My Space Adventure with the Crew!

I recently started collaborating with the independent space news site NSF, also known as They invited me down to Florida last week to help with the production of a few videos and their live coverage of the launch of the Crew-7 mission to the Space Station. I detailed the trip in my latest video.

NSF’s YouTube channel has a strong following, nearing a million subscribers. They cover most of the rocket launches from Florida and from SpaceX’s Starbase in Texas along with on demand coverage about the space industry worldwide. In addition to their news and event coverage they have cameras that provide a live 24/7 feed of activities at the Kennedy Space Center & Port Canaveral, and SpaceX’s two Texas locations.

I’ve already contributed as a co-host for five launches. These collaborations don’t interfere with my regular channel activities, and they allow me to find a more productive outlet for my space passion.

On the trip the NSF crew and I had the opportunity to tour the United Launch Alliance’s launchpads in Florida. The sheer scale of these rockets and launchpads is awe-inspiring. You can see more photos and footage in the video linked above. The video we produced at their facilities will be up at NSF in the near future.

We also witnessed the rollout of an Atlas V rocket. This particular Atlas V is in its most powerful configuration, with five solid rocket boosters attached. There are just under two dozen Atlas V launches remaining until it is replaced by the new larger Vulcan rocket. The mission rolling out was for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) which is mostly classified but they have released some details here.

Later that night we went to the Kennedy Space Center to cover the launch of Crew-7 to the International Space Station on a SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon. The launch was at 3:30 a.m., the second night launch I’ve witnessed in person. The rocket also successfully landed back at the nearby Cape Canaveral landing site, which was another highlight of this adventure! In the video you can see the landing and hear the massive sonic booms too.

This opportunity came about over my frustration with the performance of my space related videos. My recent coverage of the Artemis 1 launch didn’t perform as well as I’d hoped on my own channel. This is due to the YouTube algorithm siloing creators into one specific topic – in fact most of my subscribers didn’t even see the thumbnail for those videos!

As poor as those videos performed they did get noticed by a member of the NSF team who asked if I was up for a collaboration and the rest is now history :).

So, if you’re interested in space exploration, I highly recommend subscribing to NSF’s channel. My space playlist now also includes all of my NSF contributions too.

Channel Updates and Future Plans – Navigating the YouTube Algorithm

It’s been a while since I last checked in with a channel update. I’ve been considering some changes to expand my presence on YouTube, primarily to navigate the ever-evolving algorithm. I detail that in my latest video.

I recently did some research, following my video about how the algorithm misses things from a viewer perspective, and found that most of my subscribers aren’t seeing the content I produce. The YouTube algorithm seems to prioritize certain content over others, and with my diverse coverage in the tech space, it’s been challenging to ensure that my videos reach all of you.

Over the past year, I’ve garnered 8.1 million views, but only a fraction of those views come from my subscribers. It’s evident that not every subscriber is aware of my new uploads, which feels to like an algorithmically generated shadow unsubscribe. This led me to consider YouTube’s current (albeit ever changing) advice: start a new channel when existing topics aren’t gaining traction. But starting from scratch is a daunting task, especially when you’ve built a community over the years.

Analyzing my channel’s performance, I noticed that cord-cutting topics have been the most popular recently. However, just a year ago, laptops and Chromebooks were the top performers. It’s clear that consumer interests shift, and as a content creator, I need to adapt.

Given these insights, I’ve decided to branch out a bit. I’ve launched a new channel, “Lon’s Gadget Picks,” where I’ll be reviewing various gadgets I receive through the Amazon Vine program with short reviews. These are typically things I’d skip on the main channel but they don’t take long to produce so I may as well see if this kind of topic has any legs on its own.

I’ve also partnered with, where I’ve had the opportunity to provide commentary on launches and contribute footage. This collaboration allows me to indulge my passion for space exploration and find a new audience as space videos typically underperform on my main channel.

While I’m excited about these new ventures, I’m also committed to continuing with the content you do watch. However, I’m considering spinning off some of these topics into separate channels in the future as I continue to test ways of finding audience for my less popular content.

To make it easier for you to keep up with all my content, I’ve consolidated everything on my blog. You can also subscribe to my weekly email newsletter or the almost daily email for regular updates. For those interested, I’ve expanded to other platforms like Amazon and Floatplane, offering the same content as on YouTube.

Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to all of you, especially the supporters who’ve contributed to the channel. Your viewership and support mean the world to me. Stay tuned for more updates, and as always, thank you for being a part of this journey!

ATSC 3 DRM Update – We’re on the FCC Docket!

Last week, I asked you to submit your thoughts to the FCC about why encrypting free over the air TV is a bad thing, and many of you have done so. We’ve seen some significant progress, and I want to share that with you in my latest video.

If you’re new to this topic, I recommend checking out my playlist with previous videos on this topic. The issue at hand is that broadcasters in the United States are encrypting their signals on the new ATSC 3 broadcast standard. This limits how you can watch and record television, essentially confining you to a television connected to a box, rather than the freedom we’re used to with our video consumption.

Here’s the latest on the campaign:

Our petition on is nearing 7,500 signatures, and the momentum is still going strong. However, the most significant development is the increase in submissions to the FCC docket. Last week, the docket had 1,634 submissions. As of this morning, we have over 2,812 submissions, most of which are from concerned citizens like you. This is fantastic progress, and I want to thank everyone who has made submissions. If you haven’t yet, please consider doing so.

In terms of news, another network in my home state of Connecticut has joined the encryption club. WVIT-TV, Connecticut’s NBC affiliate, is now encrypting their broadcasts. They did this right in the middle of a recent severe weather event!

In other news, the company responsible for certifying devices for encryption, Pearl TV, has certified the Zinwell tuning box – the first box they’ve approved since rolling out encryption over a year ago. However, this box only allows you to watch the encrypted signals on a single television, with no recording or in-home streaming capabilities. And its price remains a mystery.

But there is some movement happening on the network tuner side. HDHomeRun devices have received a new firmware update that includes their Next-Gen TV certification release candidate. However, this doesn’t mean you can start watching encrypted channels just yet. The powers that be have to certify the HDHomerun to be able to decrypt content. Once they get approval, you’ll likely be able to watch these channels, but DVR capability is still a big question.

Unfortunately, this certification process and the ongoing cost of remaining compliant is likely out of reach for these groups, which could stifle innovation and competition in the cord cutting space.

We need to keep the pressure on. If you haven’t already, please consider submitting your thoughts to the FCC docket!

A Follow-up on the Facebook Class Action Suit

In a follow-up video discussing the Facebook privacy lawsuit, I addressed several questions from viewers about my decision to opt out of the suit. You can see the update video here.

In the new video I emphasized that my choice is grounded in the principle of taking a stand against abuse from corporations and lawyers.

To illustrate my point, I compared the current privacy lawsuit to a previous lawsuit against Facebook regarding facial recognition. In that case, Judge James Donato of California pushed for a better settlement that was 3 times higher than what was originally negotiated, resulting in increased payouts for affected consumers, less money to the lawyers and a narrower scope of immunity for Facebook.

In other words, “we the people” still have some power to influence decisions that lead to better outcomes. But we have to choose to exercise that power and unfortunately too many don’t.

In the video I shed light on the phenomenon of “no action bias,” which refers to people’s preference to do nothing over something. This, I believe, often leads to consumers accepting unfavorable situations. I use an example of my local power company Eversource doubling electric supply rates and how 82% of consumers opted to pay more vs. filling out a simple form to pick a lower cost supplier.

I urge all consumers to be proactive in taking principled stands against corporate and legal abuse. It is only through our collective efforts that we can make a real difference and hold corporations and lawyers accountable for their actions.

My Amateur Radio Exploration Continues!

In my latest YouTube video I update you on all the things I’ve been doing lately exploring amateur radio with my technician license.

Technician licenses are mostly limited to the 10 meter high frequency band for long-range communications, which is what we’ll focus on in this video. Right now conditions on the 10 meter band are at their best in years, allowing me to talk to people over great distances using voice and digital communication modes. In the video you’ll see me make contact with somebody over the radio in Texas from my home in Connecticut and I talk about how I’ve reached people in other parts of the world too.

In addition to voice communication, I have also experimented with digital modes like FT8. FT8 allows communication over even longer distances, thanks to its weak-signal performance. I’ve also been playing a lot with tried VarAC, a robust keyboard-to-keyboard communication method allowing for long distance chats, email and even file transfers. Towards the end of the video, I give a brief demonstration of connecting to a packet radio bulletin board system.

I’m currently working on obtaining my general license which will open up even more possibilities for communication and exploration. My journey as a technician license holder in the world of ham radio has been both exciting and educational, and I’m eager to continue sharing my progress as I advance to the next level. Stay tuned for more updates!

Thinking About the Year Ahead

2023 will be a year of uncertainty with many different external factors impacting the type of content I’ll be producing. Navigating these complexities is the subject of my latest weekly wrapup video.

There are two major forces that will drive things this year. The first is the economy – specifically the economics of the consumer electronics industry. Consumer needs in 2023 will be very different as we climb out of the pandemic disruption.

As noted in my video both PC sales and smartphone sales are down significantly. With less consumers shopping for phones and computers, views to my channel and others covering these devices will be down as well. PCs made up most of my top 10 videos of 2020 and 2021 but not one made it to the 2022 list.

Another factor involves YouTube’s plans for growth which center almost entirely around their new “Shorts” feature. Shorts monetization will begin tomorrow, February 1st, incentivizing creators to produce more of the short form videos. YouTube is determined to claw back market share from TikTok meaning they’ll be doing more to promote shorts vs. longer form content.

I have been experimenting with Shorts a bit on my channel and have seen them attract new subscribers to the channel each time I post one. My plan is not to start singing or dancing but rather supplementing my tech coverage with short previews of longer form content.

Here’s one that previews a review of a trackball I plan on uploading soon. It was a good way to gauge viewer interest in the topic.

This one is of a Hallmark Sega Genesis Christmas ornament I picked up for $5. This is something that wouldn’t work well as a long form video but works great as a fun short review:

And here’s one I shot at the Kennedy Space Center of the launch of Artemis 1 – I was able to upload this while I was still editing my longer form piece:

My friend Metal Jesus Rocks posted an example of a great Short with this look at an officially licensed Halo game for the Atari 2600. It’s informative, interesting and enhances his brand. This is the kind of thing I hope to do on my channel too:

But to be clear I don’t plan on becoming a Shorts channel. I still plan to upload multiple long form reviews and analysis every week. The trick will be finding the right topics and products to cover in what will very likely be a challenging year ahead for tech content creators.

Have suggestions? Let me know!

CES Trip Day 2 Update!

I just posted my second live update from CES here in Las Vegas!

Last night we attended a pre-show event called CES Unveiled. This has never been a great event in past years but this year it was filled with a lot of stuff I found interesting. So if everything cooperates here we’ll have our first dispatch video posted this evening! Stay tuned for that.

I am heading over to Lenovo’s CES suite in a little bit to get a look at some of the products they have planned for the coming year which will be part of Dispatch 2.

This evening my favorite CES event, Pepcom, will be taking place at the Mirage Hotel. There are close to 200 companies there so we should have enough to finish up our second dispatch video this evening.

Yesterday I had to go out and buy some things I forgot to pack with me – specifically a battery charger for my on-camera light and my Apple Watch charging cable! Generally I’m a much better packer but we just got back from a family vacation less than 24 hours before I had to leave for Vegas.

Thankfully there’s a photo store in Vegas called B&C Camera (not to be confused with B&H) that had what I needed at a close-to-market price. It looks like this place caters to photo and video professionals who forget to pack things as they had a good selection of gear.

Tomorrow is going to be a non-stop crazy day. We are going to hit the show floor first thing and stay out there until they close. That will be followed by the last showcase event called Showstoppers that should have a good number of exhibitors. We fly home Friday afternoon. My hope is to try and get Dispatch 2 up before we leave. Wish me luck !

Amazon Fire TV Cube Firmware Update Fixes Some (but not all) Lossless Audio Passthrough Problems

In my original review of the 3rd Generation Amazon Fire TV Cube I said that Amazon’s top of the line streamer is not something I can recommend for enthusiasts due to issues with lossless audio passthrough in Plex and similar apps.

Enthusiasts running Plex typically stream rips of Blu-Ray movies with lossless audio tracks containing Dolby ATMOS True HD audio or one of the many flavors of DTS. The only name-brand box that does it perfectly is the aging Nvidia Shield so many enthusiasts were hoping that Amazon would offer something to meet that need as well.

And then I got a DM from my friend Elias Saba at who passed along this story about those issues being addressed in a firmware update. So, I bought another box (I sold my original one to a viewer) and posted this followup video to see if they got it fixed.

The good news is that Dolby TrueHD ATMOS audio is passing through correctly now. The bad news is that no flavor of DTS audio is passing through and it looks like Dolby Vision support for enthusiast media that was working before is no longer working. All of my titles defaulted to HDR10 even with an embedded Dolby Vision track. Dolby Vision continues to works fine in streaming apps which is probably 99% of this product’s audience.

I am going to hold onto my Cube though as it appears Amazon is trying to address this enthusiast need. As new firmwares come down I’ll continually test things to see if anything changes. Stay tuned!

What’s On Tap This Week and Next

The next two weeks will be a little disruptive from my usual production cadence. I have a quick day trip out to New York City tomorrow for a product preview that you’ll see a little later in September and then taking a few days off for some family time. The following week I’ll be headed down to Kennedy Space Center to witness the launch of Artemis I!

You can hear about all of the stuff I have in the works in last night’s wrapup video.

The good news is that I’m working to make sure I have plenty of content to bridge the gaps in production. So I have a bunch of things already “in the can” and at least one more video today I’m hoping to get done. A few projects I started did not go the way I had expected so they require a little more work.

Tomorrow I’ll have a review of the new Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X (affiliate link) probably the nicest laptop I’ve looked at from Lenovo over the last year. It’s relatively small and light but has both a Ryzen 6900HS AND a Nvidia RTX 3050 inside. I tested things using both the built in graphics and the discrete 3050 to see how this new AMD chip performs.

I will likely pop up with a livestream later this morning / early afternoon tinkering with an Atari 2600 and a flash cartridge for an upcoming video.

The Week Ahead

June was a blur! Here in the United States kids get the summer off from school before they start in the next grade level. I used to LOVE summer vacation as it gave me time to hang out with my friends, ride my bike, and of course play around with all of the cool 80’s and 90’s tech I grew up with. It was always a bit sad for us neighborhood kids when those summers came to an end.

My two girls, however, miss school and can’t wait to get back in August. I love that they love school more than I did!

This week will begin with a Weekly Wrapup as usual. But we’re going to talk about the Wrapup moving forward as I’ve done some analysis on its performance.

That will be followed by my monthly Plex sponsored video where we’ll explore the new HTPC client. After that I’ll have my review of the Beelink Mini S PC that I livestreamed the other day here. I also got in a new affordable HP Gaming Laptop and a smart smoke alarm with air quality sensors. We’ll probably have a few livestreams in the mix too.

Stay tuned and set your notifications!

Upgrading to 4k!

This weekend I had some time to see if switching to a 4k workflow was feasible. Before doing this I had to upgrade the GPU in my production machine, fix a network problem that you’ll see in another video I uploaded this week, and of course ensure that our editing workflow could handle larger files and resolutions.

Let me know how everything works in today’s video.

As many of you know I shoot my videos the same way livestreamers work in that I shoot everything live to disk vs having to edit everything together later. So while I own cameras that can do 4k, processing and recording multiple 4k streams in realtime with no frame drops needed some additional hardware. I was also reluctant to throw a wrench in a very smooth and efficient workflow – especially one that likely won’t result in increased viewership.

But the stars aligned this weekend – I was ahead on content and had a good runway of opportunity now that all of the hardware upgrades were done to the production machine.

The best part is that because I use the same workflow for live and recorded productions I am now able to livestream in 4k too! Check out what it looks like here on YouTube. Right now I’m sending YouTube a 4k 30fps stream at 30 megabits per second. I will continue to stream to Amazon too but they are limited to 720p at 2.5 megabits per second. Still I think the Amazon stream looks better downscaling from 4k vs. 1080. Check out the Amazon version here.

There is still one 1080p video left in the hopper. I’ll be going 4k from now on provided I don’t have any deal breaking gotchya’s in the week ahead.

The Week Ahead for June 13, 2022

Another Monday is here! I actually had a pretty productive weekend doing some upgrades/changes to my production machine. I swapped in a more powerful GPU in preparation for finally going to 4k and making some camera upgrades. At some point I’ll get there :).

I also got rid of a problematic 10 gig ethernet adapter and upgraded to an Intel powered SFP+ adapter. I then ran a fiber patch cable from my equipment room over to the new card for a more reliable connection over the Cat 5e that was going to it previously. I was having some odd problems with this PC locking up my entire network when it was doing heavy volumes of network traffic. It was either the NIC, the cabling, or both. This should fix it once and for all!

You can see what I got and how it’s working in this video. It’ll be published on the YouTube channel later this week.

On the docket for this week are reviews of the new Synology RT6600ax router (affiliate link), a Mele “Quieter 3” fanless Mini PC, and if it arrives the new Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2. As usual whatever other shiny objects come in will also get some coverage :).

Be on the look out for livestreams! Set your notifications! Here’s the latest one I did shooting an extra’s channel video and a portion of the network adapter one.

Have a great week!

All of the Sci-Fi

The Mandalorian has baby Yoda and Obiwan Kenobi has “kid Leia.” The young Leia depicted in this series is a real spitfire. The series is off to a good start and its great to see Ewan McGregor reprise the role. The prequels are viewed quite differently vs. how they were upon release. I think the animated shows helped to smooth things out for fans.

Strange New Worlds had another solid episode this week. By far the best Star Trek show we’ve had since Voyager. Also a new Stranger Things season just dropped on Netflix, the Orville returns on June 2, and Apple TV+’s awesome “For All Mankind” starts its third season on June 10. There’s some other shows I’ve been meaning to check out too. It’s a great time for sci-fi fans!

What’s on Tap for the Week of May 23rd

Another week is here and I’m planning out content for the week ahead. After I take the dog for her morning walk I’ll be starting on the Weekly Wrapup. This week we’re going to take a look at a new effort by big corporations to apply copyright filters to the entire Internet. This new effort by the same cast of characters reminds me a lot of the SOPA/PIPA debacle from a decade ago.

We’re also going to take a look at that $99 Chromebook that’s on sale at Target (affiliate link), do a mini-haul video of a cool retro video game lot I bought at an estate auction, start working on reviewing a new Thudnerbolt 4 dock from HP, and maybe do a bit more with the MiSTer project now that some new 32 bit cores have come out. Beyond that component shortages have left me short of new stuff to review!

See you tonight!

New Extra’s Video: DJI Mic & External Mics

One of the reasons I set up the Extra’s Channel is to have a place for doing supplementary content that won’t overload subscribers with too much Lon.TV stuff all at once. This weekend I uploaded a snippet from a recent live stream I did on the DJI Mic to demonstrate how external microphones sound through the transmitter.

I left that out of the initial review as the sound quality of the external mic will vary based on the mic being used! While it’s easy to demonstrate the built-in mics as every user will experience the same thing, it’s much harder to give a clear example when there are so many different types of mics that can be plugged in.

But I had a ton of questions about it and many more “thumbs ups” on those questions. Thankfully I had a great livestream the other day where we tested the feature and I was able to pull the video from that.

If YouTube would allow us mere mortals to replace an already posted video I would have totally done that here. But hopefully those looking for a demo will be able to find it on the Extra’s channel.

Impulse Buy…

Just acquired a new set piece! A local estate auction had an original Gameboy lot that included the box in what looks like great condition along with a few games. I’ll probably sell off the games and accessories but keep the unit and box. Oddly it looks like it’s coming with an NES RF adapter..

The Week Ahead

I used to dread Mondays back when I was working a regular job but now I kind of look forward to them. There’s always something I look forward to working on even if it’s a mundane tech product or topic.

Here’s what is preliminarily on the docket for this week. If you are receiving this as part of my digest email hit the reply button and tell me what you’d most like to see first. If you’re not the list sign up via the link or on the left hand side of the screen!

  1. This week’s Weekly Wrapup will be about my HAM radio license exam and some of the things that make amateur radio very different from the Internet when it comes to what you can say and do.
  2. A review of the HoverBar Duo iPad stand. They call it the duo because it can either clamp to something or sit on its base. But it’s a nightmare to work with. This video is already done and just waiting for a slot on the YouTube channel. You can watch it on Amazon right now.
  3. A look at DJI’s new wireless microphone kit. I like easy-to-use production gear so I’m eager to play with it. Although I don’t think anything can top my amazing Sennheiser AVX mics.
  4. Unihertz has a new phone on Kickstarter called the Titan Slim that merges a full size screen with a Blackberry style keyboard. I don’t usually cover Kickstarters but Unihertz has a great track record of making modern phones for people that can’t give up their physical keyboards. They also make some really cool super tiny phones.
  5. HP has a Thunderbolt dock that appears to be a bit different from other Thunderbolt docks we’ve looked at. Supposedly it has some security features that other docks don’t. I need to dig into this a little bit so it might not pop up until next week.
  6. It’s also time for a MiSTer update! Lots of cool new cores worth talking about like the 32x and Playstation cores.

Of course my week is subject to change based on what comes in. Sometimes a shiny object might appear and that’ll take me off course :).

RSS Mania

I love RSS. It is an important underpinning of the web that a lot of folks don’t even know is there. I’ve recently updated my RSS workflow and it has made content consumption both for work and entertainment immensely more efficient. 

I use the Bazqux reader to do that consolidation. It requires an annual fee but it most certainly pays for itself in the efficiency it brings me every day. There are a number of open source options that provide similar functionality. One of the cool things Bazqux does is that it will bring in Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram content the same way it brings in RSS – and then it’ll allow you to create RSS feeds from those sources! 

I just added a static page to the blog where you can subscribe to my RSS feeds individually or a master one that incorporates all sources. You learn more about how I’m using RSS here

Saturday Morning May 7, 2022

Hope you all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. My little ones (6 & 9) have birthdays this weekend. They are 3 years and a day apart so we’ll be celebrating those today and then mother’s day on Sunday. I’m also going to sneak in a little work to get ahead on next week as I’ll be traveling to a few press events in NYC. 

Monday’s wrapup will be about centralizing my written words around a blog vs. other platforms. I’ll also be reviewing the Sensibo Air (compensated affiliate link) which is a really simple smart thermostat & controller for remote control enabled air conditioning and split systems.

I’ll have my review of the Nebula Cosmos Laser Projector 4k up tonight! 

Stay tuned! 

Now Running WordPress :)

Well I gave Hugo the old college try but ultimately I was finding it was more cumbersome for a blog than I would like. The biggest impediment was the lack of image management and the rather clunky process of uploading new posts.

I had to create a new markdown file, manually enter (or copy over) the basic metadata, manually re-size images, move those images to the right folder, type in the right markdown code for the image, save the post, run Hugo in terminal to render the site, and finally sync with my FTP server. If I had to make change I had to re-run Hugo and resync. Just too much for what I wanted to be a quick thing.

So back to WordPress. I am self hosting for now on my web server. The only issue I encountered this evening was getting the full feed to dump out to my RSS feed. The RSS feed is how I generate my digest emails.

I had to hand code the RSS generator PHP to correct what looks like a bug. h/t to this 2009 post which solved my problem.  I also found a clever way to pull down the “medium” sized images too. Both of these fixes required editing the RSS template in the WordPress installation.

One of the things I like about WordPress is that it’s so ubiquitous and everything works with it. So I can easily post from my phone. I also use a great app on the Mac called Mars Edit that I used 10 years ago when I was doing more with WordPress. To my surprise I was able to upgrade to the newest one for a nominal fee a decade later! Thanks Red Sweater Software!