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Enter The Boogieman! - February 2023

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

I hope you caught my play on words. The correct spelling is Boogeyman but since we deal with both music and video, it seemed right.

Before I go any further, I want to state something very clearly: There is no such thing as an audio or video emergency. Nothing is life threatening nor should it trigger anger which, unfortunately, gets leveled on us all too often. Trust me, it does not help you at all. It doesn't help anyone else either. As my wife now has a heart transplant and nearly died 6 times, trust me, I know what life threatening means and it does not include audio or video. Not even close.

So, what's up? Well, whether we like it or not, most of the products we now own are, one way or another, controlled by software. Unlike the early days, many products can take on both software and firmware upgrades. Our first mutual experience was with our cars. Yes, it can be very frustrating and I have experienced that with my two vehicles. I don't know what vehicle I am getting back once they have them. With my truck, I have lost both power and mileage for goals never explained. With my car, well, the bluetooth went from great to terrible and my driver's window works randomly. Oh, I can factory reset that but you get my drift. But maddening is not life threatening. PITA Moments: Pain in the Ass. I'll say it now: We didn't do it and sometimes we don't even know when they do it.

The same now holds true with many electronics. You can have "upgrades" that brick (lock up) the device and make it useless. We have seen this with Bluesound, Control 4, and Sonos making them completely useless. We have also seen "upgrades" play havoc on televisions with unannounced features being added like auto brightness to room light. That got us a dozen calls from people thinking their set was failing. I'll say it here: We didn't do it and sometimes we don't even know when they do it until the phones light up.

Now, many people rely on a feature called "automatic update" or something similar much like what you may have on your computer. While this can get you the latest and greatest (I say with a word of caution), it can come with a price. Certainly computer upgrades can come with all sorts of nasty surprises for either Windows or Apple. The same is true for audio and video products. In that regard, you may want to seriously consider turning off that automatic feature so that you have the opportunity to search the web for problems before you download it onto yourself. Sometimes, you don't have a choice about upgrading firmware or software and it becomes a forced march but at least you get to choose when and what will happen. They even might have a revision to fix what they did so you don't download the mess. Again, I will say it: We didn't do it and we don't know when they will do it. You, however, can.

Then, there's another issue that has struck numerous customers. Their network is deficient. This can be caused by poor service, modems, routers, wiring, or even poor electric. This is very common today and we have had to do quite a few network systems. It's not dial-up AOL anymore, folks. There can also be communication issues with certain pieces. Of course, all along, you better have your passwords ready. We have also seen where installation companies do not give that to the owners which makes it impossible for either the owner or another company to effect changes. Most sincerely, if we didn't build your network, that can be the real issue and yet again "It's not our fault." Old modems and routers, those good ole friends that still work, can also be a problem. They get outdated too.

Then, there's power. The greatest fear in doing any "upgrade" is the loss of power while it is being performed. Sometimes, the loss of power can create an irreversible disaster. It is case by case. This is the risk of not controlling when an upgrade is done. This is where having an uninterrupted power supply, a battery backup, can become crucial. Battery backup for modems and routers is the first target. Then, something for the item actually being "upgraded." We have a couple of pieces in the store that got caught in the middle of an upgrade and they make great door stoppers. And, yet still again, it's not our fault if you do automatic upgrades without being sure you system will have the proper power to complete it. So, as we head towards spring and all those lovely storms, think about where you are now and where you want to be and plan for it.

Meanwhile, if you do have a problem, handle it as coolly as Jim Lovel in the movie Apollo 13 with "Houston, we have a problem". Don't be like the control room going into a panic when the shit hits the fan. One thing at a time and let's work the problem together.

And now, Boogie on!


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