Pulling the plug on cable

29 Jul

On 28 August I moved out of the house I shared with my television-obsessed husband for 8 1/2 years, and into a cozy, quiet little apartment where the t.v. will not be blaring all day long, and I won’t have to fight over turning the t.v. OFF to go to sleep. I realize this makes me sound like a bitter ex-wife, so I need to post this disclaimer up front. That is most definitely NOT the case. The Ex and I are on very good terms; in fact, we’re still quite close and will remain friends. And I love t.v. Well, most of it anyway. I love my DVR, and premium cable channels, and all the choices we have. It’s soooo easy, and rather comforting. It’s amazing how we have come to arrange our lives around certain shows. How we gab over Survivor and American Idol while grazing on bagels and veggie trays in the break room. Or start the TrueBlood next episode countdown at 10:01 Sunday night.

But it’s also a bit poisonous, don’t you think? Not to mention, expensive. And deregulated. And monopolistic. The cable companies know we couch potato Americans are addicted to television, and they take advantage of that by charging outrageous fees. Isn’t it time to take our lives and our wallets back? There is plenty of television content available for free on the Internet. All you have to do is find it. I can help! While I turn myself into a cable gypsy, free of the constraints of $200 cable bills and at-capacity DVRs, I’ll share my discoveries with you. And also my insights.

Maybe you’ll be inspired to fire your cable company, watch select programming on your computer every once in a while, go for longer walks, actually TALK to the people in your family, read a book, play a board game, start a new hobby or home improvement project, volunteer, hang out in your nearest park, find new restaurants or gathering places…the possibilities are endless. All this requires is the desire to find your own life in the real world again. Who’s in?

To Tweet, or Not to Tweet: What Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?

6 Jun

To Tweet, or Not to Tweet: What Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?.

Antisocial Behavior: The Pitfalls of Ignoring Social Media

18 May

Antisocial Behavior: The Pitfalls of Ignoring Social Media.

Hulu test – passed!

28 Oct

Well fellow Gypsies,

So far, two things have happened this week. Well, more than two things have happened, but really only two that are worth mentioning here. First, I finally had my DSL fixed after more than a week of being offline. YUCK. Second, I fired up the ole www.hulu.com for the first time on the 3mgs of DSL. I watched all 5 episodes of “Outsourced” and laughed my ass off without a hint of buffering. Which tends to chafe after a while, ya know…

So, long story short, turns out 3mgs really is enough to watch a large-sized video file off a website. I’ll be giving the Slingbox another try soon, but I’m not optimistic about the 3mgs being able to handle live broadcast television coming from a cable box into the modem. Stay tuned. In the meantime, anyone else have any insights or tips to share?



Back from Hiatus

6 Oct

I am settled into my cozy (quiet!) new apartment, and finally got internet access yesterday, 5 October. I moved in on 28 August! I have to say, it’s actually been rather nice. As far as television viewing is concerned, I’ve been cramming it all in on Mondays while I’m back over at the house doing laundry, more packing, and playing with the dogs. Monday is clear out the DVR day!

In the evenings, I’ve been knitting and listening to a lot more music. We have a local station here in Atlanta that is a comparatively new format, but one that seems to be popping up in other places: DaveFM. I’ve also heard BobFM and JoeFM in a couple different cities, and it seems to be the same: adult alternative. Lots of Coldplay, U2, Shawn Mullins, Sheryl Crowe, Norah Jones, Elvis Costello, Ray LaMontagne, Marc Brussard, Sara Bareilles, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, REM. You get the idea. Great music, great DJ’s, and great programming. My favorite by far is Sunday. In the morning, they have a program called Acoustic Sunrise, which is primarily the music they play throughout the week, but live and/or acoustic versions of the songs. Very nice for a Sunday morning with your coffee and your paper. At 8:00 p.m., they feature a one hour program called, “Inside Eddie’s Attic.” It is produced and hosted by Atlanta treasure, Eddie Owen. The Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins, John Mayer and countless others got their start on the intimate stage of this laid-back bar in Downtown Decatur. Eddie spins tracks from live performances at the The Attic – the best and latest from the world of folk, bluegrass, pop and indie-rock fusion, along with fantastic insight gleaned from his many decades in the business, and beautifully articulated from the heart in his gentle Southern drawl. If you’re interested, you can listen online at www.929dave.fm. The show airs every Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Other than that, I’ve been through the first season of Carnivale (again), both seasons of Rome (again, again) and am now about half-way through the third season of Oz. I have all 6 seasons, and am working my way through. I took pity on my husband and left him all 6 seasons of The Sopranos. But I may have to borrow them! I briefly tested the Slingbox on the laptop last night to see how the 3 mgs of DSL would do with live streaming. I didn’t have too much time to monkey with it, but I was not impressed with what I saw. I’m not sweating it yet, because I’m more interested in being able to watch episodes of my favorite shows when it is convenient for me. So, perhaps with a little patience for the buffering, watching full episodes off of www.hulu.com and www.sidereel.com will be better than trying to watch live T.V. through the cable at the house.

I’ll find out – and report!

Until later, fade to black…


Whew! That was close…

5 Aug

If it weren’t for www.SideReel.com, I wouldn’t have known the season premiere of Dark Blue was tonight! Checked the DVR, not set to record, guess we had canceled the series recording. I fixed that! Now getting ready to watch part 3 of The Pillars of the Earth while Dark Blue “cooks” long enough for me to FF through the commercials. God, we’re so spoiled…

Oh, and I was able to finally tear myself away from the computer yesterday and actually have a somewhat productive day. I watched no television yesterday. It wasn’t even turned on at any point in the day. And, ya know what? I survived.

Random Signal Burst

3 Aug

So, I haven’t watched t.v. all day (and it’s not because I’m in the office – Tuesday is my “Sunday”) but I find that I’ve been sitting in front of this computer for nearly two hours. Is that any better? I tend to think, “no.” Well, to be fair to myself, I haven’t been sitting here the entire time. I’ve also done two loads of laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, and puttered around doing other things. But, the soft back-lit glow of the ol’ HP Pavilion keeps calling me back – like a siren on the rocks. E-mail (four different accounts), Facebook, Daily Kos, Truth-out.org…News Junkie? Technophile? Or just a plain, old, garden-variety Internet Addict. Hmmm…..

T.V. overload

2 Aug

Ugh. I’m stuffed. We gorged ourselves on DVR bounty. Two episodes of Louie; one of TrueBlood; one of Hung, and half an episode of Ice Road Truckers. I’d love to write more, but I feel a T.V. coma coming on…