media comments edit

For the last week we’ve been fighting with the Comcast HD digital cable box. The video will come on and then disappear after three or four seconds, leaving us with audio only. The guy who showed up last week to fix it rewired the cable outlet and that seemed to temporarily fix it. A day later, the problem was back.

A different cable guy showed up today and let us know that a recent firmware update to the Motorola digital cable boxes - something ostensibly to fix certain DVR problems - broke the DVI connectivity. Sure enough, connecting the component cables to the box gets us video back again.

Of course, that doesn’t help me because the only input I have left on my TV is digital connection (a shared input that can be HDMI, DVI, or VGA), so now I have to go get the Xbox 360 VGA cable and swap the inputs

  • Xbox 360 for cable box.

Oh, did I mention that’s a $75 custom-made DVI cable out the door? And all of my cables are totally custom wrapped and organized, so all of it has to be torn up so I can put in new/different cables? Thanks, Comcast. Even with the free month you’re giving us, it doesn’t make up for the ridiculous inconvenience. If Verizon had its broadband TV service up and running, we’d switch tomorrow. (UPDATE: I’m not the only one pissed. At least I wasn’t sent to collections.)

The firmware fix for this, which is “currently being worked on” is due out in January. That’s fantastic. Keep up the good work, guys. Hire a QA department when you get a chance. Thanks.

General Ramblings comments edit

Kate Spade 'Gramercy Park' Casual
ChinaWe went to Macy’s on Saturday and bought the remainder of the dish set we put on the wedding registry. We got a few items for the wedding, but three dishes and a couple of bowls really didn’t equal “complete dish set,” so we finished out the 12-person place setting list we had put together (minus the platter and serving bowl). It was a little on the spendy side (I think we came out with a total of around $830) but we had a lot of Macy’s gift cards to contribute to that so it wasn’t that much out of pocket. Thanks to all the folks who got us dishes and Macy’s gift cards - you are contributing to the “Stop Eating on Mom’s Hand-Me-Down 1970’s Corelle-ware” cause.

Actually, I like the new plates a lot. Enough that I’m almost scared to eat on them. They’re microwave and dishwasher safe, but… well, I’ve never had nice plates. It’s a new thing.

While we were at Macy’s, Jenn picked up a new outfit and I started thinking maybe I need some new stuff. You know, change it up a little. I’m not sure what I want, but while I like a casual dress look, it’s not terribly sustainable for me - about halfway through the day I end up feeling (and looking) all wrinkled and rumpled. I do like the stuff they sell at the Cirque du Soleil boutique because I feel like it’s reasonably stylish, different, and fits comfortably without making me look/feel unpressed by the end of the day. Jenn says it looks like skater punk stuff and there’s only so much skater she can handle. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I just know I’m not a chain wallet guy (even though I secretly want to be) and Stu is a golf hat guy (even though he really doesn’t want to be).

Speaking of Stu, he came over on Sunday and we put in our final units against Oblivion, completing the game with all achievements fulfilled and clocking it in at just under 61 hours. My dad bought that game and hasn’t even started yet. I’m pretty sure he’ll never get it finished. Anyway, now that we’re done with Oblivion we’ll have to look for a new game to put in units on.

Saw that Contra is coming to Xbox Live Arcade on Wednesday, so I’m pretty stoked about that. I remember playing that when I was a kid at the neighbor’s house across the street on original NES. Good times. Looks like there’s a lot coming out that I might have to check out. Not really sure how well Missile Command will translate without that roller-ball controller it had in the arcade, but I’ll give it a run.

imageI’ve become an Xbox Live Uno junkie. I’m not sure why playing a card game over Xbox Live is so addictive, but it is, and it’s really the first Xbox Live game that has me sucked in. I think the key with it is that there’s not a lot of skill involved, so regardless of who shows up to play with you, everyone’s on level ground - you don’t pop into the game to get your ass kicked by the 14-year-old kid who’s suspended from school and has nothing better to do all day than practice the game and yell profanity at you while shooting you dead. Jenn’s liking Uno, too, and has doubled her friends list since starting. It’s a load of fun.

Uno has the Xbox Live Vision Camera enabled in it so you can see who you’re playing with online (if they have the camera). Thus far I’m not sure if the camera was really that great of an idea. Sometimes it’s fun, but you can’t imagine the crazy (and sometimes gross) stuff people will do on the camera while playing. We’ve seen countless people smoking pot, Jenn’s seen a naked guy, a guy I was playing against said he saw someone eating a raw heart… I’m sure Microsoft saw this as a potential issue, and yeah, you can file complaints against people doing that, but somehow I don’t see that stopping the issue. I guess Penny Arcade was right.

media comments edit

eCoustics has a great article on HDTV that explains everything you ever wanted to know, including whether 1080p is something you should step up to. Given the human eye’s limitations, you may not actually be able to distinguish a 720p from 1080p broadcast, pending on how far away from the TV you sit. This is a good complement to the Hanselminutes episode on HDTV.

I have a 37” LCD screen that displays at 1366 x 768, effectively limiting me to 720p (upscaled, or 1080p downscaled). Unless I sit 4.8 feet from the screen, I probably won’t really notice the difference between 720p and 1080p display.

Now I’m going to have to go home and measure to see how far we are from the TV.

General Ramblings comments edit

I just got this weird spam letter that wasn’t even advertising anything. I thought the contents of the spam were interesting, though, almost like a stream-of-consciousness writing from an overloaded engineer.

Now or never. Possible Interpretation: Refers to doing two things at once, or multi-tasking. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Alternative: Who will act as gatekeeper to the gatekeepers? All hat and no cattle.