Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Wednesday, 08 October 2008
If *I* had that much trouble "fixing" the streaming from WMP11 to Xbox360, how the hell are mere mortals expected to be able to figure this out? Ork had a similar problem and he ended up installing TVersity to make it work, and I initially installed Orb to get around it before fixing it the first time, too.
Wednesday, 08 October 2008 14:45:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Links | Tech | Gaming | Microsoft | WWW#
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
I think it was today. Maybe it was yesterday, I'm not quite sure. The timing is good, however since I have a new affliction that I wanted to look up. I was up a little late last night and when I got up this morning my gluteus maximuses (how the hell do you pluralize gluteus maximus anyway) were a little sore.

My Wii arrived last night and I hooked it up to that sweet, sweet HP 65" DLP tv in the living room and gave it a whirl. Mario Kart, Wii Sports and Wii play. Suddenly it all made sense! Wii bowling! Taking that step as if I were actually tossing a bowling ball down the lane IS A LUNGE! I only bowled one game to try it out, so ten frames. One strike means I actually only bowled 19 virtual balls... so I suppose that works out to 1 set of 19 reps... and I can barely climb the stairs at work today.


This morning I see the Google Health link and click over there, thinking I can search on health-related things, like having a sore butt. I went to www.google.com/health and in the search box typed "Wii butt" and didn't get any hits. At least not any SFW hits, that's for sure.

Matty & Co. are coming over after work tonight to play a little. This is the Wii that I received as a free gift back in December. It finally arrived in Miami on May 16th and I had someone who was travelling home from a business trip pick it up and mule it down for me. I connected it up and did the updates and connected it to my Wifi access point, so if you want to play Mario Kart online with me, or just connect and have my Mii show up in your games somewhere (when I get around to making one) then drop me a line and I'll add you to my WiiConnect24 address book. I think... I haven't really messed with it too much yet, but i think that's possible.

And note to any prospective Wii owners in the Cayman Islands: Make sure you check United States for residence, or NOTHING ONLINE WORKS. You just get a message (for Cayman Islands) saying "There is nothing for you here. We hope you understand." First thing I'm doing tonight when I get home is try to change that to the US and hope they aren't looking up IP addresses to determine country like Xbox Live does, or I'll be screwed for a few months until I relocate back to Vancouver.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008 11:54:43 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Fitness | Gaming | Wireless#
Friday, 09 May 2008
As long as I can remember, I've been looking for a way to watch tv on the go.
Three years ago I installed a Slingbox at my parents house in Vancouver and then connect to it and stream their tv channels to me down here in Cayman, or on my laptop in a hotel room when I'm on the road (of course, I make sure to check in to a hotel that has free high-speed internet) :) it works pretty good. The main reason I did it was to watch Canucks games, and it works OK for that... My parents' upstream speed is just 512kbps and I find I can get about 489kbps fairly consistently. The lower the bandwidth, the slower the refresh and the blockier the video gets. Not ideal for watching something fast like hockey, but watchable. Upgrading them to the 'extreme' cable modem speed would double their upstream to 1024kbps for $10 month more. I always meant to do that, but never got around to it. Now that I'm moving back to Vancouver it's kind of a moot point. The only drawback is that it's "live" tv. if I wanted to record or time-shift anything, I'd have to buy, set up and configure a TiVo at their house. Slingbox supports a TiVo right down to the remote, but it's another expense and another device to manage.

I've been filling in the blanks with torrents anyway. Widescreen HD streams (although they're shrunk and compressed, they still look better than regular TV) and then watching on my laptop or desktop took the place of watching stuff on TV on someone else's schedule.

Last year when I picked up an Xbox360 and then did the fall update to support XviD, we started using that to stream the tv shows over the network to the TV. Wireless just didn't have the balls to do it though, so I went with a pair of Linksys powerline ethernet devices which promise up to 480mbps throughput. Using Windows Media Connect, it worked great. The only problem that remained was watching this sweet, widescreen, pseudo-HD videos on a shitty 21" TV (at least it has component input) with a nasty overscan.

Not anymore... just after lunch today I took a swing by my US freight/mail forwarder and picked up a new bulb for the tv we got our grubby little mitts on. Tonight, we dine in HELL! OK maybe not... but tonight we watch on an HP 65" DLP HDTV! SO THAT problem is solved, that just leaves.... mobile watching.

When I picked up a PSP a couple years back I had visions of watching tv via WiFi dancing in my head. It never materialized. Sony released the Location Free TV which had a PSP client, but it was $200, and then the client for the PSP was another $30, and then the inevitable nail in the coffin was of course no one knows what the IR codes are for the WestStar custom tv boxes. If you have a learning remote, you can program it to control your WestStar box, but that's it. I went so far as to use PSPVideo9 to automatically convert and sync every video that came down to the PSP, but with a 1gb Memory Stick it filled up pretty quick. I was hoping to be able to watch a show or two on my lunch break the next day, but it never worked very well. Consequently, due to my impending departure in august, I'm selling my PSP. The details are at the previous link on eCay Trade, the free classified ad website down here.

Last year I picked up an iPod Touch and stopped using the PSP for watching video on the plane. Yes, I'm on planes enough that this was something that needed to be addressed. It's an hour and five minutes from Grand Cayman to Miami, which is about 45 minutes of time when you're allowed to use your electronic devices. As it turns out, a 60 minute tv show minus it's commercials is about 42 minutes. Coincidence??? I now had 16 times the amount of storage that I had on the PSP in a device a lot smaller and with an almost comparably sized screen. The iPod's screen is way crisper than the PSPs somewhow, even though it's .1" smaller and slightly less resolution (I think).

It turned out I still had the same issues though, I had to plan ahead and convert videos using Videora's Ipod Touch converter which takes practically real-time to convert from xvid avi to an iPod compatible MP4. As of today, that's no longer a problem. Today I read an article on Lifehacker called OrbLive Streams Live TV to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Excuse me? JACKPOT!

I clicked over to Orb's How-To page and gave it a quick once-over. It seemed easy enough, install the streaming server on your computer and then whatever clients you choose can stream your data (videos, tv tuner, webcam, photos, documents, games, music and even youtube and other online video sites) including the Xbox360, PS3, Wii, Sansa and the iPod and iPhone. They went a step further in that if you have a jailbroken iPhone or iPod you can download a native app to connect to the server rather than a web-browser based interface. Slick.

I used Remote Desktop on my lunch break to log in to my computer at home and download the server. I installed it and created a username in about five minutes and pointed it at my Incoming folder.

Then on my iPod I went to the installer app, updated the sources list and then from Multimedia selected OrbLive. It downloaded the 1.8mb package and then installed it and restarted. After that I had a new OrbLive icon on my screen. I clicked it, entered my username and password as I had set up on my server and... it connected! I clicked Video, and then Folders and there it was: E:\Incoming-BT I clicked that and it brought up a list of the videos in that folder! Slick! I clicked on jPod S01E10 and after a few seconds of Connecting... and Buffering... there it was! it was streaming the video from my computer, over the internet to my iPod via Wifi! SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET! Everton and I then went to get a bite to eat at Cimboco and where we were sitting was within range of one of the C&W Hotspots of which I now have a working username and password. I tried streaming from there and while it worked, it was kinda chunky and stopped to buffer a lot. It was kind of like trying to watch ANYTHING on Real Player (buffering...) I switched to Photos and clicked through the stack of photos to some baby pictures of my brothers and I that Steve had going on a loop at the guestbook table at his wedding. Nice.

If I had a TV tuner and an input going into my computer I could stream Live TV to my Ipod or watch recorded TV in addition to everything else! In addition to the cool-as-shit iPod/iPhone app, the web interface is pretty cool, too. It looks like MediaMonkey and allows you to stream anything you've set to stream to another computer via the web interface, which then invokes your default players when you click play on something. And for some reason it's all free? It would be worth it at TWICE the price!

Friday, 09 May 2008 13:34:51 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Gadgets | Gaming | Wireless | WWW#
Saturday, 02 February 2008
Nothing sucks quite as hard as having to move... I suppose the blessing in Cayman is that 99% of rentals are furnished so you don't have to rent a truck and move all that heavy shit around. Still, all that packing and unpacking is a pain in the arse.
Saturday, 02 February 2008 15:36:33 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Movies | Scooter | Tech | Gadgets | Gaming | Microsoft | Wireless#
Sunday, 18 November 2007
It turns out that I'm being actively blocked from downloading any content from XBL Marketplace because my IP address identifies me as residing outside of the US and A. That's right, region coding. "This content is intended for US residents only".
Sunday, 18 November 2007 12:43:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Tech | Gadgets | Gaming | Microsoft | Wireless#
Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Monday night after my meeting with Noble House, I stayed on the Dolphin Expressway, passed my hotel by and went to the Circuit City in Doral. HALO 3 was on sale at midnight, but I wasn't going to stick around for that, that's crazy! I did want to pick up an Xbox 360 Elite and thought there might be a run on them, so I went in early to do that. I also wanted a second controller and the VGA HD cable (since I don't HAVE a TV to play it on, I'm going to plug it into my Acer 22" widescreen monitor). I spoke with a sales rep and he told me he couldn't sell me the game before midnight. Duh. I was going to get the console and then go back the next day to get the game.

The sales rep told me the "event" started at 10:00, and it was 8:45. "Ten? What happened to midnight?"

"Well, the event runs from ten until two A.M." Well that's a whole different ballgame... I asked him if he could put the console aside for me, and he hemmed and hawed, and finally he printed some receipt tape and wrote "Reserved for Mark" and took it in the back. I headed across the (flooded) parking lot to Chili's and bellied up to the bar to have a bite to eat and a couple drinks and wait for 10.

At ten I wandered back over to Circuit City and there was a healthy lineup outside the door, along with two tv station trucks and a radio station doing a remote. What I DIDN'T realize til about 10:30 was the "event" started at ten, but they still weren't letting people in til midnight. They had raffles and came out and gave away some swag throughout the next two hours. The tall dorky guy next to me won an Elite console and the game! Two numbers off my raffle ticket! Argh! At midnight opened the doors and let people in about ten or so at a time, then as people exited, they let more people back in. I got through in about 45 minutes. When I got up to the counter, I asked if they had any Elite consoles left, and the kid at the register laughed at me. Seriously, he laughed right at me. The other dorkasaurus next to him asked what was so funny, and he said "he asked if we had any Elite consoles left" and he laughed too, like it was all a big joke.

"Do you have one in the back that says Reserved for Mark?" They both instantly stopped and said "ohhh we were wondering what that one was doing back there" and dork #2 went into the back and brought it out. w00t! It's good to be the king!

I was exhausted and it was about 115 when I got back to the hotel room, so I just dropped everything on the kitchen counter and went to sleep. Last night when I got 'home' from work and dinner, I set about connecting the 360 to the 37" LCD tv in my room and tried it out.

Wow.

I'm not sure what the resolution of this TV is, but I assumed it was 720p, so I set it for that and man, even the Xbox360 splash screen is gorgeous! I played the first couple levels on normal difficulty, just to get the feel for the controller and the new buttons and weapons, and I have to say, it's pretty cool. Once I get back to Cayman I'm going to have to re-up my Xbox Live subscription and start getting schooled and teabagged by 12 year old trash talkers again! Next stop will be putting a big widescreen LCD on the shopping list :)

Wednesday, 26 September 2007 20:08:49 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Gadgets | Gaming | Microsoft#
Thursday, 11 August 2005
People who say that video games don't do any good can bite my ass.
Thursday, 11 August 2005 21:22:19 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Gaming#
Friday, 22 April 2005

I got up this morning and checked my desktop (our ADSL is set wrong at the mo and only set at 128kbps down and 64kbps up which is ridiculous, since we're paying KYD$199 a month) and the web page I had opened up had auto-refreshed and had this message:

Sorry, but TVTorrents is down. No, I will not return. Sorry for any hassles. Thanks for all the memories and good times we had together in #tvtorrents. As of now, the channel will remain open, but stay +m (no talking).

Again, sorry for having to leave, but it became necessary. If you can donate to help with the pending settlement, please do so!

That sucks so much ass. I can see how some people would think that posting torrents/hosting trackers for TV shows (sans commercials) would be illegal, but I tend to look at it a different way:

I have a cable box. It costs me $56/month for basic cable. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and then a bunch of other “basic” channels and then we also PAY each month for HBO, TMC, Showtime and Cinemax. WHAT is the “piracy” if I'm downloading shows that I'm ALREADY PAYING FOR? how is downloading tv shows any different from using a TiVo or other PVR? I'm time-shifting so I can watch the shows I want to watch when I want to watch them. I can see the illlegality of it if I didn't pay for any of it in the first place, but I AM paying for it. And since I'm PAYING for it, why should I have commercials shoved down my throat? That's a can of worms for another post, though. :)

Of course, the reason this site got shut down is because believe it or not, I'm not the only person in the world who uses the internet and there were bound to be people in other markets (overseas, etc) who otherwise would not see the shows, who are downloading the shows “illegally”.

I guess I'm going to have to go ahead and get a video card with video in and figure out some way to make Windows XP Media Center Edition work and pick up a copy (as in BUY, you maggots!) of Xbox Media Extender and use that to stream the downloaded content to the TV/Stereo.

Friday, 22 April 2005 05:48:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Links | Tech | Gaming#
Friday, 11 March 2005
Yes another one, also unrelated bits and pieces from the week.
Friday, 11 March 2005 06:07:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Gadgets | Gaming | WWW#
Monday, 31 January 2005
There are a number of ways to draw comparisons between Xbox Live and Las Vegas, here's one.
Monday, 31 January 2005 13:14:50 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Gaming | Microsoft#
This is a particularly geeky post. Lots of terms in there you may or may not know. If it's over your head, don't worry about it. Next post will be more xbox-live and less configuration :)
Monday, 31 January 2005 07:13:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Wireless | Gaming#
Tuesday, 14 December 2004
Finished Halo 2 last night. The ending sucked. No spoilers if you haven't finished it yet, it's safe to read on.
Tuesday, 14 December 2004 05:33:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Rants | Gaming | Microsoft#
Thursday, 11 November 2004

I got HALO 2 tonight, Joanne was in Miami and picked me up a copy of it. I read over the little instruction booklet while the roomies were finishing up a movie, and then when they were done, I went and plugged in the Xbox and fired up HALO 2.

That was many hours ago.

Only by sheer willpower did I force myself to put the controller down and step away from the Xbox. Seriously, it's such a cool game. Thankfully the controls are the same as the first one, so I could slip right back into it. I played about 3.5 hours tonight, I think I made it to the 3rd “level” or so, Im not really sure yet. I got as far as the part with the warthog and the tunnels leading to the bridge. Im glad now that George & I spent so much time screwing around with the Warthogs that I was able to tuuune my driving skills and get through the level relatively unscathed.

Now, however, it's sleepy-time. I don't wanna get into work tomorrow all red-eyed and lack-of-sleep zombie-lookin. :-)

This weekend I'll get some of the boys over for some Slayer deathmatch. Maybe throw some things on the grill, fill up the cooler with beer & ice and WREAK HAVOC ON THEM. OH YEAH!

Thursday, 11 November 2004 21:08:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Gaming | Microsoft#
Tuesday, 09 November 2004

According to PC Magazine, over 60% of xbox owners have purchased HALO since it was released in 2001. I can't speak for other people, but two years ago when I went home for my 30th Birthday, I went to a BBQ and someone brought over an Xbox and plugged it in to a Sony 70” projection TV and we played 4-player Slayer mode deathmatch.

Needless to say, I got my ass handed to me that night, but as I was driving home I said “oh man... I am SO getting an xbox...” the next day I went to EB in Brentwood Mall and got an XBOX, extra controller, HALO,Splinter Cell and Project Gotham Racing. Since then the # of games I have has swelled to about 10 or so, but I was always waiting for HALO 2 to come out.

I think it's first projected date was supposed to be last March or so and Todd was going to bring it down for me. Then it was delayed, and delayed again, and delayed again. I was starting to think that HALO 2 was turning into “the next Duke Nukem sequel” that's been years and years in development and is turning into vaporware.

Joanne is up in Miami at the mo, and if she finds a copy she's going to grab it for me! w00t!

The icing on the cake is not just that we have power back, and a/c back, but we re-installed the home theatre 5.1 speakers, the dvd player, my bigscreen TV, the prismiq media hub and the wireless network. Woohoo! HALO2 deathmatch party at Oceanside this weekend!

Tuesday, 09 November 2004 13:05:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Gaming | Microsoft#
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