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I'm Free.... Freestyling

Category: 2002 Published on Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Mike Berman
Dave Berman

Remember -- it was probably eons ago -- when Gateway tried to sell consumers on the idea of purchasing one of their computers with a 31-inch Princeton monitor?

The whole idea was that you would attach the computer to the monitor and, using a combination video/TV tuner card, you could use that 31-inch tube to either do something computerish or watch your favorite show.

Unfortunately the public wasn't ready for this revolution in home entertainment and the concept was relegated to the scrap heap.

Now Uncle Bill has taken up the gauntlet and is vigorously campaigning for the Freestyle home entertainment package, which is basically the old Gateway concept on steroids.

Is now the right time? I think so. Folks have now become accustomed to attaching foreign elements, such as VCRs, digital cameras, CD/DVD players, and other devices, up to their PCs so they edit, play and convert video and audio. They're also plugging notebooks and "second" computers into their sound systems to play MP3 and other digital music files in true surround sound.

Also, with Tivo and Microsoft's Ultimate TV becoming so popular, people have become used to recording their favorite shows onto mammoth hard drives so they can get better video and audio than they can from VCRs.

Freestyle is just the next logical step.

Since the functions of most of the devices we're now using can easily be handled by a computer, why not develop a way that we can watch TV and DVDs, listen to music and view photos without the clutter of 17 different peripherals?

Of course there will always be naysayers like my uncompromising offspring, who probably were against the lightbulb because it was too much work to replace.

Just when you think things can't get worse, rich ole Bill Gates from Microsoft has come out with another vision.

Freestyle: The power of Windows XP and enhanced media center experiences

View it for yourself at here.
What does this all mean? Well, I'm not exactly sure. However Mike and I were trying to find something to debate about and this seemed to be the best thing out there. Next week we'll be talking about Hulk Hogan's return to the WWF. Scary, huh?

Freestyle seems to allow you, the unsuspecting home user, to use Windows XP as a media center -- an enhanced one -- controlling everything from the TV, music CDs, DVDs, picture slideshows, so on and so on. All you need is a dollar, a dream and a remote. There are probably software and hardware requirements, however these aren't outlined on Microsoft's website (figures!). Remember, this is still a preview and a vision.

Hmmm, so if the computer crashes, will the TV, DVD player and fish tank crash as well? Quite possibly. Microsoft's notorious for tying everything into their operating system. Who knows how many extra cables and components you'll need in order to get this to work.

You may need to upgrade your computer's processor, memory, hard drive, speakers, stereo equipment, TV, computer monitor, on and on and on. It won't be as simple as pointing a remote at your computer and pressing the Go button.

Me? Well I'm not interested. I use my computer for one thing and one thing only, looking at very attractive women with fake anatomy on the Internet.

And, while you were probably thinking that I made it through a Berman vs. Berman without getting angry, here you go -- what annoys me is that these rich schlubs like Billy boy have these visions and all it does it make more work for poor schleps like myself!

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