Abby: Walking and Dancing!

November 16, 2009

Abby’s had a huge week. Yesterday, she started walking a little bit. She started with one step, repeated that two more times, and then busted out three steps in a row! That’s awesome to watch.

We’ve also noticed that she’s started dancing around a bit to music. That’s actually pretty cool. She has a little play table that plays a lot of different songs, and sometimes the music takes her away!

We caught some good stuff on video today, edited down to the best 1:11. Enjoy!


Abby’s New Stand-Up Thingy

July 28, 2009

For those of you who just want to see anything and everything about Abby that I’ll throw out there, this one’s for you. Yes, I know that’s pretty much just the grandparents.

For those of you wanting a geeky angle, I can say that this is the first video I’ve filmed, edited, and uploaded to YouTube using only my new iPhone 3GS. It’s pretty cool to be able to do all of this without ever offloading the video to my computer.

This is Abby playing in her new stand-up exercise thingy. I honestly can’t believe she’s this big already.

New G.I. Joe Movie Trailer

June 21, 2009

Okay, clearly, this movie is not going to win any Oscars this year. However, I am really looking forward to seeing G.I. Joe this summer. It is an awesome summer to be a geek in his mid-thirties. Why? Because the two best toons from 25 years ago, G.I. Joe and Transformers, both have movies coming out. Good times.

The new Joe trailer is on YouTube, but they’ve disabled embedding. You can check it out on YouTubes’ site: GO JOE!

Mac Mini Media Center?

April 25, 2009

I am a big fan of my home entertainment setup. I’m not sure how much of this I’ve shared on thegeekydad before, so I’ll just do a brief rundown of my current setup. When we moved in to our new home, my wife really wanted to keep the television out of the family room. With our first baby on the way at that time, I was cool with it. The upside is that we were then able to turn our in-construction home’s formal living room into a dedicated media room. That rocks.

The media room currently boasts a 47″ Vizio LCD HDTV, Tivo Series 3, upscaling Sony DVD player, Wii, and my AppleTV. I love it all, but I’m most-often asked about the AppleTV. After explaining that it’s basically an HD-video iPod for my TV, people just ask, “Well, why don’t you just connect a Mac Mini to the TV so you can have a lot more features?” That’s a fine question.

The AppleTV does exactly what I want it to do: it enables me to enjoy my home network’s media from my den, including all of my DVD movies that I’ve ripped and stored on my home server. It doesn’t replace my Tivo by any stretch of the imagination, and although I do have Elgato’s EyeTV Hybrid TV tuner stick on my iMac upstairs, I love my Tivo too much to do away with it. It does its job perfectly for me, so why switch?

So, the Mac Mini media center has really been more of a curiousity for me. Sure, I’d love to build one just as a weekend project, but I don’t see it replacing my setup. Besides, my wife (not a uber geek), is perfectly comfortable with the Tivo remote and interface. That’s something a lot of geeky husbands overlook. If the non-geeks are already comfortable with and able to use the existing setup, adding tech complexity is probably a bad idea.

Other people have other needs, however. And, I have at least one friend who is about to start building his home entertainment setup from scratch. What should he do?

MacWorld editor Chris Breen has been chronicalling his adventures in creating a Mac Mini media center this week. I’ll just point you to his info and video rather than repeating. If you’re looking for a fun project or starting from scratch, this could certainly be a winner. For me, though, a separate Tivo and AppleTV setup is not only cheaper, it’s more wife-friendly. And that pretty much makes it a winner.

Abby Meets the Grandparents

March 15, 2009

I just updated the Gallery page with three new videos, each one showing Abby meeting her grandparents. Thanks to all the grandfolks who endulged me by letting me film the big baby reveal. I think these videos will be great to have years from now, when Abby’s all grown up.

Check the “Movies” section on the Gallery page!

When Tivo’s Not Enough

March 9, 2009

I love my Tivo. It’s a beauty. It’s an original Tivo Series 3 HD video recorder with dual tuners. It has two cable cards in the back, as well as an antenna input for the digital HD antenna in my attic. The picture quality is amazing, the Tivo software is second to none, and even the little “ploop” sound effect makes me happy when navigating the menus. It’s a work of art.

However, even with dual tuners, there are times when the Tivo alone isn’t enough. Somehow, all four major networks have conspired against me this season. Two nights a week, we want to watch/record more than two shows at once. It’s a weird perfect storm of programming, where ridiculously long episodes of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars (sorry, ladies… I’m happily married) conflict with Bones and 24 and Scrubs and, yes, The Biggest Loser (Is it me? Perhaps.).

Therefore, I had to come up with something else. We only have one TV in the house, so getting another cable box or Tivo wasn’t an option. “Dancey Show,” as I affectionately call it to my wife, isn’t worth buying another TV and Tivo. And sadly, there are still some shows that you can’t buy on iTunes or reasonably stream from a computer to a TV. However, I still have my wonderful AppleTV connected to my beautiful TV set, so I got to thinking.

I’ve heard much about Elgato’s EyeTV tuner stick for the Mac. It is basically a USB thumb drive-type device that has a coaxial cable input on one side and a USB connection on the other. You plug your cable into it, plug the stick into a Mac, and presto! You’ve got a new TV in the house, capable of receiving all standard programming from the cable company, as well as unscrambled Clear QAM digital signals. That means I just turned my iMac into a part-time HD television with Tivo capabilities.

Better still, the EyeTV software has built-in presets for handling your recorded shows. I can set recordings individually or by a Tivo-esque season pass, and then I can tell EyeTV what to do with the shows after they’re recorded. For example, whenever EyeTV finishes recording a fabulous! episode of Dancey Show, it automatically converts the show into a high-quality .mov file specifically tailored to the AppleTV. Then, it instantly moves the show into iTunes on my computer, which then syncs to my AppleTV in my den. The result? A beautiful HD-quality episode of Dancey Show magically appears on my AppleTV, enabling us to enjoy the dramatic ensembles of ABC’s finest constumers.

For a more manly example, I also have it set to record Hannity on Fox News Channel every night at 11:00pm. While I sleep, EyeTV records the show, encodes it into a specific iPhone format, and moves it into iTunes. So, when I sync my iPhone before work each morning, I automatically have last night’s episode of Hannity’s sharp wit and conservative tongue lashings for my lunch-time viewing pleasure.

EyeTV won’t cure cancer and it won’t make my daughter sleep more than three hours at a time, but it does meet a need. If you need to supplement your DVR capabilities, or if you want to get rid of the TV altogether, EyeTV offers a great feature set and fantastic quality, all for a single $130 outlay with no annual service contracts or subscriptions.

Learn more about Elgato’s EyeTV in this demo, available at

Photo and Video Gallery Changes

February 22, 2009

Now that I’ve grown accustomed to Apple’s iMovie software and MobileMe gallery, I’m making some changes to how we handle videos on the site. From now on, all photos and videos will be accessible through the “Gallery” link in the top navigation of this site. That will open up the photo page you may already be accustomed to. However, now you’ll see videos in the gallery, as well, under the “Movies” heading.

That’s where I’ll post the little family and friend videos I make. I’ll probably still use YouTube to insert the videos into blog posts, but I’ll also archive all of these videos to the online gallery for easy viewing later. I can also make the videos accessible for download through the gallery if necessary. I’ll hold off on that for now, though.

Please let me know if you have any trouble viewing the gallery page. If you experience an issue, let me know what the problem was and what internet browser you’re using. Thanks!