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How I Defeated the Powers of Evil…

February 1, 2008 2 comments

… that rule the cable television industry.

As some background, I am a die-hard Buffalo Sabres fan.  I have calculated that I have seen over 200 NHL games in person, and all but two involved the Sabres.  I grew up rooting for the Sabres, went to 10 games a year plus the later rounds of the playoffs until I went to college.  Even in college I still made it to a few games a year when I was home at the right time.  I was there for the conference finals loss in ’98, the conference finals and Stanley Cup finals in ’99, and I was one of the first in the entire stadium to see that Brett Hull’s foot was clearly in the crease on his game-wining goal (my seat was right on the goal line).  All that goes to say that my credentials as a Sabres fan are pretty secure.  Oh, my six-month old child already owns his own Sabres jersey.

But actually getting to watch my beloved Sabres on TV has been a struggle to say the least.  I get to watch them when they play the Penguins and when they would show up on Versus.  That boiled down to about 6 games per year at most.  I had planned on purchasing NHL Center Ice so I could watch my Sabres, but my cable company has still failed to offer it and, as it turns out, all the home games would be blacked out here in Pennsylvania.  I looked around at Satellite providers that carry MSG (the home network of the Sabres)  but even the ones that did carry the MSG New York feed (which carry the Rangers/Islanders games).  Alas, I thought I was out of lucky… then I remembered: Slingbox.

I had heard about slingbox and had a friend who used it consistently.  The idea of slingbox is that you connect it to a source and it then sends that video across the internet to your computer or mobile device, allowing you to watch TV anywhere in the world where you have a broadband connection.  As desperate as I was, I went ahead and did it shipped my parents a Slingbox Pro.  The Slingbox pro has a TV tuner integrated right into it, so I could control the channel and my parent’s TV wouldn’t need to be turned on.

My dad was able to manage the set-up no sweat, connecting the coax, power, and network cables to it and connecting the network cable to their router.  The software made the rest of set-up a snap including auto-configuring my parent’s router to allow the transmission of video.  Within 20 minutes of software set-up I was watching my parent’s cable on my computer.

So now I can watch my Sabres, the regional ESPN action which will include Syracuse games I can’t normally watch, the Bills, and have Versus without paying my cable company a zillion bucks.  Beautiful plan right?  Almost…

Slingbox does work well – the problem is not actually Slingbox’s, but the nature of internet.  Most people with standard broadband connections honestly have more speed than they really need.  My downstream connection is 8 mbps.  However, my upstream (the rate at which I can send data is 512 kbps).  The problem with using slingbox across the internet is that it forces you to use your upstream connection.  My parent’s connection was topped off at 384 kbps, which provided decent looking 320*240 vide0.  That’s alright, but when that’s put on a regular TV it looks pretty rotten.  Luckily we were able to upgrade their connection to 1 mbps upstream which is capable of a sustained throughput of around 900k per second, which allows for 640*480 video which looks just slightly worse than your regular analog cable.

All in all, the Slingbox side of things can’t be beat.  I can only imagine that within the same network the quality is outstanding.  However, if you’re going to be using slingbox over the internet I suggest that you upgrade your internet connection to the fastest possible upstream connection.

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Categories: Buffalo Sabres, Slingbox

Why the Winter Classic was in Buffalo and not Pittsburgh…

January 5, 2008 Leave a comment

“The Buffalo and Pittsburgh markets led the ratings, at 38.2/58 and 17.7/30, respectively” (1)

And Bob Smizik (of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) had the audacity to suggest that the NHL stage an outdoor game here in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a football town with a hockey team, Buffalo is a hockey town with a football team.

Random Update…

So this blog, minus my two rants the evening I discovered the Syracuse didn’t get into the NCAA Tournament, has basically been unused.  Therefore, I feel compelled to write an update.

First, some of my posting has been focused on www.presbymergent.org.  This is a new site that I am part of the editorial team for.  So if you want to see a little of what I’ve been bantering about you can go check that out

Second, things at church have started to ease up and I feel like I’m back in control of my life again.  Being the only pastor at a church with attendance of 400 people per week is not an easy task and one that I am extremely glad is over.  It’s given me a chance  to re-focus my efforts on turningpoint and the youth ministry, and that’s been nice.

Third, baby is progressing along well.  We should find out the gender tomorrow and we’re over halfway through the pregnancy (well, Renee is anyway) and that’s very exciting.  Right now, the general non-scientific consensus is that we’re having a girl – but again, that’s a completely non-scientific consensus.  We’ll know tomorrow (hopefully) and let the world know on wallyandnay.net

Fourth, it’s my favorite time of year – NCAA Tournament time and the end of the NHL Regular Season.  While I did pathetically poor early on, I did manage to pick 3 our of the 4 Final Four Teams (Georgetown, Florida and Ohio State).  My Sabres are making a nice run toward the playoffs, with a few less than stellar games thrown in.  We’ve always done well when playing from the bottom of the pile as a lower seed, now we’ll find out how we do playing from the top seed.

Finally, my reading of Karl Barth has continued.  II.1 is as I expected, quite dense, but also quite enjoyable.  It’s definitely helping to clear out some cobwebs.

Watch for the baby announcement tomorrow!

All good things must come to an end…

October 30, 2006 Leave a comment

Thrashers stop Sabres Streak

Alas, the Sabres couldn’t go 82-0 but 10-0-1 and collecting 21 out of 22 points in the month of October isn’t too bad.

On a side note, how about the Penguins? Not as good as the Sabres but compared to last year a big improvement.

Enough about the uniforms…

October 5, 2006 Leave a comment

So it would appear that now that people can’t mock the Sabres for being (1) bankrupt (2) pathetic on the ice people have taken to mocking the new uniforms.

So, just for the record, I really like the new uniforms.  I grew up on the classic blue and gold uniforms and when they were replaced by the red/black uniforms I liked the new design but didn’t really like the new colors.    Frankly, I think the design is sharp and the color scheme nice.  So there…

Categories: Buffalo Sabres

Off to a good start…

October 5, 2006 Leave a comment

Tonight the Buffalo Sabres, my beloved team, began their season in style beating the defending Stanley Cup Champion Caroline Hurricanes in a shootout…

Categories: Buffalo Sabres, Main

If you’ve gotta start the pre-season somehow….

September 19, 2006 3 comments
Categories: Buffalo Sabres, Main