Friday night (or was it Thursday night? I really don't remember and it doesn't make much difference anyway) the remote control for my DVD player quit, or at least I thought it was the remote. Changed the batteries, no help. So Saturday morning I start looking into the problem. Maybe it has fixed itself (remote controls are notoriously flaky in my house), but no, and the new batteries check out. So I look on the Internet, and Philips has replacement remote control that goes for $10. The also have a remote control that goes for $400. The blurb I read about them claims they have sold hundreds of thousands of them. I was stunned and amazed.
Eventually I realized that the remote controls for both the TV and DVD could be programmed to run the other one. So I tried it. I tried a dozen different codes in the TV remote but none of them enabled it to control the DVD player. Then I tried programming the DVD remote and got instant control of the TV. So it wasn't the remote after all.
Saturday afternoon Johnny and I walked to downtown Hillsboro. He was very angry with his brother. He steamed and stewed and fussed most of the way. But then we went to the used book store and he forgot about his troubles. He found five or six "Star Wars" paperbacks. I found a mystery by Sue Grafton ("L is for Lawless"). You've probably seen her books in the supermarket. She has a whole series. They are not great, but they are entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was finished by Sunday evening.
Saturday evening a friend of mine (Bob Coussens) invited Anne and I to join him and his wife at a fund raiser for the Hillsboro Schools Foundation. They fund educational enrichment programs for the Hillsboro Public Schools. It was held at the "Tiger Woods Center" on the Nike campus in Beaverton. A very bizarre experience for me. There were some real heavy-weights there. Three former Intel employees: Keith Thompson, Luis Machuca and Steve Packer.
I didn't get to speak to Keith. He and Luis were VP's at Intel. I actually couldn't remember his name till several hours later when it finally popped into my head. The only time I talked to him was 15 or 20 years ago when I was working at Intel's Deer Valley facility in Phoenix, Arizona. There was a big meeting with all employees and Keith was the speaker. Something about Intel making CPU chips for PC's and selling them to people who were making motherboards, and not wanting to be in the motherboard business because we would be competing with our customers. I stood up said it sounded like Intel was afraid. What's the difference if we sell chips on our own motherboards, or we sell chips to other people to put in PC's? Every PC is going to have an Intel chip, it doesn't matter who makes the motherboard. Anyway, before that, Intel didn't make or sell motherboards, and after that they did, and it was all because of my conversation with Keith (ho, ho, ho).
I had never met Luis before. He asked whether I was with "the labs" and I said I couldn't tell, we were being reorganized every two weeks when I was there. He said that was his doing. He is now running Kryptiq:
Steve Packer was a manager in PCEO (Personal Computer Enhancement Operation) when I was working with the "SatisFAXtion" faxmodem there. He has forsaken computers and gone into politics as a liberal and I believe he is fervent about his cause. Time for men of good will to step up the plate and squash these neo-conservative fascists.
DVD Player, Part 2
Sunday we went to Costco to pick up a new DVD player. I wanted to get a DVR (digital video recorder), but the only one they had was a Tivo and it comes with a subscription requirement, and I continue to be opposed to monthly payments if I can avoid it. We picked up a Toshiba unit for $50. It is much smaller than our four year old Philips model (also purchased from Costco for $190). The old one barely fit in the new box with all the foam packing material removed. The TV and DVD player both support three kinds of video signals:
- Component or Chrominance/Luminance
because component video no longer works. When I tried it with the new DVD player I get a picture, but it is completely red. Must have blown something on the blue input circuit. Hard to imagine, these are just low level signals, no current to speak of, but something bad happened. So now I'm stuck with composite video, not that I can tell the difference.
While we were at Costco we also picked up a "Senseo" coffee maker. It uses little premeasured packets of coffee and it only makes one cup at a time. It says it will make two cups, but the cup size they are talking about is four ounces, so two of their cups only makes one of my cups. Anyway, I thought it might be a good idea. Quick, easy, good cup of coffee. Turns out it's not that much quicker or easier, you still have to fill the reservoir. It's made by Philips, one of my least favorite companies. While I was hemming and hawing about whether we should get it or not, Anne picked it up and put in the cart and walked off down the aisle. I made a cup of coffee with it when I got home, and it was pretty good. But the unit leaked a little bit. I could have lived with that, but it was horribly noisy. It has some kind of pump inside it makes a horrible racket. Anne couldn't abide with the leak, so we packed it up and she took it back. I'm glad to be rid of it, but I still need to find a new coffee maker.