Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can I still do what they do better than how they do it?

Well, it's been a long time since there's been an update on this blog. Pretty well abandoned it you might say. But wait .... along comes Google+ and a connection between Blogger and Google+, and maybe there's still a chance that there can be some life left in my old blog.

The biggest problem with blogging to me has always been a "disconnect" from what I normally do on the 'InterTubes'. For me, I come to the Internet to see what's new out there. Checking up on my blog on a daily basis is not something I find fun or interesting.

Google+ (as well as twitter and a few other social media applications) on the other hand gives me exactly what I want, a steady stream of interesting information to view and comment on. So now since I can connect my Blooger account to me Google+ account, we shall see if this makes it any easier to keep the blog updated and interesting ... we shall see, I'm a little bit sceptical but let's give it a go.

So, for the fist update in over 3 years let me get caught up on the status of my "projects" from former years.

MythDora & Media MVP configuration:  I've stopped using MythDora (all MythTV as a matter of fact,) not so much because it has anything to do with MythTV, but mostly because I have cancelled my cable/satellite accounts, bought a multi input LD TV, and now only use "free" sources [ OTA (Over The Air regular digital TV,) FTA (Free To Air satellite TV, and the Internet.)

My LCD TV has many types of input, so instead of running all my inputs to a MythTV computer and feeding that out to a single input CRT TV, I can put the inputs straight into the TV and switch using the TV remote. I lost the ability to record shows, but the integration between MythTV Schedule Direct TV guide and FTA/OTA is not all that great last time I checked ... not that I really have a need to record the shows I watch on OTA and FTA anyway.

Most of my viewing in from the Internet, which I do by connecting a computer with a DVI video output to my LCD TV, and piping the sound from the computer (Ubuntu 11.11) to my Home Theatre Amp .. I'll try to get around to write up another blog post explaining what apps I use and how to do the configurations.

Internet Access (Teksavvy): I still use this company for my Internet needs, although I switched away from their DSL product and went with their Cable offering. This has mostly to do with the companies Teksavvy buys their services from (Bell for DSL and Rogers cable for cable.) The DSL in my building was always going down, and that and the fact that Bell ripped me off for a service call (and the CRTC being what it is in Canada, forced Teksavvy to charge me $100 for the Bell service call, and there was no way for me to appeal the charge since only Bell customers can appeal (I technically being a Teksavvy customer, not a Bell customer), and Teksavvy is only allowed to appeal in cases of mistakes on invoices ... in other words, Bell can lie all they want about a problem and its resolution, and no one can question their word, even if you have evidence that they lied (which I did) there is no way to appeal the case except maybe writing up a long "legalese" type letter to the CRTC for them to take into consideration come license renewal time (and it's not like Bell is going to lose its license based on a fe customer complaints abut being ripped off.)

So, I simply switched over to Teksavvy cable (which is faster, usually, anyway) which is still a very reasonably priced, no download limit, service.

VoIP Voicenetwork.ca: I still use this service for my VoIP needs, and it still is a very inexpensive solution that provides value for the money you pay. They did raise their prices a bit from their $0.99/mth DID numbers, but even $2.50/mth for a pay per minute ($0.01) phone line, it's pretty cost effective for anyone that doesn't ring up 10 or 20 hours of talk time each month (I put in $25 every 3 months or so and that covers me for 3 DID numbers including talk time.

The only thing to mention here is that I stopped using Astrisk a long time ago in favour of connecting PC software clients directly to the service. Recently I have purchased an Android phone, so now I have  one of my DID numbers connecting right to my Android phone .. works very well. I use CSipSimple app, and it integrates with the android phone, so whenever I make a phone call it prompts whether I want to use the Internet or the mobile services, so for local calls I use my unlimited mobile, and for long distance I use the Internet VoIP for cheap long distance calls.

SpeakOut 7/11 cell service: Since switching to an android phone I personally don't use the SpeakOut service. My wife still does though, and it's still IMO the best low cost straight up pay as you go phone service available in my area. They've upgraded so now I can refill online using my CC, so that saves a trip to the local 7/11 when we run low on minutes.

Eyeglasses: After 3 years of using online eyeglass shopping I can honestly say this is the way to go. Just check to make sure you are using a reputable online service, and make sure you get your full prescription from your eye doctor (including full PD numbers - if you have progressive prescriptions you may have a more complicated PD numbers ... usually you can just scan your prescription and attach them to your order and they can take care of figuring out what that means.) Also, check with your insurance provider if you have one to make sure you understand what you need to get in order to be reimbursed.

Future: Assuming this Blogger/Google+ integration works as I expect, I'll see if I can get around to detailing what I have hooked up to my LCD TV, how to configure it, and the apps and websites I use to rid myself of the local cable/satellite providers.

Some other potential projects I want to eventually get around to might be - securing Android phones from nasty carriers and carrierIQ spying (which would probably entail multiple projects, such as setting up VPNs, configuring VoIP services, etc.) And eventually maybe some Android app programming.


1 comment:

e.semog said...

Why not migrate the blog over to a Google+ Brand Page? It might get more interaction there.