Browse Month

May 2009

Google Wave – Welcome to the future of communication & collaboration

Google Wave was introduced at Google IO 2009. I think its game over for Microsoft :). Wave is a new browser based tool for communication and collaboration on the web, coming later this year. You have to watch the video to get the full WOW.

Google Wave is what email would look like if it were created today. One feature i have to mention is the ability to imbed a wave into a webpage. The demo video shows how this is used to create a blog with it. It starts around the 20:20 minute mark.

Apple TV Talks Back (To Crestron)

In a recent CEPro article titled Autonomic Bows Two-way IP Control and Feedback for Apple TV written by Julie Jacobson, Autonomic Controls describes their new 2way Apple TV module for Crestron. Please see the CEPro article for more information.

I think this is great news. Apple TV is a great product and the 2 way module will make it a perfect option to close the gap between a client’s portable media player and their home media server.

I have not had my hands on Crestron’s new iServer but on paper it looks like the Apple TV might be a better fit for some clients.

Some integrators are anti Apple because they don’t have a program for Custom dealers. Personally i think that the iPod has caused a surge in Distributed Audio. I think the 2way module from Autonomic will do the same for Video.

Tools – Boxer Tools

Back in December i had a hard time using my cheapo torx bits to get DirecTV satellite receivers open for internal emitter installation. I posted about it at Remote Central and was told to “get some big boy tools” by tweeterguy :). I did some research online and stopped by Sears and Home Depot and gave up. While at Fry’s in Phoenix AZ i found a neat screw driver set with Boxer Tools on the packaging. I bought them and when i got back to the hotel that night i did some research and found the website. That is where i found this set of 100 bits.

Both sets are nice, the tools are solid and working well so far. The only complaint i have is the clear top on the plastic boxes they come in. While they haven’t cracked or chipped yet i know they will at some point and i will end up dumping the kits into bags where they wont be organized and i will be less likely to use them. I wish they came in a more durable box like the ones that drill bits come in. The pricing on these is insane. I would expect to pay $100.00+ for these tools. The screwdriver kit is very nice. It allowed me to eliminate half a dozen tiny screwdrivers from my tool bag.

Boxer Tools BX-100 – 100 Piece SAE and Metric Power Bits .

Cost : $17.00

Boxer Tools PK-30 30 Piece 4mm Precision Screwdriver Set.

Cost : $11.90

Skype Credit 180 Days Policy Use It Or Lose It

I just recently found out about the 180 day use it or lose it skype credit policy. This 2005 thread at the skype forum about this topic proves 2 things. #1 skype is still sticking by a rediculous policy 4 years later. #2 I am 4 years behind everyone else on the internet :).

The policy states that you must make a call every 180 days or you will lose your skype credit. $1.00? $100.00? How much skype credit did you buy assuming you could use it whenever you want? You had better use it or skype will take it form you. One person responded in the thread i linked to above with “why not automatically refund the skype credit if a call is not made in 180 days?”. Duh.. because then they cant rob you.

This is a rediculous policy. Its a guarantee that no one will buy skype credit in large increments. Users will be less likely to use the service if their choices are to A. Be trapped by a “make a call or lose all your credit” policy. or B. Be annoyed by having to constantly buy small amounts of credit.

This sort of policy is right up there with pop-up advertising. The numbers down at corporate might make it look like its working… but those clicks or calls in this case are made by frustrated and angry end users.

Skype 180 day policy sucks
Skype 180 day policy sucks

Panduit Cat5E Cat6 Patch Panel Labels


Every cable is cut to length & labeled at the same spot right near the connector. This makes it easy to quickly find a cable.

All of the Cat5 & Cat6 cables coming from the house to the rack are punched to the rear of the Panduit Patch Panels. You can randomly punch everything down or try to keep thing organized by keeping LAN and phones on different patch panels. It really doesnt matter because everything is labeled and easy to locate and then patch to anything in the rack.

Any device in the rack can then be patched thru to any location or device in the home. All of the patching is easily done at the back of the rack. If you need to add an ethernet jack somewhere or swap an access point for a phone location it can be done in seconds.

Cat5E Cat6 Patch Panel Inside View


Cat5E and Cat6 from the house are brought into the rack in neat bundles and then punched down to Panduit Patch Panels. For racks, I prefer punch down panels vs. modular inserts that are commonly found in wall plates. Installation takes less time, material cost is significantly less and theres low-to-no chance of a jack popping out.

Crestron Cresnet Distribution


Crestron Cresnet Data & Power distribution can be beautiful and easy if done correctly. All of the bundles are neat and every cable is labled. The Crestron C2N-HBLOCK’s are mounted to the rack just above the Cat5E and Cat6 patch panels. This makes it easy to install and troubleshoot all of the Crestron devices that are attached to Cresnet.