Re-christening of FTABlogOh, wow! Has this been on mute all this time?

Hi everybody! Thanks for coming by. I’ve got lots of stories to catch up on, starting with the NAB Show (which every TV enthusiast must attend at least once) and continuing on to the latest from FilmOn, Aereo, and some satellite stuff too.

I slapped a new coat of paint on this blog as well to help bring it up to date with its evolving mission. We’ll talk about free TV (as in free speech) no matter where it comes from.

One of the ongoing trends is toward directed, on-demand viewing, as opposed to just turning on the TV to see what’s on. In that spirit, I’ve made a couple of additions. At the FTABlog home page, there’s a rotating cartoon from, which is a great resource for free TV. And I’ll be embedding more 80s music videos now and then. They’re fun to watch, and they’re a great example of my First Law of Programming: Every channel, no matter how it started, becomes like every other channel. Remember how MTV started?

So please keep checking back to see what’s new, and suggest what you might want to see. Thanks for coming by.

Welcome to the new host for We ran into some technical difficulties, and it turns out that it might take a couple of days to get them all fixed.

If you need to move a WordPress blog from one host to another, and at least one of them is GoDaddy, here’s a tip: Copying over all of the files isn’t enough. You also need to back up the database, which is stored on a different domain with GoDaddy, then restore it once you’ve moved.

Uh, I didn’t do that. The good news is that almost all the text is cached on Google. The bad news is that I’ll need to copy and paste those posts into new posts here, as well as change more configuration stuff than I expected. (Because a lot of it is in the database, not the files.)

What’s really galling is that, according to a friendly GoDaddy support person, that old database is floating right where they can see it, but to restore it would cost a hefty fee (well, okay) and take over a week (not okay). I’d rather get to work on bringing back the old content right away, so I’m going to be adding it a piece at a time. I’ll shoot for having everything back by Monday morning. Wish me luck!

Update: Almost everything is back to almost normal now. Every word of every post and comment is back, along with every illustration. Some of the internal links are broken, and some of the sidebar stuff needs rearranging, but I’m pleasantly surprised that I was able to salvage such a high percentage of the old site so quickly.

Thanks again for your patience. Check back soon when I’ll type about something fun.

old desk with cobwebsIt always surprised me how many people told me that they wanted to read the old, pre-WordPress posts from FTABlog. It sometimes scared me to discover how many actually discovered the old site that hosted it.

So I can satisfy folks who just can’t get enough old stuff, and so I can shut down the old site, I’ve added a page here that contains all of those old blog posts. Now I need to get back to writing something new.

Overflowing ash tray in Las Vegas CES is over for another year. While exhibitor space hasn’t bounced all the way back yet, attendance returned to its pre-recession levels. Its traffic-paralyzing, restaurant-monopolizing, aisle-choking levels. Attendance wasn’t bad enough to make the show experience miserable, but the lines made everything take more time.

Here are a few quick notes from CES:

* CNet’s Best of Show award winner was the Motorola Xoom, an Android-based tablet that doesn’t actually exist yet. As a lovely lady demonstrated it at the Motorola booth, I learned that it’ll run an OS version that isn’t available, may or may not accept an SD or Micro SD card, and doesn’t have its default app set chosen yet. But when it’s finally ready, the Xoom is supposed to have great features.

There is ample precedent for such pre-production awards. In January 2009, CNet’s Best Home Video product from CES was the Dish Network 922 receiver with Sling technology. The 922 barely made it to market before the end of 2009. Turns out that it really is that good, though, so maybe a real Xoom will eventually be worth the wait?

* One of my blog posts won a contest at CES. No, it wasn’t the previous post about CES. It wasn’t anything from this blog. This was a contest run by the non-profit Internet Innovation Alliance, and those folks judged my post there to be better than anything else written at their booth. Woo hoo! (If you want to read Lawrence Lessig’s The Future of Ideas, you can learn how to download a free copy.)

* There was almost nothing about free-to-air satellite TV this year. Tele-Satellite magazine had a booth, although it was unmanned when I stopped by on the show’s last day. (More on that below.) Maybe one or two vendors on the regular show floor showed any equipment. That’s a big change from the days when new FTA set-top boxes would debut at CES.

* Sunday at CES is garbage day. For the first time, I stayed to the final day of the show to see whether exhibitors would dump all of their giveaways to avoid carting them home. Answer: Not very often. The best part was that the lines were short enough to let me see any show at any exhibit. The worst part was that many dealers were closing up early, and most of those remaining were feeling run down after a long show. There was little to suggest the enthusiasm that swirls around the opening of CES.

* I feel sorry for the folks who signed up for CEA’s new Tech Enthusiast program just to visit CES. That program benefit isn’t worth much; readers here know that anyone can get in to see CES for free with only a little work. And worst of all, that admittance is only good on Sunday.