Telco Mania

Ok, big changes going on at home with our Telco options.
First and most important – we’ve picked up and are now testing MagicJack as a potential replacement to our home phone line.
It’s a very cool and compelling offering – for $40 you get a USB device that allows you to plug in an RJ11 phone (I’ve plugged in our Panasonic wireless phone) and make phone calls anywhere in the US and Canada.  No monthly bills.  2nd year is $20.
As someone who’s always looking to cut costs (i.e. cheap) I looked at this and thought wow – we could potentially eliminate a $45 monthly charge (basic service plus a long distance package for the US and Canada).
There are some limiations of the system – it has PC and broadband pre-requisites (broadband must be running, PC must be running).  It doesn’t offer international calling at this time.  But hey – we have a computer we keep on all the time (for media storage and services).
We just received our MagicJack yesterday, and I hooked it up with no problems.  We’ve made calls – and we’re letting our family and friends know our new number to call during our ‘test period’.
So far so good!

New Van!

With the family taking a three week driving trip this summer, Dawn and I have talked about upgrading our wheels to something a little more comfortable.
So I’ve traded in "Fronty" our Nissan pick-up, and we just bought this nifty Dodge Ram Conversion Van. Gadget alert – it comes with Nintendo 64 controller plug ins!

Vacation Project #1 – Complete!

I rarely do home improvement projects. My wife and I have this understanding – that a little book called the ‘yellow pages’ is filled with many people more competent and more interested than I at doing work around the house.
Well, this month I’ve been taking the whole month off – and it’s given me extra time and energy to do things around the house that I normally wouldn’t consider.
Project #1 – putting in new tiles in the main bathroom. Dawn and I picked out the tiles and grout – we often like the color blue as a ‘feature color’ – and it drew our attention this time too.  Here’s a pic of the results – my first time putting in a tile floor.
Note: the different colors in the blue tiles is due to their reflective properties. It looks better in person.

Made it one whole year!

Woohoo – today is one year after my last blog entry – making this one of the busiest blogs in cyberspace.
Ok – so here I am at my computer, waiting for our DirecTV HD Tivo. "Clearing and deleting everything. This will take about an hour."
You see, lately the Tivo has really been underperforming our expectations – and it had done such a good job of setting our expectations so low to begin with this was quite a feat in itself.
It’s only taken two weeks of shows pausing, not responding to remote clicks until 5 minutes later, and then not responding to corrective remote clicks for another five minutes for us to concurr as a family that perhaps something isn’t going well with the Tivo. I figure this is probably the Linux/Tivo performance equivalent of hard drive fragmentation… and since the (supported) options for improving Tivo performance are limited, I’ve opted to go for the "Reset and delete everything and start over" option.
To ensure we get back into our old viewing habits, I’ve captured a list of our Season’s Passes.  Since I have nothing better to do – and apparently neither do you – here they are for your reading pleasure.
Note the top four shows – if you haven’t seen any of these I highly recommend you check them out.
Eureka 244  SCFI
Weeds 71  SHOH
House 13  SE13
My Name is Earl 5  SE5
The Sopranos 70  HBOH
The Sopranos 502  HBO2
The Office 5  SE5
Extras 70  HBOH
Pokemon Chronicles 296  TOON
Pokemon 297 BOOM
The Simpsons 388  FOX
The Simpsons 13  SE13
South Park 249  COM
Law and Order: Criminal Intent 5  SE5
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 7  SE7
Curb Your Enthusiasm 70  HBOH
Ed, Edd’n Eddy 296  TOON
Futurama 247  TBS
Futurama 296  TOON
Tripping The Rift 244  SCFI
Law and Order 5  SE5
Family Guy 13  SE13
Intervention 265  A&E
Monk 242  USA
American Dad 13  SE13
Entourage 70  HBOH
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends 296  TOON
The Fairly OddParents 302  NKTN
Pokemon 22  SE22
MythBusters 278  DSC
American Idol 13  SE13
Kappa Mikey 302  NKTN
That’s Clever 229  HGTV
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! 71  SHOH
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart 249  COM
Project Runway 273  BRVO
Knitty Gritty 230 DIY
Design Star 229  HGTV
Growing Up Creepie 294  KIDS