Saturday, July 28, 2007

We're back

I don't ever recall coming back from a vacation feeling like I do right now. I am emotionally spent and both physically and mentally exhausted and yet a part of me feels like a new man. Wife and I just got back from a five day cruise and we spent two days in Mexico. One day in Progreso and the other in Cozumel. Cozumel was a great experience as we spent the day snorkeling and kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico and had some of the best fajitas outside of my grill. Progreso, however, was the one place that I don't think I'll ever forget. There I got my chance to touch a piece of history: I got to climb on an actual Mayan ruin in Dzibilchaltun on the Yucatan peninsula.

Who woulda thought?

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Pre Cruise Photo

I am the blue blob in the lower right hand corner. Image is from the webcam atop the Harbor House Hotel. I'll post more photos when we return.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A test post.

It's amazing what one can do nowadays with a cell phone and a small data plan.


Monday, July 16, 2007

IPTV Anyone?

It's not often that I get to be on the cutting edge of something (at least on my budget), but I've never minded playing lab rat, especially when there is a financial incentive to do so.

Last Friday my wife and I tried out AT&T's (sorry, at&t's) new Uverse video service. In a nutshell it delivers television to your home not over standard cable or satellite, but over your standard telephone line. I will admit to being a little flummoxed when I first heard of DSL, but when I got it a few years later I was pretty astonished at what it could do. Now they are compressing Internet AND Television over that same line: one of the benefits of deregulation apparently.

Install Technician showed up on time and proceeded to check out everything. Since my house is older, there was no telling how easy or how complicated the install would go. I told him that the house was a pier and beam foundation and that easy access could be had to most all of the house (except the office). First hitch was the phone interface (or NID as he called it - it was probably 60 years old and was original to the house) and the phone line running from the pole to the house. Both needed to be replaced. Apparently since at&t is handling all this, they have linemen on standby. A guy was there in two hours to replace the run to the house followed by the interface box. Once that was done it was simply an issue of mapping out the existing video lines and configuring everything. Install did take a little over six hours and we had to call tech support the next day regarding missing movie channels. Last night I did notice a stuttering in the box that required a reboot, but other than that it works pretty well.

the cost is less that what I was paying for Dish Network.
The channel lineup seems to be a bit more comprehensive.
I can record four shows at once (compared to two on DN).
Set top boxes are much smaller than those from DN.
SD video quality looks very nice.
Got a brand spankin' new RG and Access Point.
Access point came pre configured with a WEP key already in it.

The service currently allows only one HD video stream at a time. Apparently there is a fix for this coming down the pike.
HD quality seems to be a bit blocky.
Recorded shows can only be watched on the main STB. Supposedly there is a fix for this coming down the pike as well.

So far I'm pleased. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Changing of the Guard

If you read my previous missive you saw what we went through to update our uber-reliable SD Dish Network account to one that would take full advantage of our new HD television. We finally thought that we'd cornered all the little gremlins in the system, but alas two days ago was the last straw. We lost signal again (apparently our switch was bad) and it was going to be almost a week to get someone out here to fix the thing. After two install attempts and more calls to tech support in the last month than I'd made in the previous 3.5 years, we finally pulled the plug. Wife called Dish Network today and requested that our service be discontinued. The poor folks at DN tried their best to keep us, but as wife said it was "too little, too late".

Looks as if we're going to run with AT&T's new U-verse system. Apparently it's a fibre-based system that delivers both HD programming AND broadband internet. Free install and free movie channels for the first year are very appealing.

Here's hoping . . .