Thursday, December 29, 2005

XM Radio and Wireless FM: Don't Leave Home Without It

I thank God that we arrived back in Atlanta safely about an hour ago (3 p.m. local time).

The ride back exposed the best way to use XM Radio and the preferred method is through the built in wireless FM signal.

The Roady XT unit auto detected when the audio cable to the cassette adapter was disconnected and several new menu options became available as a result.

You can actually determine which FM frequency that the signal will be heard on.

Earlier I thought that we had taken the manual on our trip and I will verify more details later, but if a conflicting signal is taking place on the selected FM frequency, the word ANTENNA will appear on the XM unit. 

After totally becoming disgusted again with the cassette adapter this morning, we were between Latta, SC and Atlanta, GA when we first disconnected the audio cable.

Then periodically throughout the ride, we had to keep changing the FM frequency to an open frequency or one with less frequency bleeding, but this was far more digestible than having the cassette adapter continually rejected by the casette player.

There were still areas and patches of highway where there was no signal and heavy, thick lines of trees on the southern side of the interstate highway sometimes seem to block the satellite signal, but overall it was a more pleasurable experience than the initial trip to SC on Christmas Day.

I also have a wireless FM adapter for our iPod that does not work as well as the one built into the XM unit.

It still seems as if the metropolitan areas have signal repeaters or some type of signal enhancers that allow the XM signal to attain a stronger signal strength than the rural areas.  Another potential downside for the rural areas is that areas where there were numerous cellular towers visible, the signal strength was also weakened.

There was an option available within the menu settings that allowed you to change the FM signal strength as well.

Now that the travel is behind us for a while, I will finally get the chance to read the manual and see what other features and benefits are available that we have not yet discovered through trial and error.

The only way I will seek to use the XM unit from now on is through the wireless FM capability.  Otherwise, I would rather endure commercials on a local FM station or seek some other information and entertainment while driving than attempt to use the cassette adapter ever again.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Reuters: Men want facts, women seek relations on Web - survey

Reuters is reporting about the differences within internet usage among the sexes and it is a very interesting article.

The article states "men are heavier consumers of news, stocks, sports and pornography while more women look for health and religious guidance" and the survey was done by the very reliable Pew Internet & American Life Project.

There are a wide variety of interesting differences within the survey, so be sure to check it out for yourself.

"Once you get past the commonalities, men tend to be attracted to online activities that are far more action-oriented, while women tend to value things involving relationships or human connections," said Deborah Fallows, a research fellow at Pew and author of the report.

So with this information in mind, it should be too difficult to change and adjust any website to cater to a particular audience.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

One of the Most Memorable Christmas Ever and Traveling with XM Radio

This Christmas has been a very peaceful one within our household even though we have traveled away from our home in Atlanta to Latta, SC on Christmas Day.
Seeing family has been great and the food has been terrific as well.
I personally have not done much driving other than the trip to SC and I have one observation about automobile manufacturers from our new experience with XM Radio.
I wonder when will the various car makers start putting a line in jack into the automobile's stereo system?  XM Radio uses both a wireless FM signal as well as a cassette adapter.  Other companies that make entertainment hardware also make available the cassette adapters and I personally hate them.
The cassette kept popping out during our trip to SC as if it was being rejected like a body or tissue transplant.  I know that the line in jack would not be difficult at all other than if there was some resistance by a lobbying power or organized group like the RIAA.
But having a line in jack would make using portable devices not originally made within the car much easier to use.
In using the XM Radio, it seems that either the car has to be up and running for some time in order for the cassette adapter to be readily accepted for playing the signal.
I originally did not read the manual and had most of the antenna line inside the car on the ride Christmas Day until we reached a rest area in SC.  After using the magnetic tip of the antenna line outside of our car, the signal was picked up more consistently.  Before then, whenever the road's terrain had us going down into a valley or lower elevation, the signal would fade to zero strength.
Hopefully, our trip back to Atlanta tomorrow will be a much more pleasurable one with XM Radio.  Otherwise, I am strongly considering ending the service after the 6 month commitment ends.
But when it does work on the open road, it is much easier to listen to terrestial radio stations and we do not have to channel surf as hard.  Having preset buttons that work no matter where you are located is very cool too.
So there is a silver lining within using satellite radio no matter what the short term difficulties may be.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

NSA eavesdropping wider than W.House admitted-NYT

Reuters has reported that the amount of NSA eavesdropping exceeds what the White House has admitted according to the New York Times.

The bigger revelation that will come from all of this is the amount of digital observation that crosses the line of protecting Americans from terrorism.

Once this cat gets out of the bag, the race for the exit within Congress and the White House support staff is going to be of Olympic proportions.

But everyone that normally uses the internet typically understands that there is a degree of Big Brother that has been possible for over 20 years due to the amount of hacking that gets reported from time to time.

I guess that the new reports just indicate that the federal government has gotten into the act as well in terms of getting some headlines.  The activity has always been there and still represents the tip of the iceberg.

Poker on College Campuses

USA Today recently reported about how the game of poker has invaded college campuses on its way to become a mainstream phenomenon.

Last year while working for a financial services company, I was shocked to see how deep young recent college graduates who were mostly male were into gambling overall.  If their clients only knew how much they gambled, then they would not stay in business for long.  It will probably catch up with most of them over time anyway.

A lot of the risk taking at that age can be attributed to the feelings of invincibility that most males have who are 20 to 34 years old.  There may be some degree of immaturity but after achieving a significant milestone as graduating from college, there is little room for other causes.  Graduating from college makes one feel that you are ready to take on the world and other worlds all at once.

I was recently wondering if I had lost something from my youth and I could not quite tell what it was.  Now I realize that having the non compete agreement expire has rejuvenated me more than I previously thought that it would.  Under normal circumstances, there are more than enough achievements I can point to that others would risk life and limb to be able to have appear on their records.  But throughout 2005, living up to my full potential did not seem to happen as I would have preferred.

It does not take a lot of matches to burn down a house or anything fire will consume.  Just the proper placement of the ignited catalyst and enough fuel will cause the most driest environment to go up in flames.

This relates to the 20 to 34 years old group in the extent that the 18 and 19 year olds are just gaining enough confidence to master their new environments (college and recognized adulthood for those not attending college) after graduating from high school.  Now that a new level of confidence has been attained on the new level, new experimentation is likely to happen.

But the internet is an accomplice as well since it can mask visual cues and age as well as other physical characteristics.

I just hope that the various state governments and the federal branches are equipped for the reckless way that many young men are allowing their lives to go down the drain especially when the amount of risk taking in American society could be better managed and significantly reduced versus the chase for the temporary wealth and thrill.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Supercool Google Feature: Data Mine Your Own Searches!

"use it, you have to turn on Personalized Search and be signed in to your Google Account while you search. (If you don't have a Google Account, it's easy to create one for free.) Just click the "Trends" link on your Search History page, or go directly to your Trends", Chen stated.
Google Googleconsists of potentially recommended search terms from people who conducted searches similar to yours.

The potential recommendations for me (in order) included rss channels, crash clark (an Atlanta DJ I have never heard of), and dr. maulana karenga (the creator of Kwanzaa, a holiday that sounds nice but we have never actively celebrated within my family).

Go figure or better yet, let Google do it for you!

Brief Xbox 360 Experience

Yesterday while completing some Christmas shopping at Target, I briefly with a Microsoft Xbox 360 and specifically the demo for the King Kong video game.

It has been too long since I have regularly played video games and this experience took me back while giving some flavor from the future!

I did not expect the game controller to start vibrating in my hands depending upon the action on the screen.  But being as rusty as I was in my portrayal of King Kong, it is a good thing that my skills were not involved in making the movie.

The movie would not have proceeded past the scenes involving the T-Rex dinosaur.  I was thoroughly whipped by T-Rex and was enjoying it for some reason;)

The few chances where I was actually able to point Kong in the direction of the T-Rex, I was able to give him something to cry to his mama about;)

But overall I had more teeth marks, bruises, and ego damage than anything else!

With the Xbox 360, the focus on overall home entertainment by technology companies is getting more attention.

The venues outside of the home such as movie theaters and even video rental stores are going to have to create some new compelling reasons to continue their attraction to consumers.

Maybe being able to renew your driver's license and some other task that requires a waiting period that is too painful to intentionally endure can be performed at such places.  Then the experiences would indeed be very entertaining and educational as well.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

You're Not Alone: Workplace Horrors Compiled

Reuters is reporting about Challenger, Gray and Christmas' compilation of workplace horrors which should provide readers a very unique experience in knowing that regardless of what your current workplace environment is like, there is somebody somewhere who is going through absolute hell on a daily basis.

I have been under a noncompete agreement which has fully expired on December 15, 2005 with a significant financial services company.  To date, I have not found the words to fully describe the experience and pretty much have the opinion that only those who have worked with a financial services company or have taken the Series 7, Series 66, life, accident, and sickness insurance, and variable products exam would understand.

But I know that my own experience was the tip of the iceberg compared what is contained with the compilation when read in greater detail.

I do intend to either blog or write a book about the experience in order to educate and warn in some cases people who are looking to become stockbrokers, financial planners, or financial advisors before any potential damage can be done to their financial well-being and/or reputation.

I simply am thanking God at this point that the agreement has fully expired and I have regained and now exceed whatever strength I may have lost with going through the experience.

Peace on earth and goodwill towards all mankind!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

One To Watch in 2006: Elizabeth Omilami in the movie "Glory Road"

The Late Rev. Hosea Williams, who was a lieutenant to the Late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has a daughter that has had many roles within films made within, around, and away from Atlanta, GA.

Elizabeth Omilami is keeping her father's legacy by leading Rev. Williams' nonprofit organization to feed the hungry within Atlanta on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and on the Dr. King birthday holiday in January.

But she has a role within the upcoming 2006 release "Glory Road" that is going to make casting directors stand up and take note.

I saw the preview of the film while waiting for "King Kong" to start and she has one scene in which she totally steals as if lives were at stake:)  I just saw another preview of the movie on television tonight, so watch out for it and put it on your radar screens throughout January 2006.

I also hope that her role as a mother will make other mothers and fathers alike rededicate themselves to being caring parents.

Both she and her husband Afemo Omilami , who is also an actor, are in the movie and they are portraying a married couple in the film as well.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Afemo years ago at Rev. Williams' headquarters on a day that I will never forget.  We talked about his role within the movie "Drop Squad" and how several events within the movie have come true.

I am happy for both of them and they truly deserve the best.

Bring on the "Glory Road"!


XM Radio Arrived Today!

After discovering and pouncing on a sweet deal to receive a free XM Radio receiver, the receiver arrived today via FedEx.  I did not even hear the driver at all due to being occupied otherwise.

Earlier blog entries have not done the XM Radio service complete justice after experiencing what is on the other side of being a full and complete subscriber.

The box had the receiver encased within the industrial strength plastic that required a kitchen knife in order to free the receiver into my hands.  After making an initial cut, I ripped into it as if it was already Christmas morning.

The XM receiver ordered is the Roady XT.  The attachments were enclosed to connect the unit within a vehicle versus a home based unit which is exactly how we have planned to use it.  I am listening to the full XM lineup online while creating this entry.

As any red-bloodied American male, I did not look at the instructions on how to connect everything.  Everything was intuitive and the cables attached on each end of the unit.  The cradle to attach the unit to the air conditioning vent was simple to do as well.

The XM receiver first had to be activated in order to receive the full lineup of XM programming and this process could have been handled a little bit more smoothly.

My first call was handled well until the XM rep had a hard time understanding the radio ID of the unit received.  She initially said that it could not be activated and put me on hold and the nonactivation issue was resolved without any further pressing by myself.

You supposedly have to change channels up to 3 times in order to activate the unit or go online to activate the unit.  I was already driving at the time and did not want to wait until I returned home.

I picked up my oldest daughter Rachel from daycare and before leaving, read an enclosed letter a little that referenced the special offer received along with some activation instructions although I had already called XMMy unit is free by the way as long as 6 months of service are paid for.  Three (3) months were paid in advance to receive the special offer.  With the XM prepaid cards that already exist, subscribing to XM is far easier than any other tech service previously obtained.  T-Mobile, TiVo, and DirecTV could learn a few lessons as well.

After getting back on I-285 within early but heavy traffic, I called XM again and this time the call sounded as if it was being handled by the reps within India.  The female rep was insistent and short patience and after hearing some numbers through an indecipherable accent, I settled on saying goodbye and going back to techie instinct.

The not fully documented trick is that the XM units have to receive a signal from the satellite in space to fully activate the unit pretty much like subscribers of any other satellite service like DirecTV are familiar with.  Realizing this, I knew the current position within the car was not allowing the signal to be received. 

As much as I did not really want to, I was hesitant to stick one hand out of the window and risk dropping a brand new unit in rush hour traffic and then hearing customer service tell me politely that I was stupid.  My startup experiences with new technology have this built in Murphy's Law;)

But knowing that it was not going to be used much outside the car, I pointed the unit like a remote towards the southern sky and the activation kicked in.  This simple instruction needs to be added or made clear upfront.

Instantly, I was able to change channels at will and hear some songs that I have not heard in many years.  Immediately I felt like the BMW drivers in the commercials where they take the long way home:)

Hearing Radio Disney in full stereo versus the AM signal normally received while driving was interesting.  Rachel and Hailey easily knew whether they were listening to Radio Disney in the past and I doubt that they will as easily know in the future.

After arriving back home, I was interested to see if the receiver would work within the house without buying a home listening kit.

I tried my previously owned power adapters and immediately saw that it was not going to happen.  The home listening kit is needed for the power adapter at a minimum.

When I attempted to log in to the online XM site to hear the music this evening, the password assigned to me this afternoon did not work.  But I had already created an account to test drive the online experience this past weekend and the website allowed me to coordinate the test subscription to the receiver now in my possession.

This prevented an unnecessary phone call to correct the log in trouble.  I now believe that the first XM rep was internationally based as well.

After successfully logging in, I now see more channels than previously listed for online listening.  The XM experience is clearly a rich, entertaining, and educational one as well.

I am listening to the broadcast of music from Africa (Ngoma 114) and this channel is one of my online presets.  It will be a preset in our car as well.  Already I feel the rhythms of the Motherland calling me and awakening my musical pallete in ways never before experienced. 

I may make a trip to our post office box just to get an non distracted experience as well, but there is still a little rush hour traffic that I can do without.

I was surprised to see AOL Radio and various AOL properties being broadcast on XM as well although my earlier blog entry mentioned AOL being a nice backdoor to listen to XM.  I hope that podcasts are going to be added to the lineup somewhere somehow although it might lessen the podcast experience at this point, but I know that it is inevitable.

So our first 4 hours of full XM Radio subscription overall have been very cool although more experimentation will have to wait until tomorrow.

Now I know our upcoming drive of 5 hours to grandma's house with the kids will be more pleasurable;)

One new benefit is that I will be able to hear both new music and oldies without the hassles of multiple commercials!!!

Within another blog entry, I will write about the unique differences, advantages, and disadvantages between free broadcasts paid for by advertisers versus paid subscriptions versus multiple single content purchases (such as songs).



Monday, December 19, 2005

Yahoo! Announces 2005 Top Searches

Yahoo! has made available the 2005 top searches.

The list is interesting in that the lowest common denominator often ruled the search inquiries on most levels.

Enough said!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Online Predators Receive Just Desserts via NBC Dateline

NBC Dateline just aired a program that exposed several online predators showing up at a house looking for illicit sex with a minor.  One man even got undressed and waited in a house butt-naked that he had never been in.

A nonprofit organization named Perverted Justice has undercover volunteers that pose as teenagers and they have on their website the profiles of the men and other information that parents can use to keep their children safe.

The program itself and the sickening way that the men kept saying "I have never done anything like this and this is my first time doing something like this" was eye opening to know how many wolves and sharks there are both online and offline.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Why Yahoo! Will Go For The Hat Trick & Acquire Digg In The Process!

Yahoo! is on a monstrous roll within the social networking realm of the internet with their services of Yahoo! Groups, 360, and acquisitions of Flickr less than a year ago and more recently social bookmarking website

What has not been yet clear to the naked eye is their rationale although most users of the above services have been extremely passionate about Yahoo's activity one way or another.  There is no one occupying the sidelines in terms of having an opinion.

Competitors such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon (which has a social networking community built in through its wishlists, reviews, affiliates, and marketplace programs), and even newer competitors such as eBay (with its purchase of Skype) have been rather slow to understand Yahoo's intent and where social networking is going to take Yahoo!.

Yahoo! is cleverly assembling the pieces of the puzzle to combat the challengers of its original turf on the search engine front while changing the doctrine of the online war itself.  The VOIP activity is not the forefront of Yahoo's strategy either but a industry designated checkpoint to maintain the status quo.

Yahoo's social networking activity is not so much about Yahoo! acquiring companies than it is Yahoo! becoming the platform for the merger of companies that serve both early adopters and social butterflies who extremely value social capital (although there are slight nuances to compare and contrast between the two groups).

Google leapfrogged Yahoo! years ago and added search engine advertising in a way that its stock price now far exceeds Yahoo! and several other online companies combined.

But through social networking, Yahoo! will be able to balance the chemical equation to regain (some, not all) lost ground in terms of search engine submissions but more importantly earn greater revenue from better placement of advertising opportunities within its social networking communities.

Yahoo! has also discovered the hard way the important lesson of not killing the goose with potential to lay golden eggs until it is known that there are multiple geese with the same ability (a' la the aftermath of Flickr users when Flickr was first acquired by Yahoo!).  Yahoo's competitors would not have demonstrated the same level of patience if the roles were reversed.

What Yahoo! has within a bigger and better footprint than Google and most other online companies can be found within Yahoo! Groups.

Yahoo! acquired years ago a company named eGroups (which had acquired or merged with its primary competitor Onelist) that made creating and maintaining mailing lists easier for the general internet user.

Now those communities within Yahoo! Groups will soon have the overall ability to do several things far above what they were initially envisioned.  Yahoo's competitors saw the importance of the online communities based around common interests, hobbies, and professions and created similar tools as well.

But Yahoo's acquisition of Flickr, and eventually Digg is going to repeat history where Google , Amazon, and Microsoft will still occupy a copycat role.

The importance of acquiring and eventually Digg has been demonstrated within history with the merger of the NFL and AFL.  By combining and Digg into a single league, the inherent weaknesses of both entities separately will be negated through their combined collective strengths.  Neither one can create a single Super Bowl experience alone while the other still exists.

This combination would also work to more appropriately target the data mining capabilities within major corporations and governmental agencies than other service providers have been able to do.  Immediately corporations and governmental agencies would be better equipped to deal with the corporate grapevine and governmental bureaucracies that have put a damper on corporate profits and mistakingly aided terrorists in their efforts to threaten national security.  But these opportunities will be (or should be) first implemented for the online communities within Yahoo! Groups in a more seamless fashion than is possible now. 

Everything about the experience says that it should be quickly applied to Yahoo! Groups as soon as possible.  The same holds true for Digg as well. 

The most significant hurdle and barrier to new users within Digg alone is that its community of users seems extremely willing to cannibalize itself and squelch new opinions and/or dissenting thoughts through often inappropriate comments about what other users deem important.  Although this may occur within the communities of Yahoo! Groups, I believe (maybe through rose-tinted glasses at that) that the sentiments and impact will be lessened there.

Once and Digg are combined, new markets will immediately open for Yahoo! than can be reached via alone and/or Digg within the hands and control of another corporate entity.  Leadership of corporations and governmental agencies will demand the technology if the vision is not aborted through normal bureaucratic policies and tendencies.

Although it and its community of users (even though I frequently use Digg myself) may think otherwise, Digg's greatest potential will be actualized within Yahoo! versus any other company.

The combined ability to effectively pool collective intelligence and value is what has been desired within the knowledge management and data mining community.

I further predict that Yahoo! is even going to acquire Ning on their way to gaining "One for the Thumb" as fans of the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers would say.  The fourth social networking championship that needs to be completed within the short term is Yahoo's acquisition of TiVo.

After acquiring Digg, Yahoo! is better positioned to capitalize on the recent announcements made by TiVo for its new online services.

Yahoo! is now so deeply engrained into TiVo that I unequivocally know that Yahoo! must have a first-right-of-refusal provision within its venture with TiVo before TiVo can be acquired by anyone else.

Otherwise to consider life without Yahoo!, TiVo appears to prolong its time on life support before its stock can implode.

One surprise move to further mask its intentions, I surmise that Yahoo! might have TiVo acquire Digg and then have TiVo get acquired by Yahoo! (at the prevailing stock price of TiVo before the Digg acquisition or at a premium price) before the ink dries.  Within the real estate industry, this double close happens everyday.

The overall strength and focus of Yahoo! moves would further cement its ability to effectively mine data and place advertising in front of its social networking users based upon the products and services that the users are already interested within versus the search engine strategy Google has become known for.

As a result, both Google and Yahoo! will remain fierce competitors while having different objectives to achieve success.

Digg will be able to increase its acceptible selling price in the short term as well as know that its future ability to complement within Yahoo's stable is going to take it where it always felt it could go.

Join me soon as I read the tea leaves on XM Radio and Apple and what roles they will play within all of this. 

Now if I can just get a 140-hour Series 2 Tivo, an Apple iBook G4 with an 80 GB hard drive, and a XM Radio unit with a lifetime subscription under the Christmas tree before or as the market fulfills my words;) Tags:
blog rss xml blogger roneysmith google yahoo msn microsoft flickr yahoogroups yahoo360 360 amazon ebay skype voip ning xm xmradio apple interesting blog+app blogging blogosphere blogoposium1 blogpost blogs aggregation aggregator africanamericans african+american african+americans africanamerican atom article articles archive broadcasting browser buzz decisionmaking CostOfEntry delicious web20 web2.0 roney+smith technology news prediction 2006 strategy forecast tivo myspace

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Fallout Continues

ABC News and other media outlets are reporting the resignation of American Red Cross (ARC) President Marsha Evans in response to the agency's poor response within the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

I had heard a suggestion not to donate to the American Red Cross in that the money would not get to where it was needed and evidently the suggestion is true.

What I did not know is that the American Red Cross operates under a charter from Congress and this is probably why the agency was always considered the main place to receive donations after natural disasters.

But with its status as a favorite child, ARC failed within its responsibility to partner and share its resources with other organizations better equipped to go where it could not quickly and give where the needs were more adequately identified.

Bureaucracy never sleeps it seems!

More heads will roll before the next hurricane season begins undoubtedly and hopefully a clearer signal will be sent and heard by those who would seek to occupy the positions of power and responsibility.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Nip/Tuck Was A Keeper Tonight!!!

Tonight's episode of Nip/Tuck was one of the best ones that I have ever seen bar none!!!
The hijinks and escapades were just too rich!  I could not stop laughing throughout the entire show.
Christian's looks during the Santa Claus lookalike's interrogation of his wife Mrs. Kringle's infidelity and then "Santa's" return with his "Christmas present (size double D breast implant for Santa's Helper)" to himself was hilarious!
The only thing potentially missing was someone turning slightly and saying that I am The Carver under the mistletoe;)
The Nativity scene portrayal with people of color and the mentioning of Coca Cola's as a participant in commercializing Christmas via St. Nicholas were very interesting tidbits also.
I just saw The Carver's MySpace commercial mention that he is going to turn it up since he feels as if he is falling off everyone's radar.  Another preview of next week's episode says that all gloves are coming off and it is going to be another no-holds barred broadcast.
Next week's 2-hour season finale should clearly take everything over the top until the show begins its next season.
Keep it up FX, you're continually striking gold!
TiVo, where are you when you are needed most?

Time Shifting Is A New Concept That Is Here To Stay

The cat is officially out of the bag in my opinion regarding technology after seeing a few new products for the first time today.

After VCRs made it possible to record and television and cable programming at will and TiVo made it more convenient and easy to do so, the latest technological advances promise to make it possible to consume any media and programming of any nature on your own schedule versus that of the broadcasting companies.

We have gotten used to timeshifting television programming but now audio files can be made from timeshifting radio programming as well whether it is terrestial (land-based) or satellite radio (such as provided by Sirius or XM Radio).

Actually Hollywood is not immune either and this is one of the reasons why home based entertainment products and services (think CD/DVD/MP3 players, CDs, DVDs, MP3 files, Blockbuster, Netflix, Hollywood Video, and high end stereo, surround sound, and speaker systems) have skyrocketed within recent years.

I just saw another product called the Radio Shark from a company named Griffin Technology that is making it more possible to shift programming from any platform to your computer by easily digitizing the content.  The Radio Shark makes it possible to record local radio programming and play it back anytime that you desire via your computer or iPod (or any device that will play AIFF audio files).

I blogged about the iMic also made by Griffin Technology several days ago and just read the specs in greater detail to understand that it not only will convert analog audio to digital (with your computer), but you can convert digital audio to analog by playing your MP3s through your regular home stereo if any of the equipment will not play digital files.

This means that if you can see or hear the content, some company has made a product to bridge the gap between the digital and analog worlds which means that timeshifting is totally possible.


Monday, December 12, 2005

XM Radio Discovery

For an hour earlier today, I was listening to XM Radio while trying to do some work online.  While checking out what others have blogged about XM, I discovered a link to a website entitled and it is probably one of the best resources for getting a visual interpretation to what you are listening to especially if you are a DirecTV subscriber most of all.

My logic for this statement is that if you are already a full-fledged XM subscriber, then you can log into the company's website and locate information that is not yet made available to XM's listeners (like myself) through other online and offline venues.

What I really like about is that they have a direct feed from a website (that you cannot visit directly for some reason) of the entire lineup of songs currently being played across the spectrum of XM Radio .  This is nothing less than awesome!!!

I have opened up a separate window for this information and it has been 100% accurate.

The capability of this new information has made me realize one advantage of digital and satellite versus traditional radio (or at least one benefit that traditional radio has not actively or aggressively promoted prior to getting some serious competition):  the ability to know what songs are being played as well as songs have been recently played without telephone calling the radio station.

The human element has not been totally removed from the equation either since someone still has to create and submit the various playlists, but the elimination of telephone calls (which are at times considered a nuisance by even well-meaning DJs) is a huge plus for recording artists, labels, and music lovers alike.

The ability to track songs offers digital and satellite radio to do what network broadcasting did for television and allow listeners to change channels intentionally to a specific channel. 

In addition to the time-shifting that occurs with iPods and other digital music players, digital and satellite radio is beginning to fully remove the handcuffs to having to be near the radio in real-time.

Clearly this is an advantage that traditional radio does not and will not ever have the stomach to do for the rest of its natural existence.

But if the recording industry (specifically the RIAA) continues to wager its war against new technologies in a futile to control when and where music is listened to, they will lose a more significant, golden opportunity that is possible via XM Radio and Apple's iPods as well as other digital music players.

Another note to fully capitalize on this discovery.  I downloaded and printed out a channel guide from XM Radio and was able to switch to the specific channel at will.  I did not have a DirecTV channel guide that has been updated since DirecTV added the various XM Radio channels, but I was able to quickly find the desired channel.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Yahoo! Acquires

Yahoo! is making some moves of its own on the social networking scene with its latest acquisition of today.
Reuters is reporting the acquisition and while financial details have not been disclosed, the purchase is going to continue to raise the stakes for all companies that are aware of the new Web 2.0 era that is upon us.
The benefits of are numerous as well as Digg which I have blogged and mentioned within a podcast as being a competitor and complementor.  Digg has recently received a round of venture capital financing.
It is going to be interesting to see how Yahoo! incorporates the social networking components found within its 360 service and its own companies Flickr and now
Although the presence of the Web 2.0 philosophy is good, Yahoo! and its competitors should begin to increase the overall market by making their service offerings work to meet the needs of consumers and businesses even where they are in competition with one another.

Yahoo! Shopping
Find Great Deals on Holiday Gifts at Yahoo! Shopping

Google Is Continuing To Improve Gmail

Tonight I noticed that Google has added the ability to see the headlines of RSS feeds to Gmail and overall seem to be less intrusive on the ads that normally appeared.

These improvements create a better experience for a free service and yet I still believe that more is yet to come.

I would like to see the ability to import an OPML file (which can be created from Google Reader already) added to Gmail since the services are virtually seamless in not requiring a second login.  This feature would allow feeds that you have already subscribed to be visible while using Gmail.

Otherwise, with the time spent reading e-mail and RSS feeds, the probability of clicking on an ad increases minute by minute.

Another development recently added is the consistent promotion of Google Talk instant messaging and voice service within Gmail.

I know that Google Base has to be incorporated into Gmail at some point.

Overall, Gmail is one of the best services that Google has created to totally shift paradigms when it comes to e-mail.  So keep it up Google!


Roney Smith podcast episode # 5

Here are the show notes for the Roney Smith podcast episode # 5.  To receive the podcast within your podcasting software, just use the regular feed address to subscribe.

Episode # 5 was recorded on December 8, 2005.

The actual length of the podcast episode is 6:17.

The file size is 5.76 to 6.04 MB depending upon the software used to view the MP3 file.

  1. Apple - NBC Deal
  2. Same day release of new content on multiple platforms is not happening yet.
  3. Recent Mac experience:  I was amazed at the simplicity.
  4. Proposal for listeners:  Continue to blog and publish your RSS feeds in multiple places
  5. Final comment
Music Credits:  Copyright 2000 Seed Of Life Music (BMI).  All songs were written, produced, and performed by Roney Smith from his first CD entitled "Approximation".

Songs not necessarily in the order of appearance:  "Don't Worry"
and "You Can Fly". Tags:
church christianity blackchurch africanamerican bglo africanamericans minority minorities blackgreek blackgreeks divinenine divine9 blgo blgos blacks roneysmith roney+smith technology technorati skype wysiwysell blogs blogosphere blogpost blogger blogging podcasting podcast yoursinthebond videoblog web2.0 web20 mableton atlanta african+american african+americans consultant diy blackfolk blackfolks black blackentertainmenttelevision ChristianLeadership ChristianFellowship christ ChristianWorldView Jesus Jesus+Christ ministry ministers minister religion Religious urbanleague vlogging vlog

Monday, December 05, 2005

Real Networks Might Make Apple Faster Than It Wants To & It's A Good Thing Too

BusinessWeek and other media sources are reporting about Real going to the web to distribute its Rhapsody music service versus requiring users to download a separate application.
This is a good development but an even better development within the article is that Real is going to make its music downloads available to Apple iPod owners.
A few months ago and I do not remember exactly why, I subscribed to Real's SuperPass offering and they offer a $10 monthly purchase credit (to buy music) with a monthly service cost of $12.99.
The cost has not been a problem whatsoever since I am basically considering the $2.99 difference a convenience fee to instantly digitize the music versus paying a shipping and handling cost plus the time to rip the CDs myself.
But up til now, the music could not be played on the iPod.
Real added support for the iPod on its own without Apple's consent.  As a result, I am testing and transferring music paid for and downloaded from Real to our iPod Mini right now.  About one hour after several attempts (one failed due to a power brown-out), I was able to successfully transfer songs from one purchased online CD.
The rest of the songs did not transfer successfully due to running out of space on the iPod Mini.  I will free up more space and try again.
Immediately, I am leading towards the opinion to go completely digital versus buying any more hardcopy CDs.
We have several external CD burners but this desktop computer is still facing its ongoing hard drive limitation while still working fine for other projects (primarily offline ones at that).  I have yet to really burn CDs.  The computer seems as if it could handle burning only one song currently:(
But with the ability to transfer music to the iPod, the music can be played virtually anywhere we go.  We have a Belkin FM transmitter device that works better within suburban areas than within metro Atlanta.
The article also mentioned that Apple could change its software for the iPod to not allow it to play music other than purchased through its iTunes store.

But I also hope that Apple would allow Real's development to remain permanent as well as make iTunes available on the web without requiring QuickTime to be on the computer.

We shall see! 

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Nice (Wide-Open) Backdoor for XM Radio Listening While Online via AOL!

I was hoping last month that DirecTV would be able to arrange for its subscribers to gain access to XM Radio via an internet connection versus adding (or buying new equipment for) the XM Radio service that may not be fully needed away from home initially.
I have been wanting to listen to the XM Radio programming online while my daughters look at their favorite children's programming onDirecTV .
Today I discovered a way to obtain XM Radio online and I checked the playlist in real-time for a couple of channels and discovered that the programming is indeed the same.
The way to listen to selected (not every) XM Radio channels while connected to the internet is to do it through AOL.
AOL recently opened its network to mimic Google and Yahoo! by not making its service 100% exclusive and members-only.
We had cancelled our AOL service years ago after outgrowing it and not finding a suitable pricing plan (the bring your own access for 5 hours did not make sense either) when we had another internet service provider and/or broadband DSL service.
But I have discovered that you can register for the AIM (AOL's Instant Messenger) and obtain an user ID (screen name) and password that will allow you to have access to the vast multitude of AOL's services.  You can even re-energize your old screen name if you remember your password.
Now you will not be able to listen to all of XM Radio's offerings, but at least you will be able to listen while online to a significant percentage of the channels as well as several XM Radio channels not currently available via DirecTV.
But if you want to listen to virtually every (if not all since we do not subscribe to XM Radio or have taken the time to compare the listings) XM Radio channel, then subscribe to AOL and you will indeed be open for business!
Right now this availability increases the value of AOL to me and if there was a suitable pricing plan that would not be time based (or restricted to  5 hours on the bring your own access plan), resubscribing to AOL might be a good idea.
Otherwise, XM Radio is going to need to reduce and/or eliminate its prices on its equipment and live instead with the revenues of the monthly subscriptions.  I also recommend that TiVo do the same, but since they appear to be on the verge of being acquired by either Yahoo!, Google, Live365, or even News Corporation (combining TiVo with MySpace would create social networking on crack and steroids at warp speed) possibly, I doubt that TiVo will give up any revenue due to hardware sales.
Check out your new options with XM Radio and let me know how it goes!

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Danger of Window Shopping Near The Holidays

Today I was on M-Audio's website checking out their USB and MIDI equipment.

I recently bought a single MIDI-to-USB connection made by M-Audio from Guitar Center.

I noticed that they also made a connection that worked for connecting 8 midi instruments to a computer (PC or MAC).

When I clicked on the name (Midisport) for the various attachments/connections, it looked slightly familiar.

It turns out that I bought a Midisport 8 X 8 piece of equipment several years ago (2000 more than likely) and I believe that M-Audio used to have a different company name (Midiman which is the name on the box that I bought).

To make the danger worse, I have never even connected the equipment that I have and it is still in pristine, mint condition;)

Think of the look that would have been on my face if I had not looked at the box and saw the same name Midisport for the equipment already in hand;)

So remember this and watch yourselves carefully too!!!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Porn Is A Consuming Deathtrap of Lies

Check out our new music and creative concept on Electric that you
have been instinctively looking for!

I must say that there are more than a few things that I am clueless about;)

As much as I wanted to believe otherwise, I have not ever seen it all although I try.

After reading comments around the internet within the aftermath of gospel composer, icon, and artist Kirk Franklin's appearance on Oprah yesterday about his continued recovery from a pornography addiction, I am now believing that there are more people either suffering, in recovery, or drowning within the lies of pornography of all ages worldwide.

I am not the one to have an answer to everything, but I do have a friend that does:  Christ Jesus.

Now I consider myself blessed more than ever to overcome an environment that probably fosters more trouble than ever clearly identified before:  being an only child.

Being an only child clearly provides both the opportunity of a crossroad experience to be, do, see, and have anything above and below your wildest dreams.

This blog entry is clearly one that I will to revisit and add to.

My escape hatch was and has been music and audio experiences versus the visual.  This leads me also to realize that people have different learning styles that I have been sharing a lot recently with students that I am tutoring.

I never had the exposure that many are now facing online and offline to porn.

Clearly the human body is a work of God as well as all things in heaven and earth, but to overindulge within anything is not good.

But for those that have the preferred visual style of learning, then pornography clearly is a temptation that would be hard to resist.

The other styles (although I may not use the exact, scientific terms) involve hands on, audio, and various combinations and permutations of these styles.

I also know that pornography has gotten many people fired, dismissed, and terminated within the internet era than ever before.

There is no department within any type of company or corporation or nonprofit that has exclusive domain or immunity to falling victim either.

There was another gentleman that appeared on yesterday's Oprah's broadcast as well that said that he was a manual laborer and visited pornographic websites on the days he was not working.  He did not use a computer while working and it appeared that he was tempted when his hands were relatively empty.  For some reason, I was thinking that he represents the typical partaker of porn.

But the offline partakers of porn magazines, VHS, and DVDs represent a harder to identify group to me.  This is where the secret lifestyle has tall bushes to hide behind.

Where does it all end?  What Scripture provides the best solution?  Is there a single pill or thought that will end it all?

Here is my belief and proposed solution.

For all Christians and believers, please remember the Scripture which is the First Commandment--Thy shall have no other gods before Me.

Pornography, alcohol, fornication, homosexuality, drugs, and anything else can be addressed with this Scripture.  Anything that attempts to become your god is a threat to you, your family, your lifestyle, and your destiny period.

You can forget about civil rights, free speech, rainbow emblems, and freedoms to marry anyone of any sex and anything else.  Break this commandment and the rest are dominoes ready to fall in your life.

I am tired (but not demotivated from my ministry, mission, and destiny) of seeing so many people of all faiths, creeds, and religious beliefs (or lack of) think that life is a game without any recourse or penalty boxes for what you do or fail to do.

Everything either gets reinforced positively or negatively and thank God there is mercy when we go astray.

Since porn is the issue on the table and for anyone suffering from it, remember to consider your preferred style of learning and increase your awareness to realize when you are most vulnerable.

Any marital aid could be a first base but it should not become the second, third, and home base or ending place of scoring.  The bed of holy matrimony is never defiled with mutual consent.

But pornography cannot be considered a final destination since it clearly provides the opportunity to eventually take the spouse out of the equation.

Staying on the road with pornography will provide the red carpet for experimenting with other individuals at some point in time.  There cannot be any other way and complete and total denial is required to believe otherwise.

I firmly believe that the reason pornography leads away from an exclusive relationship is because it starts with a nonexclusive third-party.   If the spouse was seeking to arouse a partner intentionally versus an third-party appearing within a magazine, video, webcam, e-mail, audio file, or website, then in most cases the classification as being pornographic would not apply.  Being forced against one's will or adult consent to arouse or entice would be pornographic however.

I humbly challenge anyone to express a logical or emotion opinion otherwise.  Please enlighten me if pornography provides any exclusive territory for a couple or how you believe that it can.

For those who are single and engaging within fornication (regardless of cohabitation, future plans or promises to marry, or getting the milk free from the cow as some put it), there is either an open or closed system that the lack of marriage cannot provide a secure, comfort zone to dwell within.

Although married people do commit adultery (and single people as well according to the words of Christ Jesus), fornication (sex outside of marriage) clearly does not increase the chances of an exclusive relationship.


Mac Mini Within Our Future? I Hope So;)

I was in a local Apple store today checking out the GarageBand program and it alone is interesting and compelling enough to entice making the switch or adding a Mac to our computing lifestyle.

I also have been having an iPod issue but not too serious since other concerns have been occupying my time.

I removed QuickTime not too long ago (due to facing a HD space limitation on the C drive).

Now iTunes will not work and pops up an error about QuickTime when I try to start iTunes.

I mentioned this to an Apple employee today and she said that it should not happen.

If and when we add a Mac, I believe that it will the Mac Mini.

I had not touched a Mac within the past 13 or 14 years (when my wife Wyteria was in nursing school and the school was using them) and was absolutely blown away by the simplicity.

The employee started to take offense when I said that it appeared that Apple had "dumbed-down" their technology versus using the word simplicity.

Now I know why Apple computer users are so fanatical;)

I did not know that on the desktop computers that everything is built within the monitor.  I kept looking on the floor for a box;)

Another benefit of the Mac Mini is that the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals from my PC will work with it.

As long as you have an USB-equipped device, you are still in business straight out of the box and this is totally cool.


GoDaddy Outage on Wednesday is reporting that GoDaddy experienced a Denial-of-Service (DOS) attack on yesterday.

We personally experienced that many of our domain names registered with GoDaddy were not operating and called them to find out what was going on within the midday.

The rep said that the domains were indeed accessible within other parts of the country and even told me to use a previously unheard of company and service (which was indeed cool) named MegaProxy to see what would happen when using the domain names elsewhere.

Now that the truth has come out, I wonder what GoDaddy will do the next time around.

The moral for any company is to tell your customers the truth or risk losing any previous goodwill that you had worked feverishly to obtain!

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Live Without TiVo

TiVo has just opened up a can of pain for all the companies that have considered them to be competitors!  This link explains it all and I will try to quickly explain what I believe are the real benefits of each new use below. 

But the critical key to remember is that the TiVo unit has to be connected to a broadband network.  I imagine that TiVo will continue to use new offers of free, add-on services to encourage the first generation TiVo owners to upgrade their boxes and gently-but-firmly smack in the face DirecTV & TiVo combination box owners.  This is especially so after DirecTV dropped its promotional relationship with TiVo earlier this year. 

I just checked the TiVo website and this offer is exclusive for Series 2 TiVo owners.  It is also on a first come-first served basis while it may require some time (weeks unfortunately) to process the requests.

I believe that DirecTV will have to go back to the drawing board and reenter the agreement with TiVo or drop its extra surcharge for TiVo users who are DirecTV subscribers also.

The need for home networks among TiVo users has skyrocketed overnight with this new announcement.

You will be able use any broadband network connected TiVo to:

  1. Look at any Yahoo! Photos placed within online photo albums for yourself and anyone else with a Yahoo! account.  This immediately brings their fairly new social networking application Yahoo! 360 into the online but offline game. 

    I immediately expect more people to begin to use Yahoo! 360 as a result and who knows this feature may lead.  I know that MySpace is going to need to partner with another digital media company to keep MySpace as an attractive alternative (which it already has consistently been) prior to Yahoo! 360 until now.

  2. Use Yahoo! Weather offline versus going online to know what the weather anywhere is going to be like.  I do not immediately imagine that this will negatively impact The Weather Channel since they are a source of information for Yahoo! Weather in most cases.

  3. Find out the best way to drive anywhere through using Yahoo! Traffic .  This clearly will beat using local radio stations in most cases for traffic and accident reports.

  4. Gain access to the Live365 online radio network which will clearly become a huge boost for the many online radio stations created by individuals, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses.  If and when TiVo goes mainstream ()which I now believe that it is about to significantly increase its presence within US homes, I believe  and predict that Live365 will become the nearest serious competitor to XM Radio and Sirius satellite radio networks. 

    When TiVo reaches 17 to 20 % of homes within a country, just watch out for some new uses of the technology.

  5. Use Fandango to buy tickets for movie theaters and find out the showtimes for the latest big screen theater release.  This beats standing in line and having a movie screening sell out in front of your eyes for the major blockbuster releases.

  6. Listen to podcasts with your TiVo unit versus using a computer and iPod or another MP3 player to do so. 

    This is the biggest benefit out of all of the new benefits announced in my opinion.  I just wonder what search engine or directory is going to provide the information for locating and subscribing to the podcasts.
I now wonder if you can really state or claim whether something is online or offline any more.  If the tool was previously exclusive to being online (such as several of the Yahoo! services were before) and is now accessible without using a computer directly, is it really accurate to say that it is only online or offline any more?

Is there going to be some new term that explains the hybrid or combination of being online and offline simultaneously?  Is there a combination of virtual and real world locations?  Does being digital now suffice for describing it all?

Two friends and myself have been discussing the opportunities for a new digital service and it feels as if someone has just pushed a warped drive button that combines many visions and predictions witnessed within the past 10 years of web browser equipped internet services.

One thing that I do wonder about now is the lowering of resistance that TiVo has probably been getting from many media companies. 

Will somebody ring the bell for Yahoo!, Google , Apple, Microsoft, and other progressive players to start a bidding war for TiVo

As much as I personally owe to Bill Gates and Microsoft, I hope that they stay out of this game since the other kids on the block are moving faster and with less bureaucracy it appears to provide dynamic services to consumers.

I am slightly afraid that Microsoft would kill many of these services without providing any new creativity to make up the difference or provide any additional, real value.

But way to go TiVo right here at the peak, Christmas shopping season!!!

If anyone feels extra generous right now and wants to send my household a 140-hour Series 2 TiVo unit, I humbly and sincerely thank you in advance!!!

Seasons greetings!