Archive for November, 2009

Since I moved from my one-bedroom micro apartment to this 3-level townhouse, which now seems too big for me, I have somehow managed to stave off my daily dose of TV. I have been reading more than usual, and unpacking at an abnormally slow rate.

After dilly-dallying for a fortnight, I finally set up my Samsung HDTV. For whatever reason, I almost expected to get at least some DTV signals without any antennas. I was wrong. The TV could not pick up the slightest signal. While I do plan on getting a satellite dish, I just didnt want to do it right away.
Amazed, I embarked on a little web research.

First stop:
While this is a decent resource, to me, it was a bit unclear what was applicable to the new HDTVs. There are two links on the home page that could possibly provide some direction:
1. The FIX Reception Problem; and, the pdf file at the bottom of the page:
2. Can I Use My UHF/VHF Antenna to Receive DTV?

However, the first useful step was to visit the . Entering the zip code at the top left corner returns a list of channels, color coded according to reception strength. However, the list is quite different from what one gets from Clicking on the “antenna type” column, takes one to the page identifying typical antenna requirements for that channel. The types are very generic. If one clicks on the “Antenna info” link at the top, it opens a page with elaborate info on outdoor antennas, but little useful info on indoor ones. Roadblock. Since I am leasing, (and experimenting), I dont want the hassles of putting up an outdoor antenna.

Next step, the Radio Shack website. A search for indoor antennas, returns a list o many. I wanted an antenna with both UHF (ultra high frequency) and VHF (very high frequency) reception. On my way home from work, I stopped by at the corner Radio Shack store, and picked up this Radio Shack Budget TV Antenna with a fair degree of skepticism.

It took less than 30 seconds to hook up to the TV. After doing a quick scan, I found I have at least 6-7 channels with decent reception. The local PBS broadcast and 2 ION channels were HD quality. And then there were a few news channels from Europe and also an English Al Jazeera channel (go figure!). There was also a channel which seemed to be Chinese. If you are wondering where I am located, the zip code is 22315 (Alexandria, VA).

So, the experiment was successful. $12 dollars for international news is a small price to pay, at least to me.


Posted: November 18, 2009 in Random Rants

How many times have I made a go at this? Countless. Why blog? Then again, why not?

Every weekday morning, the 15-minute drive to work interlaced with snippets of NPR, the good-morning conversation with the women in my life and the segway into the work-mode somehow brews this urge to write. And share. Me at my didactic best! Yet, so far I have controled this urge for no apparent reason. Shyness? I am not particularly coy. Lazy? Perhaps. But most of all I wanted to be certain that I am up for it – for the long haul.

This is not an exercise to empty my heart, but to free my mind. In many ways these vignettes will be my random acts of self-gratification.  My confessions at the virtual egotists-anonymous sessions. And I am unabashed. My days are too long and my life’s too short. So make the best out of it.

This rant is going to be hard to follow. So better end it and lighten up, so that I can get on with the stuff I really care for.