Thursday, August 30, 2007

Modern Consumer

We're looking into getting a HD front projector for our new "playroom" instead of one of those buhgiant flatscreen LCD TVs. I've been cruising some of the online forums and review websites, so I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what's out there and what our options are. The hard part now is figuring out which one to get.

Traditionally, you'd go to the store, compare how things looked on the different models, weigh the costs and then make a decision. The problem being, where do you go to actually SEE what the projected image looks like?

  • The high-end audio store we went to for our new speakers didn't have any projector systems on display (although the sales rep had a recommendation for us).
  • The SOOTTAD and I rode over to the Best Buy on Sunday to see what they had, and what they had was a shelf with FAKE display models and an apologetic sales guy who thought the only difference between different models was the number and type of input ports. (And a prospective buyer whose totality of experience with projection systems that was driving him to buy one was that he'd seen a projector setup and THE PICTURE WAS HUGE AND IT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME!)
  • I went to a Tweeter store today -- they actually have a home theater demo room (Score!), but they only demo one projector, the 1080p Sony VPL-VW100. Which is better than nothing, I suppose -- at least I now understand that a high-end projector with the highest resolution currently available with a given throw distance and display size will give us what we're hoping for. Helpful, without actually being all that helpful. Like learning that it's dark at night, or that rain is wet.
  • The local high-end audio store says that they have a demo room, but it appears to be, once again, a single model, and in their case, one of the senselessly expensive models. May go anyway -- it may be a 720p projector (or at least has a native resolution less than the max 1080), so maybe I can see whether the resolution is adequate for the screen size and viewing distance that we're hoping for. Perhaps their webpage is just hopelessly out of date.


So, does anybody know how one can actually see how well these things perform? Do people who buy them just buy them sight unseen and rely on the "expert" discussion in the online forums or online review sites? Are we being just soooo last cenury? Do these things not matter to "normal" consumers? Was the BestBuy guy actually speaking truth when he said the different models were all basically the same and we should just make a decision based on price?

What's the standard operating procedure these days for the modern consumer of the high definition front projection system?

Inquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE 01Sep2007: Did some Googling today, and this looks promising... (too bad their website doesn't actually tell you when they're open)

Eye of the beholder

Towards the end of my run yesterday, I was on a section of the Charles River Walkway that passes through Waltham as it approached dusk. The light was already starting to fade, but I noticed a short woman and her dog walking slowly along one of the larger grassy areas that bordered the path.

I assumed that she had just gotten up or had simply been standing motionless because I hadn't seen her until her movement caught my attention. And in my head, my brain immediately came to the conclusion that she must have been quietly taking in the sunset, admiring the late summer sky as the colors slowly faded beyond the trees. She walked casually, and I imagined that she was lost in thoughts about the transient beauty in the world, the value of each moment in the sea of moments in our lives.

I took a moment for myself to appreciate the failing light. And as I passed her, I noticed...

...that she was talking on her cellphone.

So I guess all that other stuff was just me.


A few minutes later I saw two girls walking together on the sidewalk who seemed to be engaged in a bubbly conversation with one another. (At least, that's how it sounded to me as I approached.) And as I passed... Nope. Just one girl talking on her cell phone, and her... friend(?) quietly accompanying her, destination unknown.

TECHNOLOGY: bringing people together.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bah, I tell you.

I just spent over $600* getting the driver side seatbelt fixed in my car.



And apart from the whole money thing, it makes me feel pretty stupid and useless that I couldn't figure out how, if it was possible, for me to fix it myself. It's not like it's the fuel injection system or something; it's a SEATBELT! BAH! I thought about trying and then managed to convince myself that it was probably hooked into a bunch of stupid crash and braking sensors and that was the end of it.

On the plus side, we've been all ecologicalibly-minded and crunchy-granola and rode our bikes for all our errands on Sunday, which carried over to dropping the car off and then biking home yesterday, and biking back to the shop to pick up the car today.

And 2 days of working from home and not driving to the office. Bonus.

* And they also nailed me with a $5.94 hazardous waste disposal charge. FOR A SEATBELT!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

picking blueberries

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

Not the worst way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Originally uploaded by foodnerd.

I haven't felt like I've had much time to post, or had much to post about, but I finally got around to updating the About page. Quite a bit has changed, and I guess I'm a little sad that I didn't bother to save some of what used to be there. But one of life's lessons is that, oftentimes, once you've done something, it can't really be undone. And at that point, you just have to let go and move on.

Anyway, all the big craziness of the year is finally over. Well, mostly, anyway. The wedding, the travel, the house sale, school, massage certification and licensing. There's still plenty of leftover crazy to go around -- we've got thank you notes to write and we're finally starting to take some baby steps getting the new house in proper order, but otherwise it's just everyday normal crazy.

In the last week, I took my car to the shop, had the SOOTTAD's car insured and registered in Massachusetts, played some ultimate, worked in the garden, ran shopping errands, went to a BBQ, a baby shower, a birthday party and a roofdeck concert eavesdrop (the Police concert at Fenway Park) and finally broke down and installed the window A/C* units in the bedroom and the SOOTTAD's office.

There always seems to be something. We're still busy, although I'm happy to say that it doesn't feel crushingly so. Maybe there's something about our lives that really is unusual or extraordinary, but in this, I think it's just business as usual. There will always be things that we need to take care of, planning, working, fixing, building. We have projects now, and when those are done, there are already plenty of others that are waiting in the wings. It never ends.

But I think I'm ok with that. It seems normal. Life is an everyday kind of a thing, after all. All is well.

...although a bit hot and sticky, at the moment.

* Unfortunately, no A/C in my workspace at the house, but I should be back in the office-office for the rest of the week.