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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

And now, for the main event...

Posted on April 30, 2010 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (3)


Perhaps eating virtually nothing ALL day and then gorging down a 28-ounce porterhouse night cap is not the BEST way to finish a day. At least, that’s what I was thinking as I awoke to “fire down below, Jim!” distress calls from my stomach following my giant meal at Morton’s.

Now, say what you will about the Mayflower hotel – lame TV, no WiFi, spider colonies in the bed – but I really like their minty-fresh shampoo and conditi...

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On the ground in DC

Posted on April 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM Comments comments (6)

Leaving Reagan airport, I’m immediately struck by the fact that I *should* have checked the weather before leaving Myrtle. Just because it is sunny and awesome and 75 in Myrtle Beach does not mean diddly for anywhere else. So, it is in the low 50s and very windy. Fortunately I have a short wait before the driver picks me up and whisks me off to my hotel, the Mayflower,


I check into the hotel and, while it is impressive from the outside and the location is pretty choic...

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Traveling to DC

Posted on April 28, 2010 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (2)

So, this moment in time finds me back at the Charlotte airport, waiting for my next flight on to DC. Once again I (shockingly) received an upgrade to First Class, seat 2F. Certainly a different/better experience at the front of the plane. I’m not in my seat 30 seconds when the flight attendant asks if I’d like her to hang up my coat (yes) and would I care for anything to drink (yes). So, enjoying my Caligula-like excesses armed with a coffee and orange juice I settle in for the 33...

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Slow news day...

Posted on April 27, 2010 at 6:16 PM Comments comments (1)

OK. I know that (a small-small minority of) you've all come to expect a daily dose of the wit and wisdom which is me, but this has been a *super* busy day, and I've been unable to cram in the creative time required to work something up. Yes, it sucks, but some days I actually DO have to work.

I'm off to Washington, DC tomorrow morning for an event with Lutron. Not entirely sure what the event is -- a Smithsonian induction I think. If you are asking yourself why they wa...

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I want an F9 button!

Posted on April 26, 2010 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (6)

There is a relatively new Web phenomenon on the scene known as Chat Roulette. If you’ve never heard of it – Hi, mom! – it is basically a service that randomly puts your computer in touch with other computers from around the world for a little live, video chatting. But, if you are expecting to use Chat Roulette as a means of finding like minded folk for a high-brow, intellectual sharing of ideas and philosophic discussion on the meaning of life, well, don’t.


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Will consult for food/free

Posted on April 24, 2010 at 9:22 PM Comments comments (9)

While it has been described as being both “three sizes too small” and “cold and black” my heart has *yet* to be called “less.” Growing up outside of San Francisco and Berkeley – where you would literally have to step over young, able-bodied people asking for “a little change, man?” or where people try and take the food off your plate while you’re still eating – it is impossible NOT to become a little calloused to people pan-han...

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Top 10 List: WORST Films Edition

Posted on April 23, 2010 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (12)

Watching movies is a real passion/hobby/time waster in our house, and when you cycle enough films through your Netflix queue, you're gonna uncover what you thought was a  diamond but that turn out to be a chunk of stool. We watched a REAL dud of a movie the other night, and in honor of that I thought I would revisit the Top 10 movie list once again; this time with a far less controversial WORST movies.  Like the best movies, when it comes to the worst movies yo...

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Pew-Pew! What does a silenced weapon *really* sound like?

Posted on April 22, 2010 at 3:04 PM Comments comments (14)

As I’ve mentioned previously, this season of 24 has been just one shameful, long, tediously unbelievable train wreck. I’m still watching, but now it’s with the same amount of enthusiasm of a self-hating fattie that is just trying to complete the task of making it to the bottom of that gallon container of ice cream so they can move on to the shame phase of the ...

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I say "No!" to Nu

Posted on April 22, 2010 at 11:51 AM Comments comments (2)

As an A/V dealer, you generally deal with reps that fall into three distinct categories; the ones that NEVER call or come by, the ones that you dread coming by (I have this one who I have told point blank, "Do NOT come by here without calling me. I see you pull up unannounced, I get angry and I will NOT have time for you."), and the ones that you build a personal relationship with and that you welcome a visit.


We’re fortunate enough to have one of the best...

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Yes. I'm sure. It's your cable box. (Cable TV rant 2)

Posted on April 21, 2010 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (2)

The 100th episode of Friends had a great interchange between Joey and a doctor. The doctor is reading an X-ray and diagnoses Joey as having kidney stones. Of course, Joey has none of it. The dialog went something like this:

“Mr. Tribiani. I’m afraid you’ve got kidney stones.”

“Uhhh…. Well, what else could it be?”

“It’s kidney stones.”


“Kidney stooones.”


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I do not mean to generalize... (Cable TV rant #1)

Posted on April 21, 2010 at 2:49 PM Comments comments (0)

There was a particularly terrific Saturday Night Live skit back in the early 90s called "The Arakawa Group." It was a very McLoughlin Group-esque how, except set in Japan, which of course made it instantly funnier.  During the skit, this group of salary men sat around ranting against America. Basically how hard they work and how fit they are compared to, you know, us. One of the great lines from the skit was, “We would rike to apologize for saying all Americans are fat and r...

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More Bits. More Resolution. More Music. More Love.

Posted on April 20, 2010 at 4:47 PM Comments comments (2)

While cotton *may* be the fabric of our lives, music is definitely the soundtrack of mine. From the moment I wake up, there is a near steady stream of music filling my day. My first move out of the Tempur Pedic cocoon is towards whatever housewide audio system is currently in residence (Russound’s unique audio-over-powerline Collage at present). I fire it up, select a Rhapsody channel, and enjoy some tunes while I shower and dress for work. It’s the iPod in the car on the way in t...

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Barnes & Noble Nook: Meet my Cranny

Posted on April 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (4)

Previously, I have questioned the need/existence ofAmazon’s eBook reader, Kindle. (My Kindle rant is here.) Admittedly, my Kindle apathy is without a lot/any actual first hand knowledge,just a general sense of “Whuh?” I don’t own a Kindle, haven’t played with a Kindle, and my longest contact with a Kindle has been a 3 hour plane ride next to someone who owned one. (However,...

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Battle Royale: Home Theater vs Swimming Pool

Posted on April 17, 2010 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (4)

Today was one of those just *perfect* days in Myrtle Beach. A day where the humidity struck a perfect balance with the temperature to create weather that just feels imperceptible on your skin. The only way to know that you aren’t floating in some languid pool of body-temp water is the occasional light breeze that just barely tussles your hair. So, I was enjoying this fine day sitting in a swing out by our pool, continuing the Herculean task of trying  to plow through Stephen King&#...

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3D hates babies, old people and drunks

Posted on April 15, 2010 at 5:09 PM Comments comments (0)

The techno juggernaut which is 3D might have just met its first road block, which it probably will roll right over and then film with exagerrated depth and forced perspective. Samsung released news on its site today  with instructions *clearly* written by a native English speaker entitled "Viewing TV using the 3D function. (official Samsung link here)


Let's just say that not all the news out of 3D land is...

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Big Pimpin' the Runco Way

Posted on April 15, 2010 at 12:23 PM Comments comments (1)

Well, I’m back on a plane heading home from my quick – not even 24 hour – stay in Fort Lauderdale. Once again inexplicably upgraded to one of the comfortable, big seats at the front of the plane, enjoying a pre-flight coffee that would be a tired, brown brew anywhere else but is somehow magically delicious when enjoyed in seat 2D. (Actually, with my railing against 3D, I couldn’t be in a more apropos seat! 2D, get it?! Actually I will level one criticism about the firs...

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The Garage Theater

Posted on April 15, 2010 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

My high school friend and occasional commenter, Craig, sent me an e-mail a few days ago asking if I had ever done any stories on baby-proofing your home theater. (I actually have done a column on it for S+V shortly after Lauryn was born.) And while this is something that I plan on revisiting here in the future, I knew the perfect person to ask to step up and handle the first guest blog spot: my friend Dan. You see, Dan is much like my Obi-Wan; older, wiser, and less in-tune with the ...

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Coffee technology on the road

Posted on April 14, 2010 at 1:31 PM Comments comments (3)

Today finds me jet-setting off to luxurious Fort Lauderdale, Florida where I’ll be attending an event this afternoon to experience Runco’s new Window Wall TV system. (Thanks to Lauren at Caster Comm for the hook-up! And thanks to US Air for the bump to First Class! Oh, seat 1A, you make me want to be a better man!) Also excellent is that Runco is putting me up in a hotel that starts with “Trump” instead of my usual “Econo,” “Sleep,” or “Da...

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No... Wait... Seriously? Are you retarded?

Posted on April 13, 2010 at 4:14 PM Comments comments (2)

Since the economic slowdown, our company, like many custom installation firms, has broadened our cast net as regards the kinds of installations that we are embracing. Where in the past we could count on a schedule that was filled with giant, multi-day, extensive prewires and elaborate home theater build-outs, these days we get a lot of “Can you mount the Vizio Ibought at Costco?” and “Can you hook-up my new Blu-ray?”


Of course, any new job is A) a m...

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DVR, I love you! I hate you!

Posted on April 12, 2010 at 4:01 PM Comments comments (0)

They say that the more you love something, the more power it has to hurt you. And nowhere is this truer than in my relationship with my Scientific Atlanta cable DVR.


Now, I’ve had a chance to live with and review several other DVR options:TiVo, Moxi and PCs running Windows MediaCenter. (I’ll be revisiting this again soon as I review a new Win7 powered MediaCenter PC.) So, it is with a good bit of experience that I declare the interface offered by my SA box as e...

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