Study With Steph — Lesson 9: Mixed Signals

May 18, 2021

It’s time to talk about the way we connect. No, not with one another. I’m talking cables and the things at each end you use to plug them into stuff. If you’ve ever wondered what a Phoenix connector is, why wires and cables are NOT interchangeable terms and why building an AV rack the proper […]

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Creating a Module

July 3, 2018

As we talked about in my last post about learning how to program, object orientedness is the name of the game when it comes to writing scaleable code that’s easy to update. Break your code up into little chunks that you can reuse. Figure out how to do it once, and you should (hopefully) never […]

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AVIXA Announces 2018 Award Winners, to Be Honored at InfoComm 2018 in Las Vegas

May 2, 2018

AVIXA has announced the 2018 recipients of its annual awards. Honorees will be recognized in a ceremony on InfoComm 2018’s Center Stage at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Wed., June 6, at 4 p.m. Each year, AVIXA recognizes outstanding AV professionals for their contributions, leadership, and commitment to excellence. In 2018, the AVIXA Awards Committee […]

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Crestron Masters 2018: Welcome to the New World

April 25, 2018

Halfway through a session on Crestron’s upcoming HTML5 touch panels, a friend who works there texted me, “Your excitement is the most entertaining [thing] I’ve seen thus far in a class.” What can I say? I’m looking forward to using the same tools as the rest of the software industry. I will have to brush […]

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Designing for Access

March 6, 2018

I recently had the privilege of working with a client who has very real and very serious vision problems. I say it was a privilege because every time I work with someone who wants something beyond my standard touch panel design, I learn from it. Looking at a touch panel through a client’s eyes (in […]

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The Internet of Unintended Consequences

February 20, 2018

A few weeks ago it came out that in November of 2017, fitness tracking company Strava released a heat map of where its users have logged activity around the world. The map is a pretty nifty picture of where people like to exercise, but it included some data that the U.S. Military would probably rather […]

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Want More Female Speakers at CES? Get Rid of Booth Babes

January 11, 2018

(Full disclosure: I don’t attend CES). My Twitter feed is rife with discussion about this year’s slate of keynote speakers at CES: six captains of industry and not one of them a woman (and only one of them not white). Even mainstream news outlets are talking about this. I mean, there was an article in […]

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The Magic of AV

July 27, 2017

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” — Arthur C. Clarke “It’s not real, it’s just magic!” — My four-year-old daughter, captivated by the AV at Harry Potter World (Universal Studios) After InfoComm this year, I snuck away with my family for a mini-vacation. From the projector “sprinkling” us with fairy dust as we […]

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AV Parents

May 16, 2017

Just before Mother’s Day, I wrote a long, passionate post on my personal Facebook feed about how this article stirred up a lot of thoughts and feelings. Facebook friends from all walks of life chimed in to say that they, too, struggle with work/life balance and societal expectations. Being a working parent is hard, especially […]

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Analog Backups

May 11, 2017

Monday morning, I woke up to the dulcet tones of my smart lock locking itself… over and over (and over!) again. We cleaned the touch screen, we replaced the batteries, we gave it a stern talking to… eventually my husband pulled the radio out and it settled down. My lock is basically working, for now. […]

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Smurfette Syndrome

April 4, 2017

At a recent industry event I attended, the facilitator (an outside consultant) expressed some mild surprise that I was the only woman in the room. Me? I hadn’t really noticed. At this point, I’m pretty much used to it. I don’t mind getting a bathroom to myself, but it can still be hard to be […]

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Family Movie Night

March 31, 2017

I know it’s a pretty odd thing for someone in our industry to say, but I don’t watch that much TV. On any given weeknight, you’re more likely to find me listening to an audiobook or podcast and making something in my craft room than you are to find me scrolling through our TiVo. TV […]

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Making the Four Tendencies Work for You

February 24, 2017

Last year at InfoComm, a friend from the industry who follows me on various social media platforms came up to me and said something like this, “I hate you! You’re so productive! How do you manage to work a difficult job, raise a kid, run half marathons and make craft projects?” I said something about […]

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Hidden Figures

February 17, 2017

Last week, I saw the movie Hidden Figures, the story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. These trailblazing women were human “computers” at NASA (they did the math before there were electronic computers), and they all made significant contributions not just to the space race, but to advance women and people of […]

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Quick Cuts

January 24, 2017

For Christmas, my husband gave me a Cricut cutter. It’s a machine that you can use to cut out pretty much any material, from iron-on vinyl to construction paper. It’s mostly a craft tool, but it’s also a fairly impressive piece of gadgetry. To set up your cuts, you hook it up to your computer […]

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A Look Back at 2016

January 3, 2017

My last job responsibility before New Years Eve involved some minor updates to a system with slightly older technology. There’s something about working on an older system that puts me in a mood to think about how far we’ve all come together. Add in the transition to a new year, and I was feeling positively […]

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The Gift of Technology

December 25, 2016

Christmas is here, and this year many of my family members are getting the gift of gadgets. My four-year-old daughter has been begging for “her very own Alexa,” so she is getting an Echo Dot and a stern admonishment that she’s not allowed to use it to turn the lights on or off in Mommy’s […]

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Practicing Safe Automation

December 2, 2016

A couple of years ago, I was on an AV podcast and someone asked me if I would ever put a smart lock onto my house. I said I’d need to think long and hard about the security aspects of it before I considered it. Flash forward to today, and I just put in an […]

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Our Life With Alexa

December 1, 2016

“Alexa! Alexxxaaaaaaa!!!” My four-year-old daughter is trying to wake up our Amazon Echo. Alexa gets better at understanding her every day, but she still only wakes up for her about half the time. Once Alexa is awake, however, she has an uncanny ability to figure out what my daughter is asking for. (Alexa wakes up […]

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A High Performer or a Workaholic?

November 10, 2016

I read this article about the differences between high performers and workaholics a few months ago. It’s stuck with me ever since — mostly because it made me wonder if I’m secretly a workaholic. I like to think of myself as a high performer. I sometimes work long hours, and lord knows I travel a […]

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Confessions of a Non-Cord-Cutter

October 27, 2016

In this age of Hulu, HBO Go and Netflix, it seems like everyone and their grandmother is trading in their DVR for an all-streaming solution. Well, my grandmother still has a cable box, but she also gave up AOL in favor of Gmail years ago, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Neither […]

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Is Your Service Department Screwing You Over?

September 29, 2016

Recently, my husband had a major service issue with his car. This was a service issue so major, he contemplated leaving his car at the dealership and getting a new one somewhere else. The details will likely be for another post (lawyers might get involved). But I think there is a lot that we can […]

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When Everything Goes Wrong

September 12, 2016

It was my husband’s birthday, and the only thing standing between me and our birthday date was a quick service call. Update some network settings, reboot the equipment so they’d take effect, check to make sure everything was online. Easy peasy, right? Yeah, I was like the AV equivalent of the old cop sitting in […]

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Just Breathe

August 29, 2016

I was sitting on an overturned paint bucket, holed up inside a freezing cold electrical closet. Just another day at the office! I was trying to figure out the best way to queue up commands if a link in the system went down. I thought things out to their extreme conclusion… and realized that what […]

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The Right Tool For the Job

July 26, 2016

They say that a poor craftsman blames their tools, but anyone who has ever tried to crimp a cable with a dull punch-down tool knows that you can only do so much with what you are given. It won’t fit on a coffee mug, but a less pithy way of putting it is “a fine […]

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When Smart Things Aren’t That Smart

July 18, 2016

True confession: I don’t like automated bathroom sinks very much. I know that sounds strange coming from someone who automates things for a living. But it’s the truth. Intellectually, I understand their utility. No water running all night. No touching taps that could be covered with all sorts of germs. But then I get into […]

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Upgrade Like the Amish

June 30, 2016

Quick! Pull up a mental picture of the Amish. Now think about what kinds of technology they might be using. “That’s crazy talk, Hope,” you might be thinking right about now, “the Amish are practically synonymous with horse and buggies and the near total rejection of modern technology.” Actually, dear readers, the Amish view of […]

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The Importance of Being Honest

June 27, 2016

It was a lie so obvious and about something so utterly unimportant, I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In the process of tracking down a fairly minor issue, I asked if a contractor had done work on a particular floor over the weekend. “We didn’t touch this floor,” they said. So how did […]

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InfoComm 2016 — Life from the Podcast Desk

June 24, 2016

The world from the podcast station in Vegas from June 8th through the 10th was filled with #AVselfies, magical Tascam gear, and interviews galore. My partner in crime, Johnny Mota, and I set up rAVe Pubs RADIO desk successfully in the Kramer booth with the help from our friends Eric Larsen of Tascam and our rAVe […]

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AV Power Up – InfoComm 2016: A Podcast At the Show, and In Your Ears

June 14, 2016

When you talk about immersing yourself in a tremendous endeavor as well as doing something which thoroughly drives you – you can relate first-hand if this mirrors your experiences. AV Power Up, a show which began in March 2015 with some of the AV industry’s most well-known #AVTweeps making up “The Crew” – Christa Bender, Chuck […]

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The Great InfoComm 2016 Experience – From A Personal Side

June 13, 2016

First this: A record 1,000 exhibitors, including 211 new exhibitors, filled the Las Vegas Convention Center June 8-10 for InfoComm 2016, occupying 527,105 net square feet of exhibit and special events space — also a show record. Attendees registered for more than 12,000 seats at InfoComm University sessions throughout the week, more than double the […]

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All the Feels

May 31, 2016

Our cat passed away a few months ago, and we kinda sorta forgot to pick up her ashes. Our vet’s office sent us a very kind letter where they struck just the right balance between “we’re very sorry for your loss” and “you really need to come back and get these cremains.” The thought that […]

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