Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I've been browsing the Net and have found some more interesting tidbits about Verizon Fios plans from CommWeb site:

Now for the clincher: Verizon will offer entertainment TV service in competition with the Incumbent CATV provider. TV will be served from the ONT over existing inside coaxial cable, where available.

The addition of TV service should help explain the otherwise odd relationship between Verizon and DirecTV.

For those of you who might have missed the announcements, Verizon has added DirecTV satellite TV service to its suite of bundled service offerings, thereby enabling Verizon to offer local, long distance, high speed Internet, wireless and, now, video service. The service was first offered in Rhode Island, will be expanded to more of New England, and is intended for all Verizon mid-Atlantic states later in the year.

Currently, this service really is nothing more than a marketing agreement that allows Verizon to represent DirecTV. Verizon expects to undercut competing packages offered by the CATV providers, who currently provide the majority of broadband Internet access services, nationwide.

Into the future, at least in my humble opinion, the relationship undoubtedly will grow to be much closer, with Verizon receiving the DirecTV video signals at a headend, multiplexing them with voice and high speed data, and delivering them over PON technology to the premises.

Well this gets more interesting by the minute. I really like DirecTV's approach and it would be great if I could just get their signal over fiber as well. I think this is really smart. In addition, Verizon has been deploying Wi-Fi in some areas that is free to access for existing users of Verizon broadband. This is just nirvana. This could be a real economic explosion here.

Comcast is going down!

Verizon broadband fiber coming to my neighborhood! While driving around my neighborhood this past week, I had been noticing quite a few Verizon trucks with large cable wheels. This piqued my interest and got me thinking this was more than just regular line maintenance. I stopped one of the workers and asked if they were installing fiber? They said yes they were installing fiber! Wow!

I had pretty much given up hope for Verizon. I actually started contacting Verizon about getting DSL service at my home in 1995. That's nearly ten years ago! To date, they still cannot supply DSL service to my home. I have read numerous articles in business mags about the supposed Verizon fiber rollout. I have been skeptical that this would ever come my way. Well, it looks like I will be proved wrong.

Doing some research on the net, I find that the Verizon broadband service is called Fios. The speeds range up to a high of 30 mbps! For less than I currently pay ($60/month) Comcast for just Internet access, I could get a bundle of services including 15 mbps Internet for under $50 a month. In addition, I understand that Verizon will also offer video services as well. I have been very happy with my DirecTV service these past seven years but I will be interested to see what Verizon offers in this area.

I remember when the trucks came through to install Comcast's fiber a few years ago. I think it was about 6 months to a year after that when the fiber was "lit" and I could get service. So, it would be possible that sometime in 2005 I could switch over to Verizon for Internet and say goodbye to Comcast. Comcast has provided such poor customer service in the past that I would switch over in heartbeat. The mistake Comcast made was it thought that because of their monopoly they could gouge their customers forever. They are about to get competition big time!

Friday, September 17, 2004

I admit it. I am addicted to talk radio and current events. Between Rush and Sean and then Fox News in the evening, I barely have time to do anything else. It's just that the news is moving so rapidly right now with the election and Memo-gate, etc.

I'm thinking of scaling back after the election. Just stop listening for a while and pursue other things. I still get 3 newspapers everyday so I won't exactly be uninformed! But, I think I do need to cut back on the talk radio. I think after the election with Bush safely re-elected, I can wind down a bit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Well, no sooner had I written about my lust for a D-SLR than this news that Pentax has now entered the budget D-SLR fray. I have an affinity for Pentax. I really like the compact size of this new model (Pentax *istDS). I definitely thought the Nikon D70 felt really big when I held it. I think I would prefer a smaller camera. I'm thinking a kit version with lens could come in as low as $800 with discounting? This would undercut the Canon 300D. Interesting times.

I got out my old Pentax Super ME 35mm film camera. Of course, I haven't shot film in 5 years. This was a trend center years ago. Maybe the *istDS will do the same in the digital era.

Apparently, *istDS will be available in November 2004.

Monday, September 13, 2004

For a while now, I have had an irrational interest in purchasing a digital SLR. Specifically, the Nikon D70. The other contender is the Canon Digital Rebel. I currently own an Pentax Optio 555 which I have been very pleased with. But, the siren song of Digital SLRs is very tempting. What to do? I keep thinking maybe there will be some price drops as competition heats up. Pentax is said to be preparing an entry D-SLR of their own. There seem to be a lot of happy users of the D70 over at DPR.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Completed upgrading to WinXP SP2 on all my computers last night using the handy CD Microsoft sent me. Everything went fine.

One tidbit I have noticed that no one as mentioned is that the color of the little WinXP loading status bar has changed from green to blue. I haven't seen anyone mention this. It can be seen on the WinXP loading splash screen. This is an easy way to tell if a system has been upgraded.

[Listening to: Limbo - Marilyn Crispell Trio - Storyteller (06:54)]

Monday, September 06, 2004

Gloomy day today. After backing up my computer yesterday, I decided to install WinXP SP2 which I received on CD the other day. All went without incident. Things seem to be running fine.

Also, finished installing various audio software updates I hadn't gotten around to. This led to the odd bit of testing the various new sampler sounds I had installed. As a result, I knocked out a new AcidPlanet tune called Crimson Jam. As the name suggests, it is "an imaginary impromptu jam between King Crimson members". I made special use of the great Chapman stick patch to get the authentic Tony Levin sound. It's a bit cacophonous but I think it hangs together well with each instrument placed distinctly in the mix. I tried out the T-Racks mastering plugin and really got a loud but clean mix. It's probably a bit overdone but I have found that to get a good sound when using the low bit WMA formats it is really necessary to have a "hot" mix going into the encoding process.

I'm kind of curious what kind of response I get from it. I think it really does sound fairly authentic.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Just installed the new WMP 10. Walt Mossberg was his usual grumpy self. I find it interesting that none of the reviews mention that the MSN music store is offering higher quality encoding levels that most other stores including Apple's. While still not up to lossless level, it is still a step in the right direction. Anyway WMP 10 has a much improved interface and now includes MP3 encoding as well. No problems so far. I'm waiting for the 40gb Creative Zen Touch before I make a decision about upgrading to a new music player. Looks like a lot of things to buy this fall.

Just got an email for the next version of Sonar - audio sequencer. Should be out about the beginning of October. I'll have to dig into what's new.