Links for 2/17/06 – Blogs, Podcasts, Internet Radio, PSP, DVR, & Video

Technorati tags: | | | | | |

This Week In Internet Marketing – 1/24/06 – 1/27/06

Here’s a roundup of this week’s posts at my :

HDTV Buying Guide

It has been just over a year since I bought my and now I can’t imagine life without one. The picture is so crystal clear (and huge) that it almost bothers me to see movies in the theater because you see imperfections in the film in theaters (scratches and lint on the film and such) that you do not see in a purely digital high definition transmission. I rarely see movies in the theater anymore; usually only those movies that are so epic that they demand viewing on a massive theater screen.

Needless to say, playing video games on it is a treat, as well.

I have since given advice to friends on buying an high definition television and someone suggested I put it on my blog. So here it is:

My HDTV Buying Guide

HDTV Research

Considering you’re on the brink of laying down some serious scratch for your new entertainment system, you’ll no doubt want to research your purchase before committing the cash.

The best starting point I’ve found is . It will take you through the basics: What type of set you can afford; what size screen you should get; the fundamental definitions, formats, and technologies you’ll need to understand; the difference between wide-screen and 4:3; features and cable connections (with a superb chart); what to know about playing video games on your set; understanding picture quality and settings on your HDTV; and what to know about accessories and warranties.

About.com has an excellent page that ; they also have a very good home theater section.

Burn-In

You mean you could spend a ton of money on a new HDTV, only to have it completely ruined by burning a TV station logo into your screen? Theoretically, yeah, you could. But don’t completely freak out about it; a little common sense and you’re fine.

Basically, the idea is to not have a static image showing on one
portion of your screen for a long time, or that image will “burn-in”
and you’ll always have a “ghost” of it whenever you watch your TV. I
was all paranoid about it but fear has proved largely unfounded; You
just need to be responsible about how you use the set.

Don’t spend eight hours at a time playing a video game with a stationary graphical element (like a health bar) on it without changing the image once in a while. If the presidential election ever comes down to the wire like 2000 again and you’re rivited to CNN’s all-live coverage, just remember to change the channel occasionally to refresh the screen so that crawling ticker at the bottom doesn’t wreck your screen.

I admit, it freaked me out at first, too. But common sense is all you need. I have had no problems.

Read more:

Buying Refurbished

I bought a refurbished HDTV, so I’ll focus on my experience but don’t let the word "refurbished" scare you away. Refurbished can mean anything from the packaging the item was shipped in was dented and so was returned to the manufacturer but nothing at all was wrong with the item itself, or there was something wrong with the item but it was refurbished by the manufacturer to like-new working order.

Sellers of refurbished items put many safeguards in place, so you need to pay attention to their policies, but I think it’s a pretty safe process. I had no problems. The risk of buying refurbished, I think, is small but the savings benefits are significant.

There are two companies that I narrowed my purchase options down to but there are others out there that you can find when searching for “.” Those two were (because they are based in Minneapolis, so I’d presumably get my set quicker and since they are in town, if I hd any problems with the TV, it won’t be a burden contacting them in person).

Before settling on your particular set or of you’re planning on buying from an online shop, definitely check out for reviews of both the TV you’re considering or the merchant. Some of the reviews are obviously by the merchants selling the items, but most of the reviews are by people who have actually bought the product, so can see if there are any issues that you should be aware of.

I ultimately bought my TV from is and I was very happy with them; they had excellent customer service, and the TV arrived before they said it would. Their shipping service was great: Two guys brought it into my home, took it out of the box, and set it up in about five minutes.

You’ll also need to buy decent cables—everyone except people at Best Buy have told me that you don’t need to buy the obscenely expensive ; but even so, you’ll need good cables to hook up your home theater sound system, your DVD and/or VCR, your cable box, and your gaming system.

When you finally get your set, you’ll need to "calibrate" it for optimum performance. . You can buy set-up discs to optimize your TV for realistic settings (they set them at the factory to high brightness and high contrast to make the TVs look more vivid in the showrooms). I found one at Best Buy.

If you don’t already, think about subscribing to one of the premium movie cable channels like . Each of them have a high-definition channel and the movies on them are something to behold: The clarity is amazing—better than DVDs and certainly better than movie theaters that are using reels. You won’t really be getting the best out of your set if you don’t subscribe to some HDTV channels.

Movies are amazing but if you’re into sports, there’s nothing like watching a football or baseball game with the extra screen width and the surround sound picking up field noises and being able to hear hecklers in the crowd behind you.

As I said before, playing video games on an HDTV (especially if you’ve got a surround-sound Dolby 5.1 home theater setup) is an amazing experience. Needless to say, video games will only get that much better if you hook up a next-generation video game console such as the to your HDTV.

That’s what I’m talking about!

Reason 999 I Love The Internet

I love the Internet(s) so much. How much? This much:

One of the best things about the Internet is how pheonomenally easy it has made it to find new music. Then along come’s Fastboot’s music search engine to make it easy to not only find your favorite musicians/bands music online, but to play it right there on the search engine, as well.

SSSSSSSSTTTTTTTOP!

My next, and last, sentence of this post was going to be: "Very cool; try it out."

But then I went back to the site and found that the website from which the Fastboot music search application was pulling music, Radioblogclub, had disabled the search engine.

Very, very sad.

Blogging By Email

The message below I sent on Sunday, October 31. It just appeared at Blogger. So, if you blog using the email-your-blog function, don’t expect it to happen overnight.

Now I’m set. I’ve set up my blog so that I can publish via email.

I’m edging closer and closer to "Being Digital," with my new Sidekick
II.

Yesterday, I published my first blog post using the Sidekick’s browser
and it worked swimingly. The "device"–and it’s a device, not a phone,
accoding to the manual I got with it–so extremely well designed,
especially the keyboard. The front screen flips up to revel a full, if
miniature QWERTY keyboars. You hold the "device" in both hands and type
with your thumbs.

Mmmm…Technology.

Sidekick II Arrives

So I finally got my Sidekick II.

It arrived, I plugged it in to charge it. I slipped my SIM card in…a n d….it had to activate.

No problem, I guess. I could wait the hour or two I was told it would take to activate when I ordered it. But then two hors turned into five and impatient me called T-Mobile "customer care" and learned that two hours or so actually means up to 48 hours. That’s about 46 hours longer than my patience can tolerate.

Shit. I would have to wait. An entire day. You cannot possibly understand how painful that is.

So tomorrow comes (which is actually today) and I wake up and the damn phone is still "waiting to activate." Two hours later I’m at the office and still, "waiting to activate."

Jeeze.

So, of course I call "Customer Care" again and this time I actually feel like I’m being cared for: The woman recognizes that there is clearly a problem and actually sounds bound and determined to fix it.

After checking this and checking that and generally getting nowhere, she tells me to shut down my Sidekick II, pull out the SIM card, and read her the number on it.

The number is okay, so I slip it back in and turn the thing on again a n d…no more waiting to activate. I can actually do stuff. Make calls. Send email. Update my blog.

I should’ve known. When all else fails, reboot.

(Damn. I never realized there was such a thing as thumb-fatigue!)

Nokia 3650 Review

I was planning on writing an ode to my Nokia 3650 cell phone, then it looked as if I would have to write a eulogy instead but as it turns out, I am writing one of those amazing product stories that marketers would kill for.

My phone, you see, died only to be miraculously revived. Or, more precisely, my phone was killed. Murdered. Diabolically drowned.

It all stared innocently enough with my friends and I going to Champps Americana in New Brighton to watch the Vikings/49ers game. We ate, we drank, we were merry watching the Vikes kick the 9ers all over the field but then late into the fourth quarter, when the Vikings had their third-stringers on the field and our attention was more focused on things other than the game, it happened.

My friend’s wife discovered my pen, which she claimed, absent a shred of proof, to be her own. I, of course, said No you don’t. She replied by writing on my hand with my own pen. I returned the favor and before I knew it, she had seized my cell phone and was threatening to drop it into my glass of Summit.

No civilized person would do such a thing so of course I ignored her threats but, then, the next moment, there it was: My phone. In my beer. Just sitting there. Two great things that are not great together.

So I end up with her cell phone (a Nokia that looks as if it’s just been excavated from an archeological dig) while we figure out how she’s gonna replace my Nokia 3650. Adding insult to injury, I belatedly realize that she’s set her ringtone to ABBA’s Fernando. I begin to feel nostalgic for my dear departed cell phone.

I think of all the good times we had together; the things we’d been through, the moments we’d shared: All of the conversations we had, the emails we sent, the photos and videos we took together, the arcade games we played.

O Nokia 3650, you were my photo album, my life organizer, my memory. You were the first thing I heard in the morning and the last thing I set before going to bed.

So yes, I began to miss her. But, as I’m one of the super-wired class who have abandoned their land lines in favor of a sole cell phone, I knew that she had to be replaced. And soon.

So I began to research her replacement with no small degree of guilt over my extremely abbreviated mourning period. The more I looked, the more exited I got as I pursued the sexy new Sidekick II, with her sleek, elegant lines and easy communication. But then my guilt would overcome me and I’d set aside my searching…only to be drawn irresistibly back to her. I was intrigued, verging on obsession in my quest to find our more and more about her. The fact that she would not have Bluetooth technology only proved that she wasn’t perfect, making her all the more endearing. The fact that she would not be available for another month made her only that much more appealing.

Thus it went, being buffeted between despair and desire, until that by-now familiar refrain of Fernando careened across the walls and, answering my temporary Jurassic Nokia, I heard my friend’s wife on the other end:

"Hi, David."
"Hi."
"Guess what?"
"What?"
"I’m calling you from your cell phone!"

Well, there it was. My beloved Nokia 3650 had ripped off her black veil and would soon return to my life. Suddenly I was feeling a new emotion: Disappointment.

It was clear it was only a matter of time; that I’d be living a double-life, caught between residual affection and anticipated excitement. It is unfair, but I know I’ll just be marking time, counting the drawn-out days until I abandon the old for my new Sidekick.