Low Definition Reporting

When an AP reporter writes an article on consumers being forced to choose “HD DVD or Blu-ray”, which on the surface is poignant and interesting, then you read it and find unadulterated bias injected into every sentence, your balanced, informative article ends up oozing personal opinions instead of facts. My article here is an opinion piece, yours is supposed to be an unbiased, informed newsworthy article. After-all, isn’t that the “product” your organization sells?

Bear with me…your article starts by saying there are many more stand-alone HD DVD players out there. You continue by saying “big names like Toshiba and Microsoft” are behind it. You never make a comparative Blu-ray statement, like “however, more big industry names support Blu-ray and with all the PS3’s out there, there are more players in total” G*d-forbid that may slant too many opinions toward buying Blu-ray…THAT’S WHAT ACCURATE INFORMATION SHOULD DO FOR US, MAKE US WELL INFORMED!!!

And that is not expressing your opinion…that is communicating the facts, again the type of article you are supposed to be writing for AP.

Sorry, but the truth is, the reality is…that the market is leaning way toward one technology than the other. That’s not my opinion…that’s measurable fact!

So why is that so bad? Did M*cros*ft or T*sh*ba get to you? Are they big clients of AP that you don’t want to scare away with accurate reporting that happens to shed a slightly negative light on them?

It’s so blaringly obvious, you can’t help but be suspicious of motive.

Why not come out and say Blu-ray is winning on all fronts in the format war? Again, that’s a measurable fact, not your or my opinions…

–Technology company support, WINNING
–Major Movie Studio support, WINNING
–Market share of players (whether in a game console or not), WINNING
–Movie sales, WINNING (as you stated 2-to-1 over HD DVD).

You even took the time to quote Universal’s exec (the only studio to only support the currently losing format). The quote was about this not being about winning or losing. Isn’t that what finding the best “STANDARD” is about? The one the consumers choose? The winner?

Hmm…sounds like denial to me.

You didn’t even cover technical comparison…Shouldn’t your unbiased article inform us which has more capacity? It is a storage medium you’re reporting on…Or is that also stating opinion?

Blu-ray discs currently store more than HD-DVD, and the theoretical future capacity of Blu-ray also can store much more than future potential of HD-DVD.

Is there really a format war? If there is, I believe you are “the shot heard round the world.”

Or do the big manufacturers make more money while we fumble around buying worthless technology over and over?

We all ended up getting screwed with VHS quality nearly 30 years ago when we all should have been viewing the superior betamax all these years. Due to biased, inaccurate reporting like yours, we ended up with the lesser technology.

Please help us kind sir, just come out and say, in every way Blu-ray is superior, from technical capability to current sales figures to overall market share.

Give me blu-ray or give me death!

Don’t worry dude, that big “window” company isn’t going to kill you if you report the truth. They’ll just send their money to your competitor. Oh, I guess that is bad isn’t it. Sounds like it actually doesn’t pay to tell the truth for some people.

PEACE and HAPPY HI-DEF VIEWING!

Real Estate Ethics

Open letter to I****o Realty after a very trying time with Real Estate Agents in Scottsdale, Arizona, my experience ended up enlightening me to the dishonest and manipulative practices of Real Estate Agents.

Encouraging you about your home’s value before you sign with them, then after you are in contract, they barrage you with articles about how bad the market has gotten and your price is way off. If you don’t lower it enough they reduce service to nothing then offer you a cancellation. This keeps their average DOM listings up. Helping them lure new, unsuspecting clients into their game.

Real Estate Agent, being the only profession where after spending less than $3000 and less than a few months on classes, one can earn over six-figures in a very short time with no other formal education, or even a high school diploma. Why are we trusting THESE people to understand marketing and be aggressive sales-people? Why go to medical school?

The letter is as follows:
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I have thought very long and very hard about this. And it has been very difficult for me to remain calm about the wasted time and money with I****o Realty’s agent. I realize, after her first couple of attempts to scare me into lowering my price $30 to $40,000 below the lowest comparable had failed…she commensed a purposeful, sub-standard service on my property, intended to force me into canceling the contract, thus keeping her average DOM down and enabling her to round-up more potential clients…I have woken up…I finally did some research.

The article your agent sent me that was circulated by another I****o agent, not long after I first signed with Intero that was to convince me the market was even worse from just a few days before (before I****o had my signature), shows me this is common practice and quite possibly the policy of I****o Realty, to lure a client with 100% positive feedback about their home and listing price, then, after they’ve signed, talk the client down to an EXTREME BELOW MARKET price so the house can move overnight, I****o collects their full commissions, doing minimal work and your client takes tens of thousands in loss, AND WORST OF ALL the market takes an unnecessary, huge, fear-based hit to property values after the SOLD PROPERTY becomes a "comp" for other realtors to use to do the same and spread even more fear!!! THIS SEEMS CRIMINAL TO ME!!!

As it turns out, research shows, this seems to be common practice with agencies. Especially those that require full commissions!!! I found out today that this is such a common practice with Real Estate Professionals that there are numerous lawsuits pending in Maricopa County courts as I write this letter!!! I haven’t researched other cities, states etc. But I couldn’t believe what I found!!!

Two months of intentional neglect, and finding out from the last contact I sent her phone number to that she never returned their call. I believe she has been in breach of contract. How many missed opportunities? How many new buyers did she find to represent from the sign she planted on my property? Redirecting them to another bargain basement property she knew could be moved quickly? My loss, your gain.

I am "the little guy" and I sacrificed thousands of dollars (the 2 renters I turned away to keep it empty), full commissions, and wasted 2 months of a summer housing market. I was duped, scammed, and manipulated. This _literally_ has taken food out of my mouth.

I decided I cannot simply let this go because it most likely will hurt other people…and I****o will continue to profit from this. If I do not do my duty to report bad business practice, Intero will have no motivation to reprimand [your agent] or seek out other agents behaving in this manner or establish any new good faith policies.

There most certainly would be, yet another lawsuit pending if I didn’t have more taxing family dealings to take care of. And, of course, would not have signed and faxed the cancellation today to free myself to either list on my own or with another agency if I can find an honest one.

Nevertheless, so I can sleep at night, and not exercise apathy, resulting in further abuse of other home owners in this already difficult time we live in…a full and accurate BBB filing will have to do. Dates and subject matter of the emails between your agent, and myself will be filed with them as well as my cell phone records so they can see I am not making up stories about this "sudden and purposeful turnaround of the agent’s feduciary responsibilities" that your agency was contractually bound to.

I hope I****o finds a way to get rid of this kind of unethical, immoral behavior from their organization. I don’t have the time or money to legally pursue this. I hope the principals at your organization sleep well at night, I certainly don’t with people like this in the world.

I am reporting the Scottsdale I****o office to the Better Business Bureau in Phoenix, it’s fair play in my book. Maybe it’s a small step, but it’s the best I can do to help others.

Thank you for speaking with me today on the phone, you were very sincere and kind and I don’t blame you personally for this. I still believe there are good people in the world.

Sincerely,
Eric G

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Anyone that has had a similar experience is encouraged to PLEASE post the details of it here. Maybe we can get someone’s attention.

Siggraph 2007

Just came back from Siggraph 2007 Exhibition in beautiful San Diego, CA. Having attended before I would say it was a significant show. Great new technology and existing technology as well as a handful of real innovation. Here are some points of interest:

1) Been there done that

3D TV…Yes, 3D video without any extra gear (glasses, HMD, etc) is a great idea, why hasn’t it taken off? This is something I saw back at my first Siggraph in 2004! It looks as good as it did then, yet I wonder why, still, nobody is using it? I even saw a Toshiba laptop a couple years ago with the technology built-in. Neat to see it again, but curious as to why it hasn’t caught on.

2) Where did they go?

Back in 2004 at my first Siggraph in LA there was a company that presented a virtual crime scene. They a recorded 2D and 3D representation of the original crime scene so the room could be explored at a much later date in Virtual Reality. This was a great product, with great potential, I’m sure if I tried, I could find their web site, however, I did miss them at this show, would have liked to see how far they’d come.

3) Like before…but more

In the last few years 3D printing has become more popular and as a result the process has become relatively more affordable. Therefore, where in years past we saw a 1 or 2 3D printing vendors, at Siggraph 2007 there were quite a few. Using different techniques including color prototyping which I hadn’t seen before.

4) Best Presentation

Autodesk had a wonderful booth and presentation. With experts from ILM, Condor, CafeFX and more demonstrating how actual effects we’ve seen in movies and on tv were done. This was very entertaining and educational. Thanks for the great demonstration Autodesk, Maya 08 rocks!

5) Most innovative

In the Emerging Technology pavilion amongst many abstract new convolutions of creativity and ingenuity lay the star of the show. The most promising but not so obvious technology at the show was e-ink. I had read articles about the progress of the technology but did not expect the quality to be so dead-on accurate.

E Ink Corporation has shown ultra flat, and ultra “paper-like” e-ink displays. As I first approached their booth, I honestly did think what I was looking at was a printed piece of paper mounted between plastic. I thought it was some ‘theoretical prototype’ then, before my very eyes, the INK on the paper changed to something else. A very sharp, highly detailed image. I heard these e-ink displays looked like print on paper, but I must say…from what I viewed…IT REALLY DOES.

Then I look to my right and see a COLOR version! That really looked like color print on paper! But it was an electronic display.

E-ink is my BEST OF pick for Siggraph 2007.

http://www.eink.com

If you have any experiences, opinions or technologies from Siggraph 2007 please reply to this topic!

http://www.siggraph.org/events/s2007/s2007

Some comparison

Currently I am the owner of a Cingular 8525 from a manufacturer known as HTC. Generally, I have had a good experience with the device. Besides not being the most attractive phone I’ve ever owned, the more I use it (about 9 months now) the more I notice dropped calls, etc. Not as much as my Sony Ericsson S710a.

So, here’s what I need the iPhone to do before I buy one…

1) Grow up, and allow 3rd party application development. They’re already bashing the iPhone’s security (or lack thereof) so you may as well get rid of one of the complaints and open up app development like the PocketPC’s.

2) 3G…this one’s obvious. Lack of 3G in the first version of the iPhone was obviously strategic but I REGULARLY use my 8525 as a high-speed Internet connection provided wirelessly (bluetooth) to my MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, v.1 iPhone strategy left me out of the loop.

3) User Replaceable Battery

Those are really the primary features I would REQUIRE before purchasing. Secondary features being the following:

1) Removable Storage, my current 8525 takes SD cards and I use it regularly.

2) Voice navigation software…after 3rd parties can develop native iPhone apps maybe TomTom or TeleNav will take the reigns and finish the job!

This is my wish list for the iPhone at the moment. Apple is my favorite platform, Steve Jobs, my favorite CEO, my MacBook Pro, my favorite laptop, maybe they can make their iPhone my favorite cell phone too…

http://www.apple.com/iphone/

Asterisk is the Digital PBX

VoIP has, thanks again to the Open Source community, become a technology we can all get our hands on.

I am, of course, talking about VoIP for business. No longer are we slaves to six-figure Cisco, Samsung, Panasonic "VoIP" offerings. I hesitate to even put most of them in a category of real VoIP because many of the Enterprise turn-key offerings have an analog backbone with digital plug-in cards. Now, for a mere $2-3,000 a small/medium business can have the same capabilities large corporations have been taking advantage of with VoIP or just traditional PBX technology.

Further, in many cases, the several thousand dollar system is superior and more scalable. Let alone, more cost effective. What am I talking about? If you don’t already know, the Open Source world was graced with a wonderful VoIP PBX called Asterisk some years ago now.

And, it is now what I refer to as "proven technology." I say this because not only have I successfully implemented several medium to large scale installations with little to no difficulty, but there are now thousands of businesses relying on Asterisk software and the Digium hardware that may be purchased for higher end applications (T1/E1, trunking, telco, etc).

To find out more about one of my favorite picks in the BEST OF category for any technology…Asterisk…visit http://www.digium.com. Also, the Astricon Conference is coming to Phoenix, Arizona, my home town of nearly 20 years, hosting an all Asterisk VoIP convention.

Feedback on user experience, technical and consulting questions are welcome and invited.