My wife, KitchenRebel found this series first on Hulu.com. We were a big fan of John Fehr and Nancy Howers previous show, 10 Items or Less. This is pretty much the same thing, only set to a western. Loose scripting and some nice improving to make this show spontaneously funny. It’s a quick 8 episode season that’s worth the viewing.
Remember the good old days?
I have been consistently asked to consult for companies over the years and enjoy evaluating tools and their impact on the creative process as part of my role as a filmmaker and facility owner. I can see my fingerprints and those of my partners in many of the tools professionals use. But when companies want endorsements, I never really know how to do that well. This case study is my attempt at un-marketed information. These are simply examples of technology I particularly enjoy working with. But this video was done without the consent or request of any of the associated companies mentioned. No company saw an edit before I uploaded it. No company contracted me to do this in any way. I was not paid for any of this information. — Michael Cioni
Back when I was single and making money hand over fist, I loved having cable. I paid for the most expensive video and internet package because I wanted to have access to content at a moments notice. I was the cable company’s favorite customer. I paid almost $200/month in cable and internet service, I ordered boxing and wrestling Pay Per Views every month, even though I worked 60-70 hours a week and slept 90% of the time I was at home.
Then the dot.com bubble bursted.
When I lost my job, I realized I needed to cut back on the luxuries in my life. I dumped my $1,500 a month condo and moved into a $400 room in a boarding house. My $300 a month Amazon.com music & DVD buying budget went away. And my weekly Safeway.com food delivery was replaced with daily 99¢ fast food burgers.
I hacked away at my monthly budget until I was living on next to nothing.. and STILL I kept my cable and internet. True, I no longer had the ‘top of the line’ packages, but I still did pay close to $80 for a basic cable package and an ISDN line. Never once did I think to just give up cable TV. It had been a part of my adult existence since day one. There were months where I was late on rent and I went a day or two without eating two meals a day. But that cable bill was paid relatively on time! I never even considered there was an alternative to my current couch potato situation.
A few months before I lost my job, I had embarked on an ambitious project. I started physically converting all of my vinyl records and cassette tapes into a new MPEG audio format called ‘MP3′. Keep in mind, I had a total of almost 100 vinyl records, 500+ CD’s and close to 600 cassette tapes. Most of them were store-bought albums and singles, but a good portion were vintage recordings of personal stuff and directly off of the radio. My plan was to take this enormous collection of music and condense it to one hard drive. The rise of the MP3 player made it possible to recognize one of my lifelong dreams: to have all of my favorite music with me at all times. It took close to a year, but i successfully did it. I should’ve been happy when I was done. I took all my vinyl, CD’s and cassettes and donated them to the Salvation Army. I had a hard drive with around 40,000 songs on it. That should’ve been the end it, but I also had close to 400 DVD’s and VHS movies. My dream of a fully digital life would only half fufilled. So you guessed it. I started converting all my movies and TV show collections to AVI, the video standard at the time.
Now keep in mind, there was no talk about something like this being illegal. I had spent thousands of dollars over the years on VHS and DVD’s. This was my property. I could do with it whatever I wanted. So another year went by and in that time, I converted all my movies (as well as others I had bought during that time) to digital format. Now I had all my audio and video collections at my fingertips and could pick and choose to play what i wanted, when i wanted in a matter of seconds. The only problem was my delivery mechanism was clunky. I had long wires connection my Mac to my TV just to play everything in the living room. I realized there had to be another way.
So there I was with a few hard drives of digital files and no good way to organize and watch them. Then a friend informed me that the Xbox360 could be used to serve files. I promptly attached both audio and video drives to the the xbox and BOOM!! I was able to access all of my content with no problem.
I should’ve been happy then, but after a while, i got bored with the xbox interface. So, I went back to researching other solutions. I went through Boxee and Plex and other solutions until I found what I was looking for: XBMC. Based on the original xbox’s media technology, this open source project had everything I needed: deep customizability, available for most platforms (Mac and Windows), and compatible with most media formats on the planet!
I had an old Macbook Pro that was laying around, so I loaded XBMC on that and used an HDMI adapter to connect it to the TV, and BOOM!! I just elevated my game. It had different skins so I could change the look and feel, AND it organized my content almost seamlessly, using sites like IMDB to format the metadata. Today, I have a nice Mac Mini running XBMC. I’ve got over 500 TV Series and 4000+ movies. Today, digital downloads are more common. I stopped buying physical media years ago. And I don’t plan on going back. People ask me what would it take to go back to cable. I’m still trying to figure out the answer to that question.