The Connected Life

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John Sciacca  |  Oct 01, 2013  |  2 comments
Coupled with high-speed Internet and the growing app marketplace, smartphones are often the most important tech device in many of our lives, with phone calling often the least used feature. The exciting news for techies is the amount of control available for your home from anywhere in the world, and much of this amazing tech is affordable and DIY-friendly to install!
John Sciacca  |  Jun 21, 2012  |  0 comments

This is the tale of two companies whose products you likely interact with on a daily basis. Two companies that aim to capture the Holy Grail of the consumer electronics world: your living room. One company has had great success with its mission, while the other one has repeatedly failed.

The companies are Apple and Microsoft.

John Sciacca  |  Jul 13, 2011  |  0 comments

Some people immediately get that the iPad can become the controller for an automation system, allowing them to control not only their audio/video gear but also their lights, HVAC, security, and irrigation systems.

John Sciacca  |  Nov 17, 2010  |  0 comments

At this year’s CEDIA Expo, held in Atlanta at the end of September, I felt that the mood on the show floor was decidedly upbeat. The positive vibe exuded by many suggested that the worst of the recession is over and that business is actually starting to pick back up.

John Sciacca  |  Dec 02, 2008  |  0 comments

Fans of the Bible and of the Byrds will recognize that there is a time for everything - a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to keep quiet, a time to speak, and so on. Accordingly, there are times when it pays to hold things close to the vest. For one, supervillains should refrain from pontificating about their master plans for world domination.

John Sciacca  |  Nov 05, 2007  |  0 comments

Cathedrals are almost preternaturally quiet havens where even the softest whispers, shuffling in the pews, or footsteps across marble floors can seem blasphemously loud.

John Sciacca  |  Nov 20, 2012  |  0 comments
For want of a smart control, the table was cluttered with remotes. For want of the right remote, the A/V receiver was turned to the wrong input. For lack of the right input, the audio and video signals were lost. For failure of the A/V signal, the movie could not be watched. For lack of the movie, the party was ruined.
John Sciacca  |  Aug 14, 2012  |  0 comments

My family recently visited the Magic Kingdom park at Disney World in Orlando. One attraction we checked out was “Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress,” a revolving theater that follows a “typical” family through the decades, starting around the 1920s and winding forward to the future.

John Sciacca  |  Jan 30, 2012  |  0 comments

Many people love the idea of a house-wide audio system, but they may not love the idea of paying to have one installed. Plus, the fancy features that come with dedicated multiroom audio systems — such as keypad controllers with metadata feedback, and the ability to divide a home into numerous listening zones — might be more than what many people actually need.

In fact, for the way many people actually live, two listening zones may be the perfect amount: a “main” zone linked to the TV/surround system and a secondary zone for playing music, radio, or something else in a different room. Think one person watching Oprah’s Life Lessons, while a second seeks refuge on the patio with ESPN radio and a beer. If a two-zone audio system sounds like it would fit your bill, chances are that you’ve actually got most of the components for it already on hand.

John Sciacca  |  Jan 14, 2011  |  0 comments

There are so many Pow! Bang! Ka-chow! buzzwords thrown out by the consumer electronics industry's marketing war chariots that smaller, more important things often get lost or completely overwhelmed in the ground clutter.

John Sciacca  |  Sep 10, 2010  |  0 comments

My dad called me the other day. He had just rented Avatar and he wanted to know if I had seen it and if the version I watched was in 3D and why his wasn't. A client sent me an e-mail asking whether he could use a new 3D TV to watch regular, non-3D programming.

John Sciacca  |  Sep 11, 2008  |  0 comments

You may consider Jim Carrey to be many things - comedic genius, overpaid goofball - but technological futurist probably isn't one of them. However, his prediction in the 1996 movie The Cable Guy has proved to be surprisingly accurate: "The future is now!

John Sciacca  |  Oct 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Writing for Sound & Vision has taken me to such exotic locales as an aircraft carrier at sea and George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch.

John Sciacca  |  Sep 18, 2012  |  0 comments

High-rez music is the most exciting audio development to come along in years, and I’ve written quite a bit about it. But I’ve received enough questions concerning high-rez that I felt it was time to devote a column to the subject. What follows is a primer that touches on the basics of high-rez music: what it is, how to get it, and how to play it.

John Sciacca  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  0 comments

Control4 unveiled two new processors at this year’s CES, the HC800 ($999) and the HC250 ($599). They offer way more power for system control and provide a much zippier interface when controlling different areas of the home or browsing a media library.

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