Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This Christmas was filled with all sorts of delights. From good times with family and friends to new XBox 360s, bikes, TVs and laptops.

After dealing with the agonizingly inconsistent behavior of our Sony KP-51HW40 for over a year, we finally decided to replace it with a Samsung FP-T5084 plasma we ordered from Amazon. This flat panel display has an HD tuner built in, so as soon as we plugged it in, we were mesmerized by the few free HD channels that Patriot Media offers. Luckily one of them played the Pats-Giants game in beautiful colors and amazing detail. We switched back to the standard def channel every now and then and were appalled at what now seemed like a bland and blurry display. Our cable company offers a number of other HD channels for only a few dollars a month extra, so they may be worth pursuing. Our TiVo has been showing its age and now that I know our favorite shows such as Heroes and Battlestar Galactica may be running in HD on NBC, it may be time to look at the Series 3 TiVos for their HD recording capability. The old set has been relegated to the basement where it amazingly is no longer flashing colors or shutting itself off. We attribute that to the bumpy journey into the basement.

My son got another XBox 360, this one with the HDMI port which we can use with the new plasma system. The older one goes to the basement with the Sony rear projection system for simultaneous big-screen gaming. Of course, rewiring the whole entertainment center took about 4 hours of breathing dust and uncovering ancient artifacts such as an old composite cable labeled VCR. In all, we freed a number of unused cables from that jungle of wiring and took out our old faithful Pioneer DV-414 from 199, which hasn’t been used in some time since the XBox 360 was able to do progressive scan playback. A cheap HDMI cable and the XBox HD-DVD kit will let us get into some nice HD-DVD movies. I think that with the advent of the sub-$100 HD-DVD player, HD-DVD will come out the winner over Blu-Ray this season, the same way DVD won over Circuit City’s terrible short-lived DiVx disc rental system back in the holiday season of 1998. Only the final numbers will tell.

Our littlest one got a few video games and a new bike. My daughter finally got the extra Compaq C717NR I picked up on Black Friday. I haven’t seen any rebates from it yet, but I’m anxiously waiting for those to come in. She’s doing OK with Windows Vista and the home wireless is keeping up with both laptops. Nothing new on the music front this year, as everyone but the 4-year old has an iPod, although he keeps going to to look at the videos and hinting that his favorite color is green. In some of the pictures of our Christmas photos you’ll see a long string of cards. This is from a nice Mini snail mail mailing list on I signed up for where we traded addresses (50 total) and sent each other Christmas cards.

The break involved a lot of resting, and working to set up some computer projects I had on the back burner such as finishing the virtualization of the web server, a few network upgrades in the home, and setting up my dad’s Dell PowerEdge 2950 (2x 3GHz dual core, 16GB mem) with CentOS and VMWare Server. There was a lot of Halo 3 being played! We closed the holidays with a New Years Eve bash at the Stress Factory comedy club in New Brunswich NJ where Joey Kola and Patty Rosborough performed to a sold out crowd.

Mall Santa

Mini Christmas

Family Card Picture

Entertainment Center 2007


5 thoughts on “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  1. So you think HD-DVD will win in the end? I was on the same page until recently. BlueRay seems to have alot of studio support, more so then HD-DVD. The BlueRay players are coming down in price too. Personally I’m going for the PS3. If the format flops, at least I have a game console as a consolation prize. ^_^

    So how do you like the 360 with HDMI? Worth getting? I have mine setup with the vga cable, because I didn’t want to buy a new 360.

    Looks like you have 3 Xbox’s under your TV! 2 old ones and one 360! Bill Gates must love you!

  2. We actually have four old XBoxes and two 360s. =) Three of the four old XBoxes have been modded with XBox Media Center to play high quality AVI from our file server – the gold one you see in the living room, one in the basement and one in my bedroom. The 360s are for uber gaming. We host a lot of LAN parties for gaming since we have the house wired for ethernet on all floors. We had 12 XBoxes in the house during one party before we got a 360.

    I actually haven’t gotten the HDMI cable for the new 360, but plan on correcting that this weekend. Component video alone in 1080p to the new TV looks spectacular. Can’t wait to see what HDMI can do.

    I think the HD-DVD/BluRay battle is a complete 50/50 tossup. Right now it’s just a price issue – the HD-DVD player is an extra $150 to hooks up to the 360. The PS3 is much pricier than that and you can’t play Halo3 on it. =)

  3. Nice Christmas you had. Wish your luck to me 🙂 I also got my yearning presets as a music system 5.1 which makes all the block of flats rocking. It’s funny anyway 😉 Happy new year Be happy and be loved!

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