Archive for: January, 2009

Delay DTV NOT!

Jan 28 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Dumb Americans, Goverment policy


Question from J Q Public:
Why the DTV delay?

Answer from Washington:
You are not ready!

First I would think that the Obama administration would have more important things to deal with, like the failing United States economy!

But instead they are pushing a bill through the House and Congress to delay the Digital Television transition. The Digital Transitions has been going on for eight years. So is four months going to make any difference?

Ok so the 1.3 billion dollars ran out, that means 32.5 million converter boxes were bought. According to ConsumersAffairs.com 58% of the households have cable, 29% have satellite. If there about 100 million households in the United States that means the majority of us are ready for the conversion to digital television or do not need it.  Remember anyone using cable, satellite or IPTV will not be effected by the digital transition.

So there are two million plus waiting for a converter box coupion.  Let them buy a converter box and get a tax credit. There is no delay and no excuses.

The delay, if approved, will cost the broadcasters millions of dollars in cost over the additional four months. This increase in cost is because they will need to run both the analog and digital transmitters for an additional 4 months. Most broadcasters have hundreds of  station across the country. So this adds up fast.

In my opinion we should not add to the confusion over the digital transition. Instead after eight years of having feet in both the digital and analog world, just do the cut over on February 17 , 2009 as planed. Washington should get on the task at handle the US economy. Washington does not need to be worried about or TV.

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Use your iPhone/iTouch as a universal remote

Jan 26 2009 Published by under Geek stuff

apex_connectFor months we have all been waiting on Steve Moore to release the airremote. Airremote is a cool software app that turns your iPhone or iTouch into a WiFi remote. The iTouch software communicates with Global Caches GC-100. The GC-100 is an Ethernet device that can output IR remote and RS232 commands. So that makes all your A/V hardware networkable. The end result is you can use your iTouch as a universal remote that can not only control all your AV gear but also your lights,  A/C and anything else that is part of your home automation. Plus you can use the Apple Remote  application to control your iTunes.

Now there is a second contender for our disposable income the Apex Connect product. The Apex Connect product line will consist of a iPhone/iTouch application and a proprietary pice of hardware. I would rather use and industry standard device like the Global Cache but for now the Apex connect has a direct connection to Z-Wave and INSTEON. The Global Cache would use the RS-232 port to make these (Z-Wave and INSTEON) connection. The RS-232 port is just a more universal communication option. The current published specks of the Apex Connect does not included an RS-232 connection. In my opinion and big mistake on Apex’s part. But the hardware has not shipped yet.

The Software for the Apex Connect product is available in the Apple Application store, for FREE now and has been since December 2008 (March 2009 the app is gone). The catch is … the hardware in not shipping until at least March 2009 and could be as late as the second half of 2009.

apex_connect_itouch[1]The problem now is, some of the reviewers do not get the concept and why the hardware in needed.  So the software is getting bad reviews. How can you review something that is not even a product yet. Who really has the hardware , is the hardwae in beta testing ? If it is I would sure like to be testing it. I think most of these reviewers, or I should be saying opinion givers,  think the software is for remote control of a MAC or PC. That is not the purpose of this application at all. The goal here is a WiFi Universal Remote that will control you Home theater, your TV , Your HVAC or your whole house. It has nothing to do with controlling you computer. When and if the Apex Connect makes it too market it will be a great product. But for now we are all just guessing  as we do not have the full product in hand. Not yet……….

March 12, 2009 update. Looks like a few more compaines have come into the game. Just today 3/12/09 Global Caché announced a partner product called CF iViewer that will communicate via the iPhone. Exceptional Home Automation International, Inc has published an IPhone app call iLoveControl It might be for non- Global Caché  hardware. Time will tell. Another product still under development is iMasterControl. Need to watch this one. This is going to be a fun market space to watch over the next few months.

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NBC Peacock goes brown for Obama!

Jan 20 2009 Published by under Changing scene, Goverment policy

NBC displayed a brown peacock logo in honor of President Barack Obama Inauguration 1/20/2009. The normally multi color peacock NBC logo was displayed prominently on the front of the desk ,that was part of the NBC Today Show inauguration set, in a blue foreground and brown tail feathers. It made for an interesting set as the brown was worked into the entire set color scheme. The color scheme was not as upbeat as one would have liked, the set looked muted.

This is not the first time NBC changed the color of their peacock logo. Back in 2007 and 2008 the peacock was colored green in honor of Earth day, and Saint Patrick’s Day.

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Who is watching your Vudu?

Jan 16 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Corporate America, Dumb Americans

On the Vudu website is this quote:

“Unlike other services that rely on large server farms to deliver content, as more VUDU Boxes are installed, the network will become even more efficient and require less of each box.”

So what does the mean? It means your Vudu set top box serves up content and uses your internet connection to deliver the content. Did you get that! That means you are providing the electricity, the hard drive space, and the network bandwidth so other Vudu owners can watch content.

Wow… did you know you were providing a service to other Vudu owners when you bought your Vudu set top box? This is call a peer-to-peer network. Other software out there, call BitTorrent, is used by hobbyist to share and download very large files. Peer-to-peer networking is also known as a bandwidth hogs. I would not want several Vudu users on the same provider in my network neighborhood.

Other services like Hulu, Sling and Netflix, use large distributed server farms to send out content. They pay for the hosting services to house the server farms not you. They pay for the badwidth to connect there server to the internet, not you.

So the Vudu service sound great upfront but is the price, Vudu using your resources, too high? Or will the dumb American consumer just march forward and not care?

One response so far

Wrap rage

Jan 07 2009 Published by under American Consumer, Corporate America, Dumb Americans

I think “Wrap Rage” started with the dam cellophane wrapped CD jewel case from 1982. I could never get the plastic zip strip to work. They would always break off before they did anything. Leaving you frustrated as you tried desperately to get the cellophane plastic wrap off the jewel case and your new CD out.

Today we have even more “Wrap Rage”. Have you ever tried to get a product out of a clamshell plastic package, or a Childs toy that has been wire tied into a box with 10 or 20 metal wire ties?


The manufactures clams the packaging it for our benefit. The wire ties secure the product in the package but still allow you, the consumer, to see, touch and try the product all without removing the product from the package or box. This kind of packaging is also be used to promote the “try me” feature. This feature is where you can try part of the toy or product while it remains in the package.

The plastic clamshell packaging ensures that all the pieces remain in the package, and cannot be touch but are clearly visible. The clamshell packaging also protects the product form being tampered with. But what protects my finger from being cut on the sharp stiff plastic as I remove the product from the packaging?

There are even several special tools to help you with you WRAP RAGE. Here is another wrap rage tool for freeing your purchase form it’s plastic safe. And yet another one, but this one is a single task wrap rage tool. There is a tool for everything. You just need to know where to get it. Sasme thing if there is a problem, ingenuity comes to the rescue and the capitalist entrepreneur will get the product to market.

Some of this is kind of understandable when products are put on display at a retail store. But if you are buying the product through an online source, mail order or catalog do you need all this fancy packaging. Why not just a simple box, plastic bag or pouch. Plus simpler and less packaging is environment responsible. One company who is leading the charge in this area is Amazon.com. so relief is on the way.

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