Thursday, October 29, 2009

Microsoft Mission Viejo Store Opens- Over 1000 Wait in Line

"I like it," Percillia Chuajai, of Glendale, said. "All the music, all the colors – it's very exciting."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Foul Polling

Foul Polling

by John Mayberry

Recently we enjoyed a baseball game with seats near the third base line foul pole. For those of you not particularly enthralled with baseball, there are two tall upright foul poles mounted in professional baseball stadia (one per side) to judge whether a ball hit by the batter is either a home run or a foul ball hit into the stands. Sort of a vertical dividing line.

None of us have likely spent much time pondering foul poles before, but somewhere during the fourth inning it struck me that this was an extraordinarily useful low-tech device, with 100% reliability over its entire operating life cycle involving nearly 40 years. These foul poles have always performed their job to the complete satisfaction of thousands of users, in every imaginable weather condition and often under high stress situations. I suspect the foul pole’s only maintenance has been an occasional repainting. If only the equipment our industry offers could offer similar performance.

A more careful observation of the foul pole revealed a large number of dents in the perforated metal screening attached to the foul pole. Each dent made was clearly the result of an enormously powerful hit. Now some hits were more enormous than others, but there was clearly a higher concentration of dents near the pole bottom. There were a few dents in the middle section, and none towards the top. In over thirty years of use, not one single dent on the top twenty feet of the pole.

This would imply to me that there was not a significant amount of engineering or statistical sampling involved in the design of this particular set of foul poles. Clearly the poles could have been made twenty feet shorter and accomplished all of its original expectations. Yet I doubt anyone has ever complained about the poles being too tall. Some batters may have even felt complimented.

OK Mayberry, what wonderfully insightful parable are you pulling now? My point is that our industry is humbled in many ways by the lowly foul pole. These babies get the job done day in and day out. Even a baseball novice can clearly understand their functionality. They get the job done without any unnecessary aggravation.

The foul pole system never requires revised software, continual rebooting or recompiling. It does not require an operations manual, installation manual, training class, single line diagram, GUIs, user interfaces, detailed labeling, extensive commissioning or detailed reconfiguration. It is a simple and elegant device, devoid of unnecessary complexity and endless software, firmware, and hardware revisions. It is easily understood by all.

Take a moment and stare at your own designs or any piece of hardware on your desk right now. I’m looking at brand new telephone station. Just installed this week, along with dozens of other systems in a new building. I suppose if you write a column on Telecommunications, you should be able to figure out a simple desk phone. I get most of it, but there’s a couple of buttons I’m unsure of, and one that downright frightens me. It’s the one little red button labeled RIS. I had no idea was RIS meant unless I looked at it a second time and realized it was Rls. I’m presuming this means Release, as in drop someone from a conference call. I doubt I’m the only one with this confusion. No manual within miles to be seen. Truly a silly design effort not worthy of the multi-billion dollar telecom supplier from which it came.

Are we doing the same thing to your our clients? Is there a way to simplify your systems to make them a better overall product? Can the end user walk up to the system and intuitively operate it without a momentary panic setting in? Not too many years ago, changing the volume meant turning a knob, not some massive effort involving a pesky PC.

Try to remember the lowly foul pole. Sometimes low-tech can indeed be cool. And it may be entirely possible that an over-designed low tech system may be the right answer for your client’s application, regardless of your need to impress them with your technical prowess or expertise.

Sony Adds NetFlix Streaming to Playstation 3

A year after Microsoft, but with no annual fee...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Too Much Surveillance?

What happens when the perception overwhelms the public?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Application of Smart Grid for Resort Area

Worth a read...

Apple Vs. Dell

As you may already know, there's a long rivalry between Michael Dell and Steve Jobs.  It would appear that Jobs is winning...  read on...

Tired of Buying the Same Content on Different Formats?

Which version of cloud computing do you want- Sony's or Disney's?  I'm guessing Steve Jobs being on the board of Disney might influence the outcome.  Read on...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Treatment for Stopping Sound- 1/8" Thick, STC 27

The numbers claimed speak for themselves...

54 inches wide.
Available in full rolls 20', 30', 60'
Weight: 1 lb. per sq. ft.
Thickness: 1/8”

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mayberry to Start Writing Again

Frankly, I took a hiatus after writing for Live Sound International two years ago.  It was a disastrous experience.   A great example of what not to do in one's career...

I made the mistake of leaving a quality magazine (SCN) and joining a new magazine two months before the publisher and editor were fired- and replaced by a kid in order to save money!  Roughly five articles I wrote weren't published or paid for, and oddly I was blamed for following the terms of in our contract.

I'm not sure why they haven't renamed it "Line Array Magazine" yet, but it does seem the magazine should be delivered with a chain hoist.    My personal "tipping point" was when they published a piece involving Jutland and included a photo of a WWII Japanese battleship... The disconnect was utterly complete.

Anyway, I'll be using this forum to publish my works from now on.  The plus side is that "names can be named"- something not possible in an industry magazine.  The negative that I don't get that check at the end of the month any longer.   Hopefully our other endeavors will help cover the costs.  I may add some ads on the side column one day and you'll have to click a few to help me carry on.

Wish me luck,


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Android Mobile Operating System to Dominate

Google backed Android mobile phone system poised to domiate cell world...

Dell to Shut Down Winston-Salem Plant

Just opened four years ago.   Laying off 905 folks.

Apple Shuts Down iPhone Jailbreak

Apparently it's to shut down drug dealers, not increase their bottom line (and if you believe that whopper)...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Harman Abandoning the US Market as an Afterthought?

Read on and decide for yourself...

If you do nothing else today, read this!

Engineering to the rescue...

America is not going to bleed its wealth importing fuel. Russia's grip on Europe's gas will weaken. Improvident Britain may avoid paralysing blackouts by mid-decade after all.

The World Gas Conference in Buenos Aires last week was one of those events that shatter assumptions. Advances in technology for extracting gas from shale and methane beds have quickened dramatically, altering the global balance of energy faster than almost anybody expected.

Oops- Bad Day For Microsoft (And Cloud) Following T-Mobile Sidekick Snafu

By Chad Berndtson, ChannelWeb

9:20 AM EDT Mon. Oct. 12, 2009 Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) and T-Mobile have egg on their faces and it's another dark day for cloud-based services following word from T-Mobile that users of Sidekick -- the T-Mobile smartphone that gets software and online services through Microsoft's Danger subsidiary -- would not be able to recover personal data following a week's worth of Sidekick service outages.

T-Mobile confirmed over the weekend that user data such as contacts, stored photos and other information is probably gone forever, due to a technical glitch with Microsoft's servers. In a message posted to its Web site Saturday, T-Mobile admitted that any data not stored locally on users' Sidekicks has "almost certainly" been lost.

"Our teams continue to work around the clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information," wrote T-Mobile in the statement. "However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low."

T-Mobile didn't confirm how many of the 1 million or so Sidekick users have lost data in the outage. A T-Mobile spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that "we don't think it's a majority of the customers." A Microsoft spokeswoman further told the newspaper that it is an "extraordinary situation" and that Microsoft and T-Mobile "understand that and are working to do everything they can for customers."

Email Becoming Obsolete?

Hmmm...  going the way of Telex?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Whatever Happened to Global Warming?

Facts are facts... 

The warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

Laser Microphone Unveiled at AES

David Schwartz's Laser Microphone to be unveiled at the Audio Engineering Society convention in New York this weekend.

According to his research, traditional microphones have a physical diaphragm that colors the sound recording and a laser accurate microphone can detect particle movement that usually hinders the quality of the captured sound.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Virgin Plans 200 Mbps Service in UK

Fiber optic networks are offering faster broadband speeds

Virgin Media is piloting broadband speeds of 200Megabit per second (Mbps) for a small group of users in the UK.
Following successful trials in the lab, 100 "lead adopters" in Kent will have access to the high speeds, believed to be among the fastest in the world.
Virgin will be using the high speeds to test applications such as 1080p high definition TV and 3DTV.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tired of Changing Projector Lamps?

Finally, a solution... from DP naturally...

Harman Opens Chinese R&D Office

And Paliwal's answer is:

Less Northridge, less Mexico, more China...

Stocks up 57%

Question of the Week

So what do Telefunken microphones, the Zimmerman telegram, the sinking of the Lusitania, and the cyclotrons that built America's atomic bombs in WWII have in common?

West Sayville, NY (on Long Island) would be a good place to look.

Mayberry Quoted in LA Times

Not your average hotel deals

In this economy, the hotel industry is coming up with unusual promotions to try to lure guests: Stay a night, get a tattoo or rent a Porsche.

At the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, some guests get a $75 voucher that can be used for a massage at the spa. Other hotels are also offering limited-time promotions instead of cutting room rates.
By Hugo Martín

October 3, 2009

Hoping to keep its 119 rooms filled, Hotel Erwin on Venice Beach is offering an unusual promotion for its countercultural clientele: an Ink and Stay package that includes $100 toward a tattoo and a bottle of tequila to numb the pain.Down the coast at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, guests who get the Hard Rock and a Hog deal can roll through the All-American City on a Harley Davidson motorcycle that comes complimentary with a two-night stay.

But for hotel perks, it's hard to beat the deal offered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where your stay comes with a free rental of a Mercedes, Porsche or BMW convertible.

As the U.S. hospitality industry struggles through one of the worst financial crises in more than 20 years, hotel managers are moving beyond the usual discounts and offering a wide range of creative promotions to attract business. Some deals offer big savings for guests, and others are simply meant to generate publicity.

If this all sounds desperate, it's for good reason. Occupancy rates nationwide have been hovering at below 60% this summer, the lowest levels since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Hotel revenue per available room has dropped nationwide by nearly 20% this summer, to less than $60, the steepest dive in 22 years, according to industry reports. Even worse, hotel analysts don't expect the industry to rebound until 2011 or later.

Experts blame the slump on a "perfect storm" of conditions, including the recession, an increase in new hotel openings in the last two years and a dramatic drop in business travel as corporations cut budgets.Promotions and package deals have long been a staple of the hotel industry, particularly during slow periods. But industry experts say more hotels are relying on them to survive the recession. Not only are the deals more common but many are more creative than ever before.

But special promotion packages that include free dog toys and discounted tattoos don't work as well on business travelers. John Mayberry, an executive with a San Marino engineering company who travels for business nearly 20 times a year, said limited-time discounts and gimmick deals don't appeal to him. When he travels, he said he looks for a low rate, free Internet and complimentary breakfast."The rest of that stuff is worthless to a business traveler," he said.

Hotel managers defend such promotions, saying extreme tactics are needed to keep hotels open and workers employed."We don't feel like we gave away the farm, but we felt like desperate times call for desperate measures," said Marc Loge, a spokesman for the Wilshire Grand Los Angeles, who added that the Beat the Heat deal helped increase occupancy by about 10% this summer.At the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, general manager Bill Doak said discounts and special packages, such as the Grrreen Dog Package for pet owners and the Rejuvenation, Restoration deal that includes a $75 voucher toward a massage, accounted for about 20% of guest sales in the last year."

Everybody is out to save money," he said. "We need to respond to that if we want to stay in business."
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blaupunkt Fitted Its First Car Radio to What Model Car?

A Studebaker in 1932.

Now you know.

Our Most Viewed Post of All Time

on the Emmaco blog was...

The Splash Mountain Boob Cam article...

11,051 hits. Way to go guys!

Confused About "LED" TV's?

Not hard to understand why... the ones on the market are LCD TV's that replaced the old flourescent lamps with LED lamps...

A bit deceptive, actually- and the picture still doesn't really compare to plasmas. Nice article:

Apple, AT&T iPhone Weirdness Continues

Fear of lawsuits? Profound Incompetence? Got caught with their pants down?

Voice over IP seems to be winning...

Sirius XM Radio Update

Truly struggling...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

CBS Outdoor UK Head Resigns

Presumably over the botched London Underground digital signage system...

Should have let Emmaco manage it...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cisco Buys Tandberg

$3 Billion in cash... congrats to an "old" audio company...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

140 dB LRAD Clears Out Pittsburgh Protesters

Say what you want, the thing works...

In this Thursday Sept. 24, 2009, photo, a Long-Range Acoustic Device is seen mounted atop a law enforcement vehicle on the streets of Pittsburgh during the G-20 Summit. Police dispersed protesters at the Group of 20 summit last week with a Long-Range Acoustic Device that emits a beam of earsplitting alarm tones that the manufacturer likens to a "spotlight of sound," but that legal groups called potentially dangerous. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)