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.

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

Five Non-Local SEO Tips

By Richard V. Burckhardt

Or, What To Do After Google Gives Your Web-Only Site The Finger

Trying to see above all of the local search results?

Trying to see your way past all of the local search results? Here are some SEO tips.

It seems that everything has gone local with with search engine results lately. With Google, if you don’t rank in the top three for many queries, you are buried below seven local businesses and below the fold. Of course, you are also buried beneath the Adwords ads and the Related Searches, too.

This is a boon to local businesses as they now have the opportunity to appear on page one of the Google serps through their Google Places profiles. Of course, this is a big, fat middle finger pointed at non-local web-only sites without the local offices and locations that many of the big chains can leverage. Continue reading

Review: Native Union Moshi Moshi Solo Handset

By Richard V. Burckhardt

The Native Union Moshi Moshi 05 Solo Handset is aimed at cell phone users who want the feel of a regular, old fashioned telephone handset. It features a sleek design that fits comfortably against your face and even cradles up against your neck and chin easily like we used to do in the old days.

The Moshi Moshi Solo 05 Handset

The Moshi Moshi Solo 05 Handset

I got the black handset, which came with the expected coiled black cord and and adapter for use with a PC or laptop. I tried it out on my iPhone 3GS, plugging into the top headset plug using the native 3.5mm jack and the sound was nice and clear. There is an “Answer” button in the center of the handset that allows you to answer and hang up. On some mobile phones, this apparently will allow you to redial the last number you called with this button, too, but on my iPhone, it just started playing tracks on the phone.

The handset features noise reduction, is supposed to eliminate over 99% of phone radiation and work with most mobile devices (phones, tablets, laptops, etc.).

The Moshi Moshi 05 Solo handset weighs about the same as my iPhone, which leads me to wonder why anyone would want to use this with most mobile phones (unless you are worried about radiation from your phone). It’s actually heavier than many and, unless you have your phone anchored securely to a charging base or maybe in your pocket, you run the risk of dragging the attached phone around as you swing in your chair or get up. Continue reading