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    by Published on 02-23-2017 01:27 PM

    In Throwback Thursday, we're looking back at the articles we're most proud of from the first ten years of The Solid Signal Blog.

    Three years ago this week, SportsNet LA, known to most folks as "The Dodgers Channel," went on the air. We covered it here. At the time, only Time Warner Cable customers could see it, along with a few very small cable companies in central California.

    Since then, the Dodgers have reached the playoffs, their announcer (the great Vin Scully) has retired, and here we are looking at the 2017 baseball season, once again, without this channel on DIRECTV, DISH, or even Comcast. Only Spectrum (the service that was once Charter or Time Warner Cable) customers can see this channel. Period.

    This means about 6 million people in the area covered by Dodgers baseball are out of luck. Again.

    Don't blame DIRECTV, DISH, or any other provider. It's been said over and over again that SportsNet LA is more expensive than ESPN which makes it a spectactularly bad value when you consider the baseball season's not even half the year. Westerners have a lot of other teams to root for, including home-team favorites the Angels, as well as teams in San Diego and San Francisco, and many folks who now live in Southern California hail from other places and have more interest in the home team where they grew up.

    None of that matters. This nonsense has to stop. The Los Angeles city government allowed this to happen despite millions of dollars in tax breaks, law enforcement, traffic and public transit assistance, yet its residents can't watch the games. When you combine SportsNet's unfettered greed with the ridiculous MLB blackout rules that keep most home games from being shown, pretty much anywhere, and this ends up being really unfair. City governments have a lot to do that's super important, but let's be honest this is a big part of people's lives.

    For those people who are affected by this whole mess, your option is to get the MLB Extra Innings package from DIRECTV. With it, you can see Dodgers' away games on SportsNet LA by using the free MLB.TV subscription. You still can't see home games and you don't get any of the other content on that channel, but half a loaf is better than none, I suppose.
    by Published on 02-18-2017 09:31 AM
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    2. Online/MobileTV
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    Have you seen the trailer for Stranger Things, season two? Halloween 2017 can’t get here soon enough, as far as I’m concerned!

    If you watched Superbowl LI, then chances are you saw the Stranger Things, season two trailer during the game’s commercials. Unlike the season two announcement Netflix released last August, this new trailer has footage taken directly from the hit show’s second season. This latest ...
    by Published on 02-17-2017 04:02 PM
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    I saw this short film a couple of weeks ago and can't get it out of my head.

    Called The Narrow World,, you're meant to think at first that it's a riff off every alien-landing movie of the last ten years, from District 9 to Transformers and beyond. Yes, you're told a large alien lands in the desert ...
    by Published on 02-17-2017 11:12 AM
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    It turns out, not much.

    If you're like most of the blog's readers, you have gone through several TVs in your adult life. You may have started small, with only what you could afford, and perhaps by the 1990s you graduated to a very large tube TV or projection unit. As the 2000s rolled along you might have paid way too much for an early flat TV, and perhaps ...
    by Published on 02-13-2017 01:21 PM
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    2. Misc. Gadgets
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    I guess for some people, progress is all about ruining the fun for other people.
    For every person who tells you how easy it is for things to get done today, for every guy who never needs to ask for directions again, there's someone who just wishes the good old days would come back.

    Even though ...
    by Published on 02-11-2017 12:09 PM
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    2. Online/MobileTV
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    A couple of weeks ago, I challenged the young and optimistic Jake Buckler to talk about one of Netflix's newest series, The OA. He and I are both watching the show, which has proven so dense that it's practically impossible to binge. Therefore, it's taking weeks to get through it.

    The OA tells the story of a woman who has seemingly lived through some of the most horrible experiences possible, including having died and been revived. Without getting too spoilery, she's also ...
    by Published on 02-10-2017 03:26 PM

    Going way off topic this week, apparently scientist have discovered what may be a completely different species of insect from anything that has ever been seen before. Aethiocarenus burmanicus is unlike anything you (or science) has ever seen.

    Science Direct says, with their typical entertaining prose,

    An exotic wingless female insect in mid-Cretaceous Myanmar amber is described as Aethiocarenus burmanicus sp. et gen. nov. in the order Aethiocarenodea ord. nov. and family Aethiocarenidae fam. nov. The distinguishing feature of Aethiocarenus burmanicus sp. et gen. nov. is its unique head, the dorsum of which is shaped like an isosceles right triangle with the hypotenuse at the top and vertex positioned at the base of the neck. While insects with triangular-shaped heads are common today, the hypotenuse of the triangle is always located at the base of the head and attached to the neck, with the vertex at the apex of the head. Other features of the fossil are the long narrow, flat body, long slender legs, especially the hind pair that are twice the length of the abdomen, lack of wings, protruding eyes, paired ocelli, secretory glands located on the dorsum of the neck and swollen abdomen bearing paired segmented cerci.
    In other words, it's a bug.

    It's an old bug. As in, about 100 million years old. It turns out the people who made Jurassic Park weren't totally making stuff up... seems that you can actually trap insects in amber and they stay preserved for a very long time. It makes me think that we ought to start preserving things in amber. After all, imagine what the beings living on this planet 100 million years from now would think of an iPhone. I wonder if they'll think it's as ugly as I think this bug is?

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