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    by Published on 04-17-2015 04:32 PM
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    The other day as I was riding in a hybrid car and getting information on my smartphone, I thought about the future. Sure, there's no doubt that if we think about it, the future is now. Think about it: not just hybrid cars and smartphones but telecommuting and flat televisions and botox and Netflix and ...
    by Published on 04-17-2015 03:53 PM
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    This one's by request. A small but vocal group of friends of this blog have developed an affinity for turtles, so here's a very short Fun Friday article talking about one of the oddest things going on today. According to io9 there is an entire branch of science devoted to what happens ...
    by Published on 04-17-2015 12:15 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite
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    You see the little envelope icon when you turn on the TV... DIRECTV has messages for you. They're usually free previews or tips. They sit there unread unless you arrow over to them and read them... but do you actually read them?

    DIRECTV has had a messages feature on its ...
    by Published on 04-17-2015 11:11 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. TV Antennas,
    3. Online/MobileTV
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    At the recent NAB show in Las Vegas, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler discussed the latest phase of his commission's plan to reduce the number of broadcast stations by buying back licenses. It's a plan that's been in place for years and one that I wrote about in this article. We're about a year away from the next phase of the plan, so it's time to review ...
    by Published on 04-16-2015 03:09 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Data/Networks
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    Lately it seems like I've been hearing a lot of people getting snobbish about gigabit ethernet. "Oh," they say, I have to upgrade my router because I need gigabit ethernet. I stream a lot of video."

    Get real. I'm going to tell you three things that will probably curb your desire for gigabit ethernet for a long time and the ...
    by Published on 04-16-2015 02:54 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. TV Antennas
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    In Throwback Thursday, we're looking back at the articles we're most proud of from the first eight years of The Solid Signal Blog, and other stuff from the past that we think is cool.

    It didn't work then, it doesn't work now. This week's Throwback Thursday proves that digital TV reception doesn't work if you're going faster than about 15mph. It has to do with the way the signal is interpreted. ...
    by Published on 04-16-2015 02:42 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite
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    Here's a little trick you can try at home, that's sure to impress people you invite to parties (provided the people you invite are total satellite geeks.) If you start watching a program on your tablet, you can continue it on your TV with just a little flick. Here's what you do:

    When you launch the DIRECTV app for tablets, ...
    by Published on 04-16-2015 10:54 AM

    There's been a lot of talk lately about drones. Not those killer ones that the government uses, but those increasingly common ones you've seen in stores that are so easy to control that anyone can use them. They're more fun than the traditional model airplane because they're easy to fly and they take pictures and video. They're also not that expensive and they're getting smaller all the time.

    The problem is, there are going to be those idiots who do things like fly them through fireworks displays or land them on the White House lawn. And then there's this guy, who thought it would be a good idea to weaponize one:

    And right now you're probably hearing your mother say, "You see, this is why we can't have nice things."

    This is the kind of shenanigan that is going to guarantee some sort of law having to do with where and how you can use your drone. It's going to mean that sooner or later, you won't be able to use a drone anywhere but in some sort of special park. That's going to probably kill the whole drone industry, and while that's not the end of the world, it's really a shame because I'll tell you what, the things are awfully fun to fly.

    Because yes, folks, I have one and I like flying it. It makes this whole topic a little more meaningful, considering that Solid Signal doesn't sell drones. It's not like we wouldn't sell them, it's just that we can't find one to offer you that gives you good value for your money. So I had to get my drone somewhere else. I like flying it around in parks and in my neighborhood and then looking at the video, it's just good clean geeky fun. But I'm not going to be the one who tries to fly it through the doors of city hall or try to smuggle it into a sports arena. But you know someone will, and then there will have to be a law. And then all the fun will be over. (The FCC has already issued rules saying you can't fly your drone during a game, but so far the issue of flying one on a non-game day is still open.)

    In the meantime, though, I'm struggling with whether or not it's ethical to follow the postman around at a discreet distance.
    by Published on 04-15-2015 03:56 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. TV Antennas

    No, unless it's not really made of plastic.

    This Antennas Direct C2 may look like it's made out of plastic, and that's where you get thrown off the scent. That plastic cladding doesn't do anything for reception, and in fact it's specially engineered to have no impact on TV reception at all. It's there to cover up the real antenna, which is hiding inside.

    Plastic does not conduct electricity very well. As we all know (if you think about it, you know this too) when electricity is around plastic, it does one of two things. In some cases the plastic acts as an insulator or guide, keeping the flow of current moving through something that conducts better, like for example copper wire. This is the purpose of the plastic or rubber cladding on wires. It forms a barrier between you and the electricity, because the copper wire does such a good job of letting electricity pass and the cladding does a bad job of it.

    When electricity is forced to go through plastic, it doesn't do well at all. A lot of the electricity is converted to heat energy with melts the plastic and then you just get a pile of goo. No one wins there.

    Of course, there are all sorts of plastics and while some do an exceptionally good job of insulating, some don't. When it comes to over-the-air reception, the plastic for an antenna has to be formulated so it doesn't insulate well at all, so it's capable of letting all that signal into the "real" antenna.
    by Published on 04-15-2015 03:55 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Cell Phones,
    3. TV Antennas,
    4. Satellite
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    Yes, everything.

    If you have an open port on a splitter, you need to terminate it. If you have a loose cable coming out of the wall, you need to terminate it. If you have a barrel connector in a wall plate, you need to terminate it. If you've used three cellular antennas and you have a 1x4 split, you need to terminate the last one. ...
    by Published on 04-15-2015 12:21 PM
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    Note: The Ken Reid TV Guidance Counselor Podcast is rated PG-13 and may contain mild language.

    I'm Ken Reid, a stand up comedian from Boston, MA and a life long television fan. I've been twice nominated as the Best Stand up in Boston and I have been featured on Comedy Central, NPR, Nerdist, ...

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