HBO (Finally) Now!

April 10th, 2015

HBONowHBO Now dropped on Apple TV!  I subscribed and started playing catch-up on Game of Thrones and started filling my Watch List with items I’ve been meaning to see (Going Clear, etc.).

First impressions –

  • need a binge watching feature like Netflix where the next episode starts immediately or at least appears in Watch List (currently, you need to go through each episode in a series and add them to the Watch List.
  • Quality – very high quality, seems higher than Netflix and Amazon Instant Video at first glance
  • Slow – this may be an Apple TV thing as it is older hardware, but navigating around the app requires a lot of spinning gear
  • …(more later?)

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Streaming sticks/boxes, etc.

March 24th, 2015

I won’t say I’ve tried them all, but I’ve tried more of them than most people. As usual, there is a back story and a lot of history as I am usually an early adopter. Here are my streaming platforms in the order that I purchased/used them and my overall impression. I’ll end with some musings on where all this is going. Read more…

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SlingTV, the first few months

March 18th, 2015

Screenshot from 2015-03-18 07:55:42I was psyched when I heard about SlingTV. I had actually used a Slingbox a few years ago to watch content off my Tivo from hotel rooms. This was before Netflix had a great library or Amazon had dabbled in content and the only option seemed to be iTunes … I actually watched half of the first season of “24” on an iPod classic (ya, the one with the 2.5” screen) … how the days have changed.

Here’s the back story. I moved from a city with Charter cable in August of last year to a rural location in New Mexico. I’m lucky to have 12Mbps DSL, via CenturyLink, for streaming and I also put an HD antenna on my house to pick up over-the-air broadcast networks. Not part of this post, but I also have a 4/2 wireless ISP connection, via Higher Speed Internet, as the DSL upstream isn’t robust enough for me to work from home. Read more…

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Back to blogging (?)

March 17th, 2015

Screenshot from 2015-03-17 08:23:51It seems like every few years I get the itch to write a few posts. Maybe I will keep it up, maybe I will not. It’s been a tough year with a lot of changes, that’s no excuse.  But for now, I do have a few ideas to blog about. Expect a few updates in the next few weeks regarding my move experience with the worst company in the world, maybe some tech updates, maybe some brewing updates, maybe some riding updates…..(now in New Mexico)

I updated my WordPress site this morning with no hick ups and will be dabbling in the new editor for my first post in years (actually the second now that I just posted this) … about SlingTV.

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Rdio vs. Spotify (vs. MOG, Rhapsody)

June 17th, 2013

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Vs    logo

 

I’ve spent the last month or so reviewing the premium subscription services from several music streaming services.  I tried MOG, Rhapsody, Rdio, and Spotify in that order.  I ruled out online radio only services (Pandora, Last.fm, and the upcoming iTunes Radio) as I wanted to listen to specific playlists and specific albums in their entirety.  I did skip Google All Access as one of my requirements something that runs native on iOS (not some cheesy HTML5 Web App).

Over the course of the trials, I discovered a TON of new music.  I found artists that I may have heard once or twice in the past that are now some of my favorite artists.  I tried to challenge the libraries with college tunes from 20 years ago.  I put them through the paces on iPhone, iPad, Android, Web interfaces, and downloadable PC and Mac apps. Read more…

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GSMNP 5 mile trail ride (there and back)

August 22nd, 2011

This is a short description of a 5 mile trail ride in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I’m skipping the map I put in previous posts as this one is simple and it’s not a loop, but rather a ride up a trail and back down the same trail so unless you suffer from amnesia then you should be able to find your way back to your truck and trailer.

For this ride I suggest the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map #316 Cades Cove – Elkmont Map which in addition to the GSMNP map has contour lines and it’s much easier to distinguish between hiker only and horse and hiker trails. Read more…

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Cherry Melomel … sort of

August 22nd, 2011

I had some old left over honey from a group brew of medium sweet mead several years ago.  It had crystallized and darkened somewhat, but still had a very pleasant smell and flavor.

I was bored and wondering what I could do to use the honey so I can give the giant honey containers that I have to my father to fill with fresh honey from his hives.

I kicked around some ideas and just decided to wing it with a kitchen sink of stuff and hope for the best.

I went to the grocery store and shopped around for some concentrate or juice that had no preservatives, was not too expensive, and sounded good in a mead/wine as I had some wine yeast left over from my Perry. Read more…

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Big Benny’s DryPA – single hop (Centennial) IPA

August 22nd, 2011

I brewed again this weekend trying to build up my stock after the three year hiatus. I started with the Dead Ringer IPA recipe from Northern Brewer, but went a bit higher on malt color and extract amount. The name is from the single hop that I used with a bit of a stretch (Centennial = 100, Benjamin Franklin on $100) and I’m dry hopping as well as using a well attenuating yeast (Safale US-05), of which I pitched two packets.

I’m fermenting in a 7.5gal carboy and will rack after a week into a 5gal carboy for a two or three week secondary before bottling. Read more…

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Rebrewing … getting back into the hobby

August 11th, 2011

You may have read my post regarding a Perry and read that I’m going to start brewing again. Here’s the long story and my next steps.

Due to my wife’s job(s), we have had to relocate three times in three years.  We were living in Blacksburg, VA for 4 years.  I had an awesome brewing setup.  I had an entire basic kitchen in my basement along with a double miller sink (stove, fridge, kitchen sink, cabinets, drawers, and the double miller sink) as well as a great cellar for fermenting and even lagering in the winter months. When we had to pack up and move to Raleigh, NC all the brewing gear got shoved in a shed or closet where we lived.

Since I know that was a short term arrangement, I never got around to brewing. Likewise a year later when we moved to Ithaca, NY; where we only lived for 10 months. Read more…

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GSMNP 9 mile trail ride (loop)

August 9th, 2011

This is a description for a 9 mile loop in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This ride does have a few tricky spots, but I would rate this much easier than the 8.6 mile ride I described yesterday.  The elevation gain on this ride is also not as severe even though it makes a loop and has two climbs and two descents.

This ride starts at the first truck and trailer accessible parking spot when you enter the park from Townsend and are heading towards Cades Cove.  The parking spot is about a mile past the tunnel and is indicated as a black half circle on the Trails Illustrated Map.

I’ve included a map below with some arrows and numbers (you can click the map to expand it to full size).  I used black arrows and red numbers (there are already black arrows, but with a little bit of studying you’ll see the trails I’m recommending in this ride). Read more…

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