Tag Archives: radio

Norway will shut off FM radio in 2017

Norway’s Minister of Culture announced this week that a national FM-radio switch off will commence in 2017, allowing the country to complete its transition over to digital radio.

As Radio.no notes, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) will provide Norwegian listeners more diverse radio channel content than ever before. Indeed, DAB already hosts 22 national channels in Norway, as opposed to FM radio’s five, and a TNS Gallup survey shows that 56% of Norwegian listeners use digital radio every day. While Norway is the first country in the world to set a date for an FM switch-off, other countries in Europe and Southeast Asia are also in the process of transitioning to DAB.

Frequency modulation, or FM, radio was patented in 1933 and has been recording and sharing the human story for nearly a century. But its days are clearly waning. According to a 2012 Pew Study, while over 90% of Americans still listen to AM/FM radio at least weekly, more people are choosing to forgo analog radio for Internet-only services each year. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before many countries follow Norway’s example, although I’m not so sure I’m ready to part with my 80’s-era Grundig. Thing still sounds like a dream.

On the Air

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A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to join one of the many roundtables that the new Saskatoon Afternoon Show is having on News Talk 650 CKOM.  I am on the air at 5:15 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday where we discuss a wide variety of topics with David Kirton unless there is something breaking like the FBI not finding Jimmy Hoffa’s remains today in Detroit.  The Saskatoon Afternoon Show has a variety of interesting guests coming in and out all show all week long so even if you dread the idea of listening to me, there are a lot of great topics and people to listen to.

When I moved to Saskatoon in 1984, 650 CKOM was the only rock station in town (750 was country, and CFQC was kind of mellow and not that appealing to a 10 year old) but believe it or not, Brent Loucks (and Penny Murphy) was the morning host.  A lot has changed (other than Loucks does not look a day older than he did in 1984) but its cool to be on the radio station you woke up to as a kid.

Update: Wednesday’s segment with David Kirton and Angela Hill

This is when Rob Ford began to lose it

To call this radio appearance odd would be an understatement

Doug Ford spoke proudly of his frequent media criticism. “Think of this, folks, think of this: we’re the only two elected officials — think what I’m saying here — we’re the only two elected officials, Rob, in recent memory — federally, provincially, or municipally — number one, has put a halt on the gravy train, but number two, talks back to the media,” he said.

Rob Ford said, “We’ve done more in this administration than any other administration ever has, and the media just — I don’t know what, I don’t know what they want. I guess they want bankruptcy. I guess they want a ghost town. I don’t know.”

Doug Ford claimed that members of Chicago’s media had approached him during the trip to say, “What is wrong with your media? They’re embarrassing your city.”

Chicago outlets largely ignored the trip. NBC Chicago published a blog posting that called the mayor “obnoxious” and mocked his weight.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for Geeks and Gadget Lovers | 2010 Edition

Shopping for the geek or the gadget lover on your list is never easy.  While they may be the most employable member of your family, they don’t have exactly standardized tastes.  Don’t worry, this list should help and even if it doesn’t, just get them a 1 terabyte external hard drive ($75 from Amazon).  They will love it, even if you don’t know what you gave them.

So if the Wii or PS3’s Move is giving them tennis elbow, maybe it’s time to go old school with this Atari 2600 Flashback console.   It features the same wood grain paneling and look of the Atari 2600, and has two classic joysticks for multi-player competition and vintage controls. The system comes pre-loaded with over 30 classic games. No new purchases are required, just connect it to your TV and play! The system that brought you hits like Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, Lunar Lander, Millipede, Missile Command, Combat and Pong now has them all collected on one system.  The full game list is:

3D Tic-Tac-Toe | Adventure | Adventure II | Aquaventure | Asteroids | Arcade Pong | Asteroids Deluxe | Atari Climber | Battlezone | Caverns Of Mars | Centipede | Combat (Best Atari game ever?) | Combat 2 | Dodge’m |Fatal Run | Frog Pond | Hangman | Haunted House | Human Cannonball | Lunar Lander | Maze Craze | Millipede | Missile Command (I loved this game growing up) | Off the Wall | Outlaw | Pitfall | Quadrun | Radar Lock | Return To Haunted House | River Raid | Saboteur | Save Mary | Secret Quest | Space Duel | Space War | Video Checkers | Video Chess | Wizard | Yars’ Return | Yars’ Revenge

Available for $34.99 from Amazon.

If you don’t want an entire console, you can get the Atari Greatest Hits Classic for your Nintendo DS for $29.99 (available from Amazon)

Of course how cool would one of these USB Atari joysticks be plugged into your PC.

  • Classic black 8-direction, one-button controller.
  • No drivers needed on Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux.
  • Game with up to four joysticks at once (two recommended for Atari 2600 titles).
  • Works with classic console and arcade emulators including Stella*, VICE and MAME
  • Visit AtariAge to check out classic Atari games or join the homebrew scene in the forums

$24.99 from ThinkGeek

While we are on the topic of Atari video games, what about this Pac-Man Belt Buckle ($12.95) or this authentic Ms. Pac-Man tabletop video game ($3,815)

Pen Camera | This spycam is the classic pen camera, just like the ones used in secret agent movies, except it’s been updated for the modern age with full video capabilities. Simple to operate with a built-in USB connector. The internal 4GB of storage capacity are capable of capturing hours of quality video in AVI format. This pen camera can also take regular still photos, if that’s your thing.

  • Covert style video camera can capture hours of quality video (with audio)
  • Video file format: AVI
  • 640×480 resolution
  • 4GB of storage capacity
  • USB 2.0
  • Working pen with black ink
  • Extremely portable, no wires
  • Re-chargeable Li-ion battery (2 hour run-time)

$69.99 from Think Geek

Everyone has a R/C helicopter but don’t overlook this R/C Goodyear Blimp.  You need to have it filled with helium and don’t buy this if you are in Denver or high in the mountains (even real blimps can’t soar that high) and oh yeah, it’s an indoor gift, not an outdoor one.  That being said what could more fun then cruising around the house, monocle in hand, and asking your family to refer to them as “Air Marshal” $79.95 from Amazon

ASUS O!Play Air – Wireless N TV HD Media Player | All true geeks have video on their computer.  Here is the easiest way to get that stuff from the computer to your HD television.  ASUS O!Play Air , with an integrated wireless N and a built-in card reader, it is the most convenient way access your media files to your TV/monitor. Stream your media content wirelessly or through the LAN. Also equipped with a eSATA, USB, card reader for a variety of storage support. This device is easy to use and highly compatible with many video and audio formats. Experience full HD 1080p playback through the HDMI port.

In other words it allows them to watch there four terabytes of YouTube downloads in high definition on any television in their house.  $129.97 from Amazon

T-Shirt with Built In Spy Camera | It is what 007 wears while having his tuxedo cleaned.

  • Stylish retro spy theme T-Shirt has a tiny color digital camera hidden in the chest
  • Use the pocket based remote to shoot color digital photos
  • Vibration feedback shutter lets you know when you’ve taken a new shot
  • Holds over 150 color digital photos, 640 x 480 resolution
  • Electronics are completely removable for washing
  • Plug in with USB to download photos
  • Works with any OS including Mac, Linux and Windows
  • Requires 3x AAA batteries (not included)

Check out the video below to see it in action

 

$39.99 from ThinkGeek

Moleskine Large Notebook | The Moleskine Large Notebook is made with top quality heavy paper and is perfect for on the go notes.  Every Moleskine product is thread bound and has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners acid free paper a bookmark an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history. | $12.21

R2D2 :: He is the ultimate gadget and having both served Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, he is built to last.  For $200, you can bring him home and reunite him with his proper master.  In addition to helping keep your X-Wing fighter’s deflector shields online, this state-of-the-art R2 series astromech droid unit is ready to obey your commands.  You can grab his attention by saying “Hey, R2” and he’s ready for more than 40 voice commands.  He remembers his famous friends, like Luke Skywalker, C-3PO or Jabba the Hutt, and each name will stir up a different response depending on R2′s “feelings” for that character. $169 from Amazon

Sangean WR-11 AM/FM Wooden Cabinet Radio :: At the lake there are a couple of times when a great radio would be really handy, like when the Saskatchewan Roughriders are playing on a Saturday afternoon.  Yes a satellite radio is cool but not all sports are on XM and Sirius (which boggles my mind) and there are times when what you want to listen to is being played locally.  If that is the case, this is the radio you want.  The WR-1 is the culmination of 30 years of experience in the design and manufacture of quality, state-of-the-art radios.  Plus, CBC and NPR sound better in a radio that looks like this. | $80.44 from Amazon

LED Shower Head | The LED Shower Light is a brilliant idea. It installs to a standard shower pipe in mere minutes. When you turn the shower on, the water powers a turbine and the LED Shower Light…well, lights up! Blue let’s you know the water is chilly. When the water warms up to 89° F (32° C), the light changes to red. Now you can step in and not freeze your giblets off. And you don’t even need to turn on the light now, because your whole shower glows. It makes for a much nicer morning, trust us.

  • Blue light means the water is cold; Red light means it has warmed up to 89° F (32° C).
  • No batteries needed – powered by internal turbine.
  • Installs in minutes to standard (3/4″) shower pipes.
  • Includes a Flow Regulator that limits maximum water flow to 2.5 gallons per minute at 80 psi (might affect Shower Light performance depending on your water pressure).
  • Approx. 4″ in diameter

Star Trek: TOS Communicator | Star Trek is already the quintessential staple of the geek. The mind boggles when considering how the original Star Trek communicator might be made more geeky. Then we saw this Star Trek USB Communicator and it all became clear… simply add USB.   Connect this exact replica of the communicator from “The Original Series” to your computer and enjoy the classic “chirp” sound when it’s flipped open. It also plays 21 other sounds effects when not being used to chat with your Starfleet friends via Skype, MSN, AIM, or iChat.  It is also perfect for a weekly Star Trek podcast.  The possibilities are endless.  $34.99 from Think Geek

USB Rocket Launcher | I never thought I needed one of these until a co-worker (and occasional reader) turned down my office thermostat so low that I almost froze to death a couple of weeks ago.  This thing has a 360 turning radius and will fire foam rockets 6 metres

Star Trek Ornaments from Hallmark | I had never heard of these until my friend Dave King posted some photos of the U.S.S. Reliant exploring his Christmas tree a couple of years ago.

This year one of the three ornaments offered are of the 2009 version of the U.S.S. Enterprise.  It is designed by Lynn Norton who has sculpted many of the best Hallmark ornaments during the previous 19 years. The ornament is 6 inches long and includes lights on the deflector dish and engines. It’s 34.99 and available from Hallmark stores across the continent.

This LED Beverage Cooler is retro styled and has a small blue LED inside. The LED helps your drink stay cool by tricking it to think the air inside the cooler is from the Arctic, because everyone knows that blue lights make you feel cold. So add a little style to your desk and keep your drink cold at the same time.  $19.99 from Think Geek.

If you can find what you are looking for, make sure you check out one of the other 2010 Christmas Gift Guides

In case you are looking, here are the 2009 Gift Guides

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

Christmas Gift Guide for the Homeless

This one is pretty close to my heart.  At work I get to buy the Christmas gifts for the guys at the Salvation Army Community Centre and I have a lot of fun doing it.

Last year I got them nice duffle bags and a watch/wallet gift set.  We also got a big donation of men’s boxer shorts from Wal-Mart and we let the guys sort those out.  It was hilarious because there was Simpson’s boxers, Montreal Expos boxers, and other funny boxers. We laid them out in the chapel on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning there was underwear soaring through the air like fish at Pike’s Market as guys figured out sizes and preferences.  I think they got a bigger kick out of the Saskatoon Gotch Market than anything that day.  Some of the guys had never owned a watch and were in tears.

In the past, we have given out fleece jackets, electric razors, Christmas stockings full of loot, and other bits of clothing.

This year we are going to give out some hoodies (Christmas brought to you by Bill Bilichick but we won’t cut off their sleeves) and a shaving kit full of shaving supplies, toiletries that we don’t keep in stock at the Centre and for the guys who are just passing through, winter survival kits. We are also giving out some leather bound NLT Bibles. (that’s the plan so far but all plans are subject to change)

We get a lot of requests over the holidays about what to get people in the shelter.  It’s a tough time for many guys who stay in shelters.  Being homeless is a tough experience anytime of the season but even harder at Christmas. I thought I would post a Christmas Gift Guide for those that are homeless and living in a shelter.

Take a look and see what you can help with and make Christmas a little nicer for those that live in a shelter.

Simple Luxuries

  • A couple of years ago someone donated some Old Spice Body Wash.  The tagline on it said, If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist. which brought a lot of laughs for the guys that we gave it to.  From places like Dollarama you can get imitation brands of stuff for $1 and it smells pretty good.  Guys love it.  If you are so inclined, get them a body scrub puff as well.
  • We give out free razors at the Centre.  The general rule is that when guys say thanks to us for them, we jokingly tell them not to.  They are that bad.  I have used them once and the screams could be heard for miles.  A great luxury is a decent razor.  Walmart and most pharmacies have their Gillette Sensor clones with inexpensive replacement blades.  Disposable packages of Gillette or Schick razors are awesome as well.  If you can toss in some travel packages of shaving cream, all the better.
  • Towels: No one ever has a towel and we always need more of them to give out.  I tend to agree with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban that a nice new towel is a wonderful luxury.  It’s a big source of frustration with me as some guys tend to demand towels and a towel service but others love them and take care of them.  All I know is we can always use more of them.  New towels, used towels, you name it.
  • A nice insulated travel mug with a secure leak proof lid :: One of thing that most people don’t understand is that most of our guys are working and some of them are working in really tough, hard, jobs in the bitter Saskatchewan cold.  An insulated travel mug is a prized possession for a lot of guys and something like this Starbucks tumbler would be great.  I am not saying that you need to get one of these, I am just saying a mug that won’t spill is a big deal.  Dollarama has some stainless steel mugs for $1 but their lids come off pretty quickly but they often have thermoses that would serve the same purpose.
  • McDonalds or Tim Hortons gift cards.  You have no idea how much guys appreciate a Tim Horton’s gift card around the shelter.  Gary Smalley could write a book about Tim Hortons as a love language and it is a comfort food for guys.  Now I know a lot of you who read this are in the U.S. but all you have to do is find out what the closest coffee chain is to the shelter.  Tim Hortons, Starbucks, or Dunkin’ Donuts… you get the idea.
  • Long Distance Phone Cards :: Some of the guys at the Centre have no family while others desperately miss theirs over the holidays.  This gives them a chance to reconnect.  We gave out $5 ones a couple of years ago but they can burn through them pretty quickly.
  •  I saw this hand crank radio the other day while in XS Cargo and I thought it was a great idea for the guys.  You crank it up for 30 seconds and it will run for 20 minutes.  It also includes some headphones to go along with it so they don’t drive guys around them crazy. While they run on batteries, they don’t need them.
  • Chocolate/Candy :: I am torn over this one as so many of our clients have diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed).  Then again I am going to have some candy and chocolate over Christmas so why not?  Basically if you like it, someone down at the shelter will like it.

Stuff for Work

  • In Saskatchewan, you have no idea what a difference that winter work gloves, winter jackets, fleece jackets (dress in layers), and winter coveralls can make.  It allows guys who may not have resumes or that extensive of work experience to go down to the day labour places and get some work.  Work brings in money but it also allows the guys to prove themselves.  Many of the guys in the shelter go out to a day labour place for a couple of days and get hired on by the company who brought them in.  A couple of years ago a donation came of winter work clothes, the stuff was given out and two guys found work the next day.  Within a short time they were out of the shelter and haven’t looked back since.  It’s a big deal.  You can toss in travel mugs and thermoses into this category as well.  They make working in the cold a lot easier to do.

Necessities of Life

  • The Centre has soap, shampoo, conditioner, and razors to give away for free.  We also have a clothes cave where we can give away clothes that are donated.  What we need is underwear (let’s be honest, no one donates underwear for good reason) and socks (who keeps old socks?).  We could always use new underwear and socks.  In addition, we could always use winter jackets.  During my time at the Centre, I have seen so many hitchhikers be brought in totally frozen by the RCMP or city police and the guy is in a jean jacket an that’s it.  What is frustrating is that the guys are like, I’ll just warm up and keep going in -40 weather while wearing just a jean jacket.  Generally we take them to our Clothes Cave and get some warm stuff.  Also, you have no idea how many cold kids we see who need something warm in extreme weather.  If it warms you up, we will put it to good use.

Reading Material

  • An easy to read translation of the Bible.  Over 50% of our guys at anytime in the Centre are functionally illiterate which makes the KJV translations that the Gideons give out pretty much useless.  Guys love the NLT, Message and CEV bibles when they come in and we can give them out.  Pocket versions are best as they don’t take up that much space is a pack.
  • Magazines :: Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health, National Geographic ¦ you get the point.

Don’t Give These Items

  • Personally I think a multi tool would be great for 97% of our guys and they would really appreciate them but for one or two guys, the damage they would create would be immense and shelters really don’t want knives in them because of the risk they pose.
  • Computer driven electronics. I know that you can get 1 gig MP3 players for under $10 now but where are they going to get charged up, where are the guys going to get the music. Like us, many shelters really don’t want USB devices plugged into their system because virus concerns and also a lot of guys use them to carry porn along with them. It’s not that I care that much what guys are carrying on their USB devices but I do care when I have a computer full of porn and viruses to deal with.

If you have any questions or doubts, contact your local shelter and see what they can use.

Amazon likes Mom again!

We tend to start our Christmas shopping early and when I saw we, I mean Mark and I and I was looking on Amazon.com for some Christmas ideas for some of you and also for me to give some ideas to Wendy.  Last year when I looked at Amazon.com ideas for mothers, they consisted of fuzzy slippers, blenders, and cooking stuff but this year, Amazon has realized that mothers have better things to do than laze around all day making smoothies and trying to figure out what to bake.  Update: Wendy wasn’t all that impressed with the mom or the wife section.

Last year I posted shopping guides throughout the month of November for people and I got a big response from it.  A small percentage of you thought I had sold out while a bunch of you saw it for what it was, just some ideas I thought were fun gifts.  I’ll be posting them here start November which will hopefully keep you out of the malls in December.

I do have a quick question though.  I am looking for a tabletop radio, hopefully a retro looking one that I can use to listen to Saskatchewan Roughriders games while we are at the cabin.  I came to the realization this year that while I love my iPod, I really miss listening to some sports (I wish we could get baseball on the radio in Saskatchewan again) and CBC Radio One on a summer evening.  Do any of you have any thoughts about XM Satellite Radio?

Filing for divorce

I have been listening to C95 since it came on the air.  It is one of my single running constants in my life but all good things come to an end and I am looking for a new morning radio station.  What killed it was this.  Listening to Perez Hilton on the radio on the morning is a little too much to handle.  Not only do I have no interest in celebrity gossip, it is inane and mindless celebrity rambling which causes me to turn off the radio whenever it is on.  It also seems to be a bad fit with the C95 Morning Show but that is for the producers over at Rawlco to decide.

So after saying goodbye to C95, I tried out Wired 96.3 and this week I am giving CBC Radio2 a try in the mornings.  I will give Rock 102 a try as well.  Any station that doesn’t have Perez Hilton playing on it, will definitely have an advantage.