The Comcast Twins Are Idiots

Comcast SMC RouterNPR’s Marketplace recently had a nice interview with the CEO of Comcast. Part of that interview referenced the companies problem with a poor reputation for customer service. That brought to mind our own experience with the company, past and ongoing.

As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, we rely upon Comcast Business Class internet access as our primary means of internet connectivity. While I’d love to have a greater diversity of alternatives, Comcast is the best that we can do around Houston for home office users.

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Prescribing The Ideal Bluetooth Headset For A Small Office

Recently someone found this site while hunting around for insight about the ideal headset for their small office. Not finding exactly the answer they were looking for they emailed me the following note.

I came across your blog and I love it. I run a digital agency from my home office in Manhattan, and I’m looking for a high quality over-the-head boom mic bluetooth headset to use on my late-model Android phone for client calls. Despite all my research, I can’t seem to find a really good high quality boom mic bluetooth headset. I purely want to use this in my home office, as do several of my freelancers who also work from home. Any suggestions? Cost isn’t the issue, quality is what I care about most.

Thank you,

Zachary

Well, Zachary, thanks for the kind words. I can see that we share a common belief that it’s worth the effort to communicate well. I share your frustration with respect to the kind of tool that you’ve been seeking. The solution isn’t obvious, but I can offer you some guidance nonetheless.

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My What a Big Hard Drive You Have!

HAL & Portable Backup DriveOne of the little side benefits of all the Black Friday & Cyber Monday craziness is that the promotional pricing can be used to address some very real needs around the home office. This is just one fine example that crossed my desk today; high-capacity, portable USB 3.0 hard drives are being offered on-the-cheap. I saw a Seagate Expansion 3 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive offered for $99.

It’s been a while since I bought any storage, but I am reminded that my NAS isn’t backed up in any real way. HAL, a five disk LaCie 5Big NAS , has 10 TB of raw storage, but is presently configured for 4 TB of RAID 10 + hot spare.

It would certainly be nice to be able to back it up to an offline volume. Given that the 4 TB volume is not completely stuffed, a 3 TB drive could still do the job.

Are your important files backed up?

DoorBot Up For Pre-Order On Amazon

DoorBot-Looking-LeftWhile we are still awaiting the arrival of my little friend here, it seems that you can now place an order for DoorBot via Amazon. The item is listed as unreleased, but available for pre-order for $199.

I suppose that offer points to some possibility that they will actually be shipping soon. To be fair, the company has been pretty good about keep supporters abreast of their progress via their Facebook page. While Jamie’s Oct 1 video post mentioned “Michael in Texas” as being one of the first devices to ship, it must not have been me, since we’re still waiting.

Edison Junior, being a small team, had been working out of Jamie Siminoff’s garage, it seems that they have taken on some space in order to handle all the product arriving from overseas manufacturing. In fact, they’ve put up a Dropcam to let people peer into their DoorBot Factory.

They also got a little coverage in a Wired Gadget Lab article. That piece reports that commercial shipments will start on December 1. I suspect that Edison Jr is hoping to take some orders beyond the initial supporters, as the holiday season is now drawing near.

It’s been about 11 months since I placed my order via Christie Street.

Presuming that they can get them shipping in the coming weeks a DoorBot could be a nice holiday gift idea.

TWiT’s Know-How Picks Cameras For Podcasting

Apparently I’m not the only person pondering cameras for use with computers. TWiT’s recent Know How program, episode #69, goes over selecting a camera for podcasting applications.

They start in the low-end with USB attached webcams, citing the Logitech Pro 9000 and Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 as good starting points. They note quite correctly that a USB attached webcam is the preferred way to do live streaming online, which is basically the same use-case as UC applications.

In truth, the Webcam Pro 9000 is obsolete. While it’s still available the newer B910, C920 and C930e models are definitely preferable.

They then escalate into issues that relate largely to more traditional video production, as opposed to live streaming. They place a lot of emphasis on sensor technology, specifically CMOS vs CCD sensors. Such issues don’t really come into play until your spending a lot on a traditional production video camera. If you’re interested in such matters have a look at a recent TVTechnology article that examines CMOS, 10 Years Later.

While the camera segment is a nice introduction, it leaves me wanting more. I’d like to see them do something more detailed about setting up a live streaming studio.

This is typically the case. There’s a large audience for  an introduction to anything-at-all. The audience falls off quickly as you start to dive deep into the details of how to actually do something potentially interesting.

This very phenomenon is why TVOntario didn’t want to produce Kite Crazy 2, when the original Kite Crazy series was one of their most popular How-To series of the 1990s. That series, a project from a past life, was produced by SOMA Media Works. I was one of a handful of guest hosts, making it my sole foray in front of a TV camera.

Skype’s Desktop API Lives On For Now

Skype & DevicesEarlier this year Skype announced to developers that its Desktop API was going to be killed off at the end of 2013. This is an old API exposed a number of the applications internals for use by third-party developers. It was originally offered back 2004 when building an eco-system as an important strategic move for the company.

As a practical matter, within my sphere of activity, the loss of this API basically meant that any hardware that accessed the Skype client would cease to work correctly. That includes products like the Polycom C100S USB speakerphone and the Logitech Conference Cam BCC950 as both of these devices accessed the Skype client to control hook state via the “call control buttons.”

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