Review: ChannelMaster CM7400 OTA DVR

Though I’ve been a technology careerist my entire life, I’m not one of those consumer types who just has to replace older gear that is perfectly adequate to my needs simply in order to have the newest gadgets. So it wasn’t until a couple months ago, when my long-suffering VCR began failing, that I began looking for a digital video recorder (DVR).

To further cement my image as a dinosaur, let me mention that my TV service is over-the-air (OTA) exclusively. First off, I’ve never lived anywhere where cable (or pizza delivery) was available; and as for satellite, I subscribe to the philosophy of Fred Reed, who once observed that “if the good lord chose to make idiots, that was his business, but I wasn’t going to pay thirty bucks a month to look at them.” The Phoenix area has a plethora of digital OTA stations and networks, and they do for me just fine.

For whatever reason, those of us looking for an subscription-free OTA-capable DVR have really only one choice available in the marketplace, and that’s the ChannelMaster CM7400. [Update, 4/2014: This is no longer the case. The TiVo line now records OTA, and is so much better.]

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Tycho Brahe Had A Word For It

The word was “hose.”

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The King’s Days Off

Yesterday, I drove around doing errands. I stopped at the exterminator’s, to renew my service contract. I picked up my order of logo’ed work shirts from the local embroidery shop. I filled up the car, then stopped off at Subway to do likewise for myself. I visited Ace to pick up a replacement for a broken light fixture. My final stop was at the Post Office to fetch the mail.

But wait—there was no mail, and the Post Office was closed. Ah, that’s right—it was Columbus Day, a national holiday.

We live in a time when even national holidays have become perverted. The “little people” work their jobs to earn what they can to stave off the bill collectors and the tax man, while the “holiday” serves as a handy extra day off for the ruling class and the overpaid government employees. Seriously, what fairness is there in declaring “holidays” that only the government (and their regulated, captive industries such as banks) get to enjoy?

Arizona was branded as racist for refusing (for many years) to adopt Martin Luther King Day as an official holiday. But could there have been another reason? Namely, that nobody really needs another “holiday” that means time off for our “public sector” rulers, and squat for anybody else? Surely I’ve never gotten a Martin Luther King Day off work anywhere I have ever lived—how about you?

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Last Call at The Last Mall

About once a week, I get email from Sam’s Club listing “this week’s top sellers.” I am constantly flabbergasted to see this item appear right up at the top of the list at least three out of every four weeks:

Survival Food at Sam's Club

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Paste and Paste

Vampires, werewolves, witches, voodoo priestesses — I’ve never been intrigued by the whole “urban fantasy” fad, which in my opinion mostly consists of hackneyed horror movie clichés marinated in estrogen. I’m reminded of the Simpsons episode where Lisa’s fantasy novel is cookie-cut by a committee until it is nothing more than a copy of everybody else’s.

So when I saw the following catalog page in the monthly Science Fiction Book Club mailer, I had to wonder:

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Are captchas capsizing?

Out-of-control captcha

I mean, come on. Really?

Put some effort into your product, guys, or just stop offering it.

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L.A. Times: No gun bias here, move along

Joe Zamudio gained unexpected, instant fame as the first armed (non-police) responder during the shooting at the Gabrielle Gifford rally in Tucson. You’ve probably already heard of Joe as “that crazy Arizona gun nut who almost shot the wrong man.”

As Mark Twain once noted, a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on. Here, in Zamudio’s own words, courtesy of American Handgunner Magazine, is what really happened:

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