Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Marketing triumph (not)

Radio World's Thom Moon tries to buy an HD radio, finds comedy of errors:

[At Best Buy] On display, next to one another, were the Sony XDR-53HD table unit and another house-brand Insignia product, their NS-HD2114 HD radio/DVD player with matching speakers.  Even though both were connected to an external antenna, neither unit received enough RF input to lock onto the HD-R stream.

Another problem was, I never did figure out how to tune the Insignia unit, and a Best Buy employee who wandered by and offered to help was just as puzzled as I...

The Insignia was tuned to 107.1, home of Class B1 WKFS(FM).  That should have been fine, as the station’s antenna is less than 10 miles from the store.  But the radio wasn’t receiving any signal at all.  That’s not a strong recommendation of the unit.
[At Circuit City] As I expected, their selection of home HD Radios was underwhelming: just the Sony XDR-53HD.

Of course, it wasn’t connected to an antenna, so it wouldn’t link with HD-R, even though I was only about six miles from the WKRC(TV) tower, home to all of Clear Channel’s local FM’s and Entercom’s WKRQ(FM).
A Target is just across the street, so I sauntered over and looked around their home electronics section, located about as far as possible from the front door and against an outside wall. HD Radio?  Nada.  Zero.  Zip.

Talked to the gentleman who appeared to be in charge and he said, “Nope, we don’t sell those.”  When I said I had found Target mentioned on the HD Radio Web site, he just said, “Oh — it must be Internet only.”  And, indeed, the Target Web site lists three HD units...
You get the idea. Out of eight retailers, the only one where Moon got satisfactory demonstration (“I could actually audition an HD Radio without several other audio sources blasting at me.”) was the local Alamo Electronics chain.

Moon blames the retailers (“...the few HD Radios displayed aren’t able to receive an HD signal. It’s bad when you’re trying to sell an expensive unit and the prospect can’t hear the main selling points of the technology...”), but my cynical reply is:  If HD Radios were flying off the shelves there would be no problem with working displays.  (Just walk down the aisle and look at the HDTV department.)

It does make you wonder what the radio industry is actually getting for its multi-million-dollar HD ad campaign.


Via:  “rbrucecarter5” at Radio-Info

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Monday, 17 March 2008


Hello Hello!

Via:  Teresa

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Ooooh, shiny!

(This is actually about lighting conventional art with a multicolor-LED source, not about using LEDs to construct art objects.  The results are similar to what you get by lighting paintings with full-theatrical RGB lighting, and then varying the source color balance.  The article includes construction information and materials lists, of interest because most of us don’t own a set of border lights and the associated dimmers.)

Via: Slashdot

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In Passing

False alarm, go back to sleep

Headline on page 2 of today's Wall Street Journal:
EPA Says Carbon Caps Won't Harm Economy Much (Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2008)
Well, I'm certainly glad that's all cleared up.

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Sorry, you missed it

Diamond Geezer explains why St.Patrick's Day was Saturday. Really![1]

[1] It involves an early Easter and special dispensation by the Pope. Go read.

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Thursday, 13 March 2008

In Passing

Another triumph for e-commerce

Anyone you know?

The website is total eye candy, complete with flash animations and sounds for darn near every movement of your mouse pointer.   Annoying.  The "off" switch for all the dancing baloney is buried 'way down at the bottom, too.  To add insult to injury, navigation is murky if you're looking for a specific tidbit of information...  Apparently, unless it's hidden very well on the main site someplace, the only way to get this chart is to download the .pdf of the 2008 catalog; which is not a simple black-on-white document, either, oh no.  The catalog is a 55-page monstrosity with photographic backgrounds for every page, and even with a decent computer and a DSL connection, it's like taking Lake Michigan through a drinking straw.  On the index page the very last graphic to load was... can you guess? That's right, the page numbers.  Nice work, that.

Speaking of firing webmasters, keep your sanity: Stay away from the Wall Street Journal's website today.

Seems they’re having an “open house.”  Well, between the broken javascript and the repeatedly-loading popups, the site’s just about unusable (even via the usually-free opinionjournal.com URL).

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The Press

Some Lileks reaction

MinnPost.com media/politics writer David Brauer notes the return of Lileks to the pages of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, then concentrates on the political aspects:

James Lileks will return to Strib column writing.  And this time, the portfolio might include politics...

In the past, Lileks has given me the impression he'd rather gouge his eyes out than become a political lightning rod in the hometown paper...  So let me stress that I don't know whether Hugh Hewitt listeners can take heart.
There follow three paragraphs of speculation about how the advent of a (putatively) political Lileks could leave the Strib with “two conservative columnists and one liberal,” and what might be done to mitigate such an horror. Seems a bit premature, as the first column is yet to appear.

Brauer does raise an important point, in this era of the ever-shrinking news hole:
How does the addition of columnists affect the Metro-section story counts and space?

Later:  Brian Lambert at MplsStPaul Magazine quotes Lileks:
“No, no politics.  There's enough of that out there as it is.  These will be basic stories, stories not precisely what I've been doing in this market.  It'll be a metro column, maybe a little less domestic than what I've been doing.”

Previously:   Psssst... don't tell anyone

Via:  Poynter via jek

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The Press

Name That Party: Spitzer vs. Craig

Interesting comparison Oh what the heck:  It’s time once again for yet another example of the usual stuff, as NewsBusters commenter “Mr. Shyruns the numbers for party identification in the coverage of the Democrat governor Eliot Spitzer’s resignation, compared to that of Republican Senator Larry Craig:

[For] seven selected major online news sites:
CBS News
ABC News
NY Times
Washington Post

Comparison:  Spitzer’s resignation and Craig’s resignation (or related article at that time)...

“Democrat” - 1
“DNC” - 0

“Republican” - 16
“GOP” - 4

Some R's and GOP's are right in the headline, some in the subhead, some articles have up to 4 instances in the first few paragraphs, and one paragraph injects the word 3 TIMES!

What's more hilarious -- although, really, it makes me that much more ill -- is the one D mention is to annouce Spitzer's successor, which is uplifting news (legally blind black man, etc..)
(He has all the links, too.)

Via: Radio Equalizer

RELATED 080313 15:38:
MORE 080313 22:49:


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The Press

Psssst... don't tell anyone

Blogosphere's favorite columnist gets column back.


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Tuesday, 11 March 2008

In Passing

Been busy, interim snarkage

Back shortly. Meanwhile, sighted at IP:

The editors' strike continue unabated.

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