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MORE COLORS THAN ANY OTHER TV!
Sharp once again reinforces its leadership in LED LCD TVs with its ground-breaking quad pixel technology which adds a yellow sub-pixel for the very first time. Conventional LCD TVs use three colors - red, green and blue in their pixel structure. This RGBY color combination introduces colors never before seen on LCD TVs, like sparkling golds, Caribbean blues and sunflower yellows. Sharp is redefining the way we see LED LCD TV. You have to see it to see it. Visit www.sharpusa.com/aquos
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high-definition LifeStYLe and eLectronicS
FALL 2010, VOLUME 4, IssUE 2
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an we provide you with some distraction from this morose environ the media are subjecting us to with inculcating frequency? Life is great! Our homes are beautiful and our families are a never-ending source of joy. Let us add to your enjoyment. In this issue, our writers will take you to London, feed you Italian cheeses, and make you salivate while thinking of cooking school. Would you like to sail through the skies in a glider? I think I’ll read the social networking article twice just to make sure I get it right. I’m somewhat behind when it comes to social networking. Not sure if I should Linkedin to my Facebook or Tweet. Is anybody listening anyway? We’re at it again with a home technology planning guide – a series of short reference articles to educate you to the point of being able to ask questions without trepidation. We think planning for the best home music and video is easy, especially if you know what you want upfront. Speakers you can’t see, playing your iPod in any and all rooms of the house, and having a library of video to be watched anywhere is cool, not to mention using your iPod to control it all. Take a minute to bring yourself up-to-date on the latest technologies that can make life enjoyable and simpler – yes, simpler. Let’s escape this negative banter and get to what life is supposed to be about. Is there anything wrong with beliefs like work hard/play hard, family first, stop and smell every flower, plan for success, and help those who need it? Look up. The sky is blue. Richard Glikes Executive Director Home Technology Specialists of America firstname.lastname@example.org www.htsa.com
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Lutron —save energy in the perfect light
Lutron light and shade control systems can save 50% of lighting energy used in your home. Use dimmers, sensors, shades and timeclocks to save energy while adding convenience and style.
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Precision Control Shades
Save up to 10% on HVAC by moving shades to reduce glare and solar heat gain.
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©2010 Lutron Electronics Co., Inc. | P/N 368-2048 REV A
fALL 2010 ISSue, VoLume 4, ISSue 2
From the ‘Land of Cattle’
Delectable cheeses from Italy are an entertaining treat.
A Jolly Good Vacation!
London travel mixes fun with fascinating history.
The Everything Gadget!
Apple’s revolutionary iPad is key to home control.
The Taste of Tempranillo
Bold and delicious, yet affordable, wine from Spain.
Cut. Store. Smoke.
The basics of preparing and enjoying fine cigars.
Just So Clutch
Clutch handbags combine fashion with functionality.
Home TeCHnoLogy guIDe
Here to Help
your local custom home technology specialist has the vision and experience to bring your home
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Link and take command of your home’s equipment and systems.
expert advice on setting up a home network that really works.
Whole House Music
The different types of multi-zone audio systems explained.
DRAMATIC ILLUSION OF FLOATING CAN BE CREATED FOR ALL 9 CHAMELEON STYLES BERLIN STYLE SHOWN
For nearly 20 years, Salamander Designs has been “Defining Original” in high quality, and highly customizable audio/video furniture. In fact, we offer such a high level of customization that every consumer can create something uniquely their own.
One of our newest innovations is a wall hanging system for our Chameleon Collection that creates the illusion that the furniture is “floating.”
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VISIT US AT WWW.SALAMANDERDESIGNS.COM & USE OUR “CONFIGURATOR” TO CREATE YOUR OWN DESIGN.
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online networks provide friendship, business opportunities.
Conquering Energy Abuse, One Circuit at a Time
Innovative Powerhouse and BlueBoLt energy management
Home tecHnoLogy gUIde
Get Your Wings!
Bring home the best in home video with
change your life and outlook with hang-gliding adventures.
Now We’re Cooking!
User-friendly cooking school turns anyone into a chef.
two-channel sound systems deliver the musical goods.
COVER PHOTO courtesy of Wilshire Home Entertainment. Pasadena showcase House for the arts, Family media Room 2010. Interior design by designs of the Interior, westlake Village, ca. entertainment system design and Installation by wilshire media systems, thousand oaks, ca. Photography by chris woolman.
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F E AT U R E
A Jolly Good Vacation!
London is a superb destination for your next getaway.
by howard whitman
f your impressions of London have been formed by what you’ve seen in the movies, you may envision the United Kingdom capital city as a dark, cold, dreary, rainy place – not exactly an ideal vacation destination.
old-world royalty is open for tours only during the summer months, but it’s a definite must-see when you’re in town. • Westminster Abbey – This is where you’ll see Big Ben and the seat of the United Kingdom government, the Houses of Parliament. Westminster Abbey has also been the setting of all royal coronations since 1066, the most recent being Queen Elizabeth II’s in 1953. Tours of the building are conducted only between July and August, when Parliament is on break. • Picadilly Circus – This famous circular road junction in London’s West End is the gateway to the Piccadilly shopping district. Built in 1819, it merges history with the modern day. The circus has a famed
Think again. While it’s not a tropical paradise, London is actually a wonderful getaway location, filled with amazing history, sights, accommodations and fun things to do. Loud, exciting and truly multicultural, London is not just the largest city in England; it’s also the biggest one in Western Europe. Situated on the River Thames in southeast England, Greater London (consisting of 32 boroughs and the City of London) is home to close to 8 million people, with 14 million living in the city’s total metropolitan area.
Landmarks of London
Here are some locations you don’t want to miss on your trip to jolly old London: • Buckingham Palace – The official London home of the Queen, this slice of
statue of the archer Eros and a famed fountain, along with a video display and neon signs. One of the busiest and most photographed tourist attractions in the city, it’s also the site of the Piccadilly Circus tube (subway) station. Another roadway destination is … • Marble Arch – This white monument, designed by famed architect John Nash in 1828, is made of carrara marble. It’s situated in the middle of a large traffic island at one the busy intersection of Oxford Street and Park Lane in London’s Mayfair section. • Tower of London – Over 900 years old, London’s original royal fortress is the
home of the Crown Jewels, and, according to legend, is one of the world’s most haunted places! Take in a guided ghost walk when you’re there. Another don’tmiss spot just next door is ... • Tower Bridge – This famous 19th century bridge has iconic high towers and a drawbridge you’ve probably seen a million times in movies. You can tour the engine rooms and an exhibition of this classic bridge. • St. Paul’s Cathedral – Built in the 17th century following the 1666 Great Fire of London from a design by Sir Christopher Wren, this magnificent dome is well-known for its amazing acoustics, which are so precise that the space has what’s known as the “Whispering Gallery.” • Trafalgar Square – Home of the Nelson’s Column monument, as well
Loud, exciting and truly multicultural, London is not just the largest city in England; it’s also the biggest one in Western Europe.
as four lion statues that “stand guard,” Trafalgar Square is set in the heart of London – approximately at the city’s center. Paintings and statues are frequently on the display within the square, which is also the site of public meetings and protest demonstrations. It was named for the Battle of Trafalgar, a famous 1805 British naval victory that occurred during the Napoleonic Wars. • The London Eye – This observation wheel – the third-largest in the world – is
The company that knows the most about creating 3D movies, also makes the best HDTV with 3D to experience them.
Sony has more experience creating 3D entertainment than anyone. From shooting major 3D sports events to making 3D movies and Stereoscopic 3D games for PlayStation® 3, we’re involved in every step of the 3D process. And we’ve used that expertise to build the highest quality LED backlit Sony ® BRAVIA® HDTVs with 3D. To learn more about the world of Sony 3D, visit the Sony Style store or sony.com/innovations.
3D viewing on a 3D capable HDTV requires 3D content, a 3D capable player (where the 3D content is on disc), a high speed HDMI™ cable (supporting at least 10.2 Gbps), a Sony 3D sync transmitter and active shutter 3D glasses (all sold separately).
Look for Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs on Blu-ray 3D™!
Screen image simulated.
© 2010 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony, BRAVIA, make.believe, and the Sony and BRAVIA logos are trademarks of Sony. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs © 2009 Sony Pictures Animation Inc. All Rights Reserved. Blu-ray Disc is a trademark. HDMI is a trademark of HDMI Licensing LLC. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.
set on the South Bank of the Thames, and offers spectacular aerial views of London. snipurl.com/londonlandmarks
London is home to many outstanding museums. Better yet, most of the city’s museum’s have no entry fee – you can get in for free, and make repeat visits to the ones you especially enjoy and wish to return to with no problem. These free museums include the: • British Museum – This spectacular museum of human history and culture has an incredible collection of over 13 million objects from all continents, telling the story of humankind from its beginning to present day. Established in 1753, the building is enormous and filled with fascinating things to see, including the most comprehensive collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt, the Rosetta Stone, Greek and Roman antiq-
uities, historic artifacts from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East; and numerous prints, drawings, coins and medals. www.britishmuseum.org • National Gallery – Founded in 1824, the Trafalgar Square-based National Gallery houses over 2,300 beautiful, historic paintings dating back to the mid13th century through to 1900. Collection highlights include pieces by da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Renoir and Van Gogh. www.nationalgallery.org.uk • Natural History Museum – Experience the world’s natural history at this exquisite haven, where you can enjoy exhibitions on plants, geology and animals from around the globe – including a permanent dinosaur attraction! www.nhm.ac.uk • National Portrait Gallery – This gallery, which houses portraits of historical figures (with an emphasis on famous Brits) was the first portrait gallery in the world when it opened in 1856. Among
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its famous pieces is the best-known portrait of William Shakespeare. Interesting note: Up until 1969, the gallery did not allow portraits of living people on its walls. www.npg.org.uk • Tate Modern/Tate Britain – These museums are the two London locations of the four-museum Tate network. While the Tate Britain is devoted to the United Kingdom’s national collection of British Art, the Tate Modern, as you’d expect, serves as London’s museum of International Modern and Contemporary Art. The original Tate gallery, now known as Tate Britain, was founded in 1897 as the National Gallery of British Art. Don’t miss the spectacular paintings on display at both locations. www.tate.org.uk
Parks Fit for Royalty
Serving a similar function as Central Park does to New York, London’s Royal parks are called the city’s “green lungs,” provided welcome fresh air and foliage in this urban setting. These Royal parks were previously royal estates and hunting grounds, and while many are still owned by the Crown, they are open to the public and worth a visit when you’re in town. Parks to check out include: • St. James’s Park – Located between Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade, St. James’s Park is a lush, romantic setting with gorgeous gardens and breathtaking scenery. Great for photography and picnics, St. James’s is also an ideal setting for a leisurely London stroll. • Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens – Combined, these adjacent parks comprise a very large open space in central London. Great for a picnic with the family! • Hampstead Heath – For those who prefer something a little more “wild,” you may want to check out Hampstead Heath, a very green, untended park. The park offers spectacular views from its Parliament Hill area. • Regent’s Park – An ample open space situated in the northern part of central London, Regent’s Park has a fantastic landscape designed by Marble Arch architect John Nash, as well as the largest outdoor sports area in the city. • Richmond Park – If you like getting in touch with nature, visit Richmond Park, home to numerous deer, and also a great location for bicycling. www.royalparks.org.uk Theatre. www.timeout.com/london/theatre We call it soccer here, but football is more than a national pastime in England – it’s a passion. Take in a football match in one of London’s more than 20 professional football clubs (teams) to see how fans in the homeland of the “World’s Game” root on their favorite ones. The most popular clubs include Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham United, Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur. These clubs are so beloved that you may encounter sellouts. You may want to get your football fix at a smaller club such as Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Queen’s Park Rangers and Millwall, where you can usually buy a ticket at the door. snipurl.com/10p8jl
London provides ample proof that you can find top-quality live theater someplace besides New York’s Broadway district. In fact, London has long been regarded as a destination for theater lovers, as it attracts some of the finest talent and productions from all over the world. The West End is London’s famous theater district, and it hosts fantastic shows, including musicals, nightly. Like in New York, the West End has a TKTS booth where you can buy half-price show tickets on the day of performance. Current West End attractions include a new production of the comedy “Educating Rita” and a spooky show called “Ghost Stories,” as well as new Shakespeare productions, always a West End staple. Another theater destination in London is The South Bank, which is known for its serious theater productions and is home to The National Theatre and The Globe
As you’ll see from the above entries, London is an amazing city filled with great places to visit, tons of fun and fascinating things to do, and historical landmarks nearly everywhere you turn. It’s also a city filled with world-class fourand five-star-rated hotels to ensure you have a comfortable and luxurious stay. For information and booking details on London hotels, go to www.londonhotels. com. Here’s hoping your London trip is a jolly good one! HDL
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Wilshire Home Entertainment and HTSA (Home Technology Specialists of America) understand you may have questions when adding a home theater and related technology solutions to your home. As you may need knowledge to make educated decisions, we’re pleased to bring you this guide. Come in to discuss your ideas. We look forward to meeting you!
Wilshire Hom e Entertainm ent 1412 N. Moo rpark Road Thousand Oak s, CA 91360 (805) 497-75 36 Valencia: (661 ) 291-1900 Los Angeles: (310) 345-34 66 www.wilshi rehe.com
Here to Help
Stop by Wilshire Home Entertainment and pick up the complete Home Technology Planning Guide including additional articles on Whole-House Music, Wiring Your Home, Video and more.
home technology guide
aking control of your lifestyle and the various systems in your home is much easier and more affordable than ever. Lifestyle control refers to technologies that can link and control all the equipment and systems in your home. It is no longer just the playground of the wealthy, and with the right HTSA expert designing and implementing your control backbone, you can finally make using all the systems, functions and features of your home simple and reliable for every member of the family.
• • • • •
n Imagine having one controller that can:
automatically turn off all the TVs in the house when the kids are doing their homework alert you that the garage door is open and then let you close it from your iPhone manage your lights, window coverings and thermostats to reduce your energy bills monitor and arm your door locks, lights and security cameras from anywhere; and enable you to view your vacation home from your office, primary home or mobile device.
nology lifestyle and Wilshire Home Entertainment has been certified to create systems that integrate all your technologies, delivers on your expectations, and fits your budget. Planning this type of system integration will be the best investment you can make and will afford you opportunities and luxuries you could never achieve without one. The process of home automation works by making everything in the house that can be automatically controlled using technology do the jobs that we would normally do manually, with a significant reduction in the number of steps required to achieve the objectives. It is much easier to install an automation system in a house while it is still being built, since you have the ability to put things inside the walls to save space. If your house is already finished, you can still have home automation done in a less-intrusive way through the use of wireless
These are just a few examples of what today’s control systems’ can do and there are many more possibilities available at a multitude of price points. Engineering and designing a control system is the most critical and skill-intensive aspect of gaining access to your tech-
home technology guide
technology. Wired systems are generally more robust than wireless, but wireless technology has come a long way. Home automation can perform tasks as simple as turning on the sprinklers at a certain time every day, or lowering the blinds as the sun sets through the windows of your home. One of the first decisions you should make when considering home automation products is, what systems in your home would you like to control? These systems are best understood when they are broken down into subsystems.
This subsystem is usually the first one everyone wants to control, because each different component in an entertainment system comes with its own remote. Replacing all your remotes with one controller is the quickest way for everyone to begin to enjoy their home entertainment. Another big advantage is having the ability to move your music to any room in the home, or having the movie you are watching follow you to another TV in a different part of the house. Even simple tasks that would normally require multiple steps to accomplish can now be programmed together and executed at the touch of a single button!
Climate subsystems can be managed according to the time of day, or they can detect open doors or windows and shut down the HVAC system until they are closed. Some systems even offer you your own weather station to tell you wind speed, inside and outside temperature, humidity at your location and much more. Programmable thermostats address comfort and efficiency by maintaining a schedule consistent with your family’s presence in the home. In addition, control systems can help you reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your energy costs.
Replacing all your remotes with one controller is the quickest way for everyone to begin to enjoy their home entertainment.
Security and alarm systems normally address most of the safety issues in the home environment. Adding control of security lighting at night can prevent unwanted accidents, such as falling down the stairs, or add to the burglary deterrent by flashing exterior lights when motion is detected. You can also use security sensors to trigger sounds and lighting scenes in case the alarm system is armed or disarmed. Imagine having your driveway light up as you pull onto your property, then your
(Continued on pg. 24)
n Lighting and Shades
Controlling your lights will allow you to create environments that optimize activities. Control systems can light your hallway for ease of access at night, or turn on the landscape lighting as the sun sets. Shade systems can follow the sun as it rises or sets to optimize energy efficiency and maximize natural light. The key to controlling lighting is the programming of “scenes” that optimize light conditions to your personal taste, and the possibilities for lighting-based control are endless.
home technology guide
Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, Family Media Room 2010. Interior design by Designs of the Interior, Westlake Village, CA.
Wilshire Media Systems
can do for
Dramatic effects, sophisticated style and subtle details can transform a house into a home of distinction. From imaginative designs that use light, sound, and video to delight the senses; to the luxuries of convenience – Wilshire Media Systems and Crestron bring total home automation solutions to today’s electronic lifestyle. Wilshire Media Systems and Crestron Total Home Technology can bring entertainment, energy management, comfort and security together into a single solution that’s uniquely yours. For more information, call Brian Righetti at 805.497.1179 Ext. 277 or visit www.WilshireHE.com.
1412 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks, CA
(Continued from pg. 22)
interior lights turn on and your security system deactivates as you enter the home. There are even systems available that will allow you to lock your doors or arm your systems from your mobile devices in the event that you forgot to do so before leaving your home.
n Home Data Network
Increasingly, home automation systems are being designed to utilize the home data network to pass control information or stream digital media as mentioned above. This subsystem will play a larger role over time, allowing the integration of entertainment, computing and appliances into a single coordinated system. Remember, almost every activity you will enjoy in your home will live on a network, and you cannot expect an “off-the-shelf” router to reliably deliver on your needs and expectations.
use and they can range from the traditional hand-held remote control, to keypad devices, all the way to touchscreen interfaces with customized designs. The more advanced the device becomes, the simpler the operation of your various subsystems. With the advent of the iPhone and iPad, control is now more flexible and affordable than ever before! The least expensive type of control device is a hand-held remote and unlike the universal controllers you may already be familiar with, these programmable remotes allow you to do much more than just learn the commands of the devices in your home. Many can control lighting as well as entertainment functions, and additionally, have the capability of executing scenes or macros. Keypads are the second type of control system, and these can be made to be portable like the hand-held devices previously mentioned, but they can also be installed in a wall. They are available in many types and sizes, but the most common are three- and six-button systems. They are also available in a variety of colors to match your décor and can be engraved for instant recognition of the keys. The most comprehensive type of control device is a touch screen type of interface. Touch screens allow you to customize the look and feel for ease of recognition and use. While touch screens do require significantly more programming time, their ability to execute multiple strings of commands at the touch of button makes them the most versatile choice for home automation systems. Touch screens can be mounted on a wall, placed on a tabletop, or carried with you around the home. The last type of controller is your mobile device, and these are extremely attractive options because they give you control of your home from both inside and outside the premises. Applications stores have even been created giving you more control over more things than ever before. The implementation of control is only as good as the programmer, the wiring and the installation. For this reason, think long and hard about your budget and make this one of the earliest choices in the planning of your new home or remodeling project. HDL
The most important piece of the home control and automation puzzle is how you and your family will operate all of these technologies. Controllers are the devices you will
home technology guide
(Special thanks to Access Networks for providing extensive writing and resources for this article)
e live in technology-driven world these days and it is affecting how we do almost everything. Satellite technology, the personal computer, the Internet, mobile devices and more have all led to the digitization of our content and have established a need for immediate access to information. Wilshire Home Entertainment is convinced that it is more important than ever to have the right backbone installed in your home so everything talks the same language and works together effortlessly.
Most consumers, when creating a home network, will purchase simple routers and related solutions that are found in mainstream distribution outlets. These simple routers and switches are not designed to handle the workload they are asked to carry because they were primarily developed as inexpensive single-room solutions. What does this mean? It means that if you are building a new home or remodeling your old one, you would be wise to consider building a high-performance network. The following article will try to clear up any confusion you might have when it comes to establishing a personal network in your home.
n What is a Network?
A network is a platform consisting of two or more computers that are linked in order to share resources (such as printers and drives), exchange files or allow electronic communications. The computers on a network may be linked through cables, telephone lines, radio waves or satellites. Computers residing on this network can be servers, desktops, laptops, mobile devices and other types of workstations.
home technology guide
The two basic types of networks are:
• • Local Area Network (LAN) Wide Area Network (WAN)
n Local Area Network
A Local Area Network (LAN) is a network that is confined to a relatively small area. A Wide Area Network or WAN is used for a large geographic area such as the world. The LAN type of network is most often used in residential environments. In a typical LAN configuration, one computer is designated as the file server. It stores all of the software that controls the network, as well as the software that can be shared by the computers attached to the network. Computers connected to the file server are called workstations. On many LANs, cables are used to connect the network interface cards in each computer; other LANs may be wireless. All wireless technologies require a transmitter and receiver system in order to communicate. Remember that installing a good hardwire infrastructure in your home during construction will always improve the strength, reliability and overall performance of your network, but if that is not possible, wireless, if done right, can be a good option.
the space; however, in larger homes or when more than one WAP is required, there are significant issues to contend with: unreliable roaming, multiple network SSIDs, radio strength issues, conflicts with neighboring networks, or port failure, just to mention a few. With consumer networking products, many assume it is “set-it-and-forget-it,” but consumer products are not made to handle the constantly increasing workload that they are asked to carry.
n Residential Networks
Residential or LAN networks are generated through a subscription service; for example, Comcast, AT&T or Verizon FIOS all provide data networks. These services will bring the World Wide Web into your home on a cable or telephone wire. Using a modem, you can decode that signal for use in a computer, laptop or mobile device. There are other types of networks for bringing information into the home. Cell networks and the more affordable femtocell networks are becoming popular in larger homes, where too many access points would be required. These types of networks use cellular frequencies as communication paths. A router will take a single source of data that has been received by a modem and distribute that data to multiple streams or devices. Routers can also wirelessly transmit that signal over a pre-specified distance utilizing a transmitter. To answer the modern-day demands of a home network, we need a reliable and seamless network. One access point simply will not do. If the home is 2,000 square feet, one WAP (wireless access point) may cover
(continued on pg 30)
home technology guide
In order to properly configure a network, we must first incorporate enterprise-grade wireless access points (WAPs), not off-the-shelf solutions. They should be strategically placed around the property to ensure seamless coverage. This collection of WAPs should be centrally managed by a wireless controller, which automatically analyzes, manages and optimizes the wireless environment in its entirety. When properly programmed and
deployed, the wireless controller creates a robust, reliable and self-adjusting wireless environment. This controller-based wireless network is perfectly suited for the IP-enabled automation systems, computers, AV equipment and other devices that are all working simultaneously via the home’s wireless network. Additionally, they will offer the stable platform necessary to deliver exceptional system performance. HDL
Protocol IP TCP UDP HTTP FTP LAN WAN Subnet IP address Ethernet Modem Router Switch DHCP WiFi WLAN SSID WEP/WPA 802.11b 802.11g 802.11a 802.11n AP Wireless Router The language devices use to talk to each other. Internet Protocol, the language of the Internet and home networks. Transmission Control Protocol, like signing a receipt for data delivery – guaranteed delivery. User Datagram Protocol; example: streaming media. No acknowledgment on receipt of data. Hypertext Transfer Protocol, used to make displayable Web page requests and download Web pages over TCP/IP. File Transfer Protocol, used to transfer files between computers on the Internet or within a network over TCP/IP. Local Area Network (i.e. the home’s network). Wide Area Network (i.e. the Internet – groups of networks connected together over long distances). Portion of a network that has been segmented off through software or hardware. Identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network (Example: 192.168.0.12). Communications protocol allowing multiple devices to share a common transport mechanism. Modulator/Demodulator, device used to convert one form of a signal to another. Moves data packets between different subnets. Makes point-to-point connections between MAC (Media Access Control) addresses on a LAN; MAC address = hardware address of a device on a network. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. DHCP Server (usually in the router) used to automatically assign devices on the network IP addresses. Wireless Fidelity – 802.11x. Wireless Local Area Networking. Service Set Identifier, it is the name of the WLAN and must be entered on all devices. Wired Equivalent Privacy/WiFi Protected Access; Encrypts data transmissions on wireless network. 11 MB wireless protocol 2.4 GHz. 54 MB wireless protocol 2.4 GHz. 54 MB wireless protocol 5 GHz, many wireless products DO NOT work with 802.11a. Next-gen WiFi, more range, faster speed. Access Point, needed to distribute your signal (also called WAP – Wireless Access Point). Router with built-in Wireless Access Point.
home technology guide
How smart is your lighting?
Precision Control Shades • Can save up to 10% on HVAC costs. • In the summer, reduce cooling costs by closing the shades to block solar heat. • In the winter, reduce heating costs by opening the shades to let in the warming rays of the sun.
Dimmers • Light level is proportional to energy use. • Dim the lights and you’ll use less energy. • Dimming lights by 50% uses only 60% of the energy–saving 40%.
Occupancy Sensors • Sensors automatically turn lights off when a room is vacant. • Easy to retrofit with wireless communication. • Can provide up to 20% lighting energy savings.
Timeclocks • Can provide up to 20% lighting energy savings. • Automatically dim exterior lights at night. • Automatically turn exterior lights off at sunrise.
With a Lutron total light control system from Wilshire Media Systems, you can save up to 50% of lighting energy used in your home. Now that’s smart! Our energy saving systems use dimmers, sensors, shades and timeclocks to save energy while adding convenience and style. Now that’s brilliant! For help saving energy in your home or office, call Brian Righetti at 805.497.7536 or visit www.WilshireHE.com.
WHOLE HOUSE MUSIC
hole-house music systems, also known as multi-zone audio systems, were one of the earliest requests from consumers, in regards to “cool things they would like to have in their home.” The dream was to own a wholehouse audio system that effortlessly piped music
throughout your home, where all the components “talk” harmoniously to one another. Today that dream is possible and there are many different ways to distribute music throughout your home, including wired and wireless solutions with powered and non-powered options.
Whole-house music refers to moving music from one location to multiple locations around the house. These locations are usually referred to as zones. Multi-zone means multiple rooms, and multi-source means the ability to listen to different things in different rooms simultaneously.
Type #1 – Multi-Zone/ Systems Using a Receiver
The simplest possible approach to multi-room sound is adding a second pair of speakers to an existing home stereo system. You or someone you hire will run speaker wire in the walls and either connect them in a second room at a wall-plate or at the speakers themselves. Some problems with this approach include the following: (1) Can’t control the volume of the rooms independently; (2) Can’t control the volume from the second room; and (3) Can’t control the sources such as CD functions, etc.
Type #2 - Advanced Multi-Zone/ Multi-Source Control Systems
These types of systems allow you to listen to different sources (i.e. CD, iPod, AM/FM/HD Radio, etc.) at the same time in different rooms, and are available in many configurations from four to 32 or more zones.
home technology guide
Type #3 – Whole-House Networking
If you were smart enough – or lucky enough – to have your house wired, you probably have a wire in your walls called CAT-5e (Category Five-Enhanced) or CAT-6 (higher speed and voltage standard wire), both of which are capable of distributing audio signals, though they should not be used simultaneously for a computer network, as well as audio signal distribution.
Type #4 – Dedicated Computer Audio Network
As previously mentioned, you can use your computer to distribute audio over your CAT-5e or CAT-6 network in the form of AAC, MP-3 digital audio files or Internet radio. The first step is to move all your music and related content over to the digital world. This will make it accessible, eliminate the need to store it and organize it, and make your whole-house music system more accessible.
Type #5 – Wireless Music Distribution
As wireless technology has improved, so have the options for wireless distribution of music. The most common wireless technology is Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) and you should try to stay with the wireless N type if at all possible. Wireless G may exhibit glitches or imperfections in the transmission of the music, because it has limited speed and bandwidth. • Wireless Music Adapter – These devices send a Wi-Fi signal to another adapter connected to your multi-zone home theater receiver, enabling you to listen to music in a remote zone that uses your computer or NAS as a source on your A/V receiver.
Now that we know the various types of systems available, we can better decide what will fit our lifestyle, budget and construction parameters. The only other consideration needs to be: How do you want to control your whole-house music system? Do you want to use volume potentiometers or LPADs to access your systems? Do you want keypads or touch-screens? The key to planning your whole-house music system is recognizing that there should be locations where you plan for higher performance and areas where you can get away with background music. You should also focus on enlisting the aid of an independent expert such as Wilshire Home Entertainment. They can help you design a system that fits your budget and accomplishes your goals. Music everywhere will make one of life’s little pleasures more convenient and enjoyable! HDL
home technology guide
Immerse Yourself in 3D
At Wilshire Home Entertainment, it’s the dawn of a new era and we’re excited about the possibilities of 3D in your home. As always, we are committed to bringing you the best performing 3D products from industry leaders like Sony. You can expect the experts at Wilshire Home Entertainment to continue to be a leader in the 3D era with innovative, high quality, cutting edge products and technologies that will allow you to enjoy full HD 3D video and audio in your home. Of course, we offer professional installation to ensure the ultimate home entertainment experience. Our showroom is packed with the latest 3D televisions, Blu-ray players, receivers, and glasses to make 3D a reality in your home. Visit Wilshire Home Entertainment today and experience all that 3D has to offer, or visit our website at www.WilshireHE.com.
BDP-S570 3D Blu-Ray Player
TDG-BR100 3D Glasses
805.497.7536 | WilshireHE.com | 1412 N. Moorpark Road | Thousand Oaks, CA
F E AT U R E
Cut. Store. Smoke.
tips for preparing and preserving fine cigars.
igars – the good ones, anyway – have an inherent sense of luxury that evokes a life richly lived, and when it comes to accessories for enjoying a fine smoke, there are plenty out there that qualify for luxury status.
Whatever you plan to spend on the little things that round out your cigar experience—and the following includes items that certainly qualify for the category of for the man or woman “who has everything”—there are a few things to keep in mind when making your selection. The good news is that your local smoke shop is a great place to field test a potential purchase before making the buy. Most shops not only allow but encourage customers to try cigars right in the store, so when preparing to light up, try out an assortment of cutters, and lighters on hand to see which best suits your taste. Here’s some info on cutting and storing your favorite cigars.
For further information, go to: cigar.com cigarmony.com cigaraficionado.com cigaraccessories.com stogiereview.com cigartrends.com
If you’ve ever bought cigars, no doubt you have one of those cheap plastic cutters smoke shops sometimes even give away, maybe a whole drawer full. They get the job done in a technical sense, but leave a lot to be desired relative to a well made cigar cutter. Those plastic jobs are cheap or free for a reason. They typically loosen up after a few uses (if they aren’t already), so you end up with an uneven cut that might strip away some of the cigar’s wrapper, or worse, crush the end a little bit. Cutters come in three basic models:
guillotine, punch and v-cut. Scissor-style cutters are another option, but more suitable for use at home, since they’re less convenient to carry around. I’ve also found them harder to use than than the more “automatic” kinds. Some purists I know swear by them, though. Guillotine cutters work as you would expect, with a hole for the cigar, and a simple mechanism to chop the cigar end after insertion. Punch cutters are placed on the end of the cigar in order to punch a small hole directly into the end. V-cutters, when placed over the end of the cigar, use two opposing blades that cross through the other to extract a v-shaped plug from the tip of the cigar.
Keeping ‘Em Fresh
It doesn’t make sense to spend your money
on fine cigars without having a humidor that keeps them at the proper moisture content unless you’re planning on smoking them all within a couple of days. A humidor is more than just a box— maintaining a consistent level of humidity is a given, so a proper seal is critical. Your humidor should close with a thump, not a clunk. Think about the difference between closing the door on an economy car and a luxury sedan, and you’ll get the picture. Mark Neff, CEO of Cigarmony.com, has advice for buying humidors on his company’s Web site. When it comes to capacity in fine humidors, he suggests starting bigger, rather than having to upgrade down the road. Also, he suggests you don’t go by “cigar count,” as there are almost as many cigar sizes as there are brands. HDL
In a world of inﬁnite possibilities, ﬁnd your own.
F E AT U R E
From the ‘Land of Cattle’
The A to Z of delectable Italian cheeses.
by howard whitman
quick glance at the menu in your typical Italian restaurant will reveal the names of a few familiar cheeses – mozzarella, parmigiana, ricotta, etc. – that may seem, at first impression, to be the sum total of palatable Italian cheeses out there. But we all know we can’t go on first impressions alone. There is actually a rich tradition of Italian cheeses that produces a vast number of excellent but little-known cheesy treats sure to please even the most discerning palate. So let’s examine some of these relatively obscure – but delectable – cheeses (along with some cheeses you’re probably familiar with) from the romantic country of Italy (a name, by the way, that is derived from “Víteliú,” a Greek word that means “land of young cattle.”) Things to keep in mind: A cheese’s taste is strongly affected by the milk it’s derived from (cow’s, sheep’s, etc.). Texture, consistency and color are also important in
the world of gourmet appreciation of Italian cheeses. The place where a cheese is made is also also can be significant (example: farm cows that munch on grass and hay in one region produce a different-tasting milk than those from another area due to soil, environment and other factors), as can be the season the cheese is produced in (example: Summer cheese is usually more flavorful since the animals feed on fresh grass rather than dry hay). OK, let’s get into some cheese!
A firm cheese made from cow’s milk, Asiago can be aged for up to a year. While it’s a mild-tasting cheese, Asiago’s known for its pungent odor and light color. It’s great for shredding and can be served with pasta, risotto or soups. It’s also excellent sliced thin and served on top of a warm, crunchy baguette.
taste with a trace of mild honey. When you melt it, it takes on a more earthy character, giving a hint of mushrooms and acidity. A main ingredient of fonduta, Italy’s version of fondue, Fontina is often used in its home country as a dessert cheese. Taking about three months to ripen, Fontina is not recommended to the extremely health-conscious, as it has 45-percent fat content!
An Italian blue cheese, firm-yet-creamy Gorgonzola comes in a variety of forms - from mild Gorgonzola Dolce to sharp Gorgonzola - depending on how aged it is. Gorgonzola is great in dips and on your salad.
An old-school unpasteurized hard cheese, Grana Padano has a very thick, tough yet smooth rind, while its yellow, pale insides are typically crumbly and grainy. It’s actually a form of what we know as Parmesan. Grana Padano has a sweet, fruity taste, giving off a trace of pineapple. The cheese is known for holding up well in freezing, and ripens in 12 to 19 months time.
Hailing from the Lombardy region of northern Italy, Mascarpone seems like a soft, white, cream cheese – but it’s not. It’s actually a result of adding a culture (tartaric acid, a natural vegetable derivative from the seeds of tamarind trees) to the cream skimmed off milk used to make Parmesan. Mascarpone is called a curd cheese, but it’s created in a process similar to that used to make yogurt. When the tartaric acid is added, the cream is heated and thickens. The end result has a compact texture but can be used as a spread. It’s also a popular ingredient in many Italian desserts, and is used in some sauces and dishes. It ripens in a few days, but healthy eaters should pass on this one, with its 75-percent fat content.
A staple of American dining, Mozzarella is a delicious and versatile cheese, as good melted on a pizza as it is served cold with tomato, basil and olive oil. It’s traditionally made in the southern part of Italy from water buffalo milk, although it’s common these days to make it from cow’s milk. A popular form of this cheese is a soft block or shredded version that is more elastic than true fresh Italian-made Mozzarella. For those craving a more exotic spin on this classic, seek out fresh Mozzarella packaged in salty water in specialty shops.
This creamy, mild white cheese comes from cow’s milk is a more recent creation than some of the more traditional Italian cheeses described here. It comes from Northern Italy’s Lombardy region. Similar to French Port Salut cheese, Bel Paese can be used as a replacement for mozzarella in recipes calling for that old standard.
One of the most popular cheeses in the world, Parmesan is named for the northern Italian town of Parma, and making it is a long, arduous process. It’s created by heating and curdling milk in copper containers, and then separating and taking out most of the cream. Next, the curd is cut and
Fontina refers to one of Italy’s oldest cheeses. The color of straw, Fontina (which has many popular varieties such as Fontina Val d’Aosta) has small holes and a slightly nutty
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Specifications and design subject to modification without notice. PIONEER, ELITE and the Pioneer and Elite logos are registered trademarks of Pioneer Corporation. Blu-ray Disc is a registered trademark of Blu-ray Disc Association. THX and the THX logo are registered trademarks of THX Ltd. ©2010 Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.
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heated to 125 degrees as the curd is stirred. The curd is reheated at temperatures approaching 131 degrees and then pressed into molds lined with cheesecloth. After two days of drying, the cheese is removed and then salted in brine for one month’s time. It’s frequently aged for up to two years in humid settings.
A hard, unpasteurized cheese derived from skimmed cow’s milk, Parmigiano Reggiano is sold in a drum shape. It has a hard, sticky, yellow-to-orange-colored rind, and it’s big; usually weighing in around 75 pounds, a drum of Parmigiano Reggiano requires a saw to cut through it. It has a fruity, sweet scent and taste, giving off hints of pineapple. Mostly used for grating, this cheese is an excellent topping for soups, salads, pasta, chicken or veal. Going to Italy? You can buy this on the streets in big, grainy chunks chiseled out of the huge drums. Legend has it that due to its high cost, Parmigiano Reggiano has been stolen at gunpoint when its trucks were hijacked by thieves.
you may be able to find a good variety at specialty stores such as WholeFoods or Trader Joe’s. Of course, you can buy almost anything online these days, and Italian cheese is no exception to that rule. There are a number of Web sites where you can order authentic Italian cheeses, including: www.italianfoodimports.com www.idealcheese.com www.igourmet.com www.almagourmet.com www.gourmetfoodstore.com www.murrayscheese.com So, why not bring home some delectable Italian cheese, a good wine, and have a tasting party with friends? Buon Appetito! HDL
The happy accidenT: cheese ThroughouT hisTory
Historians believe that the first cheese was made about 12,000 years ago, when a nomadic shepherd in the Mediterranean Sea region poured the milk produced that day into a pouch made from a calf’s stomach and later saw the milk had solidified. The story goes that he tried it, realized it not only tasted good but also was a good way to preserve the milk longer, and cheese was born. Time has passed, but cheesemakers still pay homage to the “happy accident” that led to the creation of this food, as rennet from calf’s stomach is used to separate the whey from the curds in the making of cheese to this day. Today, Italy is one of the top cheese producers in the world, but it’s believed that cheesemaking in the country predates the era of the Roman Empire. Cheese was a staple food for both the Romans and ancient Greeks, and it was mainly derived from sheep’s milk. Cheese is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, and Marcus Apicius, who wrote the Roman Empire equivalent of a cookbook in the first century A.D., talked of cheese as well.
Pecorino is actually a blanket term that refers to all Italianmade cheeses that come from sheep’s milk. Beyond that, there are local variations: Pecorino is sheep’s milk cheese from Rome, Pecornio Sardo comes from Sardinia, and Pecorino Siciliano is from Sicily.
This familiar whey cheese can be made from either cow’s or sheep’s milk. It’s easily recognizable from its texture – wet but not sticky, firm but not solid, and made up of moist, delicate grains. Ricotta is probably best known as a key ingredient in lasagna and manicotti. There are three main types of Ricotta: Ricotta Salata (ewe’s milk whey), Ricotta Piemontese (cow’s milk whey plus 10-percent milk), and Ricotta Romana (a byproduct from the production of Romano cheese). Interesting fact: Ricotta’s name comes from the Italian word for “re-cooked.”
One of the oldest Italian cheeses still going, Romano is derived from a unique process known as “rummaging curd,” which refers to draining curd quickly after the cheese is molded, and then piercing its surfaces before salt is put on. This delectable classic ranks better on the health scale than some of its brethren, as it has a 27 percent fat content and is 32 percent water.
Bring It Home!
Sound good? Even if you can’t get to Italy to pick up some samples, it’s easier than it may seem to have fresh, authentic Italian cheese in your home. Many cities have Italian markets that carry a wide range of imported Italian cheeses, and
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1 In order to display 3D images, Mitsubishi 3D Ready DLP Home Cinema TVs require the use of a 3D source device coupled with the Mitsubishi 3D adapter or other source devices that support checkerboard display formats for display of 3D games, 3D broadcasts from terrestrial/cable/satellite and 3D Blu-Ray disc content. In all cases an emitter and matching 3D active shutter glasses or DLP Link active shutter glasses are required in order to view 3D content. Mitsubishi 3DTVs (738 and 838 series) currently support the side-by-side 3D signal format. For support of other 3D formats, such as top-bottom and frame packing (3D Blu Ray standard), Mitsubishi 3DTVs will require the use of a 3D source device that outputs the 3D checkerboard format or a 3D source device coupled with the Mitsubishi 3D adapter. In all cases an emitter and matching 3D active shutter glasses or DLP Link active shutter glasses are required in order to view 3D content. 2 Based on 8-microsecond pixel switching of DMD device compared to LCD response time of 4-8 milliseconds. DLP and DLP Cinema are registered trademarks of Texas Instruments, Inc. Blu-ray is a trademark of Sony Corporation.
© 2010 Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc.
F E AT U R E
by sheila Long o’mara
The Taste of Tempranillo
Spain’s ‘early grape’ produces affordable, bold red wine.
verything in Spain has a bit of a mystique about it – music, machismo, women, passion, dance. Add to that list Tempranillo, a bold red wine making waves from the Mediterranean country. In Spanish, Tempranillo means early, which is why the grape was given that name – it ripens earlier than most other red varietals. It is the primary varietal used in Spain’s popular Rioja wines, and more recently has found its way outside of the country for reasons other than blending with other grapes, such as Grenache and Carignan. The grape is a key blending varietal in Port and is known by the name of tinta roriz in Portugal Duoro Valley. Often thought of as Spain’s answer to Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo is
grown in two key regions in Spain – Rioja in North Central Spain and Ribera Del Duero, which is just south of Rioja. Many of the wines from Rioja are blended with other grapes, resulting in thinner and more acidic wines than single bottlings of Tempranillo. The Ribera Del Duero region produces single varietal bottlings, or at least 90- to 100-percent Tempranillo – typical of bottlings in the state.
A Fine Vine
Spain’s most famous red grape, Tempranillo is not a heavy-footed blockbuster associated with hot climates. Tempranillo vines prefer a cooler climate and have low resistance to many vine diseases and pests. The vines tolerate heat well, but the fruit develops indistinct flavors and undesirable characteristics in warm climes. The vines have a tendency to over-crop and clus-
ters are usually large. Tempranillo grapes tend to be low both in overall acidity and in sugar, and nearly always high in tannin from their thick skin. Mindful of high tannins, many producers advocate partial whole-berry fermentation.
Changing with Age
Tempranillo is usually a fairly refined red wine. When young, it bursts of cherries. After being aged – commonly for two years or more in oak – Tempranillo takes on an earthy, sweet vanilla flavor. Complex Tempranillo can be a big wine with great structure that goes well with red meat, rich cheese, and anything that a wonderful Cab would do well with. Tempranillo aromas and flavors often combine elements of berryish fruit, herbaceousness, an earthy-leathery character and good minerality. While its varietal character is distinctive, it is also somewhat vague and can be overpowered by oak.
of intensely ripe fruit mixed with minerals, licorice and leather. The wine’s concentration and structure dominates mid-palate. Firm yet round tannins underpin a long complex, fruity finish with hints of vanilla and chocolate. This is a big, elegant, graceful wine with great aging potential.” Prominent in world viticulture in Spain, small amounts of Tempranillo are also grown in Oregon and California, where it was probably first introduced in the late 1890s. Amador, Calaveras and El Dorado counties, Alexander Valley, Lodi, Sonoma and Paso Robles all are now producing and bottling Tempranillo. HDL
Wines to try
• 2006 Invacesa Tempranillo Rioja Rivarey Crianza An incredible value at $8, this pick features cherry, plum and chocolate flavors intermingled with smoke and earth notes. Drink now through 2012. • 2008 Venta Morales Tempranillo La Mancha This modern red shows good density with black cherry licorice and smoke flavors over with strong tannins. Drink through 2011. $6 • 2006 Raimat Tempranillo Costers del Segre Vina 43 This is a revved-up red with strong black cherry and currant flavors, followed by a creamy vanilla note. Drink now through 2014. $10
From the Source
To truly make your mouth water, here’s a description from a winemaker: “The nose is of very ripe blackberries mingled with red and black stone fruit like plums and prunes. The dark purple wine fills the palate with a rich medley
F E AT U R E
The Everything Gadget!
Apple’s revolutionary hand-held device is the new key to entertainment, control. by stephen silver
pple’s iPad arrived on the scene in April and instantly turned the consumer electronics world on its head. It created a brand-new product category essentially out of thin air, wowed virtually everyone who came into contact with it, and achieved astonishingly high sales numbers – 1 million units in the first month, and 3 million by the end of June. The iPad can do many things, from Web browsing to books to video to apps to music to e-mail to gaming. And the device’s huge success has had the effect of leaving every big name in the electronics industry – from Microsoft to HP to Samsung – scrambling to come up with a tablet of their own. But one application made possible by the device has gotten a lot of attention in the industry in the months since its release: home control. Some of the biggest names in the space – including Crestron, Control4, Sonos and more – have developed ways to use the iPad, in ways far beyond what was previously developed for iPod and iPhone use. We’ll look one by one at those offerings. But first, let’s take a look at the iPad itself.
All About the iPad
Nearly paper-thin, weighing just 1.5 pounds and sporting a 9.7-inch screen, the iPad could best be described as a giant iPod Touch – only without the handicap of a tiny, tiny screen. It’s sort of a halfway point between an iPod Touch and a Mac computer; the iPad can’t be your only computer, but it can
be an extra device used for recreation and travel. You can use it to surf the Web, using multi-touch to zoom in and out (like on an iPhone) but also taking advantage of the bigger screen. The e-mail function also looks great and is exceptionally easy to use. The iPad has an iTunes application
that you can use for your music just like on any other computer. And even though the device lacks Flash capability, there are plenty of options for viewing video, from downloads of movies and TV episodes, to Netflix Instant Watch, to a very strong YouTube app. There’s no Hulu app yet, although one is allegedly on the way.
As an iPad user, you’ll have access to all three of Apple’s “stores”: The iTunes store, the App Store (for mobile applications and games) and the new iBooks store, which allows quick and easy book downloads. Indeed, the iPad’s full-color touch screen and multi-touch-enabled ebook presentation blows those of the Kindle and virtually every other e-reader out of the water. The iPad is available in Wi-Fi and 3G versions, as well as in 16, 32 and 64 GB denominations. It currently ranges in price from $499 to $829.
In Complete Control
The iPad’s popularity has led the home theater, custom installation and high-end electronics retail industries to integrate the device into their products. Many manufacturers have marketed their own touch screens for home automation use, but now many of them are concentrating on using, through apps, the iPad instead, taking advantage of the device’s bigger screen. The iPad is proving to be a handy, reliable and easy-to-use device in the control of home entertainment, lighting, security, energy usage, HVAC and other everyday uses – and it’s only going to get better in the future, as acknowledged by the home control industry. “The iPad is revolutionizing home automation and control,” Bob Madonna, founder and CEO of home control giant Savant, told the company’s dealer conference in New York in June. This is because the device, in addition to being a technological marvel, has been explosively popular among users. This way, the industry can move home automation into the mainstream. Here are some examples of what the industry has been doing:
special iPad control application. Savant had used Apple’s OS X system in its products since the company launched in 2005, giving it a “leg up” on competitors, Madonna told CustomRetailer magazine when the tour began in New York in April. Savant’s iPad app costs $9.99. Madonna said the Wi-Fi-only iPad, along with an in-wall docking system, costs around $1,000. He praised Apple for “teaching the average person how to use a touch-panel,” which Madonna believes has “tremendous value for the CEDIA channel.” Between 800 and 900 users had downloaded the application as of June, he said. Indeed, in June the company unveiled a pair of high-end in-home application docks, an In-Wall Charging Dock and Desktop Charging Dock.
Control4 made its Control4 My Home application for the iPad available in April, just as the device was being released. Using the app, the iPad can control lighting, music, video, temperature, security systems, Web cameras and more in the user’s home. Additional features – including locking and unlocking doors and access to IP video cameras – will become available later this year. Control4 president and COO Glen Mella told CustomRetailer magazine in April that he sees the iPad and other popular Apple devices as an opportunity to get users to embrace home automation, as well as to get users to realize that “these mobile devices were really cool ways to control the different systems in [their homes.]” He added that the iPad’s larger screen gives users “more real estate to work with” than an iPhone or iPod.
Just days after the iPad was first revealed to the world, Crestron announced that the device could be used, with a simple download, as a Crestron touch-panel, piggybacking on similar apps already developed for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In May, Apple named Crestron’s app the 31st-highest grossing iPad application, the only home control/home automation application to make the top 100.
Only the Beginning
The list of supported products and available apps will only continue to grow as the iPad continues to catch on among consumers in years to come. Be on the lookout for further advancements in the area of iPad-driven home control, offering you even greater flexibility and capability in all areas of your home. HDL
Savant Systems launched a nationwide tour in the spring to show dealers its
F E AT U R E
Paige Gamble (www.paigegamble.com) uses ostrich skin, among others, with hand-engraved lace tattoo (see bag on left), which render each bag not only a piece of artistry but one of-a-kind.
Just So Clutch
The clutch purse rocks functionality and design innovation, now more than ever.
by Stephanie M. Adamow
he next time you grab your handbag before running out the door, know that you are part of living history. Yes, that trusty tagalong of yours has a lengthy back story, with appearances as far back as the Babylonian era. The clutch purse, in particular, made its debut during the 18th Century, when women’s clothing fashion favored more narrowed, slim looks. Unable to incorporate pockets into these types of apparel, designers introduced the reticule – a small decorative bag, usually constructed with drawstrings and held such things as handkerchieves and smelling salts. Needless to say, the clutch is still an essential wardrobe element that has made its way from a strictly formal accessory for evening wear to an everyday companion piece for the modern woman.
Accessory to Necessity
There are a few different circumstances that have positively affected the clutch recently. The first is its size. Instead of small, boxy clutches
meant for pairing with elegant evening gowns, the clutch has grown and become a daytime companion as well. “Four years ago, bags exploded in size, which precipitated the growth of the clutch,” says Kelly Cook, co-founder and daily blogger for BagSnob.com. “Now that they are bigger, the trend of using clutches during the day began because you have more room to fit everything you need.” These new casual clutches are one of the biggest trends right now, says Cook, who admits that she likes to go “a little crazy” when choosing clutches because they are smaller and less expensive. Lucky for shoppers, designers have decided to go a bit crazy as well when designing their clutch lines – the second important element affecting clutch production. A mixture of skins, embellishments and ingenuity has created a generation of clutches that beautifully blend function with a lot of dazzle. Cook is a huge fan of Derek Lam’s Elsa python clutch, which is hugely popular. Its asymmetrical fold-over flap, coupled with pads,
zippers and pockets, clearly state rocker chic, which is all the rage this season. Also in this realm is the Proenza Schouler PS1 messenger bag clutch ($895, proenzaschouler.com), which Cook says is “brilliant and beautiful.” The industry has witnessed a recent explosion of handbag designers launching their lines with the clutch – yet a third positive factor for shoppers. This has resulted in great diversity in luxury brands and experimentation. “Skins continue to be a trend, whether they are real or embossed,” says Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, founder of the Gilt Groupe (www.giltgroupe.com), a curator of a broad range of daily women’s, men’s, children, home and travel sales for its invitation-only members at prices up to 70 percent off retail. “For colors, we see nude, grays, light gray/blue and light pinks.” Combined with these trends is a real emphasis on exotics, resulting in impressive lines from Sang-A (www.sanga. com) and Paige Gamble (www.paigegamble.com). Gamble uses ostrich skin, among others, with hand-engraved lace tattoo, which render each bag not only a piece of artistry but oneof-a-kind. “And you can’t mention exotics without mentioning Nancy Gonzalez (www.nancygonzalez.com),” adds Cook, whose site is updated at least three times a day with reviews on the hottest bags. “As far as functionality, there is nothing like her. Usually, when you open a clutch, there is just one big compartment. But her clutches have pockets; they have great organization.” While stone embellishments have long been incorporated into clutch design, Cook says, some of the latest trends include feathers, and lots of them, which you can see in the Valentino Glam Rose and Feather Clutch ($2,340, www.net-aporter.com). And designers are going out on a limb with their clutch concepts/shapes—Alexander Wang has introduced the Spiral Notebook clutch ($625, www.saksfifthavenue.com) and Alexander McQueen has wowed fans with the Stingray De-Manta clutch, a trapezoid-shaped bag made from the sea creature’s skin ($239, alexandermcqueen.com). These types of bags “fly off the shelves” at the Gilt Groupe’s sales, starting promptly at noon each day. “Our shoppers are very brand-savvy. They love signature-embroidered and detail-intensive pieces,” says Wilkis Wilson. “For handbags, larger, longer shapes in exotic skins or small, beaded, embroidered, crystal clutches [are most popular].”
Kelly clutch] because, really, when you have to go the bathroom, where do you put it?!” The wrist strap/handle may solve fundamental problems, but it also gives the wearer another way to hold and show off the bag without covering any of its design. And, let’s face it, these bags are bigger than the clutch of the past, holding our smartphones and other essentials of the modern lifestyle. The handle trend will hang around as clutches are used more during the day, Cook says. Other bags that Cook is crazy about right now include new designer Dareen Hakim, whose crocodile-skinned clutches include a giant plaque which can feature individualized messages in sanskrit, including “My Love” and “Live and Laugh” (prices range from $295 to $355, dareenhakim.com). “Anything that is big and bold works better on a clutch than a big bag,” says Cook. HDL
How To wear IT BesT
Tips from Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Founder, Gilt Groupe
Dedicated to fashioning the discerning consumer with luxury goods at discounted prices, Wilkis Wilson shares some “do’s” for clutch shopping. HD Living: How are you able to provide such great discounts for members? aww: Our team of seasoned buyers work directly with the designers; therefore we are able to give our members access to a great selection of current luxury items. By working directly with the designers, it also allows us to have a very collaborative relationship with them and as a result we can also negotiate the best products/prices for our members. HDL: How many members does Gilt Groupe have? aww: Gilt Groupe has over 2.5 million members. HDL: Who are the hot designers in this category? aww: In my opinion, Fendi, Lauren Merkin, LAI, Carlos Falchi and Judith Leiber. HDL: What are some smart shopping tips for choosing clutches? aww: The most important thing is that the bag fits your wardrobe. Look for quality materials that have a sustainable color palate for your clothes. Crocodile and python are always classic and beautiful, and can transition well from season to season. For basics, you can’t go wrong with a mid-sized textured nude or grey clutch in a nice quality leather. HDL: What style tips do you have for clutch purse selection? aww: The more casual the event, the larger and softer you should go. A night out on a date with jeans would look amazing with snakeskin clutches—look for a longer size. For cocktail events, reach for a smaller embroidered or jeweled bag with structure and color. Clutches can also be incredibly chic for daytime—for these, look for portfolio-sized buttery leather clutches in nude tones.
How To Wear
Coming from a self-proclaimed bag addict (and someone who has more than 100 handbags that she would still consider using), the BagSnob.com’s Cook has her standbys and she knows the strengths of some of the hottest designers. Scouring larger retailers like Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus as well as smaller boutiques, Cook is ready to tell us what’s hot and, most of all, what’s “practical.” “Everything has to fit in [your clutch] and it has to close properly,” she notes. “Box clutches are rigid and tend to be limiting. I like clutches that have a wrist strap [like the Hermes
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F E AT U R E
Conquering Energy Abuse,
One Circuit at a Time
Powerhouse energy management system lives up to its name.
by Nancy Klosek
“Energy management” is the blanket term for what the many control, monitoring and reporting systems flooding the marketplace do for green-conscious homeowners or apartment dwellers interested in cutting their power usage, saving money and lightening their carbon footprint. But what’s really going on under the blanket? Massachusetts-based Powerhouse Dynamics, maker of the eMonitor home energy manager, says it can provide the answer. “Other systems out there have historically told you, in real time, how much energy you’re using,” says CEO Martin Flusberg. “Having spent the last 20 years involved in energy management, from my view, telling the average consumer
they’re currently using 3,000 watts is not very helpful. What does that mean? Good? Bad? There’s not a lot someone can do with just knowing that. That’s really what the first generation of these products were. Second generation, they talked about how they have plug-load monitoring and you may have seen things where they say they can monitor and control any appliance. Well, when you look at it closely, that’s not accurate. The biggest energy users in the home are central air conditioning, pool pumps, hot-water heaters, and electric stoves” – items where plugs aren’t readily accessible. “Your dishwasher isn’t,” Flusberg continues. “Your refrigerator may be, and I might want to monitor it but I certainly wouldn’t want to control it. So, there’s a lot of hype. But in fact, the things you’d want to monitor you couldn’t with plug
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Get Into Your Zone
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load, and when you start to think about what you could, you begin to scratch your head. I could do my widescreen TV and my computer, but then I’m about done.”
ing – things that are broken, or that they’re turning off because they had no idea how much it was costing to leave them on. People are even getting alerts about leaving on outdoor lighting after they leave for work.”
The Powerhouse Dynamics system monitors energy usage at the circuit level. “What that gives you,” explains Flusberg, “is a nice level of granularity to see what’s really going on.” That’s just the starting point, Flusberg says. “The next step is providing the right level of information to the consumer, in an attractive, entertaining, fun way – and then helping the homeowner understand what it means and what to do about it. You might analyze the power usage level for a refrigerator, and then suggest that maybe it’s old, and here’s what you might save with a new one. You could analyze ‘vampire’ power loads; at the circuit level, we can actually see the pattern that suggests phantom load. That circuit in the living room is running all the time – even with the TV off.”
Peace of Mind
Right now, Powerhouse Dynamics doesn’t offer lighting control, but plans to roll that out in future, working with third parties, Flusberg says. Additional monitoring and control functionality is also being developed for thermostats and renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines. Flusberg says the product’s appeal taps both into consumers’ worries about spending too much on energy and their desire to go green just for the sake of doing something that’s ‘the right thing.’ “It varies,” he says, “but the one thing we hear consistently is ‘I know I’m wasting energy, and it drives me crazy.’ It may not even be, ‘I want to be green,’ or ‘I need to save the money.’ As people learn about the alerts we provide, there’s a peace-ofmind feeling – ‘I’d love to have something that could let me know if one of my appliances is about to break’ – instead of finding out afterwards, which in some cases, as with a refrigerator, is pretty unpleasant. That whole ‘being in control of your home’ motivation is a very strong one.” HDL
The eMonitor system also offers a level of diagnostics that will tell the homeowner if, say, a refrigerator isn’t functioning optimally because of a faulty defrost cycle – or pre-empt a basement flood from a deteriorating hot water heater. “They have a tendency to build up sediment over time and crack,” says Flusberg. “We can spot that by seeing the energy usage, indicative of sediment buildup.”
Money in the Bank
The base system is $499 plus $189 for two years of monitoring, and is expandable. Monitoring is done through a data collection service that connects to the circuit panel, which, in turn, connects to the customer’s broadband service, through which data is uploaded. Everything is viewable on the Web through an intuitive user interface, and the customer and/or the integrator can sign up for both e-mail alerts or text messages for whatever issues they choose. Flusberg says that the system can typically save as much as 30 percent in energy costs: “One customer discovered his hot water heater was costing $100 a month, replaced it, and saved $70 a month immediately. He was also able to get rid of $15 a month in phantom power; his bill was $300 before that. Someone else we heard about had two AC units and found that the smaller one was using twice as much energy as the big one, had it repaired, and is saving $50 a month. “Another client discovered that a third-floor bedroom that was seldom used had heavy energy usage, and discovered that there was a space heater in there that kept clicking on every time the temperature dropped below a certain level; he saved $70 a month. Those are the kinds of things people are find-
the Nuts & Bolts of BlueBoLt
by Nancy Klosek
Unique Internet-driven energy management tool is intuitive, helpful.
Panamax/Furman, a company whose reputation was built on providing AC power conditioning and distribution solutions in both the professional and residential market arenas, went live this spring after extensive alpha and beta testing with a unique approach to energy management, monitoring and reporting. The company’s new BlueBOLT Remote Power Management technology is designed to provide secure hosted control via the Internet over power drawn by A/V components that are connected to
select Panamax and Furman devices. “It’s an IP-based power control product, it’s extremely easy for an installer to set up and use, and it allows the end user to monitor and conserve energy that’s used by a home theater – and, in the very near future, most other energy-consuming appliances,” says Bill Pollock, the company’s president and CEO. That, in sum, are BlueBOLT’s benefits – but the system offers a long list of energy management features and capabilities that are what Pollock calls “real value-adds for end users. “It has a very intuitive interface which allows the homeowner to see what the energy profile and consumption are – both in kilowatt-hours and in dollars and cents – of any of the devices plugged in,” Pollock continues. The system will even send out e-mails to owners, if they choose to receive them, alerting them if they exceed their monthly budget for energy usage.
Interaction As You Like It
What’s great about BlueBOLT, says Pollock, is that gives homeowners the option to interact with the system as much – or as little – as they want to. “Some techie people want to get in there and play with it, be able to turn things on and off, and set scheduled commands to turn things on and off; others won’t, and will leave that to the integrator,” Pollock says. But overriding a ‘scheduled event,’ such as an automatic system turnoff that was set up for energy-saving purposes, is a cinch, even for technophobes, says Pollock: “It’s all done through the computer with Internet access and any Web browser, or through any kind of smartphone. The user interface for scheduled commands is very intuitive; you can delete those, you get prompts – it shows all of the different devices plugged into it. You click which you want, you click the days of the week that you want them on or off, you pick an hour, and set it up. It’s that simple.”
Data most useful to the integrator include a host of alerts that can even pre-empt system failures. Some examples: Under- or over-voltage alerts, which could indicate a problem with a home theater that needs attention before there is actually a system collapse; or an alert that occurs when a product has lost power and is running on UPS backup. One extremely useful feature is auto-reboot functionality for the router. “Routers have a tendency to lock up frequently,” explains Pollock, “so we built in a feature so that if the device is no longer connected to the Internet, it sends a power cycle command to the router and re-cycles it, re-establishing the connection.” Often, this saves the customer having to request a service call from the installer.
midnight to 5:30 a.m., and have saved myself quite a bit of money in utility bills. Doing that has prevented my Comcast box from locking up, because I’m resetting it every night. In addition, it saves wear and tear on equipment. Some devices, like the DVR for instance, generate quite a bit of heat – and that heat can degrade not just the DVR but the components surrounding it.”
Right now, BlueBOLT is designed solely for A/V system power and energy management. But Pollock says there are plans afoot to expand its capabilities to do the same for appliances, using wireless ZigBee technology: “Users will be able to plug a device that is so equipped into a wall and plug any appliance into it, capture the consumption information from that particular appliance, and then decide when they want it turned on and off. “At launch, we have an excellent power and energy management platform to increase reliability and reduce energy waste in home electronic systems,” Pollock states. “But what’s most exciting is the modular expandability we are adding through hardware that is currently under development. With this, BlueBOLT will provide homeowners with a realistic and intuitive way to make informed decisions and actions to manage their energy use throughout their entire home with limited investment.” HDL
Also a Client!
Pollock himself is an avid BlueBOLT user, and says he has seen the benefits of interacting with the system firsthand: “I’ve turned both my home theater systems completely off from
Welcome to The Family!
Both a newborn and a proven Olympic athlete:
USB Audio joins reel-to-reel tape, the LP and DSD as having legitimate claim to being the quality end of the audio frontier.
Once upon a time, the shift to dot-matrix printers meant new-found versatility, but lousy looking type, then came laser and inkjet. Once upon a time, the shift to digital music ﬁles meant new-found opportunities, but ... Now the digital sun has come out. Possibly the best quality consumer audio ever available, on planet Earth anyway, has ﬁnally appeared in the form of 24/96 and 24/192 audio ﬁles, transferred through USB to a new generation of superb DAC’s (Digital Audio Converters), whether built into today’s best receivers and amps, or stand alone components. To ensure that your favorite music is transferred with minimal corruption (jitter), AudioQuest offers 5 models of USB cable, featuring better metals, better geometry, Dielectric-Bias System, Noise-Dissipation System ... all of AudioQuest’s expertise and proven techniques for delivering superior digital audio, whether through coax (RCA or BNC plug), balanced cable (XLR plug), HDMI, 1394 (FireWire®), Ethernet (RJ45), Toslink ... and now USB. Whether you’re playing 128K ﬁles, or lossless 44.1 (CD quality), or 24/96 ... it’s a bright and wonderful day in the audio world!
F E AT U R E
Now We’re Cooking!
Release your inner chef at fun, friendly cooking school.
by howard whitman
Those chefs on the Food Network may make it look easy, but we all know cooking is a valuable skill, one that results in a commodity that we all value: delicious meals. And while most of us will never attend a culinary school to master this art, there is a way you can take in some of that learning, improve your kitchen skills, and have a great time while you’re at it. Cooking schools are cropping up that pass on culinary training in an environment that’s loose, relatable, filling (you get to eat what you cook), social, and most importantly, loads of fun!
HD Living visited one such establishment, New Jerseybased In the Kitchen Cooking School, to learn about all of the fantastic cooking experiences you can enjoy in such a place of learning.
Nestled on a side street off the main drag of the charming town of Haddonfield, N.J., the In the Kitchen Cooking School is an inviting oasis of culinary learning and good times. At the store’s front is a small but lovely shop offering exotic treats, luxury linens, soaps, glassware and other gifts. But head past the shop and you enter the kitchen
area where the real magic happens. “I always say, the classes are like Lay’s Potato Chips – I’ll bet you can’t take just one,” says Chef Kathy Gold, who founded In the Kitchen in 2005. “Our classes become addictive.” The school’s addictive properties are evidenced by the fact that its classes, all of which are open to the general public, regularly sell out. “Every single month, our Wednesday night classes, they book immediately,” Gold says. As of August 2010, the Wednesdays were sold out through October. “Registration in advance is a necessity,” Gold says. And while she’s quick to point out In the Kitchen is not a restaurant, “tuition always includes the delicious meals we make.” The standard tuition at In the Kitchen is $70 per class, especially reasonable when you consider that includes the food. A typical class will feature instruction by “Chef Kathy” on five to six recipes. Gold describes the menu: “We start with something bright and sparkling for an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre, such as shrimp wrapped in prosciutto on the grill, plus mango … we like to pile flavor on flavor. The main course could be anything from rack of lamb to duck breast tenderloin or fish. For dessert, we like to end on a sweet note. If it’s a French-themed class, perhaps a tarte tatin (an upside-down caramelized apple tart); if it’s an Italian class, gelato or pannacotta (an Italian variation on crème Brulee).”
Cooking schools pass on culinary training that’s loose, relatable, filling, social, and most importantly – fun!
Enhancing the restaurant-like atmosphere, participants often bring wine to classes to enjoy with their meals.
Yummy to The ‘Core’
While many In the Kitchen classes are designed to be one-day experiences, the school also offers what Gold calls The Core Curriculum, a series of four classes designed to give students a more comprehensive background of cooking knowledge and skill. “It’s the ultimate ‘how-to-cook’ curriculum,” Gold says. “If you want to know how to cook, but don’t want to go to culinary school, this is for you. Each class builds on the class before it.” The first class focuses on knife skills, with instruction on how to mince, dice, chop, julienne and perform other delicate-butnecessary carving functions. The next class provides instruction on how to make a sauce, covering the preparation of a variety of delectable toppings from standards such as beef or chicken stocks to more exotic fare including béchamel and hollandaise sauces. The third class, which Gold jokingly refers to as “The Money Class,” covers the main techniques of cooking – searing, sautéing, grilling, braising, poaching and more. This is the class in which the preparatory techniques students have mastered in the first two sessions pay off in the form of greatly enhanced productivity in the kitchen – as well as, of course, scrumptious meals. The Core Curriculum’s fourth and final class is about desserts. “We cover all of the (flavors),” Gold says, “vanilla, chocolate, caramel and so on.” The class also has a focus on plating – aka presentation, that exquisite drizzling of a sauce or addition of a garnish that enhances a meal’s palatability, teaching, as Gold puts it, “how to make it look phenomenal. We eat with our eyes.”
In addition to the one-shot classes and Core Curriculum sessions, Gold has expanded In the Kitchen’s menu of offerings to cater to the different learning needs of her constantly growing clientele. Inspired by the popularity of Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals” TV program, Gold has rolled out what she calls her “Really Fast, Really Easy, Really Delicious” class. “It’s about having delicious food ready in 20 to 25 minutes,” she says, which involves “knowing how to stock your pantry, fridge and freezer, and then getting ready to rock out a delicious dinner. It’s really about best techniques for working with things like chicken breast, fish, grains and vegetables.” In the Kitchen also does private events. You can hire Gold and company to do a cooking class at your bachelor party, shower … the school even holds classes at corporate events. “We’ve done team-building events for major companies including TD Bank,
Campbell Soup, Target,” Gold says. “We do ‘Iron Chef’ events. They get really competitive with each other. It’s so much fun – just a great event. Companies that want to reward their staff book an event.” The corporate classes also help unify a company’s employees, she adds: “When you’re cooking together, it brings down boundaries. Once you start cooking, everyone jumps right in.” Gold has even done private classes for international groups, including a recent group of Japanese tourists. While language can be a barrier in such cases, she notes that “food is the universal language!” For those who seek the green in everything, In the Kitchen holds quarterly “100-Mile Radius” classes, for which the food is brought in from local farmers, greatly reducing the meals’ carbon footprint. “Our ingredients are sourced within a 100-mile radius. We have relationships with local farmers,” Gold says, adding that the benefits go beyond cutting back on the food’s travels: “The produce is wonderful.” While some ingredients (such as chocolate, coffee and many of the spices used in cooking) can’t be obtained within 100 miles of Haddonfield, N.J., the vast majority of products actually come from within 50 miles of the town, providing a good trade-off if certain items have to come from outside the radius. HDL
Meet Chef Kathy
the proprietor of the In the Kitchen cooking school brings an impressive mix of professional and culinary experience to her role running the haddonfield, N.J.-based food mecca. Prior to her current vocation, Kathy Gold worked in investment banking and portfolio management before deciding to leave it for a life in professional cooking. “when my daughter was born, I knew I didn’t want to be in the corporate world,” she recalls. trained at Le cordon Bleu in ottawa, canada, Gold worked in the kitchen at Bistro Francais in washington, D.c. she founded her original company, custom cuisine Personal chef service and catering co., prior to opening her first In the cooking school in moorestown, N.J., in 2005. In addition to running In the Kitchen, Gold keeps busy in a variety of food-related ventures, writing articles (as well as doing food styling for photos) for the food section of the Philadelphia Inquirer daily newspaper, participating in web chats for NPR and public tV station whYY. In June, Gold visited the white house as one of the regional chefs invited by First Lady michelle obama to participate in the “chefs move to school” initiative, in which professional chefs are paired with schools in their area to evaluate their lunch programs to improve nutrition and palatability. Gold is also a dealer – one of the few in the U.s. – for the Italybased aGa brand of stoves, which she uses in her classes.
Other special In the Kitchen offerings include:
• Holiday Classes, including Valentines and the winter holidays • Couples Cooking Classes (“Bring your significant other,” Gold says), and • Gourmet Group Events hosted by Gold and the In the Kitchen staff, which offer a special, greatly appreciated benefit: “Everyone is always excited to leave the mess behind,” Gold says. For further information, go to www.inthekitchencookingschool.com To find a cooking school in your area, go to www.cookingschools.com
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F E AT U R E
he days when enjoying technology meant sitting at home isolated from society are long gone. “Social media” is one of the hottest buzzwords out there, and the “social” part’s truer than ever. With social media, it’s easy to keep track of hundreds of connections, and there’s no reason for them to be confined to your PC. Some of the biggest social media Web sites out there are: Facebook, which just reached 500 million users; LinkedIn; Twitter; and Flickr, and each of these sites operates in its own specialty. Facebook is great for finding and staying in touch with people from your past. LinkedIn helps you create professional contacts. Twitter helps you find and share the most interesting content on the Web, and Flickr allows you to show photos to anyone you want. There are so many great options available to take
Today’s social media – your online gateway to friendship and fun. by Jack cotter
the Internet with you on the go. Whether you use a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or cell phone to browse the Web, any good social media site has a version that’s compatible with your device. It’s obvious that Internet access – and therefore access to social media – is very portable. That’s only a part of what makes it so exciting these days. What really makes it so valuable are all the ways it can add to your interactions with actual real live people. A simple hardware example: So many devices have HDMI ports. With an HDMI cable, you can easily hook your laptop or device up to your television and share that YouTube video you just found, or vacation photos posted on Flickr, with the entire family. Internet-connected TV is just on the horizon, and with more and more streaming video content available, the Internet is becoming
much less the solitary experience it once was. Understanding how to use your high-tech hardware is interesting, and can add to your social media experience, but the key to using social media gets back to the fundamental act of establishing and strengthening relationships. Want to take your online relationships outside the box? These Web sites can help you do that.
Facebook is the biggest social media site, with 500 million registered users. The best thing about it is how easy it is to find people. If you’re looking for an old friend, reconnecting is as simple as typing in their name and pressing a button. Once you have a friend or two, Facebook does a great job of recommending people you may have forgotten about. Addresses and phone numbers change, but Facebook profiles stay. You can find your best friend who moved away years ago, and easily reconnect with him or her. You might not have felt comfortable enough with someone you briefly worked with to exchange phone numbers, but as Facebook friends, you can stay in touch with little to no effort. These are the connections that Facebook makes possible, but what about turning those online connections into real life? Planning a party? One of the most useful features of Facebook is the ability to create an event page and send out invitations. Creating an interactive event is a great way to get invitees to respond, stay interested, and turn up. Sometimes seeing their name on a guest list is enough of a push to ensure they show up.
All the great new hardware out there makes it even easier to take social media with you while you are out and about, and apps (short for applications) are the next big thing in social media. These are programs that can be downloaded to your phone or tablet, many for free. There are hundreds of thousands of apps, which can add to your social media experience. Foursquare is a phone app that lets you alert your network of your location. A great thing is that when you’re “checked in” at a location, you can see the other users that are also checked in. Social media can help you find (or avoid) people while on the run. This is just one example of your online network showing you that someone is right around the corner, when without the technology, you never would have known he or she was there.
LinkedIn helps you manage your professional contacts. Upload your resume and connect with the people you know and others in your industry. Instead of putting business cards you collect in a drawer, put a face to the name and continue to interact and strengthen your relationship, even if a business transaction hasn’t given you a reason to call. Join one of the many groups formed by pros from your industry and share your thoughts. Any of those contacts could be your next client or a new job opportunity.
Now put them all together. Interact with new and old friends on Facebook, and make professional connections and join in a discussion on LinkedIn. Share links to interesting articles on Twitter. Once you find a few people who you can share ideas with, you’re a part of an online community. Come up with a reason to meet, whether it is during a conference or an event that you are interested in, pick a time and place to meet up with your contacts. Send out invitations across your networks on each of the sites. Go to the event and check in on Foursquare to see who is there. Take photos and share them on Facebook and Flickr and Twitpic after the event is over. You might find your Rolodex getting dusty as you have more ideas, connections and opportunities than ever before. Technology brings more and more spectacular devices, and social Web sites can be a fun distraction. Why not put the two together? With just a little effort, the “social” part of social media can pay off by adding even more to your already rich offline life. HDL
What is Twitter? Why would you want to see every detail of someone’s life? You don’t, and that’s not what most Twitter users do. Despite its reputation as a repository of the mundane, Twitter is great because it turns everyone into a publisher of content they find interesting. Choose who you follow. Follow the people who share the most interesting info – an article from a newspaper or magazine, a hilarious YouTube video, a great song. Some accounts are dedicated to listing events in your area. Imagine having a list of the day’s most talked-about pages on the Internet, and events that day. That’s what you can make with Twitter. Another great trend on Twitter are “Tweet Ups.” A group of Twitter users with a common interest arrange a time and place to actually meet up. This is great during an out-of -own business conference. You can network with Twitter users you’re already developing professional relationships with online. Web sites like TwtVite make it easy to create event pages so both Facebook and Twitter users can see the details and RSVP.
Make the Right Choices When Buying the Most Popular Home Entertainment Format.
ideo is usually considered the most important choice when shopping for electronics, and for good reason. Home entertainment is cited as the third most time-consuming activity in the average home, following sleep and work! The types of TVs most commonly purchased by consumers are LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), Plasma Displays, Rear Projection Televisions, and Front Projection Televisions. Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each: LCD is the most popular and is available in two variations. The first variation is fluorescent (CCFL) and the second is LED (light emitting diode). Both of these technologies refer to the way the display is lit up from behind or “backlit”. Fluorescent backlighting uses a fluorescent light on the back of the panel and is energy-efficient and low-cost. LED utilizes solid state LED bulbs on the back of the display panel and is more energy-efficient, as well as more durable (20,000 hour longer life-spans = approx. 10 years)! Be careful to avoid edgelit LED panels, as they tend to exhibit hot spots in the picture and are usually lower performers. A plasma display utilizes a chemical reaction that excites a phosphor or pixel element. Plasma is generally considered to be better for black level, smooth motion and three-dimensionality. The primary reason for this is that these types of television have the ability to turn each pixel element on and off. The backlight in an LCD television must remain on all the time. A rear projection display is a projection
Consider the activities, the room and the lighting conditions, before deciding what particular TV display
TV housed in a cabinet. There are many types of backlight technology incorporated into these televisions, but the most common are LED (light emitting diode), LCD (liquid crystal display), DLP (digital light processing) and CRT (cathode ray tube). CRT is the oldest of the technologies and LED the most recent. The benefit to this type of display technology is that by keeping external light from affecting the projector, we can get a very bright image on a very large screen.
home technology guide
Sound Without Compromise
OnWall Mini LCR 3.0
The Best of Both Worlds…
Not only do Triad speakers sound exquisite, they seamlessly blend into any décor. For the past twenty-seven years, Triad has been the leader in designing and building true custom speaker solutions, with as many as five versions of the same speaker for the appropriate application. Triad offers nearly seventy inroom, inwall, onwall, and inceiling variations of world-class loudspeakers, to provide you with the best in sound without cluttering your room with clumsy, unattractive boxes. To further integrate, Triad offers free paint and veneer matching, and even one-off pure custom design capability. If you thought the best possible sound and the least visual impact were mutually exclusive; think again. Think Triad.
In the past four inside track Annual Dealer Loyalty Surveys, Triad finished 1st overall in the custom installation category, with
Custom Installation by La Scala, Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Yacht: Spirit of 2010, www.spiritoftwentyten.com
“Triad’s philosophy of making speakers
to order is a real advantage for theater designers and customers, especially for challenging installations or special
Home Entertainment Magazine
requirements. Construction quality is a couple of notches above what you find with most in-walls, and Triad offers a 10-year limited warranty on its speakers”
1st place finishes in product performance, product reliability, technical support, customer service and more!
Triad Sales 1800.666.6316 • www.triadspeakers.com
The final display type is front projection TV. These are the closest to theater-style imaging, and the primary benefit is that they can be custom-sized as large as you want. These screens can be sized beginning at around 80 inches and go to sizes of 200 inches or more. You can’t do that with any of the other types mentioned previously. Front projection utilizes any of the aforementioned backlight technologies (LED, LCD, DLP, CRT, etc.) projected onto various types of screen materials. The disadvantage to a front projection system is that you should have complete control of any natural light entering the room otherwise your picture will begin to wash out and lose brightness. Consider the activities, the room and the lighting conditions before deciding what particular TV display technology you will put in each location. You should also be aware of 3D TV and how that can affect your decision. Once you have chosen the TVs, now you have to get a picture to each of them. Distributed video is a system where
all kinds of video (and audio) signals from A/V source components (i.e. Blu-Ray players, DVD players, DVRs, etc.) are sent to multiple TV locations around the home. Video distribution is all about getting a strong, clear signal to all of your TVs.
n This involves three general functions:
• Gathering the signals • Combining, conditioning and amplifying the signals • Distributing the signals to their destinations.
n There are three variations of video distribution common to most installations:
• Analog RF (Radio Frequency) distribution refers to sending signals including satellite, cable, DVD, DVR , BluRay and other available sources to various rooms and areas throughout the house on a standard coaxial cable. The cable most recommended for this type of distribution
home technology guide
FOR THOSE WHO WANT EVERYTHING
Award-winning home theater featuring a Digital Projection display Theater and photo courtesy of www.OpusAVC.com
A powerful diversity of 3D entertainment is heading your way. Hollywood 3D films...3D Blu-ray...3D gaming...and dedicated 3D satellite channels delivering sports, music and nature, will soon be yours to enjoy. While the technical standards that will deliver this rich array of 3D entertainment may not be the same, you can be certain that Digital Projection’s award-winning 3D displays empower you with the stateof-the-art flexibility to enjoy it all. Full resolution. Fully immersive. From exclusive film festivals and Hollywood studios to regal home theaters and major live events, Digital Projection is trusted across the world to deliver breathtaking, Emmy award-winning 2D AND 3D entertainment. See for yourself -- experience legendary 2D and 3D entertainment, as it was meant to be enjoyed.
TITAN Reference 1080p 3D
One of DP’s many single projector 3D solutions
Emmy award-winning projEction tEchnology
Atlanta, GA USA • Manchester, UK • Beijing, China • Singapore
is a good quality, quad-shielded RG-6u wire. There are two parts to maintaining the integrity of RF signals; the first part is keeping your signals from leaking out of the cable. The second part is keeping outside signals from leaking into the cable. • Analog Component utilizes three separate video connections to pass luminance (black and white picture components) and color information on separate wires. This type of distribution is still analog, but can carry full high definition resolution and is much better than RF. • Digital is the third variation, and is most often sent on HDMI cables. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and is capable of carrying all audio and video signals on the same wire. There are two pri-
mary issues regarding signal distribution with HDMI. The first is that HDMI components must handshake (recognize each other) for the signal to pass. The second is that wire runs of over 75 feet usually degrade picture performance. The job of your systems integrator is to get the picture you want to see, on the right sized screen, distributed in the best way possible. Additionally, a significant number of TVs and sources are now empowered with Internet capabilities, making the television a communication hub as well. This will further complicate the video distribution problem and create greater need for an independent expert to design and properly install your system. HDL
home technology guide
Have you seen the
Runco introduces the future of home theater projection with its new QuantumColor projectors. Runco’s LED-based Inﬁnilight™ technology ensures bright, spectacular images without ever needing to replace a lamp. But a lampless projector alone isn’t enough to change the landscape of home theater. So Runco spent thousands of hours to create a projector that oﬀers the biggest color gamut ever seen in home theater projection . Marvel at vibrant reds that pop oﬀ the screen and blues that are so deep they look 3-dimensional. All these careful details are packed inside a projector that uses 70% less power than a traditional projector and minimize carbon footprint because there is absolutely no lamp to replace or throw away. The result is nothing short of revolutionary and the experience is, quite simply, amazing. The future of home theater projection is here. See the Runco Q-750 home theater projector at www.HaveYouSeentheQ.com or 800-23-RUNCO.
©2009 Runco International
F E AT U R E
Get Your Wings!
Hang gliding can grant new perspective on the world, your life.
ots of people dream of flying like a bird, but Lisa Tate has made that dream come true for 32 years. She’s one of thousands who’ve taken to hang gliding since the sport’s inception in the 1970s. Growing up in Missoula, Mt., Tate, now president of the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA), used to ride horses on a hill near her home, a hill that also served as the take-off point for local hang-gliding pilots. “I’d seen hang gliders in the air, but never up close,” Tate, now 46, recalls. “I was riding on the hill one day and looked up and saw a pilot 50 feet overhead – he waved at me. I’d always had that dream of flying like a bird, and I thought, ‘I’m going to do this.’” In the late 70s, that was easier said than done, since hang gliding was still a new sport at the time with very few practitioners compared to today. “I fooled around on my own a while, but found I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I decided to go to a real hang-gliding school,” Tate says. That didn’t work out at first, since she was young enough at the time to need her parents’ permission for instruction in the sport. Though Tate already was into intense outdoor activities such as skiing and climbing, her parents thought hang gliding was too dangerous to give their consent. But when she got old enough to make the call herself, Tate never looked back.
Now a glass-blowing artist in Boise, Idaho, Tate also spends the equivalent of a full-time job in her volunteer position as USHPA president. That’s okay, though, because hang gliding is her passion, and she enjoys the opportunity the organization gives to let her help share the sport with others.
More Brain Than Brawn
Attitudes toward hang gliding have changed a lot since Tate’s parents turned her down for lessons. Do others ask if she’s crazy when they find out she’s an avid hang glider? “Up until 10 years ago I used to get that question a lot, but I don’t hear it so much anymore,” Tate says. “In the ‘70s, it was still a fairly dangerous activity – a lot of homemade gliders, not a lot of instruction. Now there are much stronger standards for safety and instruction. “Hang gliding is not a daredevil activity; it’s a legitimate form of aviation.” There are risks, of course, but Tate insists that properly trained practitioners who play by the rules recognize their experience level and don’t gamble with weather can expect more thrills than spills. “It’s a very cerebral activity – you must have complete concentration on what’s going on around you,” she says. “It’s not a physically demanding sport, more of a mental game. “It’s also the closest thing possible to flying like a bird. You’re not in a cockpit – you’re out in the air and you can feel and hear the wind in your face. Birds might fly right next to you.” Speaking of birds, Tate also noted that hang gliding blends
Bring all your sources to life with the new...
digital to analog converter
Specifications Optical, Coaxial and USB inputs • Reference quality Wolfson 8741 chipset • dCS Asynchronous USB Technology • Sonic upgrade for a multitude of sources • High-end audio circuitry and components • Stylish Aluminum casework • Inputs 1x Optical SPDIF (Toslink socket) • 1x Coaxial SPDIF (Gold plated socket) • 1x USB • 1x Wireless (optional, requires dongle) • Outputs 2x RCA / Phono sockets (Gold plated) •
Arcam produced the world’s first Digital to Analog converter over 20 years ago and has enjoyed a world wide reputation for excellence in digital audio ever since. Now there’s a multitude of digital sources available such as DVD, CD, Blu-Ray and of course the computer and Arcam is back to make them all sound even better with the rDAC. Add it to your system today to bring your music and movies to life.
Bringing music and movies to LIFE
Price of flying
Newcomers to Hang Gliding Can Pay as They Progress
the following is information from the U.s. hang Gliding and Paragliding association on how much you’re looking to pay for learning to fly and buying equipment. students attending a certified school in an urban area and buying all-new equipment can expect to pay $5,000 or more. Purchasing used equipment can drop the cost to around $2,500. If you buy used equipment, however, make sure an experienced pilot familiar with the equipment inspects it thoroughly. costs vary, but figure on: • Training through the Novice level: $1,200–$1,600 • Training glider: $800–$2,800 (used); $2,900–$3,750 • Harness: $50–$450 (used); $550–$950 (new) • Helmet: $80–$300 (new) You don’t have to buy everything at once. Instructors usually provide training equipment as part of their package through the “Beginner” rating, but expect students to obtain their own equipment beyond that point.
with – rather than intrudes upon – nature. “Animals aren’t threatened by a hang glider, they’re just curious about it,” she says, recalling an instance of one fellow pilot who was rising on a thermal past a group of big horn sheep on a cliff side in Idaho. “The sheep didn’t scatter, they just looked at the hang glider.”
Freedom of the Skies
Should you decide to give hang gliding a try – and stick with it – don’t be surprised if it changes your life. “Pilots I know say ‘There was life before hang gliding, and life after hang gliding,’” Tate says. “It’s such a powerful experience – your life changes, and you can’t go back to looking at things the way you did before.” Like many sensory-rich pursuits, it’s hard to explain the feeling to those who haven’t experienced it before. “You have to live in the moment, and your focus is total,” Tate says of hang gliding. “You don’t just look at the world from a different perspective, you look at life from a different perspective once you’re into it. “Hang gliding doesn’t make me feel superior to other people – it just makes me feel I know a secret that those who haven’t done it don’t know.” HDL
To Learn More For more information, check out the U.s. hang Gliding and Paragliding association web site: www.ushpa.org
Experience your favorite music at home with a high-quality sound system.
an you remember what songs you and your friends were listening to in high school? Can you remember what song was playing when you got married or had your first child? We all can! Just like photographs, we mark special moments in our life by the music of the times or the songs we liked. There was something emotionally uplifting about putting on your favorite, record or CD! Certainly surround sound is extremely cool, but listening to music the way most of it was recorded, in two channels, takes us beyond the physical sounds or words and brings us closer to that emotional connection to our past, present and future. The answer is to dedicate the space and budget necessary to create a high-quality twochannel experience in your home. It is an investment that will give you and your family an emotional connection for years to come. Sound quality has improved so much over the past 30 years that consumers have literally stopped worrying about it. The reason for this problematic situation is due to the brain having no concept of “good.” It only knows “better than it was exposed to last!” This means almost everything you hear today will be better than what you had been listening to before. We have forgotten a generation of music lovers in favor of getting speakers and products that would disappear into the surroundings.
Don’t let that deter you anymore. Today’s technology has come up with designs that are not only invisible, but will outperform products that are substantially larger and more expensive. The only problem is you won’t find most of these leading-edge technologies in a big box retailer. The issue of stereo versus surround sound or multi-channel is also somewhat confusing, but perhaps it would help if you remember that almost every musical recording begins as twochannel. Surround exists by steering certain information into different and additional channels. The two primary channels are left front and right front (like the ears). The advent of home theater has put multi-channel sound
(aka surround sound) into our lives forever, and while that was an elevating experience for movies, it couldn’t quite replace the warmth and finesse of a good stereo when it came to reproducing music. We suggest finding speakers that perform to your taste and are right for your room. The speakers are arguably the most critical element in a stereo, and since each person hears differently, it is a good idea to start by finding speakers that you love. Here’s a tip: Speakers that sound good with music will also sound good with theater, but the opposite is rarely true. Theater speakers can deliver the dynamics and impact of music, but often fall short when it comes to warmth and finesse.
home technology guide
Setting the bar to an unparalleled height, Integra is very proud to expand their already formidable commitment to the THX Certiﬁcation program. From early design concepts to product rollout, THX and Integra work together on A/V receivers, ampliﬁers, pre-amp processors and source components. Every detail is meticulously mapped to THX exacting performance standards. THX engineers spend countless hours testing and analyzing the receivers for sound quality, usability and interoperability. This enduring relationship between Integra and THX guarantees even greater reliability and quality from Integra certiﬁed A/V products. This attention to detail ensures that all 2010 Integra Receivers, Preamp processors, Multichannel ampliﬁers and even the ﬂagship Blu-ray player achieved THX certiﬁcation. This will bring out every nuance of a story-line, with the raw power of a surround sound cinema experience, or live recording session… Just as the director or artist intended. Why? Because We’re Integra Inspired by Passion - Driven by Excellence
Additionally, the cabinet plays a very important role in the loudspeakers’ ability to faithfully recreate sound. It is for this reason that most really good two-channel stereos do not incorporate in-wall-type loudspeakers. Another important note: Just as the cabinet has a significant impact on the sound of the speaker, so does the room influence how that speaker will sound. If there is a lot of glass in the room, you probably want to temper your desire for metal dome tweeters, as the resulting sound could potentially be “bright and shrilly” sounding. The next step is to choose the right amplification. This will usually be in the form of an integrated amp or a separate power amp and pre-amp
We suggest finding speakers that perform to your taste and are right for your room.
combination. You will need to consider several strategic factors: Will it match well sonically with my loudspeaker? Does it have the power and speed to adequately drive my loudspeakers? Does it image (recreate the position of the instruments on the stage) well enough for the speakers to mentally disappear? Tube amplifiers are growing again as a category, because they tend to provide a certain emotional connection that is not generally associated with solid state designs. Try to incorporate separate components. The third step will be to determine what sources of music you and your family will be listening to. You may have CDs, SACDs, HD Radio, XM, digital media and more. There are affordable, high-performance choices available for all of these formats. Maybe you remember records? Turntable sales were up 37 percent in 2009. Also in 2009, record sales jumped a whopping 33 percent to 2.5 million copies. 2008 boasted 1.8 million copies sold and 990,000 vinyl albums were sold in 2007. Records are coming back. Why? Because many music experts believe they sound better. There are even more things to be considered, such as the cables and interconnects you will need, stands for the speakers (if necessary), furniture to house the electronics, and possibly even room treatments or control technology. The really fabulous news is, once you have ventured down this road, you will feel like a kid again! You will want to listen to YOUR music again and you may even want to buy some new music again! Stereo/twochannel audio systems are infectious and will impact how you spend your time at home. HDL
home technology guide
Not all 3D TVs are created equal. Panasonic VIERA® Full HD 3D TV has the breakthrough technologies to deliver the ultimate viewing experience. Immerse yourself in incredible 3D depth and clarity thanks to fast switching phosphors and Inﬁnite Black Panel Pro. All on a breathtaking Panasonic plasma screen. And the same technologies that make it an incredible 3D experience make this our best 2D TV ever.
CAN WE STILL CALL IT A TV?
One pair of 3D glasses included with purchase. Picture simulated.
The Scent of Inspiration
Aromatherapy offers natural healing, stress relief.
>> by JANE CHERO
re you stressed? Looking for inspiration and comfort – something to make you feel happy, balanced or energized? Step into the world of aromatherapy. A world where you can address various ailments and beauty concerns in a natural way. A world where you can enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of this ancient healing method. A world where you can create harmony by regulating, balancing and healing your body as well as your mind holistically – as in, “one with nature.” Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant oils (known as essential oils) to bring about positive changes in health, mind and body. These oils help soothe nerves, relieve pain and improve your mood. Aromatherapy is designed to treat the whole person by assisting the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself—the direct opposite of modern methods, which are about just treating the presented condition. By using good-quality essential oils correctly, the soothing combination of the aroma, massage, baths and other treatments all work in harmony to regulate your whole being while working alongside nature. Regular use of aromatherapy treatments and home-use products can help to strengthen the immune system and establish a preventative approach to overall health. An aromatherapist takes into account a person’s medical history, emotional condition, general health and lifestyle before planning a course of treatment. The Facts Are In Research is continually reaffirming the validity of aromatherapy treatments. A recent U.S. study confirmed the long-held belief that Jasmine is a powerful relaxant and an effective aid to restful sleep. Dr. Bryan Raudenbush and his colleagues at the Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va, found that people who slept in rooms fragranced with Jasmine appeared to sleep more peacefully and reported higher afternoon alertness than when spending the night in a Lavenderscented room or one with no added fragrance at all.
Similar research around the world has proven the wide range of benefits that can be received from the multifaceted art of aromatherapy. Heal Thyself Essential oils have a a wide range of healing properties including improving the complexion of your skin by stimulating cellular renewal, balancing emotions, and fighting bacteria, fungi and infection. Although not a fountain of youth, aromatherapy can help combat wrinkles and lessen the effect of puffy eyes. When essential oils are extracted from delicate flowers, the result is a highly concentrated liquid that contains the aroma and therapeutic properties of its source. If you’re buying essential oils, it’s important to purchase them from long-established, trusted aromatherapy suppliers who specialize in clinical grade oils, and not the more common commercial grades. Remember: Essential oils should never be taken internally, and should be kept away from the eyes and mucous membranes, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and children under 5. HDL
US-West: Ron Rouse – Ron.Rouse@Harman.com US-East: Pat Gaffney – Patrick.Gaffney@Harman.com Europe, Middle East, Africa: Andy Baker – Andy.Baker@Harman.com
Latin America: Gabriela Arango – Gabriela.Arango@Harman.com Asia: Matthew Tan – Matthew.Tan@Harman.com
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