Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Becca Hi-Techa

I feel confident in claiming my status as the blogger with the biggest computer screen, perhaps on the planet. It's because I'm so high tech... you know, I love gadgets and gizmos and anything that runs on electricity and human ingenuity. Hah!

You all know that it is my husband who drives the technological advances around these parts, and he has really been racing ahead lately. First, here's a view of my ginormous computer screen (which also serves as our TV screen... spoiled little girls!). See, a few years ago Eric installed a sweet HD projector in our family room, then used fancy paint to make a screen on the wall. By the way, he insists that I note that the image in this picture is crystal clear in real life, but the flash is washing it out. Ahem.

Remember driving through suburbia in 1989, all the houses looking like wedding cakes with behemoth, tacky cake toppers sticking off one side of the roof. Antennae, we called them. So we could watch Full House or Duck Tales on television. Or maybe you had a dish... pretty sure you could channel aliens with a dish that big now days. Anyway, here is our newly installed HD antenna, hidden low to the ground on the back of the house.

Eric has been watching me type this Ode to his technology (on the big screen, no less!), but now he has requested permission to finish this post. Permission granted!

Hi. I'm so excited to have been granted this privilege. I will not use it frivolously.

Continuing on with the antenna...maybe about 13 months ago I negotiated with Comcast for a really great deal on a big package of HD stations for something like $20 a month which is just slightly more than the cost of basic cable (no HD). We also rented a DVR (a device that you could use to record your favorite TV shows) for about $7 a month to record The Office and Lost (the two shows Becca and I watch). It was awesome, friends coming over to watch all kinds of sports in HD, Becca and I watching Lost and The Office by ourselves or with friends at our convenience. And all for really cheap! However, a month ago it all changed.

I noticed on out Comcast Bill our rates had gone up considerably and our total bill was near $100. What I thought was a long term deal was only a 12 month deal. I tried my best to negotiate the rate back down, but to no avail. It was time to take swift, decisive action against a company that wasn't flexing to the will of the consumer.

So I, with the help of my brother Ryan, bought a few pieces of equipment: a new video card and tuner card to install in my computer, an HD antenna (above) and a wireless mouse and keyboard. With a little work and a lot of research, we converted my computer into an all in one DVR/DVD player/Live TV tuner (thanks to the built in capability of Windows Media Center standard on most Vista operating systems). Now, completely free of charge, we can record both The Office and Lost and watch them at our convenience. Take that Comcast.

I wish I could have recorded the cancellation call I gave to Comcast to post here, but I wasn't thinking about that at the time. I was too elated by the endorphins released by "sticking it to the man".

End of story.

Becca here. And so, friends, we are so high tech around here, I can hardly stand it. Really, I'm just wowed by my husband's intense desire for technological frugality and his savvy know-how. End of story (again).


rjboldt said...

I haven't commented on anything I've read but now I can't resist. I actually have a call in to Comcast right now and waiting for them to call back so I can cancel the installation of cable because I wanted to watch the NBA playoffs which I can't get on network TV. They are totally unwilling to budget to give me the most basic cable at a reasonable rate. I just want it for basketball and don't want to pay 50 bucks for 3 channels. They have a pseudo monopoly so they really are "the man." Good for you for sticking it to them. We also are in the process of frugally making our entertainment free. I just built our new computer for 1/3 the cost of the equivalent new one. And are ready to hook our computer up to our TV. (We just need a sweet TV, which we are saving up for). One nice thing is that you can watch a ton of tv via your computer via,,, and for free. Take that Comcast. I think Eric needs a blog now. Specially geared towards the geeky cheapskate. Let's get together soon.


Erin said...

Jon will LOVE this post and probably have a long conversation with Eric, if he hasn't already figured out how to do-it-himself.

kunnak1 said...

I think I didn't understand about 2/3rds of the techno-lingo in that posting! I am really ready to get out into the real world and out of the library. I forget people have interests, and they spend time researching technology, and buying things, and setting it up. Is this what is on the "other side" of school? I sure don't think i can keep up with developing a multi-interest self :) Seriously, I am a little scared to see how I react to "real life" and not super structured, task-oriented, focused living. I might blog about that.