Cable card technology is a one-way technology. Viewers can get all the regular, expanded and premium cable channels such as HBO. However, they're not able to receive Pay Per View or On Demand programming, at least not until the second revision of cable card (rev 2), which is rumored to be launching late 2005 early 2006.

That's fine but during our test it became clear that the folks at Comcast on the front lines really didn't know the subtle differences between 'the box' and 'the card.' Four separate times we called and asked about the different services available to cable card users. 3 out of the 4 we were told that yes we could receive the ESPN Gameplan with a cable card installed. We ordered the service two Saturdays in a row and worked with tech support to try and get the service up and running. Only on our last call were we able to confirm that a box would be required for ESPN Gameplan. One guy on the tech support team even admitted, 'I'm not that familiar with the cable card.' ESPN Gameplan is sold as a subscription service but technically it's no different than Pay Per View and that means a box is required.
The Mac mini has the right footprint and I/O capabilities to be turned into a nice little media server. It costs a little more to do it right but it's well worth it, especially compared to sub-par turnkey systems like the Media Link "entertainment receiver" from ADS Technologies.

Plus, if you create your own media server you won't have to settle for a horrible remote control, poor menu structures and generally pokey performance. Here's our experience using a Mac mini at the hub of our media center.
I'm just back from a roadtrip across the American West, and hidden among all the convenience stores and fast-food joints of roadside America is an interesting trend: WiFi for the masses.

We traveled from the San Francisco area to Denver and back, and the only time I lacked for free wireless Internet access was in our Denver hotel. No need to name names here--it's a fine hotel in a great downtown Denver location--but like most hotels that cater to the business traveler, it charges an obscene amount for WiFi service.