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XM & Sirius Merge Channel Lineup: My Thoughts

By | business, music, news, opinion, rants, technology | 3 Comments

I’ve been an XM subscriber for a good year and a half now, and have always enjoyed their programming lineup. Well, the rumor I had heard lately, that XM and Sirius were going to merge their channel lineup, came true just two hours before posting this. At midnight, the switch took place. It appears more XM channels were replaced by pre-existing Sirius channels than vice-versa. It makes sense, considering Sirius technically bought out XM in the supposed “merger of equals” as the deal was described. (I’ve personally never understood why XM wasn’t the one buying Sirius, considering their significantly larger subscriber base). I have a lot of mixed feelings about the merger. Let’s get started.

First off, I know the merger of redundant programming on two channels (one on each service) into one channel on both will save the company, currently hemmoraging money, lots of coin. Unfortunately, that comes at the expense of many long-time employees at both satellite radio services. I heard the number of people let go was in the hundreds. As far as consolidation goes, I think some of the names of the stations Sirius previously had, that took over XM stations, are silly. I don’t even necessarily listen to the following stations, but they’re relevant examples. Why replace XM’s light alternative rock station “The Heart” with “Sirius XM Love?” Silly name. Then again in some cases neither station’s equivilent station makes any sense. XM’s classic alternative rock channel “Lucy” got replaced by Sirius’ “Lithium.” Go figure either one of those. Some replaced stations do have better names now, though. My favorite station, ’90s & ’00s hot adult contemporary station “Flight 26” was replaced by Sirius’ “The Pulse.” I do like the name better.

I’ve been listening to The Pulse for the past two hours and haven’t really noticed any big differences. I’ve caught a few “new” (to the station) songs sprinkled in, like a catchy track from The Killers I hadn’t heard before, but nothing else out of the ordinary. My guess is the same program director will stay at the reigns, and the only shift will be in the name. The on-air personalities now include two from each station, with the exception of one Flight 26 personality, P.J., who was either let go or was moved to another station. Even the voiceover guy is the same, as I’ve discovered with most other respective channels as I’ve flipped around the dial tonight. The new imaging packages by the voiceover team all say “[Name of station] on Sirius XM] now and come wrapped in a much tighter package, all sounding very quick, snappy, and punchy.

What I don’t get, and don’t agree with, is Sirius XM’s decision to integrate programming lineups but keep channels different on both services. In fact, I think if they’re going to do this, they should go big or go home. What’s the point in having the same channel lineup on both services, yet have different channel numbers for each? I know nothing about exactly how the technology will now be implemented and combined, but my guess would be they could decomission either the XM or Sirius (one or the other) satellites and have only one previous company’s satellites serve the combined subscriber base. It would most definitely save the company a lot of money. Plus, XM’s channel bandwidth could then be used to expand Sirius’. The sound quality on either service has always been questionable. I’ve heard better stereo sound from a cassette tape. The biggest difference can heard when you switch between highly-compressed XM and an insanely-processed, polished-sounding radio station, such as Q94. Using XM’s bandwidth for Sirius’ channels would allow the combined company to allot more bandwidth to each station, effectively dramatically improving sound quality. I’ve heard that music channels are compressed as low as 64kbps (half of what is considered mediocre to good MP3 quality), and some talk channels as low as 16kbps. I can’t confirm this, but I believe it.

Why not just lose the silly Sirius XM moniker and pick one name? I think, for simplicity’s sake, just one should be used. Also, get rid of the channels hardly anyone listens to, like the three French music channels and “The 40s.” How many people do you know in their 80s (that’s how old you’d have to be to reasonably remember music from the 1940s) that listen to satellite radio, much less even know what it is? It’ll be interesting to see how all this plays out, and the response from subscribers. We all knew this was coming. The company is looking to bring value to its shareholders by cutting costs, and this was the quickest way to do just that. I think in the long run, after customers such as myself accept and adapt to the changes, it will be a good thing for everyone.

Further Proof That Nothing Goes On In Goochland County

By | FAIL, funny, news, opinion | 2 Comments

This further proves my point that nothing ever goes on in Goochland County. I happened to be reading the Goochland Gazette a month or two ago and came across the county’s Incident Report. The winner for most frivulous call for emergency services? Well, see below. Almost all of these “incidents” (with the exception of a few real medical issues) is pretty silly, in my humble opinion. Either way, I got a good laugh out of it. Here’s a scan of the page:

“In A World” Without Don LaFontaine

By | business, life, news | No Comments

You may not know him by name, but you no doubt know his voice. Don LaFontaine was the voice behind the vast majority of the movie trailers you’ve seen for decades. He passed away this morning from complications related to a collapsed lung, at the age of 68.

Over the span of his 25+ year career, he did voiceovers for more than 5,000 movie trailers and 350,000 television commercials, and is best known for his introductory “In a world…” phrase. No one quite had a voice like LaFontaine’s, and his voice will be missed.

His most recent television appearance was on a commercial for Geico, in which they simply called him “that announcer guy from the movies” because his voice is so widely known and unique.

I’ve always been intrigued by with the movie industry, and voice talent professionals as well, and would love to do some of my own voiceover work one day. Below is a video highlighting his career.

Quality, Not Quantity

By | news | No Comments

So lately I’ve noticed I’m posting more because I “have” to post to adhere to Blog 365 than because I want to. The quality of my posts is not what it used to be. I love to write, but some days I don’t want to and will post a sub-par entry. Effective today, I will no longer be participating in Blog 365. It’s been fun, and I definitely could write every day for five years straight and still think of new topics, however, it’s just not feasible. I’m way too busy, have other websites to keep up with that have been neglected, and find myself “obligated” to blog some days rather than wanting to. It shouldn’t be that way.

I’ll still blog most every day. I love writing and sharing my thoughts and opinions. I think this will be a good thing and will allow me to write higher quality posts. Thanks so much for reading! And hey, six months isn’t bad, right? I’ve posted every single day since January 1, 2008!

“Henrico, Virginia” Mailing Address Coming Soon

By | business, news, opinion | No Comments

If your mailing address is Richmond, Virginia, but you live most anywhere in Henrico County, your address will soon change to Henrico, Virginia. Why? Henrico County loses millions of dollars every year to the City of Richmond. Big corporate chains that are based outside of the area think that because the mailing address is Richmond, the taxes should be paid there. This adds up quickly. Well that’s interesting enough alone. But it gets better.

Henrico County sent out a mail survey asking residents if they wanted to change the name to Henrico or leave it Richmond. They also did a TV ad campaign. Fair enough. What I don’t get is that Richmond did an ad, too! Richmond Mayor Doug Wilder (leave it to him) decided it would be a competition and fought to keep the undeserved money in the city! Then again this is Doug Wilder we are talking about here. Should we be surprised in the least? He needs to go.

Lifelock CEO Becomes Victim Of Identity Theft Himself!

By | business, FAIL, news, opinion | 3 Comments

How’s this for ironic? The CEO of Lifelock, Todd Davis, has finally been hacked himself! He’s the guy that advertises his real social security number on billbords, trucks, television, and radio.

And while this may be to prove the point that he has total faith in his company, which protects you from any identity theft attempts and backs up the protection with a $1 million liability guarantee should anyone succeed in using your good name.

In my opinion, it’s just stupid to openly advertise your social security number, even if you do have this service. It serves him right. Here’s an online article about the whole thing. His picture should go on the FAIL Blog!

Why did Todd Davis, CEO of Lifelock, need to contract with an outside firm when his own identity was stolen last summer? Because true resolution does not come easy…. and is not a marketing gimick. Who did Mr. Davis choose to handle his personal financial recovery when his fraud alert system failed? An Identity Theft America partner, National ID Recovery.

According to an article that appeared in the Dallas Morning News on July 23, 2007, Mr. Davis became a victim when a man obtained a $500 payday loan in his name. This, despite the fact Mr. Davis was using the well-advertised Lifelock services.

According to the article, Teletrack, a subprime credit bureau that was used by the payday loan lender, doesn’t receive fraud alerts from the three national credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. In the article, Mr. Davis admitted that “Fraud alerts aren’t always going to be bulletproof. There are areas where someone can still compromise your information.” This despite the fact that Mr. Davis advertises his social security number in the media to convince consumers that his system can prevent identity theft.

You can’t afford to be left with no where to turn and empty promises with fine print. Make the same choice that identity theft industry executives use when the chips are down. Identity Theft America assures quality, professional services to help with identity theft. Regardless of the advertising, there is no prevention for identity theft, so be prepared if it happens to you.

What If Gas Cost $10 A Gallon?

By | environmental issues, news | No Comments

As bad as gas prices are now, they could be far worse. In fact, they already are in other countries. This article explores how things would change if gas cost $10 a gallon. There would be no more pizza or newspaper delivery, plastic water bottles or other daily things we take for granted. FedEx, UPS, and taxis would be a luxury for the rich. But, after a short recession and period of adaptation to fuel costs, this article suggests we just might be better off because of the push that would ensue for alternative fuel, telecommuting, home rooftop gardens, etc. Check out the “what if” article by clicking here.

Wanna See Some Interesting Entries?

By | news | No Comments

If you wanna see why I haven’t been keeping up with my blog this week, check out my Downtown Short Pump site. It’s packed with stuff now. Check out all the news entries I’ve written. I will be back to my regular posting once this is done for the most part. Check it out at http://www.downtownshortpump.com. Then comment and let me know what you like, what you think could be improved, and what you think I should add. More information to come about this soon!

Sub-Par Posting

By | life, news, technology | No Comments

My blog entries lately have been sub-par. Okay, just flat out poor. I’m aware. I’ve had technical issues with my computer, wireless internet, my hosting service, moving to a new server, and other things. I promise I’ll be back to my normal posting habits tomorrow.

I’ve also been working non-stop on getting my web business up and running. It’s finally getting where it needs to be visually and content-wise. I’ll write a big post about that soon. I have so much on my mind I wanna write about, in fact, that my head might explode. I’d say I have a mental list of topics that will get me through at least the next three weeks.

Hang in there. I’ll see you tomorrow for some much more in-depth and interesting content. I promise.

Fake Reporter Freaks Out About Thunderstorm

By | funny, news, videos | No Comments

Some people will do anything to try and be famous. This guy, William Bernstein of Virginia Beach, has started his own fake news studio (done by green screen) and posts daily videos to CNN’s citizen reporting service called iReport. Honestly he scares me. Watch how he freaks out as he goes to provide “exclusive coverage” of the Suffolk tornado. He acts as if there’s a tornado right next to his car, but it’s actually just a thunderstorm. He loses it at about 53 seconds into the video. Too funny. Click here to watch.