When you do two radio shows a week, with little or no staff, it’s a matter of hard work and equally hard deadlines. For example, The Tech Night Owl LIVE must be ready to stream by Thursday evening, and it’s a mixture of live and recorded content.
For now, The Paracast remains recorded, and KLAV-AM in Las Vegas requires us to upload an episode two days in advance, so that it can be entered into their automated system. In the old days when I worked at various radio stations, we just received a box containing the tape and we’d spool it up on the deck. Yes, the tape would break from time to time, but there was always a past episode to fall back on.
However, there will come a time when everything will have to be live, at which time we have plans and, in fact, the equipment in place to take telephone calls.
On last week’s episode of The Tech Night Owl LIVE, I called upon my co-host at The Paracast, David Biedny, to appear in a segment of “The David Biedny Zone” to deliver a full analysis of the new features of Photoshop CS3. This is the public beta of the upcoming Universal version that’ll run native on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.
David is, as some of you know, a world-famous image editing expert and a former movie special effects artist, so he delivered what is probably the best segment on the new version of Photoshop to date, but there wasn’t enough time to cover all the great features. So we’ve invited him back for more on next week’s show.
We also presented the latest Mac troubleshooting news and views from MacFixIt editor Ben Wilson. In addition, with a spanking new version of Parallels Desktop coming, Product Manager Benjamin Rudolph talked about all the great features and plans for the future of this popular “virtual machine” application. Yes, we’ve offered equal time to VMWare, which is currently beta testing their new Mac software, but, so far at least, they haven’t accepted our invitation.
As far as The Paracast is concerned, on Sunday, we interviewed Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), who discussed the O’Hare case and other widely-reported UFO sightings. You’ve seen and heard Davenport on other shows, and read about him in some large, national magazines, but did you know he bought a former guided missile bunker, in Washington state, for his next home? Yes, it’s true.
In addition, as the 60th anniversary of the reported crash at Roswell, NM nears, William Birnes, publisher of UFO Magazine, came onboard to respond the critics of the book he and the late Philip Corso wrote, “The Day After Roswell.”
On February 4th, our own David Biedny and Jeff Ritzmann will deliver an exhaustive and exclusive in-depth analysis of a pair of camera-phone photos purportedly depicting the UFO at O’Hare airport. Instead of the brief second-hand accounts you’ve heard elsewhere, you’ll hear a direct report about what they learned and what it means.
In addition, prolific paranormal author and investigator Brad Steiger will talk about some of the most compelling paranormal encounters that he has written about. Indeed, if when it comes to tales about things that go bump in the night, Brad is just about my favorite story teller.
I have a history with Go Daddy, the world’s largest domain registrar. That’s a company where you can register your Internet domains, and they do a huge business hosting your Web sites. You see, our Webmaster, Brent Lee, had been referring his clients to Go Daddy for several years, and suggested that I follow suit.
I remember that week, in the spring of 2006, quite well, when I spent several hours transferring our online files to their new homes. Understand that things were simpler then, because we didn’t use database-driven publishing tools for this site, and for the message board systems on the rest of our repertoire.
Today, this would be a problem, one that I had to overcome myself since our Webmaster went on a month-long hiatus. But that’s another story.
Although service had a few hiccups along the way, such as slow performance at times, it worked well for me, until one day I got an email from Go Daddy’s “Abuse” team about an alleged infraction, where I supposedly sent an ad to someone who claimed he didn’t request it.
Well, it seemed that I dared to send a short press release about an upcoming episode of The Paracast to someone who decided he didn’t like us, for reasons I won’t get into here. Alas, the paranormal field is prone to personality conflicts, ego trips and other unsavory behavior. Indeed, that problem afflicts far too many segments of our society.
In any case, I actually — with their permission of course — sent the announcement to someone else’s discussion list, which had existed for seven years. The person involved was an active participant in that list over the years, and never before complained that he didn’t want to receive any further messages.
I explained all this to the Go Daddy people via email, although I had to wonder why a single complaint would upset them so, considering that billions of pieces of junk mail spread across the Internet at any single point in time.
The response? Well, they couldn’t be made to understand that what I sent was a press release for a free radio show, not an ad. Worse, it seemed the discussion list didn’t have the proper opt-out option, which nobody on the list seemed to care about. That I sent it this one time made me guilty of a major crime, which meant they were prepared to hold one of my domains hostage for $199, or force me to pay $75 should I wish to move to another registrar.
Yes, I talked my way out of this dilemma, but the whole affair, involving a single wayward message on a list that had existed for years, left a sour taste in my mouth. But it wasn’t the first episode that created troubles for me over at Go Daddy. On occasion, I’d get letters from people at one of my non-Go Daddy-hosted email addresses complaining their letters were being bounced.
Now these were just regular people, not spammers. One of the individuals, in fact, was a noted editor of a college textbook. My efforts to dissuade Go Daddy from blocking mail from the domains they used resulted in one hit, and one miss. Since Go Daddy didn’t support IMAP email, I took my business elsewhere, to a dedicated hosted email service known as Webmail.
A few weeks later, all of our sites and domains were taken off Go Daddy as well; we moved to DreamHost. I do not want us to be held hostage to a company that maintains such intrusive policies. Besides, its customer service wasn’t all that great, although their Founder and CEO, Bob Parsons, made a great guest when he appeared on The Tech Night Owl LIVE a few months back.
Of course, this isn’t the only example of Go Daddy’s overbearing efforts to be politically correct. Just the other day, there was a report that Go Daddy had suspended a company’s domain after receiving a complaint from MySpace, even though the site in question was never given any advance warning that there was a problem. Now I’m not about to comment in-depth about someone’s else situation without knowing all of the facts, but, again, I am troubled by a tendency to react first and explain later, if you can even get an explanation.
Now for all intents and purposes, Go Daddy is a responsible company, and I have no problem with the fact that they use attractive women to promote their products and services. What bothers me is the fact that they are far too prone to regard their customers as guilty before all the evidence is in, which is why they lost my business.
But this story doesn’t end there. After several months, we moved from DreamHost as well. Why? Well, in their liberal interpretation of freedom of speech, they also allowed the American Nazi Party, one of the older hate groups, to host a site on DreamHost’s servers. Being a member of the Jewish faith, this presented a clear crisis of conscience, and I wrote to one of the company’s executives about my concerns.
He would not budge, so I did, preferring to engage in my online pursuits with a clear conscience. After that move, we set up a dedicated Web server at HostGator.
I think most of you know that I’ve been using Verizon Wireless for several years. It’s far from perfect. Although the network is supposed to be the best in the industry — at least in the USA — I still encounter connection problems, outright dropouts and all the rest of the ills that are typical of wireless service. At the same time, I’m not tempted to go elsewhere, because most surveys show the rest of the pack to be worse.
But even if Verizon were to be lucky enough to make a deal with Apple to carry the iPhone, I’d be decidedly reluctant to buy one, because most of the features would go unused. You see, I want a cell phone to make and receive phone calls, pure and simple. That requires decent reception, good audio quality, and a contact list that can be easily configured. Since I use a wireless headset, I also need Bluetooth support, but I’m not at all concerned if all the features, such as file sharing with a Mac or PC, are enabled.
For a while, I had a Motorola RAZR V3c, quite a decent product with one fatal flaw I’ve mentioned previously. By placing an easy-to-touch button to switch ringing modes (such as to vibrate) on the side of the phone, it’s just too simple to accidentally turn the ringer off. The end result? Yes, you miss a call. I just wonder who got the brilliant idea to add that “feature” to this best-selling device.
So when my “new-every-two” plan, where you get up to $100 off on a new phone, came up for renewal, I did a little research and ended up with the LG VX8600, which is essentially a clamshell version of the ever-popular “Chocolate” phone.
Now I’ve had good luck with LG phones. My son has gone through two of them in recent years. They seem to have gone through battle zones, yet they actually sound quite good. The LG VX8600 may indeed be another example.
The face consists of a shiny black plastic, like the Chocolate, and the lid is flanked by a silvery metallic material. A side-mounted button controls the volume, and touch-sensitive buttons at the top are designed for music playback. Yes, it’s quite sensitive to finger smudges, but is easily cleaned. However, you’ll want to get a decent case to prevent scratching.
The use of a Flash-based interface provides a somewhat more futuristic feel when you’re navigating the setup menus, but the VX8600 really doesn’t provide any better functionality than other Verizon handsets. Well, except for one thing, which is the fact that it apparently supports a greater level of Bluetooth support, including file sharing and so on.
Typical of an LG phone, call quality is superior on both ends of the conversation, and you can definitely make it loud enough to hear even the faintest callers. The soft-touch buttons have limited travel, but afford a sufficient amount of tactile feedback for speed.
The one thing that impressed me the most, however, is the fact that its Bluetooth radio didn’t zap battery power near as quickly as the RAZR, which I had to recharge after no more than a day of heavy talking with the wireless headset. In fact, I could go at least two days at my normal pace with the VX8600 before it had to make a visit to the charger. You can also buy an extended, thicker battery that offers up to a 50% greater lifecycle between charges. But it also makes the phone fatter, which may be a problem with some cases and holsters.
All in all, I’m pleased so far with the LG VX8600. I hope I’ll be able to say the same six months from now, but you never know with a mobile phone. Yes, I do have the extended warranty in force.
THE FINAL WORD
The Tech Night Owl Newsletter is a weekly information service of Making The Impossible, Inc.
Publisher/Editor: Gene Steinberg
Managing Editor: Grayson Steinberg
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