Another Night Before

Twas the night before Christmas, and on our website
We had an absence of posting, no comments were in sight
WordPress is running Pyslent with due care
We may seldom write, but we still come & stare

Seven children were nestled, all snug in their beds
While visions of gadgets danced in dads’ heads
The Pats kept on winning, the Raiders a whole bunch
The Niners go for two, they took the Rams lunch

Out on the internet arose such a clatter
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter
Grabbed my iPad Air, still working just fine
All the Apple gadgets, aging like fine wine

The internet was crazy, I’d never seen such a flurry
But I must be quick, I must be in a hurry
Then I just saw him, almost did not catch it.
It’s Rotiveo– the patron saint of gadgets!

Rotiveo wore Mobile Pants, size extra tall
And his clothes were vibrating, must be a phone call
Brought a load of gadgets, and even a game
And he whistled, and shouted and called sites by name

“Now Netflix! Now Target! And Amazon too!
To Nordstrom’s! To Costco! To Fandango too!”
All over the web, he searched high and searched low
To find all the stuff, now it’s ready to go!

All across the internet, Rotiveo he flew
A storm of traffic he did see in his rear view
He found the best deals, on the very best gear
It’s so cutting edge, it will still be good next year.

The net’s overflowing with really good stuff
Getting it to work might be kind of tough
With all sorts of cords and fifty kinds of plugs
(For us early adopters, we’re used to the bugs)

Rotiveo’s got the stuff to make us all gloat,
No Cable, Blackberry, nor ‘Galaxy Note
Instead it’s Apple’s Watch and their brand new laptop,
Pixels, Chromebooks, GoPros that never ever stop!

Joanie and Mike remember the warm summer past
Adam and Emma will be opening presents soon, and fast!
Kelvin and Serena live in Apple’s developing shadow
Lucas getting big quicker, it’s just grow grow grow

Jake and Jen start Hanukah on this very night,
Never been so happy to start the festival of light.
In years past it had been two and now three,
Rounding out the crew is the wonderful JV

How could Lucas be nine and Brandon … eleven?
They’ll still love their presents, all over again
Tiffany, Evan, Adam & Emma know its grand
Too many toys for fourteen big & little hands.

Happy in doggie heaven, looking down with such glee
There is Montana, merrily running free
She still sleeps and when she does she still dreams
Mostly of eating, people food I believe

Rotiveo sprang to Roomba (hacked years before)
And away they went, after cleaning the floor
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”


Be careful out there Derrick!

Mountain lions at your doorstep.

More on the story,



| Posted in Home Tech | 2 Comments »

“TiVo Deathwatch Is Prophetic”

Today, Jake posted to following on Twitter:

(The link is to this page.)

A cursory glance shows that this site has at least 44 posts with TiVo in the title, starting with the 4th post ever on The Board. And as we all remember, my voyage into TivoLand started with a wedding present over 15 years ago (and try as I might, I can’t find the original website that announced the present, though I know it survived for many years after our wedding). It was so futuristic at the time, and a great present!

But my own TiVo deathwatch has come to an end as well. My history with the platform is well-documented here, but for the last several years, that Series 1 box has sat in the basement in a box (right beside my father-in-law’s Sony Series 1, which I was going to use for a Frankenstein reincarnation experiment that never quite worked years ago).

This weekend, both TiVo boxes, with lifetime subscriptions, found their way to a garbage bag, and will be taking their last trip to some landfill tomorrow. Farewell, old friend. 


Something worth posting about

So way back in late March, I was fumbling around for the iPhone 5S in my pocket when, for the 20th time, it slipped out of my hands. My luck ran out. The screen shattered. Ugh.

I didn’t think it prudent to spend $750 on a new iPhone that was already 6 months old. Instead I decided to fix the screen, and with much overconfidence, I opted for a do-it-yourself kit for $20. Days later, the iPhone SE was announced which set me back a more reasonable $500; coinidentally, TiVo got their long awaited buyout offer and I felt a little flush. The iPhone repair kit went in a drawer and was forgotten about.

Yesterday I decided to tackle the project. I started by opening up the how-to video. When I saw it was 45 minutes long, I realized I may be in over my head. However, after a single lost screw and a dozen questionable moments, I managed to reassemble the whole thing- battery, camera, speaker, fingerprint sensor & more- without braking anything. Originally I had planned to sell it after repair, leaning towards keeping it now as an extra device.

Having completed this repair, it’s damn  impressive how well engineered the iPhone is. So compact! Much different than my TiVo hacking days, which didn’t require much fine dexterity. All told, the repair took me back to the early, hacktivist credo of The Board.


Worst to First?







I would actually be OK with worst to worst, but that would require the Villanova & Virginia each lose their next game. Otherwise, one of the joke entries is likely to defeat my quirky yet earnest entry based on generally favoring teams of cities/ states/ campuses where I’ve been.

On the other end, I find myself in 19th place, unfortunately with the all too common pick of Kansas to win the whole thing. Picking North Carolina would put in a much better position to win. Still, I hold out hopes of finishing 6th for like the 8th time. How is everyone else doing in this & other pools? I have a good chance at Threepeating in my work “pool,” which is more of an auction for teams. Notre Dame, Wisconsin & Duke carry me into the Sweet Sixteen. I need about 2-3 more wins to guarantee my 3rd straight year of free food courtesy my coworkers.





Site migration

Got a “new” server off of eBay — a mid-2010 Mac mini, same as my desktop computer. It replaces the mid-2007 Mac mini that has been our home (and web) server for many years. The “new” computer runs 10.11 just fine, and has 8 GB RAM and a 1 TB internal SSD drive — all for $400 on eBay. 

I didn’t get it expecting to have lots of new activity around here, but it’ll definitely be more capable of shipping media around the house. 

Now I think Jake has something to say about his performance in the NCAA pool — the 20th anniversary of the pool, if I’m counting right, with a winner’s value of over $2000!

| Posted in Site News | No Comments »

iPhone Headphones

This rumor has been going around for years now: Apple is killing the ubiquitous 3.5mm headphone jack on the next iPhones. What’s odd is that’s the headline on Techmeme, but the story on 9to5 Mac doesn’t mention the headphone jack at all. What gives?


Personally, I use so many different headphones — breaking, losing or just alternating– that losing the headphone jack is a near deal breaker, and probably keeps me in the 5S a bit longer. Or upgrading to a 6S in a year. I had a set of Bluetooth headphones I liked, but they stopped working after two years. And never stayed in my ears well for long runs. I have over the ear noise canceling headphones for traveling. Sets I leave in my travel bag and gym bag permanently. And so on. If Apple got rid of 3.5mm headphones, it would be a major expense or hassle. What’s the rationale anyways?