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

Giving Back & Helping Out

October is breast cancer awareness month. There are literally a million ways to participate and pitch in. The easiest being a simple donation. A few bucks mutliplied by everyone is a lot more than a few bucks. I know the economy sucks and we all want iPad’s but please try and scrape around in the change jar and head over to komen.org to donate. See the tasteful image below :).

My other favorite charity is kiva.org/. My favorite part about this charity is that you have people who want to work hard and a network of people who can help them do it. My first loan was $25. It has already been paid back and i loaned it to someone else. Every time i have extra cash i make another $25 loan. This is pocket change i would have wasted on candy. Now its being used to build lives and love all across the world.

Control System WI-FI Touchpanel Evolution

The iPad is a revolutionary device that millions around the world own or want. It already has and will continue to change the way many “personally compute”. The iPad is also causing a stir in the Home Automation /System Integration world. WI-FI touchpanels from control system manufacturers like Crestron typically cost in the neighborhood of $3000-5000. The entry level iPad costs $500. There are many pros and cons to using the iPad as a control system touchpanel, here are a few.

Pros:

Significantly less expensive
Better wi-fi range
Better display
Better battery
1/2 to 1/3 lighter
Access to the App Store

Cons:

Suffers from limitations and/or requires 3rd party products & software
Connection lag or app loading time creates a few seconds of user frustration
Will be the target of theft in a commercial setting
No promise of consistency from Apple. It will be difficult to maintain the product.
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I am sure there are other issues but i think these are the most important. There are valid arguments against using the iPad as a control system touchpanel but once you have one in your hands it becomes very difficult to say no. I can remember handing a TPMC-10 to a client for the first time. I can remember handing a TPMC-8X to a client for the first time. Neither prompted a smile on the clients face that the iPad did. Whoever you are, whatever your experience in this industry… when you see how the clients respond to this product in person you will understand why I and so many others are excited about the iPad.

I don’t think the iPad will ever be good for a commercial application. People will be prying them loose from in-wall and lectern mounts on a daily basis. I think the existing quirks will be ironed out over the next 6 months and then it will be a perfect fit for residential. Here are a few pics of the TPMC-10/TPMC-8X/iPad. Its one thing to discuss the battery life and cost but another to actually see how much difference there is.

TPMC-10
800X600
10.4″ diagonal screen
16 Bit 65,536 colors
Battery 3 Hours
Release Date : September 10, 2004

TPMC-8X
800X600
8.4″ diagonal screen
18 Bit 262,000 colors
Battery 9 Hours (more like 2 hours with extended battery)
Release Date : September 14, 2006

iPad
1024X768
9 5/8″ diagonal screen
24bit 16,777,216 colors
Battery 9 Hours
Release Date : April 3, 2010 (from wikipedia)

Rack Mounting The Crestron CEN-IDOCV-DSW

Custom order MiddleAtlantic RSH plate used to mount Crestrons in-wall iPod dock. Looks pretty darn slick! Their universal Media Shelf option for the table top iPod dock left a bunch of unused space and it was a bit of an eyesore once CD boxes and remotes and manuals started getting stored in them I came up with this simple but effective plan to keep my racks pretty :).

CEN-IDOCV-DSW
Crestron iPod Dock

Husky 14 inch The Total Tool Bag With Tool Wall

Husky 14 inch The Total Tool Bag With Tool Wall
Model #79907N09
$89.97

This is one of the most unique tool bags i have seen in a long time. It’s a steal @ $89.97. I spotted it in Home Depot. The flaps are filled with storage puches & pockets inside and out. They can be completely unzipped to give you complete access to the “tool wall” in the center of the bag.

The outside has a bunch of nice pockets including the ones on each side that can hold small parts boxes or other tools.

The handle is a dark chrome with a rubber grip in the center. The handle hinges nicely so that it can fold down flat while transporting the tools. There is also a shoulder strap included.

The bag has a “shape” to it. What i mean is that its rigid and not soft so the bag mantains its shape and dimensions. It has 4 large rubber feet on the bottom.

New Orleans – Cereal Box paint job?

I have seen lucky charms, trix, frosted flakes and count chocula. I thought it was something to do with cereal until today i spotted the BIG SHOT candy bar wrapper. These cars are completely product themed inlcuding the nutrition information. Can someone please tell me what the heck is going on down here in the dirty south?

Big Shot Candy Bar Car
Big Shot Candy Bar Car

Husky Hang up Tool Bag

Tired of kneeling down to get your tools? Check out this Husky tool bag. It has rings built into the flap so that you can hang it up. I didn’t get a price or model number from it because it was sitting alone on a shelf at Home Depot.

How to keep the misses in the dark about the true cost of CE toys

I wrote this as a response to someone a while back. He was looking to buy a budget remote and i decided to share my tips for building a toy fund.

You start holding money back from wherever you can get it.

1.At the resturaunt.. when she gets up.. you grab the tip money that was meant for the server.

2.You offer to do the laundry and anything you find in her jeans belongs to you. Don’t tell her you found it! If she asks.. say “hmm.. maybe it got washed..” and if she lets it go.. its yours.. if she doesn’t let it go.. produce it later saying “i found it in the dryer”.

3.Offering plate at church. If you don’t go to church.. start going. Learn to remove money from the plate and make it look like your depositing money.

4.Street performing. Use your lunch breaks to fatten your wallet instead of your waste.

Ok.. so now you have the $ and she doesn’t know you have it. (Careful now.. if she learns of your creative accounting a pair of shoes or a trip to the salon may come to pass.) By now you should know exactly which remote you want. You must go to a store. Online means shipping.. shipping means she could possibly learn of its arrival.

GO BUY IT! DON’T LOOK BACK! YOU MADE IT MAN!

Now that your back in your car with the giant yellow and blue electronic store sign in your rear view mirror… get rid of all packaging. Store the receipt in your desk at work. Use an emery board to rough it up.

I KNOW I KNOW! “ROUGH IT UP? NO WAY” YES!!! ROUGH IT UP!!

Now that its roughed up.. wait until you have time at home alone to program it. Get it all programmed and ready to go and place it on the table next to the other remotes.

DON’T! DO NOT!

Put the other remotes away yet. Leave them all out on the table. Every time you 2 sit down to watch TV you have to spend 5 minutes pretending to read thru manuals and playing with the buttons. While your doing this you have to continue to say things like “i am going to get this figured out if it kills me” or “ill be damned if i am spending money on something i can do myself”.

This will help put her mind at ease. She will begin to forget about her death threat and your spending more than $100 bucks on a remote. She will think she has won. This is good. That is when you sit down one night and jump out of your chair and say “I DID IT!!! i got everything on this dingy old remote, i am sure glad i didn’t throw it out years ago”.

Now you can put your other remotes away and enjoy life again. I know it seems crazy or a bit involved but trust me…

ITS THE ONLY WAY!!!

If you spend $100 on a remote she gets to spend $500 on whatever she wants. That is how it works. I didn’t make the rules. All i know is that for every dollar i ‘invest’ on my stuff she ‘wastes’ 5 on her stuff 🙂