“Compact Disc. Compact Disc. Compact Disc…” :-P

You know it was a long time ago when people are still saying the full name of what we’ve been calling “CDs” for decades.  😛

Then again, run in the circles of certain bean counter types and you might hear “CDs” referring to certain types of bank accounts lol.  😀

Hope folks are enjoying the multimedia renaissance on my channel.  Sometimes I’ve felt like an ass for not being “multimedia” enough to deserve the username.  But hey, 10 year celebration lol, plus the Quick O Flicks have come into their own and are currently dominating everything because topical discussions are fun, even moreso than RadioStyle commentaries at this point.  🙂

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Cassettes + Kids = LOL (Again) :-D

I guess the old “introduce kids to their parents’ technology and electronics” gag just never gets old.  😀  Revision 3’s Tech Feed News did a pilot for introducing “Screen-ers” as I hear our kids are being called these days (among other things like “digital natives” and Generation Z) to the technology of their parents (or perhaps grandparents if the show eventually goes back far enough  :-D).

If you’re a veteran YouTuber and this video seems strangely familiar to you, it’s probably because there was a similar video uploaded in 2011.  🙂

All things considered, I’m not really a big fan of this “accenting the generation gap” stuff because the kids are right.  Our technology DID suck.  I highly doubt even the most diehard of nostalgic folks my age or older really fondly remember having cassette players “eat tapes” or VCRs eating tapes for that matter.  Forget the cassette squeaking noises you may hear as sound effects on stuff like Sirius XM Classic Rewind.  If that really happened in the middle of playing a song it was usually bad news.  😛  Oh by the way, how about that analog hiss and quality degradation when your tape got worn out?  Yeah.  I don’t miss that stuff.  😛

Then there were CDs in the days before CD burning where you paid $18.98/CD for maybe one or two songs that you liked and since there was no burning yet you had to play the original CD until it got all scratched up or your cheap CD player gave you the dreaded label-side scratch that wrecked the disc so even scratch kits wouldn’t work – if they ever worked to begin with.  Let’s just say I never had any luck with scratch kits.  😛

Then there was the crossover technology of MP3 CDs where instead of having gigs of storage you had 650-700 MB only and the MP3 CD could still get scratched, but at least you could burn another one.  😛  …yeah.  I don’t think we’ll be seeing a repeat of the vinyl nostalgia that we saw with Boomers who swear that records sound better than CDs or digital music.  😀

My Sandisk Sansa player is old and beat up, but even that mid-2000s MP3 player blows away the cassette and CD stuff I had to put up with when I was in middle school and high school.  Oh yeah.  Bring on the awesome new stuff that blows away all my nostalgic old stuff.  The bad old days of worn-out cassettes and scratchy CDs are days I’ll gladly leave behind, though I’ll still buy CDs….. to digitize them of course.  🙂

The Last Remnants Of TechTV Are Outta Here

Ahhh TechTV, the now-ancient predecessor to today’s G4 network and many of Revision3’s shows, which brought us the monolith of geek culture via some form of mainstream video entertainment, is finally just about wiped out.

I remember the hour-long versions of The Screen Savers and Extended Play which morphed into today’s X-Play while The Screen Savers eventually became Attack Of The Show, and most of TechTV’s top talent eventually moved over to Revision3 or YouTube.  Now, it finally looks like it’s over for even those two shows, so the last remnants of that golden age of geek TV are history.

Quite frankly, I’m not too bummed out.  I really think if TechTV and now these remnant shows hadn’t been ended they would’ve been killed by new competition anyway.  I mean, for geeks like myself who care more about cable internet than cable TV with what broadband can do these days, why mess with traditional TV at all when all this IPTV geek show stuff is on demand online and can be either RSSed or directly-viewed on YouTube or sites like Revision3?

Yet even still, with these changes and G4’s eventual rebranding underway, how much of this old tech vlog that got me into these online geek shows back when I was first getting into YouTube back in 2006 is still relevant?  Any of it?  Times have definitely changed. : -)

Oh well.  Let’s have one last round of the classic Screen Savers theme song just for old times’ sake. : -)

“Imagine There’s No TV? Seriously?”

Ever since writing the blog entry with the “John Lennon parody title” awhile back I’ve been thinking that maybe some folks might think I was going overboard with my idea of a content-on-demand-centered world where the current version of Pay TV has ceased to exist.  Some people may think that’s silly but then again technology we take for granted today may have sounded silly in the years before it came out.

Take cars for example.  Imagine what would happen if back in the 1800s you mentioned the idea of people being so dependent on moving machines (that you could drive anywhere you wanted to) that in some areas you couldn’t live without one.  The modern development of cars spans about 100 years though, so let’s try something that sprung up over a shorter time span, like cellphones.  Imagine what would happen if back in the 80s when cellphones were cinderblock-sized playtoys for rich people like Gordon Gekko in the Wall Street movie if you mentioned that there would come a day when cellphones would not only be ubiquitous such that poor people could afford them (speaking from experience because I’ve known of a few :-P), but phones would have touch screens and rival personal computers in their usefulness for computer-y stuff and accessing the Internet.  Back then you might have made someone’s big-haired head explode.  😛

Why then would it be so ridiculous today to imagine a world where channel-flipping and DVRs, etc. have been made obsolete by computerized TVs and on-demand technology?  Even something as basic as cable TV isn’t what it was 15 years ago.  I’ve been playing catch-up with how cable works these days at my new job and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how computerized cable TV is getting, with today’s set-tops and DVRs hooking up via coax cable and downloading data, updates etc., not to mention the whole digital cable thing to begin with where CPE talks with the headend machines and only channels actually being watched get sent through the cable in the first place.  🙂  The crossover between cable networks and computer networks that I’m used to is getting to be so much that today I actually got our headend contact mixed up with our networks contact at work.  Oops.  😛

One thing Craig Moffett mentioned in the recent Stop The Cap! article about Pay TV’s continued brick-kicking against online video streaming rings true though.  At the end of the day, cable companies are exactly what the name suggests – infrastructure companies.  😛  It’s all about wires more than anything else.  What goes through those wires doesn’t matter as much as people still wanting the wires to begin with.  That pretty much sums it up.  🙂

At some point I imagine broadband will become a national political issue, and I’m not just talking about the lip service some Democrats are paying it right now.  As it is right now with the whole municipal broadband situation broadband infrastructure is largely a local issue and in places like Tennessee there have been situations where infrastructure in one town pulls jobs from another.  Imagine what happens when this goes national and international.  Imagine if companies pull jobs out of less-wired states in favor of more-wired states.  That’ll get state governments involved, unless whoever’s in charge doesn’t care or is bought out by lobbyists, and finally when multinationals are moving jobs completely out of the country because the US falls far enough behind other parts of the world in the broadband race we’ll probably see some actual stuff going on in Washington about this when politicians’ and presidents’ re-election is jeopardized by this sort of stuff.

When that happens, hmmmm……  🙂  Maybe the FCC will actually get to bring down the hammer on some of the shenanigans that goes on today, above and beyond the sloppy “Net Neutrality rules” that got written up a few years back and “cable service” might mean broadband including TV over broadband instead of what we have today so whoever still wants to channel-flip can continue to do so.  Meanwhile on the consumer electronics front we already have “Smart TVs” and TVs becoming more and more computerized.  What’s to say someone might not hammer out an industry standard that makes all TVs double as pseudo-computers and allows for far more on-demand stuff than simply Netflix and/or cable provider Pay Per View.

Seriously, if the last 15 years of tech haven’t taught us anything else, they should teach us that keeping an open mind about the future isn’t just some nice thing one can do to be positive about things, it’s mandatory to not end up left in the dust.  🙂

Toshiba – What The Heck…. :-P

What is it with Toshiba stuff these days?  Been hearing some bad stories about how their laptops have gotten in recent years.  Now I’m hearing stuff about their TVs.  :-\

http://consumerist.com/2012/02/yes-televisions-are-pretty-much-disposable-now.html

This sounds similar to a problem I had with the last set of computer speakers I used before I stopped using computer speakers.  Prior to switching to using a cheap home-theater-in-a-box for computer sound I had a set of Logitech Z-series speakers.  Barely a few months after getting them the amplifier started popping intermittently, so I looked up service information for warranty service, only to find out that even if I got the speakers replaced under warranty, once the warranty was up, there was *NO* options for parts or repair, even an out-of-warranty repair that I’d have to pay for.  People were livid on the Logitech forums about this and their CSRs basically shunted them over to taking their chances on eBay.  To add insult to injury, the Onkyo system I got on Newegg to replace those Loudtechs was actually less expensive and had more max watts if I ever wanted to crank up the volume, plus it’s a home theater so I have far more inputs and far better support for various encoders like Dolby and DTS.  There’s a video in here somewhere, and I’ll probably make a video later on about that whole mess since it’s definitely worth putting on YouTube.  In the meantime, I’ll let you compare the numbers yourself with the latest versions of these types of products on Newegg.  😉

Newegg – Logitech Z906 500 Watt Speakers

Newegg – Onkyo HT-S3400 660 Watt Home Theater In A Box

Whether speakers or TVs though, no matter how throwaway things get these days, electronics companies should not treat their customers like crap just because they sell stuff cheap.  Ultimately, when everyone starts doing that, the way to differentiate from the competition will be through service and owner TCO.  🙂

Silly Plastic Kiddie Toy Headsets… :-P

Just left a snarky comment on this Newegg TV video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKb0wHapwGY

“….and when you’ve had enough of the silly plastic kiddie toys you can always try a Sennheiser.  :o)”

Hope nobody gets offended.  Actually who am I kidding?  I hope I stir up the hornet’s nest!  :o)

Joanne does a pretty good job demoing this Creative Fatality series gaming headset, but the people who were second-guessing its build quality from the video have the right idea.  I had one of these for awhile.  It’s one of many cheaply-built headsets that have lasted me a few months tops before making me realize I’m a moron if I don’t buy Sennheisers.

Up through college I burned through all kinds of $20 headsets like what you’d find at Walmart or Radio Shack or something.  It didn’t matter what the brand was.  Sony, Koss, whatever – it would break in a few months tops.  If the thing didn’t break mechanically from the cheap brittle plastic snapping (had a few earpieces either snap off or slide right off the headset that way), they would break electrically when something went intermittent like an ear or something up by the plug on the cable.

Finally, in 2004, I decided to spend a little money on headsets and get a pair of Sennheisers.  I still have those Sennheisers and they still work perfectly.  Even better, if by wild chance something does break on any of my Sennheiser headsets Sennheiser has a robust parts market to get replacement parts like replacement cords, foam pieces, etc.  After those worked really well, I went Sennheiser for headset mics and broke one from bending the microphone too much, but note – I had to actually make an effort to break something, unlike the cheap stuff that eventually breaks under normal use.  😛

Finally, my latest set of Sennheisers are completely over-the-whole-ear headphones that block out a lot of background noise and give a very neutral sound.  I use them at my media station computer when mixing audio.  I expect those to last a long time too.

Stuff like this Creative set is little more than clever branding and not much else.  I actually had the plastic snap on one of these just like other cheap headsets, so Joanne was definitely on to something when she had a hard time adjusting the headset in this video.  😛

Blu-Ray Complementing DVD Instead Of Competing With It?

Since Blu-Ray Stats seems to be getting back into the swing of things both on their site and on Facebook I took a look at some of their articles, including one where one of the folks from the Blu-Ray Disc Association mentioned that Blu-Ray may end up complementing DVD rather than competing with and replacing it, and may not ever totally take over from DVD.

That’s quite believable despite some of the things I’ve heard from fans of the format.  DVD isn’t VHS all over again.  It’s a standardized mature disc technology that’s easily accessable and doesn’t have the same barriers-to-entry that its younger slicker cousin has.  I can find DVDs for dirt cheap (my least expensive DVD was Groundhog Day for $3 at a local discount store chain called Big Lots), they’ll play on smaller screens without the quality difference being as noticeable and without sucking as much power on portable devices, plus I already have a few Blu-Ray releases such as Spaceballs and 17 Again that include a DVD version of the movie with the Blu-Ray version, essentially ensuring that no matter what disc player someone has, something will play at least (unless the person has an HD-DVD player or something :-D).

This lines up quite well with other forms of home entertainment technology that have thrived despite not being the best quality.  MP3s for example became wildly popular despite not having the same quality as CDs.  Why?  Because they were easy to work with and convenient, plus not all listening conditions for music are optimal.  Instead of having to mess with a big CD changer one could have their entire digitized CD collection on a single MP3 player auto-sorting and shuffling between the various songs.  Some folks joke about nobody buying CDs anymore, but CDs are still very good for Fair Use digitizing for one’s various devices since the original CD gives you a free no-effort backup in case the unthinkable happens with the digitized files.  🙂

I can very easily imagine Blu-Ray complementing DVD and other lesser-quality formats where someone will see a movie on DVD or Netflix or something first on the cheap then want a copy for themselves at Blu-Ray’s quality.  I’ve actually already done that myself with one of the Blu-Rays I have.  There are also a few movies I already have on DVD that I’d like to find a Blu-Ray version for at some point too, so the idea could have some merit to it.  🙂

Links:

Blu Ray Stats – Blu-Ray Disc Association Offers Insights Into Blu-Ray Gains In 2011:  http://www.blu-raystats.com/NewsLog/2012/01/12/blu-ray-disc-association-offers-insights-into-blu-ray-gains-in-2011/