Christmas Brought Me Into the 21st Century

This Christmas finally brought me into the 21st century. I received/purchased three items for Christmas that brought me much closer to where most people have been for a few years.

First, my parents bought us a webcam so that we can use it to communicate with them and with my brother and his wife. I have already hooked it up (it’s a Philips SPC1300NC, for those interested) and downloaded a few services to use with it (Skype, ekiga and Adobe ConnectNow). I’ve tested it, and it seems to work pretty well. I’ll let you know how I get on when we actually use it for a video family conference. I have a Microsoft LiveCam at work that I use on a weekly basis to communicate with my telecommuting assistant, and have never had any issues with it. However, at work, I use a headset for the audio.

We also received a decent amount of money from some relatives, and used that to purchase two more modern conveniences. We bought a 40″ Toshiba 1080p LCD HDTV.

I called DirecTV to inquire about upgrading our TV service, but found out that they expect me to pay $199 as a down payment for the HD DVR receiver. Then, they still want me to pay $4.99/mo to lease that receiver, plus an extra $9.99/mo for the HD service. I don’t think that’s something we’ll be doing any time soon. I wonder if other TV service providers require you to pay that much upfront to begin using HD service.

I also bought some component cables for my Wii, which made a huge difference in the clarity of the graphics.

Finally, the third major item we bought was a Garmin Nuvi 205 GPS unit. We just bought that tonight from our local grocery store (for $99 – it’s regularly $179-199). My wife tested it a tiny bit this evening, but we haven’t had a chance to really try it out, yet. We will when we head to Alexandria this weekend for MAGFest, though.

So, all-in-all, I’ve moved further in the last week toward living in the 21st century than I have in the last few years. It feels good here.

One Response

  • Allen

    wow that’s some tech grab! The webcam testing should be interesting – aren’t you on that satellite upload thing?

    i want a lcd tv really bad but my 15 year old tv still works and makes it hard to buy a new one.

    cool on the gps – i take the bus and subway everywhere so I don’t need one but my mother sure could use one :)