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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Well played, Mike! Well played!

Posted on June 10, 2010 at 5:19 PM

In the past, when I had some brilliant bit of industry insight or some biting criticism, my only outlet was Dana. And, as long suffering as she is – and after being married to me for 15 years, I’ll leave it to your imagination to determine the exact ratio of “long” to “suffering” – there are only so many times that she wants to hear something about the electronics’ industry. (For the record, that number of times is one. After one, it is feigned interest, then barely disguised indifference, then “are we still talking about that?”)


However, this blog has given me the perfect mountain from which to dispense my years of wisdom, commendation and complaint about the industry. And from that mountain, I’ve shouted criticisms that are both constructive (Kaleidescape where's your Blu-ray? Escient is iPod killing you? (Answer---YES!)) and disparaging (NuVision your TV is crazy expensive, B&O your TV makes NuVision look like a Wal-Mart scandown). And while it is one thing to take jabs at a company, sometimes you forget that there can be someone on the other end taking those jabs. I was reminded of this when Kaleidescape’s CEO, Michael Malcolm, personally responded to my post, and then called me to offer his “suggestions” for *improving* my review.  (He took exception with a couple of things I wrote.)


But, it’s always terrific when someone reads something you’ve written and they take it in stride and then reply, and show a bit of humor along the way. And that’s what happened today when I got an e-mail from Mike “Sparky” Detmer. Now Mike is Niles Vice President of Sales and Marketing. I had a wonderful dinner with Mike in Atlanta last year when he took me to a sushi bar called Magic Fingers. (And, despite the name, there is absolutely nothing gay about this place. A couple of guys hanging out at a place called Magic Fingers and enjoying a happy ending of orange and kiwi slices at the end of the meal is the most natural and hetero thing imaginable.)  Mike picked me up and said, "Let's just have fun. No business talk!" setting the table for a great night. What I didn't know was that Mike is a full on gourmand -- though he'll midly protest the idea, all the while telling you about which restaurants are on the must-eat list in ANY city you mention -- and he handles a sushi menu like he's tuning up a stradivarius. (He ordered us REALwasabi that is made tableside by rubbing a wasabi root -- from Japan -- against a shark skin. The taste is rich and creamy and about as different from the green glob of wasabi you normally get as a a Chateau Margaux would be from wine sold by the jug.)

So, I *like* Mike. He's, as we'd say in the south, Good People. But, for those who missed it, I wrote a something about Niles a few weeks ago (here is the story.... I think it's quite funny if you missed it.) that perhaps wasn't the most positive thing. In fact, I compared the company to the, uh, Titanic. And as you can assess from the title, (“She ain’t theTitanic but she looks to be listing”) it was not the most optimistic outlook about Niles' future.


So, I received a message from Mike today wanting to know if I wanted to review an upcoming product, an advancement to their GXR2 system called the IM-NET card that will aggregate all of your networked music, iTunes library, Internet radio and eventually offer Pandora and Rhapsody. I’d not spoken to Mike since I wrote my little missive, and didn’t even know if he’d seen it. And he made no mention of it in his message. But,  the message’s subject was “Message from the Titanic.” Game on!


So, I replied:


Subject: Re: Message from the Titanic


Ahhhh....good to hear that the ship is still righted!  :-)


Hope you weren't (too) offended by the post.


And here is his reply:


If you weren’t such a darn good writer I’d have been upset. But I loved the post (especially the European vacation stick) and frankly want to prove to you and the world that Niles is still the ship to cruse on. A good way to do that is to show you our new digital music platform that will début in the IM-Net. [Other products mentioned that I removed because, well, I'm not sure if this forward looking info was meant for the world. But, it sounds very promising and cool!]

BTW as you might guess I still do keep in touch with Frank. He is my best friend and I miss discussing work with him but we communicate via phone and e-mail about his travels. He just left Italy for France. So I’ll be sure to let you know what he says going from Fiats to Peugeots is all about.



Edward Smith


A class reply. And MANY extra points for the “Edward Smith” signature. (I'll save you the Google searching and just tell you that he was the captain of that ill-fated ocean liner.) So, good to hear that the ship is still afloat and on course to good, new things! Here's to calm winds, following seas and no icebergs in your path!



Categories: June 2010, Electronics

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Reply Jeremy Glowacki
1:43 PM on June 11, 2010 
Frank and Sparky are true class acts and Sparky handled this with his typical charm and humor. Loved the original post, BTW. I'd missed it earlier, and also really love the European Vacation bit. Classic... Also appreciated the Bad Idea Jeans reference; that's one of the best SNL faux commercials ever.
Reply John Sciacca
2:13 PM on June 11, 2010 
Thanks, Jeremy. Niles is an industry staple -- and we are a dealer! -- so it is good to see that they've got a good course charted. Also, I should have posted that my Wednesday night is still free at CEDIA this year if he wants to get together and discuss it further over more fresh wasabi! :-)
Reply Jeremy Glowacki
2:19 PM on June 11, 2010 
My two best sushi experiences were with Sparky and Frank. I thought I knew everything about raw fish until I ate with them.
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