The basics of SageTV

If you want to use a computer you own as a DVR, there are a few things that you’ll need and a few things that you have to decide or think about. While setting up a SageTV system is complicated, it’s mostly due to the complexities of computer hardware and networking. SageTV itself is fairly easy. I describe what SageTV is and how it works, some questions to consider when planning your installation, required software and hardware, and detail out various configuration options. If you’re not very familiar with DVRs and the current crop of options, take a look at my previous article.

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DVR history and your options

Digital Video Recorders (DVR) are also called Personal Video Recorders (PVR) and the two names can be used interchangeably. I currently use SageTV Media Center which I have installed on a server computer in my basement. They are effectively digital VCRs, but can have many other features, like:

  • multi-room access
  • music, photo, and video playback
  • access to online content like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or Youtube
  • many hours of video recording
  • the ability to record more than one show at a time.

They’re great, and I suggest you get one.

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Android vs iPhone: it’s all about the user experience

I had tried out the G1 at T-Mobile stores, but really wasn’t impressed. It has a lot of similar features as the iPhone, but it was a lot less polished and not quite as logically lain out.

Android hardware has gotten a lot better since then. The OS has improved quite a bit as well. A friend of mine has a DROID that was just updated to Android 2.1 and I notice that a lot of the list scrolling (such as in the app management screen) and the zooming in and out in the maps app is definitely not as smooth as the iPhone. The whole Android experience is more complex. It feels more like Linux, which I suppose is not surprising. Prior to buying my iPhone 3GS, I spent a lot of time at the Apple store and at the T-Mobile store trying out both phones.

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New book size? WTF?!

Here’s a trivial rant for the day.

I admit to reading sci-fi and fantasy novels. A series that I’ve been following for a while is “The Dresden Files”. Recently I ordered the latest two volumes and noticed something weird. The paperbacks were priced at $9.99 and the specs on the books listed them as 7″ tall. That’s a few bucks more expensive than most “mass market” paperbacks. And I figured that the height was an error or estimate, as mass market books are usually about 6.5″. Continue reading

Anecdote About the Pre

Here’s an anecdote about the Pre. Last night I was at a networking event and we had to send an email out to the attendees with an update to the directions prior to the meeting. My colleague has a Pre. I was trying to send out an email using the registration site we use and couldn’t edit the rich text form with Mobile Safari. So I asked my colleague if I could try on his Pre. And it worked, but only because the site changed the text field to plain text. He said that was the first time that he could do something on the Pre that couldn’t be done on an iPhone and that usually it was the converse.

So, I’m happy I didn’t get a Pre.

I wonder who will end up buying Palm. Cisco, HTC, Nokia? I’m not sure why any of them would want it. And neither is this guy.

iPhone 3G issues: ATT vs the world

Many people blame the iPhone for the problems that its owners have experienced on ATT in the US. However, there is evidence that it’s ATT’s problem. Ever since the iPhone was released, there have been many people (me included) that have had reception problems with the iPhone. Dropped calls, inability to make calls, and slow data speeds have been the main symptoms. Continue reading