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The Quest Continues

Posted in: Home by Steve on October 14, 2010 | No Comments

In my quest to get rid of Comcast, I found a great comparison of services on Gizmodo that media players bring to the table along with a table of features. This was recently updated to include the announcement that Ruku will support Hulu

http://gizmodo.com/5661178/do-i-need-an-apple-tv

New Quest – Get rid of Comcast

Posted in: Home by Steve on October 8, 2010 | No Comments

Last night I received a telephone call from a Comcast agent. He was offering up new pricing on the cable portion of my bill. I asked him why they were offering this now than 3 weeks ago when I called to complain about my prices going up. He said that they did give me a discount on my bill, but only on the internet portion.

Now, because my work pays for internet, this doesn’t help my total bill. This gives my employer a break, but I still end up paying the same amount for cable in the end. I asked him when this happened. Apparently, the agent I spoke with gave me a promotional discount without my knowledge.

This is fine and dandy, but doing something like this without my explicit permission is rather sad. It shows me that their customer service was not listening to my needs, and did what they thought was best for me.

So now, instead of getting rid of cable, I am looking to get rid of Comcast for my cable. I’ve realized that I will not have a house where I can’t watch sports and having something on in the background is necessary for my wife.

So I am off to find out if AT&T U-Verse, Dish Network, or DirecTV will be better for this house. The last straw has been drawn.

The Quest to Get Rid of Cable

Posted in: Home by Steve on September 26, 2010 | 2 Comments

956420_15571988.jpg
Comcast d-bag
(in case you didn’t know)

I pay an outrageous amount of money a month for cable.  This d-bag over here represents Comcast.  They take so much of my money each month, it’s sick.  We were going over our monthly budget and decided to look at other options for getting our weekly fix of House and Man vs. Food.

So the first thing we needed to figure out was what are the shows that we absolutely have to watch?  I love to watch sports.  Right off the bat, I’m screwed because trying to get any of the local sports teams online is impossible.  Thanks to agreements between the major sports, they will not broadcast the NHL Gamecenter, MLB or NFL online because of local blackout restrictions.  So if I can live without watching sports, then getting rid of cable would be a lot easier.  This is really the crux of the decision.  Everything else is just a nice to have.  Sports is what we have cable for, especially NHL Network, Comcast Sportsnet, NFL Network and MLB Network.  The majority of my TV watching comes from these channels.

Since our local sports teams do not broadcast many games OTA, the decision is a lot harder than I realized.  I was watching the first couple of games for the NHL preseason and the HD is quite amazing.  It’s hard to say goodbye to that.

After having to make the decision on whether or not to do it, I have to determine how my media is going to get to my TVs.  Our current inventory of hardware and content consists of:

  • XBox 360 with Wireless G Adapter
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Western Digital HD Live
  • Netflix Subscription
  • PlayOn.TV
  • Windows Media Center
  • Windows Home Server

Our house has 3 physical TVs. We have 2 standard definition (SD) and 1 HD TV.  One of the problems that I am facing is how to get network to these locations.  The bedroom TV is easy because I can run an ethernet cable to whatever ends up being the media hub for that TV.  That leaves me with an SD TV in the far corner of the house, and the HD TV. For the SD TV, I’m looking at getting a Roku XD because of the extended range capabilities of the player.  I don’t know if even having a TV hooked up to media makes any sense because it’s in our son’s playroom. This could be the last step when building our our solution. 

Which brings us to the main TV in the house, the 61” HD TV.  Now trying to get HD quality signal to this television is going to be interesting to solve.  The XBox is connected to this TV and has a wireless G adapter.  This is fine for gaming, but when I try to connect to the Media Center, it never plays any of the videos.  A possible upgrade for the 360 is to get a Wireless N adapter to increase the bandwidth.  I could then get all of the media running through the XBox. 

I’m still weighing my options, but it looks like I might be able to save almost $1,300 / year getting rid of cable completely if I can live without local sports.

Home Security

Posted in: Home by Steve on September 22, 2010 | No Comments

A house near us was broken into last week.  It was during the middle of the day and they took a lot of the valuables from the house.  My wife and I are now on the lookout to make sure that we always have our house locked up and that we’re watching for shady people in our neighborhood.

I saw this comic from Ctrl-Alt-Del and LOL’d

http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20100920/

Adding Another Piece to My Mac-universe?

Posted in: Family, Home by Steve on April 23, 2010 | No Comments

ipadSo after getting my first Macbook, I am again considering adding another Apple product.  This time, it’s not just for me.

The iPad looks like a wonderful device.  I can see myself using it for the web and email quite frequently on the couch and with my son (2 years old already, wow).  The app store would be wonderful for getting game for him to play.  We would be able to play videos and music for him in the car.  We are also embarking on a vacation soon and he is going on his first airplane ride. 

I am looking to minimize the inconvenience for all parties involved, including my son.  I would like to keep his attention for more than an hour watching the Muppet Show or Clone Wars and not thinking about the fact that he is flying.  The pressure changes are going to be hard enough.  Between any apps that I get and the videos, I’m hoping that instead of bringing my laptop, the iPad will be easier to bring with on the trip and take less room. 

I’ve searched and found a few toddler apps on the store, but since I don’t have an iPod or iPhone, this will be my first experience with the app store.  What apps to people with kids install?

I am still mulling over this idea, considering every bullet point before pulling the trigger.  If you have any suggestions, I’m willing to hear them.

A thank you note to the City of Aurora

Posted in: Home by Steve on March 4, 2010 | No Comments

Thanks for the lawn maintenance.  I didn’t realize that my taxes were paying for an excellent service.  I hope to see you again next winter.

2010-03-03 17.43.28

Jerks