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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Top 10 Theater Design Mistakes - Part One

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Since 1998, my full-time day job has been that of custom installer, and a frequent part of that job has been working with people on the design and installation of their new home theater/media rooms. And saying that I’ve been involved in over a hundred theater installs wouldn’t be an exaggeration. I’ve also had the opportunity to go on many jobs where another “installer” did the system and the homeowner was unsatisfied with the results—a lot o...

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Translating Client-Speak for Custom Installers

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Over the years, I’ve had my share of customers that used odd vernacular to describe things that I had to interpret what they were actually trying to say. One client called up complaining that his monitor wasn’t working. “Monitor?” I asked. “You mean the TV?” “No, not my TV, my monitor.” “Which TV are we talking about?” “My monitor! Not TV, Monitor!” We went back and forth for several minutes before I was ab...

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Seriously, Does Anyone Actually Use LinkedIn?

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (2)

As I write this, I am clicking “accept” from the “so and so has indicated you are a friend and wants to be a connection” thing on LinkedIn. This brings my total number of connections to well over 500+ (I think 823 is the actual number). Of that, the overwhelming majority have indicated they want to “connect” with me because we are “friends.” In actuality, I have never heard of 90% of these people.

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Keep it Quiet - What You Need to Know About Soundproofing

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (2)

When you think about home theater sound, you generally think big and loud with Jurassic Park-level seismic subwoofer activity. But sometimes what’s happening on the other side of your theater walls is just as important. Maybe it’s a baby or spouse sleeping. Or a neighbor not interested in hearing the dwarves take back the mines of Moria. Or maybe it's just Mr. Yunioshi sick and tired of all that late-night racket by Miss Horry Gorightry. And that’s when...

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Here Be Imperial Stouts of the Blackest Three

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s true, I’m not much into beers that don’t have I, P and A in the title. Well, that’s not totally true. I like to think that I’m open to a great beer in whatever style it comes. You got a great blueberry ale, I’m gonna try it. You got a good Boch, I’ll drink down those hearty and bready malts with the best of them. And I’m really starting to get into Belgian Triple and other styles.


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Kaleidescape: This Download Store is now fully operational!

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (2)

A little over four months ago, Kaleidescape unveiled an industry leading download store that offers Kaleidescape owners a revolutionary way to add content to their systems, by easily browsing and purchasing movies that automatically downloaded to their systems. Kaleidescape installed a fiber link between its Sunnyvale facility and its data center ...

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Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA - 1 year later

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

You may recall that exactly a year ago yesterday I posted my drinking notes on Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA. My summary was that it was – clears throat – “Like drinking a hammer.”

Dennis Burger also provided that review with some wonderful color commentary in the form of t...

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WTF? CEDIA Invites Nest CEO as Keynote Speaker?!?

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Like many of you, I received a postcard from CEDIA the other day getting me pumped for the 2013 EXPO.

Honestly, not much pumping is required. I love the EXPO. And by “love” I mean I frickin’ love the EXPO

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Why the PRIMA Cinema Model IS the Future

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Judging from the interest in my first post on Prima Cinema (“I’ve Beheld the Future”, currently the most popular story to date on Theo Kalomirakis’ website, Theo’s Roundtable) I thought I would circle back to the topic.

First, if y...

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Why You Should Embrace Black Bars

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Since the dawn of man, few things have united us spindly bipeds like our common, loathsome, blind-rage hatred for black bars in our video. Black…frickin’…bars?!  Instead of the movie?!? How dare they?! HOW…DARE…THEY?!?

This is America where we want more of things, not less. We want 244-ounce sodas with unlimited refills, and hamburgers with numerous patties and covered in enough sauce and cheese ...

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Tracking the Mega Job: Part 1: Spec Out

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (22)

We recently landed the biggest project in our company’s 18 year history – both in physical size of the home and in financial scope of the job – and I thought I would start a multi-part blog post chronicling the project over the next several months, the decisions I made in system design, the proposal process, the prewire, trim out and installation.

I have a feeling that many readers out there have custom install shops lik...

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Why Apple's Advice is Right and Wrong for Us

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

When I come across a quote that I find especially meaningful or poignant in magazines or books that I’m reading, I write it down – or take a picture of it – so I can remember it.

In reading an extensive interview with Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, in the December 10-16, 2012 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, I stumbled across this quote from Apple’s new CEO:

A gre...

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Thanks for the 800. And counting...

Posted on April 15, 2013 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (4)

Thank you.

It’s such a simple thing to say, but one that a lot of people find it difficult to muster.

So, thank you…

I started this little journey/descent into madness a little over three years ago with a rather uninspired first post about coming home fro...

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A Video Walk-thru of My Home Theater

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (1)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I think the next big boom won’t be having home theaters in dark, secluded dedicated rooms but in the large, open, multi-purpose family and great rooms many homes have.

After talking about the home theater system in my family room, I thought there would be nothing better than to...

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How to Sell High-End Soundbars

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Last month I wrote a post titled, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the soundbar,” a play on the Dr. Strangelove title. That post detailed all of the reasons why I used to be prejudiced towards soundbars, and why we didn’t really capitalize on that segment of the market. But our company finally came around and realized...

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My Home Theater System - The Gear in My Rack

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (3)

A recent blog post I wrote titled "The Death of the Dedicated Room" got me talking about my family room home theater system.

I’ll be honest, when I installed it, I felt like installing a theater in my family room was a compromise. I really wanted a dedicated room to house my system, but, well, I could eit...

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The Death of the Dedicated Theater Room

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

(To be honest, I think a better, more accurate title would be “The Rise of the Multi-use Space,” but that’s not nearly as eye-grabby . . .)

When my wife and I went shopping for our first home years ago, I looked at each space with an eye toward not how we would live in the house, nor which would offer the best resale value, nor how much natural light would we get in the space. No. All of those thing...

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Sampler Adams -- Brewer, Packager

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (6)

I’ve had my share* of beers at this point. And you get to a point that when you roam the aisles of your local grocery stores, liquor stores and beer emporiums you find yourself running out of new things to try. Especially when the city you live in has both Myrtle and Beach in the title and is often referred to as “the Redneck Riviera.”

(* Many would say I’ve had more tha...

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Give the People What They Want

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (1)

When you think about it, we custom integrators work in a strange industry… An industry unlike any other.

 Often we encounter people that not only aren’t sure exactly what it is we do, but also aren’t sure they even want or need what we offer. This is a dynamic pretty much unlike any other shopping/buying experience.  

As an example, consider a typical purchasing encounter...

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PRIMA Cinema: Hollywood Inside Your House

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Most people love movies. And since you are currently reading a tech site, I’m going to assume that you are probably more a movie lover than most people. But while people love movies, what they don’t love so much is the experience of actually going to the movies. Take your pick from the many possible reasons: Inconvenience, poor performance, the glaring red EXIT light that shines on the screen like a vengeful Overlord, the floors sticky with food and DN...

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