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June 23, 2010

New HDTV Receiver

A few months ago my HDTV receiver stopped working. I had been switching it off with my surge protector after finding out how much energy it used and maybe it didn't like that. It would take it a long time to reboot, but at some point the green light started flashing rapidly and there was no picture no matter how long I waited. I tried turning it off and unplugging it to reset it, but got the same result. I spent some time today trying to figure out solutions and found some discussion areas that said the flashing green light means it is dead and there is no way to fix it. I took the cover off to see if there was anything I could see that stood out and could be fixed, but the only thing I saw I could fix was a small fuse and it was not blown.

I looked for another HDTV receiver, but nobody seems to make them anymore. There are a lot of converter boxes that output HD to non-HD (I think Mom might even have one unless she sold it at a garage sale), but I wanted an HD signal. All HDTV's made for the last few years can deal with the signals on their own unlike my TV. Getting a HDTV receiver from Dish would add a bunch of monthly fees, so I didn't want to do that. I wouldn't mind paying a little extra for a HDTV receiver that can record to a hard drive, but I think Tivo lawsuits have scared everybody out of that business. There are some video cards you can add to a computer to turn your computer into a DVR, but most of those seem to be a few years old too and my computer is nowhere close to my TV right now.

After some searching I found a basic receiver called a Centronics ZAT502 which some people at AVSforum recommended. They like that it had HDMI out, but since my TV doesn't have that, I had to make sure it also had component video out, which seems to be the case. It was $100, but there were very few choices available, and that's only a few months worth of extra fees that Dish would charge me for HD. I don't even watch that much HD, but maybe if this receiver is better at receiving some stations, I will get more use out of it.

World Cup

Today I am furloughed from work, so I thought it would be a good chance to watch the USA World Cup game against Algeria. I turned on the match just after the US had a goal called back because a player was offsides, although a replay showed he was just barely onsides. I watched the rest of the scoreless first half with the USA playing better than Algeria in general. At one point, in referencing the bad call, one of the announcers mentioned the 1982 game between Austria and Germany that prevented Algeria from advancing from the pool play portion to the bracket play. Eventually Dish Network's signal was lost somehow and I missed the rest of the game, but the USA won 1-0 with a late goal and advances to the second round. England won by the same score with the same record, but USA won the pool because they tied one of their games 2-2 and England tied one of their games 0-0.

Anyway, I looked up the 1982 game on Wikipedia. The deal was that Algeria had already played their match so both teams knew that Germany (West Germany at the time) would advance if they could win the game, but Austria was already a lock so they had nothing to lose or gain. Germany scored early to go up by 1-0 and for the rest of the game, basically nothing happened. Although the teams deny they were colluding against Algeria, neither played with any sort of aggressiveness and one announcer refused to call the game anymore while another told viewers they should turn off their TVs.

After that game, they started scheduling the last of the pool games for the four teams in a group at the same time so they couldn't safely collude.

June 21, 2010

Publix Ice Cream

This week Publix had half gallons of their premium ice creams 2 for $5. It's about as good a price as they offer it and they still use real half gallons, unlike Breyers and others who shortchange you by keeping 25% of your ice cream.

A few months ago I got a really intense chocolate ice cream called Chocolate Trinity which is dark chocolate ice cream with a magic shell type of crunchy swirl and chocolate bits. This past week I bought one they call Cappuccino Fudge Blitz that is really good. It is a coffee flavored ice cream with white chocolate cream nuggets, mocha espresso brownies (like cookie dough), and chocolate marble. There are grainy things in there that turn out to be real coffee grounds. This is about my favorite ice cream there is right now. Well, until I have something else in my freezer.