So I started getting these tweets last week about the logistical nightmare of packing up an IRL team and prepping it to ship to Japan for this week’s race. If I were to believe these tweets, posts and releases it would have me believe that this was an organizational task of herculean proportions.
Hogwash. You want a difficult logistical and technical challenge? This week JP is bridging the technological chasm that created itself two weeks ago when Directv dropped Versus. I figured that this would eventually compel the league to arrange for a video stream of the race which was fortunately announced this week.
SO the plan – stream on the computer and watch on the 42” plasma. We’d get the logistics done over the weekend and be ready to go Friday night. Sounds pretty simple, but the problems start early. The internet service for the house is not actually in the house. Since I work remotely out of a home office, the internet is located with the office, which is in a finished part of a barn on the back of the property. Being surrounded by cornfields, there’s no cable or DSL which leads me back into the evil clutches of satellite based media providers. SO given the limits of satelite based internet providers, I have just barely enough bandwidth to stream. I also have a wireless modem, in the office, which is again in the barn whose signal I can pick up in the back half of the house. Unfortunately the 42" plasma is in the front half of the house.
The first unplanned purchase, an $89 wireless AP, to sit in the back of the house getting the signal from the barn and amplifying it so that internet service is now available in the front of the house and for about 150 feet out into the cornfield across the street. Mrs JP works in IT so I leave setting up this sort of thing up to her. Apparently, we didn’t purchase the most user friendly of $89 AP units. After an hour on hold and another hour of Mrs JP speaking very loudly and slowly into the phone with a slight Bengali accent the $89 AP unit was working. Mrs JP was grouchy and MR JP, yours truly, spent the night sleeping on the couch. On to day 2.
On day two we went to hook the laptop up to the plasma and yet another problem presented itself. Our home laptop didn’t have a svideo or hdmi jack, only a vga jack. The 42" plasma has a multitude of electronic orifices, including all three of the previously mentioned ones. All my prior computers were macs so I had no vga cables handy to pull out of a box and use. Mrs JP, Being a PC, said she had hundreds of various cables that plug into any number of electronic orifices, but of course, they are all in storage. When Mrs JP became Mrs JP she moved in but most of her stuff moved to a storage facility.
So off to the storage facility we drove. Once at the storage facility, not only did we find a vga cable but we found a bunch of other vestiges of Mrs JP’s bachelorette pad that now became the solutions to missing links in our current home furnishing portfolio. Which is where JP made the mistake of opening his mouth using the forbidden words “Garage Sale”. Another night on the couch for yours truly. This time JP had the extra benefit of pondering the day's follies while staring at a newly relocated purple ottoman.
On day three we hook up the vga cable to the 42" plasma and begin to stream through the new $89 AP that relayed the internet signal from the office in the barn that has internet from the evil satellite media provider. We flip the screen from the laptop monitor to the 42" plasma and success!! Video!! Yes Video pulsating through 42 stunning inches of visual electronic nectar enclosed in a high grade translucent material. Yes stunning video in Millions of shades and tones of color. Yes Video, Video, WOW, Video.
Note I did not mention sound. Primarily because there was no sound, just the sound of slience. Where the people stared confused by the plasma god on mute.
Unlike the other electronic orifices, vga only relays video. SO we try turning up the sound on the laptop speakers, which worked as long as you were within the 3 ft of the orifice challenged computer and 42" plasma. Go sit on the couch next to the newly rescued purple ottoman and it was like listening to that guy. You know the guy, wearing a KORN goth outfit jamming to Cyndi Lauper on his iPod three seats away on the NYC subway. That wasn’t going to do. This time Mrs JP was eager to come to rescue. “I have a set of headphone jack speakers we can plug into the laptop and listen to those”. She said. I asked “Great, where are they?” A devious smile bloomed over Mrs JP’s face as she said. “At the storage Facility”, now otherwise known as the land of previously forgotten home furnishings.
So on Friday night, as those of you with actual cable television that still carries Versus sit down to watch the race live in peace and quiet. Remember JP, his 42” plasma TV, the vga cable, the orifice challenged laptop, the $89 AP device, the people at the suport call center who best understand English when spoken with a slight Bengali accent, the wireless router in the office in the barn where the evil satellite connection is and of course the newly relocated purple ottoman. And as you are remembering JP, please say a prayer. A prayer for clear skies on that particular evening. Because did I mention that the evil satellite internet service loses contact with the satellite when there is so much as a sprinkle falling from the sky…