August 1, 2014

Recycle Your Old Monitor and Other Electronics

Best Buy will take and recycle your unwanted appliances free of charge.  One hundred seventeen stores in the Baltimore, San Francisco, and Minnesota areas are welcoming customers to bring in no more than two units per day, per household, for recycling at no charge. Customers can bring in items such as televisions and monitors up to 32-inches, computers, phones, cameras, and other electronics devices and peripherals.

Best Buy said it would work with its stores, recycling partners, and manufacturers to evaluate the success of the test and determine options for scaling it across the United States.

Pioneer’s High Definition TV

Pioneer Electronics announces a new line of KURO plasma displays featuring black levels five times deeper than the previous award-winning KURO.

“The introduction of this year’s KURO televisions is another step toward our ultimate goal of pure, absolute black that will fulfill the true potential and all the promise of high-definition entertainment,” said Paul Meyhoefer, vice president of display marketing and product planning, home entertainment business solutions group, Pioneer Electronics. This year, Pioneer pushes ever closer to their goal of absolute black by further reducing the idle luminance and improving black levels five times over the previous 2007 KURO models. This has enabled Pioneer to accurately reproduce deeper colors within the high-definition color spectrum.

Pioneer has incorporated six unique sound settings associated with each of the KURO video settings – standard, movie, sports, performance, game, dynamic – to ensure a customized listening experience that is specifically in tune with the type of programming on-screen.

The television employs an auto volume stabilization feature that further controls the television’s volume level when switching between different types of programming; including network shows and commercials, broadcast channels or different input types to insure each experience remains true and distinct from one another.

Pioneer has included the most advanced SRS WOW HD technology in the new KURO models by incorporating SRS Definition, a high frequency enhancement that provides finer control and adjustment to manage low, mid and high audio frequencies. The result adds to the virtual surround sound effect and produces clearer, more precise audio in mid to high frequency levels.

The KURO employs a unique automatic adjustment feature called Optimum Mode that simultaneously monitors video and room light conditions. The KURO then adjusts the picture and sound settings to provide an experience specially tailored to each type of programming.

While many consumers will rely on this unique feature, the 2008 KURO models still have the ability to switch between six finely tuned pre-set modes including: standard, movie, sports, performance, game, dynamic for consumers who prefer the ability to manually adjust their KURO television according to their particular taste.

Retail price starts at $4000.

Kelly Ripa helps bring Electrolux Kitchen Appliances to America

Electrolux, known mostly for vacuums in the US is known in Europe for its premium appliances. This spring they are trying to make a splash here in the US with Kelly Ripa.

Advice for Buying a High-Def TV

If you are shopping for a high-def TV, you’ll need to decide which type you’d like. Will you go for LCD(liquid crystal display), plasma, or HD rear projection microdisplay? Let us offer some information and advice to make your decision a little easier.

LCD

These televisions are thin and lightweight with bright picture contrast. That is good in a room with a lot of light. The largest screens are 46 inches and the picture quality is not quite as good as a plasma TV.

Plasma

These have the most lifelike picture, with 180 degree viewing angles. They are quite large screens, with nothing smaller than 42 inches.

HD Rear Projection

Cathode ray tube rear projetion sets are being phased out, but new hi-def flat screen have great picture quality. They are not meant hanging on the wall.

Your new TV can be wall hung and all the cable and wires hidden – no TV cabinet necessary. Although it is a job for a do-it-yourselfer, it requires some know how. Sets over 32 inches will be at least a two person installation job. Mounting requires a mounting kit with costs ranging from$100 to $200. Kits that swivel and tilt will cost more.

Before you go shopping, decide how large a screen you’d like, LCD is the best choice for for 42 inches and under. Plasma or rear projection are better for larger sets.

You can get a a high definition television without spending a fortune, or you can really blow a wad on one if you are inclined. For example, there is Samsung’s Slimfit which we found selling for $380. This has CRT technology and is only 16.5 inches deep. A pricier choice could be Sony’s Bravia which is 40″ wide and retails for about $1600. If you have the money, the Pioneer PDP-6010FD has two million pixels on an almost 60 inch screen. It also has four independent HDMI 1.3 inputs and a new room light sensor for adjusting to the viewing surroundings. This one will set you back about $4,000.

High definition televisions have a picture quality that is superior to analog TV and next year, over-the-air TV will be phased out. Analog televisions will require converters. If you are in the market for a new television , a high-def TV might just be the way to go.

I sing the body electric – Linemen fly to keep your microwave humming

I realize that every job probably gets routine after a while, but some jobs probably get the juices flowing more than others. Here’s one that that keeps the juice flowing to all of us.

So I did a bit of research, and hey its the real deal. YOU probably encounter faraday cages/faraday shields in your every day life too. They work on the principal that if you can get an electric current to flow over the surface of a sphere, the field at each point inside the sphere created by the current on the surface tends to cancel out creating an electrically quiescent area in the middle. Some interesting applications: Mobile phones, radios and wireless networks may have no reception inside elevators or buildings built using a virtual cage of rebar or plaster with metal lath.

Ever notice the light metal grid in the door of your microwave oven? Its part of a Faraday Cage enclosure that traps the microwaves inside with your food rather than out in the room cooking you.

According to WikiPedia, some United States national security buildings are contained in Faraday cages, intended to act as a TEMPEST shield, and possibly also as a mitigation against electromagnetic pulse.

Faraday Cage Underwear for the electrically adventurous
You can even buy
underwear with a built in Faraday Cage, but I wouldn’t advise testing them by trying a highwire act on your local high voltage lines. (and if you do, you better get life insurance first.

Analog TVs Being Tossed Out Next Year

According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), about 15 million televisions will be replaced by 2010 because over-the-air reception will no longer be available beginning next year.  The study also says that about 95% of those TVs will be sold, recycled or donated.  Forty-eight percent of households plan to keep their televisions and use a digital converter.

Consumers are far more likely to recycle, reuse, give away or sell analog TVs than throw them away,” says CEA’s Senior Director of Market Research Tim Herbert. “While some have speculated that millions of TVs would enter the waste stream, this new study suggests that is not the case.”

Recycling is an increasingly common way to dispose of unused TVs. In fact, according to the survey, consumers report recycling nearly 30 percent more TVs in 2007 than in 2005. That trend also extends to other CE categories. While only three percent more devices were removed from homes in 2007, twenty-seven percent more devices were recycled. At the same time, the number of CE products that end up in the trash is decreasing-down 7 percent from two years earlier.

“We see a very positive trend developing when it comes to consumer electronics (CE) afterlife,” notes Herbert. “A full 87 percent of consumers say it’s important to recycle their CE devices. Not only is traditional recycling an increasingly popular option for consumers, but the vast majority of consumers report that they give away or sell unused devices, which is also a form of recycling.”

Among those consumers that did report throwing away a TV in the last year, 42 percent reported that they weren’t aware of recycling programs for electronics.

“It’s terrific to see more consumers being more thoughtful and proactive about the responsible disposal of their electronics devices,” added Herbert. “However, there is still much to be done in terms of educating consumers about the options for electronics recycling.”

CEA’s consumer website, www.myGreenElectronics.org educates consumers about the responsible use, reuse and recycling of electronics and also includes a zip-code searchable database of electronics recyclers.

Consumer electronics recycling will be a point of discussion at CEA’s upcoming Washington Forum, to be held April 2-3, 2008 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. In the Thursday 2-3 p.m. session Analog Sets and Recycling, a panel of experts will discuss consumer behavior and what the CE industry is doing to educate consumers about the importance of recycling TVs. For registration information, please visit www.ce.org/Events/default.asp.

Convert Your Mom to Digital TV

With the biggest change in over-the-air television since the 1930′s coming in February 2009, some seniors may need to take steps to continue watching their favorite programs once the digital television transition is complete. To encourage baby boomers to help their elderly parents, relatives, and neighbors get ready, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® enlisted actress Florence Henderson, best known for her role as Carol Brady on TV’s “The Brady Bunch,” to launch the Convert Your Mom public awareness campaign.”CEA’s member companies have filled retail stores with a wide assortment of affordable digital TV products, from low-cost digital televisions to converter boxes and antennas that are easy to hook up to existing analog TV sets,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and CEO. “We know that one of the best ways to reach seniors is through their families. With Convert Your Mom we’re asking baby boomers to help make sure everyone is ready well in advance.”

Beginning with a satellite media tour hosted by Ms. Henderson in early May, the Convert Your Mom campaign will feature a special downloadable guide and tips for getting ready for the digital TV transition, among other elements.

The campaign will remind viewers who rely on an antenna and an analog TV set for reception, that they have choices to continue enjoying free over-the-air television.

  1. Buy a new TV with built-in digital tuner
  2. Subscribe to a pay-TV service like cable or satellite TV
  3. Purchase an affordable Digital TV Converter Box to receive over-the-air digital TV signals and convert them for analog viewing.

Dozens of affordable converter boxes are now certified by the U.S. government as eligible for $40 discount coupons that are being distributed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and digital TV sets are also now widely available for under $200.

More information about CEA’s ongoing digital television public education efforts can be found online at www.digitaltips.org.

Tip: How to Clean Your Computer Keyboard

Computer keyboards are one of the dirtiest, germiest surfaces in the house. (So is the mouse.) Take a few minutes to clean your keyboard using supplies you probably already have around – just unplug it first. Next, turn it over a trash can and lightly shake out any dirt or dust that has accumulated. Clean the keys with a soft cloth lightly moistened with rubbing alcohol. ( You can do this to the mouse as well.) Finally, run a fabric softener sheet over the keys to cut back on dust-attracting static electricity. You’re done! A clean keyboard in under five minutes.