Archive for November, 2022


Today, November the 9th of 2022, we mourn the passing of one the most useful electronic devices ever sold to the public: The Slingbox.

There is a great article on arstechnica explaining the history and the convoluted ways gluttonous media tried to kill it.


The Slingbox was introduced at the 2005 CES by Sling Media and its founders – Blake and Jason Krikorian. They were looking to deal with money-grabbing multimedia companies. They mused why should I have to pay my cellular company for data and then pay again to MLB for the right to watch the San Francisco Giants, when it’s free in my hometown, just because I’m traveling? So, the Slingbox was born. It allows you to watch anything remotely from your cable/satellite/over-the-air broadcasts from your main TV as though you were sitting in front of it, complete with a picture-perfect, functioning working image of the remote that controls one of those devices, on your mobile device or computer. Or, if you prefer, you could hook up a camera.

At the 2005 CES, they had a tiny booth as I remember, and the device looked literally like a silver brick studded with tiny holes. In complete sincerity, due to the absolute absurdity of the amount of new products shown at the show (5000+), I wasn’t able to fully grasp the implications as I ran through over 18 miles of aisles, from booth to booth.

When I was CompUSA in early July of 2005, I saw it on an endcap and grabbed one of the last ones. Even though I knew it was a genius product, it wasn’t until I began actually using it did I really appreciate it’s full potential. It became more than just a way to watch TV that I’ve already paid for …  it became a link to home when I was out of the country for weeks at a time. I could watch live satellite broadcasts or my recorded shows. I fondly remember being in a small cafe’ in Spain and watching on my Samsung Note 8 a truly crappy hometown football team get slaughtered (as expected) while quaffing beer and chomping on Serrano ham. The only drawback was being unable to spit loud explicatives at the lousy team and their poor coaching. Looking at it from a later perspective, now I realize that Europe is the home of soccer, and more than a few borderline psychotic fans, so perhaps they would have understood.

Regardless, I consider it one of my top five, favorite electronic devices. But again … CBS, AT&T and other piggish multimedia companies tell us we shouldn’t be able to watch what we’ve already paid for … somehow being anywhere other than our living room negates our ability to watch TV. These are the same people that have tried repeatedly to stop us from recording shows for later viewing, ’cause that’s “criminal intellectual theft” somehow.

Of course I’ll find another way to do what the Slingbox did, despite the unquenchable hunger of CBS and its ilk to rip off their consumers. But the Slingbox has left us and with it the easy way to stay in contact with life at home.

No matter how these unethical companies try to restrict, prevent, control, monetize the limiting of data, the more obvious it becomes that they’re losing.

Tech waits for no one … seems these companies have never heard of Aristotle … and paraphrasing him, more than ever, in the tech-world, nature/physics abhors a vacuum …

2003, 2013, 2023 … and counting

Another year has almost passed and we need to look back to see forward. This will be the first time I’ll be comparing advances ten and twenty years past. So much has changed it’s actually a bit hard to believe how things were “back then.”

The year of 2003 was an amazing period of gestation for life in 2022. Some ideas, products, concepts and visions were “spot on” and others were victims of poor judgement, limited tech and a total lack of common sense (see XM satellite radio reference below).

Motorola, founded in 1928, was trying to expand into areas it really had no business messing with. Short sighted administration of what they were actually good at, resulted in them being only a brand name subsidiary of a Chinese company. A historically important company is now nothing more than another American company being turned into nothing more than a marketing name like Packard Bell, Polaroid and Fisher.

Sony said we needed a low-definition mini DVD camcorder (DCR-DVD 300) that cost $1000.00 for the cheapest version that didn’t even have a one megapixel camera and a usable LCD screen. A fragile disk spinning at about 1600 rpm only a millimeter or so away from a laser isn’t the best choice for an action video camera.

Samsung introduces its first LCD computer monitors (Syncmaster 152N-$349, 172N-$599, 192N-$750) foretelling the demise of hernia inducing fifty-pound CRT monitors.

Monster Cable was in its heyday and actually had Earth, Wind and Fire perform at CES, if you were lucky enough to get a ticket … I wasn’t.

Camera manufacturers were saying that 2003 was going to be the year of the three mega-pixel digital camera. At that time a three+ mega-pixel with a decent lens could easily cost over a thousand bucks. Today you can’t even buy a $100 phone with specs that bad. Personal CD music players were still hot and were getting really cheap (<$70). Seventy-two percent of all homes owned two or more DVD players. Recordable CD’s and DVD’s were everywhere and Blu-ray was only on a blue print …

XM satellite radio came out with a boom box that couldn’t be used indoors. Satellite reception and an indoor boombox … am I the only one who sees a problem? The guy that greenlighted that idea probably got fired and went to Motorola, Nokia or helped Sony develop a DVD camcorder.

Jensen thought this was the solution for different sources of music in a car. How you’d drive fiddling with this half-thought out kluge still evades me.








Tablet PC’s averaged $2000 and PDA’s (remember these?) around $300.

Panasonic introduces the first one-gigabyte SD card … perfect for those three megapixel cameras.

This was becoming the year-of-the-flat-screen TV, and if you had a fat wallet, Optoma introduced the world’s largest 46” plasma for $6995. Yeah, I’d never heard of them before or after this show either.

Samsung, not to be denied the title of the craziest priced TV at the 2003 show, introduced a 46” LCD 720p (LTN-468W) television for an eye-watering $11,000 … this low level of TV performance isn’t even available at Walmart now.

Bill Gates opened the show with his keynote address oblivious to the tech around him showing him that Microsoft was already behind in technology …. Waaaay behind. In 2003, it was only a year away from Apple’s “Project Purple” which would change so much of how we live to this day … the iPhone.


Let’s jump forward a decade and see what’s different.

At the 2013 CES there was a huge scandal with uber-liberal “we know best” CBS suing Dish Network for devices that allow the “jump-past commercials” feature it acquired with the purchase of the bones of ReplayTv and that their satellite receiver allowed time-shifted viewing of recordings. Had these “good liberals” had succeeded, we wouldn’t be allowed to record a show to view at at later date.  This time-shift viewing was settled years earlier with the lawsuits over VCR’s, I guess they thought everyone forgot. The geniuses at CBS pressured CEDIA to remove Dish Networks receiver as the winner as “Product of the Year.” So much for free speech … I guess it only applies if you’re left-biased and love money more than your reputation or customers.

It was Polaroid’s 75th anniversary and amazingly, it still soldiers on to this day in one form or another.

Panasonic was the only TV company still mass-producing plasmas. They even made them in 32, 39, 42, 50, 55, 58 and 65″ models! Sadly, everyone else had phased them out or only had a few models remaining.

Amazingly, LG showed it’s first 1080p HD OLED sets … it seemed at the time they were “a day late and a dollar short” as the more common LCDs were displaying 4K sets, despite the fact there was zero, and I do mean zero, 4K content. There were still discussions whether to call it 4K or UHD … Notably, even in 2022 there’s not a single over-the-air 4K broadcast in the U.S. that I’m aware of.

LG was lamenting that customers weren’t using the smart features they began installing in their TV’s and was redesigning the interface. My question was this … how did they know? In China, your TV can rat you out for watching counter-revolutionary material and actually watch you with factory-installed cameras. I really don’t think LG is that voyeuristic, but to to this day, their EULA says if you connect your LG smart TV to the web and use its features, they have the right to see what you’ve been watching, complete with screen captures … as shockingly intrusive/abusive/creepy as it is, at least they admit it upfront.

The top TV’s were Samsung’s, Apple had the top selling laptop, the best selling stereo receivers were made by Yamaha, the most popular headphones were made by Monster who had Alicia Keys perform at the show and the top selling portable radio was Sony … that pretty much says it all about what has happened to Sony.

My choice for the dumbest “tech” item of the year, and I still stand by that decision now, is the “smart fork”. You can read my review of it in the December 2013 blog. I’m betting you’ll agree after you read it

I picked the “plasma” treating process for electronics such as your smartphone & your car’s computers … it renders them impervious to water as the most significant winner, but bizarrely even I underestimated the greed of the electronic manufacturers. The axiom they apparently have is: if it gets wet, it dies and the customer HAS to buy another one. Literal waterproofing of anything electronic, which today costs about a nickel per piece, is still a “no-brainer”. Would you pay a nickel more for your smartphone to be absolutely 100% waterproof? You’d think that of all the manufacturers, it’d be Apple who would be the first to adopt this tech to “save the planet” … but once again, it’s about the money stupid. Greenbacks over fake ethics …

I can’t help but wonder if the inventors in 2013 considered just how big tech/media would try to crush any product/idea that they deemed a threat … For every couple steps forward tech takes, there’s always someone who may try to crush advances like CBS or Toyota. But time is against them unless people are willing to go backwards in tech …

I just don’t see people lining up to ditch their smartphones or Teslas.