22 December 2008

DTV Transition Will Be Bad

More planning was required for the digital television transition scheduled for February 17, 2009, so the FCC canceled their planned discussions of the wireless Broadband revolution. (By the way, don't forget to send for your digital to analog conversion box coupons here - it took me less than a minute.)

The problem with the proposed transition is the horrible job they have done in education about the changes, and the converter box program. They should be automatically sending the converter boxes to every household in the United States. These things probably cost a dollar to make (even though they are selling for $50!). From what I've seen, many of these boxes are very poor quality - like any cheap product made overseas.

With the fast-approaching Presidential transition, there couldn't be a worse time to be turning everyone's TVs off. Obama has quite a set of tasks in front of him to start the much needed economic revolution, and television is still the best way to get the word out. While he did a good job in the campaign reaching out to the younger generation via texting, the older generations will largely be left in the dark for at least a few days after the transition.

The good and bad about the DTV transition is that the US Government will send out 2 coupons to each household good for $40 towards the necessary converter box. I know I'm not alone in saying that that won't even cover half the TVs in my house (we have 5). Others I've talked to about this have as many as 10 TVs in their houses. So again, another reason the DTV transition will be bad - in this slow economic time, let's spend $50 per US TV on overseas-made converter boxes. Good plan.

Has anyone heard of an American made DTV convertor box? I'm still researching...

Happy Hanukkah (Chanukah) Everyone!

Here's your yearly dose of Adam Sandler's classic, the Hanukkah Song. Hanukkah started today, or yesterday at sundown, I'm not sure.

13 December 2008

Tell Cable to Shove it!

I have finally officially said "screw you" to Charter cable in Kalamazoo. I have wanted to do this for a while, I just couldn't bring myself to give up my college football games, and DVR. After a year of debating, I finally canceled my service, and ordered a 768K DSL line from AT&T for $20/month without a home phone. I am very happy with the cost - VERY happy. I was paying nearly $100 for Charter's internet (5MB) and basic digital service (under 100 crappy reception channels) with one DVR - and that was a promo price! The DSL line is definitely slower than the cable, but I barely notice it when I am trying to stream off sites like hulu.com. Every once in a while, I have to pause for a few seconds and resume the program. But for savings of $80/month - I'll deal with that! I can watch most of what I watched before on cable via the internet or over the air on the TV. With AT&T, you can even stream many of the ESPN sports events to your computer. iTunes also has a lot of free programming.

I can even watch it all on the TV! Both of our laptops have S-Video outs and I run stereo sound to the TV via the headphone or SPDIF jack and an RCA Y-connector.

More people need to start doing this and tell big cable to shove it. We all could use a little more money in our pockets (and a little more time for reading).

So here it is: Screw you Charter! Get with the times, lower your prices, and start offering better quality digital and high-def feeds or you will lose many more customers. AT&T's U-verse is going to be your demise. Good-bye!

09 December 2008

Sorry for the disappointment...

This blog is not about that Jesse Palmer, it's about this one. I'm sorry if I've disappointed you, but that's life.

Have a great day.

28 August 2008

Charter Cable and the Big Ten Network

Finally, Charter has negotiated with the Big Ten Network to give me my non-stop college football action. This is really the only reason I have cable TV anyway. I really enjoy watching college football. In 2006, the BTN came out, and stole a bunch of the good games. Cable couldn't get their heads out of their arses and pay BTN the $1 per subscriber they wanted. According to mlive, Charter finally got their act together, and I will have the BTN as early as this Saturday at noon. This weekend's MSU and U of M games aren't on the BTN this week; so, if Charter doesn't make the updates by gametime this weekend (I wouldn't be surprised) I won't be out of luck.

The BTN is the result of a 20-year partnership between the Big Ten (eleven) and Fox. It's been on the dishes since the start, but cable was slow to adopt, apparently holding out for a good deal, completely disregarding their customers. Personally, I nearly left cable like many others because of this issue.

27 August 2008

The Thirteen Year Plan

I've been doing a lot of research on MBAs lately. With the fast-approaching completion of my undergrad degree (February 3rd, 2009 - not that I'm counting down the days or anything), I have been trying to decide what to do next. The logical choice for me would be to continue the same path and pursue an MBA. While I might be happier with an engineering degree, I can complete an MBA program much quicker.

MBA programs seem to be gaining popularity with people from all walks of life. Some are enrolling in Executive MBA programs to continue working in their executive capacities while attending school. Some students who finish their undergrad degrees elect to continue on to get an MBA before going into the workforce. I do not recommend this. Employers do not want to hire 20-somethings with MBAs and no legitimate work experience for any decent jobs. That is, of course, unless you consider management at the Gap as a career goal.

My approach was a little different. I started at the community college straight out of high school. It took me five years, but I graduated with an Associates in Business Administration. After a two year stint in the pre-engineering program at a state university, I decided to attend an adult learning program at the satellite location of another university to get a Bachelor's in Business Management.

While I am nearing the end of a ten year road to a Bachelor's degree, I don't consider myself in a bad spot. I have gained great business and corporate experience with three great companies along the way. 1 2 3 It's time to figure out the next chapter in my life, and I don't think I'm alone:

"While the largest spike in applications is in full-time MBA programs, applications are also on the rise in the part-time and executive MBA programs. GMAC's [Dave] Wilson predicts that the part-time and executive MBA programs will be the next to see a significant jump in application volume because they largely cater to applicants who want to stay in their current jobs. "As the slowdown in the economy continues, we're going to see a shift to the part-time programs because people aren't going to want to leave work if they have a good job," Wilson said." ref

26 August 2008

My Quest for iPhone 3G: Part IV

I never did update the blog with the outcome of the iPhone 3G trial. I decided to keep it, and I couldn't be happier. I have been very happy with the phone, and mostly happy with the service. AT&T is a much more robust network that Nextel ever will be, and the calls are crystal clear. I lose signal occasionally in the hospital, elevators, or anywhere deep inside a building. Nextel's service seemed to outperform AT&T in terms of building penetration. Beyond that, Nextel sucks. (And they're for sale.)

Just a few of the things I've done recently with my all-in-one iPhone device:

-Listen to podcasts (which I'm really enjoying)

-Listen to music out on the golf course (the built in speaker of the iPhone isn't too bad for iPod playback, but for conference calls, it leaves much to be desired)

-Facebook mobile

-Instant email

-Taking and sharing pictures


-Fighting off enemies with my Light Saber

25 August 2008

Get off the air FOX News

I knew there was a reason I never watched the FOX News. Griff Jenkins is a tool. However, I do appreciate the uncensored chants from the crowd. Watch and listen...

I mean, these kids are trying to do some good, and Griff's all up in their business. Come on.

Recreate '68. The whole world is watching.

Just what we needed

This is hopefully not a sign of the times. A robot designed to fill a job that should be taken by our overabundance of uneducated slackers. Our good friends, the geniuses at the University of Minho, have created a robot that can tell you when you are about to do something wrong, place the correct large purple bolt on the "car", then thank you for your help - all in a blazing minute-and-a-half.

This induces about as much hope for the future as the thought of four years of McCain.

31 July 2008

My Quest for iPhone 3G: Part III

It's finally almost here. My very own iPhone 3G. It's the 8GB Black one. If I am able to activate it today or tomorrow, I'll be taking it up north with me camping for a true coverage test comparing AT&T to Nextel. Any bets on who will win?

I'm like a kid at Christmas... :)


12 July 2008

My Quest for iPhone 3G: Parts I & II

I decided about 2 months ago that I was going to leave Nextel and buy an iPhone from its only service provider, AT&T. I have been waiting for yesterday's release date for a while now, which has come and passed, and I still have no iPhone.

I waited in line both yesterday and today. I did not wait overnight, but others did. I drove by my AT&T store on Westnedge Ave on Thursday night and there were about 25 people in line at 11:30 PM.

I arrived yesterday morning at 7:40 AM; the store opened at 8:00. The line began moving even before the store opened because everyone was bunching up at the entrance in anticipation of the release. Remember, this is the third most important release of a phone ever. Third to the initial release of iPhone in 2007, and the release of Alexander Graham Bell's invention in 1876.

After the doors opened, the line didn't seem to move very fast at all. I couldn't see in the store, so I had no idea what the story was in there. Every 10 to 15 minutes, the line would move about 10 feet or so. I didn't have much hope at this point of getting my iPhone.

At about 8:40, an AT&T salesman came out to address the crowd. He said, "Everyone past this point may want to reconsider waiting." The point in the line he was referring to was a long way ahead of me. I figure the Portage AT&T store had approximately 40 iPhones for the first day.

I went home.

Friday night, I went back to check and see if a line was forming again. I thought that surely no one would be waiting over night on the second night, but sure enough, there were about 10 people waiting at 10:00 PM or so.

Saturday morning, I got up at 8:30 and started making my way towards the AT&T store. They open at 9:00 AM on Saturdays. I arrived about 10 minutes after 9:00, and was much further up in the line than yesterday. I was about 75 people back. This time, I could see in the store, and there were 5 salespeople working the activations.

Again, I waited. Again, they came out about 40 minutes after the store opened. Again, I was snuffed. I think they had about 40 phones for the second day too.

An interesting, but not surprising thing happened today during the mass activations. When the salesman came out to announce the day's availability, he mentioned that there was a problem with the system, and about 20,000 activations had been backlogged in Michigan. The war room in Texas was being utilized, but there were no indications of how long it would take to clear up the problem.

I went home again.

I watched some more iPhone videos today, which only made me want it more. I'll try again tomorrow. They open at 11:00 AM.

01 July 2008

Older, but no wiser.

I turned 26 on Sunday. Another year. This year seemed to be filled with gray hairs. They seem to be multiplying. A few things have changed from last year, but not much. One thing is that I'm trying to focus on this year is my health.

I still work at my pfun job, and I passed the six year mark here. Regardless of the bad press they've been gettting, and all the cuts that have been occuring, I still love my job. I can't complain - I've got it pretty good.

I'm looking forward to our baby this fall. Boy or Girl, doesn't matter to me - I'll love it just the same either way! Boys would probably be easier to deal with though...

I'm closing in on the end of my journey for a Bachelor's degree. I'll be done at the beginning of February. Woohoo! Then I get to decide what's next - MBA, back to Engineering, or be done...? Who knows what's in store for me.

The better half's been doing very well with the pregnancy. I finally felt the baby kick last week, Thursday, I think!

My new niece brings me joy.

That's all for now. Enjoy my current favorite song. (Sorry, embedding wasn't allowed.)

20 May 2008

Hmm...Obama failed Geography class?

Obama thinks there are 58 states in the US. Given how he hasn't been wearing a flag lapel pin, maybe he'll finally start wearing this one...

15 May 2008

This city is bad on my allergies

This explains a lot. I have struggled with allergies for a long time. I even went through six years of allergy shots in middle/high school. I should have just moved...
Kalamazoo, Michigan is #57.

03 April 2008

Did You Know?

Everyone in America should watch this, as a reminder (or an enlightenment) to how exponential these times are. Even 2.0 is outdated and it is less than a year old.

Did You Know? 2.0 is a follow up to Did You Know?. Original creator Karl Fisch says "this really isn’t a "sequel" to Did You Know, it’s just different." It was a collaborative effort with Scott McLeod and the creative help of XPLANE.

There's not much more to say - just watch it.

Did You Know? 2.0

The original was also created by Karl Fisch. It started as a kick off presentation for the 2006 school year at Arapahoe High School in Centinnial, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? wiki

Take some time to read the blogs of Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, David Warlick, Thomas Friedman, Ian Jukes, and Ray Kurzweil. They are some of the people that created, or had input to these.

14 March 2008

The Ruettimanns

I love the Ruettimanns, duck, libations, good music, good conversation, and all the good things that come with GREAT company.

Life is good.

09 March 2008

Jungle Joe's

Not that this is anything new, but kids have everlasting energy. 25 pound overweight Jesse does not. I had fun though...

Jungle Joe's

11 February 2008

the Root Beer Stand

Rejoice, for the Root Beer Stand opened today!!

I know you might be asking, "What should I have for dinner tonight?"

...the Root Beer Stand just may be your answer.

I had three chili cheese dogs with the works. I'm a happy camper.

And yes, I know I'm lame for getting excited about hot dogs...

Economic Stimulus Package

I just don't see the advantages of the proposed economic stimulus package set for this summer. The typical taxpayer will receive a check for $800, at the expense of the US government. Won't the net effect here be zero? Most people will probably go out and spend it, help small businesses, and boost the economy, but the government will be out $145 billion. Personally, I'm planning to put this money in the bank. I know it's not the intent of the package for people to save the money, we're supposed to go out and buy a new TV or something. But it's only 800 bucks, it's not like I can go out and buy a new truck with it. What am I missing? Offset recession by increasing the national debt? Does it work that way? Obviously, more study on my part will be needed.

07 February 2008

Please tell me why presidential canidates have to raise so much money?

I understand why they need so much money, but it still makes me sick. So many of the problems the candidates are talking about fixing could be easily fixed with all the money they are spending on their campaigns. Clinton raised $4 million in just 24 hours after Super Tuesday, why are people so willing to give at these levels??

Here are some answers about what they use the money for.

What do you think?

25 January 2008

The Real Jesse Palmer

...can be learned about here.

Enjoy yourself.

(Thanks for the idea Laur)

16 January 2008

It's cold

Very, very cold. That's a good thing though because I'd like to do some ice fishing soon.

Why ice fishing?

I'm glad you asked. Ice fishing is a good time to drink some schnapps, throw the football around, and catch up with people I don't see very often. Also, when my family goes ice fishing, we start a fire on the ice (no, I'm not kidding). We use a 55 gallon drum that's been cut in half and put on 2 foot metal legs. It's like a fire pit on stilts. It works great to keep us warm. You may be thinking "what a hillbilly" (or icebilly) but that's alright, I don't mind.