TiVo vs. Media Center

There’s been some talk about TiVo vs. Windows XP Media Center Edition. Michael praises XPMCE’s flexibility, so I went over and took a look. Flexible, yes, but they’ve got the ergonomics all wrong. To use my TiVo, I plop down on the couch, click on my 25″ Toshiba and surf the menus with an infrared remote. If I understood what I saw in the tour, to use XPMCE I have to pull my chair up to a desk, boot up, click a mouse a bunch of times, listen to the noisy whir of a computer fan and finally get to watch my program on a 15″ monitor.

TiVo, cable and the art of piecemeal movie viewing

Finding time to sit down and watch a movie seems to be harder now. Mostly we chase after our two year-old but even after she’s gone to sleep there are so many other things to occupy our time. Like, ahem, writing a weblog.

Given our time constraints, committing two whole hours is a little overwhelming. We salivate over the half-hour sitcoms, especially the ones that air on stations with commercials. We can whip through these on our TiVo in about twenty minutes.

It got so bad that we had to give up on our Netflix membership. Instead of paying Netflix $14.95/month to hold the same two DVDs for weeks on end, we figured we could point TiVo at HBO every once and a while to tape something interesting.

So we did…and the unwatched movies started collecting (current count: 9).

But we had a breakthrough. Instead of watching a movie in one sitting, we’ve started to watch them in one hour chunks. It breaks the flow a little, but it also gives you something to think about and something to look forward to. Like a good book that you don’t want to finish because you enjoy reading it so much.

We’ve been working our way through Peter Bogdanovich’s pictures. Tonight we finished Cat’s Meow, which was fabulous. The reviewer’s comments on IMDB say that Gosford Park is better. Hmm, better add that to the TiVo wishlist. It’s bound to air eventually, and we have plenty to catch up on in the meantime.

Life with the VX4400

After three days with the VX4400 I count myself a mostly happy customer. The color graphics interface is leaps and bounds more usable than the monochrome lcd screens on older/cheaper phones. The T9Word input mode saves keystrokes by guessing what word you are typing. The T9Word database is extensible, so you can add your own words for it to guess next time. Biggest nit: it’s way too easy to unintentionally send a caller off to voice mail. Twice now I’ve grabbed for the ringing phone and accidentally hit the arrow buttons on the side of the phone, which terminates the call. Worse, there’s apparently no way to recover the caller’s number, so you just have to hope that they leave a message.