Good Things

Without belaboring my obvious recent absence from the blogosphere, I’ll just provide a number of links that you might find interesting:

RiffTrax: Don’t you miss MST3K? Years ago, Forester had the idea to make his own MST3K-type spoofs, but the original MST3K guys ended up beating him to the punch. Now, for only $5.98, I’ll be able to watch the Star Wars Episode I and II DVDs that came packaged with Revenge of the Sith!

MythTV: One reason I’ve never plumped for a TiVo or other type of DVR is that I would rather buy a device, than buy a device AND pay a subscription fee. Turns out you can take any old Intel box, add a special card for converting cable signals into digital video, install Linux, and (voila!) MythTV turns your computer into an open-source DVR. Program information is free over the web (for instance, from zap2it), and the bigger the hard-drive, the more it can store (about 1 GB/hour of non-HD television).

Finale Notepad: As a musician, I’ve occasionally had the need to jot something simple down. For instance, when I got married, one of the hymns that I wanted as part of the service was not in the hymnal of the church we were using. I managed to enter and print the hymn as a leaflet inserted in the bulletin, using a 30-day evaluation copy of some software or other, but I wish there had been (or I had known about?) Finale’s Notepad back then! As the name implies, Notepad is a lightweight, free music composition software. I say lightweight because it is a limited version of Finale’s full software, but the limitations are surprisingly unrestrictive. You can have up to 8 staves, you can enter lyrics, you can have all manner of special notations (tuplets, slurs and ties, fermatas, repeats,…), you can perform transposition, there is MIDI playback, you can save and print — I really think Finale has gone overboard in their free offering, such that I might never have a need to pay for anything better!

On a more serious (and less geeky) note,

The PCA: Following the OPC (my church‘s previous denomination), my denomination has produced a report about Frank Valenti. The PCA report is smaller than the OPC’s report, probably because it narrowed its focus on standards rather than scripture. The report has not yet been adopted by GA, but it concludes quite clearly that all of the following hallmarks of FV are contrary to the Westminster Standards: monocovenantalism, temporary “covenantal” election, denial of ICAO, denial of merit, imputation subsumed in union, baptismal regeneration, saving graces without perseverance, and final justification partly based on works.

Good Grief: My sister recently wrote a very personal, very touching post about our sister that we both lost. If you have ever lost anyone, I think her post will be edifying for you.

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13 Responses

  1. Ah. But can MythTV pause and rewind live tv? And record up to three things at a time?

  2. But can MythTV pause and rewind live tv?

    Yes.

    And record up to three things at a time?

    Yes, depending on how many tuners are on the video-digitizing card you bought. If you want to go cheap, you can buy a one-tuner card, which allows you to record, OR pause and rewind live. If you lay out the long green for a card with three tuners, then you can record three things at a time, or record two and pause/rewind one live show.

    And it is more than just a DVR, it is a whole media center. It will do photo albums, music collections, weather reports, whatever other cool functionalities somebody has decided to implement into the open-source codebase!

    And if you can’t be bothered to put in the time and energy to assemble and install a MythTV box yourself, you can even buy a ready-made version of basically the same thing!

  3. But it doesn’t work in HD.

    HD is fantastic. It makes TV worth watching.

    The one knock on HD is actually a plus. limited channels! it makes TV like it used to be. who really needs 500 channels anyways? I’ll take 15 quality channels in beautiful high definition ANY day of the week.

  4. But it doesn’t work in HD.

    No, MythTV works with HD, and for another couple hundred, you can upgrade to an HD version of the readymade product.

    I’m with you on the channels though. We recently added cablemodem to our Cox bundle, and I was glad that (by talking to the phone operator dude) I could get a special package that had regular cable only — too much junk with all those digital channels!

  5. Dude your link says “product not found”.

    So you mean you don’t have HD?

  6. Oopx! Link fixed.

    I don’t even have digital. I still watch my 8-tracks on a reel-to-reel 26-inch CRT. Planning on buying a 16:9 LCD TV (maybe 32″) some time this year.

  7. If you’re interested in what NT Wright actually says, here’s an
    article he wrote explaining and defending his particular flavor of the NPP.

    I was glad to hear of the PCA’s report a couple weeks ago. Our presbytery produced one almost 5 years ago (has it been that long?!) a few months after the now infamous conference. We were blasted at the time as witch-hunting reactionaries, but I’m glad to see that the “big boys” have now come out in agreement and defense of the Bible.

  8. My tv was a gift from my brothers and friends at my bachelor party. It’s the best buy store brand, “insignia” it’s 27″ plasma and perfect for my house. I’ve only had cable for a month now and pretty much only watch baseball, nature shows and news. You won’t regret the upgrade to HD. It’s like going from black and white to color.

  9. What if I don’t watch any baseball, nature shows, or news?

    As for NT Wrong, I think he’s less dangerous than full-blown FV. I’ll check out his own (short) words, though, looks interesting.

  10. Yes, NT Wright is less dangerous than the FV. After all, it’s less dangerous to be all screwed up in your understanding of justification, than to be all screwed up in your understanding of justification AND think that you participate in the intratrinitarian relationship. In the one, you don’t understand soteriology, and that’s pretty bad, but in the other, your whole ontological system becomes bizarre indeed.

    E

  11. One thing that might push RubeRad into buying a modern TV (with PAL capability) might be my failure to provide him with an NTSC reburn of his spaced DVDs! Had a couple of goes that fell over.

  12. Hey limejelly! Long time no, um, read! Here in the U.S., I’m not sure that even “modern” TVs typically have PAL capability, although since LCDs are essentially glorified computer monitors, maybe the issue is moot? I am not certain how a MythTV or MyTelly box would deal with a Region 2 PAL DVD.

  13. If you’re happy to interpose a PC of some description between disc and TV then you can do literally exactly anything you like. There is freeware out there to grab the wrong region DVD data and just play it – use videolan (google) or something. Easy.

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