The High-Tech Texan Blog

Friday, April 28, 2006

They Picked Who??

The news. The SHOCKING news that came out Friday…How could they? What were they thinking? One of the most anticipated announcements in the world of entertainment, business and media combined. We thought we knew what and WHO the news was going to be about.

I mean, you’re serious? Here are we are, waiting for the CHOICE. The SELECTION. The PICK. Speculation was off the chart. Rumors. Murmurings. Leaks to the media. Public and private negotiations. And THIS is final selection? Undoubtedly a decision that will have ramifications for years to come.

Rosie O’Donnell is replacing Meredith Viera on The View?! You’re freaking kidding me! The world has officially come to an end. Rosie Freakin’ O’Donnell!

I mean it’s tough to replace a legend like the Millionaire chick. Word out of NY was that Connie Chung was at the top of Barbara WaWa’s depth chart. But Rosie? C’mon, who was negotiating this deal? Just how much did Connie want in guaranteed money?

Sure I know there was controversy with Connie this week. But ABC said that was not going to affect their decision. Yeah, Maury Povich is rumored to have had an affair with a staffer. But jeez, it’s not like her parents were living in a nice home without paying rent.

Just when the inside tackle on The View lost about 150 pounds and now looks anorexic, Barbara WaWa goes and signs a larger Defensive End. “The Queen of Nice?” No more.

I can’t wait to see Rosie and Joy square off on their first show. THIS will be better than the NFL. And Star isn’t that much better. The left side of that line-up will be a marketer’s dream. I can see them lining up the endorsements now…earplugs, aspirin, boxing gloves, Midol. Hey, must see TV just came to mornings on ABC.

Well, good luck, Rosie. You just lost a viewer. I’m going to have to find something else to watch weekday mornings after I turnoff Regis and the future Ms. Garfield II, Kelly Ripa. Ellen? ESPN Sportscenter repeats? Infomercials? I dunno, maybe this will wake me up and cause me to go out and get an actual job.

Super Mario?

OMG! WTF? The Texans signed Mario Williams?? You are kidding me! I can understand passing on Vince but jeezo. At least give the fans the Heisman trophy winner, the "best college player in the past 20+ years", etc... This is not going to sit well with fans.

Just flipped to some sports radio stations and the fires are already lit. My boy Carl Dukes on ESPN 790 The Sports Animal was juggling dozens of calls and trying to figure out what the hell Charlie Casserly was thinking.

Conspiracy theories:

1) Casserly is leaving the Texans to be GM of another AFC South team. He's laughing his off now.

2) Domanick Davis threatened to kill the entire Texans front office if they chose Reggie.

3) Mattress Mack was going to take another two pages in the Chron tomorrow pleading for Manny Lawson, the other DE from NC State. McNair and Casserly decide to save Mack some money and just pick a big defense guy.

My take: negotiations weren't going well with Reggie. His camp thought the Texans' interest in Mario Williams was a negotiating tool. Texans got pissed and cut their nose to spite their face and signed Mario.

I feel sorry for Texans fans (I like the Texans but remember I'm from Dallas). I can only hope that this guy pans out like Russell Maryland (1st overall pick, 1991, DT) for the Cowboys.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lucky Number Seven

It's here... Finally. I've been yapping so much about the new Internet Explorer 7 it's time that YOU try it.

Though IE7 is still in beta, Microsoft recently removed the "preview" tag. The official version should be released in October (or next year, knowing MS!) [Thanks to uncle Dwight from the Chron for the "inside info."]

Download it here and let me know what you think. I just uninstalled (necessary) my previous preview beta version and loaded the new one.

New features include: RSS feeds, tabs, search, better security (allegedly) and improved printing. Apparently everything now fits on one printed page.

And if you really want to get wacky, try a new browser flavor - non-Microsoft style. Firefox is strong, Opera is OK and don't forget about the original, Netscape. And relax, AppleHeads. Safari is also wonderful....

Talk to me, guinea pigs....

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weekend Bloggings

Busy weekend. Opened up Friday morning entertaining a gaggle of realtors at a Canyon Gate community near Redstone Golf Club. This is a regular gig I do for Canyon Gate, a big partner and sponsor.

While up near Redstone I popped into the Shell Houston Open to get the lay of the land. Had a media and parking pass waiting for me so that was quick. I was looking for the broadcast location near the 18th green for my Saturday show. Hung out with the usual sports hacks from TV. Matt Sampsel from Fox26 looked like he was having too much fun in the sun by 1pm. Wonder if he was "working..."

Shot down I-45 mid-afternoon to the Hobby Center downtown where I went through rehearsals for the Greater Houston Builders Association annual PRISM Awards that evening.
Big to-do...1500 people, tuxedos, red carpet. Oscar theme, ya know. Hadn't worked with reflector-glass teleprompters in a while but it came back quickly. Took a catnap in my dressing room and then almost lost my voice that night from announcing 60+ winners. Fun time. Got home around 11pm and stayed up a while prepping for my show.

Woke my 11 year-old son up early Saturday and headed back up to Redstone. Probably spent $50 in gas from Sugar Land. Beautiful day. Got to the course early enough to chat with some players and checkout the leaderboard. We set up the radio booth in the public food court, not 50 yards away from the 18th green. Ya never know what you're gonna get on a remote b'cast but the phone calls came in and passers-by asked good questions. Big topic this weekend seemed to be wireless ways to access the Net. I opened it up by telling listeners I was logging on via my Verizon BroadbandAccess card though I could have used the WiFi on the golf course. Sorry to those folks trying to log on to our videoconference. had upgraded their servers and my website link to the conference was not working. Too bad, I was anxious to piss off CBS by showing live shots of the golfers.

Spent the rest of the afternoon walking the course and hanging out in the Redstone Villa on the 18th green. Their set-up rivaled their own resort spa facility at The Houstonian. Three-level tent with A/C (the only hospitality suite with A/C out there). Imported beer, wine tasting (I drank water only all day), cigar rolling, open bar, plasma TVs, massage chairs. Now THAT'S the way to watch golf.

Got home and jumped in the pool. Had time to hop in the shower before heading out again to co-host an event in Sugar Land with Mayor (and future District 22 Congressman) David Wallace. Spent an hour with hundreds of high school seniors giving away prizes and telling them to keep off drugs, go to college, blah, blah....

And on Sunday, I got to rest! (if you count mowing and cleaning the pool)

See you Tuesday afternoon at 12 noon when I'll be a celeb ice cream scooper at Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop on Kirby near Bissonnet. Everyone gets free ice cream!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

More City WiFi News

So if you haven't been following my blog and radio commentary on Houston's progress of creating a citywide WiFi network, maybe you read the story in the Chron recently. It was an OK update. The fifteenth paragraph on the downtown network is not exactly accurate.

The downtown network was part of a request for proposals for parking meters issued in the summer of 2004. On April 4, 2006, City Council approved a $15 million contract with ACS for the meters and the network. The network cost is $300,000 to be paid out of the increase parking meter revenues and will be stood up in the early to mid-summer of this year.

If the city is successful in securing a private partner to finance and manage a citywide WiFi network, they intend to lease the downtown network to that entity and require that they scale it up to handle more than just the parking meters.

Mayor White is prepping a press release. In it he will announce that the city has received many proposals for the private financing and management of a wireless broadband infrastructure across the entire city. The proposals will be the subject of a three-phase evaluation/ selection process over several months. There will be an initial rating with the selection of the higher rated proposers being invited to submit responses to a 2nd phase proposal template to allow a meaningful comparison and rating based on the selection criteria included in the RFP i.e. value to community, value to City government, financial capacity, experience and deployment strategy and plan. The evaluation team will be executives with IT responsibilities from several City departments.

To recap, the objectives of this initiative include:

1. Reducing the City government cost for mobile computing, i.e. parking meters, traffic signals, maintenance crews, field inspections, video and photography in police cars, maps and building plans in fire and EMS vehicles;

2. Reducing the monthly cost of broadband for residential and small business users from $30-$50 to $10-$20; and

3. Bridging the digital divide for disadvantaged communities/ individuals and promoting economic development and conventions/tourism.

Houston’s network would have three tiers of service:

A. Public service includes parking meters, traffic signals, maintenance crews, field inspectors, etc.;

B. Public Access for households, small businesses, tourisms, and conventioneers at affordable rates available across the city/region; and

C. Public Safety, i.e., police, fire, emergency medical services as the technologies improve and security concerns are addressed.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I Thought I Had The Best Gig

I work a whopping two hours a week, hang out at golf courses and nice restaurants, am usually home by the time the kids get back from school and THIS DUDE has the best job in the country?!?

Mark Dochtermann, the director of technology for Electronic Arts, has the best job in America according to Money Magazine. Sure, Dochtermann designs video games, but even he admits that mostly entails staring at a computer screen, writing code for 80 hours a week.

Check out some other jobs the magazine thinks are dreamy based on their list of the 50 best jobs in America . If Real Estate Appraiser, Human Resources Manager or Sales Engineer are fantasy jobs, it makes you wonder how boring working at Money Magazine really is.

Friday, April 14, 2006

USB Desktop Tanning Center

Do you wanna get the jump on your summer tan? Get the USB Desktop Tanning center that is designed to use while working on your computer.

Two lighting units attach to either side of your monitor. It comes with eyeball cover thingies! $25

In the time it took me to blog this I could have had a luscious golden tan!

(OK, so it's still April. You're not a fool. You can get nabbed again by checking out the George Foreman USB iGrill)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Luggage That Weighs Itself

No way I'm getting busted for overweight bags on a flight. That 50 pound rule is b.s. and another way the airlines sticks it you.

Got to get me one of these new self-weighing pieces of luggage from Ricardo Beverly Hills. “The Solutions” line offers a digital scale that is built into the luggage. It helps keep you avoid those overweight-luggage penalties. The luggage is available in 25-inch and 28-inch size and can be purchased in maul teal, crushed berry, or black.

$150 - $250 per bag ain't cheap. But think of the money you'll save by not packing an overweight bag.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Aero iPod?

What to do on those long cross-country flights? If you don't have your Mile-High Club membership then download music.

Companies that develop inflight entertainment (IFE) systems for airlines have been in discussions with Apple about integrating the iPod and iTunes into IFE systems, according to several of the companies. Proposed applications include seatback-based iPod docks with USB and charging ports, allowing passengers to charge song and video purchases to frequent-flyer miles, and adding other ecommerce applications.

Numerous obstacles stand in the way of inflight downloads, including changing Apple's licensing, so that songs downloaded directly to an iPod in the air could later be copied back to a customer's hard drive, and the issue of licensing and payment while a plane is in international airspace.

Then, there's the issue of getting Apple to participate in the first place.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

America Online Is History

The official name had long been played down in favor of initials, particularly as the company expanded overseas, but now the Time Warner subsidiary has officially jettisoned the words attached to the initials.

15 years after blazing the Internet trail, the company is now simply AOL. "Our company long ago accomplished the mission implied by our old name ... we literally got America online," said Jon Miller, Chairman and CEO of AOL. "Our new corporate identity better reflects our expanded mission - - to make everyone's online experience better. Plus, consumers in the US and around the world already know us by our initials," he added.

I kind of liked my name for AOL..."Internet For Dummies." That actually never caught on with the general public.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What's The Delay? Run For Office!

I live in the famed District 22. Though I've crossed paths with Tom Delay I really didn't care too much about him or his issues; though I hated that all his problems were causing too much headlines and surely getting in the way of his job.

Not surprised he is resigning his position as the heat in the kitchen was getting too hot. Go ahead, retire to Northern Virginia. Write a book. Start your own talk show (though not on my station each Saturday between 12p-2p). Maybe it's time for new blood to speak for this gerrymandered pasture.

I was thinking about running for this spot but then realized this area already has a young, charasmatic, charming leader. Plus I don't feel like raising a few millions bucks right now. Good luck David Wallace (and you too, Kathy). We'll miss you as Sugar Land Mayor but damn if you won't make a strong Congressman.

Houston's New Online Museum

Hanging with Mr. Mayor at the coffee house on Monday....

Mayor White popped by The Daily Grind on Washington Ave. (free Wifi) to announce that Houston's history will be accessible to anyone who can type and click. Thanks to a $350,000 grant from the Houston Endowment the Museum of Houston will include historic letters, photographs, documents, maps, video and audio.

Let's hope they lost the Lee Brown era!

Speaking with David Bush of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance, he pointed out that a virtual museum saves the cost of property, building, maintenance, staffing and more headaches. Good point. I've hardly visited many of the great museums we have here but I should certainly visit the online Museum for research or to kill time. Plus, no traffic or parking issues.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I went. Game numero uno (as they are trying to market the team to us). And I think I'm now a Dynamo fanatic.

This was actually not the first pro soccer game I attended. That would be some time back in the 70s when my youth soccer team went to a few Dallas Tornado games in Texas Stadium. I remember seeing Pele towards the end of this career. My kids can now cheer for Brian Ching.

My two oldest boys don't get into sports much; certainly not futbol. But damn if they weren't cheering on the boys in orange at Robertson Stadium Sunday evening. The weather was great (don't get used to it San Jose transplants) and the pitch couldn't have been more green.

Sure the stadium is old. The concession lines were as organized as my 5 year old's soccer games. But the kinks will be worked out. What mattered was the enthusiasm of the announced 25,000+ fans. If Texans coach Gary Kubiak was there he would have thought he was back at Invesco Field @ Mile High Stadium with all the orange towels waving.

Congrats to Oliver Luck and the "nee 1836" staff. The name flap is over. The games ahve begun. The team looks strong (Cha-CHING!). Now how 'bout some cheerleaders!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

HD Radio Explained

Not HDTV. HD Radio, my friends (tip: the 'HD' in HD Radio actually stands for nothing - not even 'high-def').

Thanks to Clear Channel programming guru Ken Charles, who stepped in to yap with me about HD Radio. CC already has 5 HD Radio signals blasting. It's free radio - no subscription like satellite - but the catch is you have to go get a new radio to hear it.

We gave away a Boston Acoustics HD Radio during the show. Maybe we can get Ken to open his treasure closet and let us give away more. Stay tuned...