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January 30, 2009

Slingbox revisited

As far as I’m concerned, Sling Media is a company that has rocked the world, at least my world. I’ve been a champion of Slingbox since the beginning in 2004.

What will a Slingbox do for you?

A Slingbox is a small, sleek unit that connects directly to your TV or DVR. It makes it possible to watch live or recorded TV on your computer, laptop, or mobile phone from home or anywhere in the world. Anything you can do with your remote control at home, you can do with Slingbox on your computer remotely. You can record, playback, and send clips via email.

Technical Support

When purchasing a new product, especially when you are just getting starting and setting it up, it is important to know that there is good technical support available. I am happy to report that Sling Media’s customer support is superb. Phone support is available from 7AM to 7PM PST, seven days a week. Online support is available through email and live chat. It doesn’t get much better than that. I have found technicians to be knowledgeable and helpful.

Sling Media Products

My first Slingbox was a plain vanilla AV that worked without flaw for at six years, and then it developed some kind of a connection problem, but it was time to upgrade anyway. I have recently acquired a more powerful HD Pro capable of transmitting HD data and a much better resolution picture. It goes for $299.99. HD Pro lets you control and watch your home TV on multiple devices.

The Slingbox Solo only costs $179.99 and will stream a single standard or high-definition video input to a remote device.

The SlingCatcher is a digital video data amalgamator that brings entertainment to your TV set. With SlingCatcher, you can display data from a Slingbox, your computer, or any other data source available, including the Internet or from a storage device. This universal media player costs $199.99. You might think of it as a reverse Slingbox that displays video on your TV instead of displaying TV video on your remote devices. One drawback for the moment is that it will not sling HD content. It doesn’t work on MACs either.

If your router is in a different location than your TV and DVR, you don’t have to run a hardwire connection. Let SlingLink Turbo come to the rescue. Turbo boxes plug into ordinary power outlets in your home and use the wiring in your house to transmit data from your Slingbox to your router. All you have to do is plug Ethernet cables in from Turbo box to the Slingbox and from the Turbo box to the router. SlingLinks come in single port ($79.95) and four-port models ($49.95).


The most recent version of Slingplayer software gives you an onscreen remote control that looks just the one at home so there is no learning curve. You can also display a complete TV lineup from your TV source complete with program descriptions. Slingplayer software for desktops and laptops is free as are updates. Display of remote and guide data is optional and you can select placement options for where it appears on the screen.

Updates for SlingLink and and SlingCatcher are available as free downloads.

Slingplayer software for mobile devices is not free and costs $29.95. You can try it free for 30 days. After that, a registration code is required. Slingplayer for mobile devices is already available for Windows Mobile, Symbian, and even Blackberry. It will soon be on iPhones as well.


I cannot even imagine leaving home without Slingplayer software installed on my mobile phone and laptop. The great thing about it is that it really works, even with HD TV, and there is no monthly fee.

News Flash: Dish Network recently acquired Sling Media. It will be interesting to see how this relationship unfolds. I first learned of this acquisition by the curious appearance of a four minute recording on my DVR. It was a nice little commercial for Slingbox at the end of which viewers learn that Dish had purchased Sling Media. It reminded me of AT&T spamming their customers with unsolicited text messages. I wonder if this is a portend of things to come with cable and satellite companies pounding their customers with SPAM. Shame on Dish.

However, we shall soon see the first favorable outcome of this new relationship. Echostar, the parent company of Dish, has already combined Slingbox technology with its new Echostar 922 DVR with 1 terabyte of expandable storage. This amazing device that won best of show in CES will be available soon.

Posted by conradb212 at 04:13 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2009

Twitter away your time for fun and profit

When I first heard of Twitter, I was amazed and amused that it was spreading like wildfire in a frenzy of popularity. It’s all based on a message limited to 140 characters that basically tells people what you are doing at the moment. My first reaction was, who cares? But apparently people do, and folks are not bashful about sharing what they are up to with others. So, why not use this proclivity to visit for word of mouth advertising or for spreading the word for a worthy cause? Your posted messages, by the way, are known as Tweets.

Twitter is a social networking application that is also a mini-blogging service, which limits posts to 140 characters, even smaller than a 160 character text message.

As long as you are tweeting away telling others about what you are doing, why not tell them about your business and use this system to bring in some bling?

The first thing to do is to sign up for an account. It’s free. Go to www.twitter.com. Watch the video for a nice overview of how it works. Then signup by entering your name or email address and password. That’s all there is to it, and you can began to Twitter and Tweet by following your friends and making new ones. You’ll be surprised at how fast you will start attracting followers.

Be sure to fill out your profile and post a picture of yourself. Try to make your profile compelling. If you are promoting a business or a cause, you can add a one line bio and a URL for followers to view.

If you are away from you computer and still want to Twitter, you can do it on your mobile phone; it’s easy to set up. Sign in to your account. Click on Settings at the top of the page. Then click Devices where you will enter your mobile number. After verification, you will receive text message instructions on how to use the system from your mobile device by texting your Tweets to the short code 40404.

There’s even a mobile Website set up for Twitter. Check it out at www.m.twitter.com.

Now, here’s a little advice on how to go about marketing with Twitter. First of all, don’t abuse the system by indiscriminately spamming your followers. In fact, I would strongly advise against any sales message whatsoever in your Tweets. Simply offer worthwhile information. I suggest that you write a blog article, give the title, and a link to your blog or Website in your Tweet.

Some links may be overly long for the 140 character format. To truncate them and save space, try TinyURL at www.tinyurl.com. Here you can type in the long form and receive a much reduced form that you can include in your Tweet. You can also put a TinyURL button on your browser. Once the button is in place, all you have to do is click it, and TinyURL will create a short URL for the currently viewed page.

Another thing you can do is put a link on your blog or Website asking people to follow you on Twitter in return for following them to create more followers.

Don’t overlook the tools that come with Twitter for gathering followers. Click on Find People at the top of the page. Here you will be able to search for individuals by username, first, or lastname who are already Twitter members.

Click on Invite from Other Networks, insert your email address, and Twitter will search your contact list for current Twitter members on your list. A list of contacts is also generated of people who do not yet have a Twitter account. You can have Twitter send an email inviting them to get an account and follow you. The only problem with this is that it only applies to free email accounts such a gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc.

However, you can click on Invite by Email, and a box will appear that allows you to enter a comma separated list of contacts to whom Twitter will send an email message inviting them to sign up and follow you and tells them a little bit about Twitter.

This is what the message looks like:

From: tshphd
Subject: tshphd wants to keep up with you on Twitter

To find out more about Twitter, visit the link below:

-The Twitter Team

About Twitter

Twitter is a unique approach to communication and networking based on the simple concept of status. What are you doing? What are your friends doing—right now? With Twitter, you may answer this question over SMS or the Web and the responses are shared between contacts.

Remember too that you can sign up for RSS feeds in Twitter so that you can follow others and they can follow you, which represents an additional marketing opportunity.

Yet another way to spread the word is that you can share your Twitter Tweets on your Facebook account so that all your Facebook friends can see what you’re up to as well.

Finally, go to the bottom of a Twitter page and click on API where you will find some Widgets that allow you to use Twitter even more creatively. If you want more, there are additional Widgets on the Twitter Fan Wiki. Don’t forget to check out the desktop applications for Windows at the bottom of the page. You are invited to write your own widgets using API. The list is impressive and so is the array of creativity, which clearly demonstrates the enthusiasm for Twitter. Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android,WM, and Blackberry environments.

In conclusion, Tweeting is a great way to twitter away your time profitably by using this social networking phenomenon as a powerful marketing tool.

Now, if you want to follow me, please go to www.twitter.com/tshphd, click on Follow, and send me a Tweet. I’d love to hear from you; maybe we can sell each other something. But, I have to warn you that I don’t do MLM. What I’m looking for is a residual income of about $20K a month that requires that I don’t have to do any work.

Posted by conradb212 at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)