Lifehacking

Dropped Satellite – Two Weeks Later

Posted on October 24, 2008. Filed under: Apple, Lifehacking, Media |

How Have We Fared?

It’s been two and a half weeks since we pulled the trigger on dropping satellite television, and about three weeks since we started the grand experiment of moving all our “passive video” intake to the web.

How have we fared through this transition? The riots were quelled without too much bloodshed. The voices in our heads rushed forward to fill the silence of the room, but were beaten back before they got overtly destructive. The kids are even talking to us again.

Really, though, it’s been more of a non-event than we had dared imagine. We’ve learned a thing or two, though, that somewhat surprised me.

What’s Broken?

Starting off with the bad: what’s broken?

Frame Rates

Hardware-wise, I’ve concluded that the old PowerBook laptop isn’t all that great of a media center. Watching Hulu, the video sometimes stutters rather significantly, pausing every minute or so for a half second or so at a time (it’d be nice if Hulu offered something which stated the actual throughput or frame rate we are achieving!). I think it’s primarily a bandwidth (either at the network or CPU levels) issue, although the couple of times we’ve seen it happening with mostly-static shots has me wondering. We’ve tested our network throughput and get pretty good numbers for that through the site Hulu recommends (SpeedTest.net), and Hulu states they should run smoothly on 1Mbps, so I don’t think we are hitting a WAN network issue. The PowerBook has 802.11g networking on it, and is getting good interference-free throughput to the modem, so I don’t think the LAN is an issue either. The problem I have is that Hulu won’t give any CPU minimum requirements, so the G4 not being able to keep up with Flash video is definitely a possibility. In fact, it’s my main suspect right now (Flash is notoriously under-tuned on OS X and PPC processors especially, and the 1.67GHz G4 was last made about three years ago and was under-performing in general for non-optimized software even then).

This is quite separate from the general 15-fps problem with Hulu and some videos. “Chuck”, for instance, comes across at about 15fps on Hulu, even on a fast Intel computer and the 30Mbps connection at work (tested after-hours as an experiment only, honest!) The same is true of Heroes. This makes the video seem to stutter and jerk, especially when there is a lot of action on-screen. I suspect this is an artifact of the process: simply doing a pull-down or even line-doubling from interlaced broadcast SD (30 fields per second, 2 fields per frame) to progressive digital sub-SD (15 frames per second). However, the better digital feeds for these programs exist (the SD download of Heroes on AppleTV, for instance, is completely free of these artifacts). At first blush, the choice between Hulu and AppleTV appears to be ad-supported versus bought; in reality, though, Hulu also throws in resolution and frame rate issues which AppleTV avoids. This pushes “anything with action” significantly towards the AppleTV front, in turn pushing everything else back towards Hulu or the like.

HD Downloads

On the AppleTV front, I’ve found that downloading HD shows is a mixed bag.

Begin camera geekery for a moment:

This is my first time watching HD video, and I was surprised at how much more obvious focus issues are in HD. Obviously, I knew that the “circle of confusion” would tighten with more resolution. I just didn’t realize how tight the DOF is being held in, for instance, Heroes. Watching a Heroes broadcast last week, I was distracted time and again by character’s faces going in and out of focus as they naturally shifted closer and further away from the camera. There was an entire scene where the main character’s face filled the screen, and their hairline was perfectly in focus, but their eyes out of focus! The previous week’s episode had me enthralled from beginning to end, counting the makeup imperfections and pock marks on previously blemish-free actors’ faces, and I didn’t notice the focal plane issues at all. I suspect it’s a director’s mindset at play here: if the episode’s director is used to the SD resolution and is tightening DOF for style as much as possible for that resolution, the HD DOF will be too tight.

Okay, camera geekery done. Safe for everyone to come out again.

Back to the AppleTV in general: HD episodes take a really long time to download. The AppleTV is also rather finicky about how it downloads them: if you purchase multiple episodes at once, it doesn’t download in the order you bought them, but instead starting with the most recently aired. Tip to Apple: if I’m downloading multiple episodes in a series, I probably want to watch them in order! The least-recent should be given priority, not the most-recent! I’m seeing times of about 2 hours before the episode is “watchable”, and in one case starting it right then we ended up about five minutes from the end having to pause so it could get the last bit downloaded before we watched it.

Overall, I think the remainder of our purchases will be in SD. It’ll save us $1 each, and will be a much more seamless operation.

Finicky Sites

“NickJr” is a frustrating experience. When it works, it works passably well. When it doesn’t, it fails in the most unpredictable ways. For instance, the other day it would not load at all on the kids’ iMac upstairs. Looking into Safari’s activity window, it would get hung up trying to download stuff from “overture” (which is a rather questionable bit to be tied into a kids’ website to begin with, but that’s another topic). Going downstairs, though, it loaded (albeit slowly as always) just fine on the G4 PowerBook. Other sites were slow, but not inoperative. Turns out we’d restarted the WiFi access point and it had shifted from Channel 11 (which the iMac receives very well) to Channel 1 (which, inexplicably, doesn’t work well at all on the iMac); changing the 802.11 channel to “11” from “Automatic” fixed the issue.

Luckily NBC.com is largely redundant with the existence of Hulu. However, the sites odd definition of “fullscreen” which seems to mean “about 2/3 of the screen with a thick border and distracting edge ad” is annoying. CBS.com also suffers from this dictionary deficiency.

Show Availability

Show availabilty is also frustrating.

  • “The Biggest Loser” is available on Hulu, but, unlike everything else, is a week and a day behind broadcast instead of just a day behind. We watched last week’s episode on AppleTV, but I don’t think we’re willing to spend $2 per week on this show, so we’ll just be a week and some behind instead (or skip it altogether).
  • “Project Runway” and “The Amazing Race” are not available anywhere aside from YouTube. YouTube’s interface is really crappy and the quality is substandard and everything is chopped up into 10-minute pieces requiring a whole lot of mousework to watch an episode from start to finish. Hitting it on the AppleTV might help, except that typing anything into the search interface there is a horrible experience as well. I strongly question CBS and Bravo pushing their users to get these shows ad-free and low-quality instead of providing them through their already-established avenues.
  • “Primeval” was available on BBC-America’s website, I swear. We watched two episodes of it there even! But, no longer. Now they just offer useless “clips”. Another show which might die on the vine because it doesn’t necessarily make the $2 cut. Note to execs: it’s a lot easier for us to emotionally invest in a show and pay the $2 per episode to get it in high quality with the knowledge that if we need to cut back we can watch the remainder of the season for ‘free’ ad-supported. Before Primeval was cut from online availability it was on the cusp of AppleTV watching. Now that it’s no longer available ad-supported, it’s fallen off that cusp, and into ‘not watched’.

What Works?

So, what works?

  • To get the laptop working really well with our TV, we used DisplayConfigX. Highly recommended to get rid of the overscan and deal with the flaky VGA output of PowerBook G4s (which tend to inexplicably start shifting output to the left and up, losing the entire Apple Menu and half the menu bar; apparently this is termed “losing the back porches” and if you google for “horizontal back porch” you’ll find more information on this than you could ever want).
  • A Wireless Mighty Mouse helps a lot in controlling a laptop across the room, but for search fields one needs a keyboard. You can either get up and key it all in at the laptop, or bring up the “Keyboard Viewer” (go into International settings and enable it as an input method) to bring up a mouse keyboard on the screen.
  • Even better than a wireless mouse and screen keyboard, if we have another laptop open in our laps: Leopard’s built-in Screen Sharing works really well for controlling the laptop from afar.
  • On the AppleTV front, my wife’s iPod Touch has a really nice “Remote” application (free download from Apple in the iTunes Store). This gives a keyboard for keying in search fields, which is only about 100,000 times better than using the remote and the onscreen keyboard to type anything more than three characters.
  • We’ve been watching quite a few shows online. My sister-in-law has even traded hours of Judge Judy watching for hours of Barney Miller watching on Hulu.
  • HD quality is really nice as a novelty, but not something I feel I need for every single show. As I said above, I have found it distracting as often as I’ve found it beautiful.
  • Boxee is an absolutely wonderful addition to our Apple TV.

A Few Words About Boxee

Boxee is an open-source streaming media application, available for OS X, Linux, and Apple TV. It’s based on the “XBMC” project which provides some (but certainly not all) of the same functionality for Windows boxes. Most importantly, it supports seamless streaming of YouTube, CBS, CNN, Comedy Central, Hulu, and the major podcast networks (Revision 3, Next New Networks, etc) in a consistent and big-screen-ready interface.

Boxee is in “invite-only alpha” right now. Anyone with an account on Boxee can invite anyone else to join up, or you can put your email address in to the site’s front page and hope they invite you next Monday. Hint: I have an account, and comments are open on this post.

I just put it on yesterday (coincidentally, the day that Hulu broke on it!), so haven’t been able to give it a really solid run-through yet, but it looks like most of our watching on the main screen from here on out will be via it and Apple TV instead of the G4 sitting next to the screen. Hulu changed something about how it delivered ads in the last two days, which broke Boxee, but Boxee had an update out this morning which appears to have fixed it.

It offers a significantly-improved interface for YouTube (full screen without the playhead bar at the bottom!) as well as Comedy Central and CNN (Comedy Central, however, is significantly more “skippy” than Hulu, so we’ll stick to getting The Daily Show from Hulu). YouTube searches are remembered, effectively giving us a “channel” for The Amazing Race and Project Runway (major caveat: YouTube video quality is still two steps below VHS in a strong magnetic field, and Boxee can’t do a thing about that).

The installation was rather straightforward, although it required creating a “patch stick” USB drive and restarting the Apple TV twice. The only hitch was that we needed to “Update” Boxee twice after the install because the first Update didn’t get the absolute latest alpha. Final bit about Boxee is that it is open source alpha software. It’s worked quite well for us so far, but I won’t be overly surprised if it crashes and burns some night. We’ll keep the G4 next to the TV just in case.

Overall, I’m very hopeful that Boxee will make our setup even nicer than we need it to be, saving us energy (no need to have another laptop going while watching Hulu) and annoyance (trying to operate the wireless mouse across the room is annoying). The verdict is still out, but it’s looking good both from a general quality standpoint and a responsiveness-to-crisis standpoint.

What’s Missing?

Surprisingly, not much!

  • I really wish that Boxee’s functionality (streaming of ad-supported content) was built into Apple TV instead of a “hack” on top of it.
  • The unavailable shows (Project Runway, Amazing Race) which drive us to revenue-free sources (YouTube) instead of letting us watch ads or pay $2 an episode are examples of network short-sightedness. Hopefully over the next several months these last non-streaming holdouts shift course.
  • I really wish AppleTV supported a wireless keyboard and mouse in addition to the remote control and iPod Touch Remote app. The latter is a good replacement for a keyboard if you happen to have a Touch or iPhone sitting next to you on the couch, but I think a well designed “touchpad” type of stationary mouse and mini keyboard would be an awesome addition to the AppleTV experience!

That’s it!

Overall, this “experiment” is going quite well. Here in the middle of the fall television season, we’re purchasing about 2 shows per week on the AppleTV ($5/week, $20/month or so), which is a significant savings over DirecTV (on the order of $60/month). Everyone seems happy with the setup so far, and we haven’t felt the need to watch anything “live”, yet.

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Dropping Satellite

Posted on October 8, 2008. Filed under: Budget, Lifehacking | Tags: , , , , , , |

The World Up To Now

For the past decade and a half, there have been two major options to receive passive video entertainment (aka “television”) in the home.

One could choose cable service, which in our case would mean Comcast. Comcast has “basic” cable (meaning, none of the channels we watch, except the local stations) for about $30 a month, or “standard” starting at a smidge over $50.

Alternatively, one could choose Dish or DirecTV, which start at $63 for the shows we watch, plus $5 to use the DVR we bought from them. This is what we’d been subscribing to, more or less continuously, since 2000 when we first moved into our own house. Our actual cost for DirecTV is $85/month, after all the add-ons and taxes.

A few “third party” equivalents (digital TV from your phone company, for instance) have come up in recent years, but they are mostly in the same mold as the other two: a large monthly fee for a wide choice of “channels” to choose from.

But, times have changed since our household last consciously chose our source of passive entertainment. Costs have gone up; DirecTV when we first subscribed was $40 for the “Total Choice Plus” collection of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink channels. At the same time, other avenues for home video have opened up.

We sat down a week and a half ago to look into our options and ended up with a stunning conclusion: we’re dropping satellite TV completely and moving to “fully on-demand” television watching.

New Sources for Video

There are two main types of new video sources we are planning on using: pay-per-episode and ad-supported. The for-pay service of choice (simply because it works with the computers in our house) is iTunes, and by extension our Apple TV device. The ad-supported services are exemplified by hulu.com.

“Premium” shows will be bought for viewing via iTunes and our Apple TV. The quality of shows on the Apple TV is absolutely stunning, far superior (in SD at least, which is my only frame of reference) to DirecTV’s offering. A few weekends ago we noticed we’d missed the premier episode of Primeval, which we had been wanting to watch. So, we bought the premier on the Apple TV and watched it, then immediately watched the second and third episodes directly from DirecTV; the difference was highly noticeable, especially in the “matrixing” of the darks. At $1.99 – $2.99 per episode (the higher price for HD episodes, where those are available), we come out far ahead using the Apple TV’s buy-what-you-watch model for our most “discriminating” viewing; I’ll get down to dollars and cents on this later though.

“Regular” shows will be watched via one of the ad-supported online video outlets. Currently, these include:

  • Hulu: Aims to be a “hub” for multiple networks’ content. Includes a smattering of movies and a lot of TV shows. Point of aggravation: it is eager to mix clips with full-length episodes, and so you never know if it really has a particular show available until you click down to the show. Major conveniences: queuing and subscriptions to shows allow us to turn it on and see what we haven’t watched yet. Episodes are up the day after they air, and remain up for “a while” but not indefinitely. Also experimenting with live broadcasts, although we’ll have to see how that goes!
  • NBC: Most of this content is also on Hulu, but sometimes things will “expire” from Hulu and live longer on NBC.com (or vice-versa).
  • CBS: Only outlet for CBS shows (Hulu will link over here). Major aggravations: too many clicks to find available full-length shows.
  • ABC: Only outlet for ABC shows (which we don’t usually watch anyway, but this is the Lost outlet!).
  • Nick Jr: Kid shows, including Dora, Diego, Backyardigans, etc.
  • Adobe Media Player: Largely an “also-ran”. Nothing really interesting here, but it might fill out in the future. Downloaded AIR-powered client.

All of these are “free” ad-supported sources, and so all of them display ads at the start, end, and often in the middle of the shows. You generally can’t skip the ads, so there’s no avoiding them, although the length of the ads is much shorter than those on broadcast TV (15-30 seconds every act or two rather than 2-3 minutes every act). The ads are definitely tolerable, although the lack of variety on some shows has already gotten tiresome.

Connecting

We have three televisions which need to be “fed” content: our living room, the kids’ tv upstairs, and our bedroom tv. The main focus is of course in the living room, but the other two can’t be left out in the cold indefinitely.

In the living room, the Apple TV quite nicely handles displaying iTunes “premium” content. We can order new shows directly from the television set, and everything gets stored both locally and up on our home server. The television set has a DVI input, but that is already taken up by the DVD player’s HDMI output (which I’d prefer to keep “pristine”). That leaves a few component, composite, and analog VGA inputs as options for connecting a new source.

Obviously, to watch browser-based content we’ll need a computer with a browser next to the TV. For the downstairs set we’ve conscripted either my wife’s MacBook laptop or an old G4 PowerBook for that purpose; we generally use the PowerBook, but it also tends to “stutter” on Flash video as it’s a bit underpowered.

For both of these computers, we have a VGA adapter (the Apple MiniDVI-to-VGA adapter for the MacBook and an Apple DVI-to-VGA adapter for the PowerBook). We also obviously have to hook the headphones output up to the receiver.

On the upstairs kids’ tv, we have a computer sitting right next to it. It’s an older-model iMac G5, which sports “Mini-VGA” output (one of the few machines ever made with such a connection). Another $20 adapter from Apple, and we can output it’s screen to SVideo, which the TV up there can accept (no VGA or DVI inputs on that old CRT clunker!) The sound goes through a pair of RCA jacks, or if we forget to connect the audio outputs, through the computer’s speakers. Here, unless we move the AppleTV from downstairs (which isn’t a big deal), we can watch AppleTV premium content via iTunes’ “bonjour” networking; turn on iTunes and connect directly to our home server’s library to watch a bought show.

On our bedroom tv we are set up to move one of the laptops in and output DVI video direct to the TV. We have a little alcove up there where the DVD player sits, perfectly ready for a laptop to be set and the audio/video connected.

The next issue is the 10-foot interface. Specifically: how do we control that interface from the couch?

With the AppleTV this isn’t an issue at all. Our Harmony remote controls the little box with aplomb.

Hulu et al are not at all set up to make this easy. We have to use a mouse and keyboard to get anywhere (keyboard only to search). One option is that we have to physically get up, walk over to the computer next to the television, and click the mouse there. The other option is a little bluetooth mouse, like the Apple Mighty Mouse. For the downstairs set (and if we move the laptop upstairs), we will be using the latter option. For the kids’ set, the room is small enough that they can just get up and push the mouse button. With a bluetooth mouse, we are still lacking a keyboard; to keep us from heading across the room, we have enabled the Mac OS X “Input Menu” (under “International” in System Preferences), so a click on the flag in the menu bar and we get a floating “keyboard” on the screen. This way, the bluetooth mouse can act as a keyboard in the cases where we need one (for instance, when searching for something).

Implications

The implications of this shift are significant in our household.

  1. TV is no longer “background noise”. This is a good thing – from sociological and energy perspectives – so you won’t see me bemoaning it. At the same time, though, it is a change from the status quo, and so will be difficult. We’ve already felt the sting of not being able to lay down in bed with the local news rambling in the background.
  2. TV “events” are no longer available. This is the most worrying effect. Instead of local news, we can read up on the local stations’ web sites, and we can get opinion pieces from national sources. We won’t be able to participate in the “watercooler conversations” (although half the time we couldn’t in any case because the hot show was sitting on our DVR waiting for us to watch it the next night anyway). I’m excited to see if the live streaming model of Hulu’s Presidential Debates and NBC’s Olympics takes a stronger hold.

Sociologically Speaking …

The television can no longer act as background noise. That’s an alarmingly drastic change in our household. I suspect we’ll be watching significantly fewer shows overall, and be much more discriminating about which we spend our time in front of.

If we are watching an hour-long shows each night of the week, that’s 7 hours per week. Taking all 7 as “premium” shows would mean us paying $56 per month for SD quality. Obviously, that isn’t the best option here.

At the same time, the “TV Schedule” has been a major drag on us. We haven’t been able to get to bed early because shows we (Jodi and I) want to watch are aired later at night. We haven’t been able to go out for the night because some “event” show was going to be on and we’d “miss” it. DVR recordings help somewhat, but we never know where to record things because it’s hard to say where we’ll want to watch them later on.

This move forces us “off” the TV Schedule. There is no schedule any more. Everything appears at about 4:00 in the morning on Hulu, and can be watched whenever we find the time to watch it. It also forces us away from “background noise”; each show must be consciously selected from the list of available shows, and nothing just “comes on” because the other show ended (although Hulu’s queue does act that way).

At the same time, it also moves the living room centralized viewing area to a more decentralized system. It’s not much worse watching the show you want to watch upstairs or in our bedroom; we no longer have the “it was recorded on the living room DVR” excuse to force us all to watch something in the same room. I don’t see this as overly significant now; we’ll have to see if it does become a factor.

Energy-Wise

The TV consumes a lot of energy. For “background noise” it’s about the least efficient of the options available (“silence” and “radio” coming at the most efficient end).

I fully expect our energy bills to go down as a result of this shift. At the same time, there are competing factors. The following calculations are based mostly on guesses, not actual power readings, so may be slightly off.

  1. The living room TV uses about as much energy as 4 100Watt bulbs when on (it has a 300W rear-projection bulb; I’m estimating the circuitry as wasting another 100W but may be over in that estimate). Having this off for three hours in the day (where it was merely background noise) is a significant energy savings (1.2kWh)
  2. The computers we are using are all fairly efficient energy sippers. Adding these to the circuitry mix when watching shows adds about 35W to the overall system (0.035kWh per hour; this is a very high estimate; Apple puts a PowerBook G4 battery at 58Wh and lasting for 4.5 hours, for a run rate of about 13 Wh or 0.013kWh per hour; I’m assuming the demands of Flash use much more energy, and the battery life of our G4 when watching Flash is more like 1.5 hours, which would be around 38Wh).

So, if we watch TV under the new model for 1 hour, we will be using 0.035kWh extra, the extra energy equivalent to about 5.25 minutes of “background” TV. If we eliminate only 1 hour of “background” noise watching in the day, we are energy-positive so long as we watch less than 11.5 hours of “real” television.

Imagine two scenarios: we have the TV “on” for 5 hours in the day, and then we have the TV and laptop “on” for 2 hours the next day. Let’s compare the costs (Assuming Tier 1 rates for SMUD, rounded up to 10 cents per kWh):

  • TV on 5 hours
    • Energy Used: 2.0kWh
    • Energy Cost: $0.2/day : $6/month
  • TV and laptop on 2 hours
    • Energy Used: 0.870kWh
    • Energy Cost: $0.09/day : $2.70/month

This doesn’t take into account the fact that the electricity rate might go down due to our conservation (higher usage customers get higher rates), or that “2 hours” of television is almost 3 full 42-minute shows on Hulu instead of 2 42-minute shows plus 36 minutes of ads on “regular” TV. It also should be noted that we’re not taking the electricity usage of the DVR into account on the old-model side.

Overall, the monetary effect is small, but the narrow energy usage effect can be huge. We’d never dream of having four 100 Watt bulbs burning all day long just because we were in the same room! Why should we have been so complacent about the TV having been on all day?

Premium Content Cost Breakdowns

We have several “premium” shows that we want to watch. Assuming for the moment a “premium” month where all are showing every week (four episodes), this is the max monthly costs:

  • Lost. $2.99 * 16 ($48)
  • Heroes. $2.99 * 22 ($66)
  • ER. $1.99 * 22 ($44)
  • The Closer. $1.99 * 15 ($30)

The “season” costs of these four shows (bought on a show-by-show basis, not as season passes) comes to $188 over the course of the year (with a max of $40 in any particular month were all four to show four episodes that month).

DirecTV costs $85/month for us, all told, which comes out to $1,020 over the course of the year.

If these are the only “premium” shows we watch, we’ll save $832 in a year.

The other benefits are budget flexibility (money tight? Move a show from “premium” to “online” viewing), storage flexibility (these can all, unlike the DVR’d shows from DirecTV, be backed up), and a better overall viewing experience (no skipping through commercials because they’ve already been pulled out!).

But, I hear you saying, you haven’t factored in the cost of the internet connection! Well, that is true. Obviously, we’d have an internet connection anyway (we are paying $50/month for internet and phone combined), but we might want to upgrade our connection to allow for the increased bandwidth needs. Moving from 3Mbps to 6Mbps internet will cost us $10 per month, eating another $120 in the year. However, the need for this is not foregone: we haven’t had any latency or bandwidth issues yet in the week we’ve been trying this out. We’ll see, though; the phone connection is switching over to digital as well, so the overall bandwidth needs may be going up soon. We’ll see, and adapt. No matter what, though, it’s not going to bust the budget.

Assuming we move to a higher-bandwidth internet service, and add two additional shows in the “premium” bucket ($2 per episode and 22 episode seasons), the cost comparison is:

  • DirecTV: $1,020
  • New Model: $396
  • Savings Total: $624
  • Monthly Savings, Total: $52

This is the “all bells and whistles” option, and it’s still over 60% less than DirecTV!

Future Options

As I just mentioned, it’s definitely possible we’ll be expanding on this new model in a number of ways:

  1. Increase internet bandwidth
  2. In-house, beef up networking (saving $50/month here we can put aside funds to pay for these upgrades quickly)
  3. In-house, beef up connected laptops (much less likely to happen, but a better laptop or Mac Mini in the living room without having to take my wife’s laptop away would decrease the need for “premium” shows some of the time and enhance the overall Hulu-class experience)
  4. Additional “premium” shows without removing existing “premium” shows from the lineup

In addition, there are other avenues:

  1. Subscription movie services (Blockbuster, Netflix). We’ve canceled Blockbuster as we just haven’t been getting $18 worth out of it each month. However, we might reconsider this once we’ve lived in this new model for a few months.
  2. Upgrade to capture Over The Air HD (purchase an EyeTV USB dongle or home server for $100-200). This would move all “network” content off the “premium” cost table in exchange for a one-time cost and excepting scheduling mix-ups. It would also allow realtime viewing of local TV shows (ex, the nightly news and late night shows), should we be feeling too deprived without that.

The Future Now

This is a paradigm shift for our household. We’re excited to be moving to this new model, and definitely ready to realize the savings it will entail. Our trial week on this has gone well. I’ll keep you up to date as we move forward.

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Losing Weight

Posted on December 21, 2007. Filed under: Lifehacking |

Losing Weight

Disclaimer: I am not a nutrition expert. I am not a doctor. I can relate my flawed understandings of the world, but it is up to you to confirm them with someone who really is a doctor or a nutrition specialist. They might say I was sort of on the right track, or they might tell you that you need to exercise less and eat more to lose weight, or even something completely unimaginable to me as I write this. Treat everything below as advise from a friend who has lost a lot of weight recently and is feeling more fit than they have in years, but who is also slightly off his rocker and liable to throw in a wildly outlandish assertion just for kicks. In other words, treat it like something you read on them Internets.

Basic Laws of Nutrition

There are all sorts of fad diets out there. But, there is a simple equation at work in gaining or losing weight:

Assuming proper nutrition (and we don’t know about this enough to fiddle with breaking this assumption), Calories Eaten – Calories Consumed = Calories Stored.

(more…)

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