The FVULT60MINB 60-Minute Flip Video Ultra Camcorder lets you capture the everyday moments that happen anywhere and share them with friends and family everywhere. It’s simple, portable, and amazingly affordable. Simple editing tools let you make custom-edited movie mixes with music Create and organize your personal video library 1.5 diagonal color anti-glare playback screen for instant viewing and deleting, 528 x 132 pixels screen resolution Video Resolution – 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second Video Bitrate – 4.5Mbps (average – auto adaptive algorithm) Video Format – Advanced Profile MPEG4 Lens Type – Fixed Focus (0.8m to infinity) Aperture – f/2.4 (fast lens for great results in low-light environments) Fast lens for great results in low and bright light, smooth multi-step 2x digital zoom Interface – 8 Buttons (Power, Play, Delete, Record and 4 way navigation) PC Connection – Built-in flip-out USB arm (up to USB 2.0 speed) NTSC TV Out with included cable Battery Life – Up to 2.5 hours with 2x AA Alkaline batteries, Up to 6.5 hours with 2x AA Energizer e2 batteries System Requirements – Intel Pentium 4 2.0 GHz, Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista, SVGA display monitor (1024×768) and video card, Windows Media Player 9.0, Microsoft DirectX 9.0, PowerPC G4 1.0 GHz, 512 MB RAM, Mac OS X 10.3.9, SVGA display (1024 x 768) monitor and video card, QuickTime 7 or later Dimensions – Height 4.17 x Width 2.16 x Depth 1.25
My TIVO has fallen on hard times. It seems that the network executives cancel shows faster than I find new ones to watch. The ones they don’t cancel, become bad. Let’s have a moment of silence for the dearly departed…
Futurama, Firefly, The $treet, Invader Zim, Deadwood, Carnivale, The Restaurant, Six Feet Under, The Job, Insomniac With Dave Attell, Samurai Jack, Sex and the City, NYPD Blue, Friends, That ’70s Show
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Note to those working hard on search engine optimization. How did IMDB get me to give them so many valuable links? Why does it have a pagerank of 9? Why didn’t I use some certain other TV and movie review site? Simple. IMDB does not change URLs every couple of years, the search is simple and fast.
Well, in fact most of the shows that were on my old TIVO list. In particular, HBO has been especially keen on destroying my viewing list. Granted, some of the shows like NYPD Blue and Friends have lived longer than they should have, but on HBO Deadwood and Carnivale have been cut down in their prime, most annoyingly, not even ending cleanly.
In light of this, and to protest the cancelling Deadwood and Carnivale, I cancelled my HBO subscription and got a Netflix subscription instead. I still like Rome and The Sopranos, but I can wait until they are out on dvd. So HBO, I have only one thing to say to you. Booooooooooooooooooooooo. Boo. Well, OK, that was two things.
Compared to $12 a month for HBO, Netflix is a bargain at $9.99. The only problem is that I don’t like the DVD player’s interface – I have to wait for the menus to load, skip the previews. Fast forward and back is not as smooth as in TIVO and there’s no way to watch some other disk, and then come back to where I stopped watching another. I think I need something like Kaleidescape, except cheap and with storage for only a couple of DVDs at the time. Or maybe just a well-designed dvd player.
Sadly, Netflix does not have a particularly impressive inventory. Peerflix has a much better one, and is also a good way for me to get rid of the dvds that I don’t need anymore and get some obscure stuff that I do need.
All’s not too bad in TV Land overall though. I am frustrated with DirecTV TIVO not having networking and online scheduling and for that reason I am not upgrading to HD DirecTV TIVO. Tivo Series 3 does not work with DirecTV and is outrageously expensive. Well, at least there are some new shows that I like.
At the top of the pile is How It’s Made. It’s a Canadian show that mostly takes you inside factories and shows you amazing manufacturing and automation techniques. There’s a number of similar shows around, but they are all suffering from the same problem: TV personalities. It’s annoying to see idiotically grinning morons making bad jokes and drawing attention to themselves rather than to what the show is about.
For instance, Dirty Jobs is not really about messy, smelly, funny and horrible jobs. It’s about messy, smelly unfunny and horrible host, Mike Rowe. The last segment of Dave Attell of Insomniac with Dave Attell often had a segment similar to Dirty Jobs, but Attel, unlike Rowe is both charismatic and funny. Well, at least I think so.
Overall I feel that in a show about working a host is not very important. Take This Old House, for instance. It’s really about Tommy, Norm, and the lesser subcontractors such as Richard and Roger. But you can take one host with another and then with another without the show suffering. I, for one, find the last host least annoying.
Anyway, what’s different about How It’s Made is that it does not have a host, only an invisible narrator. The show walks you through various industrial manufacturing processes accompanied by the Wakka Chikka Wakka Chikka-like music and almost hypnotic narration. It’s pure engineering porn. It seems like youtube has pulled down most of How It’s Made clips, but there’s still one on google video.
Now I can’t look at any mass-produced item without trying to picture the assembly line that created it. Some of the machines that I’ve seen are still haunting my mind–the ingenuity with which they are made are just amazing. I wish the show would interview the engineers who made the machines and spent more time on some of the more complicated ones.
My Univac logoed Zippo lighter came back from the factory completely repaired. It took about two weeks. Is that a great service or what? To paraphrase Dr. Julius Hibbert, if only TIVO customer service was as reliable.
There are amazing man-made materials out there. Super plastics, super ceramics, super metals. We mostly read about them in science magazines. One of the reasons these awesome materials do not get used as much as they should is because they are expensive or hard to get. But a more important reason is the simple fact that an engineer building a prototype probably missed the news article about the material, or could not get her hands on a sample in time.
iDEO, a design company that I worship has a very cool tradition: keeping a special box with all kinds of crazy material samples in every office. Engineers and designers can borrow pieces just to play with them or to use them in projects.
One of the examples that I know of, is the special rubbery plastic that they used to isolate TIVO‘s hard drive in order to reduce vibrations and sound. My TIVO is very quiet.
Interestingly enough, these days many super materials can be purchased on eBay. Take for instance that aerogel plastic that was recently used to capture some comet dust that will surely bring an end to our civilization. Photos of it look like some crappy Photoshop special effects.
Well, you can have a sample of your own for about 30 bucks.
Or how about Fluorinert? It’s a completely non-conductive liquid made by 3M that Seymore Cray (hey, have you seen this post of mine?) used to immerse his supercomputers in. Yes, you can have your own computer in an aquarium with the help of eBay!
Unfortunately it looks like nobody is selling LN2, so you can’t do this. Or make LN2 ice cream.
Now with 20% more rantolioum!
No, I am not on vacation. And no, I am not reading the Harry Potter book. And of course I haven’t run out of ideas. I was just a bit busy. In fact, I am still busy. But I will steal time from sleep, reading and Tivo to bring you more good stuff.
Coming soon to a browser near you:
Ok, I am a dork. A dork with a tricked out Tivo.
So far I struggled through:
* Installing TurboNet ethernet card
* Installing a 120 gig drive instead of the two 20 gig drives that came with my Tivo
* Getting telnet to work
and finally, finally!
*Installing Tivo Web
One of the coolest features of Tivo Web is ability to undelete shows.
Here is a list of my “season passes” that I grabbed with Tivo Web.
(I would like to note that I don’t watch “Enterprise”.
# | Show Name | Channel
1 Futurama WNYW
2 The Job COMEDY
3 The Sopranos
4 The Job WABC
5 Sex and the City HBO
6 Six Feet Under HBO
7 ER WNBC
8 Friends WNBC
9 That ’70s Show
10 Farscape SCIFI
11 Firefly WNYW
12 Enterprise WWOR
13 The Simpsons WNYW
14 The Man Show COMEDY
15 Antiques Roadshow WNET
16 Malcolm in the Middle WNYW
17 Scrubs WNBC
18 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation WCBS
19 This Old House WNET
20 NYPD Blue TNT
21 Antiques Roadshow UK WLIW
22 Insomniac With Dave Attell COMEDY
23 New Yankee Workshop WNET
24 Samurai Jack TOON
25 Monk USA
26 John Doe WNYW
Weekend Update With Michael!
I spent most of Friday night upgrading my Tivo with a new 120 meg drive, which should give me 30 hours of recording capacity at best quality. I copied the data from my old dual drives onto one big one and tested the drive in Tivo. Everything’s ok, but I still need to install TivoWeb.
On Saturday I was finishing up what I call my Great Fight With The Wall Warts and Holy Insurgency Against Wire Mayhem. I’ll write about that later, it might be useful to you.
I also went shopping for fishing gear and spent a buttload of money.
Among the things I bought:
Seeker BA 30 7′ rod
Newell S 338 – 3.6 reel
Guy Cotten SuperKodiak Pullover
Buncha other fishing paraphenelia.
The pullover is really, really nice. It’s the kind professional fishermen wear. It has neoprene cuffs, very warm fleece on the top and fleece covered by PVC on the bottom and sleeves. Just what the doctor ordered for winter fishing.
Interesting thing is, the size of it is pretty much inflated. I am an XL, but in no way am I an XXL. The sizes were probably selected just to stroke the ego of commercial fishermen.
Ok, gotta go sleep, the boat is leaving at 7, and it’s already 2, no, wait, 1:15. Cool, daylight savings dealy is working it’s magic!
TurboNet card arrived yesterday. It’s an amazing feat of engineering – a tiny little custom-made ethernet card that fits into Tivo’s ISA slot and is powered by the motherboard. Install took 3 minutes (good hearted Tivo engineers included drivers for it with the latest version of software) + 5 minutes to staple cat5 to the wall. Well, and half an hour contemplating Tivo’s insides.
What am I gaining from having an ethernet card in Tivo?
Well, for one, it will not be phoning home every day. 30 calls per month at 5 cents each is not a huge saving, but I will not have to unplug the phone cord during thunderstorms.
I already had a burned out modem once. The nasty thing about it breaking was that it kept phone line “of the hook” so that nobody could call me. I had to send my Tivo to a Texan who goes by the handle Electriclegs. He figured out how to fix Tivo modems by replacing a few parts and even made a repair kit available, but I was not brave enough to solder surface mount components myself. The repair cost me $50 + shipping, but the worst thing was being without Tivo for a couple of weeks. Brrrr.
Things left to do:
1) Install bigger hard drive (not simple because I have a double drive model)
2) Mount the ethernet jack flush in Tivo’s case (cold not do it this time because my nibbling tool broke during cutting a hole for exhaust fan on my computer)
3) Install TivoWeb, other neato hacks
4) Learn to solder surface mount components, install memory kit from Electriclegs
Ethernet card for my TIVO is on it’s way. I wish it was available when my TIVO’s modem got killed by a surge from a lightning storm (I had to ship it to a guy who fixed it for $50). I’ll probably install TivoWeb because Yahoo! seems to be pretty slow in rolling out online TIVO programming that was promised.
Powershot G3 is available for preorder. I can’t believe they used the same moronic silver color for it. Again. Didn’t they get enough angry letters from photographers (so many that the actually made a black color version of G2).
By the way, it’s interesting to watch the progress of design of G1, G2 and G3. One thing that I noticed is that the grip handle gets progressively bigger and more comfortable.