Classic Dishes...

We're light, so tell Ron in his IFB to pimp the kicker.

Had to share this real quick. This is actually how people talk in a TV newsroom. I used to talk like this. Hell, in a lot of instances I STILL talk like this.

My Tivo Weekend

First and foremost, a quick shout-out to my man Jesse over at Gestalt Circus, the newest member of the blogging scene. Give him a look, he has some good stuff to say, and we’ve apparently gotten him at least interested in Survivor (and at just the right time!)

Hope everyone had a fine and filling Thanksgiving. or whatever you might celebrate around your neck of the woods.

First, some quick housekeeping: the commenting is gonna stay as-is for now. I just don’t like how Blogger does it. In fact, I need to remember to give Haloscan a few bucks so they’ll turn my archives back on.

The big project this weekend was upgrading my Tivo. A little bit ago I took advantage of a great deal on to pick up a 160 gig drive for $50 (after rebate, of course, but that rebate seems to be fast in processing), with plans to replace the current 80 gig drive and possibly add the various and sundry hacks to the Tivo kernel that allow me to extract video and what not.

I ended up wussing out on the hacking, for a couple reasons: one, I had heard that the hacking method I was going to use was obsolete, and I wasn’t 100% sure of the technical aspects of what I was doing anyhow. The Tivo hacking community can be somewhat elitist, and it’s damn hard to find any kind of step-by-step guide to getting these things set up, prolly because nobody wants the trail of bread crumbs to lead back to them if someone gets litigious. Moreover, I’d learned that Tivo plans to roll out their Tivo ToGo service before the end of the year, and part of that service should allow me to download programs to my machine and burn them to DVD and such, which is really all I was interested in with the kernel hacks in the first place. So, best to keep it simple, and just worry about upgrading the drive.

The folks at have a fine guide on upgrading pretty much any kind of Tivo to any kind of drive configuration you could like, but it doesn’t go into detail as to any kind of time investment. So let me present a timeline of my Tivo upgrade:

Earlier in day, Saturday: Downloaded and burned MFSTools 2.0 CD image, and attached target Tivo drive to a spare drive tray. (My desktop PC has a neat hard drive mounting system where the drives are secured to these little trays with rubber grommets in them to prevent vibration, and then they slide into the drive rack and snap into place with a spring latch. Makes it a cakewalk to swap out drives. In fact, thinking about it, I should dig up an old drive and stick Fedora on it.) Took about five minutes.

4:00P: Moved storage cubes that double as a speaker tower (a greatly simplified process now that I’ve figured out how to do it without having to pull out a hundred or so Dreamcast games) and gained access to back of television set. Detached all connections from back of Tivo. Was pleased to find that power cord was detachable as well, as this made extraction of unit from component stack that much easier.

4:10P: Tivo extracted from component stack, sitting on work (coffee) table. My computer toolkit just happened to have T-10 and T-15 Torx bits, so according to the instructions I’d printed out, I was ready for whatever they threw at me.

4:15P: Top cover of Tivo removed. Most things I’ve read on Tivo hacking repeatedly hit upon the point of not dislodging the ribbon cable that connects the Tivo motherboard to the front panel of the unit, but I can’t see how you would unless you were being pretty careless…mine’s in there pretty tight.

4:30P: Six screws later, the Tivo hard drive (a Western Digital) has been disconnected and removed from the Tivo. Tivo drive is brought to desktop machine and secured to other spare drive tray.

4:45P: Spent a few minutes making sure that I wasn’t gonna need the desktop machine for however long this was gonna take. Shut down PC, swapped PC drives with Tivo drives.

4:55P: Booted from MFSTools 2.0 CD and issued backup command, as given in upgrade instructions.

5:00P: We’re rolling. Fortunately, it counts the megabytes as they are transferred, so we have some idea of progress made. Unfortunately, it’s an 80 gig drive, which means there are 80,000 or so of them. And since we’re going from one drive directly to the other, we’re transferring about 200 MB per minute. Which means we should be done…around 3:00a. Oy. Gotta wonder if it woulda been faster if I’d backed up to a spare drive first and then restored from the spare drive to the new one, but this was more convenient.

Rest of evening: Spent with laptop. Periodic checks of desktop machine indicate that 3:00a seems to be an accurate estimate. Eventually go to bed.

4:30A, Sunday: Get up for bathroom run, and in so doing check in on PC, which is indeed finished and indicates my drive is ready to go at 140 hours and change. Kickass. Swapped PC drives back in, returned to sleep.

1:00P, Sunday: Attach new drive to Tivo, return the cover, replace in the component stack, and plug it all in.

1:10P, Sunday: Wait with lump in throat…Tivo screen changes from initial boot to “Just a few minutes more”…and there’s the welcome animation! And my old programs still play!

1:15P, Sunday: The information screen reports that I now in fact have a 150 hour Tivo. Success!

So you get the idea. Negligible actual work on my part, but if I knew it was gonna be a ten hour wait for the transfer to the new drive, I would have timed things so that happened during an overnight. So maybe I’ll save one of The Four Of You from the hassle one day.

That’s a full lid for now. I may have a Survivor post later.

Order Up!-date

The voting is in, and The Four Of You (actually I think we only enjoyed a 50% voter turnout) voted overwhelmingly for most-to-least-recent archive listing. Last night I looked up some code, and mashed it together with some code I already had, and I appear to have pulled it off. Go me. :)

In doing this (and after much banging of my head against a brick wall – the things I do for My People), I also have discovered a trick to get the blog to completely republish MUCH faster and WAY more reliably than before. (It seems Blogger doesn’t like overwriting files much. Not bad when it’s just dealing with the index, but a pain in the ass when dealing with 100 back entries. So if I blow out the blog manually and let the program republish it from scratch with nothing to write over, what used to be a half-hour of nail-biting happens in about a minute, and the first time.) So because of this, I may start tinkering with bringing the commenting system internal again. I like the LiveJournal conceit of displaying comments directly below a blog entry and providing an easy way to join in. What we have now with HaloScan isn’t bad but I can’t help but think we can do it better. So if you see the site with multiple comment links on each entry, it’s because I’m fiddling with it and it will be back to normal soon enough.

Firefox, by the way, is teh b0mb. Popups? Spyware? Those are things that happen to other, lesser people. Is Microsoft really so dense as to maintain that tabbed browsing isn’t a killer app? Look for it in IE within a year – and look for this Steve Vamos chucklehead to be seeking other employment.

So. I was gonna write my usual Friday piece on Survivor and The Apprentice, but with Raj getting the boot last week from the latter, and Sarge (Just as I’m not gonna tell Glenn Danzig he sucks, I’m not gonna tell Sarge that Lea is a girl’s name) getting axed for owning a penis on the former, there just isn’t much left on either show to hold my interest. Survivor is quickly becoming (what’s the opposite of a sausage fest? A tuna party? :)), and the only real interesting angles on Apprentice remain whether Andy will shake the “he’s just a kid” stigma (despite the fact that he’s carried himself just fine every time the ball’s been thrown his way) and whether The Donald will run out of people to fire instead of Ivana and be forced to hire her dumb ass.

(Revision: In looking up Danzig in Google to get the link. I saw some pictures, and apparently he’s let himself go over the last few years. I’m inclined to think that today, I WOULD tell him he sucks. :))

Reality Roundup

The Merge happened last night on Survivor: Vanuatu. The world yawned. These guys has the unenviable task of following up the All-Stars, but with the exception of Sarge, who doesn’t have a hope in hell of making it any further than the Final Three unless he runs the board outright, there just aren’t a whole lot of interesting people left in the game. CBS is TRYING to make them interesting, but this is just plain a weak cast. I look forward with great excitement to the next installment of The Amazing Race, though.

Over on NBC: You know that feeling you get right before you accidentally knock over a glass of Kool Aid onto a white carpet? The one where you KNOW it’s coming, and time stops, and yet you can do nothing to stop your arm from colliding with the glass? That was me watching Raj do himself in on The Apprentice last night.

Now, my brain knew from Day One that Raj didn’t have a hope in hell of winning. The idea of seeing someone like him actually working under The Donald is up there with appointing Gilbert Gottfried as your Secretary of State. But my heart liked the guy. The bow tie, the cane, the two-tone wingtips, the man was the very textbook definition of “dapper”.

But, he left Trump with no other choice. He was PM on their project, and he ultimately approved the piss-poor contractor they hired, and also didn’t fire him when he realized how poor he was. Trump even offered him an out, when Chris opened his dumb mouth to complain about his team’s makeup AFTER Raj selected his fellow candidates for dismissal, by giving Raj the chance to bring Chris back as well. If Raj accepts that offer, I dunno if there would have even BEEN a second session, Trump was so keen to shitcan Chris on the spot. But Raj, ever the gentleman and champion of fair play, refused, and sealed his fate at that moment.

Gotta give him props for going down swinging, though. As he waited for the Elevator of Fate to open, he took one last shot at getting digits from Robin the receptionist, who, I think, ALMOST gave ’em up. Raj truly _is_ a great man.

Two In The Bush

As one might expect, the folks on the Air America radio network morning show were up in arms when it was announced that Kerry was conceding the election. “How COULD he?” “Keep fighting!” “I thought every vote counted!” As a Kerry supporter, I was embarrassed.


Yeah, I’m not thrilled about it, any more than I am about the realization that I live in a country where much of the Midwest, South, and approximately half of Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada are inhabited by ABJECT IDIOTS, but come on.

Trying to find a legal loophole in the Ohio elections when your candidate has been all but mathematically eliminated is every bit as weenie as the tactics these folks have been accusing the Republicans of to keep potential Kerry voters away from the polls. Maybe the system needs fixing, but it’s the one we operate under by now, and by those rules Bush won the election, so shake the man’s hand, call it done, and go back to work trying to make the country better with the tools you have at hand. Prolonging the inevitable just because “you owe it to your supporters” (which, by the way, translates to “we poked some of your campaign money away for just such a situation, and it would look even worse if we just pocketed it”) just makes you look weak and petulant.

Yeah, so Limbaugh and Hannity are gloating right now. I’m sure it’s a lovefest over at KKKVI. At least you guys will have a job for another four years or so.

Yep, it must be Monday…

This may be too geeky for some of The Four Of You, but what the hell. This is my life.

Something caught my eye on one of the message boards I read every morning, so I thought I would fire up Tivo‘s Web site and do a little Remote Scheduling. (If you are not yet Tivo-enlightened, you can basically look at listings online and tell your Tivo to record something even if you’re not home to do it. Pretty sweet.)

And I get an error message at Tivo’s site that says something to the effect of that it can’t get my channel data and to either redo Guided Setup or call ’em. So I call, and the nice fellow at the other end tells me the Tivo hasn’t made a call home in five or six days, so the guide data is prolly insufficient. Odd. I had this problem for a teeny bit when I first plugged the wireless dongle into it, but everything settled into a groove and it’s been fine since. So I figger I gotta check it out when I get home, I thank the nice man for his time, and hang up.

Five or six days ago. Hmm. That would be…..

I smack myself in the head. Tuesday.

See, I recently acquired a new laptop, with a built-in wireless card. It arrived last Tuesday. And the card hasn’t been working with my router, even though other wireless devices work fine with it and the card works with other wireless routers. (It’s a long and tedious post unto itself, believe me. Suffice it to say that a new 802.11g router is incoming and I paid the extra three bucks for two-day delivery.) Well, part of my dicking around with said router to be sure I tested everything was to change from 128-bit encryption, to none at all, and then up to 64-bit encryption, just so I’d have some coverage. And I hadn’t bothered to change it, since the new router was incoming and the 64-bit key is easier to type in.

‘Cept I totally forgot about the Tivo, which is set with a 128-bit WEP key trying to talk to a currently-64-bit WEP-ped router. You’re not gonna make a lot of connections that way, my friends.

What a dumbass. I suppose if that’s the worst thing that happens on a Monday, it’s been a pretty good Monday. But I feel like an idiot. Sheesh.