Archive for January, 2011


What ever happened to the HP Slate?

Ever wonder what happened to the HP Slate? It was buzzing around the blogs for a while then pfft.. nothing. I found out where HP put them! In their printers!

Ok.. maybe they aren’t re-purposed Slate’s.. but they are removable 7″ wi-fi android “Zeen” tablets. No access to apps according to websites i have read. Screen quality sucked. Looked like 16 bit graphics or seriously stretched images. I wonder if these are being counted in the iPad vs Android polls.


Your time for greatness is now!

The title of this post says it all………….

This is also posted at (my GUI design site)

This is the story :

This is copied from WhiteVanLifeStyles (forum member) @

Your time for greatness is now.

Here is the story (watch the video) [Link:]

We need the following items.

Mens Clothing: Pants size 30×32, Shirts XL, Shoes size 11
Womens clothing: Pants 5, shirts small, shoes size 7.5
Boys clothing:Pants 4t, 3t & 12 mos., Shirts 4-5-6 and 12 mos., Shoes children sizes 4, 9 and 10.

Anything you can send will be helpful.
That old blender or coffee pot you have laying around. Maybe some toys your kids don’t play with anymore. They lost everything.

Donations to help the family can be made to:

Cash donations are being made to:
The Gareth Baker Family Relief Fund, F&M Bank, 50 Franklin St., Clarksville TN. 37040 (or call 931-645-2400.)

Donations of clothing and household items are being collected at:

Dunn Electric, 1448 Madison St. Clarksville TN. 37040
Dunn Insurance, 409 Madison St. Clarksville TN. 37040

I would like for anyone on the fence to please consider these offers.

Free 5 page website with $100 + donation.

50% off any GUI products (including labor) at the store. Contact me and i will create a reduced price download link for you.

All (100%) of the proceeds will go to the family.

Thank you!


Your low voltage stuff isn’t working

I got a call last week from an electrician telling me….

“I installed the outlets where you marked them on the wall but now your low voltage stuff isn’t working. It keeps tripping the breaker. I unplugged it. Just wanted to let you know”.

I explain to the electrician that there isn’t any low voltage stuff installed yet except the cable companies house amp. Electrician confirms “yep that’s the thing that keeps tripping the breaker”. I then explain that the house amp has to work or they lose internet and TV in the den. The electrician tells me that he will check it again and call me back. This was Friday. Fast forward to Monday morning. I have to meet with the electrician at 8AM to go over the work they did and find out whats up with the house amp. Oh.. an added bonus was that the electrician didn’t leave a note or tell the client so i also got an email at 7AM from the client about the issue.

Your Low Voltage Stuff Isn't Working

Your Low Voltage Stuff Isn't Working

I got there early so i checked TV in the Den.. not working. I go over to find the house amp in the closet disconnected. I look at the newly installed outlet and i seen burn marks and the house amp power supply is smoked. I tested the outlet and it was testing ok. As a temporary fix i bypassed the house amp by barreling the input and output. I immediately hear TV in the Den and internet is working fine. I don’t really know what happened. My uneducated (because i wasn’t there) is that the electrician got confused by the RG6 cable being used with the house amp and wall wart and some how wired it up wrong. I really hate that they use an RG6 for power for a lot of CCTV and Satellite devices. I know its convenient for technicians but its confusing to anyone else. The electrician was adding an outlet in the closet near the low voltage panel because some genius didn’t think about having power where all of the 2+2 low voltage cable from the apartment ran back to. All he had to do was unplug the walwart from the hall outlet where it was plugged in temporarily and plug it into the new outlet in the closet. I’m guessing he disconnected some of the RG6 cables and wired it back up wrong. Everything is working now.

The “low voltage stuff” was working when the electrician got there. It was not after he was working in that area. His new outlet or his re installation of a power cord killed the house amp. But for some reason he thought it was okay to call me up and let me know that i (now) have a problem. It didn’t register as his problem for some reason. The reason it was not my problem (and why i quickly let him know that over the phone and this morning) is because i was there when the cable guy came out (4 times) and made sure that his installation was done and working properly. I had the den TV installed and working properly and i had the clients wi-fi network setup and working properly before i left. And more importantly.. these things were done, tested before the electrician began his work. I was able to “point the finger” because a schedule exists and someone is making sure its being followed. If the cable guy, the electrician and I all showed up at the same time trying to work around each other it would have been much more difficult to pinpoint what the problem was and when it occurred. Having someone to blame is not the primary issue. My fear with the house amp was that somehow the electrician energized the low voltage box causing the circuit to break over and over. I was worried that i would be blowing things up all around the house if they left there assuming the issue was solely with my “low voltage stuff”. I wondered if the electrician brought 220 over to my 110 outlet. This happened before with an automated gate and they had power and ground reversed. I smoked 2 Crestron C2N-IIF’s screwing around with that gate when i finally urged the client to get a new gate guy to come and look at it.

Whether its 1 guy installing a TV for an hour or a team working on a large project for a month… everything has to be based on a schedule. Without it… chaos. When you have your act totally together you will find that all of those problems you dealt with in the past really belong to someone else. The cabinet guy for not following your drawings or the sheetrock guy for covering up your speakers or the landscapers for cutting your speaker wire. Those problems were yours because you were not following a schedule that allowed you to properly coordinate with others.


Laptop Bag – Another chapter of my ongoing obsession with tool organization

I found my first (of 3) Kenneth Cole Roller Laptop Bag at marshalls about 5 years ago. It was $99. It got damaged and i bought another one for $50 at tjmaxx but it was slightly smaller. When i finally found a larger one again at marshalls it was $50 and i gave the other one to my sister. It fits in the overhead bin on an airplane. The wheels make it super easy to manage when you have to walk far with it from a parking spot or thru an airport. It matches my luggage :).

Its big enough to organize and carry up to a 15″ laptop, programming cables & IR learners and basic testing gear. 17″ laptops wont fit inside of the smaller carrying bag and they kind of bang around in the compartment without it. I usually have 3 bags with me now. My vetopropac XL for tools, my okeechobee parts bag and my laptop roller bag. These 3 guys get me thru 99% of all service calls and upgrades.

Here are some iPhone pics.


Apple v Android

I’m very sorry cousin but I’m afraid the city life is a bit to much for you.. i shall motor you back to the country….

iPhone4 vs Android

City Life Isn't For Everyone


Rule #1 Hang Up Call Back Trick

Ever get connected to an idiot when calling tech support? You knew from the moment he opened his mouth that nothing good was going to come out of it? Cut your losses early! Hang Up! Call Back! Pray for someone else!

Tech Support Sucks

Tech Support Sucks


Cable Schedule – Location Tagging

I saw this video and thought i would share. Everyone has their own system for planning the rough in but i dont think i have seen anyone staple up tags like this guy is doing. I think its a great idea. Lead tech can hit the job site and tag everything. Then the wiremunkys show up and paint by numbers.

I normally mount LV rings everywhere as indicators before wiring begins. Adding the tags will make things move even faster.


Pronto Dead.. Again.. For Good This Time..

CEPro says that Pronto is finally dead.. for real this time.

My comment from the article page…

I sit here somberly gripping my (still fully functional) Pronto TS-1000 wondering WHY!.. WHY!

Seriously.. WHY? What i mean is.. why does my TS-1000 still work reliably after all these years? Think about the white screens of death and the battery & wi-fi range fiascos of the last few years. Maybe i should be asking WHAT as in what the hell is going on with control system manufacturers and their QC team.

I created this for someone a couple of months ago. They were trying to keep the product afloat.

Philips Pronto Dead


RCN Cable – Why i hate them


RCN sent out 2 techs this time. After wasting 2 hours and them packing up to leave i connect the consumer modem and show them that all lights are green. They call in to activate it and it stops working. Another 45 minutes of both of them on the phone with other people and viola someone realizes my client ordered 60mbps service and the modems they brought and the one i picked up will only work with 20mpbs. So once the modem sees the 60mbps it must shut down. A “DOCSIS 3.0″ modem is required for 60mbps. I quoted that because i had never heard of it before that moment. I googled it as soon as i got home and found an old DSLReports thread from late 2009 that referenced RCN as having announced it as part of their offerings.

This is why i don’t try and handle phone/cable/satellite anymore. I meet them and make them do their jobs. 5 years ago i would have attempted to handle all of the inside work myself. I got really tired of wasting hours and hours on things just like this.


I have installed AV gear for a living for the last 17 years so i get to deal with the phone company, the cable company, the satellite company and the occasional ‘boxed’ security company like ADT or Brinks frequently. So none of this is new to me. I decided to post about it to share my frequent frustration :). If i had to describe these companies with a single word it would be “criminal” or maybe “ridiculous”. They all suck. They have teams of untrained underpaid technicians who can’t get the job done because of their inability to schedule appointments correctly. Seriously.. when was the last time you told someone that you would meet with them between 10AM and 2PM? How do they get away with it you ask? Because people have no other choice. Their clients are hostages. Last year i posted about the DirecTV guy trying to sneak away. I thought that would be the craziest story until i met up with RCN.

Thursday December 16th 2010.

RCN is scheduled to install Cable boxes and Cable modem. Cable guy drops off cable boxes and plugs the cable modem in and leaves without testing it.

Friday December 17th 2010.

I show up and test the cable modem and find that it is not working. After troubleshooting i call RCN tech support and they schedule someone to come out Friday December 31st 2010.

Friday December 31st 2010.

RCN Technician

The RCN guy shows up today and walks into the clients unit and says “what am i here for?”. I said “to resolve the issue with the internet not working”. He responds with “the internet is not working either?”. I respond with “what do you mean ‘either'”? He responds with “let me take a look”.

He spends an hour testing cable signal and informs me that we need a “house amp” to solve the problem because the signal is “weak”. I tell him to go get one and he tells me he has to “go look at blue prints and find out where to install it”. He tells me he will call me back sometime today but he wont be returning. He never called me back. This is a typical cable guy tactic.

About 60 seconds after he walked out of the unit it dawned on me that this guy never touched the modem or PC. At that moment i realized that this guy was totally full of s#!7. I had my mind on mapping out the existing cabling in the clients new apartment and taking measurements for TV’s and cabinets for AV gear so my BS meter wasn’t engaged. At that point i drag the cable modem right to the network interface box with a direct cable connection to it and it wont connect. TIVO-Cable boxes work in every room though.

After talking with my boss we decide to pick up a cable modem locally. I install it. All lights are solid green. I get to an RCN page that asks me “do you want to use your own cable modem”. I click yes and i am asked for an account number and phone number. I enter the phone number but the account number appears to be missing digits based on the form input area. I call tech support and reach a woman from India.

RCN Tech Support

I give her clients phone number. She cant find the account.
I give her clients address. She cant find the account.
I give her clients name. She cant find the account.
I give her the mac address of the modem and she then is able to find all of the other information that she claimed wasn’t in the system.

She tells me that she cant add the new modem to the account unless i physically return the other modem. I explain to her why i have the new modem. I ask her if she can just click “yes he returned it” or whatever her screen is asking her and she says “no”. Her software wont let her add the new modem to the account unless the rules have been followed and someone somewhere else has scanned the old modem back into RCN’s possession.

Its 5PM now.. New Years eve.. I can get on the internet to the RCN page where i just have to add the new modem and it wont let me. Tech support wont do it. RCN cable guys have been out twice to install a cable modem for internet access and they haven’t been able to do it. I have gotten further than either one of their technicians and they still wont let me on the internet.

Then the lady asks me if i had the RCN provided wireless router connected. I said “no, i thought we would get the modem working first then i will deal with the wireless router”. Then she tells me “oh this will create more errors if you want to keep the wireless router. I will schedule a new support date for January 4th between 11-2″. At this point i am experiencing phone rage and hang up.

RCN Sucks

Tuesday January 4th 2010

I wait at the clients apartment between 11AM and 2 PM. At 2 PM i call RCN and i am told “the technician is running late on his last job but you are next on the list and he is on his way there”. At 3PM i call back because the technician has not shown up. I get a “all circuits are busy, please try your call later” message from RCN’s technical support number. I call back 4 more times and get the same message.

Then i called a different number i have for RCN and got right thru. I’m guessing that is a tactic they use to keep people from getting thru later in the day. After 35 minutes of automated nightmare phone system and being on hold i was connected to a woman in India. She tells me that the work order was closed at 2PM because no one was home. Really? Then why was i being told that the technician was on his way at 2PM? This is another cable guy tactic. It didn’t work today because i was in a building with a front desk and security at the freight elevator. He would have actually had to have gotten in to know whether or not i was there. No record of him being at the building means he didn’t show up.

RCN reschedule for their 4th appt tomorrow January 5th 2010. 20 days after the first visit. Luckily my client has the money to pay someone to sit at his house and wait for the cable guy. What the heck does everyone else do? After being frustrated and talking it over with my boss i was reminded why RCN and DirecTV and Comcast get away with this behavior. If a new company showed up tomorrow and had great service and never made anyone wait but had to charge $10 more per month… no one would use them. So we get what we deserve. The masses make the decisions and the rest of us who value quality and service have to suffer.