the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Monthly Archives: October 2014

high definition tv

After spending the last decade on a standard tube and then a projector, I’ve finally made the move to high-definition television with the purchase of the LG 55B7200 LED TV. I didn’t put a whole lot of research into what brand or model to get, just took a drive down to the local Microcenter and looked around. It ends up that the store has a partnership with LG, which explains why they only carry that brand (with the exception of some cheapies like Westinghouse), and why it saved me about $200 off the lowest price I could find online. With 3 year basic warranty, the TV ran me $998 plus tax. Anyway, don’t you think that most of these boxes come out of all the same factories? Even I like the illusion of an easy decision sometimes!

The TV is 55″, 1080p, 3D, LED, etc. and has 3 HDMI inputs. The “magic remote” is quite nice, and claims to also pair as a universal remote with my other gear. It’s also a “Smart TV”, that uses WebOS, something that has its roots in the Palm devices of yesteryear (via HP). That’s all fine, but I wish it would support Adobe Flash. Went to watch a back episode of The Blacklist through the integrated web browser and couldn’t. At any rate, the apps are for the most part limiting when compared to the web versions, so I’ll be looking at Google’s Chromecast in the next few days. It was very light, maybe 40 lbs, connected to my wifi right away, and I strung a HDMI line to my Marantz home theatre receiver and coax cable from my antennae in the attic. I will want to send audio from the TV to the receiver, but need a cable!

Bottom line is the picture looks great, I didn’t break the bank to get it, and it’s very easy to use. What more to ask for?

I’ll tell you. On a recent trip to Microcenter, I saw that the price of the TV dropped $100 (to $799). I went to the service desk and lo and behold, their 30 day price guarantee put a refund back on my credit card, right then and there. Thank you Microcenter!



Exercise or dieting? Well, I completed a clinical study for alternate day fasting, and lost a lot of weight. I’ve kept it off because I’ve changed my eating habits. But being active also has its part. While I was in the study, I wore an activity monitor, and the data it generated gave me an insight into my activity.

I purchased the $99 Fitbit so I could monitor my activity daily. Worn on a wrist band, it automatically captures steps, miles and “very active” minutes, calculates calories burned, and will track your sleep if you bother to manually start that mode. It also serves as a tracking device because it records your steps as they happen. So, yeah that 1246 steps at 11:25pm was coming home from the saloon!

None of this is earth shattering mind you, but more than anything Fitbit keeps me active. If I haven’t meet my daily goals, I take a walk in the evening, or with the kids. It makes me aware of my activity, which, just like stepping on a scale every morning, leads to better decisions on my part.

I’m not sure what “very active” minutes constitutes, but I’m sure it’s something my body needs. Since the basement’s remodel has begun, I’ve spent entire days working, painting, moving, etc., but none seems to count as “very active”. Is it cardio? Also, privacy freaks beware! Although Fitbit connects to your computer or smartphone via bluetooth, all the data it collects must be viewed on their website! Of course, it doesn’t verify your identity, but it is all our there.

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