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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alright, this one made me belly-laugh.  Check out this trailer for Juno.
 
Sun, September 16, 2007 | link

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Satellite Guys
SatelliteGuys.us is a website/forum that I've frequented since its inception four years ago.  The proprietor, Scott Greczkowski, started the site with meager beginnings but grand aspirations.  In that short time span, SatelliteGuys has grown to 87,000 registered members and over 2 million hits per day!
SatelliteGuys.us
Now, I know what you're thinking, "How can there be that many people interested in satellite television?"  Actually, the site is much more than that.  You can get the answer to virtually any audio/video issue---not just satellite related.  Just like other online communities, there are niche forums and free-for-all chat forums in which issues from domestic situations to automobile repair are discussed at length.  With 87,000 registered members, you can ask how to replace a car's power-window motor and you'll likely find someone who's a pro at it.
 
All these characteristics can be found in most online communities.  It's the beauty of the internet!  So what makes SatelliteGuys different?  These guys (and gals) are always courteous and respectful of each other and especially new visitors.  I believe the reason for this is that Scott Greczkowski seeks the feedback of the members and pushes to mold the site into what they want.  It gives the members a sense of ownership, and as a community, they seem to truly care about each other.
 
So I encourage you to visit SatelliteGuys.us whether you're an audio/video enthusiast or not.  You may be surprised what you can take away from this little marvel on the web.
Sat, September 15, 2007 | link

Sunday, September 9, 2007

KXAS NBC 5 News Now in HD...sort of
Thursday, NBC 5 News (KXAS: Dallas/Ft. Worth). Launched their newscasts in NBC 5 HD LogoHD.
 
A little history on this:  On May 28, 2006, I sent an email to engineering at NBC 5 asking when they intended to start broadcasting newscasts in HD.  I received the following reply:
"We do not have definitive plans. NBC will likely react to whatever the competition does rather than take the lead on this issue."
Now to admit that you've adopted the philosophy of "react to the competition" as opposed to being the leader was quite amusing, if not disheartening.
 
Not long after that, NBC5's competition, WFAA Channel 8 (DFW ABC affiliate) launched their newscasts in glorious HD.  They did, and have continued to do, a wonderful job with it, too.  Yet, I still prefer the personalities of NBC5 over those of channel 8's.  So, on February 11, 2007, I fired off another email to NBC5's engineering (out of respect for him, I'm omitting his name):
"This is a follow-up of an email conversation we shared on May 30, 2006...When I asked when NBC5 had plans to begin doing morning shows in HD, you replied that, 'NBC will likely react to whatever the competition does rather than take the lead on this issue.'

While I admire your candor and honesty, can you now address your plans to transmit morning (and evening) news casts in HD, now that WFAA has decided to 'take the lead on the issue'?
"
The reply was as follows:
"The best I can say is that we have not set a firm HD launch date, but will keep viewers posted on our progress."
Deadpan as it was, at least it was a response, and it at least alluded to a move towards considering HD broadcasts.
 
On June 23, I noted some suspicious studio changes (anchors sitting at what appeared to be makeshift desks, etc.)  Although I could have missed it, I never heard an announcement explaining the changes and there was nothing on their website addressing the matter.  Anticipating this to be a sign of studio re-design for HD, I sent the following email to engineering:
"...I've much anticipated NBC 5 News being broadcast in HD.  I understand that many changes must occur, including expensive changes.  I've found myself watching WFAA morning news just because it "looks" better on my screen (particularly weather maps).  Although, I prefer the NBC 5 personalities over the WFAA one's.
 
So, are the recent studio changes a sign of a transition to HD?  I sure hope so.  Do you have a proposed launch date?"
Here's engineering's non-committal reply:
"We're gutting the studio and needed to move broadcasts to our newsroom Saturday morning. HD Cameras are being installed, don't have a specific launch date."
I expected that as we neared the launch date, I'd start to see messages on the website and/or segments about it on the actual newscasts...you know, hype!  But no.  On Thursday, NBC5 quite unceremoniously began broadcasting in HD.  I immediately sent the engineer an email congratulating him and commenting on the good parts (since I'd been ragging on him up until now).  They've got quite a few things to improve such as lighting, continued upgrades to graphics, audio, etc.  He even replied to my email acknowledging these things.  This is at least a start, but WFAA seemed to come out of the gate with guns a blazin', while NBC5 seems to be stumbling through it.
 
You may wonder why I even care.  I mean, it's only newscasts.  But I have an HDTV.  I want it to be used!  WFAA showed that it can be done and done well, so I expect the same from the other local affiliates.
 
Now to start harassing the really local affiliates...Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville...my work is never done.
Sun, September 9, 2007 | link


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