NEWS AND VIEWS September 03, 2014
S-9141 State Road 23
Plain, Wisconsin 53577-9612
September 3, 2014
Well...over seven months have passed, enabling me to complete much of the process of grieving for my wife, and more recently, take some firm new steps towards putting my life back together. Decisions have all been down to that ugly subject of money. After burning tens of thousands of dollars in an over 2-year quest to move to Minnesota, only to spend and borrow even more money during the next 3-1/2 years to move back and become a full-time care giver to my wife Laurel, while she fought a valiant battle with cancer, the days of reckoning are much closer. Do I file for bankruptcy, or do I sacrifice my personal life and find a job and situation that pays well enough to allow me to pay it all back?
Bankruptcy would have been an easier way out, but it goes against everything that I was taught. There just may be a way out of this mess, new chapters in my personal life, and perhaps a revitalization of my career that encompasses not only a rebirth of my satellite background, but at the same time fully embracing the oncoming revolution posed by the Internet more or less becoming our primary method of transmitting and receiving all communications. That's a hard concept for someone that has put 40 years into the satellite industry to grasp and especially, accept. If I had made my nest egg, I could retire and forget it all. But the battle to keep the satellite industry alive, at least until something even more exciting came along to complement and eventually eclipse it, has devoured the last 15+ years since Orbitron closed their doors in April, 1999.
There were lots of signs during the last couple of years that saw this coming, if one were ready to accept the reality that things were changing permanently. Maybe Jeff Mathie of Patriot did us a favor by flaking out and not getting the mesh antenna manufacturing facility operational after spending tens of thousands of dollars on the machinery to make a go of things. We might be stuck with a bunch more mesh antennas than we can now easily sell. Jeff Schumann and I are still very bitter about the waste of time chasing our tails on that and other dreams, especially given the dire financial straits that I was heading for. We still both have dreams of becoming financially successful in the media delivery industry, but it now appears that it is going to have to happen while traveling in several gears. The elusive questions are how to make a buck somewhere in the delivery system. Hybrid receivers that combine two or three of the present mostly wireless delivery systems (satellite, internet and local over-the-air digital) are a natural place to start. But which one? Without doing something redundant in light of the onslaught of Smart TVs, Smart phones, and all sorts of other gadgets? Hardware will always be in the corner of my tool chest, but those 40 years in many diverse facets of the telecommunications industry have given me vast experiences (and war stories) that will carry me into the Internet delivery chapters of my career. Hard to believe I will be 60 in just over a year!
One reality is that the biggest constant in all of this is that people still want to be entertained and informed. They're just a lot more demanding in what will satisfy them, as life goes on. Nothing really simple satisfies a lot of them. As I have found every few weeks in all my years in the satellite industry, we have to slightly adapt, and re-create what we are doing just a little bit (sometimes a lot) to keep pace with the times. As I am now telling any satellite people willing to listen, you must embrace the Internet at some time in the very near future, or you may have next to nothing. Many longtime satellite services are not only switching to dual delivery via the Internet, but also dumping traditional satellite transmissions rather quickly. Actually, you will soon be swamped with commercials for "the cloud" or "kloud", touting radically new high speed Internet delivery services from AT&T, Verizon, and others, that will revolutionize how everything is delivered. I guess it will technically be satellite because it is wireless and coming from beyond the local horizon, but past that are a huge number of differences (and mostly) improvements in how it is done. Coupled with the magic of VPNs (virtual private networks), the whole world will be our oyster.
If you remember how much fun it was in the late 1990s to get Bell ExpressVu and Star Choice, play games to acquire a Canadian address, and the result being the ability to get more media from Canada and other countries, but in an ironic twist of the early 2000s, reliable HD from a few select U.S. markets long before the digital transition of 2009, our new journey is not much different in concept. Just in the names of what we will be using to "beat the system". The digital age has made the carpet of copyright rules very tangled, but a truth the world over is that the grass is always greener somewhere else, and as world citizens, many of us expect to get our dose of news and entertainment from the entire world. VPNs will be a tool for those to have the forbidden fruits that somebody is trying to protect us from. And we're not necessarily talking about porn.
Through the magic of Internet and other flat rate or free telephone services, I will continue to attempt to reach my radio audience on Wednesday nights. Maybe not every week because of travel or work schedule, but I am not giving up 20 plus years as someone that attempts to educate the masses on media changes. I think that it is just getting more interesting; just have to figure out all of the players and get us all back on track in the game.
In the meantime, if you
need to get ahold of me, try a quick telephone call to
608-546-2523. If I am not there, leave a message and a phone
number. In the circumstance that it is a complex inquiry, please
send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I will either get back to you within a day by telephone on my schedule, or
with a return Email if my answer is complicated, or the time of day is
inconvenient. We will still be able to do business, but I'm not
going to sit by the phone waiting for your call. Just communicate
and let me take care of my priority at that moment, which is most likely
my day job. Thank you for putting up with me, and here's to a
continued educational, entertaining and profitable future.
(probably with a sun tan)