Movies to Video

After my DVD player died and I was able to bring it to life, I noticed a button on it I had never used before. It was the Progressive Scan button. I bought this DVD player partly because it was progressive scan meaning that instead of showing you every other line of the picture 60 times a second it would show you a fresh frame 60 times a second. But apparently it would only do that if you pressed this button and I had never done that.

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I joined Epinions today. I’ve always found their reviews to be kind of obnoxious because people get very wordy and cute with their reviews. But I think there is some value to them as well because they keep reviews of older products on record whereas Amazon has no reason to keep reviews of out-of-date electronics. Anyway, my DVD player died (while watching my Seinfeld DVD Christmas present!) so I decided to review it. You can go there to read the review or read it here:

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The New Centurion

Hurray!!! This is my 100th blog entry! I have been posting since April 2003 when Jeb tricked me into writing my first blog entry by just taking an e-mail I had written to Kelly and putting it on my newly created blog. It was a month before I wrote another entry and again I think it was an e-mail I had sent to Jeb that he said I should turn into a blog entry (and may have done it for me again). Later on it became easier to write blog entries about things related to the dogs, the Estonians (surprisingly popular), and all my gadgets like the iPod (unsurprisingly unpopular). I do find myself going back to some old entries for information that I have stored there. The search tool is great.

Anyway, on this momentous occasion I would like to thank Blog Master Jeb for all his hard work in putting together blogs for everyone and keeping them lively. And it’s not like I write everything on my blog. The comments have really been enjoyable and are a major part of the whole thing, especially with the Estonian series. So thanks to everyone who posts comments and reads these things too.

Here’s a question: The blog shows all the months I have posted entries, but is there a way to make a page (maybe a separate page) that lists all of the entries and links to them? That way I could use AvantGo to download my whole blog to my Palm.

Lastly, I really like the new Christmas colors!

Google Taketh Away

I’ve had Google AdSense advertisements on two of my web sites’ pages for several months now (first post, second post). It started off pretty slow. In August I was getting 54 page views a day and made $2.72. In September 48 views a day but $3.42 in revenue. But in October things really started taking off and I averaged 125 views a day and $9.99 in revenue. By using my Site Meter web page counter I realized that what happened was Google had started referring people to my web site whereas before I was getting most referrals from the less popular Ask Jeeves.

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Roth IRA

This past week I opened a Roth IRA with Vanguard. One thing that bothers me about my current deferred compensation plan at work is that when I start withdrawing the money I will have to pay taxes on it at the full rate (currently 25%) whereas if the money were not in a retirement account and I used after-tax money the gains, at least, would only be taxed at 15% for long-term capital gains. The Roth allows you to pay *no* taxes on the gains.

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Trying to Save the Season

One of the headlines I read yesterday said that professional hockey players have agreed to take a 24% reduction in salaries in order to end the current labor dispute in the NHL and save the hockey season after already missing 85 days of the season.

The bigger problem? I didn’t know that *any* games had been missed. It never even occurred to me that the hockey season should be underway right now.

Last year I remember reading that the NHL’s current TV contract was over and they were taking bids for a broadcaster to buy the rights. The problem was that nobody wanted the rights. The final price they were able to negotiate was $0 (but at least they will be on TV still, or would have been if they had any games). And the league is losing $250 million a year.

Fish Oil

Clio has been itching so much that I finally took her to the vet. They said she had fleas, but I thought that was impossible since I hadn’t seen any fleas on her and I was giving her monthly applications of flea medicine. They gave her some steroids to relieve the itching which worked but made her drink so much water that she wound up ruining the carpet in the Estonians’ room (forcing me to remove that carpet which was a good thing anyway).

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Even though I already bought a HDTV decoder box, Dish Network is now selling their HDTV Digital Video Recorder Model 921 for $550 whereas last year at this time it was $1000 if you could find it (it had just come out). Because the HDTV signal has 5 times as much information as a regular signal, recording HDTV programs takes much more disk space and processing power. The 921 has a 250 GB hard drive in it and it still only lets you store about 25 hours of HDTV programming (or 180 hours of regular programming; that’s more than 5 times, but satellite signals are compressed). Dish itself only broadcasts a limited number of HDTV stations because it takes up a lot of bandwidth on their satellites too. They have HD versions of Discovery, ESPN, and TNT as well as a HD movie channel and HDNet with various HD offerings for $10 a month. Broadcasting hundreds or thousands of local channels in HDTV would take so many satellites that it may never happen. So Dish made sure the 921 could receive HDTV signals through an antenna and record them.

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