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Yesterday was Christmas. I ended up going to spend the day with my family at their house. It was a great day.
I got there about 9:45AM, and by about 10:30AM we were opening gifts. There were a lot of gifts to open. Every Christmas, there is the eternal battle between the parents and the kids over who opens their gifts first. My parents always insist that the kids (ages 37 and 40) open their gifts first. The 'kids' always insist that the parents open the gifts first. The kids have been winning that battle lately. :)
Mom and dad alternated opening their gifts. There were a few 'misfires' along the way. My dad bought my mom a nice digital camera, but we mistakenly gave her the memory card to open first, so she kind of knew what the next gift was. To make matters worse, I later discovered that the salesman had sold my father the wrong type of memory for the camera. My mom has to go exchange the memory for the right type today. My parents also got various other gifts like music CDs, clothes etc. The last gift I gave them was a big color, networked laser printer. The number of computers in their house is starting to grow. The bro owns two computers and mom & dad share a third. I thought it would be good to get them a networked printer that everyone could use. I later helped them put the printer together and get everything networked properly. Now two of the three computers work perfectly with the printer. The only one I wasn't able to get working (yet) with the printer is the bro's new Mac Mini. I can't seem to get that thing configured properly. I'm going to have to research how to fix that.
Once the parents finished opening their gifts, it was the 'kids' turn. My brother and I alternated opening gifts. He got an iPod Shuffle (2nd generation) from me, some seat covers for his car, a Harmony 676 remote. (I also got one), and a set of noise-canceling headphones from me.
For Christmas, I received a Harmony 676 remote. This is the same one my brother also received. I also received a set of the new Apple earphones from my brother, a DLO HomeDock Deluxe, also from my brother (which was a BIG surprise!), and a copy of 'Bone: One Volume Edition'. What is Bone? It's a 1,300 page comic book! Essentially it's the complete series of an independent comic book that ran for over 100 issues. It's a very well known and award winning series. I had heard about it for years, but never read it so I thought it would be interesting to read. I'll blog my thoughts on my Christmas gifts more, once I've had a chance to play with them (and read them!)...
Once the gifts were all opened and the mess cleaned up, we all went off to play with our new toys. Mom went off to look at her new digital camera, the bro went off to try out his new remote, Dad went off to start cleaning up the desk for the printer, and I settled down to do a little light reading on my 1,300 page comic book. After not too long, I was playing 'Mr. Tech Support' to both my brother and my father at the same time. I was going back and forth between my brother, helping him setup the remote and my father, helping him setup the new printer. We got the printer connected properly and the remote working. That remote is a very confusing thing! I got it to mostly work for the brother, but there are still some flaky things I have to figure out about it. It was good to spend some time helping the brother with the remote since I also got one and I'm going to need to figure that thing out for myself too.
Later, we ate our Christmas dinner (at 3pm!). It was a nice dinner consisting of a Honeybaked Ham, homemade mashed potatoes, vegetables, and biscuits. It was a VERY tasty dinner. Everything was very good.
After that my brother left for a while to visit some friends for Christmas. I stayed and chatted with my parents, watched TV and all around enjoyed spending time with my family. We all had some ice cream for 'desert', and then later in the evening we had a small second helping of food for 'dinner'. I left the house that evening and came home.
I managed to connect the HomeDock pretty easily to my home stereo and get it working. It seems to work well. It has an onscreen display for the music side of the iPod. For the videos on the iPod, it really doesn't have much in the way of onscreen display. It just shows the movie and that's it. However, I must say that the videos off of the iTunes store look quite good on my bigscreen TV. Are they as good as DVDs? No, but they are quite acceptable. These are the newer 640x480 resolution videos. I'm not sure how well a lower resolution video will look. I'll have to try those and see. I still have to rearrange some things in the stereo for that HomeDock, but it seems to be working. My 'poor man's iTV' is up and running! I think this could end up even working out better than the iTV in many ways.
As for the Harmony Remote, that thing was a major pain to setup. I'll go into more details later, but suffice it to say, it took me several hours of installing drivers, updating firmware, installing software, updating software, trying different things, I got it to *mostly* work. I still have some problems with it that I need to straighten out, but it looks like it has potential.
All in all, it was a great Christmas. I had a good time with my family and I hope they did too.