Archive for February, 2011
Brian Magerko mailed this to me, pointing out that he somehow believes this could be interesting for DWIGs.
This isn’t my idea, just inspiration for some things to share in class today:
A ritual my wife and I have is typically to watch a couple of tv shows in the evening. Since the days of cable television are behind us, we rely entirely on somewhat scrappy ways to get our video fix.
Instead of just plopping on the couch and shifting channels until you find something good (as in the days of old), the first step is locating a target TV show. Currently we accomplish this via a) torrenting popular tv and movies, b) a friend’s Netflix account, or c) recording HDTV broadcast over the airwaves (only for jeopardy).
For option A) we have to scour the internet a bit to see if people have ripped a certain episode already, or if we will have to wait a couple more days for the internet goons to get a good torrent going of a particular episode. Then we have to wait for it to download. Depending on how popular the show is, this can vary from under a minute (like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) or take several days (like old episodes of “Pete and Pete”). Before, we would have to start the episode playing on the computer (which sent a signal to the TV in the other room), and then run over to the living room to start watching it, but now we have a fancy new TV that can access our computer like a media server. This is awesome because it brings the browsing experience back to the couch, but it also causes lots of grief when we add new files and they don’t show up on our tv for DAYS.
Using option B), a friend’s netflix account (yeah we are that cheap), tends to run much more smoothly, but there are still many times when a certain video that we added to the queue (still from the computer in the other room) refuses to show up on the TV’s netflix app.
Option C) is the most dynamic and troublesome option. Even though “Jeopardy” has YEARS worth of, interesting, varied television content, they lock up their information harder than any other television show. You cannot find torrents or episodes hardly anywhere on the web, but they do broadcast individual episodes once a night for free over the HD airwaves. So we hook up an antenna, to a digital tuner that feeds into my computer. The computer is then set to record a specific channel from 7:30 -8:00 mon-sat to catch episodes of jeopardy. These episodes then (ideally) show up automatically on our computer’s media server, but usually lead to the same kind of frustration as when we download any new file. One thing that often leads to exciting physical drama, is that, even though we don’t have to watch the episode of Jeopardy from 7:30-8:00 we have to make sure the computer is ON during these times. This has caused many scrambles through the house when we realized that it was 7:42, and the computer was OFF!
Once a TV show is working, and we have finished it, we either play a game of boggle, do some weird art project, work, read, or start the process over and search for a new piece of content to watch.
Andy will be heavily involved in this but for the rest of us … and before I forget to mention it: Laurie Anderson is at Tech on Thursday. She gives a lecture/ workshop thing at the Hinman Research Building. More info > here.