Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Why I love Tivo 

I LOVE our TiVo! Originally, I ridiculed Rich for how much he wanted it, but I caved and bought it for him for Christmas 2002. Now I find myself enthusiastically raving about it to everyone, telling them how much it is a must-own item.

What's so great about it? So many things. Read on.

First, I get to watch the TV that I want to watch when I want to. I never have to worry about rushing home to catch a program at a certain time, worry that I ran out of tape in the VCR, or find that I missed a program because it aired on a different day this week. You tell TiVo which programs you like to watch and it will be sure to tape it for you whenever and wherever it is showing.

Second, if I am ever bored at home and feel like watching some TV, I never have to channel surf and wind up watching yet another rerun of Who's the Boss. I can pick through a whole inventory of quality programs that I have previously selected to be recorded to be watched later. I have solid programs from BBC News, Thomas Friedman Reporting, and 60 Minutes to my favorite junk food TV like Will & Grace, The Apprentice, and Amazing Race. TV watching is - can I say - more efficient?

And, if I am ever in the unfortunate circumstance that I have to watch TV live, I can pause it whenever I want to go to the bathroom and resume the programming without missing a thing. And, if the programming ever had a suspenseful moment and it cuts to commercial, I can employ the 30 second, i.e. commercial, skip to quickly return to programming. For that matter, I never waste my time watching that dumb Coors commercial for the 10th time. Finally, if there is something I didn't catch, like the Janet Jackson "Wardrobe Misfunction", I can rewind, do slow motion, and pause it to figure out if indeed her nipple was showing!

Amazing. I can honestly say without a doubt that TiVo has revolutionized my TV viewing life. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

There are some unofficial TiVo functions to improve your TV viewing even more. Here's how to program them in:

30 Second (Commercial) Skip

Here's a link on how to program the 30 second skip on your TiVo, but here's how you do it:

After enabling the 30 second skip feature, the -->| button becomes a 30 second skip button. Once you begin using this feature, you'll wonder how anyone can live without it.

To program the 30 second skip feature:

1) Grab your TiVo remote.
2) Bring up any recorded program. (You have to be watching a recorded program rather than "Live TV" in order to enable the feature.)
3) On your TiVo remote, key in the following sequence:


4) If you've successfully entered the code, you should hear three "bings" in succession to inform you that you've successfully enabled the 30 second skip.

Note that any time your TiVo is rebooted (such as after a power outage or a software update) you'll have to re-enable this feature.

Should you not like the 30 second skip (but I can't see why you wouldn't), you can disable it by re-entering the sequence exactly as you did to enable it.

Sort your Now Playing list!
(for DirecTV TiVos and Standalone Series 1 units - Series 2 Standalones have this enabled already)

This tip explains how to sort your Now Playing list three different ways: alphabetically, by expiration date, or by recording date. We vote for 'alphabetically' since that'll group together all episodes of series shows.

Here's how you do it:

Go to your Now Playing List (generally, press TiVo or DirecTV twice)
Now press these four buttons in this sequence:
Slow - 0 (zero) - Record - Thumbs Up

You should hear three dings - that's means it's ready!
Now you can press 1, 2, or 3:

1 = Sort by Recording Date
2 = Sort by Expiration Date
3 = Sort Alphabetically

Jump to Beginning/End of your Now Playing list!
(For Series 2 standalone TiVos, and the HD HR10-250)

Most TiVo surfers know to use the Channel up/down button to scroll through the Now Playing list faster, but here's another trick to get fast access to the beginning or end of the list: the Skip-to-tick button. It'll pop you back and forth between the top and bottom of the list.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


"Animal Style" - bun is grilled with mustard, sautéed onions (instead of raw), pickles, extra "special sauce"
"Wish Burger" - no meat, i.e. veggie burger
"Protein Style" - lettuce wrapped around the burger instead of a bun for those who are in "The Zone"
"Old Fashioned Style" - ketchup and mustard instead of the "special sauce"
"Flying Dutchman" - two meat patties with two slices of cheese. that's it.
"Double Meat" - Double Double without cheese
"4x4" - 4 meat patties with 4 slices of cheese. (can also order 6x6, 10x10, etc. etc.)
"2x4" - 2 meat patties with 4 slices of cheese for the fromage aficionado
"Grilled Cheese" - cheeseburger, sans meat
"Fries - well done" - get your fries extra crispy and brown the way you like them!
"Choco-Vanilla Swirl Shake" - just what it sounds like
"Neopolitan Shake" - a blend of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes.

Thursday, July 10, 2003



First - Paper
Second - Cotton
Third - Leather
Fourth - Fruit/Flowers
Fifth - Wood
Sixth - Candy/Iron
Seventh - Wool/Copper
Eighth - Bronze/Pottery
Ninth - Pottery/Willow
Tenth - Tin/Aluminum
Eleventh - Steel
Twelfth - Silk/Linen
Thirteenth - Lace
Fourteenth - Ivory
Fifteenth - Crystal
Twentieth - China
Twenty-Fifth - Silver
Thirtieth - Pearl
Thirty-Fifth - Coral
Fortieth - Ruby
Forty-Fifth - Sapphire
Fiftieth - Gold
Fifty-fifth - Emerald
Sixtieth - Diamond


First - Clocks
Second - China
Third - Crystal/Glass
Fourth - Appliances / Linen Cotton
Fifth - Silverware
Sixth - Candy/Iron
Seventh - Desk Sets
Eighth - Bronze/Pottery
Ninth - Linen/Lace
Tenth - Leather
Eleventh - Jewelry
Twelfth - Pearls
Thirteenth - Textiles/Furs
Fourteenth - Gold Jewelry
Fifteenth - Watches
Twentieth - Platinum
Twenty-Fifth - Silver
Thirtieth - Diamond
Thirty-Fifth - Jade
Fortieth - Ruby
Forty-Fifth - Sapphire
Fiftieth - Gold
Fifty-fifth - Emerald
Sixtieth - Diamond

Friday, July 04, 2003

Signs of a Dysfunctional Company 

You release a product the same week that the developer of all of your software products is on vacation moving to a different city; you have no QA so product has fatal bugs in it; no one else knows how to program to fix it; and no one (including developer's boss) has developer's contact information
Releasing product without QA and having no QA process
Changing your mind the day before product release date on what the product should do, and then ask developer to make those changes
Promising products to clients in a flashy public way, and then changing your mind later about offering that product at all - Vaporware!
Promising software to clients with a tight deadline without consulting your developer on whether that timing is realistic
Having no planning document or spec's for product development
Management informs clients of things going on at the company before they tell their employees; then clients clients call your employees and asking to explain what's going on
Not fixing the dishwasher for over 6 months for no reason besides being cheap
Having employees with such little motivation that no one cares enough about the company to stay beyond 4:30 or 5
Having a small firm where your son, wife, ex-wife and ex-girlfriend all work at the same place
Having a board of yes-people
You pressure and threaten all your clients to a deadline that you yourself cannot fulfill
You have to get approval to spend $25
Eviction notice and management tells you that it is part of normal negotiations with the landlord
All your clients tell you how much they dislike the management of your company
Your clients ask you when your company is going to present a vision for the firm
Average length of stay at the firm is about 6 months
Lying about or exaggerating job responsibilities while recruiting candidates
Being completely uninterested in employee's career goals or making them happy and motivated to work at the company
Ignoring all employee recommendations for improvements, even minor ones, to company or product
Seriously telling your employees to smile to a point of a grin before they answer the phone
Calling your receptionist a Director of First Impressions and being serious about it

...if you encounter any or all of these things, run away - run far FAR away.