Monday, February 28, 2011

I miss you, Red Eye

I miss Red Eye.

No, the local cable company didn't drop Fox News Channel. I did. Because I dropped cable.

That's part of my whole "cut the cord cable" project. I'm watching TV via the Internet and over the air. The net effect is I can watch everything I've been watching and not have to pay a cable bill.

That part rocks. I mean, watching the same TV I've been watching and not sending $50-something to the cable company? Seriously, it's awesome.

Except...

I don't get Red Eye any more. That and Fox News Sunday were the only Fox News show I watched the whole show. I'd watch parts of other shows, but those two were the only "sit and watch all the way through" shows. But now that I've dropped cable, I don't get Fox News Channel any more.

There is iTunes, where can get Fox News Sunday video podcast. The whole show.

So, the only show I miss now is Red Eye.

Sure, I can get Red Eye excerpts from iTunes. That helps. Usually, it's the Gregalogue, the Half-Time Report, and one or two of the discussions. But, only about a quarter of the show.

It shows up on Hulu, but the shows are two weeks or more behind. Fox News Sunday shows up within a day on Hulu, but not Red Eye.

So, I'm missing Red Eye.

Not $50-something a month missing it. But missing it just the same.

Maybe if the person that posts Fox News Sunday in its entirety to iTunes and Hulu fell in love with Red Eye...

Oh, well.

I'm saving money. But I'm missing Red Eye.

Blocking cookies

Savannah.

It's the first city in Georgia, founded in 1733. And it's full of history.

Forsyth Park. Fort Jackson. Fort Pulaski. River Street. The Squares. Tybee Light. Johnny Mercer House.

Don't know how much you know about Savannah. I grew up near there. Well, within TV-watching distance. My high school was in the same region as the Savannah schools, so there'd be travel to games throughout the year. Savannah was close, so I'm a little familiar with it.

But, no matter how much you know about Savannah, there is one aspect that you surely know about, even if you don't know about its connection with Savannah.

Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scouts were founded in Savannah in 1912.

Whatever you think of the Girl Scouts, you gotta admit: they make good cookies. I always look forward to the sale of Girl Scout Cookies. I stock up. You can freeze them, you know. They'll keep. And you can enjoy them year-round. At least, I think you can enjoy them year-round. They don't usually last that long around me.

Anyway, you can buy Girl Scout Cookies now. They're selling them.

Only, you can't buy them at the home of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.

Nope. The address 10 East Oglethorpe Avenue is off-limits to the sale of Girl Scout Cookies.

Seems somebody complained last year.

So, the Girl Scouts cannot sell cookies in front of the home of the founder of the Girl Scouts.

I tell you, this country's going to hell in a handbasket when Girl Scouts can't sell cookies in at the home of the founder of the Girl Scouts.

I wonder who complained. Whoever it was complained hates America. I mean, really. Stopping little girls from selling cookies? Sounds like something somebody who voted for Barack Obama would do, that's how un-American it is.

I'm thinking about heading to Savannah and offering to buy a busload of Girl Scout Cookies in front of the Juliette Gordon Low House. And, if anyone complained, they could bite be. While I'm biting into some Girl Scout Cookies.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Internet TV part 2

I'm getting closer to the final setup for my Internet TV. I've added a Windows Media Center device to the mix. It's now:
With this setup, I've been able to drop cable ... and TiVo.

TiVo rocks

Yes, I've been saying TiVo rocks for some time. And it does. If you want a simple, easy-to-use setup, I'd suggest TiVo ... because it's awesome.

But, my whole project is to lower the cost of TV. And, as good as TiVo is, it runs $12.95/month. Not a bad deal, but if I can get the functionality some other way, there's no reason to stay with TiVo. You'll see in a minute how TiVo became expendable.

Apple TV

Apple TV allows me to feed iTunes content through the TV. Now, the original reason for getting it was to play music through the sound system, it also allows me to rent TV or movies, or play TV or movies that I purchased and downloaded to my computer or iPad.

It also supports Netflix streaming, which is pretty much standard for devices today.

Roku

Roku lets me access Amazon Video on Demand content. While TiVo also lets me watch Amazon Video on Demand content, it must be downloaded to the device. Roku lets me stream Amazon Video on Demand content.

Hulu Plus content is also available through Roku. While Hulu Plus is premium content ($8/month), it's a good way to get lots of content. I could purchase the content through Amazon Video on Demand or iTunes, but, because of the number of Hulu Plus shows I watch, Hulu Plus is a better bargain.

Of course, Roku supports Netflix. It also has other sources ... via apps ... that can be added; some free, some you pay for.

Windows 7 Media Center

The newest addition to the mix is the Dell Zino has a TV tuner connected through a USB port. The HDTV antenna is connected there.

Windows 7 Media Center has the capability to record programs it receives through the tuner. While current TiVo devices have two tuners, Windows 7 Media Center supports only one. That's a drawback. But, it does record TV, and that made TiVo expendable.

The apps that can be added to Windows 7 Media Center make it even more powerful. Hulu Desktop runs on Windows, and there is a plugin that can be installed to Windows 7 Media Center that allows it to launch Hulu Desktop. Now, the Hulu Desktop interface isn't as friendly as the Hulu Plus interface of Roku, but it's functional. It does have the advantage of playing on your TV, if your Windows Media Device is connected to your HDTV as a monitor. So far, that's the only proper way of playing Hulu standard content on the TV. The problem with Hulu is that Hulu Plus content can play in a browser, on Hulu Desktop, or on a device such as Roku, while Hulu standard content can only play in a browser ... or on Hulu Desktop. Running Hulu Desktop on the Windows Media Center device -- a small dedicated Windows 7 computer -- lets all Hulu content play on the TV ... if the TV is the computer's monitor.

Another app that runs on Windows is Boxee. It's similar to Roku in that it's a device that allows connection to content via applications. Or, if you run Boxee software for Windows (it's also available for Mac and Linux), you can turn your computer into a Boxee box. And, if you have an add-on for Windows Media Center, you can launch Boxee from Windows Media Center. That opens up lots of content. And, of course, it supports Netflix. Everything worth a darn supports Netflix.

Why so many?

This is a lot of stuff to hook up and/or install, just to watch TV. That's why so many people have cable or satellite TV. And pay for it every month.

Or, for putting out some money up front, you can do away with those bills and watch TV over the Internet.

This isn't for everyone. And, it has its drawbacks.

For one, there's the money up front. The three devices cost combined $600 or more, depending on how much you put into the Windows Media Center device. However, you may decide that Apple TV is, in and of itself, something you want to add to your current system. That's what I did.

You may decide that a Roku device is something you want to add. Unless you have a need to play iTunes content through your TV or sound system, I'd recommend Roku over Apple TV because of the number of sources of content.

If you decide you need iTunes content on your TV, add an Apple TV to your system.

If you decide you need Amazon Video On Demand content, or want to watch Hulu Plus content on your TV instead of through the browser, you should get a Roku.

Adding both Apple TV and Roku will run you from $160-$200, depending on which Roku device meets your needs. I got the $100 version, but the $80 or $60 version may work for you.

Money money money

The total cost of the Internet TV setup I have, less the amount I'm saving by not paying for cable or TiVo, means that, this year, I'll break even. Next year, it's all savings.

Unless I find something else to buy and add to the system.

I can hardly wait.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Washington's Birthday, 2011

I know. Some of you thought today was "Presidents' Day." Don't let that bother you. Some of you believe in the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, and that Elvis works at a Burger King in Michigan.

Where I come from, we usually look at such people and say "Bless their heart." That's Georgia-speak for "What a dumbass."

I know, the calendar you got at the kiosk at the mall has "Presidents Day" written in the little block for today. Well, about those people that made that calendar? Bless their heart.

I know, all the TV and radio ads talk about "Presidents Day" sales going on today. Those people that wrote those commercials? Bless their heart.

Today's a federal holiday. And, it's "Washington's Birthday." Take a look at United States Code 5 U.S.C. 6103 and see what it says. Sure enough, it says "Washington's Birthday."

Now, the truth is that George Washington's birthday isn't until tomorrow. In fact, the official federal holiday for Washington's Birthday never falls on his actual birthday. Who else but the government could screw up a birthday so bad? And some folks want them in charge of health care. Bless their heart.

Why do I make a big deal about what today is called? Because I think it's bad idea to ignore history. George Washington was actually a pretty important guy in American history. Important enough to actually give a holiday for his birthday.

George Washington

George Washington was born on February 11, 1731. You see, the colony of Virginia, like all of Great Britain, was using the Julian calendar at the time. When Britain and the colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, a lot of dates changed. New Years Day moved from March 25 to January 1, and 11 days disappeared. You can read all about that craziness here.

The upshot is that the old style date of February 11, 1731 became February 22, 1732. And that's George Washington's birthday.

George Washington became a surveyor, joined the Virginia militia, fought in the Seven Years War (AKA the French and Indian War), married a rich widow, fooled around a lot, and became a successful businessman.

As tensions mounted between the colonies and the British Crown, Washington led the American forces in the Revolutionary War, culminating in the British surrender and recognition of the United States of American as a soverign nation. After several unsuccessful governments were established under the Articles of Confederation, a new Constitution was adopted in 1787 (ratified in 1788). The presidential electors unanimously selected Washington as the first President, the only person ever so honored.

Washington served two terms, retired, and lived a quiet life until 1799.

As a military officer and a statesman and politician, Washington was one of the most respected Americans. And, his birthday was celebrated by the states. In 1879, Washington's Birthday became the fifth federal holiday, joining New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Holiday confusion

In 1968, the movement to change many holidays to a nearby Monday began. In 1971, Richard Nixon issued Executive Order 11582, beginning that process. Still, the holiday is officially Washington's Birthday, and has always been Washington's Birthday. (Snopes has a write-up about this, too, by the way.)

Some states observed Abraham Lincoln's birthday (February 12). Some still might. And some people got the idea that the new federal holiday in February was for Washington and Lincoln. Bless their heart.

Somewhere along the way, people began to call today's holiday "Presidents' Day." Whether by design or not, it contributes to the ignorance of Americans. It ignores the importance of George Washington. And it causes many Americans to either forget or never understand the contributions of George Washington in the formation of this great country.

So, I wish you a very pleasant Washington's Birthday today. Some of you are off work. Others, like me, have a regular work day. Whatever your plans are, take some time to remember George Washington.

And, if you're celebrating Presidents Day today? Bless your heart.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Death by SyFy

The sun has launched an attack on the earth.

A solar flare was emitted Tuesday, and it's heading this way.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) said the possible effects from the geomagnetic storm include power grid fluctuations, impact on satellite operations, effects on migratory animals and the visibility of auroras in places like New York, Idaho, Michigan and Maine.
Yes, it's hitting any moment now.

It may have already hit. But, I don't think it has, since life on earth hasn't burned up and the continents haven't turned into pools of molten rock.

And, did you notice that one of the places impacted would be Idaho? Frank J. lives near there, I think. And the CME could affect his blogging. I don't know if it'll make it better or worse, but I don't like change, so whatever happens, I won't like it.

But, let's look at the bigger picture. This solar attack is like the plot out of a bad direct-to-video movie that airs on the SyFy Channel or something. Which means that we need to be on the lookout for other SyFy-based threats. Like Meteors, Mega Piranha, Mega Pythons, Gatoroids, Tiffany, and Debbie Gibson.

We also need to ask why. Why is the sun attacking us?

I think it's pissed that humans are trying to take credit for global warming, when it's the sun that causes the earth to warm up and cool down. The sun has sat there, 93-million miles away, watching us. And it's tired of Al Gore giving credit to humans for its work.

I think we need to take all the "global warming/climate change/whatever it's called next" crowd and put them in a rocket and shoot them off into space. Not like some B Ark plot, but to distract the CMEs. It'll see the rocket ship full of screaming environmentalists and direct its attention that way.

Al Gore could end up saving the earth after all.

Even then, we won't be completely safe. There's still the threat of Tiffany vs Debbie Gibson.

Here's your apology

Iraq wants an apology. And some cash, according to a Reuters report:
Iraq's capital wants the United States to apologize and pay $1 billion for the damage done to the city ... since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
See? I'm not making this up.

Will Obama do that? I think there's a chance he might. He's apologized for everything else. And he's spending money like ... well, I was going to say "a drunken sailor" but I'd rather give my checkbook to a drunken sailor than to Obama. And you would too.

Anyway, what with Obama's track record for foolishly spending money and foolishly apologizing for the U.S., I'm thinking he might.

But, I got a better idea.

Let's put things back like they were.

Let's dig up Hussein (the former Iraqi president, not the current U.S. one) and bring his whole crew back and give them the keys to the government.

And gas some Kurds while we're at it. Throw some folks into some huge industrial shredders. Set up some rape houses. Make some people disappear in the middle of the night...

I'm sure we could do a few things so that they'd forget that Hussein had ever been toppled.

Or, maybe we should give him our Hussein. Saddam's being dead and all might put a damper on his leadership style. Sure, Barack doesn't have the experience -- even after two years in the White House, he's still unqualified to be president of this country -- but I think they ought to give him a chance.

Of course, they'd end up demanding an apology for us inflicting Obama on them. And that would be a legitimate complaint. But, I wouldn't apologize for that.

Not until the idiots that elected Obama here send me an apology. And some cash.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

UPS delivers ... if you wait long enough

UPS finally delivered that item I've been waiting on.

On the 9th, their tracking Website reported from Montgomery that it was delayed because of "adverse weather conditions." Which ended up meaning that it would sit in Montgomery for 5 days before they put it on a truck for the 66-1/2 mile trek to Opelika, where they'd put it on another truck to take the package to me.

Pulled into the yard last night right behind the truck. The driver is a nice guy and didn't have a problem finding the house. He never does. Our driver isn't the problem with UPS. But a company where something can sit in a trailer 80 miles from the house because it's cold? That's messed up.

Anyway, the package came. And it's part of my big TV project I've been doing. Not the final piece, but a key component. I spent some time working with it last night. I'll need to spend some more time testing and seeing how things go. If I had it this past weekend, I'd have been a lot happier. But, so far, things are going well with this last phase of the project.

I just hope the final piece of equipment that's coming in doesn't get delayed in a trailer in Montgomery because the wind is blowing or there's frost on the ground.

Walmart causes theft

Walmart wants to put a store the District of Columbia. Four, actually. Including one at Georgia and Missouri Avenues.

Brenda K. Speaks
That's a bad idea, according to Brenda K. Speaks, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, Ward 4B05. Why, you ask.

No, really. Go ahead and ask. I'll wait.

Okay, since you asked. She doesn't want Walmart because it will cause kids to steal:
Addressing a small, anti-Wal-Mart rally at City Hall on Monday, Speaks said young people would get criminal records when they couldn't resist the temptation to steal.
Got it? Walmart doesn't create jobs. It causes theft.

So, if some punk steals from Walmart, it's because of the temptation created by Walmart, not because the kid is a little thief.

Keep this in mind if you ever get robbed. It's your fault. Not the fault of the little punk that sticks a gun in your face and takes your money or your car. Yours.

Now, aren't you ashamed that you have a job and a computer and stuff? You should be. Your are the cause of all things that are wrong with this country.

At least, if you think like Brenda K. Speaks.

I wonder what else is your fault? We need to keep an eye on the likes of you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Internet TV

We're dropping cable.

And we're not going satellite.

We're going Internet.

For the last couple of months, I've played with some new toys: Apple TV, Roku, and the associated services those devices use.

I ran the numbers. That is, I looked at every show we regularly watch, how much it would have cost to have rented or purchased it via iTunes or Amazon.com, or obtained it through a Hulu Plus subscription, and figured out that we can, right now, save money if we watched what we watch already (with one exception) without paying for cable. Or for satellite.

And, I'm not done yet. I've got one more project to finish, and we'll be able to save even more money.

Now, I want you to know up front that all the local experts I've spoken with have talked about going to satellite. They don't understand that all I'm after is to watch TV cheaper. I don't want to spend the same amount of money to get a better picture, or more choices. I want to spend less money and get the same thing, and do it easily. More programs or better picture is a bonus, not a requirement.

I say that so you'll know that what I'm doing might not be for you. But it works for us.

Again, I'm not done. I've got three other pieces of equipment coming. One hasn't shipped yet; it's the final big piece, but I don't need it to drop cable. Another piece has shipped and is being held hostage by the incompetents at UPS in Montgomery. And the final piece I won't worry about until football season. I may not need it, depending on how well the other stuff works.

When the rest of the stuff comes in, and everything is set up and working, I'll give another update. But, for now, if you want to drop cable and watch the same stuff as now, here's pretty much what you need to do.

What You Watch

Make a list of the shows you watch. I made a spreadsheet that listed all the shows on the TiVo Season Pass. However you do it, write down everything you watch on a regular basis.

Alternative Sources

Next, you need to find out other ways to get the programming. Try iTunes. Or Amazon Video On Demand. Look at how much it would have cost to have rented or purchased the most recent season of the show. You pay by the show, and will often get a discount for the whole season.

My experience showed that iTunes was cheaper than Amazon.com for the TV shows I watch. This could be important for an unexpected reason, as you'll see later.

Also look at Hulu Plus. That's a subscription service that runs $7.99/month, totaling $95.88/year. Depending on what they offer and what you watch, it may be cheaper to use Hulu Plus, or it may be cheaper to rent/buy from iTunes or Amazon.com.

Oh, and when checking Hulu Plus, ignore all the programs that are Hulu standard; that is, they don't have the little Hulu Plus icon next to them. You can't watch those on your TV. That's the problem with Hulu and Hulu Plus. Only Hulu Plus stuff can be watched on your TV. For now, anyway.

Getting the Content to the TV

One you have your content picked out, and an alternate source for the content, you still need to get the content to your TV.

If you do not have an HDTV, you can rule out iTunes. The best way to get iTunes content to the TV is by using an Apple TV device. And those little boxes only hook up with an HDMI connection. Apple TV will also let you watch Netflix streaming content.

Roku will let you watch Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video On Demand, MLB.tv, and lots of other stuff, some free, some premium (that means you gotta pay extra for it).

Local Channels

What about local channels? You need an antenna to watch those.

If you already have a TiVo or other DVR, you can hook an antenna to it and record local programming, as well as network shows. Those, you won't have to buy from iTunes or Amazon. Although you can watch Amazon Video On Demand and Netflix content from the TiVo device. But not iTunes.

If you don't have a TiVo (or other DVR), then you'll do like you do now and watch the program when it comes on. And, if your cable service is like mine, you'll watch it on a clearer picture with an antenna.

(Almost) Final Setup

I have the antenna plugged into the TiVo and the TiVo plugged into a component input on the TV set. That gets me the local channels and network TV.

I have the Apple TV plugged into an HDMI input on the TV.

I have the Roku plugged into an HDMI input on the TV.

If I had to pick just one, I'd pick the Roku, because, other than iTunes content, it gives me everything the Apple TV give me ... and more. But, if you can see yourself getting both, get both.

I'm calling this the (almost) final setup. That's because I mentioned some other stuff that's been ordered but hasn't arrived. Once those are in, I'll see how they go, and how this setup changes. I suspect it won't really change a lot.

The only that that has changed is that we're dropping the cable bill.

I will miss one program, Red Eye on Fox News. I'll miss it a lot. But not over $50/month miss it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

UPS: Utterly Poor Service

I bought an item from Dell the other day. Overall I like buying from Dell. There stuff is good stuff ... at least that's the experience I've had.

What I don't like about buying from Dell is that they use UPS. And UPS sucks.

Here's the tracking information for the package:
United States
02/08/2011 3:03 A.M. Order Processed: Ready for UPS

Fort Worth, TX, United States
02/08/2011 10:45 P.M. Departure Scan
02/08/2011 7:34 P.M. Origin Scan

Montgomery, AL, United States
02/09/2011 6:00 A.M. Adverse weather conditions.
And it's been in Montgomery, 80 miles away, since Wednesday morning. Because of "adverse weather conditions." I've been out in this weather everyday this week. I know just how adverse the weather is. But, it's too cold for that bunch at UPS to get out and sort and deliver packages.

I got tired of waiting tonight, and called UPS. That's a treat.

After waiting for several minutes, the CSR came on and took my information. Then went through the whole spiel about how bad the weather has been and that I should just be patient and blah blah blah.

I listened. Then I explained that I knew exactly how adverse the weather was and could drive to Montgomery and pick up the package myself.

Oh, no, I couldn't do that, because it's in some trailer or something and they'll get it shipped out to me as soon as they can.

Okay, I said, I understand, but do please note that I am very dissatisfied with UPS' performance regarding the delivery of this package.

Oh, no, they don't have a way of doing that.

Well, then, I said, let me speak to the manager.

But, there's none available.

Well, I know there's someone in charge there, and I want to be connected.

Can I put you down for a callback?

I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. Would you repeat that?

Could I be put on hold?

Sure.

After a few minutes on hold, a supervisor came on. I explained it all, that I had no problem with the CSR until I was told that it wasn't possible to note that I was unhappy with UPS' performance.

Turns out it is possible, and she'd make a note on the records regarding my package.

So, UPS still has my package -- who know when they'll get around to delivering it -- and I'm unhappy.

And I'm not just unhappy with UPS. I'm unhappy with Dell. They need to put FedEx on speed-dial.

Angry Nerds

Knowing how much I've enjoyed not just playing Angry Birds, but also bragging about getting three stars on all the levels, Harvey sent me this:



By the way, I got the updates for Angry Birds. I haven't achieved three stars on all 15 new levels. Yet.



And I haven't even started the Valentine's Day version.







But, I'll get right on that.

Yes, I'm a-liking me some Angry Birds.

And thanks again, Harvey.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dealing with Harry Baals

Ft. Wayne, Indiana, is looking for a name for its government center. And they've opened it up to suggestions via the city's feedback Web page.

The top suggestion so far? Name it after the city's longest-serving mayor, Harry Baals.
Baals – pronounced “balls” by the then-mayor but “bales” by his descendents – became the Republican nominee for mayor in 1934 and was elected for three successive terms. He returned to politics in 1951 by winning a fourth term but died in office in May 1954. His accomplishments include elevating the railroads in town and negotiating the contract with the Army to establish Baer Field as an air base.
The city's Deputy Mayor, Beth Malloy, says the building won't be named after the former mayor. Apparently, she doesn't care for Harry Baals.

A lot of people, though, like the idea of Harry Baals on a building.

I don't live in Ft. Wayne, so I don't have a say in the matter. I could go to the feedback site and make suggestions. But I won't. And I could encourage you to go to the feedback site and make suggestions. But I won't. The residents of Ft. Wayne should decide for themselves how they feel about Harry Baals.

The voting, by the way, ends this week. And the 10 finalists from the voting will be given to the mayor. I wonder how his staff will handle Harry Baals. Or the other finalists.

If they do select the former mayor's name, there will be some residents that won't like it, I'm sure. It may be that many residents of Ft. Wayne will just have to learn how to live with Harry Baals.

Pancho Villa's finger

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
Someone is selling a Mexican finger.
Okay, I apologize to the memory of Marty Robbins for that.

But someone is trying to sell Pancho Villa's finger. You know about Pancho Villa, right? Killed Americans. Was supported by Germany during World War I. That Pancho Villa.

Anyway, a pawn shop in El Paso is trying to sell Pancho Villa's finger.

That got me thinking... What other famous body parts might be on sale in the future?
What other body parts might be found in a pawn shop one day soon? Or which ones would you like to see?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Eye's Basil

You watch Red Eye? I do. And it's fun.

No, I don't stay up till 3:00 AM to watch it. That's why the Good Lord invented TiVo.

Anyway, a while back, if I recall correctly, someone named "Basil" wrote in being a jackass. Well, early this morning, it happened again.

Some ass-clown named "Basil" (the Red Eye crew pronounced it "BAY zil," like the spice) wrote in criticizing Greg for his auction of a drawing of his appendix. Not exactly the auction, but the way he went about it.

video

Anyway, now it seems there is someone named "Basil" (however it's pronounced) has taken it on himself to be Red Eye's gadfly.

I know that I'm not the only one named "Basil." But, I'm near the top, according to Google. Do a search for the name "Basil" and you'll find, when it refers to a human-like creature, restaurants (not me), car dealers (not me), and then a blogger (that's me!).

Whoever Red Eye's gadfly "Basil" is, it ain't me. And, unless it's a restauranteur or a car salesman, it's someone way down Google's list. Which, if he's ranked lower than me, then he truly is a piss-ant.

Anyway, I just want both of my loyal readers to know that, if you watched Red Eye, heard Greg, and wondered if I am that big of a jackass, the answer is no.

At least, not for that reason. I'm a jackass for an entirely different reason.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The $25,000 Pyramid


You all know how the game is played. Nipsey Russell will give a list of items that fit the topic. Get them all in 60 seconds and you'll walk away with $25,000.



Ready? Here's your first subject. Go!



High unemployment.
Rising prices.
Unpopular government policies.

Things Egyptians protest.



High unemployment.
Rising prices.
Unpopular government policies.

Things Americans protest.



Beating up reporters.
Looting.
Burning buildings.
Killing other people.

How Egyptians are protesting.



Beating up reporters.
Looting.
Burning buildings.
Killing other people.

Things Americans didn't do when they protested.



Waiting for the next election isn't soon enough.
The president must listen to the people and leave office now.

Things Obama said about Egyptian protests.



Americans don't understand what we're doing.
We didn't get our message out.

Things Obama said about American protests.



Twenty. Five. Thousand. Dollars. Congratulations. And good job, Nipsey


I hope we all learned something today. Then we all can be winners. I'm Dick Clark. So long, everybody.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The problem with Hulu Plus

I've enjoyed this whole Internet TV thing. I've been watching more stuff via the Apple TV and the Roku. And, I've been watching Hulu Plus content on the Roku, and liking that. But, it's frustrating. Let me explain.

It may help to talk about the difference between Hulu and Hulu Plus.

You'd think it was the type of account you had, where if you have a standard account (free), you get certain stuff, and with a plus account ($8/month) you get more stuff.

And, that's true. But the problem is they do exactly that and nothing more. And that's frustrating.

Content is divided into two groups: Hulu and Hulu Plus. If a show is a Hulu show (such as Fringe), you can watch it in your Web browser.

If a show is a Hulu Plus show (such as Lie To Me), you can watch it in your Web browser, or on a TV via a device (such as the Roku).

But, you cannot view Hulu standard content on your TV/device. You can only view standard content in a Web browser, even if you have a Hulu Plus account.

This omission is very, very frustrating.

I don't mind paying extra for extra content that I can watch on my TV. But, I want to watch all content on my TV.

It seems that, if you have a Hulu Plus account, you'd be able to watch everything on your TV/device. But you can't. Only the special "Plus" content can be viewed on the TV/device.

I don't know if Hulu simply screwed the pooch on that, or if there is some legal reason they can't allow Plus users to view standard content on a TV/device.

If it's a legal reason, somebody needs to be slapped upside the head with a big law book.

If it's that it never occurred to them, they need to get out of their mother's basement and get out and about with normal people.

I like my Roku. It lets me watch a lot of TV on my TV. If only Hulu would play along.