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September 22nd, 2014 10:37 a.m.




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Use the Web to check your antenna’s reception — or, get something sweet

POSTED: July 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

In February, all of the major television stations will stop transmitting their over-the-air signals in analog and will switch to digital. People who don't have cable or satellite service are already getting the government's $40 coupons to go out and buy a digital-to-analog converter for their analog TV sets. But here's something most people don't know: Odds are that your existing antenna won't work that well with the digital signals. When England switched from analog to digital several years ago, this was actually a major problem. A number of people had to go out and upgrade their antennas. If you want to know how you'll be impacted by this, check out the AntennaWeb Web site . You simply type in your address and it tells you what kind of antenna you'll need. The Web site takes into account the location and power level of your local stations along with the terrain of where you live. (People with hills around their homes are going to have a tough time). One final tip that most people don't know: Federal law allows you to place an antenna next to your house regardless of local ordinances and neighborhood rules. (Just don't hang your laundry from it - that's just tacky).

Last week I wrote about the gourmet pistachios you can get from the Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. Well, I had someone share with me a company for people who love gourmet peanuts. It's The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg, Va. Among its many offerings, this company has barbecue-flavored peanuts, toffee-covered peanuts and even Buffalo wing-flavored peanuts.

For those of you older than 35, you probably remember a candy bar called Marathon. It was 8 inches of braided chocolate and caramel that was absolutely delicious. It was made by the Mars Co. from 1973 to 1981, when it was discontinued. If you have a really good memory then you'll remember that Patrick Wayne (John Wayne's son) played the character Marathon John in the commercials for the candy bar. If you miss the candy bar as much as I do, I've got a tip for you. The Cadbury candy company of England has a Marathon look-alike called the Curly Wurly. The only way you can get them in the United States is through the Internet. Check out the Old Time Candy Co.'s Web site . The reason I like this company is because for an additional $3 they'll include an "Ice Brix" to keep your chocolate from melting!

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.



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