WIN1200 Phone – Doesn’t work under Windows Vista

So, we've had a Uniden WIN1200 VOIP phone for a while now, and it's really handy to use for web calling via Windows Live Messenger. (Yeah, this is starting to sound like an advertisement — it's not)

I upgraded the home laptop last week to Windows Vista RC1, and now the phone doesn't work. I found this blog entry with a comment written by someone at Uniden that says we can send in our phones for re-flashing. Excellent! Kudos to Uniden.

Apple: What are they thinking?

So, at this morning's Showtime Event Apple unveiled several things, most of which were expected. Notably absent: the rumored full screen video iPod.

At any rate, one of the things they announced that people did expect was the ability to download movies from iTunes. Good idea, poor execution.

You see, Apple set the price point for movies at $12.99 for pre-order and first-week sales, and $14.99 thereafter.

Visiting Amazon, it looks as though the average price of their top-sellers are around $17.50 now. Yeah, but you have to wait a few days for those, and maybe have to pay shipping. Visiting Best Buy, price points are all over the place, but I'd say it averages out to around $17 for normal DVDs.

So, for that extra $2-$2.50, you get the pretty DVD casing (meh), and the physical media. In addition, you probably get the extras that go on DVDs: deleted scenes, multiple languages, subtitles, outtakes, etc. Also, as part of your extra $2-$2.50, you get actual DVD quality (Steve Jobs said “near DVD quality 640×480″ for iTMS movies (and come on, 3:2 format?)). As a bonus for your hard-earned $2-$2.50, you also get real surround sound: Dolby Digital, DTS, THX. Steve Jobs says you get “Dolby Surround” – anyone that knows the difference between Pro Logic and Dolby Digital or DTS or THX knows that it makes a huge difference.

And seriously, I don't know when the last time I bought a DVD was. For $10/month, I get as many movies as the USPS can shuttle around with Netflix.

My point is: Apple had a huge opportunity to get a major win in this market, but they basically blew it.

(also of note: Steve Jobs didn't wear a black turtleneck!)

My other thoughts on the keynote:

  • gapless playback: about time.
  • games: not bad. Though the picture of Bejeweled saying “Just for iPod”? Funny, they must've missed Xbox Live Arcade's rendition of the same. Otherwise, the games hit list reads a lot like the Xbox Live Arcade line-up: Zuma, Hold-em, PacMan…
  • iTunes 7: woah, looks like the copy machines are going in Cupertino as well – a lot of these features are in the recently announced Windows Media Player 11.
  • NFL: Maybe interesting. At $1.99 per game, it's not badly priced. But, but there seems to be a catch: Steve Jobs says that “game highlights” are coming to iTMS — not the game, just a highlight reel.
  • iTV: Could be interesting and compelling. We'll see in Q1 2007. Potential to compete with what Windows Media Center and Xbox 360 already do, as well as what the Playstation 3 is supposed to do.

The TiVo Dilemma

I just sold my TiVo the other day. R.I.P. the TiVo.

Anyhow, I didn't sell it because I didn't like it — quite the contrary. I loved the TiVo. It worked (well, most of the time — the IR link stuff just didn't cut the mustard some times) and did a great job recording suggestions based on what we gave the old Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down to.

We sold the TiVo because we got a new TV. One that does HD. And our TiVo Series 2 doesn't do that.

For now, we're using a cable box with a built-in DVR functionality. It does a lot of what the TiVo did — records TV shows we program, etc. It doesn't do recommendations, which is a huge TiVo selling point. On the bright side, we don't have to deal with the IR link anymore.

So, TiVo is moving on with technology. Their Series 3 boxes will support CableCard/OCUR standards — which is great and long overdue (but will probably have a minimal monthly fee from the cable company, because the CableCard is their equipment, after all). The Series 3 boxes will have dual tuners, so it can either record two things at once, or record something while you watch something else. My Comcast DVR does that as well. The Series 3 TiVo will still have a monthly service fee — I assume $12.95/month just like my Series 2 did (random: when I called to cancel my S2 TiVo, they offered to drop the price to $6.95; maybe you readers out there [ok, all one of you] can save some money!). The DVR costs me money: $5.00/month. It's less, but negligible in the grand scheme of my bills.

Here's the crux of the issue: The TiVo Series 3 will reportedly sell for around $800 for the unit. I paid NOTHING for my Comcast DVR. I don't understand how TiVo can expect to be successful in selling their boxes. I loved the recommendations, but they are in no way worth a one-time $800 fee plus an approximate tripling of my monthly fees. $800 will probably get you an entry-level Media Center PC, with a lot more functionality.

Is anyone going to be buying this thing? Does TiVo actually expect people to be buying these? Do TiVo's shareholders and analysts expect this thing to go off well?

I just don't see it happening. What am I missing?

Oblivion: Achievement Unlocked

So, last night I finally beat Oblivion on the Xbox 360. I started gameplay on May 19th, and finished on September 7th (all according to achievement tracking). 91 hours and 34 minutes of game-time.

That's a long time. I can't think of another game that's kept my attention this long — over 3 months. I definitely got my $60 out of that game.

I do, however, admit to being bored with it in the last week or so of gameplay. It gets pretty predictable at the end. Oh well, now to consider what to play next: Test Drive: Unlimited or Chromehounds… Decisions, decisions.