streaming HD video

We are now living room consumers of streaming high-definition video on demand from Netflix, thanks to this $150 blu-ray/netflix player I picked up over the weekend.

Network connection to the living room is via a cisco powerline network extender that uses existing electrical house wiring.  I got this $90 network gadget in a random grab bag from last month for $8 shipped.    I plugged it in, and it just worked, with no throttling of network throughput, and no configuration required.   I’m getting a 10Mbs download stream at the remote hub just like I get at the source router.  That is over twice as fast as what’s needed for HD delivery.   And the added bonus is that my dish network DVR is now connected to the internet and I can manage the recordings over a web browser.  SOOO much easier to search for programming and navigate our queue of recorded programs. (Can a slingbox be far behind?)

But back to the streaming video: it almost indistinguishable from regular HD, although I did notice some visual stuttering during rapid camera pans.  We watched Julie and Julia Sunday afternoon, and there wasn’t a single hiccup in the whole movie.

Plus our first blu-ray DVD’s start arriving from netflix this week, and I look forward to that.

Hope this makes up a little bit to the family for my accidentally erasing the season finale of  Nurse Jackie,  after the series stopped airing on Showtime.

Windows 7

I was looking for an old video edit that was not in my digital records, so I pulled out the old camcorder to check the 8mm tapes.    When I plugged the camcorder into our new Windows 7 PC, a Windows Live Gallery dialogue box popped up giving some options for importing the video.  One of the options was “make DVD of the entire tape”.

I tried it and it works like a charm.  It broke the 60 minutes of video into about 18 chapters and created a menu with preview video.   WOOT!   I’ve got about 15 hours of 8mm recordings from 1992 – 2005.   I’ll be transferring them all to DVD in the next few months.

BTW, I found the brief video project I was looking for :

Sansa Fuze

I’ve just replaced my old Sansa e200 series mp3 player with its successor the Sansa Fuze. Here are the killer new features that I really like in the player.  None were present in the e200, (nor in an iPod for that matter):

  1. File deletion is enabled in the player.  This is a killer feature for me.  It greatly helps me manage my podcast inventories, and also to delete songs I really don’t like and don’t want to hear again.
  2. Auto bookmarking in all files – wow! what an assistance for long podcasts, videos and audio books.  When you return to play the file, it asks you if you want to pick up where you left off, or if you want to start over.
  3. Progressive speed fast forward and rewind.  If you do lose your place, or want to find something in a long file, this really helps speed through it.

Other improvements:  larger screen, better build quality, longer battery life, improved video format handling,  quicker bootup, and a micro SD card slot.   I like it.   Took it on my first long run this morning, and I was able to navigate the player and delete files while moving.   Without my glasses.

Long Point trip report

Abstract: the fishing was pretty good and consistent, but the camping was uncomfortable.sunrise790

Its October and the mullet run has commenced.  They are in the surf, and in the river.  I reserved a campsite for Tue-Fri, and headed out at 5am for the 2 hour drive.   Launching the boat at the campground I noticed an unusual proliferance of mosquitoes.   But thats not a problem on the water.  I pitched camp in the afternoon, got some groceries, and headed back out in the boat for the consistent sunset bite.

We’e got an unusual heat wave this week, temps in the 90’s every day, and the bugs were so bad that it was difficult to hang around the campsite.  Building a smoky fire helped a bit at night, so I still managed some camp cookery.    I didn’t bring my window AC, so I sweated through each night in the tent.  In the midday, I headed to the beach to chill under an umbrella and keep a live finger mullet out in the surf.  The beach bite was pretty good too, and I got a 24″ spanish mackerel and many bluefish.  Slideshow below, or go to photo set

distance accuracy problem

Product review of the eXplorist 210 handheld gps

I got one of these for about $100 on clearance at sports authority, but its not been quite what I would like.  My review on

distance accuracy problem, September 24, 2009
By Robert Reed

I purchased this for bicycle use, running use and small boat use. My only functional desires are to have an odometer, a speedometer, be able to mark points, and to see a map of where I am. This meets these needs, but it does not excel in any of my intended uses. The biggest flaw I’ve found is the distance accuracy when running. I’m training for a marathon race, and I am running increasingly long distances. I often plan my routes using […] , and it seemed that my explorist-reported mileage was consistently short, by as much as 10%. So on my last run, I covered a measured and marked 3 mile stretch on a bicycle trail, and sure enough, the explorist assessed the distance as 2.7 miles. Even more curious: I used the device on a bicycle ride, and the unit recorded an accurate distance of 11 miles, but when I used the device while running the same route, it measured only 10.1 miles.

My other pet peeve about this is that although the data screens are quite customizable, it is not possible to configure a screen to display both the distance covered and current speed at the same time. So when I’m biking, I have to hit the tiny buttons and switch screens often.

So, 3 stars. Did I say tiny buttons? yes. And tiny display. 2 stars for you Mr. Explorist

Is this a troll?

This posting appeared today on the discussion forum. The blog has been around for almost 5 years, and serves a group of fiercely proud small town Iowa folks and Iowa ex-pats.   It’s my dad’s hometown.

I find it hard to believe someone could be so clueless as to insult the town’s basketball team, and then disingenuously ask for help. What do you think?    Troll or no?    Give me your opinion in the comments.

Anonymous said…

Hey I am looking at moving to the Marcus area with some young boys. I want to know what sports your school is excelling at or in the near future will. From what I have heard your basketball team is absolutely horrendous, what is the football, wrestling, basketball, track, and baseball teams like? These boys want to go to a school that is competitive in sports and I want a good education for them actually I want both. I have looked at a few districts surrounding the Lemars area. Any help would be great.
August 10, 2009