Instant access to real-time local weather information is one of the Internet's underrated pleasures. There are Web sites, feeds, gadgets, widgets, e-mail and IM alerts; just about every Net platform has brought you the weather at some point. Free desktop utilities that import weather conditions and usually display the local temperature in the system tray are perhaps the most popular Web-based weather-watchers. The Weather Channel is perhaps the most trusted name in coast-to-coast cable TV weather forecasting and related information. Put the two together and you have The Weather Channel Desktop, a free utility that does what the other … Read more
Readon Free TV and Radio Player is a basic program that gives users access to a large number of international television and radio stations. It's nothing fancy, but it does contain links to a staggering amount of content.
The program's interface is simple, with its content types--TV, radio, movies on demand, and live sports--arranged in four tabs. TV and radio stations are organized alphabetically by country and genre, and drop-down menus allow users to filter results. Users simply click on the content that they want to access, and it plays either within the player itself or in the … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--For some of the nearly 100,000 followers of "MythBusters" star Adam Savage's Twitter feed, communicating with him has proven to be more than just your average back-and-forth. For some, it's been a way to submit ideas that he and his Discovery Channel show costars have used for actual episodes.
On October 7, Discovery will begin airing its fall collection of new "MythBusters" episodes, and Savage said that he and costar Jamie Hyneman have taken at least four ideas that have come directly from Twitter users and implemented them on the show.
Among … Read more
Nintendo Wii owners who wanted to browse the Web from their consoles have previously been forced to purchase the Wii Internet Channel application from the Wii Shop Channel for 500 Wii Points (that's $5.00 to the rest of us). Nintendo has now made the app free for all Wii users, saying, "Effective immediately, people who want to browse the Internet using their Wii consoles will be able to do so at no added cost."
The Wii browser, based on Opera, was previously available as a free download to early adopters who installed it between April and … Read more
It's the penultimate episode before our 404th episode of The 404. Yes, the Internet will exploded when we run our live show tomorrow. Today's episode, though, might keep us from ever reaching that magic number. In our first half, we discuss our recollections of learning about the birds and the bees. In the second half, we have a great Calls from the Public section, and we mention Best Buy's latest snafu.
So, why the birds and the bees? Well, according to a study by Symantec, children are searching the Internet to learn about sex, not necessarily from their parents. While that might sound quite disturbing, Jeff, Justin, and Wilson reminisce about how we learned about it, and most of it involved dirty magazines and shared videotapes. Plus, we swapped tips on how to catch a glimmer of the Spice Channel by either jiggling the remote or hooking up a black box to our cable outlet.
We round out the show with some delightful Calls from the Public. We love it when a woman calls. Finally, we chat a bit about Best Buy and its mistake of putting a high-end Samsung HDTV on sale for $9.99. People are upset that the company won't honor the price. Well, duh. Come on, you knew it was a mistake when you bought it!
Be sure to send in your favorite show moments and congratulate us on our 404th episode tomorrow! The number is 1-866-404-CNET (2638). Or send in a MP3 or WAV to the404 [at] cnet [dot] com. Tomorrow, we've got an amazing roster of guests, including Clayton Morris, Caroline McCarthy, Mark Licea, and more!EPISODE 403 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video
Auto speaker setup and calibration is a popular feature on almost every receiver and a lot of home-theater-in-a-box systems.
Sure, it sounds like a peachy idea, but the accuracy of auto setup is hardly a sure thing; and at their worst, auto setup systems sound worse than no setup at all.
Ideally, the setup system automatically determines speaker sizes (large or small), measures speaker-to-listener distances, sets the volume levels of all of the speakers, determines the proper subwoofer volume level, checks that all the speaker wires' "+" and "-" connections are properly oriented at the speaker and receiver ends, and calculates the subwoofer-to-speaker crossover point. Some receivers also employ EQ (equalization) curves to correct for speaker and room acoustic anomalies.
What's not to like? Well, it the auto setup worked perfectly, nothing.
But they're mostly flawed: Subwoofer calibrations are almost always off. Auto calibration systems boost the sub volume much too high, and overestimate the sub distance to the listener by a factor of two (so a 10 foot distance becomes 20 or more feet).
Worse yet, auto setup systems rarely set the subwoofer-to-satellite speakers crossover frequency to the optimum point. That is, they tend to set the crossover too high, say 150 Hertz, which unnecessarily restricts the speakers' bass response. The speakers might sound better with a lower crossover setting. I recommend 80Hz for all speakers with 4- to 6-inch woofers; 100Hz for 3-inch woofers; and higher settings of 120Hz or 150Hz only for the tiniest speakers.
Accessing the measurement data post auto setup can be tricky on some receivers. Then you really don't know what you have.
Thing is, manual setup isn't all that difficult and will likely be more accurate. And chances are you wouldn't muck up the distances as poorly as the autosetup would. Running the test tones over the speakers and manually adjusting the sound by ear or with a Radio Shack meter isn't so hard to do.… Read more