I Read Stuff!!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Base Jumping is For Wimps

Friday, November 21, 2008

Is Your DVR Not Good Enough?

A couple of friends of mine have been looking for alternatives to Tivo. The basic idea is to take your cable signal and broadcast it onto your home network. The benefit of these devices is that you can then record HDTV directly to a hard drive for later viewing without paying your cable company a monthly fee. Additional benefits include taking your recorded shows with you on trips, keeping solid days worth of TV instead of hours, and sharing shows with friends.

There are three hardware options I know about for this functionality:

The first, and most obvious, is Tivo HD. You'll need to buy a Tivo HD for $300 plus a life time service contract for $400. (Monthly fees are the devil)
But, your fun doesn't exactly end there. With Tivo Desktop you can move your HD shows to your PC, but they are digitally protected. You'll have to get some extra software online to jailbreak your shows into MPEG4 videos.

The cheapest option is called HD HomeRun. To get it working takes a little bit of effort. First you need to pick up the hardware for $170. This gives you a box with two coax digital converters. These converters will work with any cable company that doesn't encrypt their channels. You might run into trouble with HBO.

Next you need software to program it. The most common software for this is called Myth TV. It's a free Linux program that gives you all the conveniences of Tivo from the comfort of your PC. However, getting the TV channel listings can be a pain. There are free options, but the general method is to sign up for Schedules Direct at $20/year. (Hate the monthly fees, but $1.70 a month seems reasonable)

The final, and maybe best, solution is a SlingBox. For $300 you get a box that will broadcast 'X' onto your network. I say 'X' because this box has a coax in, a component in, an s-video in, and a composite in. If you wanted to broadcast and record your Rock Band session in HD, you can do it with this device.

It comes with its own software which connects to the Zap 2 It network for its channel listings. The Zap 2 It network was the de facto standard for TV listings until 2007 when it stopped handing it out for free. Apparently SlingBox has worked out a deal because there is no monthly fee.

So there it is crazies, go out there and get your TV the way you want it.

Note: When I say HD, I mean 720p or 1080i. 1080p is still a highly protected standard. While the component standard can certainly handle the 1080p bandwidth, it's too open for the big wigs in the media industry. As such, devices that output and input to component are limited to 720p or 1080i by contract. If you want a device to output 1080p, it has to conform to the HDCP over HDMI standard and all the BS that entails.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mr. Stevens

Two weeks after Ted Stevens won election night by 3,000 votes, the absentee ballots have finally been counted. As much fun as it would be to have a senator that cannot vote, Mr. Stevens has lost the election.

Now then Alaska, I will allow you exactly one excited yell and no more. You don't deserve any more celebration. A FELON came within 1% of winning your U.S. Senate seat. I don’t care if the competition needs a map to find his ass with both hands. You do NOT vote for someone convicted on felony corruption charges.

I'll stop there because I don't want to get into karma trouble while Tom Kivisto's name hangs in Memorial Stadium.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Star Trek

Yay! The first real trailer for Star Trek, and it's good!

Update: PvP did a comic that explains my thoughts exactly.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Best Milk Ever

I'm a pretty big fan of milk, so it's exciting for me to hear that Nakazawa Foods is launching a new product called "Adult Milk". Keep your mind out of the gutter, this is cow milk.

Being touted as a stress relief, this special milk is collected once a week at the break of dawn. Supposedly cows produce a large amount of melatonin at night. Melatonin is an over the counter sleep aid that is found in regular milk, but there exists 3 to 4 times as much of it in "Adult Milk".

900 mililiters of the premium milk will run you about $49, which begs the question, why wouldn't you just drink your milk with a supplement?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Raised Without Sense

I ran across this article about Tyson and their continuing efforts to mass produce meat. The main point of the article surrounds Tyson's use of the "Antibiotic-Free" label.

In 2007 the company got in trouble for using the label while applying antimicrobials in their chicken feed. As a compromised Tyson was allowed to use the label "raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans." Tyson's competitors sued and won saying the labeling was misleading and unproven.

Tyson returned to the "Antibiotic-Free" label, but quickly got into trouble again. It was discovered they were injecting chicken eggs with antibiotics. They argued the USDA rules applied to the 'raising' of chickens and not to what happened before birth.

Tyson has removed all antibiotic labeling, and they are suing the USDA for changing their interpretation of regulations. Which is fine, but what I don't understand is why they are fighting so hard. Can any of you describe the "Antibiotic-Free" label? I can't. Maybe I should demand antibiotic free chicken and beef, but so far it hasn't been a driving issue in my carnivore life-style.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

D&D Is Of The Devil

Back in August, Gen Con had their Live Game Auction for charity. Since Gary Gygax passes away this year, the money was to be donated to his favorite charity, Christian Children's Fund. They raised $17,398 by auctioning off gaming memorabilia and merchandise including a giant 20-sided die filled with donated dice.

When they presented the money to Christian Children's Fund, the charity refused the money! Since the money was partially raised from sales of Dungeons and Dragons CCF did not want to give the appearance that they endorsed the game.

It's been 35 years and D&D players are still considered evil. They are so evil that their blood money would taint starving children.

The money was donated to the Fisher House Foundation instead.

GameInterestRelease Date
Civilization IV1
C&C 31
Company of Heroes1
Half Life 21
Half Life 2: Episode One1
Supreme Commander1
Call of Duty 22
Dungeon Runners2
Dungeon Siege II2
Far Cry2
Galactic Civilization II2
Hitman: Blood Money2
Jade Empire2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Sam & Max: Episode 12
Titan Quest2
Dark Messiah Might and Magic3
Heroes of Might and Magic V3
Indigo Prophecy3
LEGO Star Wars3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance3
Space Rangers 2: The Rise of the Dominators3
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl3
Stubbs the Zombie3
War Front3
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos3
Pirates of the Burning SeaM6/1/2007
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars?6/5/2007
Two Worlds?6/26/07
Sins of A Solar Empire?8/1/2007
Mass Effect19/7/07
Age of ConanM10/30/07
Crysis1Fall 2007
Elveon?Fall 2007
Half-Life 2: Episode Two1Fall 2007
Portals1Fall 2007
Spore1Fall 2007
Stranglehold?Fall 2007
Tabula RasaMFall 2007
Team Fortress 22Fall 2007
Dragon Age?Winter 2007
Fable 2?Winter 2007
Field Ops?Winter 2007
Halo Wars?Winter 2007
Gods & Heroes: Rome RisingMWinter 2007
Haze?Winter 2007
Hellgate: London1Winter 2007
HuxleyMWinter 2007
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men?Winter 2007
Left 4 Dead?Winter 2007
The AgencyMSpring 2008
Empire Earth III?Spring 2008
Guild Wars 2 MSpring 2008
Jericho?Spring 2008
Sacred 2?Spring 2008
Savage 2?Spring 2008
Time Shift2Spring 2008
Universe at War: Earth Assault3Spring 2008
The Witcher?Spring 2008
Darkest of Days?2008
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkeness: Episode 122008
Warhammer OnlineM2008
Alliance: The Silent War??
Alone in the Dark??
Assassin's Creed??
BioWare MMO??
The Crossing??
Dungeon Hero??
Fallout 3??
Lego Batman??
Space Seige??
Culdcept SagaPC??
Gears of WarPC??
God of WarPC??
Beautiful KatamariPC??
Resistance: Fall of ManPC??
Odin's SpherePC??
Castle CrashersPC??

1 - I will buy it
2 - I'll buy it at discount
3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
M - Mainly Multiplayer. See if friends get interested.
? - Find out more about this game
PC? - Will it be released on the PC?