new office

I haven’t posted anything on this blog in a couple of weeks. I’ve been really busy with stuff associated with my company’s move to Somerset, NJ. I’ve learned a few things during this move, but it might be difficult to post a list without getting snarky. I’m tempted, though! Suffice it to say that a lot of things can go wrong during a company move, and it’s easy to underestimate the time and effort that will need to go into it. Oh, and two days before a move is a *really* bad day to have your main e-mail server crash!

more fun with consumer electronics

I decided to update the firmware on my HD-DVD player tonight. I don’t have the thing anywhere near my home network, so I figured it would be easier to do the firmware update via CD-R rather than trying to do it over the Internet. Lesson one: the Toshiba HD-A3 doesn’t like CDs burned with Nero. It seems to like CDs burned with ISO Recorder, at 2x speed. I picked up that tidbit from AVS Forum, which is a great source of information on various audio/video stuff. So now I’ve got the HD-A3 at firmware version 1.1. I’m not sure that’ll make any difference for anything I’m doing, but I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

I also ran over to the local Apple Store and picked up a new battery for my iBook G4 today. I’m pretty sure I want to get rid of the iBook and get a new MacBook soon, but the old battery had almost completely died over the last few days, and I really didn’t want to pick up the new MacBook right away. So the new battery seems to be charging as it should right now. Hopefully, it’s a good battery and will get me through until whenever I get the MacBook.

consumer electronics mess

I got an HD-DVD player today, the Toshiba HD-A3. It was on sale at Best Buy last weekend for $200, with 10 free HD-DVDs (2 in the box, 3 at the checkout, and 5 by mail). I still have an old-fashioned CRT TV, so the actual HD stuff isn’t really going to come through just yet. I’ll probably buy a new TV early next year.
To make room for the HD-DVD player, I had to do a bunch of rearranging in my living room. I finally got rid of my old casette tape deck, which apparently wasn’t even hooked up to my receiver. (I’m not sure how long it’s been disconnected, but I don’t think I’ve used it at any time in the last five years, at least.) And I put my old laser disc player aside, since I haven’t used that in the last few years, either. My VCR is still plugged in, but I don’t actually have any cables from it running to the TV anymore.
I’m keeping my old DVD player (also a Toshiba; picked up from Woot for $40), since I think it supports a few formats that the HD-DVD player doesn’t, such as DivX.
So, that leaves me with a receiver, DVD player, HD-DVD player, Sony PS2, Wii, and Tivo. The Tivo output goes into one video input on the TV, while the other four items go into a four-port switch box that goes into another video input on the TV. Complicated, but I guess not as complicated as it would be if I tried to keep the laser disc player and VCR in the loop.
I haven’t had a chance to actually do much with the HD-DVD player yet, but it seems to work OK. It takes about a minute to boot, and about 30 seconds to load a disc. That seems kind of excessive, but I guess it’s still typical for an HD-DVD player. I think I may continue using the old DVD player for regular DVDs, just due to the quicker load time.
Meanwhile, I think I still have about 50 DVDs I haven’t watched yet. (Most of them are anime DVDs I got during a big sale at Right Stuf. Still, that’s a lot of DVDs.)