Wednesday, March 1

BIG media post (with most important stuff at bottom)

+ As much as I'm not into the NBA, I used to like to watch the All-Star game, just to see some of the talent. Can't do that since it moved to TNT (no cable). So I was interested to watch highlights from the dunk contest on YouTube (I think it was also on Google Video).

Some of the dunks were cool. The Spud Webb angle was interesting. The undifferentiated 'commentary' was painful.

But the best thing about the experience was tv breaking out of the box. Remixes. Playlists.

Of course, I'm mostly talking about concept, here, since I watch almost no TV (except for the NFL). And that's not a statement of virtue. I waste all kinds of time online and playing computer games and GameCube. I just don't have the patience for broadcast tv anymore nor, lately, even for movies.

[Note to Jason: being a dunker yourself, I'd especially be interested in your take ;-)]

+ Microsoft Works on Computer Foot Pad. I would welcome this input option to put my feet to use, even from Micr$oft.

+ New Apple moves. On the one hand, I'd rather have the Mac Mini than a Media PC in my living room as a media hub. I wouldn't really miss the tuner and PVR and it plugs right into my TV, not needing a separate monitor.

On the other hand, then I'd have to sell out to iTunes and Apple DRM instead of M$, which I don't want to do, either.

This probably isn't in my near future anyway, but I've got an eye on it. I'd say there's a good chance I'll end up going with a Linux solution on an older PC. Heck, just running everything though a wireless network is an option. But right now, it's pretty cheep to pop a 150-song mp3cd into the DVD player and let it run for, what, 10 hours? Of course, the number of times I've actually been able to do that, which pretty much requires Christine and the kids to be out of town, is exactly one. Still, there was something pretty sweet about just letting that bad boy run in the living room while I computed (and mostly gamed) in the office.

+ This is probably too far down to bury this, but, what the heck: This post has been percolating for a while:

I went the poor/frugal man's route and bought a new mp3cd player instead of an iPod. In my research I came across an article that recommended that path and I just couldn't 'overcome' that advice. I got about the best mp3cd player at Best Buy that I could find and it was still less than 70$, or less than 1/4 of the price of the iPod I thought I wanted.

(I was reluctant to buy a Sony because of all of their DRM/root kit dealings, but there's none on the player itself, so I eventually went with that.)

I'm really enjoying it so far. The battery use is minimal.

And it left money for a home theater system :-)

Again, I've had my eyes on this market for a while. I took it to heart when I read that sound is more than half of the equation for any AV system. We've got a small (like 19" I think) tv, with just the in-case speakers. The cheap Target stereo system we had didn't even have a place for audio inputs. But most home theater systems have a DVD player with them, which I didn't need, so I hadn't pulled the trigger on anything in the 100$ plus range.

Then I saw a speaker system in the KMart flyer for 38$. It seemed almost too good to be true. No DVD player and the only receiver to speak of is integrated into the subwoofer, so that's all one component with a fairly small footprint. 5 satellite speakers. 3 audio inputs (DVD, Game, and Aux).

So I thought 'What the hey. I'll give it a try. If it stinks, I'll take it back.'

And it's working out really well. I'm no audiophile, but the sound quality is vastly improved. I've already heard some stuff in mp3s and GameCube that I hadn't heard before. And the ability to raise the volume is MUCH better. I haven't even placed the rear speakers yet.

So, in this case, my glacial deliberations (on account of limited gadget budget) paid off and I've ended up with two components I really like for about one quarter of what I figured it would cost me. Excellent.

And, yes, my purchasing services (which include extensive research, reports and recommendations) are available for hire ;-)
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