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Tuesday, October 15 2013

Delay in Moving RabbitEars

Due to some issues with the Live Bandscan feature, the move of RabbitEars to the new server has been delayed, While I am continuing to update the web listings only on the new server (doesn't matter too much with the FCC closed), I have now reopened comments here for the time being. I will move the blog again when the time comes to make the final transition.

Saturday, October 5 2013

RabbitEars is Moving!

Over the weekend, RabbitEars will be moving to a new server. As a result, I have locked commenting on the blog here (it's enabled on the new server) and ceased any updates on this server, so as to not introduce inconsistencies. At some point, probably some time today, I will change the rabbitears.info domain to point to the new server. The change will take 24-48 hours to ripple through the DNS system. (Hopefully I won't screw that part up too badly.) When it's done, everything should be as it was before, just on new hardware.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 3 2013

Passing of Terry Knab

I usually like to let dhett's excellent Arizona Station Update have the top slot here on the blog for several days before posting something else, but this month will have to be an exception.

I have sad news to report. Reader, contributor, and friend Terry Knab, of Springfield, Missouri, died yesterday afternoon (October 2) after suffering a pair of strokes on September 27.

Terry found me in March 2008, around the time that RabbitEars only had a text list of subchannels and not the extensive collection of data it has today. We chatted via AOL Instant Messenger, and his first message to me was a correction to the Springfield data I had, which was sparse at the time. The second day we chatted, the chat ran until 4AM and covered all manner of TV subjects. Our near-daily conversations after that rarely deviated from that subject. When I needed opinions on something, he always gave an honest and constructive opinion, and more than a few changes to site layout and presentation were made on the basis of his opinion. More than once, he was able to help me or put me in touch with friends of his who could help me with rather difficult issues I had with the site, like figuring out what font I had used to make the RabbitEars logo, and with testing of the Mobile RabbitEars code on hardware besides my own.

In more recent times, I got busy with work and other things in life. I still received messages from him at least once per week, and answered as often as I was at my computer to do so. Our most recent conversation of length was on September 17, when we discussed the sale of KCAU, WOI, and WHBF to Nexstar. I had been planning to chat with him last Friday (September 27) about the subchannel shuffle in Kansas City to get his thoughts and opinions, as well as any information he may have picked up that I missed (he did quite often), but he was not online. Later that evening, I saw the bad news on Facebook.

I feel very sad that I never got to meet him in person. In 2011, I nearly went to Springfield for a job interview and would have met him while I was there, but I was offered the position at Luken before that happened and thus never made it out there. I eventually hoped to get out to Springfield on a road trip with Elizabeth, and still hope to do so, though it won't be the same now.

Terry Knab. September 6, 1973 - October 2, 2013. He was 40. It was much too soon.

You will be missed.

Wednesday, October 2 2013

Arizona TV Station Update - September 2013

As always, questions, additions, comments and corrections welcome.

New licenses

  • KGHD-LP 6 Las Vegas NV (Obidia Porras) applied for and has been granted a license to cover its construction permit to move to the Arden electronics site on Black Mountain. Technical specifications: Ch 6; TL 35-56-46 N, 115-2-34 W (Black Mtn. Arden site); ERP 0.999 kW directional; HAAT 570 m.

Continue reading...

Scouting for Alternate Hosting

To answer your first question: Yes, I am on furlough, along with almost the entire rest of the FCC.

UPDATE: I have secured new hosting. If the government shutdown keeps up, the move may happen very soon. Keep an eye here for more information.

Now, on to the subject of this post. I am investigating the possibility of moving to new hosting. The problem with that is, of course, that I have been receiving hosting courtesy of my former employer, Luken Communications, on dedicated hardware with no bandwidth limit and 1TB RAID-1 drives. As you might expect, this arrangement would be very expensive were it not being provided to me at no cost.

One option I am considering is upgrading my personal Internet connection (FiOS) to business class and hosting it here. I would build myself a powerful computer and move the site to it. I understand the down sides, such as potential power or service outages due to weather or tripping over cords. But it would be quite a bit cheaper and easier to maintain than something hosted remotely.

What other options might there be and might you recommend? I know there are some people who are far more knowledgeable than I am in the RabbitEars audience, so please let me know what you think.

Monday, September 16 2013

Upcoming Roadtrip and Vacation

Beginning Thursday, September 19 and lasting until Tuesday, September 24, I will be on a road trip with my girlfriend. As you might expect, this will lead to delays in returning e-mail and updating the website, but will also allow me to collect many updates for RabbitEars. I will be attempting data collections on the following stations, though I do not expect to actually receive all of them.

Continue reading...

Friday, September 6 2013

Change to Front of Website

I'm sure you've noticed that I replaced the blog on the front page with the front page I proposed several months ago. I did this in somewhat of a hurry because the blog (not the rest of the website) was infected, even though it was up to date, and made it impossible to reach the rest of the site unless you had a bookmark or a search result that took you there. I had more or less settled on leaving the blog on the front page, but having seen how the blog being inaccessible could harm usability of the site, I decided to go ahead and replace it.

Comments and suggestions are appreciated and encouraged. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, August 31 2013

Arizona TV Station Update - August 2013

As always, questions, additions, comments and corrections welcome.

New licenses

  • K42AC-D 8.x Cottonwood (Arizona Board of Regents for Arizona State University) has been granted a license to cover its flash cut to digital. Technical specifications: Ch 42; TL 34-41-12 N, 112-6-59 W (Mingus Mtn.); ERP 5 kW directional; HAAT 770 m.
  • K43IB-D 8.x Globe-Miami (Arizona Board of Regents for Arizona State University) has been granted a license to cover its flash cut to digital. Technical specifications: Ch 43; TL 33-20-31 N, 110-52-14 W (Madera Peak); ERP 1 kW directional; HAAT 685 m.
  • K36AE-D 10.x Clarkdale (NW Communications of Phoenix, Inc.) has been granted a license to cover its flash cut to digital. Technical specifications: Ch 36; TL 34-41-14 N, 112-6-59 W (Mingus Mtn.); ERP 15 kW directional; HAAT 764 m.

Continue reading...

Wednesday, August 28 2013

In Defense of OTA Broadcasting

Technology has radically changed how we consume video, and how we will consume it in the future. Though much of the current landscape still reflects the cable television paradigm that became mainstream in the 80s and 90s, we are fast approaching a critical point that will establish the new paradigm going forward, as on-demand streaming of TV shows becomes more and more popular. The Internet has blown the “thousand channels” once promised by cable out of the water with a seemingly limitless selection of video, all waiting for you whenever you want. Soon, your television and cable box could be replaced by a computer that can pull up shows from the Internet, rendering any older concept of the “television” obsolete.

Yet another aspect of technology may in some ways shake up the landscape even more, if only in how it shakes up our definition of a computer itself. This is the rise of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, devices that connect to the same Internet as more conventional computers even if they do so in ways that present themselves differently to the end user. There may not be any distinction between TV and Internet in the future, but these devices are counting on it, because they have no way to connect to cable TV other than by using the Internet as an intermediary. And if the Internet itself changes when we consume content, mobile devices change where we consume content. Ironically, this shift could make the question of “when” less relevant by making sure you’re never unable to catch your shows when they’re on (unless perhaps you’re behind the wheel of a car). Perhaps partly because of this, for the moment the consumption of content on mobile devices reflects the current cable television paradigm even more than the general landscape, with cable companies embracing the future they call “TV Everywhere” where any channel you can watch at home you can watch on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – if you “authenticate” with your cable provider.

The notion that in the future, there will be people that get all their video off the Internet in some way should give one pause, raising the question of what the implications are on a more basic level. What sort of infrastructure are we building for the consumption of video, and is it the right tool for all the jobs we might end up asking it to do?

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Tuesday, August 20 2013

The Future of OTA Broadcasting

There have been several posts on RabbitEars opposing efforts by the FCC to reclaim spectrum from broadcasters for the sake of wireless providers and touting the value of broadcast television, and many in and out of the industry have refuted the notion that broadcast television is an outmoded technology obsolete in the age of the Internet. While I sympathize with the cause and don’t disagree with the message (a change of heart for me), I think it’s worth considering why people might think the Internet makes broadcast television obsolete, and from that determine how broadcasters might be able to leverage their strengths to survive and thrive going forward.

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