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technology

Hearing the world like never before!

For the first time... in my entire life really... I can hear like most normal folks. All through life I've had a pretty significant hearing loss due to essentially dying when I was born. The cord wrapped around my neck as I was being delivered, thus I was a blue baby when I came out. My ears turned out fine, but the nerves that carry the sound to the brain were damaged. I essentially have a 40% hearing loss, especially on the low end of sound range.Well, thanks to the constant persistence of my lovely wife, yesterday I became the proud owner of two brand new digital hearing aids. I feel like i'm starting my life all over again! I cannot believe not only how much I was missing, but just how amazing digital hearing aid technology is today.What's incredible about these things is they no longer have a volume control. They auto compress loud sounds and turn up in quiet settings. So instead of just everything around me getting 50% louder, only the immediate area around me is raised up while everything else is normal. And anything that's loud is just reduced to normal level.  They're just like some of those really expensive microphones we all see in the magazines.

So if any of you have a hearing loss, or know someone who has one and they're resisting hearing aids, encourage them to get a test. These things are just awesome and very comfortable. Oh and if you want to save some money, I got mine at Costco believe it or not!



Posted by: walter biscardi on Oct 23, 2008 at 6:28:19 pmComments (5) technology, family, health care

Homeland Security wants your laptop. NOW.

Traveling anytime soon into or out of the United States? Homeland Security is now authorized to detain your laptop for a "reasonable amount of time" with absolutely no warrant and no suspicion whatsoever. From MSNBC.com today:

WASHINGTON - Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Wow, can't wait to travel out of the country again sometime soon. This is just getting ridiculous.

Full story:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25960741/



Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 14, 2008 at 6:50:57 am politics, technology, travel, future the

Wireless HD to your TV

Sony and Samsung announce a wireless HD signal that would send HD signals to multiple TV's in your home from a single box. But Sony is also involved in another effort to achieve the same goal. Wonder if the signals will ever been good enough for smaller Post houses like mine to send signals wirelessly to our production monitors. that would be pretty cool actually!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25805359/



Posted by: walter biscardi on Jul 23, 2008 at 8:10:27 am hd, television, entertainment, technology

Apple iPhone or Samsung Instinct?

Well Samsung has released the supposed "iPhone killer" and I've wondered how it stacks up to the newly released iPhone 2.0.   Fortunately for all of us, MSNBC has done a really nice head to head comparison of the two.  In the end, they both work well, but the one thing I was surprised about is that the "live Sprint TV" they advertise in the ads is not entire shows, just snippets of shows.   And the comparison of the screen brightness and clarity is pretty impressive.

Anyway, really good reading for anyone thinking about one or the other.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25675823/ 



Posted by: walter biscardi on Jul 15, 2008 at 7:22:26 am apple, technology, iphone

Aharon Rabinowitz on NPR!

I've found out that our very own Aharon Rabinowitz is now doing occassional Technology reports for NPR! How exciting is that?! He's done one report and hopefully this will lead to many more. As someone who has gained a LOT of knowledge from this guy with all his After Effects tutorials and training, I want to congratulate him on this latest achievement. Hopefully this is just the first of many reports we can expect to hear from Aharon.

Congratulations buddy!!!

For those who haven't heard his first report yet,

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18617289

 



Posted by: walter biscardi on Feb 5, 2008 at 9:38:50 am apple, technology, adobe

DiscMakers Medley a so-so DVD Replicator / printer

For those of you who followed my blog about the issues with the Primera Bravo II DVD Replicator printer, you know that I purchased a DiscMakers Medley unit to replace it.

http://blogs.creativecow.net/node/330

Well, while DiscMakers claimed the print quality of this unit would be equal to the Bravo II, in reality it isn't. This is disappointing because they both feature the same printing unit from Lexmark. The difference appears to be in the Bravo II drivers as there are many more options available to the user to achieve incredibly sharp text and good solid colors. What was printed as a solid color on the Bravo II is a mottled mess on the Medley as it is just not capable of printing a very tight dot pattern, even at the 4800dpi print setting. And this is using the exact same 300dpi TIF image and exact same DVD stock that was originally printed on the Bravo II so we're comparing apples to apples here.

On the upside, the Medley does reproduce the correct colors on the disc from the original file with minimal tweaking. That was a major issue with the Bravo II as we would have to throw the colors and shading out of whack in order to get acceptable color results on the Bravo II.

As a straight replicator, the Medley performs as expected, absolutely no issues there. But if you are looking for a very high print quality, this definitely would not be your unit. Print quality is decent, but not something you would want to present to demanding clients. 

http://www.discmakers.com/duplicators/automated/Medley.asp 



Posted by: walter biscardi on Jan 29, 2008 at 5:21:25 amComments (2) editing, dvd, apple, technology, adobe, final cut pro, bluray, hd dvd

Pulling your Internet Connection for too much use!

So MSNBC.com has a story about Comcast pulling the accounts of internet users who "hog too much bandwith." Wait a minute. How many of you have seen those ads on TV or in your magazines / newspapers?

Cable offers you Unlimited Access. High Speed. Downloads 50% faster than dial-up. And so on.

But now if you actually try to use too much of these services, you might get cut off. Comcast says they're trying to make sure everyone can access the internet properly. Well, then either improve your bandwith capabilities or make it VERY CLEAR what you are and are not allowed to do each month on the internet.

"Unlimited Access" apparently doesn't truly mean "unlimited." If there are going to be restrictions on internet access, then they need to be very clear about this. Don't advertise that you have the 'fastest connection available for unlimited downloads' and such if you're not going to support that.

What's going to happen when folks really start downloading feature films for products such as Apple TV? Two movies and your account is suspended? Maybe community-wide Wi-Fi is going to be a better answer to the Cable companies? Would be interesting to see how that develops.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20633771/ 



Posted by: walter biscardi on Sep 7, 2007 at 3:51:01 am entertainment, apple, technology, family, web

500 hours to an unlocked iPhone

When I was 17 and it was summer, that generally meant lazy days out by the pool with friends. For George Holz, it was 500 hours to unlock an iPhone so it can run on any carrier, not just AT&T. The times they are a changin!

Along with a secretive group of online collaborators, the 17-year-old broke the restrictions that make Apple Inc.'s iPhone, arguably the hottest gadget of the year, work only on AT&T Inc.'s cellular network.

The feat took him 500 hours, or about 8 hours a day since the iPhone's June 29 launch. The equipment used included a soldering iron and a large supply of Red Bull energy drinks.

Full Story: http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/stories/2007/08/24/IPhoneUnlocked_0824.html

According to the article, George took an AP reporter's T-Mobile SIM card, placed it into the iPhone and was able to place calls on the T-Mobile network. I think this kid is going to have a great career in the technology sector!

You can buy the phone or get more info on his blog: http://www.iphonejtag.blogspot.com/



Posted by: walter biscardi on Aug 26, 2007 at 11:24:54 amComments (5) entertainment, apple, technology, iphone

Harry Potter in 3D IMAX, um sort of......

I was really looking forward to seeing the new Harry Potter film in IMAX next week and even the fact that they had digitally enhanced it into 3D wasn't all that disappointing. Until I read an article about how once again, as they did in Superman Returns, only approx. 20 minutes of the film is actually in 3D. The finale.

So I'm going to skip the IMAX presentation because quite honestly, putting on 3D glasses at the end of a film (on cue) will simply break the experience for me. Either make a film in 3D or don't. I'm not going to justify a $12 - 15 IMAX 3D ticket when only 10% of the film is actually IN 3D.

Very disappointing for me when IMAX pulls a stunt like this. We've seen about 8 films in IMAX now with Batman Returns, Harry Potter and several Disney films just being flat out amazing on that screen with the sound system. The films are just so amazing in regular IMAX presentation they really don't need to junk up the show with a gimmick.



Posted by: walter biscardi on Jul 12, 2007 at 3:58:43 am movies, entertainment, apple, technology, family

Sprint supports Mac OS 10 for Wireless Broadband

So I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a fan of the Blackberry. Really don't need that thing strapped to my waist at all times so I can answer an email at a moment's notice. Don't want to deal with that little tiny keyboard and besides, better than half the emails I recieve require some sort of document to be sent back to the recipient, which resides on my laptop.

My wife convinced me to take some needed time off and we traveled to the Pittsburgh area for a great visit with her grandparents. They live in a small, very rural town outside the city and have absolutely no internet connectivity. Connection to the internet and email is critical to my business success and even being away, I had to be able to connect with the office, vendors and clients.

Now in researching wireless broadband for my spiffy MacBook Pro laptop, I quickly learned that almost nobody supports the Mac platform with the express 34 cards. Sure the cards were out there, but no carrier was accepting it. Least of all the company I've used since 1999, Cingular / AT&T.

Enter Sprint and the Novatel Wireless Merlin EX720. In my research, Sprint is the only major carrier (actually the ONLY carrier I found) supporting the Mac OS platform and I have to say it performs brilliantly. Download speeds are in the neighborhood of 1.5mbps which is about half of my current cable modem speed at the office. But for email, it's plenty fast enough and even the internet surfing is just fine with this card.

But there is a major catch with this card. Even the Sprint Technical Advisor laughed at this one when we found out. The card must be activated in a Windows PC. So you don't want to purchase this card online via the Sprint store if you don't have access to a Windows laptop with an Express 34 slot. I purchased the card and the internet plan through a local Sprint Nextel dealer and she used her own personal Windows laptop to activate the card for me. The Technical Advisor said to give it some time and we should be able to activate the cards directly in the Mac in the near future.

Other than that little glitch, I have to say I've been extremely pleased with the connectivity of the device. I simply click on the Modem icon next to my Airport icon and say "Connect". It's that easy. I have found that if I'm connected for longer than 30 minutes it can sometimes lose the signal, but I simply disconnect / reconnect and keep going. A minor annoyance for connectivity pretty much anywhere I want it. Heck we stopped at a Wendy's in the middle of nowhere Virginia and were able to check emails no problem. From what I saw on the Sprint coverage map, the Data coverage area is much larger than the voice coverage area.

If you have an older G4 PowerBook with a PCMIA slot, Sprint has you covered there too with the Merlin S720.

So now I have the connectivity I desire, without a Blackberry hanging on my waist, and I have total control of when I retrieve my messages along with my entire hard drive full of documents, graphics and even movie clips. Can't recommend this service enough if you're in need of internet connectivity pretty much anywhere with your Mac laptop. In fact, this entire blog was written while connected to Sprint.

Here's a link to download a PDF on how simple it is to install the Novatel software.

http://www4.sprint.com/pcsbusiness/support/downloads/index.jsp

Simply select Mac OS in the drop down box. 



Posted by: walter biscardi on Jun 12, 2007 at 6:07:58 am mac os, apple, technology, family, web

iPods may interfere with Pacemakers

Very interesting article posted on CNN.com that iPods can potentially interfere with pacemaker monitoring equipment when placed too close to the chest. In some instances as far away as 18 inches. As the article notes, most people with pacemakers are not the iPod listening audience, but still a very interesting development here. As the study notes, only iPods were tested to date and it will be interesting to see if they get around to testing other audio and small electronic devices.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/05/10/heart.ipods.reut/index.html



Posted by: walter biscardi on May 11, 2007 at 3:31:52 amComments (6) ipod, entertainment, apple, technology, family

Dumb NAB PR

Ok, it's NAB time and I've been receiving quite a few of those "MUST SEE" emails touting everything from Apple to Avid to everything in between. Today I received what has to be the dumbest PR I've ever gotten from someone who teaches Avid. I'm guessing this person doubles as a Porn Spammer on the side because it has all the qualities of the endless junk email I receive. Well, here, you can judge for yourself.

I guess Avid is going all out this year to woo Final Cut Pro users, I wonder what the "private session" will be like. Swedish massage? Body oils? Lap Dance? Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my Numero Uno for worst NAB PR, and the award goes to Avid!



Posted by: walter biscardi on Mar 30, 2007 at 2:55:54 pmComments (18) avid, television, apple, nab, technology, final cut pro



Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.

 




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