I am officially out of work (till Monday) sans the E.O.P.H.

As mentioned in a previous post, I have quit my job. At the time I wrote that post, I was still in what felt like Early Onset Purple Haze (E.O.P.H.). Well, to make this post quick and painless, I got over it in about 4 days. Quickly, I cycled though the 5 stages of death (of a job) and suddenly began to, what I can only describe as, “wake up.” I wanted to get out of bed. I wanted to be more productive (I found “Getting Things Done” – more on that in a later post.) I did not have to worry about all the drudgery and dysfunction that my 7 year old position has been handing me on a daily basis. My head is no longer in a vice.

Strange, though. I have seen this same reaction in other people. First the stages, then one day, they snap out of it and realize that whatever was bothering them about their work is no longer an issue. I think the only strange thing for me is I went through the same process one week and 3 days before I was even done with the job.

I am feeling energized, and to be honest, it is kind of odd.

Well, enough of the self indulgence. I have worked out a deal with my old employer that I will still be in contact with them on a consulting basis until they get someone in to replace me. This builds a nice little bridge for me to get to the next stage of my career.

It is a good day to be aprigliano.

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Tivo HD – On the fringe…

Often I wonder, why did I move to the dead middle of Florida – a cultural black hole. The culture you do get is in the dairy section of the local grocery store. I find it hilarious when in a major city, I can pick up wifi signals of all kinds with my laptop. But, at home, I can sometimes pick up this network named “linksys” if I am lucky, outside my home, in the dark, on a cool night, and Venus is aligning with Mars. We both feel a bit isolated here for many reasons. The nearest Apple store is 1.5 hours away. ‘Nuff said.

I, well, being just so flush with cash (read: sarcasm) decided to bite the bullet and get the new $299 Tivo HD. I thought I would at least make an attempt to see if we could get enough HDTV signals off of my outdoor antenna and put the money where my mouth is by living with a decision to dump the television service from my cable company. Being located equidistant from three major “metros” in Florida, I can pick up many radio and TV signals, sometimes two or three on same channel (which means not getting them at all). My chances of this working, I thought, were not great, but that is how I roll, baby. Carpe dig ’em.

What follows is the stuff I would have liked to have known before I bought the Tivo HD box. This could be a stating point for you should you decide. There is a comments section here where you can ask for finer grained info.

Since I am not using it with cable, the sensitivity to picking up weak signals or signals with mutipath issues becomes foremost. The box does an OK job. Obviously the stronger the signal the better, but with multipath (this is when you are picking up two or more signals from the same source – think: bouncing off a building) the box handles it poorly. This is not that unusual, multipath is the enemy of most HD tuners. ‘Tis odd that my cheap little pcHDTV 3000 HD tuner card on my MythTV box does the best job of signal reception and handling multipath compared to the new Tivo HD or my 4 year old Samsung SIR-T151 HD receiver. To sum it up, the Tivo HD works fine. Does the job. I need to spend some time in this lovely 98 degree heat with a longer pole for my antenna to clear up most issues I have. One final note on this: if you can have one or more antennas that do not need to be re-aimed to get all the channels you want, you are in a great position to go this route yourself.

To my surprise, you do not have to immediately subscribe to the Tivo service to get listings and use the box. Meaning you 1) get box 2) hook up box and 3) play with box immediately. Tivo gives you a surprising 7 days to wrap you head around the service, the interface, and its feasibility in your life before you sign up and commit. I like that. I signed up on day 3 of testing, when I was convinced it is a viable solution for me. I expect them to prorate my bill from the first connection with the service and not from when I gave up my credit card number, but, that’s OK.

O.K. test time is free. Thanks Tivo. Seven days to see if the Tivo fits into your life. Nice.

Since the Tivo HD is a Series 3 Tivo variation, some of the yummy features of Tivo desktop for your computer are not available, most notably the ability to share video files from your computer to the box. Series 2 boxes have this ability. I am a bit disappointed. You see, this would be the Apple TV killer. Think of it, a P.V.R., HDTV tuner, podcast catcher (more on this in a moment), and the ability to stream anything off your PC/Mac for the same price point of the little Apple TV which is a glorified Video iPod that you hook to your TV. Hey! TIVO! Make it happen! ALL TIVOS NEED THIS! YOU WILL SAVE THE COMPANY AND BE FLUSH WITH GREEN! THIS IS IN UPPERCASE, SO, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY!

As far as side entertainment goes, it can play (not subscribe) to podcasts, pull in “TivoCasts” which include DL.TV, dLife, Cranky Geeks and others (it is not a very long list). They also have live audio streaming from Live365 built into the box. Meh. These services are a nice little fortification when you are in the summer doldrums of crappy network TV reruns, looking forward to the new season of -insert your favorite TV show here-.

Over all, the box does a pretty good job over the air, has some nice extras, but I wish Tivo would get off the stick and get those more expansive features that the Series 2 has and pull them up into Series 3. The $299 is, on the final analysis, still well worth the money.

Side note: I am saving $80 per month by getting rid of all TV service from my cable company. Look into naked cable modem service, the savings may surprise you. There are no taxes, at least in my state (Florida) on internet service. This all kind of pays for itself. Huzzah!
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=apriglianoorg-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B0036OR910

Quickie post – Amazon’s Buzmart

I was looking for a scanner to give my niece for her birthday and I came across Buzmart – an area of Amazon.com that seems to stock refurbished and overstock merchandise. And it has some pretty amazing deals. I found a $75 scanner for $35. Now I will be known as “Cheap Uncle John”

Have a look see…

I mean $7.87 (U.S.) for an HDMI to DVI Monster Cable? That is the first time I have ever seen Monster Cable products being sold for what they are worth.

Your mileage may vary.

A ViewSonic WAPBR-100 success

Back in March, I had the intestinal fortitude to write about my experiences with the ViewSonic WAPBR-100. I am always shocked when I hit upon something that Google finds interesting enough to actually index it to the first or second page of their search results, as was the case with this post. But this post is interesting, though, because I still get occasional comments on a five month old post. The following is part of the thread of the comments. I just smiled from ear to ear when I saw the last one.


From reader John…
I did this, seemed to work fine on day one. Come home today and my internet isn’t functioning at all (i’m assuming it is just a coincidence). I was really looking forward to downloading the Bioshock demo on my Xbox360 — and the thought struck me that I could use our generously unsecured neighbor’s wireless to do so, via the WAPBR-100 / WAP54G. However, when I try to log into the IP of 192.168.1.245 I get nothing. I try holding down the reset button on the back of the Viewsonic, and nothing happens. It seems as though the reset button will no longer work. I can’t log into it and I can’t reset it…this is a problem. I can still see my local router at 192.168.1.1 on the PC that blugs into my new mutated viewsonic. Anyone have any ideas?

aprigliano’s reply…
Tell me if this helps…

Plug the WAPBR network cable directly into a PC or Mac. Then, hard code an i.p. number to the NIC on that computer (192.168.1.10 should work. Do not use DHCP.) Make sure there is no other networking going on that computer. You should then be able to browse to http://192.168.1.245 and get to the admin page.

If this does not work, it may not be on x.x.x.245. Try a broadcast ping (ping 192.168.1.255) and the device should reveal its IP. Try browsing to that address.

John says…
Thank you, Will try this this evening and let you know how it goes.

John writes again…
Broadcast Pinging did the trick! I had never heard of this before but it came right back at 1.150 and I can now change settings.

It is entirely possible that I changed the IP to a static 150 after I got it set up and forgot about it… I had a few beers during the process.

Thanks again. Learned a useful trick today.


I used to joke that Google pays me $ 0.32 per month, proving that this blog is not a waste of time. Actually, it is for the karma.

This makes it all worth the bandwidth I am blowing around here.

I resigned my position at work today.

This post is not really for you, it’s more for me.

There are many things that go though one’s head when one is about to end a phase in one’s work life and about to pursue another. The consistent paycheck I have received for the past 7 years has been wonderful. I have been amply compensated for my efforts, but the realization that I am in a position that will remain the same position for the next 7 years is frightening to me. The job’s stress level, which was manageable during the first few years, has gotten to a point that vacations and time off no longer have the stress relieving effect they should. And I find myself wanting more from my career. I can achieve more.

Not knowing exactly where I will be next is a little unsettling, but the NEED to go somewhere else is overwhelming.

Wish me luck.

Bubble 2.0? It is not that bad.

John Dvorak, who has been writing about computers and tech longer than I have been reading about computers and tech, recently wrote an article about the bursting of Bubble 2.0. Quite honestly, I can’t disagree completely. I mean, the impetus to add social networking in one form or another to anything and everything on the web is getting ludicrous. I expect the Real Estate industry to add user generated video to their various home listing systems so we can enjoy Chocolate Rain while looking for our next dream homes.

How many social networking/blog plays have been made in the last year? More than I care to track down, but three sites come to mind: Twitter, Jaiku and Pounce. Each one builds on the others’ ideas. All are an extension of the Myspace/Facebook/Blogger lineage. But how interesting are the people that use these sites? There are some folks who are so darn interesting they maintain an account on ALL OF THEM and will jump at a new account on the next social site to come along. NOBODY is that interesting. Something no one has ever thought of with these sites is when all this “fun” social networking becomes a second job, the “fun” leaves the equation. The background noise you will eventually hear is the sigh of the overworked social networker, realizing that they should get outside.

Now, to be clear, I do see this bubble getting ugly in blogging.

There are bloggers blogging about blogging, bloggers blogging about SEO who use SEO on their blog, and bloggers who make money blogging writing about making money with blogging. Read the last sentence again, I’ll wait for you. These blogs are all über-meta. Most make money with advertising. It’s 2007 and they are still using the word “monetize” ad-nauseam, which was overused during the fist dot-com boom.

Who are they hurting? Advertisers? But the advertisers got the clicks they paid for, right? There is some lost time on the readers’ part, but readers are sheep, right? These readers are just looking for the next easy money-making scheme to latch on to. I hear little pops popping left and right, like bubble wrap being snapped. The unsuccessful blog that tells you how to be successful is, let’s face it, not really going to tell you something useful. A craptacular blog deserves to implode. This unsuccessful blogger knows better. You probably do, too.

Remember podcasting? “You too can be a broadcaster.” Even I produced one. It is real work. Podcasting is on the cusp of breaking through to a mass audience and has been for 2 years now. But look who’s taken over. Sadly, the independent producer has not taken over podcasting. Large media outlets have gobbled up most of podcasting. You say, “The hell, you say!” I say look at the front page of the iTunes podcasting section. 8 out of 10 podcasts (numbers pulled out of my butt, but seem right) belong to some larger entity. Yet podcasting still can’t get to the audiences like traditional mass media. Maybe it’ll be ready by Bubble 3.0.

All that said, this all is not that bad. During the first boom, there was big money, IPO’s, and bad ideas written down on bar napkins getting millions in venture capital…and when the bust happened, it took your 401K with it. Lots of people were hurt. This time, it is different. Sarbanes-Oxley has made an IPO play a real hassle for any company wanting to go public (good or bad, it is just harder). The venture capital/IPO play of yesterday has been replaced by the harp filled song of the angel investors. They just want some of the profits, not to cash out 6 months after an IPO. Only the angels feel the pain of a crash if there is one.

If you do not believe me, even the Robert X. Cringley, in a recent interview with the Business of Software Blog, thinks there is no bubble.

Quote from the Article:


Davidson: Are we in a tech bubble?

Cringely: No. Tech companies today have to make a profit and the IPO market stinks. There have been some lucrative buy-outs and a couple big IPOs, but this is nothing like what we saw in the late 1990s. Not even close. If you are making a profit, it isn’t a bubble.


End Quote.

The tools to start up the next great start-up are cheap/free – and you can do it in your spare time between work and bed. No need to go after $25 million in venture capital. You just need a box with some software and time – as much time as you can give to work out your great idea that you thought of while you were flossing last night.

My final point: when this “Bubble” does blow, it is going to happen slowly, sector by sector. Bad ideas get wiped away and good ideas hold on. Slowly, over time, and not all at once.

It’s not really a bubble. It’s just business.