Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Media

What's been interesting since I last posted about this is how I obtain most of my media, especially "television." I put television in quotes because I've abandoned my actual TV and watch everything on the laptop now. This is done primarily through Hulu, a free online service that provides streaming TV. In exchange, you watch commercials, but far fewer than regular TV and usually of better quality. I must be more mainstream than I thought, because about 90% of my favorite shows are on Hulu, the rest mostly being British television (Doctor Who and No Heroics).

Hulu also queues up the shows on your wish list, sending an email when they're ready to be watched. So what's in my queue?

  • Fringe
  • The Office
  • 30 Rock
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Heroes
  • The Dollhouse
Then there's stuff that I watch because it's there and I'm slumming like House (which my nurse wife finds infuriating), The Daily Show and Futurama.

Meanwhile, my Netflix DVD's are gathering dust. My son occasionally watches a kids show on their Watch Instantly service, usually Scooby Doo or Pink Panther, but the DVD medium suddenly feels outdated.


Not having "real" televising has improved my reading life and I'm in the middle of a bunch of books right now.

  • Forgotten Realm's Player's Guide: I traded in my D&D 3.5 books and I've got several 4E books I'm going through. The Forgotten Realm's Player's Guide seems like a train wreck, the kind of campaign where I would sigh and call a do-over. Nevertheless, it has some good ideas and it's entertaining. If you found the PHB to be vanilla, the FRPG is full of flavor, some taste a bit bitter and confused though. Also in the queue: Open Grave, the Forgotten Realm's Campaign Setting, and the second half of the Manual of the Planes.
  • Before They Are Hanged. This is the second book of The First Law series, by Joe Abercrombie. This fantasy series features deeply flawed and interesting characters without the stereotypes of fantasy. There is no absolute good or evil, just various degrees of human frailty and dealing with the hand of cards the world gave you. If there are any characters that are stereotypical, it's the greedy merchants, and inept nobles, but even they get a chance at redemption. It took me two months to get through the first book, but I read about half of the second book after buying it yesterday. It's even tighter and more entertaining than the first.
  • Outliers. This book by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, analyzes business success stories, something business owners are always happy to read in hopes of gleaning insight and new information. The most curious concept in this book is the 10,000 Hour Rule, which basically says it takes that amount of time in your field to become an expert. I figure I've worked about 13,000 hours, including 60,000 sales, 5,000 purchase orders and two stores. I can't wait to get to that chapter.


  1. Abercrombie has some great stuff going on in his work. "You have to be practical about these things."

    The practicals and the Inquisition are phenomenal. Glokta is such a brilliant character.

    The third book is an even quicker read.

    The Griffin

  2. "The Forgotten Realm's Player's Guide seems like a train wreck, the kind of campaign where I would sigh and call a do-over.

    This is how I've felt about the setting pretty much since Salvatore started writing novels set in it. There are some really good bits and pieces in there, but they've all been tossed into a pot with a thousand not-so-good bits.

    I suppose that makes me part of the "I liked it before it got popular" crowd :-P