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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 29, 2015 1 comments
It's not easy being a corporation. Take Volkswagen, for example. Right about now, they are probably wishing that Ferdinand Porsche had never stuffed an air-cooled engine in the back of a Beetle-shaped car. Along similar lines, Toshiba probably wishes it had hired more ethical accountants. In particular, it recently announced that it had overstated its profits by $1.3 billion over seven years. Oops. Not exactly a rounding error.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 22, 2015 0 comments
As you may have noticed, things are becoming more complex. Blame Moore’s Law, or whatever. But things are complicated. To help us manage that complexity, companies are devising even more complicated things that give us, the human users, the illusion of simplicity. However, a recent Google patent application, aimed at simplifying the operation of things like home entertainment systems, is just downright creepy.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 08, 2015 3 comments
My To-Do list for the week:

1. Program my selfie-drone to follow me everywhere I go 24/7 and transmit live video across the Internet.

2. Drive a car across North America without using a single drop of gas.

3. Sign up for NASA's one-way mission to Mars. (Many thanks to all my friends and family who are strongly supporting and encouraging me to do this.)

4. Buy a record player.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 25, 2015 1 comments
Some inventions are unquestionably awesome and tremendously useful. Things like the steam engine, electric battery, electric light, radio, internal combustion engine, and transistor were truly transformative. Other inventions are uber cool, but for some reason find it tougher to break through to broader application. Case in point: sound from ultrasound; more specifically, the generation of audible sound from modulated ultrasonic beams.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 18, 2015 1 comments
Tombstone, Arizona Territory. October 26, 1881. It is a Wednesday, around 3:00 p.m. In a vacant lot adjacent to the O.K. Corral, four lawmen including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday square off against five outlaws. Within 30 seconds, 30 shots are fired. When the gun smoke clears, three men lie on the ground, wounded. And three men lie on the ground, dead. Only Wyatt Earp walks away without a scratch. A Wild West legend is born.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 11, 2015 1 comments
The TV business is lousy, right? Companies are getting out of that market like it was a house on fire. Just last week, we reported that Sharp is leaving the Americas. It sold its Mexico plant and name and rights to Hisense for a measly $23.7 million. Sharp follows Toshiba, Hitachi, Pioneer, Mitsubishi, Philips, Magnavox and Thomson in divesting and selling its TV interests for fire-sale prices. The TV business is lousy, right?

So, how would you like to buy a piece of a TV company?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 28, 2015 0 comments
Some people think that digital audio is cold. That's debatable. But it's almost universally accepted that analog audio is cool. It is also funky, weird and apparently makes people say and do strange things. Digital audio comprises binary data offering relatively few opportunities for freakish mischief. Analog audio, on the other hand, offers endless possibilities. For example, I am sure you have noticed that flour tortillas fit nicely on a turntable platter.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 14, 2015 1 comments
If you have a home theater, it's easy to see that commercial movie theaters are both your friends, and your enemies. On one hand, without them and the billions of dollars they generate, movie studios would never spend the hundreds of millions of dollars required to make a movie. We owe the content we watch at home to the commercial theaters. On the other hand, adversarially, these theaters get first dibs on all content, and we must impatiently wait for home media to eventually appear. Don't like waiting? Well, if things work out, you soon might be able to cut in line.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 30, 2015 0 comments
Many of the age-old audio problems have been solved, or at least beaten into submission. Ever since Edison recited “Mary had a little lamb,” countless audio engineers have poked and prodded, pulled all-nighters, made minor adjustments, had genius-caliber brainstorms, and generally worked far above their pay grade to lift audio technology to a very high state of the art.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 23, 2015 4 comments
Without a doubt, it is a cheesy idea. On the other hand, at least it doesn't cost a lot of dough. Pizza Hut Hong Kong is selling pizza in a specially designed Blockbuster Box. Figuring that movies and pizzas go together like, well, mushrooms and pepperoni, the cardboard box can be rigged to project movies played on your phone. Yes—you read it right—a pizza box that projects movies.