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!

 

Triple Click iPhone Home Button Trick

Trying to get back into the blogging habit after a long hiatus.  Too many distractions with the amazing summer weather we’ve been having this year!  I’m working on a recap of what we’ve been up to & should have it up here in a week or so.

BUT, for now I’ll publish a draft I had sitting in the queue and hopefully it’ll come in handy for some of you.

I don’t know about you but in my world manufacturers and restaurants have this silly habit of using smaller and smaller fonts everywhere.  Case in point, try looking at the IMEI number on the back of your iPhone.  It’s TINY!

BUT, I have a solution to share with you that I’ve used for a while now.  It’s call the Triple-Click-Magnifyer and it’s amazing!

1. Touch the “Settings” icon on your iPhone’s home screen.

2. Touch the “General” button followed by the “Accessibility” button.

3. Touch “Triple-click Home” (or “Accessibility Shortcut”) located at the very bottom of the Accessibility screen.

4. Tap any of the accessibility options to assign that option to the Triple-click Home function. A check appears next to the option to indicate you selected it. If you select more than one option, the iPhone will ask you which one you want to activate when you use the Triple-click Home feature.

I only use the Magnifier option at this time and it works amazingly well.  It’s not the same as firing up the camera and zooming in.  It allows for much closer focus and an almost unbelievable amount of zoom.

Now all you need to do is unlock your phone and quickly press the home button 3-times.  That’s it!

If you found this tip helpful let me know in the comments section.

Apple AirPods – One Month Later

It’s been a little over month since the AirPod First Impressions post (and a month since I’ve updated the Blog, wow!) and the AirPods have earned a place in my Every Day Carry kit.

I was a little concerned about the battery life at first but it’s turned out to be a non-issue.  I’m only charging the case about once a week and rarely have the actual AirPods in my ears for more than an hour at any one time.

For some reason the AirPods seem to feel ever so lightly larger in my ears than the wired EarBuds but without ay kind of precision measuring tools I can’t confirm that’s the case.  Once thing I did start to notice is the seams where the halves come together had an ever so small sharp edge to them that I could start to feel after about 30-minutes of use.  I was able to smooth the ridge out with a very fine sponge backed emery board and now it’s not an issue at all.

As far as sound goes they sound better than the EarPods with just a little more bass that’s noticeable with most types of music.  Microphone pickup is very sensitive and I was told during one of my tests the other party could hear me breathing.  Sound quality on both ends is more than acceptable and is similar to what you would find when using the phone.

I have an iPhone 7 Plus and occasionally find it hard to line the phone up with my ear to get good sound.  That’s where the AirPods become my favorite method for making and receiving calls.

Evidently the AirPods are sill in short supply and as of this writing Apple is still showing a 6-week lead time on shipping.  I have yet to see another person wearing a pair of AirPods which I find surprising.

If you want to spend the $150 on a set of truly wireless headphones and you’re willing to wait a few weeks I still think these are a good purchase.

First Impressions – Apple AirPods

After purchasing Christmas presents for everyone on my list this year I decided to get myself a gift.  After 3-weeks of waiting the package finally arrived…  Apple AirPods!

I love listening to music (mostly Spotify) whenever I can and after seeing the AirPods announcement last fall I was curious about how they performed.  Thanks to a lot of media outlets getting advanced units the reviews were out there before the AirPods were even available for order. For the most part they were very positive.

I’ve tried the inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds connected with a cord that is supposed to go behind your head and I’m not a fan.  The cord gets caught up in your clothing and makes the entire process rather uncomfortable and annoying.  Now, with the AirPods, you can actually go completely wireless and it addresses all the issues I was frustrated with.

The AirPods sound better than the EarPods that come with the iPhones.  They are just slightly larger and, in my case, fit very comfortably in my ears.  The bass is noticeably improved and the overall sound is very nice.  Battery life and bluetooth range is very impressive too.

These are not going to replace my Bose noise canceling over-the-ear headphones that I use when I want to tune the world out but they will be part of my daily carry for those times where I need a little music to make the day go a little better.

It’s to early to say if they were worth the $159 asking price but so far I haven’t regretted the purchase!

Goodbye Pocket, Hello Instapaper!

apps-pocket-iconAlways looking for interesting online content (and a place to capture it) I’ve been using the Pocket application since 2012.  I even upgraded to the Premium version for around $5 a month which gives you some nice auto-tagging, searching, and archive functions.

I was actually preparing to return to the free version of Pocket because I wasn’t using the advanced features as much as I thought I would.  I save the articles I want to keep long-term in Evernote so the archiving features were not a benefit.  I’m still trying to adopt the whole tagging concept too so that was another feature that was wasted on me (I’m a Folder organizer, always have been)…

instapaper-logoThen Instapaper decided to eliminate the cost of their Premium services… (Whoah, game changer right?)…

Well I had to at least try it out.  I’ve seen the Instapaper icon as a “save for later” option all over the Internet for a while now.

I’ll have to admit I’m pretty impressed with how Instapaper works.  It does a MUCH better job saving articles in their original format than Pocket did and it beats Evernote hands down with inline videos and graphics.

Other features include “Speed Reading” where each word flashes on the screen at a speed you select.  It’s a little awkward at first and causes me to read out loud, for some reason, but it does what it’s supposed to.

Another option I just discovered allows you to tilt your phone to auto-scroll the article you’re reading.  The more you tilt the faster the scrolling rate.  It takes a little bit to get used to but works great when you’re sitting in your favorite chair relaxing.

If you’re a fan of offline archiving/reading of online content you should really check out Instapaper.  You can even import your Pocket library into Instapaper and not miss a beat.  It’s a really solid product and you can’t beat the price!

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below…

TVShow Time!

I officially “Cut the Cord” on Cable TV last November and haven’t looked back.  With subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go, I get to watch pretty much anything I want when I want (and save a lot of money in the process).  I’m finding a lot of shows that have been around for several seasons and it can be hard to keep track of what you’ve watched and when new episodes are made available.

Tvshow-TimeThis is where TVShow Time (TVST) comes in.  This is a free service on the web that also has apps for Apple and Android.  TVST helps you mark what you’ve watched and has a worldwide fanbase who have running commentaries about the shows you’re watching.  It’s a big community of people who are doing exactly what you’re doing!

Community members make and upload GIF’s of important scenes in each episode to post in the comments and they’re usually very entertaining.  Be warned though there are spoilers in the comments so it’s best not to view until after you’ve watched a particular episode.

TV-Show-TimeOne of my favorite features is a calendar of upcoming shows that goes out about a year in advance.  Wondering when the new season of Walking Dead is going to return?  As of today it’s 48 days away!

To get started you just search for your favorite show and click the “+” sign to add it to your list.  After that you can view show details, season info, episodes, and community comments.

In the settings you can setup push alerts to let you know when new shows are available.  If you’re a Hulu user you can even delay the notifications by 24 hours so they’ll actually be available for you when you get notified.

The basic app is free & they just added in-app purchases that will allow calendar access and some additional customizations (I haven’t tried these yet).  TVST has been a really great resource to help me keep track of my TV viewing and it’s worth checking out!