Archive for the 'Tech' Category

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More LED bulbs

Today I tried out two new LED lights.  The first was a Philips AmbientLED in the MR16 form-factor, to work in my low-voltage tracklights.  The second was a Cree EcoSmart CR6 pot-light.

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Low-power light-bulbs

I’ve been experimenting with different low-power light options around the house.  CFLs, dimmable CFLs, and most recently some Philips LED bulbs.

Since so many of my switches have been replaced with X-10 or Insteon dimmer switches, I need bulbs that can support dimming, or at least not be damaged by it.  The dream bulb would be something with the same colour-rendering and dimming behaviour as an incandescent, but still low-power.

No low-power bulb has knocked my socks off yet, but the weird-looking one pictured to the right has come the closest.

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Cable boxes suck. Rogers sucks.

Here’s something I don’t get…

If I buy a cable box outright, with my own money, why is it that Rogers thinks they’re entitled to an opinion about what software options are enabled on it?

For example, cable boxes have the ability to let you hide channels you don’t subscribe to. The manufacturers support this. But Rogers blocks it. They want us to have to flip through pages and pages of channels we don’t care about. Why are they able to do this to us? I know why they want to: because they’re greedy controlling pricks. But why are they able to?

Why are they able to push unwanted firmware changes onto a box they don’t own? Usually, there are laws against that kind of thing. If I hacked into Rogers’ computers and changed all their screensavers so they had to look at pictures of me every day, I’d get years in prison. How is it that they are allowed to do it to me?

If I buy a cable box with my own money, I don’t want their filthy digits grubbing around in it. Is there no way to take back control of a box that I own? Is there no way to keep the rat bastards out?

Electronics for old people

As our population ages, here’s one feature that consumer electronics makers really have to start thinking about: lock-down modes for old people.

I need a way to set up my Mom’s TV, cable box and DVD player in such a way that she can’t possibly screw it up.

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Expensive watches

The world of watches is a strange place. The best watches tend to be relatively inexpensive, while some rather poor watches are priced out of range of all but the very wealthy. By “best” and “poor”, I’m referring not to subjective things like aesthetics. I’m not even going to bother thinking about whether a Gucci watch is “better” than a Prada watch. I don’t give a rat’s ass about either of them. I mean the qualities that watchmakers have striven for centuries to achieve: accuracy, reliability, and useful features.

It’s pretty common knowledge that a $20 Timex is much more accurate than a $20,000 Patek Phillipe. From a purely practical point of view, the Timex is a better watch in almost every respect. So why is it that I am so drawn to look at these crazy expensive mechanical watches?

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