Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

30 Days: Sounds like an interesting series

Monday, July 11th, 2005

The 30 Days TV series sounds really interesting – Morgan Sperlock (the Super Size Me guy) has people doing Super Size Me type things for 30 days. Two of the episodes should be of particular interest to minimalists – “Off The Grid” and “Minimum Wage.” Now only if we hadn’t minimized away cable TV in our household. But I’m sure it’ll be out on DVD soon enough.

Via Treehugger.

Consolidate your computer and TV

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

This is a great way to save on clutter and expense. We live in an apartment, so the computer is right where an entertainment center would be anyway. Rather than buying a big, heavy, expensive TV plus a big, heavy, expensive monitor, put all the cash into a nice LCD monitor. You’ll need a TV tuner card – but they can be picked up pretty cheaply now, even for good quality modern cards. Apparently software like Beyond TV is pretty cool, but most cards come with basic software included. There are HDTV / Digital TV solutions as well, but that whole story is too complicated for this Minimalist – we’ll wait another year or two before looking into it again.

But what about your laptop? Digital Media Thoughts pointed us to the amazingly small and simple Compro USB TV Tuner Stick. It looks like a USB thumb drive, but you plug it in, and it is a full TV tuner. No need for external power or an antenna. Yow. If it actually tunes in well, that looks like a pretty nice solution.

Hard to believe expectations of beauty will rise with HDTV

Friday, June 17th, 2005

The NYT tells us about HDTV exposing blemishes on many popular media stars:

The editors of OnHD.TV examined several dozen stars and compiled a list of heartthrobs who (they claim) wither under the unblinking gaze of high-def, including Cameron Diaz (”littered with unfortunate pockmarks”), Jewel (whose makeup ”looks like it was done by Ringling Brothers”) and Bill Maher (”scary”).

Of course, any time there is an improvement in technology, our expectations go up as well. It is easy to think that more is always better, but in this case, you may end up disappointed that you can see more than you could on your crappy old NTSC TV set. I’ve heard from some local folks who appear on TV regularly that this will also be an issue with TV backgrounds and sets – fake books (frequently used) will look fake, etc. Apparently most sets look really bad. No wonder there is lots of foot-dragging on switching to digital broadcasting.

Forget the lightsaber. Give me the Jedi robes.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

Saw Revenge of the Sith last week. Jedi are the poster children (er, poster younglings) of minimalism. They have a belt and a robe, and never appear to carry much of anything. No gadget bag, no iPod, no Thinkpad, nothing. Sure, a lightsaber is handy around the house, but Obi-Wan can pull just about anything out of those robes. Fall in the water after getting cannon-blasted by your turncoat buddies? Whip out your pen-sized rebreather. Good heavens – this is what I strive for, me and my poor achey back. Look at Anakin’s Padme-pad in Corusant. Not a thing around in that place except maybe one N-Gage looking data pad. Sign me up for the minimalist Jedi lifestyle.

Cold Squishy Earwax

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005

I have Sennheiser 580 headphones – they are one of the best things I’ve ever purchased. But they are too big to take on trips, so they stay at home and I use cheap Sennheiser MX-500 earbuds on the road. I’d like to have a single pair of headphones that is as small as the MX-500 earbuds, but sound like my big 580’s.

In-the-ear “canal” headphones from folks like Etymotic and Shure are the obvious answer. Smaller than earbuds, with amazing sound from even low-powered portable devices, they do it all, and could be my only pair of headphones. The only problem is Cold Squishy Earwax. Since these slide up into your ear canal, they sponge up the yucky brown stuff. C.S.E. is so prevalent that some manufacturers include a cleaning kit. The heck if I’m going to earspoon my headphones. Yes, I look at the Q-Tip after I pull it out of my ear, but that’s morbid fascination before it goes in the trash. I’m not putting it in a convenient plastic case and slipping it in my ear again the next day. Can you imagine? Some brands have disposable covers, but earwax cools in mere seconds. Some folks hack their own disposable cover solution, but that seems like quite a bit of work. Plus, if I pull out my headphones to hear what you’re saying, that’s probably long enough for jellification, so whatever you have to say had better be worth the quarter another cover is going to cost me.

How do you people deal with this? I want to want these, but nausea overwhelms me and I feel unclean. I am weak. Must I live with C.S.E. if I want a single pair of headphones?