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Entries From October 2006

October 23, 2006

Free TV!

Filed under HDTV

I have decided to make a *big* switch in my life. For the first time since I was in college, I am not paying for TV. I'm now using an antenna ("rabbit ears") to watch TV.

I was using a bastardized version of DirecTV for apartments via AT&T Home Entertainment. It is the same programming as DirecTV, but with a few differences.

One difference is AT&T customer service is *terrible*. When I called about setting up HD programming, I was told I could not get HBO or Showtime in HD (not true). I was told that one of the few HD channels I could get was MSNBC (not true). I was told I could not get the local channels in HD (not true).

Another difference between DirecTV and AT&T HE is support for DVR's. AT&T will not provide you with a DVR, you must get one yourself. They also will only support you after you follow the instructions on this web page. I used the directions to setup my NTSC dual tuner TiVo with success.

Since I was getting HD channels, I needed a new DVR that could record HD. I bought a DirecTV HR-20. I followed the instructions on the web page and all I got was an error message: "no signal found." AT&T would only help me via email on the issue. I was getting about a 4-5 day delay between emails. None of the emails helped me. Most ended with, "Please consult your DVR manual. We consider this issue closed." After nearly 2 weeks WITHOUT service, I decided I needed to get away from these people. Why am I paying them more than $110 a month when I can't get any help and my service wasn't even working?

Going without service made me realize something...I really do not need all those channels. Most of the TV I watch is on the local channels or on DVD via Netflix.

One of the great things about HDTV is over the air (OTA) reception. Before cable, we all got our TV via rabbit ears and it looked terrible. HD is different. You basically either get a perfect picture, or you don't get anything. Another nice benefit of OTA HD channels...most broadcast in 5.1 surround sound, just like you get with DVD's.

I am able to pickup all the local channels in HD: ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, CW (which hosts The Tube on a sub-channel) and about 4 others.

So there are some big holes with my plan. I'm a big Mavericks fan, and only a handful of games are on the local channels. Most are on Fox Sports Southwest. I also don't have ESPN anymore, which means no more Monday Night Football...although I have class on Monday night, so it really isn't a problem.

There are a few things I can do. If there is a game I want to see and I don't have a channel for it, I'll just plan on going to a sports bar to catch it. When the Soprano's come back on, I'm going to watch those in the community TV room or just wait for it to come out on DVD.

I still need to get a DVR for the local channels. I returned the DirecTV HD DVR because it will only work with DirecTV service. I'm planning on picking up a Media Center PC, probably this one when it comes out (which should be sometime in October).

Another benefit of dropping satellite/cable...I only have a few channels, but most of them are HD channels, so I spend most of my time with HD content.

One channel I now get OTA that I didn't get before is "The Tube." This channel is like MTV in its early years, but better. It is all music videos with no commercials. The video quality is pretty poor (you can see a lot of compression artifacts), but the music comes out as Dolby Digital 5.1. The music selection is all over the place...I saw Duran Duran with "The Reflex" and that was followed by a Harry Connick Jr. video about hurricane Katrina. It is a great channel to leave on when you aren't really watching TV.

October 19, 2006

Winning on the Radio

Filed under Celebrity, High School, Photos

When I was in high school, I used to call in for radio contests from K98 in Austin. I spent a lot of time doing homework and listening to the radio. They gave away something every hour. Since I spent at least 3 hours a night on homework, I usually got at least 3 attempts to win.

I ended up winning...a lot. I got in a competition with my high school buddy Chris Lowe. I finished with just over 100 wins at the end of high school, but Chris beat me by a few (lucky bastard!).

There was one night where I won three consecutive giveaways.

At school, people would ask me to win them tickets to an upcoming concerts...and sometimes I actually did it.

K98 had a policy where you could only win once a month. I won so many times that the DJ's started to recognize me. To keep winning, I started giving out names of family and friends.

Most of the stuff I won was crap, but I did win a few good things. The best was this time when I won front row tickets and backstage passes for the Poison/David Lee Roth concert for naming a small sample from a song. I took my brother for his birthday. After they pried the groupies off of the band, they got together to take a picture with us. The girl next to me was our K98 host for the concert. 

Another time I won $300 for naming the last 3 songs played.

I don't have all my winnings recorded, but here are a bunch of them...

  1. David Lee Roth/Poison Concert Tickets
  2. $300
  3. Van Halen 5150 Concert Tickets 
  4. Evil Dead II Movie Premier Passes
  5. Oingo Boingo Concert Tickets
  6. Debbie Gibson Cassette
  7. Aerosmith and Dokken Cassettes
  8. Astroworld Tickets
  9. Bleacher Creature T-Shirt
  10. Chance to win Bon Jovi Concert tickets in Hawaii (I didn't win)
  11. Cherry 7-Up 6 Pack
  12. Cory Hart Cassette
  13. Chicago Concert Tickets
  14. Eddie Money Album
  15. Europe Concert Tickets
  16. Fabulous Thunderbirds Cassette
  17. Health Show
  18. Heart, Fleetwood Mac, Def Leppard, Pink Floyd, U2, and Tina Turner Cassettes
  19. Kool and the Gang Concert Tickets
  20. Win by my Mom (I handed phone to my Mom when I knew I was going to win)
  21. Lita Ford Concert Tickets
  22. Morris Day and the Time Concert Tickets
  23. Jody Watley Cassette and 4 Movie Passes
  24. Movie Passes
  25. Pepe Shirt
  26. Pepsi Power Pack
  27. Rain Man Cassette and Sunglasses
  28. Fabulous Thunderbirds Cassette and K98 T-Shirt
  29. Willie Nelson Wrangler Music Invitational Concert Tickets
  30. Willow Movie Passes

October 6, 2006

Place Your Bets

Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

This is the beginning of the next-generation console war. The contenders are:

We've talked a lot about this contest at work. Who is going to win? Sony has been the leader for the last two contests with the PS1 and PS2. Here is your chance to make your prediction before the battle begins.

I believe that the Xbox 360 will dominate the market. Nintendo Wii will be a distant 2nd. Last place goes to PS3.

I've had my Xbox 360 for almost a year. This is the most I've played a console since I was in college. Microsoft has done a lot right.

Probably the best thing about the Xbox has nothing to do with its graphics or CPU power...it is Xbox Live Arcade. These are small games that are purchased online and stored on your hard drive. This means you can quickly switch between games without having to get up and change out the DVD. So in a single gaming session on my 360, I may play 3 or 4 games. Previously on my PS2, I'd only play one game per session. 

Another cool concept Microsoft has is "Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays." Every Wednesday, a new game is released for Xbox Live Arcade. It is similar to NBC's "Must See TV" Thursdays, Wednesday has become the day to find out what new game has come out on Xbox Live Arcade. Some of the games released over the past few weeks include Doom, Frogger, Time Pilot, Pac-Man, Street Fighter, Galaga, and Scramble.

Achievement Points! I have become an achievement point whore! You can see see my gamerscore (sum of achievement points) on my Xbox 360 gamercard to the right. Achievement points *make* you want to play more...especially when you find out your friends have more than you. Microsoft has done a great job making achievement points a required component of every Xbox 360 game.

Microsoft already owns the desktop. Get ready for them to own the living room.

October 4, 2006

Internet Dating

Filed under Dating

I just had to share this. I received a nice email from a special lady named Elena via Internet dating. There is something about this girl...she has a vibe that is undeniable. To truly get the impact of her words, try reading this aloud:

From: ia_tebiu_naidu

Date received: October 4, 2006

Subject: Hello!

My name is Elena, me 29 years.
I loved your structure on site Match, and I at once have decided to write to you the letter.
I very much loved yours the image, I while do not have the but if you will answer me
I shall try to send you the structure. I as well as many people simply want
To find to itself the person, for a life and for the father of children and love.
I hope, that my letter will be interesting to you, and you will answer me!!!
With impatience I shall wait for your letter!!!!
Please write letters on mine e-mail: XXXXX@rambler.ru

I blocked out her email so I didn't have to worry about anyone stealing her from me. I found her first, and she is mine!


About October 2006

This page contains all entries posted to David's Blog in October 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2006 is the previous archive.

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