Landfill News

On Tuesday, the Charlton Board of Selectmen discussed briefly the possibility of an access road going through Charlton (including our land) to the Southbridge Landfill. They seemed generally supportive of the idea, which makes sense because it would significantly increase Charlton’s tax base without significantly increasing its expenses. So, that’s a good sign.

Yesterday (Thursday), there was the first of the restarted public hearings on Casella‘s new site assignment request, to change from taking in construction debris and start taking in municipal solid waste. Apparently, there was quite a crowd protesting the change. I certainly want there to be some regulation and oversight that Casella is doing what they are supposed to be, but conditions at the landfill have improved immensely since they took over from the previous owner, so I’m thinking that they want to be good corporate citizens, if only so that MassDEP isn’t always breathing down their necks. I think I’m hoping that the change happens, with correct oversight, such that Casella builds the access road, and living half a mile from the dump doesn’t become a nightmare. So, let’s hope that we can, in fact, get both.

QOTD: My refusal of mail is now famous

“Charlton, Mass., software developer Peter Cooper simply marks ‘refused’ on his junk mail with his custom-made rubber stamp and drops it back in the mailbox.”
— Anne Kadet, “How to Get Off Junk Mail Lists”, SmartMoney magazine, March 2008, page 110

(Anne was kind enough to send me a paper copy of the issue of the magazine as well.)

Exciting news about a road

Today’s Southbridge Evening News (4.9MB PDF) reports that Southbridge is once again thinking of building an access road to the Southbridge Airport and surrounding industrial park from Route 20. This road would go through the back of the land, and would be a wonderful benefit for Charlton, Southbridge, and us. (The value of land goes up dramatically when people can, you know, get to it.) We are one of the landowners who was approached and wrote a letter saying that we would be interested in such a road.

Of course, discussions of the road have cropped up from time to time for the past tens of years, and it will probably be at least 5–10 years at the earliest before this could be completed. But it’s still exciting news.

NTSC/QAM/HTPC/HVR/PVR/DVR/HDMI/DVI/PC

I just ordered the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600, which seems to be one of the more popular TV tuning cards, and it has hardware encoding of analog signals and can tune QAM digital signals with the right software. (I also ordered a DVI-to-HDMI cable so that I can hook the PC up to the TV.) I’m going to start by trying out the software that comes with it and free software like GB-PVR or Yahoo! Go.

If the free software doesn’t meet our needs, we may end up buying something like SageTV or Beyond TV.

If Charter starts adding more digital signals, and we find that we want more than one tuner, I’ve got my eye on the HDHomeRun, but that probably wouldn’t be added to our network for quite a while.

Wanted: info on DVR systems

We got a large-screen TV for Christmas, and now we seem to do more TV watching. I’ve been timeshifting stuff with a VCR, but I’ve been thinking that I want something with a bit better quality. Also, eventually I hope Charter will start carrying WSBK-DT so that we can watch our Jeopardy in high-def, and VCRs don’t really deal with that.

So, I’ve been looking into DVR-like technologies, and there seems to be quite a mix of possibilities. I don’t want to spend too much, since we don’t watch TV that often. While a small recurring fee isn’t completely out of the question, something like TiVo or Charter’s $13–$15/mo. is much more than I’m willing to commit at this time. (Charter’s plan would also require us to get their Digital Cable package, which may be nice, but would also add significantly to the cost.)

I think I would ideally like a settop box that doesn’t require a large monthly fee, but I’d be okay with modifications to a computer I already have, moving the computer out to the living room, and getting a DVI-to-HDMI adapter to connect to the TV.

Requirements:

  • Able to read both Analog Cable as well as Clear QAM digital cable.
  • Automatic scheduling of recordings, pausing/rewinding/etc. live tv, and other typical DVR features, all available for both standard and high definition.
  • Controllable via a remote (rather than, say, needing to use a wireless mouse/keyboard all the time).
  • I’ve set an arbitrary budget of $150 setup, with minimal recurring costs (such as electricity usage). That’s flexible if there was really a compelling reason to spend more, but it’d have to be a pretty compelling reason. Cheaper would generally be better.
  • If a computer is involved, Windows would be preferred since I’ve got the most experience at administrating it, but something Linux-based would be fine if that would be better.

So far, I’ve looked at some TV tuner computer cards, but there’s a lot of options both in hardware and software. So, I’d appreciate any suggestions/knowledge/feedback people may have.