John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

@Twitter: Is this thing on?

Posted on July 31, 2011 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (2)

I’ve been resistant to being any more social network-ey than I already am. Beyond my blog’s NetworkedBlogs page -- which I mainly keep to allow people to Follow Me -- I don’t really have anything to do with Facebook. (Honestly, it seems like the only people that want to “Friend” me are people I’ve never even met, talked to or have any idea they ex...

Read Full Post »

10 Typical Client Personality Traits

Posted on July 30, 2011 at 2:38 PM Comments comments (0)

I’ve talked a good bit before about the different kinds of clients that cross the threshold of my custom install showroom. Whether it is the groups of people that wander in on December 24th, or the ones that reek of an inhuman BO so powerful that it forces you to que...

Read Full Post »

Constant availability makes the heart disinterested?

Posted on July 28, 2011 at 5:51 PM Comments comments (3)

Despite popular belief, the Roman poet Sextus Propertius  is *not* known for his early Roman Bacchanalian sexting skills. In fact, there is very little proof whatsoever that he would chisel out giant, marble chunks resembling his junk and then messenger them over to unsuspecting maidens of his day. What old Sextus DID gave us this saying in Elegies: "Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows."


Today...

Read Full Post »

Things sell better with a story

Posted on July 27, 2011 at 6:22 PM Comments comments (2)

(OK, this story might take a little bit to get going...but really like the end part. So, if you find yourself starting to slack off or start to get all glaucoma’d or feel like you’ve met your daily quote of vowels and consonants, do me this…just skip down to the paragraph that starts, “But when it comes to subwoofers…” OK? Deal? Thanks.)


Since the dawn of man, people have loved a good story. And then hu...

Read Full Post »

Eureka! Lauryn found it!

Posted on July 25, 2011 at 9:48 PM Comments comments (5)

Fields of prancing Pegasus unicorns, a perfectly struck mid-iron, the first bite of an amazing steak, the first sip of an amazing red wine, a package delivery on Saturday morning, finding out that your tickets in Row ZZ are not near the back but rather the *very* front…yes, these are all great things. Things that would cause the normal heart to well up with emotion and unbounded joy to be sure.


But they all pale to one thing: Findin...

Read Full Post »

Why you don't want me in charge: Handicap Parking

Posted on July 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM Comments comments (5)

At the risk of being offensive, which, I admit, is something I risk each day that I get out of bed, I’m going to address something that has bugged me for years.


Living a scant two miles from a Super Wal-Mart – what I’ve been told (and totally believe) is one of the 10 busiest in the entire chain – I often find myself driving round and round the asphalt jungle searching for a parking space. And...

Read Full Post »

When? Where? How? And what, exactly?

Posted on July 22, 2011 at 4:27 PM Comments comments (0)

I received an e-mail a few days ago from a PR agency that at best falls under the category of “questionable PR” and at worst graduates all the way to full-on #PR FAIL!


You see, a successful press release should at the bare minimum do a few key, crucial, BASIC things. Maybe there will be some bit of intro text; kind of an amuse-bouche to break the ice. A "Hey, John! How-ya doin'? Surviving the crippling Ju...

Read Full Post »

Warning: Your system is in danger!

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 5:56 PM Comments comments (1)

A warning sign, I missed the good part then I realized, I started looking and the bubble burst. I started looking for excuses. Come on in, I've gotta tell you what a state I'm in, I've gotta tell you in my loudest tones, That I started looking for a warning sign.

Coldplay


Warning sign, warning sign, I see it but I pay it no mind. Hear my voice, hear my voice, It's saying something...

Read Full Post »

Line Item Billing: "Manufacturer Screw-ups"

Posted on July 20, 2011 at 4:06 PM Comments comments (0)

This past Saturday I posted a little missive about how a recent software update to my store’s automation system caused our thermostat and HVAC system to go – for lack of a better word – kablooey. After several hours of sweltering in tropical, getting-ready-for-my-audience-on-Survivor 94 degree weather, the very real fall-out arrived in the mail: a bill from the HVAC repair man for $183.


I, of course, groused about this ...

Read Full Post »

Exclusive Hands On review: Kaleidescape's M700 Disc Vault

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 12:08 PM Comments comments (4)

A rose by any other name is still as sweet, and whether you call it the Integrated Disc Vault (the pre-production name), the hipper, abbreviated IDV or the Vesta (the internal code-name),  Kaleidescape’s new M700 Disc Vault, announced today and immediately available for order by Kaleidescape dealers, is still as cool!


Kaleidescape’s Director of Product Marketing, Linus Wong, reached out to me nearly two weeks ago inquirin...

Read Full Post »

7 Ways to get Hung-up on

Posted on July 18, 2011 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (3)

We already know that I mostly, pretty-much hate the phone here. It rings and rings and rings. And when it isn’t ringing, I sense that it is just saving up its battery powers, biding its time and waiting for the next ringing onslaught. Kind of like the way that alien hordes fall back and regroup before another swarm attack.  


Since the two other shop stewards have been out lately doing a big programming job, that has left me in ...

Read Full Post »

Who's Gonna Step Up to Pay Up?

Posted on July 16, 2011 at 5:53 PM Comments comments (6)

As I sit here in my nice black leathery office chair, luxuriating in the cool, quiet air conditioned cocoon of my Custom Theater office on this warmish summer afternoon – the hint of the salty ocean hanging tantalizingly heavy in the outside  air – instead of being outside and enjoying the wonderfully puffy and sparse Ferris Bueller-like clouds floating by in the blue-blue sky, I am instead looking at an invoice from Grayman Climate Control, Inc.

Read Full Post »

Lauryn, the Artist: One Afternoon, Four Monsters

Posted on July 15, 2011 at 12:37 PM Comments comments (3)

As a quasi-artistic-type myself, I understand that euphoria, that hypnotic borderline lunatic-crazy-inspiration-fueled burst when your synapses are all fired off simultaneously by something and there is no other outlet than to express your feelings through your art. Or cut off an ear. It can really go either way.


Yesterday, Lauryn was inspired by the Home Box Office cinematic representation of the DreamWorks film, How I Tra...

Read Full Post »

Tech Support All-Star: Lutron's David Bishop

Posted on July 14, 2011 at 2:58 PM Comments comments (1)

Now, a lot of times we in the press corps will try and soothe your tender feelings and rub cooling balm and salves on your raw and easily riled nerves and emotions with bland and gentle reassuring words and phrases like, “Even though I’m a journalist, I don’t get or expect extra special treatment and attention from manufacturers” or “I couldn’t believe the amazing service I got, even though they thought I was just a regular customer!”

Read Full Post »

Damn! We've been robbed! And the DVR says...

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 5:18 PM Comments comments (1)

You want to know the call that you DON’T want to get at 7:56 in the morning on your day off? When you went to bed late after drinking that I-know-I-shouldn’t-but-I’m-going-to-anyhow second Manhattan? It’s the one where your installer blurts into the phone, “Dude! We got robbed! The back windows are smashed out of both the vans!”


“Huh? Wha? Vans? ROBBED?!”


Read Full Post »

Netflix: Important Account Info and F You!

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (7)

Generally when I get an e-mail communiqué from the Netflix Mother Ship, it is something benign and in a fairly predictable 1-2-3 pattern such as “Such-and-such a Blu-ray will arrive on Saturday,” followed by the, “Did such-and-such Blu-ray arrive yet?” and then concluding the triple-play, “When did you return such-and-such Blu-ray?” I like to consider myself part of the Netflix team, one of the cadre of individuals out there who helps to...

Read Full Post »

(Not so) Quick Take 3: The Latest Movies I've Watched

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (0)

Been five months since the last movie review Quick Take roll-out session, and neither time nor a well-stocked Netflix queue stands still for no man! Have churned through some decent titles lately, but seems like duds have ruled the day lately. Let’s get to the list, shall we?


Narnia: The ...

Read Full Post »

Drop their name and twist the knife again

Posted on July 10, 2011 at 6:54 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the on-going blowbacks from the unceremonious severing of ties between us and They Who Shall Not Be Named (TWSNBN) was that we now have a showroom full of speakers and electronics still on display for which we are no longer authorized dealers. At current count we have a 7-channel Diamond-series system, a 5.1-channel 700-series system,...

Read Full Post »

Getting it done...Like a Boss!

Posted on July 9, 2011 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Lest you all think that I do is just sit around Custom Theater all day thinking up the latest blog topic – in between answering the phones and dealing with the latest bit of insanity to come through the door – I thought I would walk you through the first two hours of my morning here this Saturday.  Sadly, little of it is exciting as actually BEING ̶...

Read Full Post »

11 benefits of a faulty thermostat

Posted on July 7, 2011 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I performed an update on our store’s thermostat software controller system yesterday that resulted in some rather unexpected consequences benefits. Apparently one simple little checkbox that was here-to-fore unchecked and unnoticed became now checked in the new update. And while this little checkbox would possibly be helpful in many cases, in MY case – really, the only one that I’m concerned with to be hones...

Read Full Post »