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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Some is bad. But some is good too.

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

At this point, I have been in this business a fair length of time...


I started with Custom Theater and Audio in 1998, three years after the company was founded, and at 14+ years in this industry, that makes me somewhat of a veteran. And in that time, I’ve experienced quite a few fairly significant changes to the industry.


When I started, people would ask what I did for work and I'd say, R...

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The W: Why? What went wrong? Wanked! Wendy's!

Posted on April 25, 2012 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (7)

Last night found me taking the family out to dinner. And, well, not a nice dinner, mind you, but a dinner all the same. We met at Wendy’s before attending a religious service at 7:00.


Lauryn was thrilled because she could get chicken nuggets and fries – tan colored food; a child’s best friend!


Dana was at least 51% excited by the prospect because it meant that she wouldn’t h...

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Yo no understando...

Posted on April 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

A couple of weeks ago a woman called our shop. I happened to be out when she called so one of my installers took the message. She wanted to see about adding a surround system to her TV and wanted someone to come out and take a look at her home. 


I didn’t get back to her that day – I know, that’s bad on me. You should REALLY return all calls by the end of the day, even if just to say, “I will have to call you ...

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Monster HDMI PR For/Against

Posted on April 4, 2012 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

We have inherited this one project that has turned out to be a real he said/he said cluster between the homeowner and the builder.


When it came to the home’s audio distribution system, Mr. Homeowner apparently told the builder that he “had a guy” that was going to design and specify the audio and networking system and then the builder was supposed to implement all of these plans. Builder says that “the guy” s...

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Kaleidescape Verdict: IT IS SO ORDERED!

Posted on March 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Updated! Scroll to bottom for new update 5:20 PM, March 15, 2012


That booming sound you may have heard yesterday was the echoing ripple of a bit of your electronic freedom and innovation being smashed under the heavy-handed gavel of Judge William J. Monahan of the California Superior Court.


As I wrote several weeks ago in my

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New = Sweet Deal! Old = Suck it, Trebek!

Posted on February 29, 2012 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)

There is a frequent phenomena in business where by we focus all or much of our attentions on attracting NEW business through offers and promotions and discounts and deals. Things like, "Sign up today and get a free this!" But, what if you signed up yesterday? Or last month? Or a year or two ago? What do these "rewards" for new Johnny-come-lately-customers say to our existing, loyal and faithful client base? Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

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DVD CCA 1, Kaleidescape and Innovation 0

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. B...

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Duped. Almost.

Posted on January 4, 2012 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (2)

In retrospect, I can’t believe I didn’t just hang up on the girl. Perhaps it was slow, perhaps I was bored, perhaps I was just curious, perhaps I was feeling some end-of-the-year goodness in my three-sizes-too-small heart. I’m not really sure. But either way, I didn’t hang up and I really only have myself to blame for the waste of time that resulted from it. After all, she violated several of my “

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Seven Customer Red Flags

Posted on December 9, 2011 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (4)

Often times after some heinous crime has come to light, neighbors will start slowly coming forward. You know. They’ll talk about the guy like, “Oh, that Norm. He was a great guy. Ideal neighbor. Kept to himself, always picked up his dog poop, kept the yard nice and tidy. I really had NO idea that he was collecting human heads in his freezer and knitting a giant skin suit.”


Then after a few more minu...

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Thanks, dad! You made me an ant!

Posted on December 3, 2011 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (2)

Remember that old Aesop fable about the ants and the grasshopper? (Or, for you modern, hipper readers, the Pixar retelling, A Bug’s Life.) The ants, they’re a hard working bunch; they’re out all day in the fields, sweating or whatever it is that ants do under the hot sun, harvesting and gathering and storing up food and working and bragging about who got to service the Queen more and biting the heads off of non-tribe member ants. Then there’s the ...

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Truth in Billing

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (1)

I dealt with an issue last week that seemed to ultimately boil down to an unwinnable, lose-lose outcome for me. I could either dig in because I was right, or give in to appease a customer. And afterwards while going over everything and having a reflective, “What can we learn from this?” moment, I’m still not totally sure. While I was reminded of the importance of some things that I should have already known and should have done, the ultimate R...

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How to NOT apply for a job

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (3)

The job market is tough right now; I totally get that. If you’ve got a job, you’re probably pretty thrilled about it, and are doing what you can to hold on to it; no matter how dark and dusty that coal mine you work in happens to be. And if you don’t have a job, you’re probably pretty highly motivated to go out there and get one. Or, join a local Occupy protest. You know, whatever you think is the best choice for you.


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Can technology actually encourage UN-green behavior?

Posted on November 8, 2011 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (5)

Many tech writers – myself included – have written about how the magical wonders and powerful power of automation can transform otherwise ignorant, soulless and bent-on-destroying-the-planet homeowners into green, energy conserving, happy, cookie-making elves. We’ve waxed poetic about how every kWh saved somehow means another field of Fair Trade coffee beans magically springing up in a new, evergreen Colombian field and also accounts for ...

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Sony Battery: The 8th time is the charm

Posted on October 9, 2011 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (3)

At the risk of unleashing a tidal wave of “I told ya so!” and “Shoulda bought a Mac!” comments, I’m going to admit that all has not been totally prancing unicorns,  pots o' gold and sparkly rainbows in the land of my new Sony Vaio laptop purchase.


(Pauses to allow the uproarious “BWA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAA!” from Matt, Chris, Richard, Bradford and Pat to die down.)


...

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Netflix's Latest Flick-up

Posted on September 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (7)

I woke up this morning to find a message from Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, in my in box. I’m guessing that many of you received the same e-mail. And while the subject line of the message was “An Explanation and Some Reflections” and was meant to address their previousl little e-mail missive, and while the letter started of...

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Designers. Ugh!

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (2)

Prior to working at Custom Theater and Audio, I don’t believe I ever had any real world encounters with any interior designers. I mean, I’m sure I passed some of them in the grocery store – probably wondering why I felt that weird, cold, spinal shiver as I traversed their wake – or something but I never had any occasion to actually avail myself of their services.


Growing up, my dad was not one to pay others for

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What a frickin' cluster!

Posted on August 26, 2011 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (2)

While I’d certainly like to build up my profession as a custom installer and make it seem like what I do is SO difficult and strenuous and mentally taxing and requiring brain-surgeon-level-expertise, the truth is, most times, it really isn’t. There is way more monotony of "Black wire to black connection, red wire to red connection..." than any real rocket science.


Sure there are those daunting times when you walk onto a new 12...

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How to handle He Who Seeks Free Knowledge?

Posted on August 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I had a pretty typical experience of becoming the World Wide Web showroom a few days ago. I got a phone call that starts off, “I got my bill in the mail. You said it would be $60, and it was $75.”


I want to say, “Hey! You're talking to me all wrong… It's the wrong tone. You do it again and I'l...

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Double barrel blast of Irritating!

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (5)

Today started off seemingly normal and innocent enough. Got up at a reasonable 8:30, quick check of the e-mail on the iPad, fed the Nut Guy (Lauryn’s guinea pig, Nutsy) a carrot, turned on the super automatic coffee maker, jumped in the shower. You know, things off to a pretty routine start. But then, click-clack, BOOM! Drama starts.


First Barrel: The Internets


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Why you don't want me in charge: Handicap Parking

Posted on July 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM Comments comments (5)

At the risk of being offensive, which, I admit, is something I risk each day that I get out of bed, I’m going to address something that has bugged me for years.


Living a scant two miles from a Super Wal-Mart – what I’ve been told (and totally believe) is one of the 10 busiest in the entire chain – I often find myself driving round and round the asphalt jungle searching for a parking space. And...

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