Category: Technology


Awesome (?) Boston Dynamics Robots

I saw this on Reddit the other day and all I can say is WOW.  It’s pretty amazing how far robotic technology has come and I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in another 10-years.  This video reminded me of the “Metalhead” episode of Black Mirror and it’s almost as scary!

Apple Watch Take 2

Having long-ago fully adopted the Apple ecosystem in my daily work and personal life it was only fitting that I started getting the itch to try the Apple Watch again.  I’ve gone down this road before but after reading numerous reviews about the new and improved Series 3 I thought I should give it another try.

My first go around in early 2016 was less than impressive.  Being a 1st generation device I expected some hiccups but there were more than I could tolerate.  Another issue was the inability to see the screen clearly.  The vision issue was totally on me and has since been corrected with a different type of contact lenses.

The 2018 version of the experiment is already leaps and bounds ahead of where it was 2-years ago.  The Series 3 Apple Watch is so much faster than before.  A lot of the processing is taking place on the watch vs the phone as in the earlier models.  Battery life is more than double of what is was before too.  I’m getting almost 2-days worth of use between charges which is twice as much as I was getting with the first generation unit.

Apple offers the Series 3 watch in 2 sizes (38mm & 42mm) and 2 configurations (GPS and GPS+LTE).  The LTE version acts like a stand alone phone, costs an additional $50, and requires a cellular plan.  I opted for the GPS only version since I didn’t see the need for the cellular option.

I’ve completely changed my mind about the usefulness of the device and find it extremely useful for day-to-day tasks. From answering quick text messages to checking calendar appointments to controlling the AppleTV this thing is extremely capable.

If you’ve thought about purchasing an Apple Watch it’s really worth looking into the latest version.  I really wish I hadn’t waited so long!

Track Movies Like You Track TV with Letterboxd

I’ve used TVShow Time! (now called TV Time) for over a year and it’s been a great resource to keep track of show’s I’m watching and shows I want to watch.  I always wished there was a similar tool out there for Movies.  When I reached out to the developers at TV Time I was told it had been “discussed”.

Without a useful app I resorted to keeping a list in Evernote that I would try to keep updated and accurate.  The problem with this list was the lack of social integration and reviews/ratings by others.  Then I found Letterboxd.

Letterboxd is about as close to TV Time for movies as it gets.  It has a huge database of movies you can add to your “Watch” or “Watched” lists as well as thousands of users form around the world sharing reviews and opinions.

And like TV Time it will tell you WHERE to find your movies online through integration with a service called GoWatchIt.  All you need to do is create an account and tell it which streaming services you have access to.

Let’s say I want to watch the 1963 classic “The Great Escape”.  All I need to do it look it up and check the Watch area in the movie description.  I see that I can rent it from iTunes for $3.99 or Amazon for $2.99.  There are also options to purchase it through the various streaming services as well.

After adding my movie list into Letterboxd and clicking around to discover all the options I was happy to drop $19 for a year of their Pro subscription which adds filtering and complicated query functions to get the best out of the site.  It has an iOS companion app as well as an app for the
AppleTV.

If you love movies and want a great way to keep track of the ones you see, own, or rent, you should give Letterboxd a try.  Let me know in the comments if you use Letterboxd or if you prefer another service.  I’m curious to see what else is out there I might have missed!

The Final Piece of the Cord Cutting Setup

I just realized the cord cutting “experiment” I started 2 years ago is still going strong so I think we’re beyond experimenting & it’s become a lifestyle.  I’ve not run into any real issues but managing an antenna for each TV was a bit of a pain.  Not having DVR capabilities made catching some shows (like F1 races at 2am) a little more difficult.

I’ve been waiting for a new type of antenna to come out for over a year.  The Mohu Airwave is a device that allows you to get access to Over the Air (OTA) content from various devices on your Network.  No more running COAX cable or antennas to every TV.  Now your web-enabled devices (Smart TV, AppleTV, Roku, iPad, iPhone, etc.) can stream LIVE OTA content!

After mentioning the Airwave and the past due release to the Executive Chef at Kibbyhanas I learned of an even better product that’s available NOW!  The HDHomeRun line of products connect to your home network just like the AirWave and are 100% compatible with the PLEX DVR service.  This meant that not only could I get rid of all the ugly antennas in the house I could also DVR any OTA program free of charge using my existing setup and storage.

To setup the HDHomeRun you need to connect it to a WIRED Ethernet connection and connect an HD antenna.  I put everything upstairs in the corner of a room so it was out of sight had had better line of sight to the TV Transmitters.  Now that I have everything setup I may be moving things to the attic on the other side of the wall.

A bonus I quickly discovered was my Smart-TV treated the HDHomeRun signal on the network just like a COAX input so all the automation I had set up would continue to work like before.  Win-Win all around!

The only negative I can say about all of this is your network needs to be able to handle the amount of wired and/or wireless traffic generated by multiple HD streams.  I have a slight bottleneck in my setup that should be resolved soon with a new (faster) network switch.

If you’re looking to make OTA content available on more devices on your network and like the idea of getting rid of antennas on all your TV’s you should check out the HDHomeRun line of products to see if they might be right for you.

10-Years of Blogging

I was cleaning up the Blog today & realized this version of IndyScan.com came online just over 10-years ago.

A LOT of things have changed since then, especially when I look at the technology posts.  Back then I was using the Palm Treo and transitioning to the Blackberry.  When the iPhone was first adopted at my company I was one of the last holdouts to turn their Blackberry in.  I still miss that keyboard sometimes…

10-years ago the world was a different place.  We were still pretty sore from the 9/11 attacks and a 512 GB SSD drive was about to be released to the general public.   Tech has changed SO MUCH that it’s really hard to believe where we are now (self driving cars!?!).

I have a few draft posts I’m working on including an update on the cord cutting project.  I added some new things to round out the setup and make it even better.

More to come soon!

 

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