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Remembering Blake

Dave Zatz —  August 11, 2016

While others are better suited to pen a remembrance, I too have fond memories of Blake Krikorian – who most know as the guy behind the Slingbox.

We first connected the summer of 2005 on AVS Forum… which is an unusual place to find a company CEO geeking out (and taking on trolls). I had a bone to pick since Windows XP Slingbox support wasn’t sufficient, given what I assumed (wink wink) was a potential customer base of folks in corporate settings running Windows 2000.

In October of 2005, shortly after this blog got going and well before Sling Media hired me, Blake agreed to hop on a call for a recorded interview. Being the least productive blogger ever and given the poor audio quality, I never ran the conversation. Not to mention his handlers probably wouldn’t have appreciated me airing much of our fun, frank, and wide-ranging 60 minute chat. However, the prescient clip below highlights Blake’s focus on the consumer experience and foreshadows Sling’s ultimate acquisition by Echostar that led to the DISH Hopper with Slingbox — and the industry’s “TV Everywhere” trajectory as a whole.


Where’s Dave?

Dave Zatz —  December 21, 2015

Yes, the blog has been quiet. And it’s likely my already low output will further decrease in the short-term as, after five long years…Eliana, our sweet, magical little miracle baby has arrived!


Despite working so hard towards this goal and the vast majority of our circle having children, we’ve clearly only understood parenthood on an abstract level — no matter how good our time management and organization, we’ll be playing catch up for quite awhile. But I couldn’t be happier about it. :)


As one of the bazillion WordPress bloggers, I’m always on the lookout for tools to improve my efficiency. And, sadly, Microsoft’s surprising new OneNote plugin isn’t one of them. While Microsoft does seem to have intelligently integrated picture attachments into WordPress (including the Media Manager), the rest leaves something to be desired. The initial linkage is a kludgey exercise. Fortunately it’s just a one time thing — so, though it lacks polish and may seem somewhat arcane, the directions can be followed by most that first time. I was more concerned with the slightly dirty HTML and slow Notebook/Page lookup in brief testing. Continue Reading…

The Ghosts of CES Past

Dave Zatz —  January 4, 2015

With the 2015 edition of the annual Consumer Electronics Show upon us, it’s time to reflect on how various companies utilize their time in the sun. And, unfortunately, the signal to noise ratio is not always favorable for the gadget blogger given a large number of introduced products that skulk away with nary the follow-on discussion and no product on shelves.

Some of the more intriguing CES 2014 items we covered that pulled a Houdini:
Continue Reading…


Long time readers may have noticed ZNF contributor and TiVo fan Davis Freeberg has gone silent. Well, I’m stoked to share that he’s been putting his free time to better use in launching a Bay Area startup… and unlike so many others, we’re not talking Web 2.0 and Ruby — Davis is taking on the real world with what I like to refer to as the Netflix of Arcade Games. No, not Xbox One or PS4, rather classic gaming cabinets (as you might have gathered from the photograph above). For $75/month, All You Can Arcade offers:

  • Keep your games as long as you want or pick a different one each month.
  • No delivery or pick up fees
  • Unlimited gaming without breaking your piggy bank. All of our arcade games are set to free play.
  • No late fees or long term commitments, cancel your membership at any time.
  • Wide selection of adventure, racing, sports, shooters and RPG games to choose from.

While I have to admit I had some doubts early on, Davis seems to be having the adventure of the lifetime (although the shipping container in the backyard filled with game components, along with every room of the house, is a little out of control). And the coverage (AP, SF Chronicle) has been overwhelmingly positive. We wish Davis all the best and although we miss his TiVo and Netflix coverage, he’s resumed blogging… about arcade games, without the pen name, over at All You Can Arcade.

CES Gadget Go Bag

Mari Silbey —  January 3, 2013

CES gadget go bag


After skipping the “International CES”* last year, both Dave and I are headed back to Vegas for the consumer electronics show in 2013. And that means it’s time once again to look into the gadget go bag. For next week’s trip I’m packing up the laptop and smartphone, but also a few accessories that should hopefully make my rounds at the show a little easier. First, despite Dave’s insistence that I use my phone to take all photos, I’ve acquired another point-and-shoot camera. The quality of my smartphone photos is seriously lacking, and while I have no aspirations to be an award-winning photographer, it would be nice if a few of my gadget pics were recognizable as such, even in low light and among jostling conference-goers.

Second, I’ve added a critical new piece of hardware to boost my phone’s naturally crappy battery life. The Anker Astro 3 external charger may be overkill given that I only need one of the one thousand enclosed adapter tips, but it promises to power my phone at least six times on a single charge. And that is invaluable while traipsing around Vegas roughly 20 out of every 24 hours each day.

Finally, I’ve included a small Skooba case for organizing my various gadget cables, and a set of cheap but worthwhile Panasonic earphones so I can safely ignore my fellows anytime and anywhere. Remember, just because we bloggers want to learn more about this year’s gadgets doesn’t mean we actually want to talk to other people while doing it.

Interestingly, while pulling this post together, I happened across a photo of my gadget bag from CES 2010. There have been a few changes since then. Continue Reading…

The DC region was treated to a historic flyover by the Space Shuttle Discovery riding atop a 747 earlier today, en route to its final home at the suburban Dulles annex of the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum. And, while I may not have impressive capital region views from my office, I conveniently (?) work across the street from the Dulles Airport and was able to take in Discovery’s curtain call (video above).

Like many of you, the Shuttle program captured my imagination as a child and I watched many a launch… either on television or by following the contrails across the Florida sky where I grew up. Sadly, I never actually made it to Cape Canaveral for a more first hand experience and the best opportunity I had was derailed by a weather delay. So it goes? Although, I did make it to Space Camp and celebrated whenever it was that I hit 5’4″ (or was it 5’2″?) – the minimum height requirement for astronauts at the time.

Surely this represents the end of an era. As a coworker asked on camera while losing the Shuttle between buildings, “Where’d it go?” Indeed. Where did America’s manned space exploration programs go? Guess other (costly) interests and obligations have taken national priority. And we currently find ourselves without a Shuttle replacement program and a contested NASA budget. Perhaps the private sector will pick up the torch or maybe we’ll one day find ourselves in an era of peace and budget surpluses. In the interim, we’ll continue to hitch rides to and from the International Space Station via Russian rockets. Pack that caviar and vodka!

Below are a few fun pics shot by pals today near (or at) Dulles. Far left, my wife took in the flyovers and landing from the Sully Historic Site. Center, Joel Ward captured the landing from the top of his office – just down the road from mine. And, far right, Tom snapped this beauty from the tarmac.

AOL, Google, The News, & I

Dave Zatz —  February 21, 2011

In the last couple of days, two respected Engadget editors have resigned (details here & here). Amongst their publicly disclosed grievances, both cited the AOL Way – which appears to favor assembly line content. Quantity over quality, current, and search engine optimized. While Engadget hasn’t yet been subjected to the AOL Way, these defections make many wonder if the writing’s on the wall. Instead of continuing to evolve as a largely independent (and loved) entity, will Engadget be consumed Borg-like into newly appointed Huffington’s AOL media empire?

Along with this discussion is a renewed debate over ‘blogs as journalism’ and eHow Google might deemphasize the likes of low quality content farms. From a blogger with stints at Mashable and Engadget:

Almost everyone uses Google to find out more about news that’s happening right now, whether it’s tech industry stuff, celebrity breakups, or political revolutions. Unfortunately, the rules Google uses to determine which websites gain strong rankings — and thus frequent traffic, high impressions and strong ad revenues — betray journalists and the people who need them at every turn. Google’s algorithms and the blog linking customs built around them favor those who write first, not those who write accurately. I have no qualms about producing entertainment and other products to meet demand. But journalism must not function this way if it is to remain useful.

And it certainly seems like many pander to Google. For example, TechCrunch (another AOL property) was once a blog purely dedicated to Web 2.0. They were extremely successful and I was a regular. But I suspect it’s been even better for business to expand their reach by covering Apple’s every move.

Yet, building a business around Google’s indexing and oversized influence shouldn’t necessarily be burdened with negative connotation Continue Reading…