CONTENTS

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Rocky Mountain SMPTE Section February 2002 Meeting Report

The 2002 Consumer Electronics Show

The FCC Reorganizes

FCC Upholds $21,500 Radio One Fine

Effort To Reduce Spam Mail - Part 2

Amateur Radio News

Certificaton Exam Session Dates Announced For 2002

SBE HAMNet/Chapter of the Air

The Burst Digital Workshop Presents

Clay's Corner

The End User

Humor

Etc.

 

February, 2002

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Rocky Mountain SMPTE Section February 2002 Meeting Report

From Rome Chelsi, Section Chair

Each year the Rocky Mountain Section pauses from the usual agenda to honor one of its own.

The February 2002 award dinner provided us with an opportunity to present our Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. George Sollenberger. The Section honored George and a career which began as the first HAM radio operator on the air in WWII in Europe to 38 years with KOA (now KCNC) television in technical services - quite a remarkable display of loyalty. During the period, George provided over 10 years of service as an active participant with the SMPTE Board of Managers. George continues to work in the industry and currently provides free-lance technical services. He is a valued member of the broadcast community.

Roger Ogden, President & General Manage of KUSA TV provided the keynote address - a business perspective on the industry, trends, and his view of Broadcast Television in the future. We thank Roger for his time and sharing his thoughts with us.

Over 40 members attended the meeting and award ceremony.

As always, we are grateful to the generous folks who contributed to this event: Greg Kregoski at Pinnacle Systems; Jeffrey Clarine at Andrew Corporation; RIA Corporation; Dallas Davidson at Triveni and Nigel Worrall at Radyne Comstream.


Roger Ogden, President KUSA and Rome Chelsi, Rocky Mtn. Section Chair present George Sollenberger with Lifetime Achievement Award.


Roger Ogden, President KUSA


Rome Chelsi, Rocky Mtn. Section Chair


Fred Baumgartner, SBE Chapter 48 Chairman and wife, Jody


Attendees at the February, 2002 banquet

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The 2002 Consumer Electronics Show: A BROADCAST PERSPECTIVE - PART 1

By Fred Sperry- Chapter 24- Madison

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this years Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. The show drew close to 100,000 attendees and featured 1800 plus exhibitors. CES was the first convention to use the newly added South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention center, so there was plenty of ground to cover during the four-day show. This month I am going to cover some observations I made as they relate to television and video.

The Consumer Electronics Industry and CES

Despite the slowed economy, the consumer electronics industry is feeling fairly optimistic these days. As people are travelling less and spending more time at home following September 11th, indications show consumers are spending as much if not more on home entertainment.

CES isn't really about manufacturers presenting new products to the end consumer though, but rather to show them to those who will sell and market them to the consumer. The large companies don't spare any expense either - dazzling those in attendance with elaborate displays and entertainment (see Figure 1).



Figure 1: Panasonic (top photo) and Samsung (bottom photo) were two of the many large companies with elaborate and eye-catching exhibits and entertainment.

Television Monitors

There has been some differing post show opinions as to what caused the biggest buzz at the show. Some say it was the next generation of wireless personal electronics and wireless home networking (such as the Moxi Box). However, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), who puts on CES, the next generation of digital TVs received the most attention from those in attendance. There were plenty of makes and models of high definition television sets and monitors to be found too. As is really no surprise, flat screens were the hottest item. All flat screen technologies were represented: liquid crystal display (LCD), plasma, liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS), and Digital Light Processing (DLP). LCD and plasma were most predominant though, and most major television manufacturers had numerous models of each. Plasma displays as large as 60 inches were common (Samsung reportedly has the largest plasma display available at 63 inches). LCD screens ranged in size from 10 inches to 30 inches, with Samsung showing a 40- inch model that is expected to be available early this year.

Flat panel TVs continue to be rather pricey, but their prices are dropping. According to Sharp, the price on their 20-inch LCD panel TV in their AQUOS line has already dropped from a list price of $5999 in 2000 to the current list of $3999. LCD panels also open up some interesting possibilities. For example, Samsung won a CES Innovations Award for Design and Engineering at the show for their LTM245W LCD Panel TV that has an internal NTSC TV tuner with PC/DVD/DTV inputs (see Figure 2). Plug a DTV tuner in the DTV input and you have a high definition display. With its RGB input and picture-in-picture feature, one can watch TV or a DVD and work on the computer at the same time. Other manufacturers are also offering LCD models with similar features.


Figure 2. Samsung's LTM245W 24" LCD Panel TV. MSRP of $6,999.99.

Despite the predominance of flat screen TVs, there was no shortage of CRT and projection HDTV sets being displayed. One of the most innovative things I saw in this area was a new line of CRT-based HDTV sets by Philips that employed a technology they refer to as Pixel Plus. Philips touts this as a feature that will take current analog or digital source material (NTSC broadcasts/DVDs for example) and display them with "HDTV like" quality. I was a bit skeptical until I saw a demonstration. These sets have a built in screen-split feature so you can view the source with and without Pixel Plus. With a DVD as the source material, I was amazed at the quality difference of the picture between the two. I thought the Pixel Plus version could probably pass as high definition content. Apparently this technology is accomplished by digitally converting the source material then doubling the number of pixels displayed. This feature does shut off when the set is receiving true high definition content. This TV seems to be an ideal fit in the current marketplace while the analog to digital conversion takes place, for those who want to get the best picture quality out of non-HD material.

Regarding new entries in set-top box DTV tuners to connect to these monitors, this area seems somewhat stagnant, as Samsung was the only company to introduce a new prototype model, the SIR-TS160. More HDTVs are becoming available with internal ATSC tuners, but at least one manufacturer feels it is still too soon to include tuners within their sets. A representative from Philips told me that none of their HDTV sets come with internal tuners. They feel that there are still too many issues that need to be worked out, especially when it comes to cable TV standards in this area. Also worth noting in the area of tuners is that Dish Network has an 8VSB tuner cartridge that can be installed in their model 6000 satellite receiver. It will receive both off-air analog and digital broadcasts, allowing for seamless channel surfing between off-air and satellite channels. This is certainly a welcome development for both consumers and broadcasters. I didn't see as much futuristic and "out there" technology at CES as I was expecting. However I did come across something in the area of television that caught my attention. It was a prototype 3-dimension TV Samsung had on display. According to the Samsung representative I talked to, it will be at least five years before this technology will be ready to hit the market. They expect the 3-D sources to be games and DVDs, but as long as the content is 3-D the source could be anything - even broadcast! However, don't expect to see this happen anytime soon and I for one can wait.

DVD Technology

Another hot technology being shown at CES was DVD recorders. Up until now, most units available have been fairly high priced and have mostly been purchased within the professional market. Now lower priced consumer models are being introduced. One model garnering a lot of interest was the DVDR985 from Philips that is scheduled to hit store shelves in March at a MSRP of $1,000. This unit will record on both DVD+R (write once) and DVD+RW (rewritable) discs, and according to Philips will play them back on most existing DVD players. Just like VHS machines, different recording modes are available depending on the video quality desired. The Philips machine offers four choices: DV quality (1hr), DVD (2hr), S-Video (3hr), and VHS (4hr).

One thing that may hinder this technology from initially taking off is the confusion that is sure to plague consumers. Right now, there are four different formats out there for recordable DVDs. DVD-RAM (Panasonic), DVD-RW (Pioneer), DVD+R/+RW (Philips) and DVD-R (Panasonic and Pioneer). Add to this the fact that there are single and double-sided versions available, and you can see where the confusion may set in. However, even with the multitude of options, the idea of recording on DVD (especially on rewritable disks) at home rather than on VHS will probably make this an issue most consumers will be willing to deal with. One also has to wonder if this technology may find its way into the broadcast facility in the future. On the HD-DVD front, the blue laser technology used in this format was demonstrated for the second year at CES. Reportedly these units will be ready for production in the next year, but copy protection standards and issues with the motion picture industry will likely delay introduction of HD-DVD even further.

Next month I will report on what I saw in the area of radio, receive antennas, and some general observations about HDTV, broadcasting and the consumer electronics industry.

Sources: Popular Mechanics: January 2002 article by Rebecca Day; HDTV Magizine (ilovehdtv.com) Consumer Electonics Show 2002 - Research and Analysis by Roldolfo La Maestra.

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The FCC Reorganizes

By Tom Smith
Chapter 24 - Madison

The FCC has reorganized the various bureaus, with the elimination of the Cable and Common Carrier Bureau. This action started with the creation of the Enforcement and Consumer Bureaus. This reorganization is part of a FCC plan to make itself more effective, efficient, and responsive to the changes in telecommunications.

The services in the Cable and Common Carrier Bureaus were spread among a number of bureaus. The new Bureaus and their functions are as follows:

The MASS MEDIA BUREAU will still handle issues concerning broadcast radio and TV. But, now the bureau will also handle cable relay service licensing. The Mass Media Bureau will loose its oversight of the ITFS and MMDS video services.

The WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU will handle issues concerning wireline common carrier and incumbent local exchange carriers (telcos). The wireline common carrier responsibilities come from the old Common Carrier Bureau. This bureau will not handle wireless services such as cell phone providers and microwave systems which the telcos also provide.

The WIRELESS BUREAU will handle all wireless services such as cellphone, land mobile, and microwave. They also will handle ITFS and MMDS video services that were formally in Mass Media. The only wireless services that they will not handle are broadcast and cable relay. Auctions are also conducted by the Wireless Bureau.

The CONSUMER and GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS BUREAU will be the FCC's face with the public and other governmental entities. This bureau is responsible for the administration and management of the FCC, handles consumer inquiries, complaints and education, conducts rulemaking actions, deals with federal, state, local, tribal and other government agencies, and handles issues in communications for the disabled. As part of the function of this new bureau, they will handle the cable services information function that used to be in the Cable Bureau.

The INTERNATIONAL BUREAU will handle international policy and spectrum issues, including spectrum rulemaking functions and intergovernmental and regional planning functions. The bureau will also handle satellite licensing.

The ENFORCEMENT BUREAU will add some duties that were formally in the Cable Bureau. They include pole attachment complaints and some multichannel video and cable TV service complaints.

The FCC has tried to group like services and tasks within the same bureaus. This may make it easier for the public to contact and get a timely response from the FCC. Basically, all wireless applications go one place, all complaints go to another, etc. The FCC has published a new organizational chart that can be found on their web site.

From FCC Release (www.fcc.gov)

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FCC Upholds $21,500 Radio One Fine

From Chapter 38 - El Paso

Radio One's WBOT - Boston was cited in August 2001 for multiple FCC violations, including failure to maintain a station log and public inspection file and neglecting to install emergency alert system equipment. While Radio One did not dispute the EAS charges, it asked the FCC for lenience, saying it had only owned the station for 5 1/2 months at the time of the inspection. But the FCC said that with 20 years of radio experience Radio One "should be well aware of its responsibility" to comply with FCC rules. The company did dispute the public inspection file charge, arguing that the FCC inspector asked to see the file while inspecting WBOT's transmitter rather than at its location in the studio. The FCC countered that the inspector did ask at the studio and that when WBOT GM Tom Calococci was asked if the station had a public file he answered, "Not yet." Radio One representatives were not immediately available for comment.

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Effort To Reduce Spam Mail - Part 2

By Stan Scharch - Madison Chapter 24

In the last newsletter, I explained how spammers exploit mail exchangers that are configured as open relay. Here then is an explanation of how the current effort underway in the ISP (Internet Service Provider) industry to reduce spam has focused on open relay exchangers. Remember, open relay exchangers are exploited by spammers for sending bulk junk mail. Several non-profit organizations have setup regular testing of all mail exchangers and maintain a database of those that are detected as open relay. They refer to it as the "Black Hole List." Each organization maintains their own list using test methods and criteria of their own design.

It is easy to test a mail exchanger to see if it is open to relay mail without authentication. Explained in simple terms, a tester sends a mail message to itself via the target exchanger to see if it gets through. Since the tester is not authorized to use the exchanger, the message will be rejected if it is not open relay. But, if the message is successfully delivered, the target server is listed as open relay and added to the Black Hole List.

Recently, ISPs have begun to use the Black Hole Lists made available to them. An ISP uses the list for instructing their own exchanger to reject mail received from any exchanger that is on the Black Hole List. The reasoning is that if they reject mail from open relay exchangers, the amount of spam that goes to their subscribers will be reduced. This seems like a good plan since open relay exchangers are clearly the ones that spammers prefer to exploit because they act as amplifiers and anonymizers for their junk mail.

Here is a problem. Many legitimate exchangers are configured for open relay. This is the default configuration for many exchangers. By now you have probably deduced that if your exchanger is configured for open relay it is probably on the Black Hole List. And, if it is on the list, there are some ISPs whose subscribers cannot receive mail from you.

If you as a sender are having this problem you will typically get an NDR (Non Delivery Report) that says your message is rejected, and states the reason "550 Open Relay Rejected" or similar.

You should contact your ISP to fix the problem. If you operate your own corporate exchanger then you will have to fix the problem yourself. Use a search engine on the WWW with the words " Open Relay" and you'll find plenty of information describing in detail the problem and ways to resolve it.

Once you have open relay disabled on your exchanger, request that it be retested and removed from the Black Hole List. Do this by contacting one or more of the organizations that you will have discovered by searching the WWW as described above.

If you continue to receive 550 NDRs, keep track of which ISPs are rejecting your messages. Sometimes you have to wait a week or two for an ISP to get their updated list and then to update their own rejection list. Worse still, some ISPs apparently use the Black Hole List in a " one-way". They automatically add exchangers to their reject list, but deletions are not automatic-they are manual. You may find it necessary to contact some ISPs to convince them to remove your exchanger from their list.

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Amateur Radio News

By Tom Weeden, WJ9H
Madison Chapter 24

- President George W. Bush spoke via amateur radio to members of the Northern Florida Amateur Radio Emergency Service Net January 31st. The president was in Florida to spotlight five volunteer groups-among them the Volusia County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)-for their value to the new Office of Homeland Security. "I want to thank all the volunteers who help make sure that Florida is prepared for any kind of emergency," the president said in part, after checking in around 9:15 AM to a regular ARES net session.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Northern Florida Section Manager Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, said Bush spoke from a portable station set up at a Daytona Beach fire station. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, said he was "extremely gratified" that President Bush recognized the valuable service amateur radio operators provide in times of emergencies, and "I know that all hams in the United States stand ready to do their part in America's Homeland Security Program."

- Broadcasters were allowed to use an amateur microwave band for Winter Olympics coverage. The FCC granted the Salt Lake Organizing Committee a Special Temporary Authority to utilize the 13 centimeter band (2300-2305 and 2390-2450 MHz) for broadcast auxiliary operations at Olympic venues through March 1.

While the STA did not forbid amateur use of the band between now and then, it authorized the Broadcast Auxiliary Service as a co-secondary user until March 1. The FCC designated the Salt Lake Organizing Committee as the single point of contact for coordinating operations under 74.24 of the Commission's rules through March 31, 2002.

- Wisconsin is poised to be the next state to incorporate the language of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1 into state law. ARRL Wisconsin Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG, said the antenna bill-Assembly Bill 368, "Amateur Radio FCC PRB- 1 Amateur Radio Antenna Protection Act"-passed the State Senate in January on a voice vote. The bill now goes to Governor Scott McCallum for his signature.

"We would like to acknowledge this victory due to the tireless efforts of Jim Romelfanger, K9ZZ," Michalski said. Romelfanger, a Baraboo amateur radio activist and editor of the Badger State Smoke Signals ham radio newspaper, passed away December 22.

AB 368 would require that ordinances or resolutions affecting the placement, screening or height of amateur radio antennas or support structures have a "reasonable and clearly defined aesthetic, public health, or safety objective." Such an ordinance or resolution also must represent "the minimum practical regulation" necessary to accomplish the locality's objectives and must reasonably accommodate amateur radio communication.

(Excerpts from "The ARRL Letter" and the www.arrl.org web site)

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Certificaton Exam Session Dates Announced For 2002

The SBE National Certification Committee has announced exam session dates for 2002. Check the list below for the exam period that is best for you. For more information about SBE Certification, see your Chapter Certification Chair or contact Linda Godby, Certification Director at the SBE National Office at (317) 846-9000 or lgodby@sbe.org.

Exam Dates

Location

Application Deadline

April 9, 2002

NAB Convention

March 12, 2002

June 8-18, 2002

Local Chapters

April 27, 2002

August 17-27, 2002

Local Chapters

June 16, 2002

November 9-19, 2002

Local Chapters

September 29, 2002

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SBE HAMNet/Chapter of the Air

The SBE HAMNet, or Chapter of the Air, was developed for those HAM members who are not in close proximity to a local SBE Chapter. It gives members a monthly chance to get caught up on up-to-date SBE information.

SBE Chapter of the Air takes place on the second Sunday of every month at 0000 GMT and is done by Hal Hostetler, WA7BGX, Net Control. The published frequency is 14,205 mhz. Occasionally, that frequency is busy and you may need to move up (no more than 10 Khz) to find the SBE meeting.

Some of SBE's Board members are regular attendees, so your opportunity for comments, suggestions, ideas and complaints are heard by the top of the organization.

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The Burst Digital Workshop Presents

An Inexpensive DVD Near-Line Archiving Solution

Exploring The Many Uses Of DVD Technology For Professional Applications

Presented By Grass Valley &Quot; Rorke Data

Hosted By Burst Communications, Inc.

Come join us for a sneak peak at the absolute latest in DVD archiving technology. This popular DV technology is sure to offer some very attractive alternatives to the traditional tape archiving methods in use today. We are offering several sessions to choose from so look through your busy schedules and pick one that you can get to for an hour or so and see what everyone has been talking about.

WHERE:
Burst Communications, Inc.
8200 South Akron St., Suite 108
Centennial, CO 80112

WHEN:
March 14th, 2002
Three sessions from which to choose:
    8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Please RSVP by March 12th to Theresa Bray at 303-649-9600, or email to theresab@burstvideo.com.

Light refreshments will be provided, compliments of Grass Valley Group, Inc.

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Clay's Corner

Featuring News, Rumors and Views
From Usually Reliable and Irrefutable Sources

By Clay Freinwald
Chapter 16, Seattle

Now to what else is new around these parts...
KKOL (ex KOL/KMPS) has moved out of their old transmitter site on Harbor Island after who knows how many years... and is now doing something that likely no Seattle station has ever done before... operating from a SHIP! You read it right. KKOL, 1300 AM is now operating with 1 kW from the 175 foot cargo ship, Coastal Ranger that tied up just South of Salty's at Alki. The antenna is a 74 foot loaded fiberglass whip. The transmitter, a 2.5 kW BE, is housed in a shipping container on the deck. According to Jim Dalke this is the only licensed AM station in the US operating like this. For those of you that are Hams you are tempted to ask if they will sign KKOL/MM. There are a number of rumors floating about (no pun....well maybe a little one) that this operation is just until the owners, Salem, can construct a fixed facility up the Duwamish some place. Funny, didn't KJR build, then abandon one up there?

While I am on the subject of Salem. This outfit is known for their operation of religious stations around the country.... In this market one of their cluster is now operating Spanish. KKMO (Ex-KMO) in Tacoma has made the shift. I worked for the old 1360 for many years and still find it hard to relate to this change. But you gotta do what you gotta do. There is apparently a big market for Spanish language programming and one that's getting bigger all the time. If you have been out of the area, east of the mountains for example, you will quickly find a LOT of them. Canada may be bi-lingual (English/French) but the US is quickly become bi-lingual also.

Are you ready for IBOC? From the press releases I have been seeing it's really on it's way with a roll-out schedule for 5 cities across the country... and SEATTLE is one of them! The organization behind IBOC or In-band digital radio, Ibiquity, appears to fully understand that they are not operating with the same economic situation that is driving DTV and they need to not only create the 'horse' but prove that he is viable for pulling the cart FIRST then hope and pray that receiver manufactures will make them... and then pray some more that consumers will purchase them. The success of IBOC depends on having a critical mass of stations on the air and operating right away. It looks to me that they have learned the lessons of AM Stereo, etc. Seattle is fortunate in that some of the backers of this new technology operate here: Entercom, Infinity and (shortly) Clear Channel. For radio this is going to be their DTV. Meanwhile... the Commish is looking into the whole thing with an eye to making rules that will guide the whole thing. For an in depth look at this check out MM Docket #99-325, Replies are due on March 21.

You can look for LOTS of IBOC equipment and technology to be on display here in Seattle September 12th through 14th at the NAB Radio Show. The FCC has re-allocated 698 to 746 MHz (channels 52 to 59) to fixed and mobile services.

This is all part of a bigger problem in the 800 MHz spectrum that has a lot to do with Nextel, Public Safety and related matters that would take several Waveguides to explain. If you want to know more, check out some of the land mobile publications, they have been full of articles on this subject.

NAB is accepting nominations for its 2002 Engineering Achievement Awards. The list of previous recipients looks like a who's who in our field dating back to 1959. These will be presented at the Engineering Luncheon at NAB on April 10th in L.V.

Are you a member of IEEE? The median salary for their members is now $93,100 per year.

Here's something that you don't hear of very often. An ex-state trooper has sued KUBE 93-FM (and other parties) over an injury he received when he was in a vehicle struck by a car driven by a person who was drunk and had attended a party hosted by the radio station.

Congrats to Kent Randles of Portland as he moves to the CE slot at Paul Allen's KXL, KXJM.

The Peninsula Daily News of Port Angeles recently featured an article in their business section on a new transmitter purchased by KONP/KIKN there. The unit, by RF Cast is shown in a picture. Not often a radio station makes the print media with a new transmitter!

Entercom continues to grow with the announcement that 3 stations in Denver will be added to the firm. Entercom not only operates 8 stations here in Seattle but this is also home of its corporate Engineering Department. (Editor's note: Entercom recently announced the acquisition of their fourth station in Denver, KALC FM.)

Remember the call letters KLTX (one of the many that have been used with 95.7)? It's now in Long Beach, California.

Another LOCAL manufacturer of broadcast equipment? Apparently so. A Kirkland area firm called FM Broadcasters is marketing a line of low power FM antennas. Visit their site at www.fmbroadcasters.com

The FCC has a new and improved means of reaching their call center. The number is the same, 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322). Now by pressing 0 you can reach a real live person from 8 AM to 5:30 PM (Eastern).

Wacom, a Waco, Texas maker of cavities, filters and other RF related products, have been sold to TxRx.

The FCC has a web site that you can go to to obtain information about unattended operation... (kinda cute) it's www.fcc.gov/mmb/asd/bickel/noonehome.html proving that someone back there does have a sense of humor.

The FCC has issued a NPRM that will enable FRS units to transmit GPS data... betcha the price goes up for those models.

John Price gave me an old memo the other day... it was from KVAN in Vancouver (date unknown). The memo, to the air staff, acknowledged that they did not have a bathroom and encouraged the DJs there to use the facilities at the gun club down the road and even listed a number of records (long ones) that could be played. The memo warns the staff not to 'tinkle' off the back porch due to an apparent health hazard; someone felt a 'tingle' and there was fear of more several electrical disturbances. Ah those were the days. I still get funny looks from some when they discover the electric potties Entercom has at West Tiger and Cougar Mountain.

If you are a ham you know that the Commission has dropped the Novice class license; now the ARRL is considering petitioning the FCC to drop the Novice class sub- band.

I will close with this one, just in case you find yourself nodding off at your desk on one of these wonderful dark and dreary winter days....

The 10 best things to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk..

10. They told me at the blood bank that this might happen.

9. This is a 15 minute power-nap they raved about in the time management course human resources recommended.

8. Whew!... Guess I left the lid off the Whiteout. You probably got here just in time.

7. I was not sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement of the corporation.

6. I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance.

5. I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work- related stress, are you discriminating against people who practice yoga?

4. Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out the solution the problem your boss asked me to work on.

3. The coffee machine has broken, what do you expect?

2. Someone must have put decaf in the wrong pot again.

And the #1 best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk....

1. In Jesus' name.... Amen.

Have a good one, my friends, keep that stuff working and please do come to the next SBE meeting... it will be good to see YOU!

Clay Freinwald, K7CR, CPBE

The above comments and opinions are those of Clay Freinwald. They are not the opinion of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc., or Seattle Chapter 16, Inc.

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The End User


by Rich Petschke
Treasurer, SBE Chap. 16

Everyone's into "retro" these days - there's radio stations playing '80s music, "That '70s Show" is one of the more popular sitcoms, and lots of people lined up to get a PT Cruiser - one of the more popular "retro- mobiles". Last month, we had another good retro moment - Steve Jobs introducing the new iMac. To be sure, the Macintosh has come a long way since the one he introduced in 1984 (when that incredible commercial aired during the Super Bowl). And Jobs is convinced the new iMac will be the product that finally moves Apple's market share beyond the 5% it currently commands.

You've probably read the "exclusive" Time interview with Jobs (where he states, "this is the best thing we've ever done") and may even know that Apple withheld advance info on the new iMac from all other publications to give Time the exclusive. The Time piece was clearly biased pro-Apple - and perhaps convinced you that it's time to get a Mac.

Is it cute? Sure it is. Is it convenient to not crawl on the floor to connect peripherals? Absolutely. Is the LCD screen better than the CRT tube? That's a topic that can be debated until the cows come home (no Gateway pun intended!). But is it really the best "thing" to come from the company headquartered at One Infinite Loop? It's a nice piece, but it seems that Apple hit a "ground-rule double" with the new iMac.

Here's why:

That "cute" package: Steve Jobs reportedly told his chief designer that the new iMac should "...look more like the flowers in the garden...it should look like a sunflower". Apple definitely succeeded there, but do you remember the other odd Apple designs: the Cube, for example? They're still piled up in Apple warehouses. The design may be a bit ahead of its time for the average computer owner, and that's precisely who Apple is targeting this new iMac to.

The LCD monitor: LCDs are nice (I use one myself), but to date the public has resisted paying the premium for them (they're still priced about 50% more than comparable CRTs). Apple's gambling that you're willing to pay that premium - and based on history, it may not be a good bet. Last year, Gateway offered an all-in-one PC with a LCD monitor for about $1000 - and it flopped so badly that they ended up liquidating that model through a third-party reseller.

The models: You have three choices, all in the same color. If you opt for the cheapest one, save your DVDs for your home theater - that model only has a CD-RW drive. It's a $200 upgrade for the CD-RW/DVD drive, and a $500 bump to get a SuperDrive (CD- RW/DVD-RW), which also includes a faster processor. Observation: The cheapest model should have at least DVD playback capability standard. Macs are all about multimedia - how can Apple introduce a new model in 2002 and not have DVD playback on all of them?

Extras: You still have to buy add-ons like a floppy/ZIP drive, wireless networking card, additional CD-ROM or hard drive, etc. So the "uncluttered" desktop envisioned by Steve Jobs may be a concept, but in reality the user still has to find a place on their desktops for their add-ons.

Timing: The recession and Apple's decision to introduce the new iMac after Christmas may hurt its initial sales figures. As noted, the cheapest model costs $1300 (and it's not being discounted much, but some vendors are sweetening the deal with free upgrades). That's almost twice what Dell and others charge for a mid-level PC (without a LCD screen). If sales are weak, look for discounts to appear - fast.

In other news - Now that Covad has successfully emerged from its Chapter 11 filing, it is transitioning from a CLEC to a full-service ISP. It recently purchased the assets of bankrupt ISP InternetConnect, and intends to transition those users to its covad.net ISP network. Covad was the CLEC for most of InternetConnect's customers, so the transition should be seamless. Look for Covad to swallow up other small ISPs that are using their DSL lines - they may end up being one of the largest DSL players in the industry!

Things are still a bit rocky in the AT&T Broadband (soon to be AT&T Comcast) world, even though it's been three months since the changeover from @Home. Some area users are still experiencing prolonged outages, slow download speeds and troubles with e-mail servers. If you're one of those still having trouble and are not getting the assistance you need, try sending an e-mail to customercare.nwd@broadband.att.com. This address was posted on dslreports.com by a local AT&T support tech. Many users commenting on dslreports.com are infuriated by the new download speed "cap" of 1.5 Mb/sec that AT&T imposed after the @Home changeover. From my perspective - the new service seems about the same speed as what I had with @Home - and it's a LOT faster than dialup!

I recently mentioned that the major record labels were adding anti- piracy technology to new CD releases, so that they can't be "ripped" by a computer's CD-ROM drive. Last month, Rep. Rick Boucher, (D-Va) sent a letter to executives of the recording industry's trade association, asking whether this move might override consumers' abilities to copy albums they have purchased for personal use. The 1992 Audio Home Recording Act allows music listeners to make some personal digital copies of their music and in return, record labels collect royalties on the blank media used for this purpose. Rep. Boucher stopped short of saying what he might do if he decided the technologies do violate the terms of the AHRA.

Finally - last December, the monthly active website survey taken by Netcraft showed its first-ever decline in unique site stats. The total declined by 182,000 to 36.28 million websites. As a perspective - in December 2000, there were 25.68 million unique sites, and in December 1996, there were just over 603,000 sites! No wonder the information superhighway is congested!

The survey and history is available at http://www.netcraft.com/survey/ .

That's it for this month. Please feel free to send your comments and suggestions to rich@ris-solutions.com. All the best to you!

The above comments and opinions are those of Rich Petschke.They are not the opinion of the Society of Broadcast Engineers, Inc., or Seattle Chapter 16, Inc.

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HUMOR

Quick Chuckles:

What do attorneys use for birth control?
  Their personalities.

What's the difference between a new husband and a new dog?
  After a year, the dog is still excited to see you.

What's the difference between a Northern fairytale and a Southern fairytale?
  A Northern fairytale begins "Once upon a time."
  A Southern fairy tale begins "'Y'all ain't gonna believe this."

10 Warning Signs You May Be Technologically Impaired

  1. After sending someone an email, you phone to tell that someone that you've sent them an email.
  2. All your bookmarks are tech support sites.
  3. Look at your email address. Does it end in "aol.com"?
  4. You keep forgetting which side of the mouse you use to "right-click."
  5. All your bookmarks are genealogy sites.
  6. When your computer freezes, and someone tells you to turn up the heat in the room, you actually do it.
  7. When installing software and it asks if you want to do a "normal" or "custom" install, you get upset that there is more than one option.
  8. You say things like, "With my new 850 Mhz machine, the Internet is much faster."
  9. You ordered a computer with a CD-ROM, but instead it came with a stupid cup holder.
  10. You are told about viruses such as ILoveYou and warned not to click the attachments, then the next day you get an ILoveYou email and click on the attachment because, well, it came from someone you know.

If you recognize any three of these signs, you may be in need of an evaluation by a Licensed Techcare Professional. If you recognize five or more, you may be suffering from a more serious condition known as Reinstallzheimers.

The Silent Treatment

A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment. The next week, the man realized that he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight to New York. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (AND LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, "Please wake me at 5:00 AM. The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and that he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't awakened him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed. The paper said, "It is 5:00 AM. Wake up."

True Or Not? I Don't Know But They Sound Good........

1. WHAT WAS PLAN B??? An Illinois man, pretending to have a gun, kidnapped a motorist and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines, wherein the kidnapper proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts.

2. DID I SAY THAT??? Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words, "Give me all your money or I'll shoot", the man shouted, "That's not what I said!"

3. NOT THE SHARPEST TOOL IN THE SHED!! In Modesto, California, Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun, but unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket.

4. THE GRAND FINALE Last summer, down on Lake Isabella, located in the high desert, an hour east of Bakersfield, California, some folks, new to boating, were having a problem. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn't get their brand new 22 ft going. It was very sluggish in almost every maneuver, no matter how much power was applied. After about an hour of trying to make it go, they putted to a nearby marina, thinking someone there could tell them what was wrong. A thorough topside check revealed everything in perfect working condition. The engine ran fine, the out drive went up and down, the prop was the correct size and pitch. So, one of the marina guys jumped in the water to check underneath, he came up choking on water, he was laughing so hard. NOW REMEMBER ...THIS IS TRUE!... Under the boat, still strapped securely in place, was the trailer.

DIGITAL OR BUST! (MOSTLY BUST...)
By Emilio Fahrquahr
From Chapter 124, Portland

Somewhere out there in the atmosphere, you may not have noticed, we Broadcasters are supposed to be transitioning to the Digital Age. Has anyone actually heard an outcry from the mass public for Digital TV or Radio? On the other hand, iffin' the Consumer Electronics Association really wanted to roll this thing out, you could actually go to an Electronics store, and find a DTV tuner/decoder. At least one that you could reasonably afford. The broadcasters are doing their part, mostly with money they don't have, under the watchful coercion of our friends at the ol' Commish.

Now we're hearin' that our friends at the NAB, I'm sure with good intentions, are teaming up with the CEA to promote land-based, over-the-air DTV in three test markets. Well, as luck would have it, Portland, Oregon was selected. My friends in Portland are a wondering how they got bestowed with such an auspicious coronation. Does Portland have a higher penetration of DTV tuners? How about a better awareness of DTV? (Most viewers can't even spell DTV, unless that's what the cable folks are bringin' into the ol' bungalow...) Maybe 'cause the stations in the market are doing such an outstanding job of passing through that really high-quality content that will drive the marketplace to buy new sets... Maybe none of the above, or maybe, just maybe, the opposite reasons. Anyway, what does all this mean? With much fanfare, and Her Honor Ms Katz, along with others, the promotion was rolled out. Seems there's a plan to put some of them HDTeeVee sets in some conspicuous places like shopping malls, sports arenas, and other public thoroughfares. That should really make the population beat a path for the consumer stores! So far, the Broadcasters are doing their thing (at considerable operating cost), and the NAB is behind the Dog & Pony Shows in the malls, but what is the good ol' CEA gonna do? How about flood the market with inexpensive DTV tuners, and reasonably priced HDTV sets? What ever happened to the ubiquitous $199 DTV Set-Top Box (STB, loss leader). I doubt it, since they would rather blame the content providers for nothin' to watch. Besides, they might lose some money on the deal. Gee, imagine that, lose money on Digital Television! Think the 'ol Commish would regulate the next generation of tuners to include DTV, and in a way that they might actually work? Poor 'ol CEA might lose money on that too, so I'm sure the ol' lobbyists are burnin' midnight oil and martini lunches on that. DVD players are much cheaper to crank out by the millions.

Speakin' of broadcastin' digits, what about Satellite Radio? Does anyone in their right mind really think that thing is going to fly? (So to speak, since technically, their satellites are up!) So far, hundreds of millions of $$$ have been spent, and about 30,000 listeners subscribed. And, only one of the two competing services is up! The day after a Reuters News article about Satellite Radio, XM's CEO Hugh Panero predicted 350,000 subscribers by the end of the year. I'm a wonderin' where he got his crystal ball. The real potential listeners are those in rural areas, and long haul drivers. But, if the choice is buying a few CD's or a monthly subscription charge complete with commercials on some channels, I'd take the CD's. Everyone knows that there just ain't enough listeners in rural areas to pay the freight. Unless, all them little satellite repeaters (up to 40 kW, ERP) that the two companies convinced the 'ol Commish to let them try, turn out to be "Local" radio stations. Now, that would be a travesty! Broadcasters do a great job of doing local weather, news, and sports, most of the time. So there's a few commercials? Even they're fun sometimes! And there's still the CD's! Satellite radio will go down as the biggest Broadcast failure in history.

Don't even get me started on Digital TV and Cable! Maybe another time....

Emilio

Emilio Fahrquahr, is a pseudonym for a respected Broadcast Engineer in a major metro area. His opinions do not necessarily represent those of SBE Chapter 124, nor any of its officers. Send your comments to: Emilio@WhatisYourPoint.com

Actual Listing Seen On Ebay!

RARE ORIGINAL VINTAGE IBM PC XT 5160 with IBM KEYBOARD and IBM 5151 MONITOR. This is one of the IBM Personal Computers that were based on the latest technology available in the early 1980's. Now this technology is considered very old and all the IC's, microprocessor inside are considered vintage items. This is an IBM PC system, complete with keyboard and monitor. It was originally purchased, about 20 years ago, by a major corporation as a new item. At that time the market price was several thousand dollars. Now it is a collectible item and it might fetch the same $ value sometime in the future. This is a heavy machine, approximately 10 times the weight of a modern laptop PC. When this PC was taken out of service in 1886, due to a department closure, it was fully operational. I acquired it at that time and it has been in storage ever since. I have no reason to believe that it is not fully functional now. It was turned on, this week, when the pictures were taken and it appeared to be operational. It responded to the keyboard entries and displayed the information on the monitor. I'm not in a position to do any further testing. Cosmetically this machine is in very good condition. The motherboard is marked 64-256 KB System. There is, however, an additional 256K of memory on a separate board. The hard storage is 10 MB. Other technical information you may get from the photographs.

INSERT AUTHOR HERE

He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

A day without sunshine is like ... night.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

When the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.

I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how it remains so popular?

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

You can't have everything, where would you put it?

Latest survey shows that 3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the world's population.

The things that come to those who wait are usually the things left by those who got there first.

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

I wished the buck stopped here, as I could use a few.

I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them.

Warning: Minnesota Computer Virus

We have sent you the Norwegian Virus.

Since we do not have any programming skills and do not know how to actually damage your computer, this virus works on the honor system.

Please forward this virus to everyone on your mailing list and then manually delete all the files on you hard drive.

Thank you for corporation.

Sven & Olie
Guttag.

What a Difference 30 Years Make

1970: Long hair
2000: Longing for hair

1970: The perfect high
2000: The perfect high yield mutual fund

1970: KEG
2000: EKG

1970: Acid rock
2000: Acid reflux

1970: Moving to California because it's cool
2000: Moving to California because it's warm

1970: Growing pot
2000: Growing pot belly

1970: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2000: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1970: Seeds and stems
2000: Roughage

1970: Popping pills, smoking joints
2000: Popping joints

1970: Killer weed
2000: Weed killer

1970: The Grateful Dead
2000: Dr. Kevorkian

1970: Going to a new, hip joint
2000: Receiving a new hip joint

1970: Rolling Stones
2000: Kidney stones

1970: Being called into the principal's office
2000: Calling the principal's office

1970: Disco
2000: Costco

1970: Parents begging you to get your hair cut
2000: Children begging you to get their heads shaved

1970: Taking acid
2000: Taking antacid

1970:Whatever
2000:Depends

You Will Have A Lot Of Fun With This One!
Subject: Intelligence Test

This is the Official Intelligence Test. It's based upon typical graduation requirements at Harvard. Try to finish within 2 minutes. When you are done, count the number correct and see how you compare to others.

1. Is there a 4th of July in England? Yes or no?

2. How many birthdays does the average man have?

3. Some months have 31 days. How many have 28?

4. How many outs are there in an inning?

5. Can a man in California marry his widow's sister?

6. Take the number 30, divide it by 1/2, and then add 10. ......... What do you get?

7. There are 3 apples and you take two away. How many apples are you left with?

8. A doctor gives you three pills and tells you to take one every half an hour.... How long will the pills last?

9. A farmer has 17 sheep. All but 9 of them die. How many sheep are left?

10. How many animals of each sex did Moses bring with him on the ark?

11. A butcher in the market is 5'10" tall. What does he weigh?

12. How many 2 cent stamps are there in a dozen?

13. What was the President's name in 1960?

*** NO CHEATING ***

So how do you think you did?

TEST ANSWERS:

1. Is there a 4th of July in England? Yes or No? .... Yes. It comes right after the 3rd

2. How many birthdays does the average man have? ..... One (1). You can only be born once!

3. Some months have 31 days. How many have 28? ..... Twelve (12). All of them have at least 28 days.

4. How many outs are there in an inning? .... Six (6). Don't forget there is a top and bottom to every inning

5. Can a man in California marry his widow's sister? .... No. He must be dead if it is his widow.

6. Take the number 30, divide it by 1/2, and then add 10. What do you get? ..... Seventy (70). Thirty (30) divided by 1/2 is 60

7. There are 3 apples and you take two away. How many apples are you left with? .. Two (2). You take two apples .. therefore YOU have TWO apples.

8. A doctor gives you three pills and tells you to take one every half an hour. How long will the pills last? ...... One hour. If you take the first pill at 1:00, the second at 1:30, and the third at 2:00, the pills have run out and only one hour has passed.

9. A farmer has 17 sheep. All but 9 of them die. How many sheep are left? ..... Nine (9). Like I said, all BUT nine die

10. How many animals of each sex did Moses have on the ark? ...... None. I didn't know that Moses had an ark.

11. A butcher in the market is 5' 10 tall. What does he weigh? ..... Meat ... that is self-explanatory.

12. How many 2 cent stamps are there in a dozen? ... Twelve (12). How many eggs are in a dozen? TWELVE ... it's dozen

13. What was the President's name in 1960? ... George W. Bush. As far as I know, he hasn't changed his name.

So, how did we do?

13 correct......... GENIUS... you are good.

10-12 correct.... ABOVE AVERAGE... but don't let it go to your head.

7-9 correct........ AVERAGE... but who wants to be average?

4-6 correct.......... SLOW... pay attention to the questions!

1-3 correct.......... Oh boy.... what else can be said?

0 correct . . . . . .Really?

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Etc.

Newsletter Committee

Bill Harris
  (303)756-4843
   bharris4@ix.netcom.com

Garneth M. Harris
  (303)756-4843

Newsletter archives are available online.
Visit www.smpte-sbe48.org/oldnews for an index of newsletter back issues.
Note: Old newsletters may contain outdated information, web links or email addresses. News archives are not updated when relevant information changes.

Views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Societies, its officers, or its members. We regret, but are not liable for, any omissions or errors. The Denver SBE and SMPTE Newsletter is published approximately twelve times per year. It is prepared with a combination of text and graphic data. Submission deadline is 10 days before the last day of each month. Other SBE or SMPTE chapters are permitted to use excerpts if attributed to the original authors, sources, and/or the Denver SBE/SMPTE Newsletter.