David Attenborough Africa

I’m a little bit behind the times with this but I’ve just watched the final episode of the David Attenborough series from the BBC called Africa. The series aired late last year in 2013 and I watched all bar the final two episodes until this week.

I love watching his programmes because you get to see truly incredible things and watching them leaves me with an utterly humble feeling inside. Sure, at 88 years old now, he may not be as ‘down in the dirt’ as he used to be but who can blame him? He was in the news in June of last year reportedly to have a pacemaker fitted.

If I can see just 5% of the incredible things that he has been able to witness and experience in his life in my own then I would consider my life to be a rich and fulfilled one. Watching the series Africa also makes me, as a father of three, wonder what will be left for our grandchildren? What natural beauties and ecological wonders will remain for them to see and experience or will they be dependant on records of history like the documentaries of David Attenborough to understand what the world used to be like?

This story on the Radio Times website from July 2013 (http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-07-05/david-attenborough-to-make-new-landmark-bbc1-natural-history-series) reports that there will be at least one more high profile series from Attenborough which according to the story will be aired in either 2015 or 2016. I really look forward to it.

The Day the Logitech Harmony One Works

We’ve been lucky enough to have a Logitech Harmony One touchscreen multifunction remote control for little over a year now and it’s safe to say that it is probably the best amount money you could spend on your TV and front room electronic devices purely for it’s power and potential and the Logitech software albeit a little cumbersome and slow has enough options and features to keep anyone satisfied – Anyone but me.

At home, we have a Samsung LE40R88BD which is about two years old now. Ever since I configured the Harmony for our TV there has been a problem – It doesn’t switch between inputs properly.

In its efforts to be intelligent, the TV skips over some inputs when they are determined to be off but this isn’t so for the entire suite of inputs, so HDMI for example is skipped, while the SCART inputs or the Component is not skipped over meaning that the Harmony has always had problems getting you to the right channel for the correct viewing device.

When at Nicky’s dads house recently and adjusting his Harmony setup for him, I noticed his remote Harmony configuration for his newer Samsung LE40A686M1F gave him access to direct input buttons such as HDMI 1, 2 and so forth which made me very jealous because his remote worked exactly how it is supposed to.

About three months ago, I sat on the remote after one of the children hid it under our beanbag and needless to say, the screen took the brunt of my weight. The touchscreen still works, but you cannot see about two thirds of the display meaning I am the only person in the house able to use these buttons purely through memory of their position.

I got an Xbox 360 for Christmas, which, with built-in infra-red and Media Center Extender support meant I would need to add this to the Harmony, however this gives me a problem. If we can’t see the screen how are we going to see the new buttons and this could cause a problem for channel switching also.

I decided to perform an experiment. I added the model code for Nicky’s dads TV set to our remote as a second TV and didn’t make it part of any of our activities configured on the remote, and I memorised the position of the HDMI input buttons. When I took to our TV with these buttons, to my surprise the commands were received by the TV and they worked.

I’ve now since removed our original TV from the Harmony configuration and replaced it in all of the activities with Mick’s model TV meaning that the Harmony now takes us directly to the correct input for each activity and also allows me to control the Xbox 360.

The lesson to be learnt: Although the Harmony software gives you excellent control over your devices, don’t always assume it’s right, and experiment from time to time.

Sky+ HD Multi-Room Shared Planner

I got some anonymous information last night from a friend about a service Sky are considering introducing here in the UK.

The service looks as if it’s going to be called Sky+ HD Multi-Room Shared Planner – What a mouthful.

The premise of it is that you have multiple Sky+ HD boxes in your house, and you can share recorded TV amongst those boxes throughout your house. The service also touts that you will be able to connect to your Sky+ HD boxes via your PC and access that content also.

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