GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 24, 2012 0 comments

For years, TV manufacturers have been striving to make the biggest and best TV displays. Every year in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show has been a competition to see who could show off the most ridiculously humongous TV screen.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 05, 2012 0 comments

The iFrogz Boost is a small, very portable speaker that claims to magically boost the sound from an iPhone, or any smartphone or other device with an external speaker. I have to be skeptical of any product that uses the word "magical" on their packaging - unless it's a "As Seen on TV" product, which everyone knows are all magical.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Mar 12, 2012 0 comments

A Princess of Mars was the first serial novel published by adventure writer Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Tarzan guy) almost exactly 100 years ago. It’s a classic tale: Civil War veteran is mysteriously transported into the midst of two warring cultures, of course, with a beautiful woman to be saved. Hmm, countless sci-fi films and more than a few Western flicks have borrowed that theme. Most recently and notably, James Cameron has said that A Princess of Mars (which he read as a child) was his inspiration for Avatar. Here’s the problem: Once so many others have copied it, the original feels — oddly enough — derivative. Despite all that, Disney gambled that Princess had enough life left to kickstart a new franchise.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 27, 2012 0 comments

While most folks were talking about either Angelina Jolie's leg, or J-Lo's alleged wardrobe malfunction, many people noticed a more glaring problem during the broadcast of the 2012 Academy Awards. While the show is generally a model of excellence in production, almost immediately viewers noticed a problem with the audio feed.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 27, 2012 0 comments

When I first saw the AfterShokz headphones at the 2012 International CES, I knew the company was onto something. Instead of going in or over the ear, these use bone conduction technology, borrowed from the Navy SEALs. AfterShokz rest in front of the ear, and use the jawbone to convey sound into the middle ear. I had a suspicion my father —a retired electrical engineer with a background in aeronautics, an audiophile from way back, and one of the original gadget gurus —would love them.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 15, 2012 0 comments

Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Rachel and Ross, Brad and Angelina, Mac and Cheese. All great couples. Each individual may be fine on their own, but together - well, they're magic. Okay, so a few end up dead, but if it's written in the stars, then so be it.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 13, 2012 0 comments

The 2012 Grammy Awards — "music’s biggest night" — was certainly a unique evening of entertainment. As Reba (when did she lose her last name?) pointed out, it brought together so many different aspects of the music industry. Where else would you find hip-hop newbies rubbing elbows with old-school crooners?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 02, 2012 0 comments

Super Bowl Sunday, in many people's minds, is a national holiday. And, as with any holiday in this country, that means sales. Big sales.  Now, while you might think instantly that we're gonna talk about TV sales, let's hold off on that for a minute.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jan 03, 2012 0 comments

Last month we explored ways to break up with your cable provider.  But what if you’re in a long-term, loving relationship with your cable box? Or your satellite dish? So in love, in fact, that you can’t stand to be apart from it? The Vulkano Flow ($99) lets you view the output of your cable set-top box or satellite receiver over the internet, on your laptop PC, Mac, or smartphone, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Never be away from the one you love!

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 13, 2011 0 comments

Consider this fact. Over 80% of people watching TV or movies at home do so while also surfing the Internet or using their smartphones. No one just sits and watches movies anymore. If I was a film-maker, I would be pissed.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 01, 2011 0 comments

Seems like a new way to listen to music over the Internet pops up everyday.  Pandora might have a lock on the market, Slacker has the coolest name (and real-live DJs behind the scenes), everyone's talking about Spotify and MOG, but there's another website that does something most others don't. Stereomood designs playlists based on your mood or activity. Yup - music to suit your every mood.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 16, 2011 0 comments

Big screen not quite big enough? Don't like company while you watch TV? You can finally place your order for Sony's widely anticipated 3D headset, the HMZ-T1 ($799.) But before we get to the specs, consider the cool factor: The headset looks like something straight out of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 01, 2011 0 comments

It's really hard to feel sorry for any of the major cable providers. Shout out if you absolutely love your cable company. Anyone? So, when Time Warner Cable announced a significant drop in subscribers and a corresponding decline in their earnings last quarter, you didn't see a lot of crocodile tears. In fact, anyone who's spent an hour or five dealing with cable customer service will likely feel at least a bit of glee to hear about TWC's corporate woes. But what does this say about how we're all watching TV?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 17, 2011 0 comments

Streaming from a DVR is a great way to watch whatever you want, wherever you want. Some even say that streaming might be the future of video.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 10, 2011 0 comments

A few weeks ago, the blogosphere was abuzz with commentary on Netflix's impetuous decision to split into two companies: Netflix for streaming TV shows and movies, and Qwikster for home delivery of DVD and Blu-ray movies. Seems that Netflix thought better of it too.

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