My beautiful HDTV is busted

I was elated when I purchased a 42″ plasma HDTV just under two years ago. We had just moved into our first house(condo), and Melissa agreed to let me get the tv when we moved in. So after a fair amount of research on options in the HDTV arena at the time, I’d narrowed it down to the Panasonic plasma and the Samsung plasma. Unfortunately the Panasonic was sold out and on backorder everywhere, so I went with the Samsung; specifically, the model was the Samsung HP-R4252, the 42″ 720p plasma.

Next, I stopped by the local Comcast office and picked up the digital HD receiver with DVR. After an activation call to Comcast and a few tweaks to the settings, I was in HD heaven. And we’ve been very happy with the picture – until it broke a few weeks ago.

I was watching football(one of the college bowl games I think) a couple days before the new year, when all of the sudden a 3 to 4 inch wide rectangle, which I highlighted with red border in the above picture, just went black. I tried changing the source of the picture, tried turning the tv off and on, but nothing was working. After some searching around on the web, I’ve concluded that a plasma cell went out – I think. At any rate, it’s going to cost more to fix the tv than it would to buy a new one. So that’s a bummer.

The tv is out of warranty – I didn’t purchase an extended warranty or service protection plan. I’ll be sure to get one of those next time. I called Samsung for support; they referred me to a local authorized Samsung repair center, TV unlimited in Sunnyvale. I’d need to bring the tv in to them, and it would be $150 upfront just to diagnose the problem. No thanks.

So now we’re stuck with a tv that shows all of a standard definition picture, but only about 85% of a high definition picture. If you’re interested, it’s officially for sale. :) I’ll make you a really good offer. We have begun to look around for a replacement, but haven’t quite decided on which one yet. I’d like to get it before the super bowl; there are some very good sales going on for tv’s right now before the big game.

My takeaway: get an extended warranty, especially for relatively new technology.

Average home size in the US

Did you know…

In 1950, the average home size in the US was 950 sq. feet.
In 2007, the average home size in the US was 2400 sq. feet.

I was curious to see what the population was then and is now:

1950: 150,520,798
2008: 303,327,905 at the time of the blog post being written – you can see the population clock at the U.S. Census Bureau website.

It’s funny that we’ve more than doubled in population over 58 years, yet the average home size has more than doubled in sq. feet.

One week in Kauai

Melissa and I joined some friends for a one week trip to Kauai, Hawaii. We got back last week, late Thursday night…then woke up Friday with the flu. I guess I’m not that surprised. We’re both fully recovered though, so back to work we go.

We went to Poipu beach –

We played golf…

…we went hiking…

…and we went diving! Right off those rocks. :)

Everyone had a blast. For more Kauai photos, check them out here.

We got a couple cloudy, windy days, but for the most part it was sunny and beautiful. A few quick notes:

  • We went golfing at Poipu Bay Golf Course, which was a 10 minute walk down the road from our condo. Awesome course. Too bad winds were 30+ mph. :( Apparently, Tiger is a frequent patron, so at least I can say I’ve played on a course which he has played. No, I’m not going to tell you my score.
  • The hike and waterfall we went to is called Kipu Falls. It’s frequented by locals, especially on weekends, so we decided to wait until Tuesday to check it out. It’s a short hike, but a great place for a jump off the rocks, or a swing off a big rope into the water. I think the jump was around 15-20 feet high. The water was very cold, much colder than the ocean.
  • We stayed in a condo at Poipu Kai resort, about a 10 minute walk from Poipu beach, which I think is the most dry and sunny part of the island, on the south shore.
  • We did lots of snorkeling. There’s an awesome spot for snorkeling just as you walk out into the water in Poipu beach. You can rent snorkel gear across the street at a few places at reasonable prices. We rented three sets for a week at $20 each, which was well worth it. I think snorkeling was the most popular activity of the week.
  • We decided to buy all of our food at Costco at the beginning of the week, since we had a full kitchen in the condo. It was fun to cook food with friends, and we saved a lot of time and money. I’d highly recommend it.
  • We also went to a Luau at the Hyatt down the street. We enjoyed it, but I think it would have been much more fun had it not been so cold that night. It got very windy, and we all started to freeze our asses off.

I can’t wait to go back!