Expandable TiVo

Everyone knows I love my TiVo. I could not live without it and whenever I get a chance, I become the world’s biggest TiVo evangelist. I’ll admit it– TV is a big part of my life. I read, surf the Web, hang out with friends, go out, etc., but a big chunk of my life is still spent watching TV, a phenomenon that is just part of my generation and every generation after. And TiVo has given me a way to effectively get all those other things done and get my TV watching in.

That’s why it makes me sad to hear when people are bad-mouthing TiVo the company, asserting that as more cable companies release their own DVRs, TiVo will be pushed out of the market. It’s unfortunate really when you think about how pioneering TiVo really was, but I don’t think it’ll happen. TiVo’s software is still the best around– the mark of a really great consumer device interface is that you don’t need to read the instructions. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate and their software is not only reliable, but is really streamlined with the “right” features. And amazingly, that little sound never gets annoying.

But if TiVo is looking for a little help in boosting their consumer confidence, not to mention their sales, they should really consider making TiVo expandable. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom because when I go into my bedroom, I don’t want the TV there as a distraction from sleeping, reading, or whatever. However, I realize that sometimes it would be nice to watch TV in bed or while I’m getting ready in the morning. Yet, the main reason I don’t put a TV in my bedroom is because the TiVo is in the living room.

I suppose I could buy another TiVo, but frankly, my 40-hour box is just the right fit and I’m rarely ever dying for disk space. Moreover, I wouldn’t want to manage two separate storage spaces– I would be limited to a certain set of TiVo recorded material depending on which room I was in. In the end, what I need is some sort of remote client setup where I could access my TiVo from another room. I could rig up some really long cables and some type of infrared repeater for the remote, but that’s just silly. It would be great if some type of remote client box/piece of hardware could register with a specific TiVo as an authorized client and be able to deliver content from that TiVo, similar to expandable cordless phone set-ups (which I also have). For monthly subscribers, TiVo could charge some additional fee per remote client, similar to additional receivers for digital cable/satellite customers (which I also am).

TV is an integral part of my life and TiVo has become essential to that experience. Now TiVo just has to become “mobile,” moving with me, following me and becoming as necessary and compatible to my high-tech life as high-speed Internet access and wireless Internet access (both of which I also have).

And that’s my big TiVo thought of the day.

Drama for jocks

I just got finished catching up on all the Playmakers episodes for this season. For those of you who don’t know, this is ESPN‘s first attempt at a dramatic series and I have to admit, it’s pretty good.

Of course, I do have a soft spot for football and, ahem, football players, but regardless, the series is compelling. At first, the storylines and the main characters we follow seem a little formulaic, but the show takes advantage of the appeal movies like Any Given Sunday have. It shows the exciting part of football that we usually see and love– the actual playing of the game and all the athleticism that goes with it– but it also shows the challenges the players, like all professional athletes and ultimately, people, face. Early episodes of the show revolved around Omar Gooding’s character, but frankly, watching him get high got old real quick. More interesting are plotlines like how they handled the domestic violence issue (it really was an accident!) and more recently, addressing the dangerous situation homosexuals face in professional sports. And at the end of the day, mixed in with all the soap opera drama, there’s still good ol’ football and inspiring stories of players overcoming challenges while playing the game, like Olczyk’s big play at the end of the latest episode.

I don’t know if I’d watch a show about professional baseball players. Maybe one about basketball players (let’s not even talk about the Kobe situation). But I’ll keep watching this one, especially if they keep showing all those very large, very good-looking men in the locker room.

Queer and fag hag eye for the straight girl

My new favorite show/addiction is Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I just cannot get enough of it. Sometimes, I wish I was a dirty, unkempt straight man just so they will come to my house, buy me new clothes and furniture, take me to the spa, and put together a fabulous meal. Instead, I am left to my own devices.

The thing about this show is that it doesn’t really need to have five gay guys. Really, it could just be some put-together straight men, specifically of the metrosexual variety. All the Web sites I’ve found that define the term “metrosexual” highlight the idea that the metrosexual man is narcissistic because he spends time, money and energy on pursuits that have been traditionally associated with women or gay men, especially things like grooming and fashion. But to me, taking on these traits and concerns is not narcissistic, but part of becoming a whole person. Yes, the inside is the most important, but dammit, sometimes you just need to take care of the outside.
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RPC Hell

The beginning of the school year has finally arrived and thankfully, I’ve survived somehow. Since my last post, I’ve been busy getting ready to release all the cool new projects we’ve been working on all summer, but the whole end of summer rush only got worse because of RPC hell.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, I’m referring to the numerous RPC vulnerabilities on Windows NT, 2000 and XP machines and the unbelievably fast-spreading worms that have exploited them. As the computing organization that supports the approximately 10,000 on-campus housed students (almost all undergraduates and most graduates), we are responsible for a huge part of the campus network and total number of computers, especially considering 99% of students have their own computer. We had hundreds of computers hacked during the summer when there were very few people on campus and we knew that it would only get worse once school started and all 10,000 were back on campus– over 85% of our users run some flavor of Windows.

But we weren’t too worried.
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Supreme courts rule sodomy A-OK

The Supreme Court ruled today to strike down the bans on homosexual sex– what some states call “deviate sexual acts.”

Well, it’s about time.

It’s been a big week for minority issues in general– affirmative action survives another attack and sodomy gets a thumbs up from the high courts. Okay, not sodomy, but privacy rights. But it’s not as funny that way.

In general, in the face of homeland security and the daily erosion of privacy rights, this week’s Supreme Court decisions have shown that the original framers of the Constitution set up a pretty good system to allow us to hold true to our ideals and change with the times. As Kennedy said, they knew that “times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress.” A propos considering Kennedy was one of the first people to use the term “affirmative action.” It’s a policy that has its flaws, but like the Constitution, can change as our society changes. The Supreme Court’s ruling proves just that– the undergraduate point system was too heavily weighted toward race, but the graduate system was deemed more fair and acceptable. It shows that we do not have to reject policies, ideas, concepts in their entirety, but make important compromises to achieve the best solution in the end.

As Joe Pesci’s character Simon Wilder says in “With Honors,” “the beauty of the Constitution is that it can always be changed. The beauty of the Constitution is that it makes no set law other than its faith in the wisdom of ordinary people to govern themselves.”