52 posts

Retro TV is da bomb

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about the relatively new Retro Television Network. As a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s, I was glued to the TV watching such “reality” shows as Emergency! and Adam-12

A few weeks ago we started getting WMFP again (in the Boston area, formerly UHF 62 and I believe currently DTV 18.1), after it had joined RTV. Now I can watch Emergency! and Adam-12 all over again. For those unfamiliar with these shows, they were often more real that a lot of the reality fare nowadays. Especially with Emergency! Shows weren’t necessarily edited for dramatic effect – characters appear to be really doing the tasks they are shown doing – fighting fires, performing rescues – I even noticed in an episode recently one of the doctors changing the recording tape for the calls – why would they even show that? That’s valuable advertiser time nowadays. But it made it real…in a way that I don’t think is even possible with today’s TV. It’s too bad that there will probably be nothing like Emergency! again.

Now, the antics on Adam-12 would probably get Reed and Milloy indefinitely suspended a hundred times over nowadays… 🙂

What are french fries, really?

Just had a discussion about french fries. I am of the following opinion, which I have long held:

Fries are nothing more than edible utensils for condiments. As such, surface area is the most important aspect. Steak fries have a lower surface area to volume ratio, and therefore are not as useful. There is less for the condiments to stick to.

And condiments are defined as salt, ketchup and grease (preferably of the oft-banned trans fat variety). I’ll accept Malt Vinegar from the Brits though.

Google says every site “may harm your computer”

Google some time ago instituted a feature that will inform you if a search result has been detected as a possible malware source. Perhaps as a sign of Google’s network becoming self-aware and trying to protect us from the Internet, as of 9:45am ET this morning Google is tagging ALL SEARCH RESULTS with “This site may harm your computer” and won’t let you click through to them. We’ll all be part of the Matrix next. Update: Looks like around 10:10am they fixed it…or its trying to hide itself from us…

“Illegal” marketing calls from “Out of Area” – phone spam

They seemed to go away for a bit, but they are back…its those phone calls you get at home, to let you know that your auto warranty is expiring (yeah, in 2 more years), or its your “credit card company” that wants to tell you something, or some other jazz like that. It’s a pre-recorded message, which at the end it tells you to press 1 to talk to someone, or press 2 to stop receiving calls. Amazingly, pressing 2 seems to have no effect. So, how do you stop them from calling? Continue reading

Now BVHE won’t honor 5 free Blu-Ray offer due to “missing” UPC code

Just not my day today…after a lovely day at work which will end up with me working all night because a customer decided at the last second they don’t want to do any of the work, I come home to an envelope from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the Disney arm that puts out DVD and Blu-Ray discs, and was offering 5 free BD discs (from a limited selection – only one of which I would have actually purchased, mind you) for buying a qualifying Blu-Ray player (like the Playstation 3). My 5 free Blu-Ray discs I’m supposed to get for buying my PS3 has been rejected because they claim I didn’t include the UPC symbol. I most definitely DID – I checked several times before sealing the envelope that it was in there, and all I have now is a hole in the box where it was. So what am I supposed to now? They are asking me to send them the UPC code, which I already did, and THEY lost. Sigh…

Update [2/5]: I e-mailed. They said to call. I called. They said to fax…we’ll see…

Update [2/23]: Called again today…they apparently “received my request into the system” last week. Only took them 10 days from when I faxed. Supposedly I’m qualified now, but it can be another 5 weeks to receive the discs. We’ll see…

Update [3/30]: 5 weeks TO THE DAY of my phone call, the movies arrived – even though a few days ago the web site still listed me as unqualified. At least now I have a couple movies I actually want to watch…

Moving into the modern world – HDTV

I forgot to mention this – back in October, just before the World Series, I finally broke down and got an HDTV – which would eventually result in the shutdown of my little DirecTV TiVo network, but moving me in to the wonderful world of High Definition.

I had thus far stayed away from HD because 1) I didn’t see a need – I had a 32″ behemoth Toshiba CRT and a big entertainment center that wouldn’t take a big flat panel, and I had DirecTV – which to get HD I’d probably have to cut down another tree to get the line to the satellites. Plus, I had three hacked DirecTV TiVos which gave me all the features I wanted. Continue reading

CompUSA clearance sales – not exactly priced to clear

I’ve dropped by the local CompUSA several times since it was announced that they were sold to a liquidating company, figuring I’d see some good deals. After over a month, most of the discounts are still around 15% – but look closely. It says its off the “original price”. Apparently the original price means the price it had over a year ago, in some cases.

For instance, I was looking for a MicroSD memory card for my new mobile phone. I looked a couple weeks ago, and they wanted $69.99 less 10% for a 2GB card. That didn’t sound right – I checked online, and the same exact card was $25. Well, I checked back today, and it was the SAME price – but the discount was now 15%. I went to Costco and paid $24.

I looked at a 4GB USB thumb drive. They wanted $99 less 20%! Costco had a 3-pack of 2GB thumb drives for something like $45. If they think these discounts are going to clear merchandise, they are sadly mistaken – but I don’t think that’s their intent. As I was there, they were taking all the recordable media, etc. and taking them off the shelves. I think their intent is to liquidate wholesale to other retailers, and not provide any real value to consumers any more.

Maybe I don’t like Dell any more…

I’ve always been a fan of Dell hardware – they have great warranties, and the prices are comparable to what it would cost me to build my own, which is what I’ve done in the past. I’m not a computer newb – I know them inside out. I’ve installed Linux on a couple thousand Dell servers for a large financial company (no lie). So why is it that I can’t convince Dell that there is a defect in this desktop? Continue reading

Useless technologies – USB key to limit child’s computer access

Japanese toy company Bandai has teamed up with network device maker Buffalo to develop a USB key that prevents children from accessing harmful websites, and limit their computer time. Branded with Disney characters and playing a Disney video when first plugged in, it also limits the programs a child can play. But I wonder if this conversation ever took place:

“So, you plug the USB key in, and the child can only use the computer for what we say they can.”

“Wow, that’s kind of neat. But what happens if the key isn’t plugged in?”

“Well, then the computer acts normally so the adults can access whatever they want.”

“So, what requires that the key be inserted if the child uses the computer?”

“Ummm…the parent?”

“And what if the child removes the key?”


Perhaps it would make more sense if the computer was limited UNLESS the key was inserted, and the parents keep them locked away with their guns and alcohol…