Tree: 1 Satellite: 0

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Our DirecTV satellite reception has been getting worse for a while, and now it’s at the point where our DVR can’t record any programs without wild glitches.

We were finally able to convince DirecTV that the poor reception wasn’t caused by the summer storms we’ve been having, and they sent out a technician.  Unfortunately, the problem seems to be that there’s a tree between the satellite and our dish, and over the years the tree has grown to a point where the line of sight is too obscured.  Apparently there’s nothing they can do – wherever they would reposition the dish there’s a tree.  We also can’t do anything drastic like cut the tree down, because we live in an apartment complex and it’s not our tree.

So we cancelled our DirecTV account and signed up with DirecPath.  Apparently DirecPath just resells DirecTV to apartment complexes like ours – there’s a big dish somewhere in the complex and all of the apartments are serviced from it via the built-in cabling.  Needless to say, there are no trees in front of this dish.

We also took the opportunity to upgrade to HD – we bought an HD TV immediately after signing up for SD DirecTV and it’s been annoying me for three years.

This is all fine except that DirecPath aren’t installing the receiver until next week, the mid-season finale of Burn Notice is tonight and the season premiers of Psych and Monk are tomorrow – my three favorite programs. 🙁

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My first Wikipedia article

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I have created my first Wikipedia article – Zemanta.

I’ve been using Zemanta since March 2008, and I was surprised that it didn’t have a Wikipedia article.

I’ve been planning on creating an article for Zemanta for a long time, but Wikipedia is pretty intimidating.  There are a lot of rules about what you can write about and how you write it – if you do it wrong up they might unilaterally delete your article.  Added to that is the fact that wikis use a unique kind of meta-data that I needed to learn, and I just ended up putting it off week after week.

In the end what worked was telling my wife to nag me to get it done.  I guess that goes to show a negative can be turned into a positive 🙂  Considering how easy it turned out to be, I feel foolish having put it off at all.

As you can see, the article is pretty bare at the moment because I was concentrating on just providing referenced facts without bias – it can always be fleshed out (by me or anyone with relevant knowledge) later.

Wikipedia have obviously put a lot of work into providing FAQ’s, tutorials and help sections for beginners like me, but I’d say they still have a long way to go.  I spent the vast majority of the time just trying to find answers to simple questions.

While writing the article I found several things that should have Wikipedia articles but don’t, for example Common Tag, LinkWithin and Outbrain.  If my first article is well received (or at least not immediately deleted) I might write some more.

EDIT: Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks that Wikipedia is less welcoming to new contributors – After the boom, is Wikipedia heading for bust?

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