Category Archives: tv

How to Cancel Your Cable

About 3 or 4 months ago we cancelled our cable. Not because we are hippy luddites, but because we spend all our time playing with Samantha when we are home. We couldn’t justify paying $70 for cable anymore. So we canceled it. I still watch all the TV shows I did before: Eureka, Family Guy, Flash Forward, Fringe, Heros, Lost, Sanctuary, The Simpsons, SG-U, and Warehouse 13.  Even the NHL has some games on Hulu and sometimes they are on Yahoo Sports.  When we watch Hulu content, we hook up our Apple laptop to our TV via a cable I got from monoprice.  To make everything even easier we use a free program called Plex.  Plex can also be used to view Netflix, YouTube and pretty much anything online or any video you already have on your computer.  Its a great application.


Recently, my wife and I have been talking about getting cable again so we can watch the Olympics.  Paying $70 a month so we can watch maybe 5 hours of Olympics a week did not sit well with me though.  Then I saw a great deal on a DTV antenna at monoprice.  So I picked it up.  It was only $15 shipped so I figured any channels that it got would be a big plus.  Its back to its regular price now.  Had I not been a fan of monoprice.com on Facebook I would have missed the sale.

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After installing the antenna literally like 2 minutes!  We got 66 channels.  Mostly foreign language channels.  But we do get CBS, NBC, KTLA and like all the PBS stations.  Including HD channels.  So now we don’t have to order cable just to watch the Olympics.  We save $70 plus on cable every month now!  Anyone who wants to save a little cash, should really consider doing this.  If anyone has any questions please feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

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Beijing Olympics – Faked ‘fireworks’ at opening ceremony

Pre-recorded footage was used to showcase the dramatic opening ceremony fireworks show.

From CNN –

Fireworks that burst into the shape of 29 gigantic footprints were shown trudging above the Beijing skyline to the National Stadium near the start of the ceremony.

Though the footprint-shaped fireworks were real, some of the footage shown to television viewers around the world and on giant screens inside the “Bird’s Nest” stadium featured a computer-generated three-dimensional image.

“It was confirmed that previously recorded footage was provided to the broadcasters for convenience and theatrical effects — as in many other big events,” Beijing organizing committee spokesman Wang Wei said. “On the day of the ceremony there were actual footprints of fireworks from the south to the north of the city.

Check out the link to get the full story.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/TECH/08/12/fake.fireworks.ap/index.html?imw=Y&iref=mpstoryemail

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Comic-Con 2008

On Friday, July 25th, I took the day off work and traveled to the San Diego Convention Center for the 2008 Comic-Con via Amtrak trains.  When I first got to the San Diego train station, there was a massive nerd herd slowly traveling to the trolleys.  I chose to walk with a few other geeks.  I walked quickly to the conventino center dodging cars, trolleys, and those guys to haul people in bike drawn carriages.  Our train arrived at 9am and it took me 30 minutes to walk the 1.1 miles with a every growing group of geeks.  That turned out okay, since the convention started at 9:30.  I walk into a line for those people who had pre-registered online (which was everyone since you can only buy tickets online).  There was so may people!  It was the most crowded place I have ever been in my life.  The convetion might not have been as large as CES but it had more people per sq foot for sure!

I went straight to ballroom 20 to see the Stargate Contiunum panel.   There were to Jafa warriors outside the door and I knew I was in the right place.  Just inside the door they were handing out free t-shirts.  The shirts were black and had a stargate image on them.  They said Stargate Worlds on them, more on that later.  The first panel consited of Richard Dean Anderson (of MacGyver fame, but also a star of Stargate SG-1), Amanda Tapping (from Stargate SG-1 and soon to be star of Sanctuary), Michael Shanks, Ben Browder, Christopher Judge, Beau Bridges, Peter DeLuise (director and writer) and the moderator was Martin Wood (director).  It was a great panel.  All the actors were very funny.  I guess it was Anderson’s first Comic-Con and possibly his first convetion.  Judge commented that he had been to several conventions and really enjoyed it.  Anderson really got into and was very funny.  You could see that this group of people really enjoy working with each other.   They were all there to help promote the new movie Stagate Continuium, wihch is being released on DVD only.  I saw it in todays (Sunday’s) paper in the Best Buy ad.  It is $17 for DVD and $29 for Blu-Ray.  Maybe sometime I will watch it.  I would really like to.

After the first panel was over, it was only an hour long.  They brought out the developers of a new MMO game called Stargate Worlds.  They talked about the new PC only game that is going to be released sometime in 2009 and took some questions from the crowd.  It was clear that there was not a lot of interest in this MMO.  Seems like most people who play MMO’s play WOW only.

The next panel was for the show Stargate Atlantis.  It brought out three stars from the series including Joe Flanigan, Robert Picardo and Jewel Staite.  Again, another very funny entertaining group of people.

After the Stargate panels were over I was starving since I had not eaten anything but a granola bar all day and it was now about 1pm.  So I headed down to the expo floor.  There I was confronted was a huge crowd of people that just didn’t seem to move.  They just milled around, it was almost impossible to get around and see the booths.  There was so many people it got very hot in the convention center.  It is hard to convey just how many people were there.  It was very overwhelming.  While I was in line for horrible convention food I got a call from a friend, Nick, to let me know that he was now at the convnetion center as well.  That was great becuase I had so far been on my own at the center.  I bought a cheeseburger, fries, hotdog and soda.  I was full and sick of the horrible food before I got to the hot dog, but thankfully, Nick finished it for me.  We then started to explore the expo floor and see what was to be seen.

While out and about we saw that Johnathan Frakes was going to be signing autographs at 4pm in the Star Trek booth.  So I wanted to be around for that.  I’ve always liked this actor not just because I think he is talented and I am a self-confessed Treky, but believe it or not he looks a lot like my biological father!  I was dissapointed to find out that they were charging $20 for his signature.  But since I was not planning on buy anything else at the show and I have always liked this actor/author I decided to go ahead and get it.  I then precded to put my thumb over the signature making it look lighter in that one section!  Terrible!

I was starting to get worn out so I asked Nick what panel he wanted to see.  He chose a really cool one where all the child voice actors from the Peanuts television shows.  It was very informative and a great panel!  After that we went to dinner at a place that Nick had been before called the Cheese Factory (couldn’t find their website).  I had breakfast for dinner there and Nick had a sandwich.  Great place, I recomend it!

When we got back we went to the panel that was the main reason for my trip to Comic-Con.  The Totally Rad Show.  I had a great time for the part that I was able to see, but unforteuntely I had to leave early (8:30pm) to catch the last Amtrak back to Irvine.  I can’t believe that Amtrak didn’t have anything else leaving later.  I have always been disappointed with their offerings.  Their service people on the train are nice, but on my way back home a homeless person with a racist bad attitude and a god aweful smell got on the train.  I had the perfect seat that I had to give up to get away from his foul mouth and smell.  He admitted that he did not pay for his ticket.  Other people also got up and moved to elsewhere on the train.  This IS is reason why I chose not to take public transportation most times.  The story of my Comic-Con trip ends here, I got home at 11:30pm and was exhausted.

More pictures at Picassa.

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