I have made my big bonus decision. A few weeks ago I wrote about how I got an unexpected bonus and was trying to make up my mind about what to do with the windfall. The decision has been made: an upgrade to our computer and home theater system.
As a first step, we bought a fully loaded new PC: quad-core Intel processor, 9 GB of memory, a 1.5 TB disk, 2.7 inch monitor and a bunch of software. $2200 from Costco, all in. Really, really expensive, yes, but given that our previous computer lasted for 8 years, and that we hope to get the same mileage from this machine, that's not a completely reckless decision. This computer will also play an important part in the next phase of the plan: connecting our TV to the Internet.
For months I have been plotting a wireless assault combining TV, media server, computer & Netflix. Netflix now has a massive collection of movies and shows that can be instantly streamed over the Internet. The only problem: connecting the TV to the Internet has been a challenge. It turns out that this can be done in several different ways: certain TiVo machines, Blue Ray players and XBox consoles can be wireless connected to the Internet, and be used to stream content to the TV. That's the sole missing component in my scheme to upgrade our home entertainment system. I'll probably pick the TiVo or XBox and my master plan shall be complete! Muahhh-ha-ha-ha-ha..... Wow, that's almost as good as taking over the world...
One other nice thing about our new fancy computer is that it has a built-in TV tuner and DVR which I intend to connect to Comcast cable. That way our 1.5TB hard disk will become a massive new DVR.
A final note on the new computer: this is a Windows 7 machine and so far I like this new operating system. Some problems with software that's not yet compatible with the new operating system, but generally speaking, Microsoft did a good job making sure that accessories and most software install and operate smoothly. Very nice. Ironically, the only problem we experienced with migrating to the new machine has been with Apple... migrating my iTunes, iPod and iPhone to the new computer has involved days and days of work. Because the old computer crashed and we had no access to the old copy of iTunes, I had to recover my music from our home back-up. This process resulted in the loss of all my playlists, song ratings and customizations. As I said, it took me DAYS of work to recover, and all this while my iPhone retained a PERFECT record of all my data that could have been easily recovered and migrated to the new computer if Apple cared at all about it's customers. I love Apple's products, but abhor the company and it's philosophy. What a pointless nightmare.