Archive for the Entertainment Category

Technology – Review – RCA ANT112F UHF/VHF/Digital Indoor Antenna

Posted in Entertainment, Technology with tags , , , , , on 2015/04/29 by rmolby

A few weeks ago I did a review of the iView STB3500II digital converter box to receive over the air TV.

So today I just wanted to talk about the antenna, the RCA ANT112F. This antenna reminds me of the old tube TVs from the 50s to the early 80s before cable TV. I recall one of them sitting on top of my grandparent’s TV, and our own having built-in telescoping antennas.

The part I find fascinating and intriguing is that the TV signal has to pass through a brick chimney, wall and a book case full of books and trinkets, but yet even during quite stormy days, this antenna does a great job getting enough signal to the receiver. I am totally impressed!

The antenna just sits on top of the TV armoire, so it is about 8 feet (2.4m) off the ground, so just this little bit of elevation off the ground is sufficient for good reception. My PBS station 13-2 OETA-OKLA transmits in something wider than 16:9, I am making the assumtion it is 21:9, but it looks awesome on my 720p TV, currently showing an Outdoor Oklahoma episode. PBS 13-1 OETA-HD on the other hand is in 16:9 and crystal clear watching Hometime home improvement show. 34.-1 KOCB-HD in 16:9 comes in crystal clear as well. 34-2 getTV is a classic TV channel broadcasting in 480i and the remastered B&W show on right now looks crystal clear.

And since it sits on top of the TV armoire it is just about out-of-sight, out-of-mind in my situation in the living room. I also own a Homeworx HW110AN antenna that is currently connected to my new TiVo OTA that I just got not too long ago. This antenna works great when the weather is good, but just doesn’t have enough surface to get enough signal into the TiVo during bad weather, so I will be swapping the two antennas, putting the Homework on the iView and the RCA antenna on the TiVo.

I give the RCA ANT112F a full 5 stars, considering I paid $8 for it if I recall correctly.

Technology – Review – iView STB3500II

Posted in Blogging, Entertainment, Liberty, Technology with tags , , , , , , , on 2015/02/21 by rmolby

Back in August of 2014, I talked about slowly reducing our recurring bills, and one idea was to cut out the Cable TV bill, and one way I decided to cut down is to only have Over The Air (OTA) TV service, and to use Amazon Prime, Crackle, Hulu, Netflix and other services to fill the lack of regular cable channels.

iView 3500STBII

iView 3500STBII

So, in December 2014, I ordered the iView STB3500II. I had heard a few good things about the device, and one of my co-workers bought one for his office so he can keep an eye on the news.

I read the review on Amazon and at Newegg, and it seems that it is a mixed bag of opinion as to how well the unit works, but I went for it, and now that I have been using it for a while I am quite impressed with its quality and feature sets.

First, a few words of caution, there are a few quirks to the unit, not bad, but something one needs to be aware of.

  1. The unit is slow to indicate it is starting up. When you push the power button, there is no immediate feedback that it is powering up.
  2. When you first set it up, you need to do it using the composite (Yellow-Red-White) cable. It will not auto-detect what is connected to it. This is a major drawback if your TV only has digital inputs. I have an older 720p LCD TV and  it has a lot of different inputs, so it is not a problem, but I struggled trying to make it work with the component (Magenta-Green-Blue-Red-White) output until I realized you start with the composite, then switch it in the settings to component or HDMI. I chose component as my output because I have three inputs on my TV and the iView and my DVD player are the only units with component outputs.

Next, I want to talk about reception. I am currently using the RCA ANT112F “rabbit ear” indoor antenna, bringing back memories from pre-cableTV days.

This antenna seems to be a good paring to the iView as I get excellent reception on all available channels here in the greater Oklahoma City Metro area. I am located just 3 miles south of downtown OKC and I am in range of all the local channels. I have only notice pixelation one time during some really gray and dank conditions, and I don’t even have the extendable antenna booms expanded out.

The antenna just sits on top of the TV armoire, so it is about 8 feet (2.4m) off the ground and there is a good size brick chimney between the antenna and the majority of the TV stations, so just this little bit of elevation off the ground is sufficient for good reception. My PBS station 13-2 OETA-OKLA transmits in something wider than 16:9, I am making the assumtion it is 21:9, but it looks awesome on my 720p TV, currently showing an Outdoor Oklahoma episode. PBS 13-1 OETA-HD on the other hand is in 16:9 and crystal clear watching Hometime home improvement show. 34.-1 KOCB-HD in 16:9 comes in crystal clear as well. 34-2 getTV is a classic TV channel broadcasting in 480i and the remastered B&W show on right now looks crystal clear. Not bad for an US$8 antenna.

The last thing I want to talk about is a cool feature I really like, and that is, I can schedule shows to be recorded to a USB flash or hard drive. I have not used the feature much except to test it. The word is still out how well the videos play on devices other than the iView, but playback on the iView is like watching live TV.

So, overall, I have to say, I am impressed with the quality of the iView, especially for the price at less than US$50.

I would rate the iView 3500II a 4 1/2 on a 5 star scale, or 9.0 to 9.5 on a 10 scale rating.

Financial – Micro-tipping with ChangeTip

Posted in Blogging, Business, Economy, Entertainment, Income, Internet, Liberty, Technology, Wordpress with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 2014/08/24 by rmolby

In my previous post about tipping with bitcoin on Twitter, I talked about using TipperCoin, but this only worked on Twitter. So here comes a different outfit, ChangeTip – A Love Button for the Internet.

Have you ever read something on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or any other social media site and wanted to send the author a small amount of funds to tell them you appreciate the information?

Well, sending very small tips, also called micro-payments or micro-tipping, isn’t really feasible with say PayPal, or most other conventional payment systems, because of all the transaction fees.

Well, all this changed when Bitcoin was created back in 2007/2008 (see history), and today we are are able to make financial transaction in microscopic small amounts. As a matter of fact, as of this posting, it would take 122,174 satoshi to make one (1) US dollar, or 1221.74 satoshi to make a US Penny, according to Satoshi Value.

This means that I can now tip or pay for just the piece of content that is important to me. For example, if I look at a DiY page and all I really needed is a picture of where a part goes on a gadget, I may tip the article or post writer a dollar, but if just needed one paragraph of text to clarify something, or I find a page visually pleasing, I may tip 1000 satoshi, or just under a penny. Hover, if I find something really valuable, say a gardening article, and I decide to print a hard copy of it for future reference, I may tip US$5 because I find it that valuable and I am keeping it for future reference, so it is worth that much. Or maybe 1/4 of the article is worth keeping it, so I will tip US$1.25.

So first there was TipperCoin, a novel way to send small amount of bitcoin to Twitter users. But since this is specific to Twitter users I never really got into it because I just don’t Twitter that much, much less read a lot of Tweets. This all changes with ChangeTip. It is cross-platform, currently supporting GitHub, Google+, Reddit, StoclTwits, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube. They are working on Facebook.

When you sign up, they generously give US$0.50 to start your tipping account. I used my Google+ to do the signing up, and it automatically linked my YouTube channel. I then added all the other social media sites I have an account with.

Now I am ready to both tip and receive tips.

So, here we go, a way to tell authors how much you appreciate their work beyond giving them a “Like”, “Plus” or retweet.

If you found this article useful, you can go here to give me a tip and sign up if you are not a ChangeTip member.

Tip Me With ChangeTip

Self-Improvement – New Start

Posted in Blogging, Business, Entertainment, Family, Health, Income, Internet, Liberty, LifeStyle, Wordpress with tags , , on 2014/08/21 by rmolby

August 21st, 2014

Have you ever questioned the purpose of your life, or asked, “with everything that is going on in my life, why am I going on? Is there a future worth living for?”

Piggybacking on my last post about getting a new job and regaining about 50% of my previous income, and trying to find something to inspire me to get re-engaged in life, I remembered a cool video I got from someone that was narrated by Earl Nightingale.

So I searched for any videos narrated by him, and among the list I found this particular video:

At the end of the video is a list of 12 points to remember, and I will try to go into each of those points as a separate post, but here is the list:

  1. Explore the work you are currently engaged in
  2. Realize that your own pasture is green – and unlimited
  3. The way you go about your job makes it good or bad
  4. Let yourself grow – avoid self-limitation
  5. Start preparing yourself for opportunities – NOW
  6. Put your imagination to work on ways of improving on what you are doing now
  7. Learn all you can about your job, your company and your industry
  8. There is no limit to your growth potential
  9. Our economy needs and will reward the uncommon person who participates in its growth
  10. Begin to build your library of reference material on your company, industry, your job and people skills
  11. Set aside an hour a day for study and research
  12. Remember the story of the acres of diamonds

I will not make Point 11 into a separate post, as this post you are reading serves as the post about setting aside an hour per day for research and learning.

I had originally thought about finding a short inspirational video so I could spend as little time as possible on this, but it turned out watching the 10 minute video in its entirety was the best choice I could have made, and it prompted me to spend that hour researching, learning, and writing up this blog post.

I want to touch briefly on a few other items that are tangentially associated with this post.

Recently I have been interested in finding mild climates to live in, and one place I found intriguing is Ecuador, specifically Cotacachi, as I described in a previous post. It is located in a valley at quite some altitude and has temperatures that range in the 45-72F (6-22C) range, placing it into the perfect temperature range for me and the wife. We both share this range as an overlap. She can handle, and prefers it colder, and I prefer temps in the 50-80F range, but this is about the most perfect place I can think of. So I was hunting for more information about living abroad and specifically living in Ecuador… in the process I found Blogger Abroad, a blog of a Canadian family living in the south of Ecuador where it is quite a bit warmer, but the culture is similar.

As it happens, he and his wife blog to make a living, and because of the reduced cost of living in Ecuador if you eat on the economy, you can make it on the income made online. Mind you, Bryan also blogs for About.com, so I imagine they make decent money between all their income streams, as he describes on his blog’s Start Here page. One of the things he writes about is Affiliate Marketing, and Amazon being one of the first and oldest affiliate marketers around. So I jumped in head first and signed up for an Amazon Affiliate account.

Even though I don’t plan on making any huge sums of money from this blog, I figure it would not hurt to try to monetize some of the work I have accomplished on this blog so far and into the future. One thing I plan on doing is to shed my Cable TV bill by getting an iView 3500 TV tuner (review) so I can get my local channels, and then sign up for Amazon Prime for all the pay TV Shows, Movies and Music. In addition, as time goes on I may get Netflix and Hulu, maybe Crackle and a few others.

Anyway, so I spent my hour a day doing this research, and another hour or so writing up this post, fulfilling Point 11 of the above list. As I find time, I will write up the other 11 points of the list and make the whole series available on the blog.

December 27th, 2014

Check my blog today I realized I never posted this to the blog, it had remained in draft mode all this time. I have made some progress on some of the things I mentioned above, including purchasing the iView TV tuner converter box. I will write up a new post and comment on the device, soon, along with several more reviews of different devices that have come my way.

February 21st, 2015

I updated this blog post to fix some typos, and to add a link to a product review.

Financial – Micro-tipping with Bitcoin

Posted in Blogging, Business, Economy, Entertainment, Internet, Liberty, Technology, Wordpress with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 2014/01/21 by rmolby

Have you ever read something on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or any other social media site and wanted to send the author a small amount of fund to tell them you appreciate the information?

Well, sending very small tips isn’t really feasible with say PayPal or most other conventional payment systems. Then here comes TipperCoin, a novel way to send small amount of Bitcoin to Twitter users. Once you have an account on TipperCoin by signing in with your Twitter account, you are automatically given a Bitcoin address that is used to both receive and send micro Bitcoin to other Twitter users by sending a Twitter message in the following format:

“@recipient, message text here, 0.001 BTC @tippercoin”

Even if the Twitter user does not have a TipperCoin account yet, TipperCoin will automatically generate a Bitcoin address for the user and store the coin up to 21 days.

So, here we go, a way to tell authors how much you appreciate their work beyond giving them a “Like”, “Plus” or retweet.

Google Doodles for 15 Nov

Posted in Blogging, Entertainment, Fun Stuff, Holiday, Internet, Misc, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2013/11/15 by rmolby

2013 – Romania

Emil Racoviță's 145th Birthday

Emil Racoviță’s 145th Birthday

Emil Racoviță (Romanian pronunciation: [eˈmil ˈrakovit͡sə]; also spelled Racovitza; 15 November 1868 – 17 November 1947) was a Romanian biologist, zoologist, speleologist, explorer of Antarctica and the first biologist in the world to study the arctic life.

Together with Grigore Antipa, he was one of the most noted promoters of natural sciences in Romania. Racoviță was the first Romanian to have gone on a scientific research expedition to the Antarctic, more than 100 years ago, as well as an influential professor, scholar and researcher. (WikiPedia)

2012-2001 – none

2009 – Japan

Shichi-go-san 2000

Shichi-go-san 2000

Shichi-Go-San (七五三?, lit. “Seven-Five-Three”) is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls and three- and five-year-old boys, held annually on November 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children. As it is not a national holiday, it is generally observed on the nearest weekend. (WikiPedia)

1999-1998 – none

Later I will research some historical facts later to fill in the missing years.

Bread baking – loaf 009

Posted in Baking, Entertainment, Food, Health, Home, Liberty with tags , , , , , , , on 2013/08/25 by rmolby

Loaf eight turned out excellent. It didn’t rise as well, so it never overflowed the pan, didn’t even reach the top of the pan, but oh boy, it sure tastes good. I think I may have found the right combination of flours as far as taste is concerned. So, since we went through this bread almost entirely since Friday, I decided to make another loaf.

1549 hours:

I ended up forgetting to feed my starter as much as I should have, so I only ended up with 1/2 cup started discard, but that is alright.

So here is my recipe for this loaf:

  • ½ cup sourdough starter discard
  • ¼ cup warm milk
  • ¾ cup warm filtered water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1½ tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 1¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill unbleached White Flour (superb for bread baking by hand or machine)
  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Oat Flour
  • ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Spelt flour
  • ¼ cup Hodgson Mill Organic all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Hodgson Mill Stone Ground whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup instant oats
  • 1 tbsp. organic sugar
  • 2 tsp. bread machine yeast

This time I added all the wet ingredients including the eggs and butter in the bottom of the mixing bowl, then added the bread flour, Spelt, whole wheat, oat and all-purpose flours on top, made the hole for yeast and added that, put the sugar on top of the yeast, sprinkled the salt over the flour dome, selected the basic bread mode, and let her rip.

The dough turned out to be a little runny again, so I decided to add another ¼ cup of oat flour, and that thickened it up a bit better, so I’m letting the machine do it’s job for the next half hour or so. As before, I will come back later and update this post.

1845 hours:

Well, this loaf turned out awesome, looks wise anyway (link takes you to my Flickr page)!

I wrapped it in a couple of kitchen towels as my dad told me to do to let it settle and set, which gives the crust a chance to set and seal in the flavors. I will take another photo when I cut it open in a few hours.

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