Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feeling good about the fine print

I'd ditched cable TV a few months ago. When I tell this to people, their reaction is to ask which satellite company i'm on. Nobody can seem to comprehend that I do not have pay TV. After explaining this, the next question is "What do you do then?" Well, I generally do lots of stuff, watching TV however, is not one of them.

In fairness, I do watch once in a while. I have installed an antenna on my roof that picks up about 30 digital channels, half of them are HD. Also having Boxee on the Mac Mini allows for on demand programming with little commercial interruption. Also, a Slingcatcher connected to a Slingbox gives us all the German programs and keeps the wife happy.

Ironically, the free to air local channels come in better from the antenna than from the cable provider. Direct TV pays for commercial time on these free to air channels to entice you with their service, in case I was dumb enough to pay for 500 channels ill never watch. (Except for about 3). It comes in so clear in fact, that you can almost read the fine print in the Direct TV commercial. $24.99 a month for 12 months!!! Sounds like a great deal.... Right? The fine print however says it requires a 24 month commitment. Funny, they dont post the price for the second year which doubles.

Smart people drive stick shift

Ever notice that smart people in the U.S. drive stick shift cars. That is not to say that all smart people drive stick shifts or that dumb people drive automatic. It just that people I know who drive stick shift cars are generally intelligent. In Europe, by contrast, Automatics are almost non-existent, used almost predominately by the elderly and handicapped.

Lets compare the two continents

European argument for manual transmission:
  • Availability ( All new and used cars on the market are manual)
  • Cost (manual transmissions are cheaper to produce, lowering cost of the car)
  • Durability (Require less maintenance, cheaper to repair)
  • Efficiency (direct connection and lighter compared to the heaver fluid coupled automatic)

American argument for Automatic transmission:

  • Availability ( All new and used cars on the market are automatic)
  • Easier (Less pedals and no shifting makes it easier to send text messages while driving)
Basically people who want a cheaper more efficient car and dont sent text mesages or check email while driving through the city would opt for a manual transmission.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My first Unhackintosh Macintosh

As an unexpected birthday surprise, I received a Mac mini from my wife. She knew I was considering one after the debate came up between a Mac Mini or a Boxee box, to augment our TV entertainment since I sent Brighthouse a pink slip a few weeks ago. This isnt my first time ever using OSX. However , Apple made it their personal mission to ensure that the Iphone and Itunes would never connect to a linux box, so I put together something to keep me going in the interm.

This however is the first time I actually got under the hood of the MAC, having several different variants of Linux running at home, and now the easiest OS ever connected, to my TV I did notice some interesting things.

Font Setting:

Holy crap! Did anyone realize that there is no way (with the exception to third party apps like tinkertool) to change the font sizes on this system. This was one of my first missions, sine it is in fct connected to a TV. Not possible! I am utterly amazed that no one at Apple found the need for this.

Program Installation:

Weirdest thing I ever saw. Im more accustomed to ./configure make make install. On a Mac it opens a pseudo drive with a picture to drag an icon from one box to another. Very interesting.

Joystick support:

Mac has no joystick calibration software whatsoever. Another oversight on Apples part. In fairness, digital mode usb joysticks just seem to work. Analog...... your screwed.

Iphone support:

Between the logitech and boxee remote for iphone, I dont event need a keyboard or a mouse