31 August 2007

Top 10 reasons I love Tivo

I have had my Tivo boxes for over three years now and I absolutely love them. At times I work odd shifts, so the time-shifting capabilities of the system are great. At work I tout the abilities and the features of Tivo. Many times I get a co-worker who will say that they enjoy their cable company's provided DVR, but to that I say BAH! I feel that the Tivo is superior and here are my top 10 reasons.

10. Internet Radio

From time to time I like to be able to listen to my favorite Internet radio station. This feature allows me to access it and play it over my home stereo (which is hooked up to my TV). This is not a feature on cable provided DVRs.

9. Amazon Unbox

Although most cable companies provide On-Demand type downloads, the Tivo equivalent is Amazon Unbox. It allows me to download movies and TV shows, but for a fee. Although, I get to keep these movies or TV shows because I have purchased them, unlike On-Demand.

8. Podcasts

I love being able to watch my video podcasts from the comfort of my living room or bedroom. From here I can watch my C|net clips, and other video podcasts that I enjoy to watch, without being tethered to my computer. Plus, I don't get any streaming problems, as all the podcasts are downloaded as they are released.

7. Tivo-To-Go

Another favorite feature of mine is the ability to transfer recorded shows and movies to my laptop for travel, a PSP or other small video device. The program also allows me to transfer my home movies and other downloads to my Tivo so I can watch them on the TV.

6. Swivel Search

This allows me to search out a program by genre, name, or keywords. I like this to search for new shows and ones that I see commercials for and can't remember the name. I can also search by channel and time as well.

5. Tivo Recommendations

Tivo will take your thumbs up and thumbs down ratings into consideration and recommend shows for you to watch. You can turn on this feature and have Tivo download the shows for you or you can just access the list and download the ones that look interesting to you.

4. KidZone

With kids in the house, this is an important feature for me. This allows the kids to flip channels, but only to channels that are actively broadcasting shows that are below a user-specified level. For me, I have it set for Y7, so that any channel with a show rating of Y7 and below will be available for my children to watch. As for the Now Playing list, only shows Y7 and below (or others that I actively set for them to watch) will be available for them.

3. Online Scheduling

Oops, I forgot to set a recording for something that is coming on this evening and I'm at work. No problem, I can just log in to my account at Tivo.com and schedule a recording over the internet! I can setup a Season Pass as well. This is a great feature for those shows you hear about at work or a friends house and you don't want to forget to record them to check them out.

2. Home Media

The home media options are one of my favorites of the Tivo features. I can play my MP3's from my computer, view a slideshow of photos from my computer as well. My favorite part of this is the multi-room viewing. I am able to transfer shows from my Tivo in the living room to my Tivo in the bedroom and back again. This makes it great for times when I just want to lounge in bed and watch my favorite show, even though it was recorded on the Tivo in another room.

1. Season Pass

The Season Pass feature on the Tivo is one that I constantly rave about. It will allow me to record all instances of a show without recording the repeats throughout the week. If a show traditionally begins a few minutes early or ends a few minutes late every week (some stations do this to catch extra viewers), I can set up my Season Pass for that particular show to begin a few minutes early or extend a few minutes, so I do not miss important parts of my show.

All in all, I believe the Tivo service to be a great one and if you intend on fronting the money to rent a cable DVR, I suggest that you at least look into investing in a Tivo box. They run specials all the time where you can get the box for free for a 1 year service commitment. If you have HD and want a HD DVR, Tivo has that as well in their Series 3 DVR.

Let me know what you think and your preferences on a DVR.

29 August 2007

15 year old girl gets new chance at life

A 15 year old Canadian girl recently got a new chance at life. Last year she became suddenly ill and required a heart transplant. Since she is still a teenager, they placed an artificial heart within her especially designed for children, named the Berlin Heart.

The artificial heart was to give her body more time to wait for a transplant heart. After 146 days, she received a surprise when she was told that her heart had repaired itself as it was able to rest and rebuild with the artificial heart in place.

"We thought the miracle was that the Berlin Heart would give us time to find the perfect donor heart for Melissa," said her mother, Sharon Mills, in a release. "We are overwhelmed that instead, the Berlin Heart gave her own heart time to rest and repair itself."
Since her heart had repaired itself, the doctors performed another surgery to remove the artificial heart.

I think this is just a wonderful story. It's nice to see good news for a change. I just hope this girl's heart is able to stay healthy. I don't know how I would feel if this were my daughter. I would be elated, but at the same time, I think I would be worried that it could happen again. Hopefully she is able to stay healthy.

28 August 2007

Manga Bible announced

First off, I don't keep up with manga at all. I stumbled across this article earlier and I thought that it was interesting. For those who don't know about manga; it is the Japanese word for comics. For most everyone outside Japan, it refers to comics that originate from Japan.

According to manganews.net, the Manga Messiah and Manga Bible will be released this fall. The former being a representation of the four gospels of the New Testament which will be released in September 2007. The Manga Bible, will be released in November 2007.

I think that this is really a great idea for youth who are intimidated by the complexity of the Bible or those who have put off reading it because it is "boring". There are a lot of good life lessons and good messages throughout the Bible that I believe that youth can relate to.

I'm sure there will be some out there that won't see this as such a good thing and will try to denounce it, but I figure that if people don't like it they don't have to read it. Overall, I see this as a great way to spread the word and love of Christ.

27 August 2007

U.S. Takes LLWS!

It seems that for the third straight year, the United States has brought home the Little League World Series Championship. The state of Georgia has been the winner the last two years with Hawaii taking it three years ago. The boys from Warner-Robins, Georgia celebrated as they saw Dalton Carriker's home run clear the right field wall.

The game began with Japan taking a 2-0 lead over the boys from Georgia by the second inning. But the U.S. team struck back in the bottom of the second and tied the game at two. From then on it was a pitcher's dual. With 13 strike outs for each team, it didn't seem like any team had an edge. The game continued on until the bottom of the eighth inning when Dalton's walk-off home run ended the game.

I'm glad to see the United States win it again, but it wouldn't have bothered me to see Japan win either. I spent a few years in Japan and got to know the people and culture well, so I'm kind of attached in a way. I think that the important thing is that both teams should be proud of how far they made it and that they had fun playing a sport that they love.

24 August 2007

Manhunt 2 Cleared

As released by developer Rockstar, their controversial game Manhunt 2 has now received a Mature rating by the ESRB. The game began with an Adults Only (AO) rating in June. For games, that spells disaster as Nintendo and Sony both will not allow AO rated games to be released for their respective consoles. That wasn't the only hurdle for them as retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart would not sell AO rated games.

It's not certain what was adjusted within the game to allow the game's rating to be downgraded, but you can be sure that the game has probably dumbed down the amount of violence and gore that was prevalent before. Not to say that the game won't be worth playing for the violence and blood (if you're into that sort of thing), but it definitely won't be the same as it was intended by the developer.

My take on the whole situation is that the ESRB is way more over-powering in their rulings. For games the AO rating is akin to the NC-17 rating for a movie. It limits the target audience and in turn lowers profits. But what really sets apart the ratings are the fact that if Manhunt 2 were to be a movie, it would clearly be rated R, not NC-17. Just look at movies like Hostel to see violence and gore as depicted in the game Manhunt 2.

It seems that the ESRB needs to loosen up their restrictions on game ratings and start making them more in line with the movie ratings system. Not that I'm a fan of these games that depict this sort of violence and gore, but I believe that the developers have a right to build a game and as such have it rated fairly and accordingly.