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To switch or not to switch?

July 26, 2008 Leave a comment

We currently are giving Comcast about $100 per month for shoddy service. We pay for high-definition content but Comcast compresses the stream on most channels we watch so much that the video quality is much less than desired. They and other cable operators claim it’s to benefit channels with more viewers. I guess they don’t need my money then just because I don’t care to watch yet another "reality" TV show on Fox.

And why pay more? We can get satellite at a much better rate and our house already came with a dish attached so we wouldn’t have any hardware setup charges. Comcast claims that bad weather will affect dish, but I’ve seen bad weather affect cable as well since, ultimately, cable operators typically get their content from a dish. Besides, with the downfall of analog TV any adverse conditions cause the screen to often go dark and speakers quiet; Analog, at least, just got a little fuzzy but you could still mostly see and at least hear what was going on.

So, we’re seriously thinking of switching to something that costs – even after promotions – half as much. Why pay more for shoddy service that will only get more expensive for whatever reasons cable operators feel like making up and justifying to the government that allows ever-increasing prices? What I want to know is how much dish operators compress the stream and whether it’s consistent or based on viewership. Anyone know?

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Categories: Entertainment

All in 5 Seconds

September 16, 2007 Leave a comment

Tracy and I switched over to the end of the Iowa vs. Iowa State game and saw the most intense 5 seconds.

Iowa State was down 12 to 13 at the 18 yard line and wound down the clock before the field goal to just 5 seconds. The 28-yard field goal was kicked in but with 1 second left on the clock. Everyone except the head coach started celebrating including us – it’s not often Iowa State beats Iowa, especially when Iowa State is 0-2 up to this game for this season.

Iowa State kicked off the ball to Iowa, but the receiver just kept running through the Iowa State defense like a hot knife through butter. Finally, the last defender on our special team tackled the receiver at Iowa State’s 30 yard line. Game over.

We – and from the sound of the crowd – everyone else was on the edge of our seats and gasping in these last 5 seconds but Iowa State came out victorious in the end. Good job, ISU, and keep it up in future games!

Categories: Entertainment

Transformers

July 7, 2007 Leave a comment

That…was…awesome! As a Transformers fan boy, this movie didn’t disappoint. Sure, as some critics have pointed out, the movie was long but if you love action, great-looking special effects, cool robots, and even a little romance this time is well-spent.

I was even pleased to see my favorite plane – something I was hoping to fly if I had joined the Air Force like I was considering after college – the A-10 Warthog. Of course, the Gatling gun firing almost 4,000 30mm rounds per minute would’ve torn the Decepticon a new one.

I definitely recommend seeing this action-packed movie.

Categories: Entertainment

Front Fell Off

June 20, 2007 Leave a comment

A coworker pointed me to this hilarious, Pythonesque video.

Categories: Entertainment

Fox Lost Big

April 3, 2007 1 comment
I’m not a big fan of Fox. They have a couple of good shows, but may as well have a big disclaimer at the beginning of the day for all the raunchy and pointless shows they air throughout the day. They also have a way of tanking shows that people actually like, replacing them with yet more "reality" TV.
 
More specifically, they dropped the ball on what I believed to be the best Sci-Fi series ever, Firefly. This blend of Western and Science Fiction had the best cast of characters that complimented each other perfectly, and showed life out in space as something not supernatural but similar to our lives and trials now. No "Force". No aliens. No stargates. Just drama – in space. The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (another series cancelled way too early), Joss Whedon was doomed from the start thanks to Fox. The 2-hour pilot was aired after the series started! Fox didn’t want to take a chance.
 
After only 11 episodes, the series was cancelled. Fans were outraged and with enough support the movie Serenity came out. Fox wouldn’t let them use the name Firefly nor even the original theme music written by Joss Whedon himself. Fox didn’t want the show, but didn’t want anyone else to have it either. Joss and produces worked around the problems to release the movie.
 
Unfortunately, the movie didn’t do as well as hoped and joss quashed all hope that another movie would return, citing there wasn’t enough profit from the movie to get another studio to produce it.
 
Even years after the series was cancelled and the movie was released to DVD and now HD-DVD, something truly amazing happened and I hope Fox gets the message loud and clear. A reader poll conducted by SFX Magazine has voted Serenity as the #1 Sci-Fi movie of all time, beating out Star Wars 2 to 1! Blade Runner came in third, showing that the readers polled are true Sci-Fi fans.
 
Serenity embodied what Sci-Fi is supposed to be: commentary on society today from a different perspective, often from the future. George Lucas ruined and set the theme for most Sci-Fi these days, where action dominates instead of social commentary and excellent writing.
 
Do I think Joss Whedon will return with another Serenity movie or continue the Firefly series? Doubtful. But I wish to congratulate and thank Joss Whedon for what I believed – and many more people, obviously – to be the best Sci-Fi movie – and show – ever.
Categories: Entertainment

Gears of War to become a Movie

March 21, 2007 Leave a comment
The hit game Gears of War is to become a movie. This has a good theme that could easily yield such a screenplay. I hope this has more success than the still-speculative Halo movie, which also would yield to a great trilogy.
 
There’s been a lot of movies based on games, most not worth spending the money to see in theaters. The Resident Evil series has been pretty good. Nothing could be as bad as Super Mario Bros, though.
Categories: Entertainment

Audi with a Zune Dock

February 21, 2007 1 comment

I took my car into Benchmark Motoring today and within hours had it back with a shiny new 3.5mm auxiliary jack in the glove box. Now I can plug-in my Zune or practically any other portable media device, flip inputs on the stereo, and crank up some tunes I really want to listen to. I had them install it in the glove box because it was easier (i.e., cheaper for me) and allows me to keep the Zune out of site most times, which helps prevent break-ins. With a long enough patch cable I can pull it out and even let the people riding in back look through the library.

Categories: Entertainment