February 22, 2006

I am a little behind on the updates. I am going to try to do some catching up today. We will see how well that ends up working.

Dominica and I got up earlier than usual for a Wednesday morning. Dominica has decided that sleeping in late and rushing to work doesn’t really do it for her so we are trying the getting up early thing. We got up early enough that we were able to go over to the Omega for some breakfast. Min took along some flashcards for her A+ exam and I helped her study for a little bit. Then Min dropped me off at home on her way into the city.

Min’s computer, the one that I always use in the upstairs office, is out of service currently from us working on it last night and I didn’t feel like putting it back together this morning because I am going over to dad’s with it around lunch time so that we can try to get his HDTV working over there.

I cleaned around the house for a few hours. I got a lot done and it is looking much better than it was this morning. There is still a lot to do but it is coming along. We really need shelves in the basement so that there is someplace to put this huge pile of books that I just got from grandma’s “estate” because right now they are just piled in the living room. There wasn’t nearly enough space for all of the books that I had before let alone any new ones.

At a quarter after noon I packed up Oreo and the computer and drove down to Cook’s by York Central School and picked up some subs and chips for dad and I to have for lunch. Then I went up the hill to his place. I arrived just minutes after his new Westinghouse 37″ 1080p LCD HDTV arrived. He was in the process of unpacking it when I got there.

We ate our lunches and then we went down to the “tv” room to get the new HDTV set up. We got in unpacked and then set to getting Dominica’s desktop set up so that we could hook up the new television and see how it performed. We tried a bunch of things but never really got it working all that well. We can’t tell whether or not it is the computer not keeping up on some channels or if the channels themselves are having problems. And during the day every Rochester station just broadcasts NTSC over the HDTV channels so mostly you are just decoding really low resolution and large grey bars on the sides so it is really hard to tell what would happen with real HDTV. Let me tell you, this entire experience has really turned me off from the whole HDTV concept. It is really expensive, it is complicated to get working, even when it does work it apparently doesn’t work very well (it can take several minutes for station to “tune in” once you switch channels so if you switch from channel 8 to 10 to see what is one you might miss half of a show), often the audio and video don’t sync so you listen to one thing and watch another. Very frustrating.

Minutes after I left dad’s house our new IP phones arrived so I didn’t have a chance to get those. But I really have no spare time this evening so it wasn’t like I was actually going to get to use them anyway. I got home and I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning like crazy. I actually managed to get a lot done. I cleaned floors, dishes, several rooms, some of the basement, etc. The house looks really good. It is pretty much all that I have done today. Dominica had been be impressed when she comes home.

Craig called at a little after 6:30 from downtown Geneseo. He came over and took a quick tour of the townhouse. He has never been over here before. We didn’t have much time so we drove up to the city and picked up Tim, a friend of Craig’s, and then we went over to Woody’s II on West Henrietta to meet Craig’s other friend Richard who had been there for a little while. We had a good time hanging out until 9:30 when Craig had to drive me up to Fujifilm so that Dominica could bring me back home.

We came home and watched one episode of Firefly before going to bed. Dominica is getting up early in the morning and having breakfast with Amanda so she couldn’t stay up very much tonight.

Here is a great link to why Windows is not the appropriate software to use for giant electronic billboards. Not that other things don’t crash but they don’t have you advertise to the world exactly what you are running and ask to submit the issue to Microsoft. If I have a billboard control system like that I hope that it is extremely well tested, doesn’t do anything as embarrassing as this as part of its design (this is the sytem’s intended response to this problem) and that it will do a LOT to correct itself even if that is as simple as automatically restarting itself. A general purpose OS that you really can’t modify does not work for things like this. They should have an OS that is designed specifically for this purpose. Something like BillboardBSD or BoardOS or whatever. Okay, maybe not an entire dedicated OS just for billboard systems. But has no one ever heard of embedded systems? If everyone is running regular Windows on these giant systems why doesn’t anyone ever play Quake 4 on them? Now that would be cool.

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