So much time, so little to say. Strike that, reverse it.

I hate being so redundant, everytime I write one of these it seems as if I’m saying how busy I’ve been; but this time, as always, I really have been busy. In the past few weeks I’ve continued to search for a summer job, participated in two wild chats with my friends from Leoville, studied for and passed a General Class FCC Element 3 exam, been studying for three Cisco exams I want/need to take before the end of the semester, woked on my Cisco instructor certification, interviewed for a summer internship, replaced the hard drives in both my laptop and desktop, started a SCUBA diving certification class, took a severe weather spotting training course from the National Weather Service, continued lobbying and meetings with the university for our Amateur Radio Club, debated purchasing a new ham radio, dvd writing package, Tivo/Replay and flat screen monitor. Oh yeah, and all my normal classwork too.

First things first though. My search for a summer job has prooved fruitful at last. Before returning to Light N Trax again this year for summer employment I decided to try and find a corporate IT internship so I could get a better taste of what I might be doing after graduation while gaining some real-world experiance at the same time. I sent out a pretty good number of resumes and cover letters, got a few responses none of which were promising. Eventually someone my Dad works for suggested applying for the summer IT internship at State Fund Mutual Companies which is an insurance company that specializes in Workers’ Compensation insurance in Minnesota. I headed back home last weekend after getting a call that they were interested in interviewing me. I arranged a ride home just in time to make it to my 2:45PM interview which wasn’t overly painful. They said they’d get back to me early this week. I was called and offered the position on Tuesday and I accepted with minor negotiations on my part Wednesday. I’ll be starting there May 20th at 8:30AM.

Now, since I don’t have a boatload of time the only other thing I’ll cover here (unless there is public outcry to hear about another of my recent activities) is my purchase dillema of the day. It all started again with Leo, yes, Leo. You see a few days ago Leo wrote an article on his message board about hacking his Tivo then on The ScreenSavers Wednesday they had a segment about using your PC as a ReplayTV node. All this Tivo/Replay talk got me thinking again about how handy it would be to have one of these gadgets for all the time shifting I do. For a number of reasons I decided it would now be practical for me to sell some of my VCRs and buy a PVR. After exhaustive research today I found that although they had gotten cheaper you could not simply use them as digital VCRs, you have to subscribe to the guide service for them or they cease working! This is either a monthly or one-time fee. I hate monthly fees and when you add the one-time fee to the cost of the device it becomes considerably more expensive. Besides I just don’t like things that have recurring fees and/or rely on a manufacturer to keep them going or they become doorstops, too much power for me to give up. I decided to investigate set top DVD recorders instead. I found the Panasonic DMR-E30K which allows me to do everything I want, plus burn to DVD-R media as a benefit! I could have this for only $390 at J&R Music and Video.

While I was contemplating this purchase a friend who works with me pointed out a hot deal posted to the Anandtech Forums, Dell is selling an 18″ LCD flat-panel for $390 (after instant rebate and 15% off coupon) as well! I considered getting this as well, but after a few hours of internal struggling I finally decided it wasn’t as important to me right now as any number of other things so I decided against it, we’ll see if this was a good choice or not. Back to the DVD Recorder/PVR debate. I had pretty much decided to get the Panasonic DMR-E30K when I stated thinking about how easy this would make DVD video editing on my PC if I got a PC DVD-R/RW/RAM drive as well. Not to bore you too much with the details, but after quite a bit of research and debate I ended up with the Panasonic SW-9571-CYY which I purchased from AvLogic.Com for $165 and will complement the DMR-E30K nicely allowing me to record on DVD-RAM media, stick it in the PC edit it on the media itself and save it or burn it to DVD-R for more permanent storage. You might ask why I didn’t go with the Sony DRU-500A which I was considering late last year. There are a few reasons actually, first cost, second availibility and third support for the DVD-RAM format. This is an older DVD format that uses random access and so it will work better for on-disk video editing and it’s also the rewritable format supported by the DMR-E30K.

When all is said and done I have a set-top dvd recorder, a computer dvd recorder, some blank dvd media, an internship and talked myself out of the flatscreen. I think I’ll be happy though, and isn’t that what really counts? Hopefully I’ll have some time to blog with more frequency soon. In the meantime I return myself to my regular busy life and you to yours. Stay tuned!


  1. Wow, congrats on the job and all the hardware purchases, as well as the exams and courses. Wowzers, you’ve been so busy I need a nap! Zzzzzz…

  2. Congrats on the intership and the blog, Ben! Way
    to go!!! 😉

    [nice Young Frankenstein ref too!]