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Posts Tagged ‘digital’

The Price of Cheap: The Hidden Cost of E-Commerce

For years “energy independence” has been the catch-all solution promoted by politicians, talk radio hosts, newspaper columnists and others who point out that the U.S. is short on oil refining capacity. Nonetheless, petroleum production facilities are not only in the process of downsizing in response to a weak economy, but permanently so the Los Angeles Times reports in “Oil companies look at permanent refinery cutbacks” [March 11, 2010].

The oil industry, which as recently as 2007 broke so many profit records that allegations of collusion and price-gouging surfaced, is singing a different tune: Limiting supply to increase sagging profit margins is the solution, analysts say, for losses induced by everything from fuel efficient cars to retiring baby boomers who no longer commute to and from work.

And to think: Just a few years ago SUVs, with their paltry ~13 mpg, were the rage from Coast to Coast. Could it be that Cash for Clunkers, unintentionally so, was a little too effective — or are oil industry insiders selling Americans up the river when they can least afford it? Whatever the case may be, nothing says Green like fuel-efficient automobiles and the beginnings of an alternative energy infrastructure. Even so, the picture the LAT paints is far from complete. The Perfect Storm of tightening supply, increasing commodity prices, rising taxes and further job losses looms on the horizon.

Hang on to your hat! The price of life is going up.

(more…)

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If you own a DVD or VHS recorder purchased before March 2007 it may contain an analog “NTSC” tuner. Why does that matter? Because when the FCC’s long-anticipated analog-to-digital deadline arrives June 12, 2009, your DVD recorder or VCR may not work the way you are accustomed to: set the program, load a blank DVD or VHS tape and let the recorder’s built-in timer tune to the station on which the program airs. That’s not the only change consumers should anticipate, either. As of February 17, 2009, cable subscribers who do not have high definition television sets or compatible recording devices will either end up with a temporary analog feed, effective through February 17, 2012, or an all-digital feed necessitating digital-to-analog conversion boxes designed for cable subscribers who use analog components.

If all this sounds confusing, it gets worse.

After the switchover, those who intend to use a DVD, DVR or VCR recording device containing an analog tuner in conjunction with a newer HDTV or HD-enabled satellite or cable box may be in for more heachaches than anticipated. Depending on a component’s date of manufacture and whether or not a digital-to-analog converter is used, the option to record onto an analog-style device may no longer exist. (more…)

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