One Small Difference Between DC and CA

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By , December 12, 2010 5:10 pm

After a few weeks as California residents, we have already seen quite a few differences. I already wrote about the garbage/recycling/compost removal. Other differences include the harsh 60-degree California winter and the fact that everyone here will talk to you if you show a hint of interest in talking to them. All of these, however, were expected and well-advertised prior to moving here.

There is one difference that we didn’t expect… The number (and size) of the spiders! They are all over the place, with monster webs that stretch for yards connecting virtually any two things that don’t move much.

This nasty-looking orange spider was hanging out in a corner near our front door. It was about 2.5 inches including the legs and looked as though it could be poisonous (at least according to very very novice eyes).

I found this spider, perfectly silhouetted against the sunset, just dangling on it’s web between two trees that were about 10-feet apart. My best guess us that this one is 2 inches.

When looking at vacant houses prior to the move, I can’t tell you how many massive spiders in huge webs I almost walked into in their backyards… Eeewww!

Hello Internet!

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By , December 5, 2010 8:32 am

Earlier this week, our new house finally got Internet access (thanks to our friends at AT&T). It took them three weeks to set up, which is completely insane, especially when you consider the previous tenants used their service. Three weeks to flip a switch… In their defense, AT&T did tell us it wouldn’t be set up until December 1st and a major holiday did fall within that time frame. But seriously! Anyhow, what’s done is done and we are now connected.

First order of business with the new connection is to set up our TV-based technologies. For those that don’t know this, we haven’t had cable (or comparable) for about eight years. Instead, it has been rabbit ears and supplemental media (most recently Netflix, even before the change in jobs).

The rabbit ears actually took the longest time to set up. Finding the right spot in the room took multiple attempts, each of which required a 30-minute scan of the channels to see how good (or poor) the reception would be. Once that was set, I moved on to the TiVo, which didn’t take long. Finally, I set up our new AppleTV, which was provided courtesy of my great friends at NPR who gave it to me as a departing gift. That setup was a mixed bag.

Connecting the device to the tv was a breeze (after a trip to Best Buy for yet another HDMI cable). But connecting to the wifi was surprisingly inelegant for Apple. Not a big deal, but it really is annoying to scroll around looking for letters. It reminded me of setting up my name in the arcade game Track and Field – the one with the roller ball. Anyhow, once set up, the disappointment continued. Yes, I can use the device to stream Netflix, which is great. But there is also some amazing content available there, most of which is pay on demand, similar to the iTunes model. I knew going into into it that AppleTV is set up like that, but I expected a lot more free content. And I thought it would be much easier to find the free content. All of this provides more validation that the Netflix subscription approach is right on the money…

So, I am thrilled to be connected again! But so far, my AppleTV experience is subpar. More on this later after I play with it more.

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