the new xfinity comcast remote is a little weird. it has a button to power on/off both the cable box and television, and an on/off button for the television alone, but no on/off for just the cable box. i'm not even sure why they designed it so you could turn off the cable box, since on or off, it uses the same amount of electricity. having an off button on the box is deceptive because people think they're actually saving power when they're not.
the new remote is also very streamlined, with far fewer buttons than the old remote. this makes it easier to use, but it's missing features, like the ability to control additional devices besides the television and the cable box. the old remote also has an input button to toggle the various television inputs that missing on the new one. the new remote looks very nice though, curved surfaces and a substantial weight to it.
i was surprised to get an e-mail from drew saying he arrived back in boston late last night. no mention of where he was staying, but i thought he was going to stay at my place over the weekend. later i got an e-mail saying he was staying in boston to be closer to the conference he's attending (actually just kendall square).
i discovered that comcast xfinity has 2 free dedicated 3D channels: ESPN 3D and xfinity 3D. unfortunately for some reason they were both locked. so i called comcast and talked with an "customer account executive" who activated the 2 channels free of charge. i watched a fashion runway show in 3D, as well as a college basketball game.
i decided to take a short bike ride, on the pretense of getting some chocolate from rite aid. the hardest part was getting the bike out from the basement. carrying with my right arm, i ended up having to lift with my left to the limit of how much i can raise that arm. there was some pinching pain while i finally pushed the bike out from the basement. just as i remembered, the left brake lever was bent, but nothing i couldn't bend back. there was some scratches on the lever housing as well, but that was the extent of the damage. i was relieved that the wheels both seemed fine, and that they weren't bent when i fell. i noticed that the front gear was on 1, which corroborates with what i remember from the accident, that the chain skipped down to a looser gear.
i'm able to ride the bike because i'm able to lift up my left arm far enough to reach the handlebar. what i didn't plan on was how much force travels up the arms and to the collarbones when riding. i ended up riding with one hand as much as possible, and even then i could still feel every bump in the road traveling up my body into my arm. for short trips like to get groceries i don't think it matters very much, but i don't think i could handle longer trips. but i think it's important to use my left arm as often as possible, just to make sure the muscles and joints don't atrophy from disuse.
a couple of things arrived in the mail in the late afternoon: my bluetooth saxony keyboard ($14.94) and the iview 3500STB digital converter box ($43.35). i played with the converter box first, setting it up on the television in my room (which as of last week used to be in the living room). i connected it to the coaxial cable let it scan for channels but it couldn't find any. i went into the menu and set it to cable instead of antenna and tried again. after a length search, it found over 100 channels, but only 6 of them came in clearly. so much for its free QAM tuner, which was one of the main reasons why i bought this device.
i tried it with over-the-airwave (OTA) channels using a paperclip antenna. after a much shorter search scan, it picked up most channels except the 2 spanish ones (27 univision and 60 telemundo). i was surprised at the signal strength, considering it's in the corner of the room with just a paperclip for reception.
i tried its media player capability. it supports FAT32 and NTFS, but not exFAT, which is what i recently formatted all my portable hard disks and flash drives, and i wasn't able to erase any of them to test. i finally found my 80GB portable drive and connected it to the box. it was able to read it just fine and i managed to play a DIVX AVI video file (an episode of teachers).
the converter box can also record shows but i won't be able to test it until i can get my hands on a properly formatted flash drive. i'm disappointed the QAM tuner doesn't work, but it seems like i can receive about the same channels using just the antenna. the media player might also come in handy, and the recording feature once i figure out how it works.
drew came by around 7:30 with a pack of belgian beer. he'd been at the harvard library all day, preparing the paper he's giving tomorrow at the conference. after washing off the coffee stains from his new shirt, we ordered some wings. later i showed him some 3D photos and movies on my HDTV.
drew left close to midnight. i asked him to take the peanut butter dove chocolates i got him earlier.
i connected my macbook pro to the HDTV and tested the saxony bluetooth wireless keyboard. it works but every once in a while it seems to lose the connect and requires an additional key click to register. it's also missing an esc button (i'm trying to see if i can remap the home button to do the same thing).