Merry Christmas

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and to share with them my computer-generated Christmas card.

Click image to enlarge
This card was designed, computer modeled and computer rendered by me.

Created using the Persistence of Vision™ Ray-Tracer POV-Ray™ version 3.6 freeware rendering program which I helped create. For details see

The model contains over 27,000 objects. There are 6169 stitches in the stocking each of which is made of four individual pieces. There would have been more stitches but the back side of the stocking was not modeled. There are 2424 pieces of tinsel in the garland. The cards on the mantle are my card designs from 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2006.

It took about 50 hours to design, test render and re-design. Most of that time was figuring out the mathematical formulas to position each individual stitch and to add wrinkles to the entire stocking. The final image was rendered at 1425 x 2325 (300 dpi) resolution. It took 2 hours 31 minutes to render on a 3.2 ghz Pentium 4HT computer running Windows XP Home Edition.

For more information on my images and to purchase posters visit:

©2007 Chris Young, All rights reserved.

Biggest poker win ever!

Last night I played in a poker tournament at a club out in Danville or my sister Carol and her husband Joe belong. They have won every few months. Mom also played as well as my friend Clarence from church who helps me with the poker tournaments at St. Gabriel. A total of 64 people paid $50 each to enter the tournament.

Five hours later I was walking away with $675 second-place prize money. At one point I was heads up with a two to one chip lead. It was getting pretty late and I was trying to end things quickly and lost a big pot. That got us about even again. The guy offered a split but I wanted to play a few more hands to see if I can win it outright. He took a big pot off of me shortly after that and two hands later it was all over. The first-place guy got $1000.

For the first several hands of the game there was a guy three players to my right was very aggressive and I was worried I was going to have a tough time against him. I had to lay very low for a while and only play premium hands. It was quite a while till I won my first pot but it was a pretty good size one.

I seem to get a lot of hands that were ace with a low kicker that I ended up having to throw away. On the other hand I played some suited connectors and people were betting the minimum a lot. I chased a straight and caught it to be a guy with trips and took down a big pot. A guy who’d been very aggressive early got a cold streak but he continued to hold the chip lead at my table for quite some time. We started out with 3125 chips and by the first break a couple of hours in I had 13,000 so I was doing really well.

Most of my good hands I made the hand early and went slow play it getting the minimum or calling someone else’s bet and then betting large on the river. By that time it looked like I was trying to steal and they would call me not realizing I already made my hand.

When it got down to two tables of 10 players each it looks like I’ve pretty much had the chip lead at my table. Just before we merged to the final table I had ace deuce and the flop came 7-2-2. I bet the minimum and a guy called. The next card was a jack and the other guy bet. I was pretty sure he had a jack so I just called again. The final card was an ace giving meat deuces full of aces. I bet very big and he pushed all in and I called. He had three jacks but my full house took him out. That gave me a huge chip lead when we merged to the final table. In fact when we all got to the final table I had a two to one lead over everyone. I had almost 70,000 in the next highest player had about 32,000.

There were 10 players at the final table in the top seven were going to get paid. Seventh place would get his $50 back. Sixth place got $130. Lots of times a big chip leader will try to take out the shorter stacks but I wanted to wait for premium hands. The blinds were not too steep and the blind levels were 30 minutes so you can afford to wait. At one point I did end up doubling up someone who was a short stack but it didn’t cost me that much to lose.

With 10 players still at the final table I remember looking at the guy across from me who had the second biggest stack and thinking to myself “Whatever you do don’t get sucked into a big pot with this guy because he’s the only guy with enough chips to really hurt you.” Somehow or another two hands later I forgot that advice and got sucked into a hand. It was probably the worst strategy hand I ever played. I had top pair and a good kicker but he was betting strong and I kept calling. I finally ended up pushing all in when he had only a few chips left and he called. He had two pair to my top pair with big kicker. I still have a straight draw on the river but I didn’t catch it. That stupid move cost me about three fourths of my chips. I was down to about 18,000. Fortunately the blinds were only 1000/2000 at the time. That left me in about a three-way tie for short stack with all 10 final table players still there and only seven people going to make the money. I felt like such an idiot.

With 10 people at the table, reasonable blinds, and no antes I could wait for premium hands. Everyone was playing really tight and generally most hands were battles of the blinds. When I was on the button or in the cut off sometimes I would have one good card and I would limp in. The blinds would call me in the flop would be low. I could bet the minimum on the flop even though I didn’t catch anything and they would typically fold.

I slowly began rebuilding my stack and eventually got a pretty good hand against the guy sitting next to me who had slightly fewer chips than me. He was on a draw that he didn’t catch and I took him out and that got me up to about 30,000 again.

The guy across from me who had devastated me in that one big hand maintained and even built his chip lead. When we finally got down to the final seven I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I at least have made the money after almost blowing it completely.

Once we were in the money the short stacks were more likely to try to double up. I don’t recall if I took any of them out. But I did build my stack a little bit more. One by one as people dropped out the money kept increasing. It finally got down to just three people. It was my arch nemesis across from me who had the big stack that I had given him earlier. There was a guy on my left who had about 15,000- 18,000. I think the blinds were up to 2000/4000 at that point. I still had about 40,000 or more and the big guy probably had closed 100,000. Finally the guy who was short stack went all in against the big stack. He figured he had no chance against either of us and he was just trying to get out of our way so we can go heads-up. He had two small cards and so did the big stack guy. The short guy caught a pair on the turn to double up. To about 30,000. When he explained he was just trying to get out of our way so that I can go heads-up with my rival I said to him “What you mean… you and I are going to take down the big guy and we will play heads-up.” He said “I did my part… now it’s your turn” and we all laughed.

A few hands later I got in a big pot with the short stack guy and ended up taking him out. I think he got about $450 for third place. That left me heads-up against the guy who had earlier stolen three fourths of my chips. I was so surprised I had been able to build my stack back up and get to be heads-up with him.

We played heads-up for a very long time and I slowly nicked away at him. Many times we would both limp in and even though I didn’t catch the flop I would bet on the flop and he would fold. I thought about trying to cut a deal to split the first and second place but I wanted so badly to beat the guy who had hurt me so badly earlier and I was so thrilled at being guaranteed at least second-place money of $675 that I wanted to battle it out to the bitter end.

I finally took down a very large pot from him giving me a two to one chip lead again. By now it was after 11 p.m. and we had been playing since 6:30 p.m. and we were all very tired. I tried taking him out at one point but it turned out he had caught a small straight which doubled him up again and gave him a very slight lead. We talked about splitting again but I wanted to play a few more hands. I just didn’t want to give in against this guy. I wanted revenge for him taking advantage of my stupidity earlier in the game 🙂

Shortly after that he took a really big pot off of me and everybody watching said “you should’ve taken the chop when you had the chance”. A few hands later he took me out to win first place of $1000. I was very happy with my second place of $675. It was the largest poker game I have ever won!

I did a rough calculation of all of the live poker tournaments I’ve played in both at the club in Danville and at St. Gabriel. This is only the second time I’ve ever made the cash in a live game. I had been pretty far in the hole because I’ve played in a couple of $100 games at St. Gabri

el. My rough calculation this puts my all-time winnings at live poker tournaments at plus $200 or so.

Mom made it about halfway through the tournament. My buddy Clarence lasted a little bit longer than that before he was eliminated. He then got in a cash game and won back all of his entry money plus some more so he came out ahead for the evening and had a very very good time. He’s looking forward to coming back to the next one I have in Danville.

That’s all for now! I’ve got to go figure out what I’m going to do with my winnings!

Product placement works!

The latest news on my YouTube video came in the form of an e-mail today from someone in marketing at saying that they appreciated me wearing a T-shirt in my video promoting Internet poker. They want to verify my address and shirt size so they can send me some additional PokerStars apparel. So I guess product placement really works!

I’ve been browsing around YouTube quite a bit and they have a nifty feature that whenever you see a video you like you can click on “Add to Favorites” and it will keep a list of all your favorite videos on your YouTube homepage. People who visit my homepage can also click on a feature called “Subscribe to Favorites”. That way every time I find a cool video and add it to my list you will get an automatic e-mail once a week showing you what I’ve been looking at lately. I’m going to post some messages here in this blog in the near future highlighting particular favorites that I think people will find most interesting.

Whenever you’re watching a YouTube video, there is a section on the right-hand side of the page listing related videos. One of the videos that was “related to” my video was a music video from a country western singer named Chris Young! Check out his video here. I’m not much of a country music fan so I can’t really comment on how great he is or isn’t.

Click here to go to my YouTube page.

That’s all for now…

More on poker video

My YouTube video mentioned in an earlier post of it still getting lots of attention from the Poker Players Alliance. They completed their lobbyists “fly-in” last week and PPA president former Senator Alphonse D’Amato sent out an update e-mail (click here to see it) to update members on what happened. It includes another reference to my video in which he said “Chris Young’s right-on-target video was shown on the Hill…”. The e-mail also contains links to a page of text testimonials from people all over the country and many of whom also played the handicapped card. Lots of veterans also contributed. Click here for links to news coverage about the event.

To date my version of the video (with the typo in the opening title) has gotten over 1800 hits and eight comments on YouTube. The PPA upload of my video has earned over 350 hits and three comments while other versions of the video on other hosting sites have earned a little over 100 hits combined.

Here is a PPA video giving an overview of the Washington event which is pretty cool.

Click here for a link to the PPA YouTube channel which contains lots of other poker news videos.

In my next installment see how that PokerStars T-shirt paid off for me.

A Star Is Born

In my previous post I shared a YouTube video that I created for the Poker Players Alliance to help them promote legislation for the legalization and licensing of Internet poker. Apparently the PPA was really taken with my video because they quickly posted it on their homepage and requested my permission to post it at several other video sharing sites.

Apparently there is a site called that allows you to post the same video to several different sites automatically.

I sent my original DivX .avi file to a site called which will allow you to transfer large files in any format to other people. The files are not public. They’re only available to people to whom you send the link. I set my file to them and then e-mailed the link to the folks at the PPA. They download it and then submit it to and it automatically posted it to the following sites…

Click on any of the links above to see the video posted on these other sites. Note that the original YouTube video at a misspelling in the opening title. It said “Legalizaion” with a missing “t”. The corrected version appears on all the other sites.

I also got a really nice e-mail from John Pappas the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance saying…

Mr. Young, I wanted to send you note to personally thank you for the pro-poker, pro-PPA post on You Tube. Your story was and is amazing and you tell it with such passion and sincerity. I just wanted to let you know that your piece made me feel really proud about what we are trying to accomplish.

Thank you again,

John A.
Executive Director
Poker Players Alliance

The president of the PPA is former Senator Alphonse D’Amato. He regularly sends out an e-mail newsletter to all PPA members with a customized message based on what Congressional District they live in. Click here for an e-mail he sent me on October 17, 2007. In the e-mail includes a link to my video and encourages others to submit their own videos. He also has quotes from other poker players who apparently didn’t hesitate to play the “disability” card in their plea for legalized poker.

Let’s hope all this does some good.

In other poker news apparently there is controversy at about someone who cheated in one of their major tournaments apparently with inside help. Click here for an article on a site called There are also articles about some questionable activity in the World Championship Of Online Poker recently concluded at where I like to play. This didn’t involve any insider information. There are just allegations that two or more players were playing from the same physical location and perhaps some team play was involved. That kind of stuff goes on a lot but they are easily caught because PokerStars can track the IP addresses of the players. Here is another article about the scandal at Absolute Poker.

That’s all the gossip for now.

P. S. check out my next article for follow up on the Absolute Poker scandal.

Poker testimony

One of my earliest memories as a child was going to my Grandma Osterman’s house on Sunday nights for a family poker game. She taught me how to play poker and when I was 14 I was officially old enough to play with the other adults in the family. Poker games have been an important part of family gatherings for as long as I can remember.

Since 2004 at also been playing poker on the internet at a variety of sites including, but mostly on I generally play single table sit-and-go games with a buy-in ranging from $5.50 to $6.60.

Unfortunately the last year new federal legislation was passed that attempts to block banks and financial institutions from making customer transactions when internet gambling sites. A new grassroots organization called the Poker Players Alliance is currently lobbying Congress to overturn most of the provisions of that law and to provide for license legalized internet gambling. Later this month the PPA is having a rally in Washington, DC to draw attention to our cause. For those of us like myself who cannot attend the rally they suggested that we create a YouTube video telling our story why internet poker is so important to us. With the help of my friend Anne Chapman I created a YouTube video and submitted it to the Poker Players Alliance. They liked it so much they are featuring it on their main webpage and are going to upload it to other video sharing sites for me. They created a special news item on their webpage about my video. In just four days my video had been viewed 50 times and that was without any publicity by me.

Click here to link to the Poker Players Alliance website for more information about pending legislation and what you can do to help our cause.

Here is my YouTube video…


Click here for my next installmentfor five to about the reaction to this video.

Handy-dandy fall TV schedule 2007/2008

Every year I have a really difficult time figuring out where all of my favorite TV shows went to. They never make a big splash announcement when a show is canceled. All you hear about at the beginning of the year is what’s new. Also they rarely make a big deal about a show changing days are times unless it changes midseason.

All of the networks have sections on their websites explaining the fall season but they never do it in a very organized fashion. ABC provides a list of their new shows but if you want to see the schedule that make you download a PDF file. NBC did a pretty good job of providing a schedule but if you want to see what their midseason replacements are it doesn’t really tell you when and where they are coming. I thought CBS was going to take the prize for worst layout and they new fall schedule because it failed to list any programs whatsoever on Saturday night. Fox always does a really good job of announcing their midseason replacements right away. Their chart is easy to read however it was a little difficult to find the 2008 chart. (Hint: click the word “schedules” on the left side of their page and it will split into 2007 and 2008 links). The CW Network takes this year’s award for worst layout of a fall schedule.

However not to fear my fearless blog readers! I’ve done all of the dirty work for you. Click this link for my handy dandy page that summarizes everything.

452 Time to erase all of those junk movies from your TiVo and get ready for the new season. Enjoy!

In my next installment I create video testimony about my support for legalized internet gambling.

Epilog:Images from 1984

This is the 16th and last in a series of articles about my recent quest to replace a broken VCR in this era of DVDs, DVRs, and other newfangled gadgets. Click here for the beginning of the series.

During the course of writing this series of articles about TVs, VCRs etc. my Dad stumbled across some photographs he took in 1984 of our living room and my bedroom. He kept the photos in a box in the garage for insurance purposes to document our consumer electronics in case they were damaged or stolen. The images of my old kit built computer and of me sitting at my old Radio Shack Model I computer in an earlier installment or from some of those photos. Here are a collection of some other photos with close-ups. You can click on most of the images for larger versions.

The first image shows our old 25 inch color Zenith cable ready TV in our living room. Note that NASCAR is on the screen. On the lower right is a cabinet that contained all of our videotapes. None of them were prerecorded tapes. Most of it was movies and specials we taped off of HBO and other cable channels.

Our living room in 1984

This next image shows the old RCA VFP-170 SelectaVision convertible VCR that is described in an earlier post along with my old video camera. The images I used in a previous post in this blog were all taken from advertisements on eBay or other images I found on the internet. This is the only image I could find of our actual unit.

RCA VFP-170 SelectaVision VCR and camera

The image below is a close-up of some boxes sitting on top of the end table cabinet next to the TV. The white box on top that is barely visible is one of those slider style cable boxes I talked about in an earlier installment. It was used for the VCR which was not cable ready. Note that the TV was cable ready and did not require a converter. The brown box below that is an RF distribution box that allowed us to view cable or VCR in the living room, and two bedrooms. I still have a similar box in the living room today that connects the living room devices to my office and my parents’ bedroom.

Slider style cable box

The next image is a view of my bed with the TV on the wall above it. Note the MC Escher print and the space shuttle poster hanging above the bed. They were there for many years. On the right is my Hoyer that I use to get in and out of bed. Behind that is an old color TV and on top of it is a remote-controlled cable box that I used because the TV wasn’t cable ready.

View of my bed area and my old TV and cable box

Close-up of TV and cable box

Finally here is a close-up of the TV with cable box on top of it.

Well that wraps it up for my nostalgic look back at old TVs, VCRs, and cable boxes.

I’m not really sure what my next blog series will be but the next entry in my blog will be my preview of the new fall TV series.

40 functions with 13 buttons

This is the 15th in a series of articles about my recent quest to replace a broken VCR in this era of DVDs, DVRs, and other newfangled gadgets. Click here for the beginning of the series.

Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD DVR cable boxEarlier I described how my rewired remotes had 12 buttons as follows. The first column had channel up, channel down, volume up, volume down, and power. The next column had VCR controls of stop, play, fast-forward, and rewind. The three final buttons controlled TV input to either HDTV or VCR, VCR display so I can see the tape counter, and TV zoom to select either 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratios. That sounds like that’s just about everything you would need until you start thinking about what it takes to work a cable box with a built-in DVR. The desire to have a DVR and have flexibility to use other devices was what really led me to need more switches. In fact as soon as we got the new rewired remote working, Dad drove over to the Bright House Cable office to exchange my Pace 550C HD cable box for a Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD DVR cable box. With this new very powerful cable box/DVR I had plenty of functions I could control with my new 13 switch remote. As it turns out I barely had enough.

Let’s talk a little bit about how a universal learning remote works. At the top of most universal remotes you have several device select buttons such as TV, VCR, DVD, cable etc. The Sony remote I’m using can control 8 different devices. Typically you leave the cable device selected and use it to change channels and work various cable menus. Most universal remotes do not require you to switch to TV mode just to change the volume. However if you have other TV functions such as on-screen display, tuning TV channels or working menus then you have to press the TV button to control the TV and when you are done with that press the cable button to get back to cable control. Similarly you would press the VCR or DVD buttons to work those devices.

However with a good learning remote you can put any kinds of codes under any device you want. That ability to put any kind of functions under any device you want is one of the reasons that the Sony remote worked and unfortunately the Zenith remote did not. For some reason the Zenith placed restrictions on this mix and match idea. As an example of how I use this mix and match feature, my cable box has a built in picture-in-picture function but my TV does not. I’m a little short on spare buttons in the cable section so I put the picture-in-picture functions under the TV heading. It’s really nice to have the flexibility to mix different functions within a particular device. Of course it makes it confusing to remember where you put everything but I’ve got a pretty good system worked out in the back of my head somewhere.

13 micro switchesOn my new 13 switch remote I wired it to use four different “devices” on my remote. Although the buttons I planed to use are labeled TV, DVD, SAT, CABLE, the functions that go in those particular “device” slots actually control a wide variety of gadgets. So rather than thinking of them as different devices, I’m going to just call them “groups”. This image shows the micro switches on my remote. The four switches on the right are used to select the group. The other nine switches have the functions themselves. The function of each of these buttons changes depending on which group button you press first.

One of the problems I had over the first few days of using the new system was I could not tell if I had actually pushed one of the four group select buttons shown on the right in the image. When you’re using the actual remote in your hand, the device select buttons light up when you press them. The lights tell you if you’ve really pushed the button or not. I can’t see the remote when I’m in bed and sometimes I thought I had pushed the device selects button and I had not. Then when I tried to push a function button, I got the wrong function!

When I wired the remote, I didn’t wire the device select micro switches directly into the device select buttons. Instead I wired them into the four system command macro buttons. These buttons allow you to program in a whole series of commands up to 16 steps. For example, on my Dad’s remote the “D” button has been programmed with five steps: CABLE, POWER, TV, POWER, CABLE. This sequence turns on the cable box, turns on the TV, and then selects the cable device for future use. Pressing it again turns everything off. So I needed to program these macro buttons to do more than just select one of the four groups. I needed it to do a function that would be visible on the TV screen but wouldn’t interfere with whatever else I was doing at the time.

One interesting thing about this new TV and many TVs these days is that when you press a button, it doesn’t actually do the function immediately. It simply displays on-screen the current situation. In order to get it to actually do the function you have to pump the button twice. So for example if you hit volume up, it doesn’t move the volume up one notch. It displays the current volume setting and if you repeatedly that the volume up while the displays on-screen then it will increase the volume one step at a time. The same thing is true with volume down.

So I did the following… pressing the Group #1 button not only selects Group #1 but it does volume up. If I hit the button only once it puts the volume display on the screen but does not change it. Pressing the Group #2 button does the input select functions on the TV in addition to selecting Group #2. Originally I needed this function to toggle between the component input for the VCR and the HDMI input for the cable box. However now I just use it to toggle between the cable ready tuner in the TV and the HDMI. This is because the VCR now goes through the cable box out the HDMI port. The Group #3 button chooses group 3 and turns the TV captions on and off. These two functions on the TV similarly require two keypresses. If you only press the key once, it simply displays the current status. The Group #4 button works the volume down function similar to the way Group #1 button works. So I can push any of these four different group buttons and it will flash information on the screen is that verifies I really did press the button. If I punch the button repeatedly then I can get the actual function as well such as volume up, volume down, caption etc.

Initially the group select buttons only selected a group. They did not have an additional function associated with them. The volume and other function buttons but I’ve doubled up onto the group select buttons were in other locations. In fact what I’m describing here is about the fourth or fifth different layout I’ve used for these functions as I’ve toyed with it over the past couple of weeks. That’s what’s so great about a programmable learning remote if I can rearrange it anytime I want.

Here is a chart explaining all of the functions in each group. C= cable box, T = television, V = VCR.

Group #1
C Channel Up
C Channel Down C Back
C Info C Play
C Favorite Channel C FF
C Pause C Rewind

The first group has your basic channel up and down buttons for the cable box. The cable info button tells you information about the current show. This is especially useful when looking at the on-screen cable guide although sometimes it’s nice to use during the currently watched program. The cable play, fast-forward, rewind, and pause buttons are for the DVR function of the cable box. The Back button is an instant eight second rewind feature that is especially useful when you are fast forwarding through a commercial and overshoot the end of it. You can just pump the “Back” button until you get to the place where the program resumes.

On my other remotes I never use the favorite channels feature. I watch so many different channels I don’t really have favorites and if I want to skip around I simply punching the channel numbers. But when you have over 200 channels and only a channel up and channel down at to navigate it’s a long way from TBS on Channel 22 to ESPN2 HD on Channel 761. So I programmed in a favorites button to toggle through a list of favorites just to get me from one section of channels to another in addition to picking a few favorites along the way.

Group #2
V Display
T Zoom V Stop
T Channel Up V Play
T Channel Dn V FF
C Bypass V Rewind

The second group is used while watching the VCR. The VCR stop, play, fast-forward, rewind buttons are used to watch the tape. The VCR display button toggles the on-screen tape counter which I need when I’m searching through a tape looking for a program. The TV zoom button is used a lot when watching tape because my VCR records HD programs as letterboxed 4:3 aspect ratio so I can use the TV zoom button to make them fill the 16:9 sized screen.

The other buttons in this group require some explanation. Originally I had my cable box connected to the TV using either component RCA cables or a digital DVI cable. The VCR was connected to the TV by standard composite RCA cables. I needed a TV input button to toggle between the two. However the new cable box has an auxiliary composite input. It can be used to plug-in a VCR, DVD, camcorder etc. In order to view a device connected to this input you hit the “Cable Bypass” button. The signal then passes through the cable box and onto the television. This cable box has HDMI output that I am using to connect to the TV. The cable box is slick enough to convert the analog composite input from my VCR connected to the auxiliary jack into the digital signal that is sent to the TV to the HDMI port. That meant three less cables connected to my TV. So when I want to watch the VCR I hit the cable bypass button and presto… I’m watching the VCR.

The TV channel up and channel down buttons or a last-minute addition. I decided to run an additional piece of code lacks to my TV since this new Magnavox HDTV has an ATSC tuner cable ready built-in. My older Dell monitor did not. This means that if I’m recording two programs simultaneously using the DVR, I can still watch analog cable channels and some HD digital channels even though the cable box is tied up. Bright House Cable transmits the local HD channels in the clear so you don’t need a cable box or any othe

r decoding system other than ATSC tuner to view them.

Group #3
C “C”
C “B” C Up Arrow
C “A” C Down Arrow
C Menu C Right Arrow
C List C Select

Group 3 buttons are navigation buttons used by the cable box. The arrow keys and the select key are pretty much self-explanatory. I decided I didn’t need a left arrow key. Most of the menus will wrap around if you keep pushing the right arrow. The remote has three special function keys labeled A, B, and C that are used for various purposes. The “A” button usually means “Yes” in various “Are You Sure?” prompts. The “C” button is often used for cancel or go back one menu. The cable menu button is used for a variety of things that I use it mostly to turn the closed captions off and on. It can also be used as to select a menu that does “Record the current program”. Because that function was accessible through the cable menu I did not need to program a separate Cable Record button. Note that most of your DVR recording is done by selecting the program on the cable guide and it doesn’t require the use of record button either. The Cable List button calls up the list of recorded programs on the DVR.

Group #4
C Zoom
C Swap V Power
C Move C Power
C Pip T Power
C Stop C Guide

Group #4 is basically the “everything-else-that-doesn’t-fit-in-a-different-group” category. Initially I wasn’t even sure I would add a 13th button so that I could have four groups however I didn’t really think about all of the extra capabilities this cable box/DVR and available. The Pip, Move, and Swap buttons are used for the picture in picture function of the cable box. The cable zoom button is different from the TV zoom. It would take me several paragraphs to explain why sometimes I want to zoom using the TV and sometimes using the cable but trust me they are both useful under certain circumstances. I found that on some occasions I do actually need the cable stop button to cancel the recording of a current program. However I use it so rarely it belongs here.

I could live without calling up the cable guide but it’s amazing that I can do just about anything from a bed remote with these micro switches that I can do with a regular remote. On several occasions I’ve called up the cable guide to see what other programs are on and I can actually schedule recordings on my DVR while in bed.

When it’s all over with I need to shut everything off. Therefore we have power buttons for the TV, VCR, and cable box. I could just shut off the TV and let the VCR and cable box run all night but hey… why contribute to global warming? If I ever have other special functions I need, I can always substitute different functions in some of those power buttons. And let’s face it I don’t really need picture-in-picture but it sure is nice once in a while.

Well that wraps up my story. I now have a DVR/cable box connected to my HDTV in my bedroom. I have two VCRs also connected which I probably will use very little. If I get a new cable box or different VCR or perhaps someday a DVD recorder I can always re-program the buttons on my learning remote to do something different. At one point I had to have five very thick RCA cables connecting my TV. Now I’ve got it down to a single HDMI cable and a piece of coaxial. I can record two programs simultaneously in HD on the DVR and watch a third local channel in HD at the same time or I can watch a previously recorded DVR program or a videotape or DVD all using 13 little RadioShack micro switches. I know you’re probably overwhelmed with all of the technobabble but the primary purpose of a blog is to give an outlet for people who like to talk about how clever they are. I think I succeeded in that self-indulgent task and perhaps I’ve entertained you along the way.

Although the series essentially finished I’ve got a brief photo epilog for the final installment.