How a HDMI Splitter Gave Me My Sanity Back

So you’re probably reading the title of this post and wondering how a HDMI splitter gave me my sanity back. Well, let me explain. My wife and I have two kids now, Jason and Madison who are 6 and 4. They love to watch TV and I can’t tell you how many times we have seen the Cars and Shrek movies. We live in a pretty small two bedroom condo. We have a TV in the living room and one in our bedroom. While the kids are watching their Disney shows, it’s hard for my wife and I to do anything else like read or even have a conversation. They really like the volume up way loud. This is also a problem when we have friends over.

Cable service is pretty expensive in our area, so we only have one cable box in our home which is located in the living room. It also happens to be HD so we get all the HD channels. Our TV in the bedroom only has a DVD player. I wanted a way to let the kids watch their Disney channels in our bedroom while my wife and I could do our own thing in the living room.

I had two options. I could either pony up the money and get an extra cable box in the bedroom which would cost me $10 a month or I could find a way to split the signal coming from the cable box in the living room. A second cable box would be nice, because the kids could watch whatever they wanted to watch in the bedroom and we could watch something else in living room. However, I like the idea of being able to see what they’re watching so I decided to split the HDMI signal coming from the cable box in the living room.

I started searching online for HDMI splitters. The web had a wealth of information. I saw that you could buy splitter boxes that split a HDMI signal into two, four or eight signals. You could even pay thousands of dollars to purchase splitters split one signal into sixteen or more signals. Apparently these are used by technicians that install electronics in high end homes. All I needed was a 1 by 2 box, so I ended up buying one from Amazon for around $60 that is made by Monoprice. It ended up being an awesome product. All I had to do was plug it in and then run the HDMI cables. The hardest part was running a cable from the splitter inside the wall to the bedroom but it really wasn’t that bad.

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The Day I Got My Macbook

Macbook ProOk, so I am a PC guy and I’ve always been that way. I got my first desktop in 1998 as a freshman in college. It was a Dell. I have owned several computers since then – both desktops and laptops. If you asked me a couple years ago if I would ever by a Mac, I would tell you “Heck No.” Now, I would say the exact opposite. I will probably never buy another computer that is not made by Apple ever again.

So what changed?

Well, a couple years ago, I changed jobs and the company I went to only used Macs. On the first day, they presented me with a shiny new Macbook Pro. I let out a big sigh. Sure it looked awesome but I knew that it would be a pain to learn how to use. I was totally right. The first week was pretty rough. I didn’t know where to find things like Microsoft Office or even how to add email contacts. The good news is that I did eventually figure it out and one day it suddenly made sense to me. I discovered that the Mac was fundamentally easier to use. The problem was that I had already programmed my mind to think in PC terms. Once I was able to overcome that obstacle, it was easy to use.

These are the things that I like about the Mac:

  1. The trackpad is much easier to use than a PC mouse. It was way more features that makes it easier to navigate.
  2. It never crashes. In two years, I have not experienced anything similar to the blue screen of death that you.
  3. Installing new software is really easy. You just drag the exe file into the Applications folder and that’s it. You don’t have to open up a Window and keep hitting the next button to install programs.

There a couple things that I do miss from PCs:

  1. Microsoft Excel for the Mac seems to not have as many features as the one for PCs.
  2. I don’t like that Apple has contacts separate from your email application. Microsoft Outlook has this all rolled into one.

Okay, that’s it for this post. I just purchased a cool HDMI splitter so I will probably write about that in my next post.

 

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Why I Love my Blendtec

My wife and I go through an interesting exercise every year when it’s time to buy each other birthday presents. We are fortunate enough to have enough money to buy things whenever we want them. This leads to us not wanting much because we tend to already have the things that we want. Last year was a little different.

I had been making smoothies for breakfast with a smoothie maker that we got as a wedding gift. As time went on, the thing got weaker and weaker due the blades getting dull. The same smoothie that used to take me 30 seconds to make now took two minutes. This was unacceptable since I live in a condo building and running a smoothie maker for two minutes in the early morning is just torture to the neighbors. This led me to start looking for an alternative.

A friend told me about the Blendtec and told me to go watch videos on youtube. I did exactly what she said. The Blendtec is extremely powerful and it never gets dull. Check out the video below of the Blendtec chewing up a cell phone. Unreal!

After watching the videos on youtube, I immediately told my wife that this is what I wanted for my birthday. She listened and got it for me. I have been extremely happy ever since.

So, you are probably wondering why I love this blender so much. Well it pulverizes frozen fruits and ice like it’s nothing. Whenever you want to blend, you just have to press the smoothie button and it blends for about 30 seconds or so until it is completely in liquid form. I use it a lot for blending greens such as kale and spinach. The nice thing about this blender is that it blends the greens so smooth that you don’t taste any grit like you get when you use a low end machine. The other thing I like is how easy it is to clean. All you have to do is put a little warm water and a drop of soap in the jug and blend it for a few seconds. Pour out the soapy mixture, rinse with water and it’s clean. Super easy! Another thing interesting about the blender is it tells you how many blends that you have done. I hear that the motor craps out after about 1,0000 uses. I am now at around 90. I am curious to see if this will hold true.

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I Always Take This For a Run

GarminI am an avid runner and run anywhere from 15 to 20 miles a week. In addition to water to gatorade, I always take my Garmin 305 as shown in the picture to the left. I have had my Garmin for a few years now and I really love it.

So what exactly do I like about it? It has a large face which makes it really easy to read while you are running. I know some people would consider this a disadvantage but I like it. In addition, it has a backlight which makes it easy to see especially if you run in the early morning or in the summer. I live in the south so if I want to run in the summer, I have to do it very early. This watch makes it easy.

What else do I use it for? I also use it to do interval training. I have been following Jeff Galloway’s marathon training method for a few years now. Jeff preaches the run walk strategy. For example, in one of the strategies, you run for 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute. I have found that this works very well. The Garmin 305 allows you to set up interval runs with ease. You can set it to the following four options.

  1. Run for a certain time and then rest for a certain time
  2. Run for a certain distance and then rest for a certain distance
  3. Run for a certain distance and then rest for a certatin time
  4. Run for a certain time and then rest for a certain distance

The last feature that I use it for to see how my pace is tracking to prior runs. The 305 will record your running route and the exact pace you ran. The next time you run that route you can see a little dot representing how fast you ran it the last time as well as a dot showing where you are currently. If you are behind, you can run a little faster to catch up with the dot from your prior run. It is an awesome feature.

You are probably wondering if there is anything that I don’t like about the 305. There is one thing. It takes forever to find the satellites when I first turn it on. Sometimes, it can take up to 10 minutes to find the satellite.  I typically use this time to warm up but if I am outside in the winter time, this can be quite annoying.

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