We had gone to Office Depot to pick up fancy paper for a mailing that we're working on and, while there, I wandered over to look at the laptops, because we'd been planning to buy a second laptop with Dodeka money that would be dedicated to recording. (In theory, this should reduce the chances of software collisions disabling the machine at the wrong moment.) It turned out that they had the exact double of our current laptop for $849 after rebate, which is a really good price. (Sam's Club had the same laptop with a full 1 GB of RAM, double ours, for $999 or thereabouts.)
I came home, checked various sources, and determined that I should get the laptop, since it was a short-fused rebate and pretty clearly the laptop was going out of production. While I was on line, I went to the appropriate internet site and ordered the external SATA RAID enclosure for the hard drives and adapters, then went to another site and ordered a pair of 300 GB SATA hard drives for a stupidly low price.
Back to the store, where they were out of the laptop, but they checked and found that Rosemont had one. So I headed over there, picked it up, and went home. I'll set it up later this week when the disks come.
Of course, I still need the controller, but it apparently hasn't actually shipped yet. Soon, I hope.
Meanwhile, I've been playing with the new DVR that Gretchen let me buy for myself as a Christmas present. Once I learn how to use it, it will be pretty cool. So far, I've actually gotten it to record shows, which is the main idea. :) The TV Guide On Screen feature seems to work ok, except there are a lot of missing listings. *sigh*
The problem was getting it to play a CD through our stereo. After messing with it a bit, I got it to work. Now, I just have to get it to work repeatably. And I think I'm going to have to buy a bunch of new cables to get everything rewired in the optimum fashion. We'll see.