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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
                    Monday, June 21 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Gadgets

Yesterday was a great Father's Day. Sons Mike and Kevin and fiancee-in-law Maya took me to the Outback Steak House for one of my favorite meals. We then went for our Starbucks drinks at a downtown location I hadn't been to before, and afterward walked around the Juneteenth festival we hadn'd known would be going on.

Mike and I had been talking the day before about one of the new high-tech innovations that's now just around the corner, TV over the Internet. I had seen an article in a high-tech news source a week or so earlier, describing it. As high-speed Internet connections become more common, it becomes feasible to feed television content directly from the stations and networks to computers. Computers and television sets will become more integrated, for certain, as something like a reversal of the WebTV (being able to check email and web pages on television) that was an innovation a few years ago, to Internet TV (being able to receive television transmissions over the Internet on PCs).

Already, many—probably most—television stations make available news stories with video clips that can be downloaded and played through software applications like RealPLayer and Windows Media Player (both of which are available free online). Thus far, the TV content that's available online is mostly limited to short items of a few minutes (everyone must know about the "clips" the Mid-East terrorists have been making available to play up their atrocities), but the technology is now available to "stream" whole TV programs; it's just a matter of time until all the elements come together to make it widely offered. TIVO, the very expensive digital recording system that is a popular alternative to the old VCRs, has already announced a unit that will become available soon that will download TV through the Internet rather than CATV cable, satellite dishes, or antennas.

This sounds like a great innovation, as "Cable TV" or dishes will no longer be required to get a wide variety (scores of stations) of types of television programming; it will be available without additional charge through your Internet access service. The catch is, however, that DSL and the existing TV cables are the only sources of high-speed Internet, and they already charge about the same as subscribing to cable TV. Nevertheless, as the Internet (and wireless technology) has already reduced long-distance telephoning cost lower than we could have imagined 10 years ago, the "added value" of combining these two technologies should spin off a wide variety of economies and technologies.

Based on our conversation and my failure to think of anything I "wanted" for Father's Day, Mike went to the nearby electronics supermart and got me a WinTV-USB unit which I can connect to my laptop computer and receive TV by plugging the Comcast Cable in at one end and my computer on the other. This is not the near-future innovation, but is virtually the same as TIVO in that it makes it possible to record TV shows digitally, freeze the show and start it at your convenience, and other nifty possibilities. Looks like I have got my playtime spoken-for for quite a while to come.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Warning signs of Insanity...

  • You cry at the end of every episode of Gilligan's Island because they weren't rescued.
  • You like cats. Especially with mayo.
  • You put tennis balls in the microwave to see if they'll hatch.

Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz 

Thought for today

Every time I hear the word "exercise," I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

Sent by Trudy Myers 

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