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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Stick it to the Man and Surf the Web Better!

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Because you are currently reading this, I’m going to make three assumptions…

1) You have fine taste in A/V writers.

2) You are currently alive.

3) You have a barely concealed disdain for your Internet Service Provider and would like to pay them as little as possible while retaining the maximum surfing speeds.

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Pakedge Steve: Network Tech Support Jedi Master

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (6)

We have been steadily plugging along  at our mega install job, getting all the gear racked in, terminating all the wiring, installing all the touchpanels, and programming and testing all the systems and subsystems.

All told, we have 109 Gigabit networking ports on this project. Because the entire home is going to depend so completely on the network being robust and up 100% of the time, I knew that this wasn’t something that we...

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"Simple" Things Aren't Always So Simple

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

By virtually any metric, I would consider myself a pretty tech-savvy individual. I’ve programmed multiple Control4, Lutron and URC systems. I’ve set up, configured and troubleshot so many home theater systems I couldn’t possibly keep count. I’ve also installed Escient, Kaleidescape, Sonos and almost everything in between. Point being, there aren’t too many pieces of tech I’m not totally comfortable with.

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How jacked-up is your back-up?

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

There are always lessons that can be learned from any disaster. Things like making sure that the drawer full of flashlight and radio batteries isn’t filled with batteries that have long-since been dead. Or that the “emergency candles” were replaced after that maybe-not-such-an-emergency-in-retrospect romantic candlelit bathtub session...

But after the immediate danger from the disaster has passed an...

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iPad3: 19 Wishes, Wants and Predictions

Posted on February 21, 2012 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (0)

We’re about to come into March, and that means that CES is long finished and thoroughly digested and that the tech world is now turning its collective attention deficit gaze to the next big thing. And a good chunk of the tech world is hoping that that NEXT big thing is will be a new version of the iPad.

While Apple keeps all announcements extremely close to the vest, they do have a bit of predictability in their product launc...

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Apple Care: Empowered to actually do so

Posted on November 30, 2011 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (5)

Before I disappointed virtually the entire Twitter-verse by buying a PC instead of a Mac, one of the more vocal, “You’ve just GOT to buy a Mac for the love of all that is good and holy!” proponents was one Matt Scott. One of his many – and I do mean MANY – reasons that I should join the Mac cult-of-personality was that their service and support – Apple Care – was so amazing.

Of course, computer t...

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The movie copying law-breaking conundrum

Posted on November 28, 2011 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (425)

There’s a scene from The Simpson’s where attorney, Lionel Hutz, is prepping Marge for some court trial. (I think it is the one where Homer is suing the Old Sea Captain for not getting his promised all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. “Arrrgh! Twas a beast more mouth than man!" )

Marge says, “All I did was tell the truth.” And Hutz – in classic Phil Hartmann brilliance – says, ...

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One woman's journey from Mac to PC and back again

Posted on November 3, 2011 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (6)

A couple of months ago I went through a bit of a tech upgrade dilemma; it had become time for me to buy a new laptop. My old HP had served me well for about 3 years, but after a running faceplant, sliding down the street tumble in Atlanta and a scalding coffee bath had taken their toll, I decided that with CEDIA mere days away it was time to splurge and get a new computador.

Computers are not something I really know, however, so before b...

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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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Steve Jobs: Just one more thing...

Posted on October 5, 2011 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (4)

Like many of you, I am sitting here right now trying to come to terms with the awful, awful news that Steve Jobs has passed away. (In a bit of irony that I hope Steve would appreciate, I happen to be writing this on a PC. At least until it crashes, Steve.)  I feel oddly deflated. I feel like my best friend has moved away. I feel like I have lost something that I didn’t realize just how important it was until now that it is gone. And I feel like I could just start cry...

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Don't hate me because I'm not Mac-a-ful

Posted on August 31, 2011 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (3)

Several months ago, our desktop computer -- an old HP that was the remnants of a "We're sending you the new Xbox 360 to review and Microsoft wants to make sure that you can test the Media Connect features so they are including a computer along with it" loaner that, uh, never, um, made its way back home -- took a silicon dump. I'm not really sure what happened to it. (Though if I had to venture a guess, I *might* would implicate Dana and the many, MANY coupon blogs and little in...

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Stephen Klout King

Posted on August 30, 2011 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (6)

Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, FourSquare, Blogging, kvetching, whatever you want to call it and whatever particular brand or flavor you buy into and support, all of this newfangled stuff falls under the big, new and juicy umbrella of "Social Media." And you might would think that it would be enough to just reach as many people as possible, to cast your seed to the wind, and have your ideas germinate where they may, and in turn to harvest the occasional nugget or morsel ...

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The iPad Word Processing Solution

Posted on August 29, 2011 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (4)

My brother, Adam, generously gifted me an iPad2 several months ago. I had been wanting -- and wanting -- an iPad for a while, but when the launch of the 2 was imminent, I decided to hold off. Then when it came out, our local Best Buy didn't have them in stock, and blah, blah he finally got one for me, himself, and my parents and his wife's parents. Based on usage by not only me but Dana and Lauryn, it is seriously one of the best presents I've ever received. (Also awesom...

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The Laptop Conundrum

Posted on August 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (11)

Of all the tech in my home, it is probably a close tie between my Theater System and my laptop which gets more use. On the one hand, we watch A LOT of TV and movies and listen to a bunch of music. On the other, I loves me some computer. But between the two, only one of them actually makes me money. While I’d love you all to dearly believe that I write solely for the purpose of freely titillating and amusing you all, the truth is, the majority of *real* writing is the stuf...

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Lauryn the Artist's new medium: PhotoBooth

Posted on August 15, 2011 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (2)

Lauryn the Artist is always pushing and challenging herself to find new ways to express the pent-up, ready-to-boil-over-rage of artistic expression that always seems to be ever-lurking just below the surface of that giant mount of curls and tangles which is her hair. While she has given exclusive artist interviews in the past she is generally more aloof...

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Web Down, Work Stops

Posted on August 1, 2011 at 3:44 PM Comments comments (1)

If you’re anything like me, you probably obsess over things. Things like am I getting as many new Twitter followers as fast as that other guy and are people going to think this was witty and clever enough to merit them taking the time to read and even though it looked like it was going to start pouring rain at any moment, why did I leave my windows down anyhow? Additionally, you probably also don’t give much thought to your Internet connection.

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@Twitter: Is this thing on?

Posted on July 31, 2011 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (2)

I’ve been resistant to being any more social network-ey than I already am. Beyond my blog’s NetworkedBlogs page -- which I mainly keep to allow people to Follow Me -- I don’t really have anything to do with Facebook. (Honestly, it seems like the only people that want to “Friend” me are people I’ve never even met, talked to or have any idea they ex...

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Damn! We've been robbed! And the DVR says...

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 5:18 PM Comments comments (1)

You want to know the call that you DON’T want to get at 7:56 in the morning on your day off? When you went to bed late after drinking that I-know-I-shouldn’t-but-I’m-going-to-anyhow second Manhattan? It’s the one where your installer blurts into the phone, “Dude! We got robbed! The back windows are smashed out of both the vans!”

“Huh? Wha? Vans? ROBBED?!”

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Holy Crap! I think I actually fixed it!

Posted on June 10, 2011 at 1:34 PM Comments comments (0)

We got a call the other day from a guy that was having some computer network issues. (OK, apparently we got a couple of calls from him. Turns out that one of my guys took down his initial message from the answering machine and then either A) never called him back (the customer’s story) or B) was called back and no one answered (my employee’s story) or C) called back again and got me on the phone and left a message with me to have my employee call him back and...

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Are you a Linksys or a Link-sissie?

Posted on May 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM Comments comments (1)

A couple of posts back, I told you about my home network dilemmas. And, since I never gave two-hoots OR a holler about the type/style/brand/features of my previous router, I’m guessing that goes extra-extra for most of you. (Show of hands...who even knows A) what kind of router they have and B) where it is located? Yeah. That’s what I thought.) A router is one of tho...

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