My MythTV setup has been humming along for years now. It still beats what you can get from cable companies primarily because of the commercial skip capabilities. But there’s also other good stuff like being able to archive a recording. I have previously moved copies of recorded TV to an SD card for portable viewing, for example. For years, I’ve wanted an easy way to make a recorded TV show leave the ephemeral recordings section and move to the video library for permanent storage. Today, I finally got that to happen.[ continue reading »» ]
I’ve never been a fan of Nancy Pelosi. She isn’t a great public speaker with many hesitancy quirks and frequently seems ill-prepared in her press conferences. She has presided over a House of Representatives twice when she has seemed unable to coral her unruly peers into governing together rather than fighting with each other. I was disappointed to see that she was going to be Speaker of the House a second time and was optimistic about somebody else and her second tenure has turned out to be as bad as the first.
And now, her handling of to-impeach or not-to-impeach has dragged on for way too long. For years, Trump has been doing things that are illegal and easily proven but she has maintained that it isn’t enough for impeachment. And Trump seems to have taken that as a challenge: ‘Oh, if that wasn’t then how about this? Still no? Then I can do this.’ Like a toddler testing limits. Actually, I take that back – he *is* a toddler testing limits. And his parent Nancy is failing to push back. And the toddler President is getting away with more and more. Every day that Trump remains President is another 2 that it will take to fix. Or maybe the time to fix things is going up logarithmically and we are now at a point where 1 year of Trump equals 10 years to fix.[ continue reading »» ]
As a father of a young and crazy Patriots fan, I’ve been avoiding this story. I haven’t wanted to think about what Kraft did and I sure as hell don’t want to talk to my son about it. And I’ve read and heard a number of people talking about how Kraft was stupid – with the infinite amount of money he has, he could have paid for anybody at any time anywhere – i.e. go the Heidi Fleiss route instead of the strip mall with a Publix. Therefore, the prevailing wisdom is that Kraft was both stupid and really stupid.
I’ve been puzzling over how Kraft could have been so stupid and I have come to the grim conclusion that he was not. I think he realized that going with high-paid escorts would mean lots of people in positions of power would have awareness of what he was doing. Instead, going the seedy strip mall parlor route would mean no one would know – especially since the women who worked there would be unable to share that knowledge due to their situation. And that’s when I realized that his patronage of a place like that was specifically because he knew that the women who worked there were in no position to disclose what was going on. And the fact that the owner of the business had previously been arrested in Massachusetts for human trafficking means that Kraft could have gone to this business in Florida because of prior visits to one in Massachusetts. Which means Kraft’s choice was not stupid, it was evil. And the only reason he was busted is because of some awesome police work. While he was right that he didn’t need to worry about powerful people leaking information about what he was doing, he was wrong that nobody was on the side of the victims.
While my first try at putting a doc for my iPhone in my Volvo XC90 was, strictly speaking, successful, it wasn’t as good as I wanted. I had thought it would be cool to have the dock out of sight when the phone was unplugged so as not to mar the beautiful interior with an unsightly growth. So I figured out how to get it in the front bin of the console. However, I realized pretty quickly that the phone just wasn’t visible there which makes it only slightly better than the factory version of connecting it in the main console bin. I eventually accepted that I would need to get a mount for the dashboard and that it would be permanently visible. But I still wanted to keep things as clean as possible. Here’s what I did.
The current generation Volvo XC90 has a USB jack in the center console bin that you can connect your phone to. And then your phone could charge and participate in the infotainment system through either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. While that is pretty cool that your phone can be connected to the car, it is clunky to use every time you get in a car. And to think that your phone can be tucked out of sight while you are driving is naive – at least given the current state of CarPlay and Android Auto. In the future, maybe the car’s main screen can do everything that the phone can but in a smart and safe way. But for now, there’s too much that the phone does that isn’t part of the car’s screen so having the phone out is important. No I’m not texting and driving and no, I’m not playing Candy Crush while driving. But an occasional look down to see that a text has arrived or the second screen for the map application, etc. are things that make having the phone out useful and less dangerous than having it tucked away. And that makes the USB jack in the center console inconvenient at best. It’s also frequently damned annoying when the wire that comes out of the center console and snakes along the cup holders to in front of the shifter gets tangled up in whatever beverage I’ve placed there. Last week the wire broke and rather than just replace the wire, I figured it was time for me to do something better. It was (past) time to figure out how to dock the phone in the car.
In the end, I did get a dock successfully installed in the car which is a definite improvement over the aforementioned wire-in-the-cupholders situation. However, I’m not completely thrilled with the result. I now have a Lightning connector sticking out of the storage bin in front of the shifter (the optional ashtray) and the phone does connect to it. But despite my best efforts to simulate what it was going to look like there before I started, it didn’t end up the best of placements. It is behind the shifter knob when the car is in Park – I can take the phone out of the dock when it is in Park but that defeats the purpose. It is too low to really access the phone’s home button at the bottom. And it is lower than I wanted considering where my eyes are – i.e. too far to look down from the road. That means I’m going to need to work on an alternate location at some point. But for now, since it does work and it is an improvement, I figured I would document at least that for now.
As detailed in another post, I wanted to add an iPhone dock to my Volvo XC90. Ordinarily, I’d post all the info in one post but as it turned out, maybe 80% of the challenge was in disassembling the center console. And since there may be other reasons to disassemble the center console in the future, I’ve broken out the center console assembly here. It was a considerable challenge and it is worthy of its own post anyway.
Updating the MythTV channel lineup shouldn’t need to be so confusing but based on some misinformation on the Internet, I wasted a lot of time heading down wrong paths. The upshot is mythfilldatabase does do the right thing but it may not be clear initially. And if you don’t care about channel numbers at all, and you have only one source, then just run “mythfilldatabase –do-channel-updates” and you are done. If you do care about channel numbers (which can be useful when watching live TV switching between sports programs on neighboring channels, for example) or you have more than one source, read on.
In 2001, an alarm may have seemed like a useful feature for a Toyota Camry. But now 17 years later, the car is a pretty low theft target. And more importantly, the alarm always behaved strangely. And as of today, it shorted out due to water getting inside the car so the alarm was constantly sounding – at 5:30am in a crowded neighborhood. So it was now time for the alarm system to leave the car.
I chose the Stealth Hitch for my 2nd generation XC90 because I liked the functionality of being able to remove the hitch and because I could do the installation myself. (See the prior post for more about how I chose it.) That is, at the time I ordered it, it appeared that I would be able to do the install myself, and as it turns out, it was even easier than expected. All told, it took me just about two hours (including needing to redo a step). Below are the steps I took to do the install including some additional tips.