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September, 2017

 

Checked into DreamHost West

Heading out for the day and forgot to check in. It’s been busy!

 
 
 

Two mischievous kids hypnotize their mean elementary school principal and turn him into their comic book creation, the kind-hearted and elastic-banded Captain Underpants.

Watched on PlexMediaPlayer

 

Interview with Ev Williams about Medium – The Brooks Review

Spot on take, here. Medium is going to keep pivoting until its out of pivots. Then, their content will be gone forever.

 

Just installed my HDHomeRun, indoor antenna, and set up @Plex Live TV and DVR. Time to start investigating cutting the cord!

 
 
 

Oh, college football, how I love you.

https://twitter.com/DavidHaleESPN/status/904034383019028480

 

I knew my ‘Canes had great receivers, and now, out of nowhere, Langham is EATING. 🥄🍲

 

Ahmmon, Cager, Berrios, Harley, Langham, Thomas, Njoku, Mullins... not to mention Herndon and Irvin. 🙌🏻🏈

 

Today in, “that’s so Miami” history, I give you THE CHAIN:

https://twitter.com/CanesFootball/status/904062683892375552

 

Paul Johnson should give our leading rusher a slide rule to carry around. 🐝🏈

 
 
 
 

It gives me so much joy to know that the only bright spot the Gators have is their d-coordinator, who is a Cane. 😎

 
 
 
 

Gotta feel bad for Francois. Wish him the best.

 
 

Checked into Del Amo Fashion Center

Test driving the new Honda electric car.

 
 
 

Cord-Cutting Experiments: Part 1

3 min read

Giving hundreds of dollars a month to AT&T / DirecTV has been on my list of expenses to shave for years, now. The kids mostly watch shows from Netflix or my family Plex server, and occasionally will want to watch Disney Channel. Lacey doesn't watch much TV anymore, but when she does, its largely shows on the national broadcast networks. That's pretty true for me, as well, but I have two main vices that I can't shake: sports and HBO.

HDHomeRun Logo

I've decided to experiment with cutting the cord, starting with the option that has the lowest ongoing cost: over the air programming. Thankfully, my aforementioned Plex server supports Live TV and DVR functionality through the use of a network-connected tuner and an antenna. I purchased an inexpensive HDHomeRun Connect tuner off of eBay for about $75, and bought a $10 antenna from Amazon, the Channel Master Flatenna, which was the recommended "cheap" antenna from the Wirecutter. Here are my quick takeaways so far:

The HDHomeRun is great. It was easy to set up, is compact, and responsive. The client application for macOS is barebones, but works really well. I recommend it without hesitation, especially at the price. Just make sure to get a good antenna.

That brings me to the cheap antenna I bought. How'd it go? Well, you get what you pay for. It picked up some channels, but completely failed to pull in ABC and Fox. After spending far too much time moving the antenna around the house trying to get it to work, I broke down and did what I should have done from the beginning, and bought the more expensive, amplified antenna recommendation from the Wirecutter, the ClearStream Eclipse from Antennas Direct. Now, I pull in every available channel with a strong, reliable signal.

Plex Logo

Plex Live TV and DVR shows a lot of promise, but also needs a lot of work. Live TV and DVR are only supported in a few of their client apps right now. Sadly, support doesn't yet exist in Fire TV or Plex Media Player, both of which we use in our house. The Apple TV support is pretty good, as is the iOS client. The user experience is a mixed bag, as well, with Plex choosing to eschew the traditional "grid" approach to presenting live TV content, instead breaking things down to a more Netflix-like experience. I see what they're trying to do, and it sort of works, but frankly they need a grid guide in addition to the more Netflix-like experience. Overall, its fine, not amazing, but I'm optimistic that it will continue to evolve.

With the addition of an Apple TV or two, I think this solution will work well enough to cut the cord, at least for local broadcast content. Apple is rumored to be releasing an updated Apple TV with 4K support, which would work great for us in our great room, where we currently use a Fire TV for our 4K TV. Its entirely possible that Apple will also still offer a 1080p version for cheaper, which we could then place into our home theater, which uses a 1080p native projector.

I'm going to continue tinkering with this setup for the next week or two, and then I will be exploring a solutuion for the rest of our content – sports and HBO. I've chosen Sling TV as the first service to test. That'll be part two, so keep your eye out for my post on that in a few weeks.

 

 

Until that fumble, I’ve been feeling pretty good about the game! Benson runs like a wild boar. Marshall looks decent so far.

 

Watching our offense grind out obscenely long, time sucking, defense exhausting scoring drives gives me great pleasure.

 
 

This drive is everything. Tee up another successful grind-it-out touchdown drive, please. 🐝

 

Told ya that drive was everything. Huge problem not getting points there.

 

Is it just me or do all Tennessee fans look like they could be featured on a bottle of syrup?

 

This is a pretty good summary of what it’s like to be a Tech fan.

 

Well, that sucked.

 

The thing is, I knew we were going to blow it. It was totally foreseeable.

 
 

ANW arrives in Las Vegas, Nevada where the season’s top competitors tackle the 4-stage course. Ninja veterans Lance Pekus, Allyssa Beird, Joe Moravsky, and Jesse “Flex” LaBreck are scheduled to compete.

Watched on Plex Web (Safari)

 

Could they build a robot place kicker for us?

https://twitter.com/GeorgiaTech/status/905118582094184448

 
 

When Gayle's cat, Mr. Business, secures pet agent Ian Amberson, Bob finds out that Linda may have been helping to fund the cat's career. Ever the skeptic, Bob is prepared to shut it down, but learns that Mr. Business could be on the verge of his big break.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Louise is put in a sticky situation when she must defend one of her biggest foes at Wagstaff during a mock-trial. Meanwhile, Bob works with Jimmy Pesto to out a regular food-scammer.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 
 

Checked into SAC Parking lot 11

SAC Parking lot 11

Charging my car at a ChargePoint station before tonight’s DreamHost ROATY.

 
 
 

In the irreverent spirit of fun that made “The Lego Movie” a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble—Lego Batman—stars in his own big-screen adventure. But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

Checked into Dreamhost

Visiting our Brea office!

 
 
 

Love: power and HDMI on back, functional power/reset and LED, front USB ports, easily integrated cooling fan.

 

Wishlist: Ethernet on back of case, soft power/reset, Trump impeachment.

 

When Gene learns that the formula for his favorite chocolate has changed, he works with the head of the company in an attempt to remedy the situation. Meanwhile, Bob gets wrapped up in one of Teddy's less-than-perfect plans.

Watched on Bedroom

 

My primary lesson from the cord cutting experiment so far: if you want to watch Law & Order any time of day, you probably can.

 

Checked into Riviera Village

Riviera Village

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

 

Manton Reece: Decline and return of indie blogs

To everyone reading Zeldman’s post about A List Apart and nodding your head, retweeting the link, clicking the like button… Dust off your blog and actually post about it. A better web is built one page at a time.

Well said, Manton.

 
 
 
 
 

I’d love to see webmention support added to @discourse so our customers could participate in the community through their own websites!

https://twitter.com/smaffulli/status/906244208268156928

 

Yes: Looking forward to another successful Reach out and Touch You Tour party!

 

Watched Despicable Me 3

Gru and his wife Lucy must stop former '80s child star Balthazar Bratt from achieving world domination.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Watched Despicable Me 3

Gru and his wife Lucy must stop former '80s child star Balthazar Bratt from achieving world domination.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Linda jumps at the chance to chaperone Tina’s weekend away at a heroine conference, but Tina’s new friend could put Linda’s perfect weekend in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the younger Belchers have plans for their weekend alone with Bob. What could possibly go wrong?

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

When Tina learns that the aquarium is in danger of closing, the Belcher children devise a scheme to keep it running. Meanwhile, Bob realizes that he could learn a thing or two from Linda's customer service skills.

Watched on Fire TV

 

It’s the year 2257 and a taxi driver has been unintentionally given the task of saving a young girl who is part of the key that will ensure the survival of humanity. The Fifth Element takes place in a futuristic metropolitan city and is filmed in a French comic book aesthetic by a British, French and American lineup.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Watched The Martian

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Batman and Nightwing are forced to team with the Joker's sometimes-girlfriend Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

🐝🏈:

1. TaQuon is the best QB we’ve had in years.
2. OL is frustrating AF.
3. Special teams are GARBAGE.

 

I love that @WilliamLaCour refers to Mario and Luigi as Mah-we-oh and Mow-wee-gee.

 
 

Checked into Charles H. Wilson Park

Charles H. Wilson Park

Off to the Bowl one last time this season!

 

Two mischievous kids hypnotize their mean elementary school principal and turn him into their comic book creation, the kind-hearted and elastic-banded Captain Underpants.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Checked into The Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl

Back for one last show this season!

 
 

Baking some peach clafoutis and watching NFL football.

 

Checked into Ralphs

Quick stop before my trip.

 

Checked into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Vegas for World Hosting Days USA.

 
 

Just saw George W. and Laura Bush on TV at the Cowboys game and wistfully pined for a better time. That’s where we are.

 
 
 

Checked into Umami Burger

Umami Burger

Late night snack.

 
 
 

Great meetings and networking so far at in Vegas. Come say hello to me! Let’s talk @DreamHost and the open web.

 

Faviconographer – Tab Favicons in Safari for Mac.

Great little app that adds favicons to Safari tabs. I continue to prefer Safari to Chrome and Firefox, by a pretty wide margin, and this only extends the lead.

 

@jilljubs I love that shiz! The grapefruit is my fave. The cucumber tastes like pickle juice tho.

 

Checked into W Las Vegas

W Las Vegas

Post Conference.

 
 
 

Checked into Jaleo

Jaleo

Dinner, pre-club.

 
 
 
 

4K Apple TV w/ HDR is great, but I'm guessing the audio support will still suck, making it a bad choice for home theater folks. 🤷🏻‍♂️

 

Other issue: the Apple TV remote is utter garbage. That said, I use a good universal remote in my home theater anyway.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if, in Jony Ive form, the Apple TV remote is now a black rectangle w/ no visible features like the 2001 monolith.

 

Final Apple TV 4K thought: $179? Way too high. By nearly double.

 

Ready to see the iPhone X.

 
 

According to Apple's specs page for the Apple TV, it still only supports E-AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1) at most. Lame.

http://share.cleverdevil.io/cESlsOrga6.png

 

Save the righteous indignation re: the price of the iPhone X. For most people, their phone is the most used and important computer.

 
 
 
 
 

Not sure what’s going on w/ my face, here. It’s probably Ajit Pai’s fault

https://twitter.com/DreamHost/status/907758849200934913

 

Not many people know this, but I can already unlock my iPhone using my face because I’m so handsome.

 
 

Checked into Living Room Bar

Living Room Bar

Having an American Trilogy cocktail before heading to see a show with colleagues.

 
 

Checked into Paris Hotel & Casino

ITS THE REAL EIFFEL TOWER FOR DUMMIES YALL

 
 
 
 
 
 

The National Finals continue in Las Vegas, Nevada where the season's top competitors tackle the 4-stage course. Ninja veterans Kacy Catanzaro, Jessie Graff, Najee Richardson, and Sean Bryan are scheduled to compete.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

The National Finals continue in Las Vegas, Nevada where the season's top competitors tackle the 4-stage course. Ninja veterans Kacy Catanzaro, Jessie Graff, Najee Richardson, and Sean Bryan are scheduled to compete.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Host Bridget Lancaster goes into the test kitchen with host Julia Collin Davison to learn how to make the best Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers and Black Pepper Sauce at home. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Bridget to a tasting of soy sauce. Next, test cook Keith Dresser shows Julia how to make the ultimate Scallion Pancakes with Dipping Sauce.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Tried signing up for @AskPlayStation Vue. Fails in activation. Support? 35 min wait, no answer.
http://share.cleverdevil.io/LNVcu6JaZUYkFKEkIGVM.jpg

 

If great stew, like great music, is a commingling of ingredients to create culinary harmony, why do so many stews taste less like beautiful music and more like a murky dirge?

Recipes:
Good Eats Beef Stew

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

When Tina is recruited by the debate team, she finds unexpected success and an even more unexpected relationship. Meanwhile, Louise and Gene convince their parents to help fund a stop-motion movie focusing on a surprising subject matter.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

👋🏼 Hey, Portland! I’m on my way to see you and your lovely @DreamHost customers!

 
 
 

I have one of these and absolutely adore it. If you cook frequently, it’s a worthwhile investment.

https://twitter.com/WirecutterDeals/status/908350073058275328

 

Booked a straight razor shave in Portland for when I land. Support your local barber! Also: watch out, I’m gonna look sharp af tonight.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Checked into Portland Shave Shop

Portland Shave Shop

Great “cutthroat” shave with a handcrafted straight razor.

 
 
 

Checked into Union/Pine

Union/Pine

DreamHost ROATY!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Host Bridget Lancaster uncovers the secrets for making perfect Pasta e Ceci. Next, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges host Julia Collin Davison to a tasting of parmesan. Then, science expert Dan Souza reveals the science behind parmesan’s signature flavor. Finally, test cook Elle Simone shows Bridget how to make the ultimate Penne Arrabbiata.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Host Julia Collin Davison shows host Bridget Lancaster how to make the ultimate Korean Rice Bowl at home. Then, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews spider skimmers in the equipment corner. Finally, test cook Dan Souza reveals the secrets for making perfect Korean Fried Chicken Wings.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Checked into Corner Bakery

Corner Bakery

Breakfast with the kids!

 
 

Checked into Riviera Barber Shop

Riviera Barber Shop

Trim time with the kids.

 
 
 
 

Hahah, Gators are going to be stuck with McElwain until the end of time. 🤣

 
 

With no one else to watch them while he attends a job interview, Donald Duck begrudgingly leaves his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie with his uncle Scrooge McDuck, who has difficulty bonding with them. Webby Vanderquack, the granddaughter of Scrooge's housekeeper Mrs. Beakley, befriends the boys and shows them examples of Donald's heroics as Scrooge's sidekick, but they inadvertently release various ancient evils housed in the artifacts in Scrooge's garage.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Host Bridget Lancaster shows host Julia Collin Davison how to make perfect Cheese and Tomato Lasagna. Next, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Julia to a tasting of jarred anchovies. Finally, test cook Keith Dresser uncovers the secrets to Really Good Garlic Bread.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

Some good evaluation of cord-cutting options this weekend. I’ll have a part two blog post next week. Unexpected result!

 

Wow! What a TD by Todd Gurley! 🏈🐑

 

Made some amazing Korean style chicken wings tonight for dinner. 🐔✈️

 

Putting my children to bed is both one of the great joys and pains of my life.

 

The annual Easter egg hunt always brings out the competitive sides of Bob and Linda, but this time, the game goes awry. After the Belcher parents have a little too much fun hiding the eggs, the entire family is enlisted in finding the lone egg that is quickly rotting in its hiding place.

Watched on Fire TV

 

When Linda wins a contest to spend a dream weekend at the home where her favorite television show is filmed, things don't go quite as planned. Also, Teddy's back problems leave him stuck on the floor while he babysits the kids.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

Just watched a skunk walk down the street out front of my house, encounter a coyote, spray it, and run like hell.

 

My cord-cutting experimentation has me longing for a good, simple, ergonomic universal remote. TiVo peanut-like, without the number pad.

 

The Siri Remote is garbage, the Fire TV remote is unreliable. My home theater uses a nice Logitech, but it’s overkill for the rest of house.

 
 

@keithjgrant @manton meh... USB-C in the phone brings no benefit and additional thickness. They’re more likely to drop ALL ports.

 

@keithjgrant I guess? I still carry two cables either way. Marginal benefit IMO.

 
 
 
 

Checked into Riviera Village

Riviera Village

Beautiful day to work from the village.

 
 
 

This is why I’m still waiting to put solar on my house. Timing isn’t quite optimal, yet!

https://twitter.com/DShankar/status/910358978357547009

 
 

Awesome hire of an awesome person by an awesome company. Cheers, @jilljubs, @crucially!

https://twitter.com/jilljubs/status/910597268167888896

 

Host Bridget Lancaster goes into the test kitchen with host Julia Collin Davison to learn how to make the best Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers and Black Pepper Sauce at home. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Bridget to a tasting of soy sauce. Next, test cook Keith Dresser shows Julia how to make the ultimate Scallion Pancakes with Dipping Sauce.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Host Bridget Lancaster goes into the test kitchen with host Julia Collin Davison to learn how to make the best Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers and Black Pepper Sauce at home. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Bridget to a tasting of soy sauce. Next, test cook Keith Dresser shows Julia how to make the ultimate Scallion Pancakes with Dipping Sauce.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Hosts Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster go into the test kitchen together to uncover the secrets to Better Chicken Marsala. Next, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews Manual Citrus Juicers in the Equipment Corner. Finally, test cook Erin McMurrer shows Bridget how to make the ultimate Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce at home.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 

Fun life hack: Yell "Alexa, play Careless Whisper" on Google Hangouts.

 

Checked into Ocho Mexican Grill

Ocho Mexican Grill

Lunch with Dan and Jill.

 
 
 

Changed up my Micro.blog feed to include more types of content, including bookmarks, likes, posts, checkins, recipes, and watch notifications. Looking good so far! 🎉

 

Checked into Marino Ristorante

Marino Ristorante

Pre-show drinks and early dinner.

 
 
 
 
 

Other Review: Hamilton Blows Us All Away

5 out of 5 stars

Last night, I had the pleasure of experiencing the hit musical Hamilton at the Hollywood Pantages Theater here in Los Angeles. Over the summer, American Express offered some of its members early access to tickets, and we jumped at the opportunity, snagging some pretty incredible seats about 25 rows from the stage in the center orchestra. After a lovely dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant with my wife and some good friends, we headed over to the theater and settled in for the show.

As a busy father of two, I've managed to largely avoid Hamilton hype. I hadn't listened to the music or read up on the show beforehand, so I didn't have a solid idea of what to expect. I will admit that I've read up on the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, as he's signed on to produce a film and TV adaptation of my favorite fantasy series. Again, as a parent of young kids, I've also watched Disney's Moana multiple times, and thoroughly enjoyed the music, which Miranda wrote. So, I had an idea that the show would be enjoyable, but was mostly just looking forward to a night out with friends.

I wasn't even close to prepared for how good Hamilton would be. I walked out of the theater absolutely stunned. The music, choreography, sets, writing, and plot were shockingly good. The pacing was frenetic and energizing. It was a funny, enthralling, emotional tour de force like I haven't experienced ever before. Hamilton is easily the best musical I've ever seen, perhaps one of the best pieces of live performance ever created. I was truly blown away.

Plenty of content has already been written on the subject of Hamilton, so I won't dive into many more details, other than to say this: if you haven't yet seen Hamilton, its time to make plans. Its worthy of all the hype.

 

I'm interested in engaging a @Discourse developer to work on implementing standards in the platform. Ping me! RTs appreciated.

 
 

Apple TV 4K reviews have confirmed my fears: in spite of being a premium product, its a poor choice if you want best audio/video quality.

 

Until Apple TV 4K supports native refresh rates and the latest audio formats, its not a premium product that justifies its price. Period.

 
 
 

On my lunch break I cancelled DirecTV. Officially "cut the cord." Full post w/ details on how I filled the gaps is coming!

 

@keithjgrant.com @connect_js You deserve a webmention!

 
 

The plot thickens in @DreamHost's battle with the DoJ:

https://twitter.com/USProgressives/status/911323836242710534

 

Whether we’re young or forever young at heart, the Hundred Acre Wood calls to that place in each of us that still believes in magic. Join pals Pooh, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit, Tigger and Christopher Robin as they enjoy their days together and sing their way through adventures.

Watched on Fire TV

 
 
 
 

Watching Yellow Jacket football with my son @WilliamLaCour is special! Hearing him yell To Hell With Georgia is the best! 🏈🐝

 
 

It’s the Tennessee game all over again. Crap special teams. Silly turnovers.

 

Frustrations aside, I adore how resilient this Yellow Jacket team is. They. Always. Bounce. Back.

 

Turnovers 😢

 

Yeesh. Not a great first half for my Canes.

 

Worth it.

 
 
 

Well, both of my 🏈 teams won big today. Time to enjoy the rest of the weekend 😎

 
 
 

Watched Baby Driver

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Watched on PlexMediaPlayer

 

Headed to SFO for a few days of planning with the @DreamHost senior leadership team. Looking forward to continuing strategic refinement!

 
 
 

Mark Walton is the best back we’ve had since D. Johnson, L. Miller, F. Gore, W. McGahee, C. Portis, E. James, M. Bratton, and O. Anderson.

 

In other words, get used to it. The U produces star RBs. Oh, and WRs, DLs, OLs, DBs, and even kickers. 🤣

 

From one Yellow Jacket to another: thank you for your courage, @freeSPIRIT_5678! ✊🏻🐝

https://twitter.com/freeSPIRIT_5678/status/911801140693659648

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Welp, looks like I'm never qualifying for Delta Diamond again. 🤣

 
 
 

Movie Review: Baby Driver is a Fun Ride

4 out of 5 stars

Earlier this week, I had a chance to finally catch Baby Driver in my home theater. Edgar Wright is my favorite active film director, so I was really looking forward to seeing what he would do with a dramatic action film, rather than his mostly comedic recent work. Baby Driver didn't disappoint! I thoroughly enjoyed the film, though not as much as some of his other work. Highly recommended, especially if you're a fan of Edgar Wright's unique style!

 
 

The more I read my Micro.blog timeline, the more I think @manton should add oEmbed and URL unfurling. Lots of people posting links, and the reading experience would be improved. Putting the onus on the client software isn’t going to work, IMO.

 
 

Made a quick change to my site to directly ping Micro.blog on updates. Bypasses my need for WebSub, which seems sort of flaky at the moment.

 

Amazon's new $70 Fire TV is tiny and 4K-ready

Dolby Atmos, 4K HDR, and only $70. This is why the Apple TV 4K disappoints me so much. It would be a premium device at $99 at this point, and it still doesn't support mode switching or modern audio!

 

Observer: OKCupid Founder Bets People Will Soon Fall in Love With Encryption

I'm a huge fan of Keybase, and have been watching it evolve since the early days. I love this bit from the article:

[Keybase's] next hurdle is even higher: Convincing the public that it should demand products that secure their data. Encryption has always been the digital world equivalent of eating your vegetables. Keybase wants to make them into nicely roasted vegetables, with a light honey glaze. 

Here's to free range, farm-to-table, gluten free encryption for all.

 

Mentally and physically exhausted after an intense few weeks. Taking @WilliamLaCour on a birthday getaway this weekend. Much needed!

 

Host Bridget Lancaster shows host Julia Collin Davison the steps to making the ultimate Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. Then, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Julia to a tasting of smoked paprika. Finally, test cook Erin McMurrer reveals the secrets to making the best Red Beans and Rice.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Back in the 1950s listening to music meant sitting around with your mum and dad and having to listen to whatever drivel they wanted, but thankfully along came the portable record player, which helped gave birth to the teenager and a magical music revolution.

James May reassembles the past to hear what it sounded like as he pieces together the 195 parts of the game-changing 1963 Dansette Bermuda portable record player.

James reminisces about his teenage years and what it was like growing up in the 1970s as he takes us on a journey through sound and mechanical wonderment. James falls in love with the beautiful mechanisms that lie in the belly of the beast, finds the perfect solution to his soldering dilemma and has a rather exciting new screwdriver to show us.

Watched on Fire TV

 

After a four year stint living in New Zealand, ex-RAF pilot Jon and GP Gill Flewers want to build a Kiwi-style hill house on the slopes of the Malvern hills in Worcestershire. They plan to build an ambitious three-storey home clad in wood and stone, but the pair encounter problems as the site is so steep builders do not want to take on the job.

Watched on Fire TV

 

Cord-Cutting Experiments: Part 2

4 min read

Earlier this month, I began experimenting with cutting the cord, starting by evaluating over-the-air options. Early indications had me optimistic that between a solid indoor antenna, an HDHomeRun Connect tuner, and Live TV and DVR functionality from Plex, I'd at least have my problems solved when it comes to the major networks. Sadly, that's turned out not to be true.

Plex + HDHomeRun: Not Ready for Prime Time

As I mentioned before, the HDHomeRun is great, and the antenna does pull in many channels, but its not nearly as reliable as I had hoped, with my local NBC and CBS affiliates being far too spotty. In addition, Plex's DVR and Live TV functionality is extremely unreliable, with recordings going hours over time, hanging completely, or causing my Plex Media Server to crash. I could certainly continue down the rabbit hole by investing in a more powerful outdoor antenna, but they're costly, and there's still the matter of Plex's buggy support for DVR and Live TV. At this point, I don't recommend this path for most people.

Evaluating Streaming Services

With OTA off the table, it was time to start investigating streaming services that offer live TV functionality and cloud DVR. My priorities were:

  1. Local affiliates for the major networks: NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox.
  2. Full access to ESPN and its associated networks, including access to WatchESPN.
  3. Access to Disney networks for the kids.
  4. More cost effective than DirecTV, my current service provider.

First, I took a look at Sling TV, which provides a highly-recommended a-la-carte service that meets many of my criteria. Many, but not all, unfortunately, as Sling hasn't managed to strike a deal with every local affiliate in my area.

Next, I signed up for PlayStation Vue, which on the surface, ticked all of the boxes. However, my free trial of the service was a total disaster. It took days for my account to activate, and my attempts to contact support resulted in announced hold times measured in hours. When I finally was able to get things working, the quality was pretty low, and the app experience left a lot to be desired. Once my trial was up, moved on.

A New Contender Emerges

Enter Hulu with Live TV, a new offering now in beta from one of the oldest and most respected names in streaming entertainment. Hulu with Live TV met all of my requirements on paper, so I decided to dive right in and put it to the test.