Thursday, 26 April 2007

TiVo Series 3: $500, including free wireless adapter

Dave Zatz points out a really sweet deal on the HD TiVo Series 3: $500, including a free TiVo wireless adapter. (If you want to give me a referral kickback, use chris (at) as the referral address when activating.)

Wednesday, 11 April 2007


Monday, 2 April 2007

Public service announcement

Lisa Edelstein (Dr. Lisa Cuddy on House) is not Paget Brewster (Jessica on Andy Richter Controls The Universe).

That is all.

Friday, 16 March 2007

QotD, The Office edition

Dwight Schrute, attempting to mingle with another guest at the CFO’s party:

Dwight: You ever watch Battlestar Galactica?
Party guest: No.
Dwight: No? Then you’re an idiot.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

The Worldwide Pants sitcom curse continues

BigJim passes along the sad news that The Knights of Prosperity has been canned by ABC. Since that’s the only show I regularly watch on ABC, at least I can move my indoor HDTV antenna to get a little better reception on CBS now.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

The only sane reaction to the FBI anti-piracy warning

BigJim has the poster, which I assume originates from the other side of the pond.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Super Bowl Tech

Ars Technica gives an overview of much of the neat technology that CBS will be using to bring Super Bowl XLI into our homes on Sunday—in some of our homes, in glorious high definition to boot.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Your sci-fi geekery quotient for the week

A few sci-fi items worth a look:

  • Steven Taylor has links to video and stills comparing the “old” and “new” special effects in the newly remastered Star Trek episodes. I’ve gotten to see some of the new episodes in syndication and they look very good; it’s a shame we’re not getting them in true HD, at least in St. Louis, but I suppose that will follow in due time. (I hold out no hope at getting them unedited except on DVD.)
  • Ilya Somin further chronicles the massive plot holes in the six Star Wars films, while the Baseball Crank looks at the problems of the second trilogy (Episodes I-III) in greater detail.
  • The “original, unbelievably crappy trailer for Star Wars.” Certainly it sucks by today’s standards… then again, most 1970s trailers suck by today’s standards.

Friday, 5 January 2007

For your consideration

A short parody starring Michael Cera, TV’s George Michael Bluth: “Impossible is the Opposite of Possible.”

You may need the context. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Random leftover college football thought

Some free advice—if you plan on asking someone to marry you, don’t tell Chris Myers unless you want him to inadvertently propose to your girlfriend on national TV on your behalf.

Sugar Bowl in LoDef

Mobile’s Fox affiliate needs to boost its digital signal—it’s the only channel I can’t get indoors at the hotel. And, of course, it’s also the only one I want to watch tonight…

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Double-entendres of the night

Brent Musberger just said on national television—and I quote literally—“the road to Glendale is paved with Trojans.”

I wish I were making that up. What’s worse is now I can’t get that image out of my head.

Brent also just said that a Notre Dame player was penalized for “pulling out early.”

Saturday, 18 November 2006

St Louis HDTV Survey

One of the regulars at the St. Louis HDTV forums at has put together a rather lengthy survey for HD viewers in the region, with the hopes of getting results from local broadcasters. So, if you have HD in St. Louis, go forth and help out.

Monday, 6 November 2006

Weird borrowings

Anyone who’s been to SLU knows that our illustrious president is obsessed with gateways and archways (along with statues)... our campus is littered with metal arches spanning pedestrian walkways, even whole streets (I think we have four spanning Grand Boulevard alone).

So it was pretty jarring to see a photo of two of our arches—the pair on either side of Grand at the crosswalk where Pine Blvd used to run back in the olden days, lightly Photoshopped to read “State University”—in the corner of last week’s episode (the one with Hugh Laurie and Borat) of Saturday Night Live during Weekend Update. Should’ve gotten a photo of it, alas.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Back to Mars

Will Baude, Hei Lun Chan, and Amber Taylor (in comments) react to the Veronica Mars season 3 premiere. Like Amber, the things that annoyed me the most about the episode were the incongruities of Hearst College: it’s allegedly a selective liberal arts school, but it seems to be crawling with enough students to be a UC campus and (more incongrously) it has TAs. I can buy a liberal arts college having a criminology professor, though, although the natural homes for such profs like sociology and political science would probably turn up their noses at hiring someone to teach such a shockingly applied topic. But the rest of the episode was engaging enough, in glorious 1080i high definition no less.

As for the rest of my TV watching the past couple of days, I also enjoyed the premiere of Friday Night Lights on NBC; anyone with a brain could see that the starting QB was going to be sidelined, but that’s OK: drama pretty much requires a series to have some adversity, rather than following the template of “best team in Texas goes out and kicks butt, just like everyone expected.” The accents and such didn’t bother me as much as it did Steven Taylor, perhaps in part because I’ve never spent much time in the area and in part because it’s not obvious that the TV show (unlike the book and the movie) is actually set in West Texas—if the town (presumably “Dillon”) were somewhere in the northeastern corner of the state, people would have a pretty thick Deep South accent. Virginia Heffernan even gives it a rave review for the blue-staters who read the NYT, so it can’t be that bad…

IU study: Daily Show as substantive as network news

Ars Technica looks at a recent study conducted at Indiana that concludes that the Daily Show has just as much substantive content as network news programming—although that may simply be damning with faint praise.

That probably explains why these days I mostly surf Google News and watch very little of either Stewart or Couric.

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Football weekend

I have to say I had a pretty good time in Columbia this weekend, despite Ole Miss’ general ineptitude leading to a 34–7 drubbing at the hands of Mizzou. I also enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with one of my professors from grad school days, Marvin Overby, and getting together with Frequent Commenter Alfie and the gang for a Midwestern tailgate and pub crawl.

In other football-related observations:

  • Line of the weekend: Brad Nessler, Paul Maguire, and Bob Griese are calling a game on ESPN (Oklahoma–Washington, I think). Maguire sets up Nessler to plug his doing play-by-play on the late MNF double-header game, and this exchange follows:
    Maguire: What about me and Bob? We’re not doing anything Monday night.
    Nessler: You’re not doing anything now.
  • Incidentally, that game was worth watching for Bonnie Bernstein alone.
  • NBC should have left the “players introduce themselves” video packages with the rotting corpse of ABC Sports where they found them.
  • Fox’s NFL graphics package looks a hell of a lot more professional this year than in years past. CBS… not so much.
  • The solid ABC bug on ESPN on ABC needs to go away. Now. Before plasma TV owners start calling in death threats to affiliates.
  • ESPN needs to give up on trying to hype its “talent” to get people to watch its shows. Telling me that I can hear Colin Cowherd spew his ignorance on ESPNU while I get queasy from the SkyCam (and Cowherd), or trying to dupe me into watching the Sunday night SportsCenter with Stoo-yah Scott by promising more of Chris Berman’s stale act, is not effective promotion of the brand unless I accidentally find another Disney network to watch instead.
  • People sitting in a studio don’t need to be using hand-held microphones. Either body-mike them or use a frickin’ boom mike.

Finally, any sports bar that has blown $5k on a widescreen flatscreen television should not be showing a stretched standard-definition broadcast of anything, much less a football game available in high definition. At the very least, switch off the damn stretch mode—am I the only person alive who thinks that exaggerating people’s width by ⅓ is a bad idea?

Saturday, 12 August 2006

Fun with Pythagoras

How to calculate the effective size of a 16:9 television when viewing 4:3 material:

effsize = √((diag × 0.654)² + (diag × 0.49)²)

where diag is the diagonal size of your 16:9 television.

For example, the viewing area of a 27-inch 16:9 HDTV is about the same as that of a 22-inch 4:3 television when viewing old-school, non-widescreen material.

Reader exercise: solve for diag to figure out how to replace an existing 4:3 television with a 16:9 one that provides the same viewing area as that TV.

Friday, 11 August 2006

ABC Sports is dead, long live ESPN on ABC

I can’t say I’m particularly surprised that Disney has decided to ditch the ‘ABC Sports’ brand in favor of promoting all of its sports programming under the ESPN banner, especially considering that the network’s “Wide World of Sports” theme is more often seen being mocked on Cheap Seats than on ABC proper.

It’s just as well, seeing as the man most people today would identify with ABC Sports, Al Michaels, is now on NBC with John Madden and the network primetime NFL package anyway.

Thursday, 29 June 2006

Screamin' A. Smith + Cheetos = Comedy Gold

Here’s everyone’s favorite volume-always-at-11 NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith at the NBA Draft, with color commentary by the amateur cameraman:

þ: Radley Balko

Monday, 5 June 2006

Another sign of the apocalypse

My TiVo recorded NFL Live this afternoon on its own whim, but for some reason the show it ran around 2 minutes short and I was treated to the beginning of Jim Rome is Burning (a show I have mocked in the past under its previous, presumably untrademarkable title). But instead of Jim Rome, who I suppose is otherwise disposed with 6/6/06 approaching, I was presented with the balding pate of Jim Gray, the man who nearly rehabilitated Pete Rose’s reputation and spent much of the 2002–03 basketball season embedded in Kobe Bryant’s rectum. Oy vey.

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Why Gaeta is a Cylon

Duke alum Allison Clarke has seven good reasons why you should believe that Felix Gaeta is a Cylon. I’m still not entirely convinced that Ron Moore wants to go that way, but if he does the necessary clues have certainly accumulated over time.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Yet another travashamockery at ABC/ESPN

Will Collier is rightly perturbed at ESPN’s plans for college football telecasts this coming year, which USA Today’s Michael Heistand reports include the odious and senile Lou Holtz on color commentary for mid-week games, the useless Dan Fouts as a play-by-play man on ABC regional coverage, and—most tragically—the demotion of Ron Franklin (who Will refers to as “the best play-by-play man in the business today,” a sentiment I am in complete agreement with) to the primetime slot on the Deuce.

Tuesday, 18 April 2006

New Ron Moore Q&A

Ron Moore has a new Battlestar Galactica Q&A up at his blog, with a few teeny spoilerish things about Season 3 and the (to me, at least) quite fascinating story of how he washed out of Navy ROTC in college.

Monday, 17 April 2006

Figuring Time Warner out

Now I’ve figured out the internal logic of Time Warner’s local HDTV channel numbers here in Durham, I guess I’m a little less confused:

  • WRAL (CBS) 5’s HD stream is channel 255.
  • ABC 11’s HD stream is channel 211.
  • NBC 17’s HD stream is channel 217.
  • Fox 50’s HD stream is channel 250.

It leaves the choice of 201 for PBS still somewhat arbitrary, but what can you do?