Dreaming of a useful HDTV PVR

I want an HDTV PVR as unencumbered as possible. Ideally, it would sit by the TV/cable box and communicate closely with my Linux computer. Failing that, it could be a card in my Linux computer, and I'd just have to snake a cable from the living room to the computer room. Unfortunately, this is a much more complex matter than I would have thought.

The set-back to the broadcast flag leads me to think I have more time to buy/build the right device, especially since it's unlikely to be reversed this year, but I still don't see any coming solution to the basic technical problems.

The main resource I've checked out is the EFF's HDTV-PVR Cookbook. It makes it clear that the only real option for me is limited to "terrestrial broadcast (free over-the-air) digital television using an antenna." Cable apparently uses encryption. Problem is that almost everything I'm interested in watching in HD is on a cable channel.

I suppose the fact that Tivo seems to be increasingly terrorized by big media and scorned by cable and satellite outfits renders unlikely our ever seeing an HD Tivo that allows capture to a Linux box.

[Uche Ogbuji]

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Planet chuffed

I'm still stumbling along a bit in my weblogging journey (just over one month now), but I've been gratified by the great feedback, and Copia has garnered a burst of attention in the past few days.

First of all, Copia is now a province on three planets that I know of:

The first two are topic-specific feeds, which is as I think it should be. I write on a very broad range of topics, and I have plenty on Python and XML alone, so there's no need to bombard the planets with masses of off-topic posts. I'm in great company on all three feeds.

But perhaps most pleasing has been a very kind comment from Bill de hÓra, someone's whose thinking and writing I respect a lot.

I think I've figured out a time management scheme that allows for posting to Copia without sacrificing the time I used to spend on so much other work that continues to pile up.

Now all I have to do is convince Chime to post more (he's never been as talkative as I am, to his credit).

[Uche Ogbuji]

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Peter, Coloradan classicist

I first met Peter Saint-André as a neighbor. He worked for Webb Corp, which had an office right next to Fourthought (in the same building). They hired us in 2001 to explore RDF technology in their applications (e-commerce template Web sites and directories). I got to know a lot of their developers, and was especially impressed by the quality of folks Webb had gathered: from Tom Bender to Mike Brown (whom we eventually hired at Fourthought) to Peter.

Webb also served as the incubator for Jabber, and I came to know Peter as "the Jabber guy". I'm not much of an instant messaging user, but even so, I could see that Peter was doing a formidable amount of good work in the Jabber community, and its off- spring in the standards space, XMPP. I recently had a brief e-mail exchange with Peter (I found out he keeps tabs on the Colorado blogging community), and he reminded me that he's a strict classicist. I'm a classicist as well (fairly strict), and I appreciate people who make the considerable effort to reach back to Greek and Latin culture. There's no better way to rear a versatile mind. As if to illustrate this fact, Peter pointed me to his verse. It's pretty good stuff, mostly pleasant translations of Sappho, Horace and others, with some light lyric.

I vowed not to go from better to worse
By writing any of their fine free verse!
I'll take my metrical lines underground
Before I make verse without sense or sound.

Peter Saint-André--from "Moving Violation"

Nice complement to my recent reading of Expansive Poetry ("Essays on the New Narrative and the New Formalism") (see recent Poetry topic entries). I'm not as much of a metrical absolutist as Peter, but I do strongly believe that a poet who cannot write well in form can not write well in free verse. If I had to make a choice in my own reading and writing, I'd give up free verse in an instant.

And it's very interesting to note that Peter is very classicist (and Renaissance) in his attitude towards copyright. Bravo.

[Uche Ogbuji]

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What's SMS.ac really all about? [updated]

I keep getting invitations from friends to sms.ac. The friends are the sort of people I'm certainly happy to communicate with, but I'm always suspicious of joining such on-line clubs because who knows what the real agenda is? I was certainly not surprised when meetup.com went C.R.E.A.M.y and started shaking down granny-tea-cosy get-togethers for dues.

Anyway, do any other savvy techies use it? Is it worth the (apparently free) registration? Do they seem like just the next generation of scum who happen to have taken some of my friends, or are they legit? I tried a few google searches but didn't find anything helpful.

Disclaimer: I have no problem with sites charging for services, and indeed, I'm happy to pay for several of my on-line services, but I can't stand bait-and-switch. B&Sers deserve keel-hauling, matey.

Updated Thanks to Mark Baker for pointing me to good reason to stay well away from SMS.ac.

[Uche Ogbuji]

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