Friday, September 25, 2009

Football Fever

One thing I've noticed about this region of the country is how huge NFL football is. In Florida, college football rules. Alumni groups for Florida State, Florida, and Miami were all over the place, and the games are a large part of the state's consciousness.

Here, pro ball dominates. On Fridays, it is common to see a few coworkers wearing team jerseys. Badge lanyards proclaiming various allegiances are popular as well, as are various methods of decorating your cubicle.

The popular teams are the Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, and then everyone else including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. I tend to adopt the local team after a while, so I'll pay attention to the Ravens and Redskins.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

(No) Cable TV

I decided to save a little money and not get cable TV. I like some of those extra channels, especially National Geographic, Syfy, and a handful of others. But, it isn't worth $80 more a month for that (I have cable internet for an already high ~$60 a month).

Yes, 80 dollars! That doesn't include any premium channels, that is just "normal" cable and HD. I could probably live without HD, but my TV is capable and the extra charge for HD was $15 or less. So while I like some of the cable channels, the price in this area is higher than I'm willing to pay for it.

Instead, I decided to try good old "over the air" TV reception. For that, I'd need a tuner/decoder, so I bought an HD Tivo which also includes the HD tuner/decoder I would need to get anyway. Besides, after watching TV via DVR's for so long, I had to have that also - too bad my current Series 2 TiVo can't pull in HD. I had to buy an antenna as well, but those are inexpensive.

Once I connected all this stuff up, I searched for channels to see what I could receive. The good news is I get several channels, over the air, for free! NBC, Fox, PBS, CW, and some miscellaneous channels. I don't get ABC or CBS... perhaps my antenna isn't strong enough to pull in those signals.

That's OK, because I supplement what I do receive through Netflix, which is indispensable especially considering how many TV shows are released on DVD eventually. And I'll try buying one show from the iTunes store: Burn Notice. That is one of my favorite shows, and it plays on USA, which I no longer get. And I can't wait until season 3 comes out on DVD in order to see the other half of the season!

Anyway, one month into not having cable TV and I don't miss it that much. Certainly not enough to spend $80/month for it.

Friday, September 04, 2009


I've owned a Kindle (2nd generation), for about six months now, and really like it. Not every book I want to read is available on Kindle, so I still get some from bookstores, but now I prefer getting the Kindle version.

I love how many books it holds, making it a very portable library. The screen is great, nice and easy to read. The purchase discount on books varies, and I think it is great how many books are offered for free. Check out the Kindle bestsellers list - many of those books, even fairly current ones, are free! When I see one that looks interesting, I grab it... so far the best freebie has been Finder's Paranoia, which I enjoyed. I also use the sample feature, where you can download the first chapter or so of the book, for free.

There are some obvious downsides - unlike a book, dropping it or getting it wet could ruin it. But I'm careful when I take it around. There isn't really a way to share a book with somebody else, say I finish reading a book and want to loan it out. Can't do that unless I loan out the whole Kindle!