FiOS Doesn’t Cause Fires

Yes, we’re all pyromaniacs at heart. First there were the exclusive new pics of AT&T’s fiber node blow-up, and now there’s a Verizon story of a FiOS installer possibly starting a fire when he drilled through an electrical main. Fire or no, Verizon has a great post up on its policy blog addressing the issue … Read more

The Latest IP Phone

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I’m a few days behind in my news reading after a week of lounging on the beach, so I just caught Engadget’s Samsung’s IP phone post. Supposedly it shows TV on its miniature screen, allows video conferencing, plays music and offers access to online shopping. Since I love the Verizon IP phone Dave and I saw demo’ed back in July, you’d think the Samsung version would tickle my fancy. Not so much.

Both with the video and the music, you’re not getting either great quality (big screen/nice speakers) or the convenience of portability. And shopping on this phone while my PC is nearby? I can’t imagine it.

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Media Extenders in 20% of Broadband Homes?

Emerging Media Dynamics has a report out claiming that 20% of broadband homes (roughly 12 million households) will have media extenders by the end of this year. Anybody else astounded by that number? The report is including in this category devices like Apple TV, the Xbox 360 and Sling’s SlingCatcher. All of these products are … Read more

So Much for Portable Computing

I’ve switched over to a new work laptop, and it’s significantly bigger than my old laptop. Yes, bigger. I decided I wanted a large, wide-screen device since I stare at it virtually all day long. The trade-off, of course, is that my new laptop is harder to carry around. Should I get a UMPC for … Read more

Does Anybody Read Anymore?

That is, does anybody read books anymore? Like 8.3 million other people, we bought the final Harry Potter book for our household on Saturday. The huge sales would seem to suggest that people are still engaging in the offline activity. But, beyond the Harry Potter series, I wonder how many people actually read regularly just … Read more

Why the Verizon Hub Just Might Work

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In the CE world, success is all about timing. Verizon debuted its Verizon One gadget years ago, but that was before the widget craze, before FiOS was a household word, and before streaming radio and digital photo frames raised the profile of non-computer, Internet-connected devices.

In its latest form, the Verizon One is now called the Verizon Hub, and Dave and I got a chance to see it during our recent visit to Verizon HQ. I love this thing. In brief, it’s a cordless-phone-plus-widget-station that lets you make calls, get news, weather and traffic, share photos and control your FiOS TV (Motorola) set-tops. There are plenty of things it doesn’t do, like let you surf the Web, but that’s what your computer is for. And with the Verizon Hub you won’t get distracted by all of the unread emails in your inbox when you just want to check traffic.

The Verizon Hub has a gorgeous display, a POTS connection (no VoIP), Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port. I’m drooling over the device, but ultimately I think its success will depend on cost. This is a whole new gadget category and it will take a reasonable price point to get the unwashed masses to try it out. That said, if there was ever a time when the Verizon Hub could be successful, it’s now. Lots of people use widgets and RSS feeds, and lots of people like to show off photo slideshows. This isn’t a complete paradigm shift anymore. — More pics after the jump.

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Verizon Customer Service Not As Bad As I Feared

verizon-logo.jpgI was all set to blast Verizon for manipulating my parents into buying their DSL service when my dad gave me the surprising update: Verizon had admitted to making a mistake and fully refunded my parents’ money. Yup, you read that right. Full refund.

Here’s the story in brief. My parents have had trouble with Comcast in their neighborhood (it works great in mine) and decided to make the switch to DSL when Verizon told them it was available. Unfortunately, when they made the switch, Verizon’s broadband proved flakier than Comcast’s. They lost their Internet connection constantly and nobody could explain to them why the service was so unreliable.

Fast forward to a few weeks later and some savvy support technician finally figured out that my parents’ house was outside the recommended distance from a Verizon hub. In other words, they’d been sold a service that was virtually guaranteed to fail.

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Uninterested in A La Carte

Forrester Research just released the results of a survey showing that consumers don’t care that much about a la carte channels and wouldn’t be willing to pay very much for the privilege. I might not have agreed a few years ago, but here’s why my opinion has changed:

  1. Better shows on more cable channelsforrester-survey.jpg
    ESPN and Comedy Central used to be the only networks I watched on cable, but now I regularly tune in to FX, TNT and the SciFi network at the very least.

  2. On-demand viewing
    By ordering Netflix DVDs or downloading shows from the Web, I can get access to almost any content I want. If I wanted to drop my cable subscription, I’d virtually be able to get a la carte viewing through other distribution sources. (ESPN being the big exception)

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