Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My No Cable Experiement

When I got my own place, I vowed myself to never get cable.   I noticed I was much more productive without it.  I did a lot more reading and surfing the internet.  I was outside exercising more and discovering new things.  I spent way more time practicing my hobbies like photography and soccer.  I even did a very little bit of coding on the side.  Not having television forced me to spend my time more actively  I no longer had a reason to sit down and just veg out.  It also saved me some money. 

As I spent more time surfing the web, I discovered that I could watch most of my favorite television shows online.  Thanks to sites like Hulu, Youtube, CBS, and ABC I had access to my favorite shows.  Hulu, when it first came out, was the greatest thing since sliced bread to me. Not only could I watch my shows whenever I wanted to, with limited commercials, but I could go back and watch previous seasons.  More recently Hulu has begun to offer just about every show I watch plus some sports highlights.  It's great.

Once I discovered I could watch stuff online, I looked for ways to stream this to my television.  I purchased a Slingmedia SlingCatcher, and when I finally became available, 25mbps FIOS connection.  The SlingCatcher streams pretty much all flash based web video to your tv.  It works pretty well, I don't have too many complaints about it.  For my movie watching I use Orb to stream stuff to my Xbox360 and finally to my television. 

For sports I discovered, soon to be  Espn360 gives you access to a lot of the sports Espn shows.  In addition to NBA, MLB, and a few college sports, Espn360 gives you access to European soccer leagues.  This was a big bonus to me, since if I had cable I would purchase the extra soccer channels.  Espn360 is the closest thing I found to being able to watch live sports on the internet for free. 

Here's the downer.  I think I watch more TV now than when I did have access to cable.  On Hulu alone I went from watching 3 Shows Regularly (House, 24, Grey's Anatomy) to watching 10 Shows.  With that said there are shows like Glee or Modern Family that weren't on when I first started using Hulu.  So now instead of browsing the television for interesting things to watch, I browse the internet and Hulu.  I watch old episodes and search for new things of random interest.  It feels different, but I'm doing the same thing as I was doing with cable.

In essence the internet only moved this problem to a new medium.  I am saving money by not having cable though, so that could be a plus.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cockpit-Like Focus

Yesterday I went out to get some new games for my 360 since I haven't gotten anything new in quite a while now. I picked up Need for Speed Shift, Gears of War 2, and Afro Samurai. Yes none of these games are really new, but they are new to me.

Trying out NFS:Shift a thought came to me. In the game you start off racing in the cockpit view. My older brother always preferred this view. I tend to rotate between it and one of the over the top views. The cockpit view is a little constraining and with all the gauges and dials it can be distracting.

Photo from NFS Website

The thing is when my brother talks about it, it allows him to focus. In the cockpit view you focus on what's in front of you and not what's behind or next to you. You pay more attention to your race and how you are racing and not everyone else. After giving it a try this morning for a couple races, I found this to be true. I occasionally glance over to the side or rear view mirror to check out what's going on, but for the most part I'm focused straight ahead.

This got me thinking. How could I apply this concept to my life? How do I restrict my focus to my goals and tasks ahead of me and not those behind and next to me.

I don't know the answer to this right now, but I'm going to actively try to find one for it.