Review: TP-Link AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit

By Richard V. Burckhardt

TP-Link AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit

TP-Link AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit

I work from home, currently using wi-fi for my home office Internet connection as the router is in another room (no cable outlet in my office). Despite wireless-N, I’m topping off at 72 Mbps over wi-fi on my work PC, so the potential of 500 Mbps powerline speed on the TP-Link AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit appealed to me.

The kit comes with two small powerline adapters, ethernet cables, a quick install guide and a resource CD which includes documentation and a powerline software client.

The idea is that you connect one adapter to your router, then other adapters are connected to wall outlets (directly, not into an extension) around your home or office. You then plug the adapter into your computer with the included ethernet cable and within 60 seconds, you are surfing the Internet. Or, you can set up a secure powerline network by pairing the adapters using the “Pair” buttons on the bottom of each.

Sounds simple. Unfortunately, for me, it wasn’t exactly “Plug & Play” as it says on the box. Continue reading

Review: Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

By Richard V. Burckhardt

Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

Over the past few months, I’ve tested a number of indoor TV antennas, looking for one that would work well enough in my condo to make complete cord cutting reasonable for me. All I really want are the local channels (at least the ones in a language I speak) to supplement the streaming options that I get through my Roku and Boxee Box. I’m one of those people who resents paying for a cable TV “bundle” when I only watch a handful of channels.

I previously reviewed the FlatWave indoor TV antenna and found it OK as a backup option in case the cable goes out, but not adequate for everyday use, at least not in my location. I gave it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Good, but no cigar.

Now Winegard has introduced the FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna. Again, it’s a thin plastic antenna that can be hung on a wall or window or placed flat on a table. At 13″ x 12″ inches it’s not huge and comes with a cable that is 18.5 feet long so that you have flexibility of placement. The amplifier is powered either by a free USB port on your TV, which is energy efficient as it powers off when the TV does, or with a 110V adapter.

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Hey, I’m Published! Practical SEO and Social Media Tips

By Richard V. Burckhardt

I recently had the privilege of contributing a couple of chapters on SEO and Social Media for Neil J. Mahoney’s new book, Practical Everyday Analytics & The Science of Sales and Marketing. I wanted to thank Neil for the opportunity and really hope that the information I provided is helpful to his readers.

Check it out!

This is a post from The Web Optimist – SEO in The Desert.

Cable-Free iPad TV

By Richard V. Burckhardt

Watching CBNS-TV on an iPad

Watching CBNS-TV on an iPad

I’m a cable TV company’s nightmare. I don’t watch sports, have no interest in shopping on TV, only speak English, have never watched any of the many government channels, freakin’ HATE reality shows and have no interest in televised religion.

There goes the bulk of the TV package cable TV companies have been shoving down my throat all of these years.  A review of the “expanded basic” channels offered locally revealed that I mostly watch the network affiliates and independent stations (primarily for local and network news and a handful of shows like “Modern Family” and “Big Bang Theory”), getting most of my television entertainment from online streaming.

I’m seriously on the way to cutting the cord completely. The only reason I haven’t is that I live in a condo and have yet to find an indoor antenna that will reliably pick up the local channels that I want. I have tried several antennas, but no luck. So, rather than a cord cutter, I am currently a cord trimmer. I kept the very basic cable TV package (around $14 per month) just to have reliable signals for the local stuff. I have no plans to go back unless the cable companies see the light and start offering the ability to create my own package (as in a la carte).

This got me to thinking about going completely online AND mobile. Could I create something resembling a cable TV package that was completely online and that could travel with me (unlike those cable company apps that tie you to your home router)? I decided to give it a go as I have no cable outlet in my office (everything is wireless) and wanted to be able to have some TV while I work. Continue reading

Review: Winegard FlatWAVE Indoor TV Antenna

By Richard V. Burckhardt


I’ve been seriously considering cutting the cord on cable TV and going with over-the-air and streaming sources like Netflix and Hulu through Roku, Boxee etc. I tend to watch very few shows on cable, which seems to be in love with reality shows these days (which I HATE). Mostly I have been viewing a handful of network shows and LOTS of streaming movies and TV shows. I have cut down to the extended basic package already and dumped everything in the premium tier.

More than anything, I am sick of paying for a ton of channels I never watch, but that are shoved down my throat in a “package” by the cable company. I have complained about this for years, yet here we are. I’ve had enough.

My problem is that I live in a condo where an outdoor digital TV antenna just isn’t possible, so I have been hunting for something indoor, fully realizing that no indoor antenna will work as well. But, it’s all I have to work with.

I have tried several. Indoor antennas are a lesson in frustration. Combined with digital signals, which give you little wiggle room (they are strong enough to work or not), you generally have to position, reposition, stand on your head, etc. to get the channels you want. Adjust the antenna to get one channel, you lose another.
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Review: Republic Wireless Beta Hybrid Calling

By Richard V. Burckhardt

LG Optimus

The LG Optimus (photo from actual shipping box) is the phone available for the Republic Wireless beta program.

I’m an original iPhone user, grabbing one of the 2G iPhones when they first came out. And, I love my iPhone (currently on a 3GS) but what I don’t love is being forced into a data plan that costs more than my home broadband, especially when my data use is primarily over Wi-Fi. I have frequently wished I could get a good smartphone that didn’t require a data plan, but relied on Wi-Fi alone.

That’s where the idea of Republic Wireless comes in. Their plan, currently in beta, is basically opposite of what most mobile phone plans offer. Wi-Fi is the primary carrier with cellular the add-on. They expect their users (their “community”) to offload the majority of their phone use to Wi-Fi. When Wi-Fi isn’t available, cellular talk and data kick in. They call it “Hybrid Calling.”

For someone like me, who works from home and is covered by Wi-Fi something like 70% of the time, this is brilliant! I’m currently paying for two iPhones with rarely used data plans that cost more than my cable Internet (plus being slow and limited). With Republic Wireless, I pay $19 per month (plus tax) for each phone, covering talk and data. It’s so low because the majority of use is over Wi-Fi. If you go over your target offloading to Wi-Fi (expected to be 60% or more) you get notified of your overage and, if you continue, I’m guessing you are asked to leave the “community” nicely (this IS a beta, but I think that’s the idea). Continue reading

Five Ways to Create an SEO Friendly Blog

By Brendan Egan

Well, blogging has become the new pink in the internet world. Almost everyone has their own blogs and websites however some are more well known than others. Maybe the popular blogs have more flare, maybe they are more creative or maybe they are just easier to find. And that is exactly what you need to earn more viewers for your page, to create an SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimization) friendly blog. And here are five great tips to get you started.

1. SEO Plug-ins

The first step you need to do is to create a Uniform Resource Locater so others can find your blog easily. This is a very important thing because having plug-ins allows you to manage title, address, and other vital parts of a message. It is important that you make all information as clear as you can so they can fit with the keywords on your blog.
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