a different Discovery

I wrote last year that Terry and I had given up on Star Trek: Discovery. We found it too gloomy and dark, focused on war and violence. It was the antithesis of what Star Trek should be.

Star Trek DiscoveryAfter the first season ended we began reading about the plan for season two. The producers decided to give up on the war motif and focus on exploration interpersonal relationships. We were hopeful and when season two started in January I re-started our CBS All Access subscription.

After watching the first few episodes, we have not been disappointed. The second season is about exploration, the relationship between science and belief, and the interaction between the characters.

It’s a really nice change.


a simple tech fix

I wrote a while back about buying a second Roku for the bedroom so I could watch streaming programs while Terry was watching something else in the living room. I mentioned that the television in the bedroom is an inexpensive not-smart TV with only two HDMI ports. Since one port is connected to the cable box I had to disconnect the Blu-Ray to connect the Roku.

HDMI switchI didn’t like the idea of the Blu-Ray being disabled, however, and I thought that since there are USB hubs for computers there must be HDMI hubs for televisions. There are. And they’re not that expensive. The HDMI switch I found on Amazon was $9.98 and using my Amazon VISA points the device cost me $1.63.

That means I just punch the button on the HDMI switch to toggle between the Roku and the Blu-Ray.

How cool is that?


adding a second Roku

Roku packageI wrote recently about how much we like our Roku device and how much use we get out of it. But it is attached to a single television – the one in the living room. When Terry is watching one of her shows I would head into the bedroom and watch a show on Netflix or Hulu using the Blu-ray player. But that device is awkward and clumsy to use and didn’t show my full watch list for those services.

A Roku Express is not that expensive, so I decided to get one for the bedroom. It meant disconnecting the Blu-ray, as our cheap bedroom flat screen only has two HDMI ports (the other one being connected to cable) but it’s a fair trade-off. When Terry is watching her DVR’d Supergirl or Black Lightning I have familiar and easy access to my Netflix programs in the bedroom.

That works.


the value of our Roku

About a year ago I wrote that I had bought a Roku device so we could get the CBS All Access streaming service in order to watch Star Trek: Discovery. That series, the first season at least, was an absolute disaster, so bad that I cancelled CBS All Access before the end of the season. (We are hoping for a better season 2 and expect to re-up in January.)

Roku packageThe Roku has been great for other reasons, however. It gives us simple, easy access to Netflix and Hulu. We get access to streaming movies through Fandango, Vudu, and Redbox.

The Roku also provides access to the CBSN streaming news service. I have been watching more news since the democrats won the House of Representatives, and I watch CNN and MSNBC, both of which show a bias against that guy with the orange hair who lives in the White House. That is more than fine with me, but it’s nice to have CBSN for their more down the middle approach.

Then there’s NASA TV. With the excitement around the Mars InSight mission I thought perhaps Roku might offer NASA TV. In fact, they do. How very cool is that?

The Roku was an inexpensive purchase. We are getting more than our money’s worth.


Murphy Brown

Terry and I have been enjoying the reboot of Murphy Brown as we were both big fans of the original series. It’s great fun for us left-liberal types.

Murphy BrownThe first episode was so funny from beginning to end that I had tears in my eyes. The appearance by Hillary Clinton (more than a cameo, really) was priceless. The second episode was a funny story about Murphy, banned from the current White House, finding a way to crash a press briefing. But it had a serious side in that her actions derailed her son, a reporter at a rival network, from being able to ask his planned question. Episode three was a balanced look at the #metoo movement with some funny moments. Last week’s episode in advance of today’s mid-terms was most appropriate and very well done.

I don’t know that we’re going to get more than the initial thirteen episodes as the ratings have been less than stellar, but Terry and I are enjoying it while we have it.


my most popular blog entry

It has been a full year since Marcela Valladolid left The Kitchen on Food Network. I initially wrote here about her departure, saying that she would be missed. When she wrote in some detail in her blog about exiting the show and stated that she regretted not saying goodbye to her fans I wrote “why Marcela didn’t say goodbye.”

The Kitchen logoThis has been far and away my most popular blog entry. It has received over 31,000 views. That is an order of magnitude (or two or three or four) more than any of my other blog posts have received. Seems that it comes up for people doing a Google or Bing search about Marcela leaving the show.

For all those views I haven’t gotten a lot of comments. What surprises me about the comments I do get is how many people are snide and bitter about Marcela and her presence on the program. Those don’t get published. I don’t go for nastiness on my blog.

It’s nice to be read, but I wish some of my other blog entries received more attention.


Just Play

I am not immune to the current streaming phenomenon. We subscribe to both Netflix and Hulu and we can get movies via Amazon Prime as well. (In addition we’ll re-subscribe to CBS All Access when Star Trek: Discovery returns in January.)

Just Watch app screen shotThe problem is that it’s not easy to find out what is available where. I have had to check each service individually to see where a given movie is available. I was looking for a better solution and found one. It’s called Just Play. When I set it up I specified the services to which I subscribe. Now I can search for a movie and it will tell me which services have it available for streaming.

How cool is that?

It’s available for iOS. Google couldn’t find the app, so I don’t know if there’s an Android version.