Set-top Box Deregulation: FCC Ruling Takes Effect July 1st

Worst of Both Worlds The set-top box deregulation deadline is approaching fast. You would think that forcing the cable operators to "decouple" their boxes from their service would be good for the consumer. Unfortunately this milestone in communications is creating the worst of both worlds. First a tiny bit of history. In 1966 the FCC ruled that AT&T had to allow Carterfone and any other third party manufacturer to attach their products to AT&T's lines. This gave rise to answering machines, fax machines, cordless phones, modems, and more.  read more »


Next Big Cell Phone Thing

I first became aware of DVB-H at this year's CES show. It's a TV broadcast technology that uses UHF frequencies to beam video to your cell phone. That means the transmitter can just as easily be on the television mastsending out broadcasts of sports, news, or soap operas. The video quality I saw at CES was excellent and the standard includes power saving features to extend battery life. The latest announcementshave centered around the recent 3GSM show in Barcelona.  read more »


The DST Countdown Clock is Ticking

With only a few days leftuntil we spring ahead the clocks,the buzz meter is really starting to move. I've been reading a lot of the news and blog postings and they really run the gamut from mini-Y2K to "no big deal." ZDNet just posted something on how much money it's going to cost IT departments and compares that with how much we're going to save in energy costs. They come up with some figures that make it look like a loser for the conservation team.  read more »


The Strominator

I connected with David Strom, an old friend who I first met when we both worked at Ziff Davis. David is an articulate, knowledgeable, observer and reporter on everything high tech. Here's a link to one of his many sites which has some interesting and useful posts on using tech in your daily life. You can also find him onour blog roll.


Check Out Our DST Resource Page

We just posted an "everything you ever wanted to know about daylight saving time," page. The reason we think this is important is because there are a lot of devices all the way from enterprise servers to camcorders that are going to change time on the wrong date this year. Before you start complaining, just remember that getting the sun to set an hour later really doesoffer some real benefits. It saves energy because more people are outside and not using lights and appliances. It also cuts down on traffic accidents and even reduces crime. That said, it's s  read more »


Cheap International Calls Update

Here's the cheapest and best way I've found for callingmy daughter who'sdoing a semester abroadin Florence.The problem with the no charge call-backservices isshe gets charged about $.38 a minute for local calls while incoming calls are free so the $.32 that rebtel charges seems to be the most reliable and cheap so far. Jajah only charges $.21 but the two times I tried it, I couldn't get it to connect. Allfreecalls.net told me they didn'twork withher number,My hunch isthey don't work with cell phones but I could be wrong.  read more »


Video Calls 101

As I mentioned earlier, my daughter is spending a semester abroad. What could a Dad want more than to be able to see his daughter as well as talk to her from oversees?  read more »


Cheapskate's Guide to International Calls

I just sent my daughter off to Florence, Italy for a semester abroad. Naturally, I wanted to connect with her the cheapest and best way possible. Fortunately she had a Motorola V551 which is a quad band phone required to handle European GSM frequencies. Unfortunately it needed to be unlocked before it could take an Italian SIM card. Cingular provided the unlock code for free, it just took a few days for them to get it from Motorola.  read more »


My First Post

Hello, My name is Andrew Eisner. I just joined the Retrevo team full time now that we have a little cash in the bank.  read more »