Case Of The Missing Speaker

MIA Speaker
The cut out WAS round at one point

I used “EL RotoZip” to cutout for this puppy a couple of weeks ago. The ceiling was plaster on wood lathe. I installed a Sonance In-ceiling speaker. Today i show up and the speaker is gone, the opening is now drywall and NOT round. What the heck happened? Does this house have some speaker stealing vortex that zaps Sonance In-Ceiling speakers into another dimension? My mind was racing a hundred miles an hour trying to grasp what was going on.

Ok.. not really.. I knew some slack jaw pulled it to do something so i started looking around in cabinets and closets and eventually found it :). Fun story though huh?

Tool Bag Evolution

I spent today organizing my gear and i decided to put together an article about my tool bags & boxes. Its interesting to see how my wants & needs were shaped based on what was available. If you rewind back 10 years to the BucketBoss and compare it to the Veto Pro Pac i use today you will see that my needs have always been the same. I wanted something that would hold each tool upright so that i could access them quickly and keep them organized. Both products (and some of the others in between) were able to do it but only the Veto Pro Pac is able to do it right.

The slide show is below, each photo has a description included. I had most of them here at home, some in the garage and some in the basement. The surprising thing was the amount of tools i found in each one. I probably have enough tools here to outfit 2 more CI’s :).

Vendor Client Relationship

Props to AVZONE & briremo over at integrationpros.com for making me aware of this video. I have been using restaurants in analogies for years when talking about CI work.

On the flip side… next time a CI tells a client that they wont have the project completed on time… imagine a youtube video about a waiter coming out an hour after you ordered and saying “sorry, it will be a little while longer”. And the next time you don’t deliver as promised imagine the follow up video of a waiter serving you a burger even though you ordered steak.

I guess it all boils down to beer budget & champagne taste or plain ol’ tryin to git sumthin for nuthin :).

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Plasma TV Repair Tutorial

Anyone remember the scene in Armageddon where the Russian astronaut says “American components, Russian components… All made in Taiwan” as he bangs a wrench against the computer in the space shuttle?

XBOX 360 Middle Atlantic Rack Installation

These are photos of my first XBOX 360 installation in a Middle Atlantic Rack. The emitter is hidden inside. The face plate pops off so i was able to embed the emitter without opening the XBOX 360.

XBOX Installation Front View
XBOX Installation Front View
XBOX 360 Installation Top View
XBOX 360 Installation Top View

Getting it to play nice on it shelf was easy. I have the power supply tucked to the side & the power cord tied up neatly across the back.

XBOX 360 Installation Rear View
XBOX 360 Installation Rear View

This is poor quality 🙂 video of me testing the XBOX 360 emitter installation by sending the eject command via Crestron XPanel.

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