The Connected Life

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John Sciacca  |  Dec 09, 2015  |  20 comments
As 4K TV sales prices continue dropping and sales steadily increase, the public’s demand for true 4K content continues to increase. At this past CEDIA, Kaleidescape announced its new Strato 4K Movie Player as well as the company’s third generation movie store that will offer more than 100 4K downloads at launch. DISH also discussed plans about its upcoming 4K Joey joining DirecTV in offering some 4K content. And with the International CES just a few weeks away, it seems likely one of the big stories from the show will be the launch of new Ultra HD Blu-ray players. But, will anyone care?

John Sciacca  |  Jul 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Friday the 13th is nothing to fear this month as remote control giant URC releases the first wave of its new Total Control platform of housewide automation, control, and audio distribution components today.

John Sciacca  |  Jul 02, 2020  |  1 comments
If George Orwell had lived to see millions of people voluntarily shelling out money to have listening devices installed inside of their homes, he’d likely shout, “I KNEW IT!” With untold R&D dollars having been poured into the development of voice assistants by Amazon, Google, and Apple, one of the most exciting developments in the home-control world over the past few years has been the addition of voice commands to systems. And while voice control is fantastic for doing some things, the experience comes up a bit short for others.
John Sciacca  |  Sep 23, 2020  |  1 comments
In my last blog, I touched on the exciting world of voice control using widely available voice assistants from Amazon (Alexa), Google (Assistant), and Apple (Siri) embedded in smart speakers and other devices. But what if your home has an advanced automation control system from a company like Control4, Crestron, or Savant? This time we look at the limitations of voice control in today’s smart homes.
John Sciacca  |  Apr 13, 2018  |  0 comments
As audio/video systems have advanced in performance, features, and capabilities, they have also become increasingly more difficult to operate. Back in the day, a TV was just a TV, with a single remote control and about 13 channels to navigate. You pointed the remote at it, and if it didn’t work, you changed the batteries. A sound system had an input selector to choose what to listen to and a volume knob to make the music louder or quieter.
John Sciacca  |  Jun 29, 2016  |  1 comments
As I write this I’m sitting in a hospital room waiting for my wife, Dana, to be induced sometime around 5:00 this evening. My weekend plans had been to grab some craft beer and watch The Masters in 4K on DirecTV, but this was a late-in-life, bonus baby (I’m 46), and the pregnancy has been fraught with “excitement” as we’ve dealt with high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. If you get nothing else from this column, heed my advice to have kids sooner rather than later.
John Sciacca  |  Jun 03, 2015  |  0 comments
While doing some research for an upcoming Connected Life column on Wi-Fi security practices, I stumbled across a practically rotten piece of “fruit” called the Wi-Fi Pineapple. And while the company that makes this, Hak5, says that it serves “penetration testers, law enforcement, military and government” the sub $100 device is available to anyone and is designed to “enable users to quickly and easily deploy advanced attacks.” With the Pineapple performing hotspot honeypot, man-in-the-middle attacks, a hacker could quickly and easily have access to all of the data and information from your browsing sessions. If you frequently connect to Wi-Fi hotspots when you’re out and about, here are some things you need to know about the Pineapple in order to better safeguard yourself.
John Sciacca  |  May 11, 2018  |  0 comments
As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, prior to becoming a custom installer I was a golf professional at a club in California’s Bay Area. I bring this up because we recently started receiving Golf magazine in the mail. (Bizarrely we’re also suddenly getting The New Yorker and Money, none of which we subscribed to.) As I flipped through a recent issue of Golf, I was reminded of really how little has changed in the golf world since I left.

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