Chicken in a Biskit!
That is all…
So, Universal Studios is going to screen a new movie by Video On Demand for some
lucky Comcast subscribers for a meager $60. (read: poor saps) Aside from the fact the I RARELY go to the theater, when I do, I never spend $60. I would imagine that the majority of people going to a movie are couples. Married couples, friends, dates, whatever… But usually two people. For $60. I don’t spend that much at the theater for a couples night out.
Aside from the ridiculous price, this won’t be available until 3 weeks after its released in the theater. I would maybe consider purchasing a VOD movie if it was available (at a reasonable price) day and date with the theater release. But why wait? Wait another three weeks and the damn thing will probably be out on DVD.
So here’s my prediction: If Cinemark doesn’t get their way in squashing this experiment, it will fail. It’s too expensive, it’s not available at the right time.
You want to get this right, charge $25, and make it available the same day as the theaters. Few people like the theater. Other people suck. They’re loud and use cell phones. It’s expensive and the seats are uncomfortable. I would much rather see a flick on my 52″ TV at home on my couch with $.75 bag of microwave popcorn.
Of course, this also all depends on the media companies making decent movies. By my count, there have only been maybe 6 movies made in the last 13 years that fall into that category.
Windows 8 is going to be adding those miserable ribbons to Windows Explorer. One more reason to never, ever, ever update. As if the little green boxes we’re going to be bad enough. This guy nails it pretty well. The only thing I would add is that hardware manufacturers seem to be making monitors wider, but shorter, and Microsoft is adding hundreds and hundreds of useless pixels to the ever shrinking vertical real estate. Pretty soon, the only thing you’ll see on the screen is a giant toolbar and poorly organized enormous buttons to work on the three lines of visible text in your actual workspace.
Time to see if I can find an alternate file manager. Argh.
I’ll play around with WebOS until that time, but it should be nice to have a little IMDb device while watching TV without having to fire up the laptop.
I loves me some gadgets.
Boy I like the Live Music Archive, but it’s a pain in the ass to get those tunes on my iPod.
Boy I like writing stupid little scripts in Python.
So way, way, back in the day, I had to walk in the snow (even in July) both ways uphill to see a show. Since there was precisely zero to do in Dayton, OH, I mostly sat around and waited for my favorite bands to come to town and be as miserable as I was. Apparently Steve Poltz was a real glutten for punishment, because it seems like the Rugburns came to town at least once or twice a month. And I went every time. Happily 1000 years later, I can re-live the great shows in the bad old times through the Live Music Archive.
So, let’s take this show, forgetting that I can hear my ex throughout and that the speed of said show seems to be a bit chipmunky. There are 27 songs in this show. That would take at least 6 or 7 minutes to download all those tracks and update the ID3 tags. Who was that kind of time?
So instead, I wasted an hour or so and wrote a script to get them into iTunes easily.
What this does is parse through the LMA page for the show, and pull out the m3u file. That file is then parsed to get the links to all 27 individual MP3 files. We then take those link and turn it into a iTunes compatible podcast XML file. The handy thing about using the bloated beast that is iTunes (aside from the fact that I eventually want these files on my iPod) is that iTunes will update the MP3s automagically with the meta data in the Podcast XML. The MP3s available through LMA (at least as of this writing) have no ID3 data. My OCD will not abide this. So by plugging the feed through iTunes, the album, artist, song titles, year and track numbers are filled in and updated.
Obviously the script needs to web-accessible in order for iTunes to pull it in. Here we go:
We can then paste that above URL into iTunes by selecting Advanced -> Subscribe to Podcast. Paste and Click OK. Once it pulls in the list of tracks, click Get All.
Well, this is great! We now have all the MP3s in an iTunes Podcast that will never updated. The show isn’t really a podcast either… To fix this, we select all 27 of the new files in iTunes, and Right-Click. Select “Get Info” and switch to the Options tab. The 3rd option down is the Media Kind.
Hit that dropdown box and select Music. (You’ll probably want to head back over to the first tab and change that Genre as well.) After that, hit OK, and you’ll notice all your files have disappeared from the podcast window and have moved to your general library. Now you can remove the Podcast from iTunes, as it will never update, and your tunes are ready to be synced up to your iPod.
I watch a lot of TV. And so, my DVR is very important to me. In two days time, my most cherished technological purchase of the last decade, the ReplayTV, will be retired by their current owners, D&M Holdings. The ReplayTV came out in 1999 about the same time as the original Tivo and I bought two lifetime units in December of 2002 (a third came a couple years later). Eight and a half years later they are still plugging along without a problem and will probably continue to do so for a while longer without the benefit of the Electronic Programming Guide.
This DVR was ahead of its time. More than a decade after its initial release, I am unable to find a replacement that fills all the beloved features. Before I’d ever heard the term “Whole House DVR,” ReplayTVs supported streaming from room to room. I have one unit in the bedroom, one in the main room and one in the basement bar. Meaning I could tape Daily Show on the bedroom unit, but watch it in the basement bar. I’ve been doing this for years. This is something new for AT&T with UVerse. WOW (formerly Wide Open West) won’t have this feature until October with their DVRs. I think I only used it once, but there was also a service called Poopli, which would allow you to stream a show to another ReplayTV user anywhere in the tubes. I can’t even imagine AT&T offering such a service.
ReplayTV’s biggest notice came about when they lost a lawsuit which prevented them from using their Commercial Advance feature. As the ReplayTV recorded a show, it would mark where the commercials began and ended. The user could opt to have the unit automatically skip over the commercials while watching a recorded show. Not shockingly, SonicBlue, the ReplayTV creators, got sued into oblivion over this feature. The company’s assets were sold off and the guide was maintained to keep the service running. New unit were released to remove the Commercial Advance feature. I found that while Commercial Advance was usually pretty darn accurate, I preferred to use the 30 second skip button to whiz by the commercials. In the eight and a half years, I found about 5 or 6 times where I would miss 10 minutes of a show when the Commercial Advance didn’t quite calculate the end time correctly.
The ReplayTV also allowed the user to rename a recorded show. The Wife and I used this extensively to mark the show with a C or D if one of us fell asleep while watching. This would indicate that the show was ready to be deleted once the marked individual finished watching the show. This is one feature I’m going to REALLY miss with our new setup.
DVArchive was a standalone Java app written by Gerry Duprey which acted as a virtual ReplayTV and could function as a web interface allowing control of the DVRs from anywhere. As a virtual ReplayTV, you could stream a show from one of the real units and save the show for later on a computer. The video was a standard MPEG and could be burned as DVD. If the real units’ hard drives were getting full, moving the shows to DVArchive allowed for more space. I used DVArchive for setting which shows were to be recorded on a nightly basis from my office. Again, this is a feature I’ve been using for YEARS which is now just finally available with UVerse and other providers.
Initially I was looking to switch to SageTV as a replacement, but The Google gobbled them up and only promised that their guide would be available for a year. Perhaps it would continue, perhaps not. If I owned an XBox 360, a custom built Windows Media Server would have been a decent option, but I don’t have anything to stream the content to my 3 TVs. Another service called Moxi looked quite promising, but doing research online suggests that their service is also circling the drain, as there have been no updates to fix certain bugs in over a year.
Eventually I settled on AT&T’s UVerse. I am not happy with this decision. I’ve lost my ability to stream and save shows to my PC. I can no longer marked them for The Wife to watch and delete. The skip ahead feature is not as sophisticated as what I’m used to. The interface isn’t quite as clean. And I don’t exactly have the best history with the provider. And I hold grudges. A lot.
It’s been a sad month since the notification of demise showed up. It was a good long run, ReplayTV. You deserved more attention than your original competitor. You will be missed greatly at the Cynical Sarcastic household. Rest In Peace.