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Technically Speaking — Lotto fever is worth catching for almost $600 million; plus TV Explorer is a new guide for your TV

Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm




By Peter Covino
A&E Editor

You can’t play Mega Millions online (not yet, but that day is coming I would think), but for those of you who play or have been thinking about playing the lottery game now available in 43 states (including Florida) here is something that just might make you want to lose a dollar.
The jackpot could go up to $1 billion by Christmas.
There was no winner in last Friday’s drawing with a jackpot of $550 milion  and it jumped to $586 million Monday (that’s a cash payout of $316.5 million).
Long lines have been reported at lottery outlets in some locations in the U.S. I almost never buy a lottery ticket, but the lure of $600 million got me motivated Tuesday afternoon to buy two tickets.
When you are talking odds of winning at 1 in 259 million, I don’t think that second ticket will have much of an impact in taking home the big prize, but  the whole lottery thing is psychological anyway.
I wouldn’t have waited in line for a half-hour trying to buck the odds for a winning ticket, but the downtown Kissimmee lottery/mini-market was an in-and-out experience.
Lottery fever has been growing though on this one. Mega Millions (which has had a name change or two) and has never had  winner since this lotto had a name change and increased the amount of numbers to select from 1-56 to 1-75, raising the odds of hitting a winner from 1 in 176 million to 1 in 259 million.
Some statistician types say you are more likely to be hit by an asteroid than win the lottery. But the last time a lotto jackpot was at this level ($656 in 2012) lottery locations nationwide were selling  26 million tickets an hour. And that increases the odds of someone winning considerably.
If no one wins again tonight and it rolls over again on Friday, we could be seeing that billion dollar lottery Christmas Eve.
And wouldn’t that make one amazing Christmas present?

TV Explorer
If you really like keeping close tabs on what’s on TV at any given moment, and like the idea of keeping track of what your friends and relatives current favorites are, Bright House has got a new app for you.
TV Explorer, also available for Direc TV, Dish Networks, Verizon FIOS and AT & T Uverse subscribers lets you see at a glance what is one right now and the rest of the day, much like the good ol days of TV Guide.
I gave the new service a quick once over this week and  probably won’t be using it on  a daily basis, but that could change.
From the release from Bright House:
TV Explorer provides customers with a wealth of information on all the programming Bright House Networks has to offer, and is available at as well as an app for the iPad and Android tablets.
TV Explorer is feature-rich, including an “On Now” page that gives users recommendations on shows currently airing; viewing can be prioritized based on user favorites and Facebook friends’ likes and recommendations.  It includes tune in channels for each program; hundreds of trailers and video clips; cast information and program descriptions. The new TV Explorer site also lets viewers interact with friends on Facebook and follow official Twitter feeds for their favorite shows.
TV Explorer does pretty much  as promised but there are the inevitable snafus as well.
While there is an app for iPad and Android tablets, I found the current Android version at the Google Play Store is not capitable with my Nexus 7. (For the geek-minded the Nexus 7 tablet is now running the latest android operating system KitKat version 4.2.2 and is ahead of the curve I guess so it doesn’t work yet).
And if I try watching it going directly to the website on my Nexus 7 or android phone ( But it does work as advertised on the office computer.
Once you are on site, you get a lenghty list (with photos) of shows currently on) called Recommendations For You.
On Monday at about 1:30 p.m., the recommendations included shows such as Criminal Minds on A&E, the movie Ghost  on AMC and Alaska State Troopers on National Geographic Explorer.
If you click on one of the TV selection photos, you will get more information.
If you click Alaska State Troopers, for example, there is info on the episode airing currently (it also tells you this is season 4, episode number 28). There also are links to past seasons, lets you know if the show is available On Demand, cast information and more.
You can also click on the page to add it to your favorites list or send a Tweet or post a comment about it on your Facebook page.
Using the search tab, I tried for something a bit more obscure, the old TV kids adventure series Flipper, which airs weekends on one of those retro channels.
It directs you to a full page on the 1960s series and includes information on the episode to be aired next. There also is general information like the show was on for three seasons and lasted 88 episodes.
There is some information on the show’s stars Brian Kelly (the dad) and Luke Halpin and Tommy Norden, who played his sons.
FYI: Halpin and Norden were both born in New York City, which would account for New  York accents on kids living in the Florida Keys and Halpin is now 65 while Norden is 61.
I like how TV Explorer is sort of a one-stop experience for background information on stars if you using it while watching a favorite show. You don’t need to switch over to IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes or some other web site to see what else Kelly did (he was in Blade Runner) besides the Flpper series.
For more information about Bright House Networks new TV Explorer website and all other Bright House Networks products and services, visit