This American Life Friday, March 23, 2007

I've listened to This American Life for years on NPR: it's a great radio show. And now, they've managed to add a TV version to their portfolio. It's on Showtime, and is both new and remarkably faithful to the original vision.

Showtime has been good enough to put the first show up for free on their web site.


Bye bye, Buddy Friday, March 23, 2007

I've just heard that Rich and Kerri have lost Rufus, their nearly 14-year old dog.

Buddy was 13. He'd had a very good run. (Most of it through the water!) He was, hands-down, the best dog I ever knew, or had even heard of. He was fun and playful, loved everyone, and was immensely obedient...for most of his adult life, he never even needed a leash. He never ran away (except to sneak a couple of houses away to my mother's to mooch cookies), he never bit anyone, he never even jumped on people...he always came when you called him. He brought the paper in every morning -- he'd even do his level best with the Sunday paper. He brought me bottles of water when I was laid up with a broken ankle. He let kids pet him and let babies pull his ears and tail and fur, and never once complained. Oh, and that bark -- he sounded awfully scary, protecting his family like a sentry. Never had a problem with his hips, his eyes, his elbows...nothing.

Everyone who met Buddy loved him. I'm really going to miss him.

(Kerri, on her blog.)

Zabeth and I know this all too well -- our thoughts and love are with them.

Apple TV - codename:tv Friday, March 23, 2007

tv is in the house -- two of them, actually -- and, well, it's good!

I'm not using it for music much -- my library is much too large for this device, and navigation of large collections, as has been said elsewhere, is quite lacking.

That said, for video material -- movies, tv shows, etc -- it works great. Playback starts quickly, even when streamed, and looks quite good. It's lacking in the audio department (it's really too bad that so much of this material, both movies and TV, encoded with Dolby Digital in full 5.1 or 7.1 surround, are reduced to ancient Dolby Surround playback, with no LFE channel, no split surrounds... much less impact), but visually things look quite reasonable.

It works great with netTunes, too, as you'd expect. As I've said many times, I run with a headless server, and it contains all my music and other content. With netTunes, it's trivial to connect to the server using a laptop while seated on the couch, and "pair" the tv with the server, change the synchronization information, purchase TV shows to be viewed -- all remotely.

I'm happy that the approach I took years ago -- truly remote controlling iTunes with its own interface -- continues to work with new versions of iTunes, and continues to prove it was the right way to go, moving forward with iTunes as iTunes itself changes.

Anyway, great stuff.

One expensive but potentially useful tip: you can use a scan converter to convert from Component input to regular Y/C (S-Video) or Composite, should you not have a component/HDMI capable TV. One example is the TV One AVT-3190 ($389). Expensive, but cheaper than replacing your TV...

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