Thursday, August 19, 2010

Daily Report: Gadgetry

My digital cable box... the one that I bitched for so much during World Cup... was destroyed by lightning last night. An actual bright kerpow out the back, and then no more video. Apparently the entire cable system of Parasat is not grounded at all. Thankfully, the cable box took the entire shot and my television was spared. Epril took the fried box to CDO today and Parasat replaced it without a problem.

I got a "PlayTime" video player from Simon in Thailand. I had asked him to send about $300 worth of DVD's from Thailand, and he asked me why I didn't just buy one of these PlayTime things. It's a little machine (read a review of something similar here), about the size of a deck of cards, that plugs into the back of your television (either by RCA or HDMI), and into which you can plug an external hard drive via a USB port. It costs about $70. So, Simon purchased a PlayTime for me, and a 1 terrabyte hard drive (tiny as well... barely larger than the PlayTime) for $150, and put all of his video collection on it, and sent it back here.

So you connect the PlayTime to the television (I used HDMI) and then connect the hard drive to the PlayTime. Then you turn on the gizmo and you use the remote to scroll through the folders of the hard drive and watch the video files that you want right on your television. (The remote then lets you operate the PlayTime just like a DVD player... fast-forward, pause, turn on subtitles if available, turn up the volume, et cetera.)

It's really incredible when I think about how storage media has improved over my lifetime. I think of the record collection at the old college radio station... now that whole room fits into a shiny black box the size of a cigarette case. Same with a wall-sized collection of VHS video tapes. Same with an entire library of books.

I watched some more of "The Tudors" (starting season 3 tonight), "Star Trek Voyager" (working through season 1), and began on the miniseries "The Pillars Of The Earth" as well.

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