HDTV and Mac

How can you pass up a post that involves HDTV, TiVo, and Macs?!?!
From MacOSXHints.com, one of the best Mac how-to sites out there (along with macfixit.com), comes the post Record and playback high definition TV signals.
Bottom line — cable companies (but not satellite companies) are required to provide, on demand, FireWire capable HD cable boxes (they cost an extra $8-10 per month). With the right software (all free), you can record and play back your video on your computer (and if you have an HDTV with a FireWire-in port, you can broadcast back to your TV! ).The problems cited are (1) encryption is possible on all non-broadcast HD channels, and (2) the file sizes are huge – 12 GB for Star Wars Episode II. So you’ll need an external FW hard drive, too.
It may all be moot for us, though, since according to one commenter, “playback with VLC of 720p or 1080i content is going to need a *hefty* CPU and probably won’t play on anything but the latest and greatest G5’s
I’m sure that something similar must exist for Windows…

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Free WiFi

So as you all know, I got my iBook on Monday when UPS left it in front of my door without a signature. Today I had to travel, to Salt Lake City, so this is my first chance to take the iBook on the road. I watched the classic Simpsons episode (featuring Michael Jackson) “Stark Raving Dad” on the plane and played around with iPhoto a little bit.
Upon getting to my suite, at the Embassy Suites in Salt Lake City, I turned on my iBook to check for free wireless. And they have free wireless! Awesome. Always nice when a new purchase pays off so quickly.


Alva Takes up a Worthy Cause

I don’t know if you were aware, but Alva, Melissa and Bitter’s 11-yo puppy, has just started her personal battle against cancer. It’s sad to all of us who know this most loyal and intelligent of dog companions, but it seems like she is determined to make a difference with her remaining time. She is participating in the American Cancer Society’s Dogswalk Against Cancer. As Melissa says,
“Alva has a very special role in this year’s event as she has recently been named the 2004 Queen of Dogswalk! She will be “crowned” with a special collar at the event. ”
Join her fight by making a contribution!


iTunes 4.5

iTunes 4.5 has been released — lots of little changes, the most noticeable of which are the multiple new hooks into the iTunes Music Store (every song and album on a playlist has a link to the iTMS entry). By far, the coolest thing is the ability to print CD jewel box inserts incorporating the cover art from the album — too bad you can’t print the actual liner notes (would be nice if those were downloaded when you bought an album from the iTMS). Check out this example of an insert generated by iTunes of the cover of a Stereophonics album I downloaded the other day.
There are also some features I’ll never use, like publishing playlists to the iTMS (so that others can listen to the same cool music I do, after buying it from iTMS, of course). iTMS has lots of new features that I’ll never use, too (like radio charts from stations across the country).
Overall, seems like it’s worth upgrading…


Continental Frequent Flyer Miles

I just logged in to my Continental frequent flyer account, and I was reading the policy updates. I don’t know if this is new or old, but Continental claims,

Inactive Membership
If no mileage is deposited in your account for 18 consecutive months, commencing after June 1, 2001, your membership will be cancelled, and your miles will be forfeited.

So, if you have any Continental miles, make sure you use ’em or add more by flying or trasnferring miles) so that they don’t go to waste.


Montana at the beach

Jake’s Monterey Marathon gave me an excuse to take Montana to the dog-friendly beach at Carmel. She thinks it’s one of many great reasons to live on the West coast.

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Marathon Finish

I dragged myself through another race, actually Ken dragged me. I went out to run in 4 flat, and hit the half in 2:03, which was the tougher half. The hills caught up to me, and we ran the 2nd half in 2:10, running hard to the finish. Beautiful course on a sunny day, but tough as nails.


Big Sur Marathon tomorrow

Well, the Big Sur Marathon is tomorrow, and I’m in mellow-down mode now. The course is hilly, but the weather should be perfect. You can find out all the details at http://www.bsim.org . I’ll have an update tomorrow with more details. Wish me good luck!



So we got our HDTV cable box installed today. It’s pretty cool! We get about 6 channels in HD – basically the broadcast channels plus ESPN. The ESPN was a huge bonus for us, because we previously weren’t getting it with our “basic plus” package. All this for just $5 extra per month. The actual digital cable box also comes with a built in DVR but you have to pay an additional $4.95 a month to get it activated…..unless we can figure out a way to somehow hack it….the cable guy mentioned something about just needing a new remote, but they may also need to flip some switches at central command somewhere…..

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Know any runners who like gadget watches?

My Dad bought the Garmin Forerunner GPS watch around last Christmas, and ended up returning it because when he runs on trails, the GPS module would often lose the satellite link and mess up all the cool features (like alititude profiles, pace, and stuff like that). Too bad — he should have kept it, because as engadget reports today, there are some cool things you can do with that watch — like make highlighted maps of your running routes. Apparently there’s a guy that put up a website called /run, that is a “running for geeks” web site.
Anybody know any of those? 😉