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.
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!
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.
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.
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 !
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 AFTVNews.com 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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..
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :).
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!
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!
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.
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!
We hit 320,000 subscribers today! Slow and steady is preferable IMHO to becoming a viral one hit wonder. Thank you for your continued support! Here’s a video I made about my channel’s strategy from last year when I hit the 300k mark.
As I continue to tweak the blog along with my content automation I found that it’s pretty easy to bundle things up into an email newsletter/digest that can be sent out several times a week.
If you’d like to see me in your inbox several days a week I set up a new digest email list that will go out with a much greater frequency vs. this one.
It will consist of any new content I push out on YouTube along with interesting links I came across throughout the day/week. This content is the same as what will be posted to my blog and other social platforms.