AV Technicians are the Smartest Guys in the Room

A great read for all my peeps in the audio visual world (emphasis mine).

But what would you expect of someone who, having supported events ranging from science to politics and concerts to Super Bowls, had worked hand-in-hand with leading authorities in any given field? The AV technician’s learning spans every subject known to man. The knowledge and expertise that is gained by technicians who sit through conference after conference, listening to the greatest minds on any given topic, goes far beyond what can be attained in university. A seasoned AV pro has the ability to collaborate with nearly any expert or on any subject you can think of.

Early in my professional career I spent years as an audio visual technician and can tell you that most of this article is spot on.  I learned many things that spanned many topics, I schmoozed with some big wigs, and learned a lot about dealing with people in general.  A great field if you like technology (but not if you dislike working long hours).  

Read the whole article here.

 

 

 

Some Things on My Radar in 2014

I like this time of year.  It' s great time to look at the year gone by and look forward to the new.  Here's a quick list of things I think will be interesting to follow in 2014.

1. TV Content Delivery Will Rapidly Start to Change

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Netflix officially became bigger than HBO (in terms of subscribers) this year. That's pretty crazy when you think about it.  Streaming is the new big thing.  Sites that illegally stream live sports and brand new movies are rampant and near impossible to stop, while services that provide a la carte movies and TV are are thriving.  People are deciding to work a little harder to get their content as long as they save some money and at the same happen to be avoiding things that suck about the way most people currently watch TV.  I think we'll see bigger changes in this space in 2014, and it will be great for consumers.

2. Marijuana Reform Is Coming Fast

I'll come right out and say it: It is unbelievable to me that marijuana; a *plant* that comes from the *earth*, that is far less dangerous a drug than alcohol or tobacco and in many cases provides physical aide to people, AND would be a good source of economic stimulation, is still illegal in most states.   Washington and Colorado made it legal for recreational use in 2013 and its likely we'll see more in 2014.  Did you see how much money Colardo made in the first day recreational use was allowed?  This could change our economy. 

3. Wearable Tech

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Google Glass and Apple's yet-to-even-be-announced-but-already-talked-about-too-much-already's iWatch are getting a lot of attention but I think it's devices like the Fitbit and Jawbone Up which track your motion are going to be bigger.  Some of these devices are able to track your heartrate and how deep you sleep.  I think the wearable that helps you with these things and not the one that helps listen to music or make a phone call will be the one(s) that make it big.

4. Tech In Tha House

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It's called "home automation" and it's the next frontier of tech after wearables.  I think home automation could even be a bigger industry than wearable computing, and sooner too.  Have you heard of Philips Hue?  It's a cool way to control lights in your house.  Trust me it is __awesome__.  The Nest is doing well and now we have things like the Belkin smart slow cooker and "Mother" which is looking to help you with many more aspects of your life.  Some of this stuff is laughable, but there is huge potential for some really cool stuff to happen here.  I imagine a home where your mobile devices and more-so your *wearable* devices interact in concert with your home devices.  So much to think about!  

Here's a couple other things on my radar in 2014 that I don't think I'm all that qualified to talk about at length:

* U.S. combat troops (are supposed to) pull out of Afganistan by Dec 31 2014 
* Climate change - Have you noticed the weather is getting weirder?
* Renewable energy
* The bee death problem
* Orion spacecraft
* Personal drone technology 
* Google's self driving car and its purchase of a robotics company 

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder

Oh what do you know, big pharma and doctors have been marketing ADD like Coca Cola markets it's soda and is in turn making a killing.  No wonder I've started to see more and more of my peers getting prescriptions for the disorder.   Alan Schwarz of the New York Times:

"The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable."

The whole story is excellent and worth a read as well as the accompanying video.

Also, how am I not surprised? 

Bob's Your Uncle

I happen to like this phrase which gets it's origins from the UK.  If you're not familiar, it is used to describe something that would be a simple set of instructions such as:

"Gather up all the ingredients, put them in a bowl, mix, and Bob's your uncle, you have cookie batter." 

I was curious one day where exactly why/how the term came to be.  Come to find out there isn't one explanation that has been decided upon as the one true origin.  A quick search of wikipedia reveals these possible origins:

"A common explanation is that the phrase dates to 1887, when British Prime Minister Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury decided to appoint Arthur Balfour to the prestigious and sensitive job of Chief Secretary for Ireland. Lord Salisbury was Arthur Balfour's uncle.[1][2]
Another explanation is that it is related to the British General, Lord Roberts, nicknamed "Bobs." The British Army in India coined the term, "Bob's your uncle" to indicate you had the good fortune of being related to the commanding general.[citation needed]
There have been several other slang expressions which included the word "bob," some associated with thievery or gambling, and, from the eighteenth century on, it was also a common generic name for someone one did not know. The difficulty with any of these explanations is that—despite extensive searching—the earliest known published uses of the phrase are from 1932, two from 1937, and two from 1938. (See these and other quotes in American Dialect Society list archived posts by Stephen Goranson."

Anyone from the UK want to weigh in?  Funny that such a great phrase has no concrete origin that has been agreed upon.   

 

Bee Deaths May Have Reached Crisis Point

Pettis says beekeepers can afford to lose only about 15 percent of their colonies each year. More than that, and the business won't be viable for long. Some commercial beekeepers are still in business, he says, just because they love it.

The article states that over the past 6 years the bee death rate for colonies in this study was near 30%.  I never would have thought we would see a point where major crops might not make it because there weren't enough bees to pollinate the plants in them, but looks like we are pretty close to that point.  You don't really think about bees as a vital need for crops to thrive but they are almost as vital as sunlight and water.  

Aereo: Live TV Online (Coming to Boston This Week)

Did you know there is high-definition basic cable just floating all around you in the air?  Well there is, and you could pick it up through your TV if you had an antenna like this one.  

Yep there is TV signal floating all around you, especially if live in a larger city.  This is how they did it back in the old days.  Now your TV comes through copper or fiber cabling in the ground, however there is still plenty of it beamed through the air.  

Lately people have been getting a bit fed up with how much they have to pay for cable TV.  It's overpriced and gives you way more channels than you would ever know what to do with.  Therefore people have been "cutting the cord" as they say and just paying for internet and watching only the shows they want.  This makes watching live TV somewhat difficult.

This is where Aereo comes in.  They allow you to watch live TV over the internet for a super low price.  They are still fairly new and are only live in a few cities but are rolling out service to Boston this week.  I'm certainly going to give them a try.  This will allow me to watch live TV for news, some sports, and a few other local stations all for a low price and with DVR.  

Let me be clear, Aereo is not something that will completely replace how you watch cable TV. The number of stations they offer is limited.  But I think this will be a great complement to those who want to, or already not paying for cable TV.  

Aereo isn't without controversy.  Some claim their technology should be illegal and most of the major networks are bringing legal action against the startup.  But they aren't backing down from anyone just yet.  Clearly Aereo must be doing something right because they have the major cable companies scared.  Cable TV has been bullshit for a while now and this is just the type of thing that will fuel change.  I can't wait to give them some of my money.  I'll give them a shot and let you know if Aereo is a valid tool we can use in our cord cutting tool belt.  

Check out Aereo's site.

For more detailed info, check out these links via The Verge:

What's Aereo, why does it matter, and will it kill cable?

Time Warner Cable CEO says it could copy Aereo's business model in the future

CBS CEO Moonves says he could take network cable-only in 'a few days' if Aereo prevails