January, 2004

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Cable-free

Monday, January 19th, 2004

My TiVo died about three months ago. In the previous months it had “glitched out” a couple times–ceasing to work for no apparent reason. In those cases, power-cycling (turning off and on) the unit got things going again. But this last time, the TiVo box would try to boot, crash, reboot again, crash again, and so on, ad infinitum. The likely culprit is that one the hard drives has died, but in three months I’ve been too busy with other matters to fix it, or even diagnose the problem. What’s more, after three months of not watching television, I came to realize that for the most part, I didn’t really miss it.

Coupled with the fact that cable service was costing me an outrageous $76 a month, and TiVo another $13 a month, I finally decided to drop it all—no more cable, no more TiVo.

So far I’m quite happy with my decision. The $89 a month I’m saving will easily pay for a full set of tires for my Evo (which I’ll need, given how fast they wear—especially with autocross) in less than a year. In hindsight it boggles my mind why I ever agreed to pay so much for television.

Later this year, if the price of receivers comes down a bit further, I may opt to go for over-the-air digital HDTV (high-definition television); a few friends of mine have this and have generally had positive experiences with the number of channels available and the quality of the signal.

Mystery fish

Saturday, January 3rd, 2004

As I mentioned in a previous entry, one of my cory cats laid eggs about a month ago. I removed one leaf from the amazon sword plant on which some 44 eggs had been attached, and put it into a separate “quarantine” tank. A few days later 41 of the eggs hatched (a surprisingly high rate of fertility) and over the past few weeks I’ve been raising the fry, of which around 30 have survived to date (a surprisingly high survival rate), and seem to be healthy and growing fairly quickly, most being a bit over a centimetre in length by now.

As for the eggs left in the aquarium where they were laid, I had assumed that the ever-foraging bala sharks had eaten almost all of them, and that any remaining fry that managed to hatch would not survive due to predation and/or lack of suitable food—I’ve been feeding the fry powder-like fish food appropriate to their body size. So it came as a complete surprise to me when watching the aquarium yesterday I noticed a small juvenile cory cat swimming about foraging for food (as cory cats do on an almost continual basis).

[photo 1 of juvenile cory cat]

[photo 2 of juvenile cory cat]

It’s a mystery to me how it managed not only to survive, but also to grow to well over twice the size of the fry in my dedicated hatching tank. Whereas the latter don’t yet resemble fully-formed adults, lacking the distinctive scales of adult cory cats, the juvenile cat I spotted basically resembles a smaller-sized adult fish. I guess—to quote from Jurassic Park—”life found a way”.