Scared by the DTV 2009 switch ad?

The National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) video spot about the switch to DTV on February 19, 2009 is big on scare “Your TVs may go dark” & “You may need an upgrade” but short on info.It certainly made me pause. We don’t have digital cable and have several TVs that predate the mandated digital tuner generation (which started less than a year ago). So, that could mean increasing our cable subscription services and adding extra boxes ($$$). Or digital-to-analog converter boxes ($$) with the added box & controller inconvenience. Or going satellite, which also has its boxes.What service(s) does DTV affect?The little known detail among consumers is that the DTV switch ONLY affects Over The Air television reception a.k.a. OTA.http://dtvanswers.com/dtv_what.html — ” Digital television (DTV) is an innovative new type of over-the-air broadcasting technology “http://dtv.gov/whatisdtv.html — Analog TVs ” … will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation’s transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services … “Why couldn’t the NAB ad just point that out the antenna part?If you have rabbit ears ;) or antenna, please pay attention. All others, relax. The analog cable signal is not changing.Don’t paint a broad picture about “digital tv” that confuses people with “digital tv subscriptions” and scares a whole generation of older people that they’re going to have to shell out a lot of money for new televisions and subscribe to cable or satellite. Maybe that is actually the hidden plot behind the scene? Scare people into a paid service, sell bunches of new gear and sell the analog spectrum. Win-win-win.A call to our local cable provider (Time Warner, formerly Adelphia) confirmed that there will no change in analog cable service due to the DTV switch.Converter box coupon. If your TV does not have a digital tuner and you have any type of analog antenna on your roof or TV set, you can convert the analog signal to digital and the government is subsidizing the converters.There is an application form at https://www.dtv2009.gov/ to subsidize up to two analog to digital cable converter boxes per family.Note that the coupons have an expiration date. They are only valid for three months, so you may want to wait a little bit.They have a pretty detailed FAQ at https://www.dtv2009.gov/FAQ.aspxI will personally wait till more products with more features are on the market and they start to compete price-wise and feature wise. ( I will get one converter for emergency broadcast reception when cable and power is out. )Which DTV / HDTV antenna can I use? What signal can I get over the air?You may only need a very compact indoor antenna to receive a couple signal in an urban setting. But if rabbit ears don’t work now, I doubt a digital capable equivalent will yield any results. How can you know what is out there before buying an antenna?Should you or a family member…

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Supercharged iPod Shuffle clone?

I’m wondering what Apple’s response will be to the “Super Shuffle”. Playlistmag reports that a Taiwanese company just announced this clone. It looks exactly like the iPod Shuffle but also has an FM tuner and voice recording capacity. Nice to have extra features – an FM tuner would be nice on any iPod. At Engadget there’s even a link to the cloned Apple ads. Where will all this fit together legally?

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Run Jaguar and Panther on a PC

It may be sacrilege to some, but anybody can finally do it with CherryOS from Maui X-Stream The release had been promised for late 2004, but after some delays and now amidst some controversy (reportedly it would be a reworked version of the open-source PearPC project and contain it’s code left & right! ) it’s now available. Don’t expect any blazing speed. Just like with VirtualPC (software to emulate a PC on your Mac) you are running an Operating System on top of an Operating System, so there is some drag like when you’ve got weeds clinging to the fin on your windsurfer. CherryOS is mostly geared to PC users who want quick access to a Mac for web testing and running light applications that don’t have a Mac OS X equivalent, … System requirements are a Pentium / Athlon or later (the faster the better) with 512MB RAM, 5GB HDD space available, an optical drive and Windows XP Pro or Home. It’ll be fun to run the trial in some spare time. The trial download requires some registration, but should be publicly available.

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Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D 8MegaPixel dSLR

Surprise, surprise! [ MacMinute | Steves Digicams ] Among plenty of new & updated digital camera announcements last week; Canon introduced an 8MP Digital Rebel XT (also known as 350D outside the U.S.) last Thursday! Who would have thought? The Digital Rebel XT is reportedly a bit smaller & lighter and has more creativity options than the Digital Rebel. With it’s black look instead of silver it looks a lot better. (note that all reviews & previews show black models, while Canon’s product page shows a silver model) There are too many updates to mention: custom functions, selective metering & AutoFocus, improved flash metering, DigicII, USB2, better battery life, etc. … it really inches close to a 20D, for quite a bit less money (roughly 2/3rd). I could and likely would have settled for the Rebel XT, had it existed a few months ago and saved me … Oh well. Yesterday at Costco, I saw a young guy (early 20’s) ready to buy the Digital Rebel (6MP) saying “Yes, that’s the camera. They have it.” to his parents. While they were all looking at it and clearly ready to make a purchase with parent’s approval; I informed them “You may like to know there is a new Digital Rebel with 8MP which was announced just 2 days ago, and it’ll be the same kit and price.” He and his parents thanked me several times. :) I love it when you can stay close on technology’s heels and help someone. Granted, Costco has a good return policy for it’s members; but don’t you hate it when you buy something and the next week they announce something new? Or as in this case the newer model is already out but hasn’t hit the shelves yet and you didn’t know?

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Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool & AntiSpyware

We almost hurt ourselves laughing when I read that Microsoft released two tools to help fight malicious software and spyware. Sure, it’s a good and long overdue move in general for the user base; but … is Microsoft really going to un-install Windows itself? Or at least some components? And, hey, you’re not supposed to run this particular software application => swipe! Anyway, for those using Windows XP. You may want to have a look at the:– Malicious Software Removal Tool – Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (beta) For the non-XP users and more paranoid XP users among us; I still stand behind AdAware from LavaSoft.de who’s SE Personal edition is free for home use. It’s easy to use, gets frequent updates and performs well.

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Hoax: Popular Science’s Home Computer prediction from the 50s

Edit: Thanks to Dan for pointing out in the comments that this is in fact a hoax . Received via email. I don’t know how your “home computer” looks, but mine takes up quite a bit less space ;-) “Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a “home computer” could look like in the year 2004. However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home. Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use. ” You need a driver’s or boating license to operate that computer? Or is that the pre-mouse functionality for left & right? ;-) I guess, in all (not counting Spam, Viri & such) we did good on the computer front, but how about those robots and personal flying cars from the Jetsons?

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