MAY 2003
San Francisco
Roy Trumbull - Editor
Bill Dempster - Artist
Advertisers for this month's newsletter are:

Projection Systems Inc. - Marci Mearns - (510) 259-2469
Santucci Video Systems - Sandra Santucci - (818) 704-6324
Belden - Steve Lampen - (415) 440-8393
Media Technical Consulting - Paul T. Black - (925) 827-9511
MARCOM - Martin Jackson - (408) 768-8668
William F. Ruck, Jr. Broadcast Engineer - (415) 564-1450
Ross Marketing Associates - Kevin Frost - (408) 988-8111
Kathrein (Scala Division) - Michael Wm. Bach - (541) 779-6500
Hammett & Edison, Inc. - Dane E. Ericksen, P.E. - (707) 996-5200
Howell Communications - Mike Howell - (559) 674-8989
Econco - George Badger - 650-327-7599
Improbable Missions Fource - Mike Schweizer - (888) 4-ISDN4U
West Penn Wire/CDT - Michael J. La Porte - (650) 652-9080

Babes/SBE Luncheon on Wednesday May 28th

This month our speaker is from SAS Audio and the subject will be the extension of their AES primer to digital audio level control and mixing. They will demonstrate the 32KD and the new Rubicon broadcast console control surface.

As usual, our luncheon will be at Sinbad's just south of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero near the foot of Mission St. We meet at 11:30 and are seated at 12:30. To make reservations call Paul Black at 925-827-9511 and leave a message on his machine.

Internet over AC Powerlines?
While there may be a few twisted pairs at the FCC, there are few at the typical power company. Hence, anything added to a powerline radiates. Fortunately, someone has studied the subject and information is available. Per the CGC Communicator, check out

George Morrow Dies
George was one of the Bay Area pioneers in the personal computer revolution. I wish I had saved even half of the early promotional stuff that came out prior to the IBM PC. If you can imagine going into your local "Byte Shop" after taking out a mortgage on the ranch so you could buy a 32K memory board, that tells you it was awhile ago. George had several business names including Morrow's Microstuf, Thinker Toys, and Morrow Designs. There was one color magazine ad I'd love to have. It was George in a three piece suit with a gold watch and chain standing in front of a massive bank vault door holding a circuit board in his hand. The caption read: "Our First Million". That's right, an entire megabyte on one circuit board. Think of it.

George's designs were based on the CP/M operating system and while he did move over to DOS it was too late to save the business. He sold a DOS based laptop design to Zenith, which bought him about 6 months more but by 1986 he was in bankruptcy.

I'd often run into George at the hatching point for some of the great ideas in PC design, Bill Godbout's office. Bill was behind Mike Quinns surplus store at the Oakland Airport. Bill had a desk that sat in the corner of a room and up in the corner was a massive spider web. The sanctity of that web became sort of a local legend. Whenever geeks met and the subject of Bill's office and those cerebral coffee clatches came up, one always asked: "Is the web still there?"

George believed that the computer needed something akin to the novel, which was what made printing take off. Are we there yet?

TIVO Late Adopter
I'm never first with consumer electronics devices because I know from long experience that the major improvements occur in the first three years after the initial product release. I bought a TIVO not so much for the techie thrill as for the disappointment in the last few VCRs we've had. They were shoddy merchandise from well known brands.

The box is easy to use. The picture quality is exceptional. The recording quality options that let one decrease the amount of storage don't impact most TV shows other than in motion artifacts during a quick move. No, I haven't checked basketball games. Things like pushing pause while watching a live TV show and coming back later and releasing pause without missing anything is God's gift to the bladder challenged. Recording a show while playing one back is another neat trick.

While you might quibble about paying the monthly fee to be connected to the TIVO database, consider that the database contains the channel line-up for your cable system. How many times have you entered the channel translations for VCR+ codes for your VCR after the cable company altered their channel lineup?

The monthly fee is $12.95 or you can pay a one time fee of $299. The fee covers just your unique box. The bet is that after 23 months, you'll still be using the same box and go beyond the break even point versus the monthly fee.

TIVO does a lot of internal housekeeping and will even record shows on its own based upon your viewing patterns, if you tell it to do so.

As a guy who started out in 1959 to make the world safe for 12AU7s, my only consistent trait has been to drop old technology like a hot rock when the time comes to do so.

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Web Page
Webmeister Tim Pozar has the current newsletter plus newsletters all the way back to 1996 at:

Roy also posts the current newsletter at but the posting is without links.