i spent the morning taping up the latest shipment to norway before taking it down to the post office. there was a few people filling out forms but only one other person in line. when i made it to the counter, the postal clerk - whom i've dealt with on numerous occasions - didn't seem to recognize me and hassled me about the size of the box, pulling out his tape measure to figure out the volume. this was unusual because i've sent bigger boxes in the past. this was actually one of the smallest shipments in terms of quantity but a big box because there were a lot of shoes. i felt bad for the people behind me in line; i tried not to look at them out of guilt even though it wasn't my fault. when i went outside i realized my bike was parked on a no-bike-parking signpost.

for lunch i made some more savory chicken sausage oatmeal. later in the afternoon i had a tea egg (brown). maybe it was just me, but the egg white tasted runny. could the egg not have been cooked enough? but that's impossible, since it was cooking in the crock pot for 2 days.

i spent the day in my bedroom working from my home office desk. i was trying to hash out some code for client R so i could have tomorrow (friday) free, but there were too many distractions. first, client N came to me with some typo fixes and audios to swap out. then, i was advising elias on a new digital camera (canon T4i vs. T3i vs. S100 vs. SX40 vs. panasonic lumix FZ150). finally, my HD media player arrived in the mail.

i've been thinking about getting an HD media player (HDMP) for a while now. my old philips DVP5960 DVD player (with USB) can play video files but it only accepts a few formats (avi/divx). i didn't even know HDMP's existed until i suddenly ran across them earlier this year. since that time i've been monitoring the selection. very few reputable companies make these devices, or the ones that do roll them into something like a blu-ray player or game console. i had my eye on the incredisonic ultra play IMP150. it's one of the lest expensive HDMP's ($40) and seems to be able to play nearly ever video there is, including realmedia (RM), windows media videos (WMV), and flash videos (FLV). the only thing i didn't like about it was the interface; to call it terrible would be a kindness. i've been watching it on amazon.com, hoping for a new version with better user interface, or maybe a price drop. finally i couldn't wait any longer.

the first thing i noticed was how small it was. a credit card can almost eclipse it, and it's very similar in dimension to my memory card reader. i don't know what material the enclosure is made of but it feels substantial and the whole device has a bit of weight to it. turned off and plugged in it still draws about half a watt of electricity (about the same as a power strip turned off).

when i first plugged it in it didn't work. i thought maybe it had something to do with my television (an old-fashion trinitron tube) so i tried it on a different tv and i still had the same problem. it came with a small manual booklet and if i had the time i would've found the solution had i not just stumbled across it. apparently the device defaults to HDMI (even though an HDMI cable is not included; just an RCA AV cable); i had to switch it to NTSC mode by clicking the AV button on the remote.

the interface is painful to use. instead of dropping you directly into the USB drive (or an SD memory card), you have to manually drill down. and it doesn't remember your last position when you switch categories (video, audio, photo). the remote is equally awful. buttons are arranged in a haphazard fashion, text is hard to read and most buttons look the same from one another. the remote signal is also poor and you need to be directly pointing at the player to get it to work. this dreadly remote is the only way to control the player since there are no buttons on the device (not even an on/off button).

my first test was an episode of game of thrones in mp4 format. it played it just fine. there was a little interference which could clear up if i untangled the cable or if i was just using it on an HDTV instead of an analog TV. one smart function they put in is the ability to resume the video from where you last left off; this is essential since the fast forward function is clunky at best, advancing in staggering chunks.

later i tried out a few different file formats. it played mkv, avi, and divx all without problems (the mkv was missing the audio but only because the sound was compressed in a weird format). it wasn't able to play an flv file though (one that i compressed from mp4 using the adobe media encoder). it played all my mp3 files - some with album art, some without. in the photo test, jpeg's were no problem. a 9MB png (skyrim map) couldn't be displayed. on a whim i added an animated gif to the list and was surprised it displayed with animation (something that OS X 10.6.x can't even do). one annoying issue is the player isn't smart enough to ignore all the invisible files that get copied over from a mac. so i wasn't able to run a slideshow on a folder full of photos because it'd pause on an invisible file. and the player doesn't have the ability to advance pages, so i had to scroll manually to the start of the actual photos. when i finally did get the slideshow to run, it was entertaining with its various transitions.

drew came home around 4:30. he finally did some laundry (separating his colors from his whites) after nearly 3 weeks of arrival and went to go take a nap while the washer/dryer was running. i stayed in my room, first finishing my work for client N before getting some minor fixes done for client R. without giving too much away, the final thing i'm building is an interactive timeline. the way that it works - with movies playing forwards and backwards - is something that can only be done in flash (maybe director can do it too, but it's difficult). i'm hoping to get this done tomorrow, it should look pretty cool when finished.

i stopped working around 6:30 to heat up the remaining thai red curry leftover for dinner before settling in front of the television at 7:00 to watch the scott brown-elizabeth warren debate. it was actually kind of boring, with each side accusing the other but it's hard to say who's right or wrong. i don't know if i'll be watching anymore of these brown-warren debates.