Friday, May 29, 2009

Goodbye Electrograph

ELECTROGRAPH SYSTEMS ENTERS LIQUIDATION PROCESS

May 29, 2009 – HAUPPAUGE, NEW YORK – Electrograph Systems, Inc. announced today that it will be moving forward with a liquidation process of all its inventory and assets.

Alan Marc Smith, Electrograph’s outgoing CEO said, “We are very disappointed with this outcome. There were a number of factors leading to this result including poor economic conditions and constrained access to vendor credit. After exploring all other possible avenues for sustaining the company, including an unsuccessful sale process, our board decided this was the only path for our company.”

“After being with Electrograph for 22 years, I am deeply saddened by the result of this situation. We would like to thank our resellers for their business over the past 25 years, our vendor partners and other friends in the industry for their support. Above all, we thank our loyal employees for their hard work and dedication,” said outgoing President Sam Taylor.

During the wind-down period, a group of 60 employees will be staying and the four warehouses in City of Industry, CA, Grove City, OH, Hauppauge, NY and Middletown, NY will remain open and shipping product. The remainder of Electrograph’s 75 employees was laid off today.

Continued Smith, “The last couple of months have been challenging for our employees and we’d like to say thank you for their loyalty, professionalism and service to our customers and to each other.”

The company’s website will remain functioning during this period where it will be advertising promotional offerings and posting updates on the liquidation process.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Imagine that. Loyalty.

By John Mayberry

In the world of Electronics Supply Chain Management Who really is the ‘Voice of the Customer’? Alas, many manufacturers are finally seeing the results of "end-running" their consultant and dealer networks for the last twenty years in the Audio/Video industry. You blew us off, now we're blowing you off. Turnabout is fair play, after all.

I've written at least 250 industry magazine articles during my career. As all of the magazines are highly dependent on their advertisers, the one article we we never allowed to write involved the consequences of a manufacturer's capricious sales philosophies. Even if a manufacturer stupidly sells their projector through ten thousand authorized dealerships, discussing it in print was the proverbial third rail.

Yet it would take a great many fingers and toes to count the number of now defunct manufacturers that thought end-running their traditional distribution chain was great idea because it got them that "quick sale on the big project" and "cut out a little margin" due that pesky long time dealer that wanted some margin on the deal.

Going to a trade show recently where one of these genius manufacturers was courting consultants once again after a ten year hiatus in "End-run-land", one of their sales guy asked me if I had ever heard of his company.

"Why yes. I've specified over ten million dollars of your stuff in my career, and you don't even know my name. Your firm end ran me on a couple of projects some time ago, and now you are dead. So technically no, I don't know your company."

As a general comment to some (not all!) manufacturers:

Do you even know who got stuck cleaning up the mess you made by end-running the traditional chain on your last big sale? It certainly wasn't your fly by night front operation, the newly spawned dealer that didn't know an RS-232 from an Ethernet port.

Do you know who had to get the control codes out of Asia at midnight because you no longer have any US staffing, a result of squeezing the last dime out of the product?

Do you have any idea who finally dealt with the defective product you sold the end user?

Any thoughts on who had to redesign and respecify a system (at their own expense) because your "contract manufacturer" in China went belly up?

Perhaps you/ve wondered who had to drive to the airport and pick up the non-English speaking repair staff flown in because the firmware in every one of your components was obsolete?

Pretty much everything in our industry from servers, processors, amplifiers, speakers, projectors, and displays is a commodity now. A manufacturer's real "leverage" is that someone the owner trusts that will vouch for your product.

The A/V industry really is a Small World. I've noticed a one-to-one correlation between manufacturers that have respected their consultants and dealers to those thriving in a tough time.

Any questions?

Texas Lighting Designers in Hot Water

Times they are a changing...


Proposed Texas House Bill 2649 currently under consideration:

From the Texas House Bill 2649: Section 1001.3011 to read as follows:Sec. 1001.3011. LIGHTING DESIGN; LICENSE OR REGISTRATION REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform lighting design services unless the person is: (1)licensed as an engineer under this chapter;(2) registered as an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer under Subtitle B, Title 6; or (3) licensed under Chapter 1305. (b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the installation or operation of lighting fixtures.


SECTION 5. Subchapter F, Chapter 1051, Occupations Code, is amended by adding Section 1051.308 to read as follows: Sec. 1051.308. LIGHTING DESIGN; REGISTRATION OR LICENSE REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform lighting design services unless the person is: (1) registered as an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer under this subtitle; (2) licensed as an engineer under Chapter 1001; or (3) licensed under Chapter 1305. (b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the installation or operation of lighting fixtures.

SECTION 6. Subchapter D, Chapter 1305, Occupations Code, is amended by adding Section 1305.1511 to read as follows: Sec. 1305.1511. LIGHTING DESIGN; LICENSE OR REGISTRATION REQUIRED. (a) A person may not perform or offer to perform lighting design services unless the person is: (1) licensed under this chapter; (2) licensed as an engineer under Chapter 1001; or (3) registered as an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer under Subtitle B, Title 6. (b) In this section, “lighting design services” means the preparation of plans and specifications that depict the placement and direction of illumination of mounted or installed lighting fixtures in the interior or exterior of a building, including the specification of bulbs, reflectors, lens, louvers, baffles, and other hardware. The term does not include the preparation of shop drawings or other directions from a manufacturer for the installation or operation of lighting fixtures.

Most/Least Expensive Cars to Insure

Thought you'd want to know... note the Corvette's position


Top 10 Most Expensive Vehicles to Insure (Model Year 2005-2007)

1, Subaru Impreza WRX 4WD
2 Scion tC
3 Hyundai Tiburon
4 Mercedes CLS 4-door
5 Suzuki Forenza
6 Honda Civic SI
7 Dodge Charger
8 Nissan 350Z
9 Chevrolet Cobalt
10 Suzuki Reno



Top 10 Least Expensive Vehicles to Insure (Model Year 2005-2007)

1 Buick Rendezvous 4-door
2 Pontiac Solstice convertible
3 Buick Terraza
4 Honda Odyssey
5 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible
6 Subaru Outback 4WD
7 Ford Five Hundred 4WD
8 Volvo V70 station wagon 4WD
9 Chrysler Town & Country LWB
10 Chevrolet Corvette convertible

Google Earth Has Disneyland Paris

















by MG Siegler on May 26, 2009


In 1992, Disney decided to build upon the huge success of its Disneyland and Disney World theme parks by opening Euro Disney in a suburb of Paris. The company had previously licensed its name for a resort abroad just outside Tokyo, but the European version was a more ambitious project being handled by the company. It started out as a nightmare. Simply put, people didn’t go to it. And now you can avoid going to it from the comfort of your own home thanks to the magic of Google Earth.


Just as it did last year with Disney World, Google Earth now has Disneyland Paris (as it was rebranded to in 1995 following its thud of an opening) rendered in 3D. Disney has provided the program with some 85,000 photos — a huge 450GB worth — to make the renderings as realistic as possible. All the rides are there, the castle and even over 500 landscape elements.
Following its rebranding, and the opening of some new rides, Disneyland Paris was able to somewhat turn things around, but it remains far in debt. Having a virtual representation of your theme park in Google Earth isn’t going to help that. Is it going to convince more people to go visit the park? Unlikely. But it’s a cute distraction for me for about 15 minutes. And it shows how good some of these 3D renderings are getting.


The Disneyland Paris layer can be found in the “Gallery” folder of Google Earth 5.0.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Display Manufacturers Wither Under Bad Economy

Sony and Panasonic Lose Nearly $5 Billion, Industry in Decline


by Tom Andry — last modified May 18, 2009 03:32

It's not a good time to be a display manufacturer

We all knew that the consumer electronics market was going to take a hit with the slumping world economy. What we didn't expect was that Sony and Panasonic would lose nearly $5 billion dollars during the 2008 fiscal year! With Pioneer, Hitachi, and Toshiba all posting declines, things don't look good for the consumer electronics sector. All camps reported sluggish sales especially of displays except for Sony which reported a slight increase in their Bravia line. This may indicate that Sony's name brand is capturing the interest of the few consumers that are looking for a new display.

Sony is looking to cut costs and staff. They plan to shut down three manufacturing plants in Japan (which presumably cost more than other locations), reducing the number of plants from 57 to 49 worldwide. This would eliminate 8,000 jobs by year's end, mostly through forced retirement according to Sony. Sony says that they are not anticipating any turnaround of the economy in the next year and projects more losses for 2009.

Panasonic has a more positive outlook. According to the company Panasonic “expects to encounter severe conditions because two trends are developing simultaneously. One is the world recession and shrinking demand, and the other is the changes in market structure such as expanding emerging markets and a demand shift to lower-priced products. Under these environments, the company will rebuild its management structure thoroughly, as well as make preparations for the next phase of development and growth simultaneously, aiming to be in a strong position when the market recovers.” This is most likely code for "Help! We're dieing over here!"

Pioneer is also predicting a slow turnaround like Sony with losses to continue through 2011. Unlike Sony, they are planning some major restructuring including dropping out of the display market altogether. New displays with the Pioneer name on them after 2010 will be made by Sharp. Pioneer will focus within the home audio market on A/V products (presumably receivers and Blu-ray players), DJ equipment, and cable TV set-top boxes. Layoffs of around 5,800 regular employees and about 4,000 temporary and contract employees are also on the horizon.

Hitachi blames it's financial woes on a current restructuring effort which may, in the long run, put them ahead of the curve. They've already spent 150 billion yen and plan on spending more in the next year. Reports have them seeming to focus more on China and other Asian markets rather than trying to vie for the hotly contested western markets.

Toshiba is the only one that is really predicting a quick turnaround. They are suggesting that their consolidated sales for 2009 will increase. This will lead to an overall reduced loss for the company. In its digital products business, while Toshiba is predicting a 1% drop in sales, it is forecasting a return to profitability. This may indicate that Toshiba's exposure in the faster declining markets (like displays) may be minimized due to other aspects of their business being able to offset the losses better. Or they could just be hoping. We'll see. We do know that heir latest line of displays was far from impressive so any help they can get from other business areas is sure to help.

No matter how you read the news, it doesn't look good for businesses. While consumers may enjoy reduced prices as companies try to offload stock, in the long run they are likely to suffer. Competition spurs innovation and as quality manufacturers like Pioneer (whose Kuro line of plasmas have been oft quoted as some of the best on the market) leave, overall quality of the offerings is likely to decrease.

Friday, May 15, 2009

White Space War Continues...

The FCC has completely botched this one... and this is only one of the affected industries.

CBA asks FCC to reject coalition white space proposal as discriminatory

The Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) last week asked the FCC to reject a request from the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC) that it said would leave LPTV stations with less protection than full-power broadcasters from interference generated by unlicensed white space devices.

The CBA comments filed May 8 are in response to a March 19 Petition for Reconsideration submitted to the commission by PISC. In it, the coalition asked the commission to reconsider how it protects LPTV, Class A, translator and booster stations from white space device interference. These broadcasters should “receive expanded protection in the database, but only by demonstrating to the commission the number of viewers outside the currently protected signal contours that would be harmed” by interference from white space devices given extended contour protection, it said.

Reacting to the petition, the CBA said the PISC request would discriminate against LPTV stations, “which so often serve audiences that have limited or no alternatives for the specialized programming they receive.”

The association also reminded the commission of information it recently provided the FCC showing LPTV stations have “a vastly greater representation of minority and female ownership than any other medium of communication in this nation.” The CBA filing rhetorically asked why the coalition thinks “that minority and female station owners providing ethnic and other niche services are less important than full-power broadcasters, particularly when minority and female ownership of full-power television stations falls so far below the commission’s goal?”

The association’s filing wondered how LPTV stations, which are primarily small business, are supposed to fund determining where their viewers live. It also questioned where the FCC is supposed to get the resources necessary to “evaluate case-by-case requests for protection that are likely to be filed by hundreds of LPTV stations.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New iPhone in Two Months?

Tight lipped at Apple, as usual....

http://blogs.usatoday.com/technologylive/2009/05/will-apple-unveil-a-new-iphone-without-steve-jobs.html

Harman to Market Lotus Active Noise Technology

Great idea, about twenty years late though...

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090512005964&newsLang=en

European Union Wants to Control ICANN

So what else is new? Sorry, control of the Internet is too important to place in the hands of European bureaucrats and places that don't allow their citizens the ultimate freedom of speech- gun ownership.

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/defrangesco/eu-pushing-to-take-over-icann/?cs=32328&utm_source=itbe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FNS&nr=FNS

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Flash Mountain Boob Cops Canned!



In a clear sign of a declining economy, Disney is reassigning their boob camera shot specialists to other duties... We all know what that means!

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2009/05/disney-calls-off-boob-cops-on-thrill-rides/

http://www.flashmountain.com/