, that hit me as funny. She was in for a heart checkup and is asking him if he likes a particular wine.
Barbara and I just got back from our main building where we got our flu shots. The District sponsors these every year and they give them in our auditorium. We got an appointment and showed up on time. No waiting, no problem. Pretty cool.
AVS TiVo Forum Here is another very useful and interesting discussion board regarding the TIVO.

Found this interesting discussion. Worth reading.
Differences between Philips and Sony - AVS TiVo Forum Sounds like Phillips is the best buy.
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