Your Princess Is in Another Castle

January 17, 2020

Each level of the classic Mario game would end with our hero having battled through hoards of foes to rescue his beloved, only to be greeted with the now-familiar message that his princess is in another castle. The inherent sexism of the princess-rescue trope aside, this is what I think when I look at the […]

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Diversity, Inclusion and 2020 New Year’s Resolutions for the AV Industry

January 13, 2020

Happy New Year, friends. I’ve been too absent from these spaces as I’ve left one job, settled into a new one and let the rhythms of life get in the way. Let’s take it as a New Year’s resolution that I’ll be back, with more to share. As we’re talking about resolutions, we’ll start with […]

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Friction, SB-327 and Zoom’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Week

July 16, 2019

Last week was an eventful one for Zoom. In less than twenty-four hours, we had: The revelation of multiple security vulnerabilities in the popular Zoom conferencing software A [now updated] defensive statement by Zoom, dismissing concerns related to same Public outcry A reversal of course and introduction of an immediate patch for one vulnerability and […]

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Let’s Talk About Specs

January 6, 2019

The scene: Project manager training, major integration firm. Dramatis Persona: A project manager, new to the wonderful world of commercial AV A veteran of the AV industry The Dialog: “I’m worried about this bid we just won. There’s no way we can do all of this.” “Why, what’s wrong? It looked like pretty standard conference […]

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What Keeps an AV Professional Up at Night – Part the Second

November 26, 2018

I’ve spoken about the things that keep an AV professional up at night — in part the growing rise of one-box, easily configurable solutions sharply reducing the need for highly skilled integration in simple spaces. That trend continues with both industry stalwarts like Crestron and smaller upstarts like Owl Labs selling single-device collaborative solutions. That’s […]

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Scheduling, Software as a Service and the Day I Sat Through the Same Presentation Four Times

October 17, 2018

I don’t know if “As a Service” has replaced “experience” or “convergence” in the AV buzzword bingo game, but it certainly has been a hot topic as of late, opening some interesting questions as to how the business models of traditionally hardware-centric AV companies fit into a software — and software as service — based […]

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On Diversity

October 8, 2018

“I’m a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.” –Homer J. Simpson I’m with you, Mr. Simpson. Even if my ideas aren’t all crazy, I understand that as a cisgender, heterosexual, Caucasian male living in the United States of America I have just about every […]

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The TIDE Conference and Learning how to Think

June 13, 2018

Another InfoComm is now behind us. As we return to our everyday lives, we should look back and reflect on what we learned and experienced over the past week. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, this is a chance to share some of the lessons I found across the country in Las […]

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The AV Experience

May 31, 2018

“Experience” has been the big word in the industry as of late, even beyond the big change in our trade organization’s name to “Avixa” — the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. Is this a buzzword, or should this represent a change in the way we design, and even how we think? It shouldn’t, because user […]

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On Delightful User Experiences

March 26, 2018

Some categorize the quality of a user experience as a hierarchy, like this one: An accessible user interface does its job. You can access and interact with the interface. A usable interface is one which can be manipulated to achieve a desired result. This doesn’t mean that the result is something of particular value to […]

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Aesthetics, Part the First — Minimalism and the Tyranny of the Black Rectangle

February 22, 2018

The past centuries have spanned many technological eras, each with a dominant aesthetic as well as dominant technologies. The Victorian era was the age of steam, of the first attempts to harness electricity. It was also an era of brass, polished wood, colored glass. It was an era in which a technical marvel was also […]

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What Keeps an AV Professional Awake at Night

January 12, 2018

I still remember my first concerns about user engagement with the technology we provide. It was over a decade ago; we were fitting out four conference rooms per floor over about a dozen floors. Video teleconferencing in two, local presentation in the other. Pack up, head for the elevator, repeat. It was one of my […]

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On Digital Assistants

January 2, 2018

An AV consultant once had a conversation with an executive from manufacturer about the most expensive home he’d seen. He asked what kind of control system one would build for a ten-million dollar home. The executive answered that there’d be a single button. When the button was pressed, a servant would walk into the room […]

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#MeToo and the AV Industry

November 1, 2017

Like so many other people, I have read about the Harvey Weinstein scandal over the past several weeks with disgust. As the story grew and the #MeToo campaign went viral, I forced myself to listen to statements from women around the country and to read their messages. I say “forced” because it is not easy […]

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A Visit with Microsoft

October 30, 2017

When we think conference room and collaboration technology, we too often think of audiovisual collaboration technology, and when we think about that we think of a small set of traditional AV manufacturers, largely unknown to those outside of the industry. We think of control system manufacturers such as Extron and Crestron, of Vaddio and its […]

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The Power of Names

September 29, 2017

Names have power. Names matter. Decades of fantasy literature have taught us that. Kvothe, the kingkiller, gained control of the very air itself when he learned and spoke the name of the wind. In the wizarding world, nobody would dare speak the name of Lord Voldemort. On Roke Island, the young Sparrowhawk learned the secret […]

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Software Revolution

September 25, 2017

I’ve written time and again about the rise of software as opposed to dedicated hardware. About AV as a Service (AVaaS). About how all of those black and grey boxes we’ve come to know and love will soon disappear, to be replaced by services running on virtual machines. It isn’t just a rule about audiovisual, […]

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On Biamp and Baseball: Second Thoughts on the TesiraFORTÉ DAN

February 16, 2017

Last week, I wrote about Biamp and the announcement that Dante will now be an option in their smaller TesiraFORTÉ DSP units. While it is an interesting story and the TesiraFORTÉ DAN units do fill a niche, it might not be as important as it appeared to me at first reading. I’ll tell you why […]

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At ISE, Crestron Goes Big (and Small), and Biamp Steps Towards Dante

February 9, 2017

Editor’s Note: Leonard Suskin has additional thoughts on Biamp’s TesiraFORTÉ DAN, which you can read here. ISE has never been quite as big to me as InfoComm, though not for any particular reason. Perhaps it’s that time-zone differential is even worse heading East across the ocean than West to Las Vegas [or due South to […]

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Year in Review

December 26, 2016

While it may have been a quiet last few months of the year for me as I settle in to my new position back in the integration side of the business, you should know that your pixel-and-inkstained wretch is alive and well. It’s been another interesting year in the AV industry, with quite a bit […]

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My Journey in AV

August 30, 2016

In an office suite in New York there was a pit. Not a dirty hole in the ground, filled with spikes and threatened by a swinging pendulum, but a cozy little nook of unfinished plywood, crowded with cables, video monitors, equipment racks laden with gear, bundles of cable running to and fro in a Gordian […]

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Accessibility for Everyone in a Virtual World

August 21, 2016

A great deal of digital ink has been spilled on the phenomenon of Pokémon Go, including on these very pages by Gary Kayye, on the AV Power Up! podcast and, of course, by yours truly. There is one more thought which I’d like to share before I wander off to talk about something else, which […]

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A Locksmith, a Monkey and the Oldest Profession: On Disruption

June 15, 2016

While I’m not attending InfoComm in meatspace this year, I’ve managed to flitter in and out of the show via Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat, etc. I’ll talk more about the experience of the trade show from afar, but today I’d like to discuss the keynote speech, a recent visit I made to my locksmith and what […]

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AV and the Price of Oranges

May 16, 2016

On the fiction side of my blog (I still do write fiction when I’m not here) I wrote a recent vignette about a shopper purchasing some pre-peeled oranges in a grocery store. If you’re on social media you’ll likely have seen the photo of said oranges making the rounds as an example of our wasteful […]

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A Morning with Shure and Musings on AV Conference Room Topology

April 12, 2016

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a demo of the new Microflex Advanced microphones from Shure. These are digital beam-steering microphone arrays designed for tabletop (the MXA310) and ceiling (MXA920) placement. They are high-end, solidly built products which fit very well into some design philosophies and perhaps not as well with others. Both are […]

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On Language, AV/IT, Teaching and Learning

April 8, 2016

“Include Kodak in this room.” That’s the line in the client’s system review memo which confused me, and one with which I eventually opened an internal training seminar at SMW. What were they talking about? And what was the bigger message? Read on! The memo in question came in a fairly late design phase of […]

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A Primer on Chroma Subsampling and What It Means In Practical Terms

February 8, 2016

This is not a switcher wars post. I have no interest in discussing the various claims made by one manufacturer or another, the counter claims, counter-counter claims or any other such back-and-forth between competitors. The issue to which some of the ongoing discussion about switching technology HAS brought more attention is that of chroma subsampling, […]

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That AMX Backdoor

January 25, 2016

The AV industry received some unsettling news last week regarding a potential security vulnerability in Harman’s control processors. It was a rare moment when we as a group were all in the news, though not in a good way. For those who’ve not seen it by now, Ars Technica reported that AMX (now Harman) Netlinx […]

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New Year’s Resolutions for the AV Professional

January 10, 2016

The new year is upon us. In our personal lives, many will be looking to lose weight, exercise more, curb some of our vices. What of the AV industry? Is there anything within the world of technology we should be looking to change as the calendar shifts? Perhaps as the year shifts we can all […]

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On Why We Don’t Have the Shiniest Toys Anymore

November 24, 2015

AV people used to have the coolest toys. Look back not that many years to the first AV touchpanels you saw; people oohed a bit, they ah-ed a bit and — if the installer soldered the nine-pin D-sub correctly — were impressed when the touch of one (soft) button not only turned on a room’s […]

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rAVe ProAV Edition — Volume 13, Issue 22

November 19, 2015

For all you regular reader of rAVe news out there, you may not realize this, but twice a month we publish rAVe ProAV Edition an email newsletter packed with opinionated news and product stories about the ProAV industry. The most recent edition, Volume 13, Issue 22 includes an editorial from Leonard Suskin about designing AV systems, On Single-Source AV […]

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A Visit with SYMCO

October 28, 2015

AV Distributor SYMCO rolled into town today for its annual roadshow. Various other commitments kept me from the various days’ events — including an end-users’ roundtable featuring not only one of our clients from SMW, but also one with whom I’d worked personally. However, I did have the opportunity for a quick stop to chat […]

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