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I canceled my cable TV service today. Later this afternoon I am going to drop off the HD DVR and since I have consistently overpaid my bill for the last year they actually owe me money when all is said and done. People that know me real well might think I have lost my mind. Partly because they know how much TV and how many movies I watch and partly because......they know how much TV and how many movies I watch.
I love TV. I have grown up in the TV generation. My generation started watching TV when the bulk of it was still in black and white. We lived through the transition to color. We lived through the transition from an antenna on top of everyone's house to having cable. We lived through the added competition and cheaper pricing that satellite services have brought us. We lived through early adopters putting antennas back on top of the house to get HDTV signals over the air. If I wanted to hold on for another 8 months I would experience the cut off of analog signals when we go digital.
But I decided to cancel my cable service for several reasons --
Cost - I was spending roughly $100 a month on cable TV service. It wasn't anything fancy, a basic package upgraded with all of the HD channels they offered and an HD DVR. No premium movie channels and no sports packages. That's $100 a month for something that up until the 70's was 100% free. Sure, cable introduced a bunch of cool stuff but 30 years down the road, there are really only a small number of channels and shows worth watching on the 100's of channels offered (IMO) and $100 a month just isn't worth it. So that is $1200 a year I get to keep and in these troubling financial times, the more money in my pocket, the better.
Selection - My cable company offered 25 HD channels (not including the premium HBO type HD channels). But they do not offer and have no plans to offer SciFi HD, or Monsters HD which I would love to have. When compared against DirectTV's HD lineup, they just can't match it. And since they are the only cable company in town, it seems to me they have no desire to add additional services to make it worth my money to stay with them. Problem is, I can't get DirectTV because of all the tall tress on my property and I don't want to add a huge mast on the property to mount a dish on just to make it happen.
Time - There just isn't enough of it. I watch a LOT of TV and movies. It is an incredible time suck and I want some of the time back to accomplish other things in my life. I am not getting any younger and neither are my wife and kids. The fence needs mending, the south 40 needs some work, and I have camping to do.
It's still going to be out there - The major networks place most of the shows I would be interested in watching on their web sites within 24-48 hours of the original air date. Failing that, everyone releases DVD compilations just before the new season begins. So I can rent what I REALLY want to watch and play catch up when I need to. Nothing like spending a rainy day in your pajamas watching episode after episode of Battlestar Galactica..... I also believe most movies are worth watching on the big screen in the theater, opening weekend when the crowd gets into it.
I also truly believe that the broadcasters and Hollywood have lost the war against P2P and file sharing sites. They will never be able to prevent content from being distributed digitally over the Internet. It only takes a BitTorrent client and decent Internet connection and 30 minutes to locate, download and start watching a compressed HD version of most TV shows and movies (....or so I've heard....). They are going to figure this out sooner or later and digital distribution will become the standard means of getting content in the next 5-10 years. I have mentioned in several seminars that I am far less impressed with the 100's of CD's and DVD's people have on display at their houses and far more impressed with people that have Home Theater PC's that allow them to call up what they want to consume within seconds without having to dig a CD or a DVD out of a case, watch all the previews and THEN get to the movie. Long ago I ripped down my entire music and DVD collections and put it all in crates in the basement. There will come a day, and a lot sooner than many think, where we don't own any physical media at all except for a big RAID array where it is all stored. So call me an early, early adopter.
Thus begins my one year long experiment with no TV services (officially starts July 1st). I will consume what I can from the content providers web sites and supplement the rest with DVD rentals, and going to the movies. I know where the bars are that show my favorite sports teams live and I have season tickets for the Seattle Thunderbirds. I haven't watched live news broadcasts regularly in years (does anyone anymore?) and I know enough people with DVR's that I can capture anything else I may want to see through them.
Time to start working on the honey-do list.....
Normally this time of year is slow and I enjoy the downtime by doing summery stuff. I will still get that fun and leisure in, but I am working on a few projects right now.
I am writing a session for our Q1 content tentatively called "Why Vista?".
I am writing two sessions for delivery in Second Life on June 28th
I am working on some screencasts to discuss more in depth some of the new FTP services in FTP 7 for Windows 2008
The work on the screencasts and encoding the work has raised my interest in the variety of encoding formats and codecs used in the audio/video world so you might see some sessions on that in the future.
And I am still, very slowly, migrating my home network over to Windows 2008 AD. I am documenting this as well.
Keep your eyes peeled!
Lots of reasons why I like this post!
1) I like the content I am delivering in this one. Short, Sweet, to the point. This is the kind of stuff I want to do!
2) How many people even know when have a Secure FTP server service in Windows now?
3) This is my first SilverLight embedded post! I have been chomping at the bits to do some of these and just have not taken the time. Over the past 2 days I have been working off of a document that my buddy Keith Combs put together for our team that was tremendously helpful in getting me going.
4) This is going to push me to leverage my new Quad Core/8 Gig of RAM boxes. Rendering videos down has always been painful and these two boxes should alleviate a lot of the time wasted watching progress bars crawl across the screen.
Now for the real post content. As noted above, not too many people even know that we have a Secure FTP service for Windows now. We haven't exactly gone out of our way to let the world know, so I want to do my part. As usual, I am using my home servers so you won't see all the Contoso stuff for the demos.
An excellent source of information on the new FTP services and EVERYTHING IIS related is at the IIS.net web site.
btw....you can go full screen by double-clicking on the video during playback or using the button on the far left of the player toolbar.
You won't be accessing it directly from my blog. Instead, I have posted it through the Technet EDGE portal. Why? Because the file is 325 megs in size and hosting it at home really isn't an option. Also, I am limited on storage space for where our blogs.technet.com blogs reside. I am working on getting that resolved so that I can host some things directly through the blog and others on EDGE.
"Hey Chris! Why the hell did it take so long for you to get this online?!?!?!"
"Hey Chris! Why the hell did it take so long for you to get this online?!?!?!"
1) I am not a video editing guy (yet) and the tool set to do all of this is a little convoluted to work with. I had stuff to learn.
2) I really wanted to post things like this to my blog instead of another property. But when push comes to shove I really just need to get the content out there. I am working on some other blogging things that will let me host it all myself.
3) I am a horrible procrastinator....(working on that too)....
Now that I have run through the initial toolset, my next project will be to do some significantly smaller videos and screencasts to stream via SilverLight. I am actually working on that today so you may see some samples later today or early tomorrow. Not guaranteeing it, just working on that as my goal.
Oh yeah....I guess I should provide the link for the BitLocker Interview!!
Technology Wizards is a group of independent IT consultants with a strong focus on small business. I have delivered some Windows and SBS sessions for their group in the past. Ken Shafer leads the group and he let me know about an independent "Get The Facts" seminar they are delivering on Vista. You can get more information and register for the event here. Here is a summary of what the event is about....
"Are you an IT Pro, Reseller or Consultant considering whether or not to deploy or recommend deploying Windows Vista for business use? Are you trying to figure out how to recommend to technical or business decisions makers whether to upgrade or not, and why? Are you frustrated with all the opinions and hype and want the real facts? This FREE educational event will be conducted by a group of independent IT Professionals and is not about marketing spin or opinion-based rhetoric. It is about getting the facts you need to make a decision regarding deployment of Windows Vista. We will cover many of the features and benefits of Windows Vista, but we will do it with a real-world approach. You will also hear about some of the challenges and solutions, including deployment and features of Service Pack 1. In addition, a panel discussion will give you an opportunity to get questions answered that may be lingering. If you are an IT Decision Maker, IT Professional or a Technology Reseller/Consultant, this is the Windows Vista event you've been waiting for."
"Are you an IT Pro, Reseller or Consultant considering whether or not to deploy or recommend deploying Windows Vista for business use? Are you trying to figure out how to recommend to technical or business decisions makers whether to upgrade or not, and why? Are you frustrated with all the opinions and hype and want the real facts?
This FREE educational event will be conducted by a group of independent IT Professionals and is not about marketing spin or opinion-based rhetoric. It is about getting the facts you need to make a decision regarding deployment of Windows Vista.
We will cover many of the features and benefits of Windows Vista, but we will do it with a real-world approach. You will also hear about some of the challenges and solutions, including deployment and features of Service Pack 1.
In addition, a panel discussion will give you an opportunity to get questions answered that may be lingering.
If you are an IT Decision Maker, IT Professional or a Technology Reseller/Consultant, this is the Windows Vista event you've been waiting for."
If you happen to be in the Portland, OR area on June 17th, check them out!