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CED Digest Vol. 7 No. 13  •  3/30/2002


20 Years Ago In CED History:

March 31, 1982:
* In a televised news conference, President Reagan rejects a mutual freeze at
current levels of U.S. and Soviet nuclear forces, but he states he would seek
to negotiate a dramatic reduction in nuclear arms by both sides.

April 1, 1982:
* Heavy storms sweep across the United States from California to the North East
and South East producing winds, tornadoes, hail, snow and rain resulting in 64
deaths over the week-long period.

April 2, 1982:
* Argentina seizes the Falkland Islands, a British dependency in the South
Atlantic Ocean, at the same time seizing the nearby South Georgia Island and
South Sandwich Islands. The several thousand Argentine troops easily overrun
the 84 British marines guarding the islands.
* Future CED title in widespread theatrical release: Diva.

April 3, 1982:
* British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher orders a large naval force on an
8000 mile journey to the Falkland Islands and announces the freezing of
Argentine assets in Great Britain.
* American character actor Warren Oates dies of a heart attack at age 53. He
appears in the CED titles Major Dundee, In the Heat of the Night, The Wild
Bunch, Stripes, Dillinger, Tom Sawyer, and posthumously in Blue Thunder.

April 4, 1982:
* Suriname's President and Prime Minister Henk R. Chin A Sen resigns. The
country's armed forces take control of the government.

April 5, 1982:
* Lord Carrington resigns as British foreign secretary because of the Falklands
crisis. Francis Pym, leader of the House of Commons, is named to replace him.

April 6, 1982:
* The White House suspends efforts to formulate a plan for transferring welfare
and food stamp programs to the states.
* Egypt's U.N. Ambassador Ahmad Esmat Abdel Meguid outlines a peace plan for
the Middle East during a meeting of regional countries in Kuwait. Meguid,
adhering closely to a plan proposed earlier by Saudi Arabia, calls for
recognition of Israel and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state
in the West Bank and Gaza within the boundaries existing prior to the 1967 war.
Algeria, Yemen, Syria, and the Palestine Liberation Organization immediately
reject the proposal.

Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2002 16:45:18 -0800
From: "Tom Howe" <>
Subject: RE: J/K Chassis Wobbly Picture

>I have an SKT-400 and an SJT-300 that both seem to be having a problem of
>the picture very wobbly as the disc plays.   The picture quality and
>sound quality are 100%, but the entire picture wobbles thru-out the
>entire side of play.  I can re-load the disc and the problem will either
>get somewhat better, or somewhat worse.

This sounds like a problem somewhere in the armstretcher circuit that provides
time base correction in the CED system. If you have ever played an audio LP
with the spindle hole stamped off-center you'll understand what this circuit
does. In the case of the audio LP, the sound flutters as the angular velocity
of the stylus tip increases and decreases. In the case of CED's, jitter in the
video image is visible. RCA went to great lengths to achieve Zero TIR, a state
where the center hole is perfectly cut into the stamper used to press discs,
but there could be small variations, and because the disc needs to freely drop
onto the spindle in J/K players, the spindle is slightly smaller than the disc
center hole.

The armstretcher circuit uses a phase lock loop to correct these small
variations, which causes a transducer to constantly "lengthen" and "shorten"
the stylus tip as the disc spins. If the loop circuit is broken this transducer
becomes non-functional, and no time base corrections are made. To fix this
problem it will be necessary to troubleshoot the armstretcher circuit in
conjunction with the player service manual.


Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2002 19:20:31 -0800
From: "Tom Howe" <>
Subject: Goodbye Digital Convergence

Digital Convergence, the company that was distributing the free CueCat optical
scanner which can catalog CED titles, appears to have gone completely out of
business. Their web site has been non-existent for a few weeks and RadioShack
has recently started having their stores dispose of any scanners remaining in
inventory. Some people have reported finding multiple cases of the scanners in
the dumpsters behind RadioShack stores. If you want a scanner, now would be a
good time to check with your local RadioShack to see if they're still giving
them away or have already tossed them. Some of these scanners were made with a
USB interface, but the plentiful PS/2 variety can be adopted with a PS/2 to USB
adapter. RadioShack has a cheap one available for $9.99. I'll update the CueCat
page once I determine this company is truly gone: For the purpose of cataloging CED titles of other items with UPC's, it doesn't really matter if the company is gone, as they gave away over 10 million of the units. They'll be turning up in thrift stores and on Ebay for a long time to come. I even brought one in a thrift store for $1.99 as it had a Forbes logo indicating it was one of the first ones made. Digital Convergence appears to have never made any money past their initial investors, so it's not surprising they went down giving away these units for free. The Dallas-based company laid off most of its employees last Summer, but I haven't seen any news reports since then. Here's an article from the Dallas News describing the company's woes, so they may post a follow-up if more details emerge: CueCat Firm Fires Most Workers, Restructures 06/16/2001 By Katie Fairbank / The Dallas Morning News The Dallas-based technology company behind the CueCat computer-scanning device fired the majority of its 225 staffers on Friday as part of a restructuring. Employees leaving the local offices of Digital Convergence Corp. said about 160 workers in Dallas were told that their jobs were eliminated, leaving about a dozen workers to maintain the company's servers and answer phones. Some employees in the New York office also were let go, according to company spokeswoman Molly Reilly, who declined to comment on the total number of jobs cut. "The staff has been significantly reduced," she said. "But a number of employees throughout the company have decided to stay on as unpaid consultants." Ms. Reilly said privately held Digital Convergence will continue to honor its contracts with investors, which include NBC parent General Electric Co. and Dallas-based Belo. "Belo is going to continue with the Digital Convergence technology in the same way that it always has," said Skip Cass, Belo senior vice president. The company uses the technology at its media properties, which include The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV (Channel 8). Digital Convergence's technology enables consumers to scan bar codes in publications and on product labels in order to link directly to Web pages. The software also picks up special television signals to send nearby computers to related Web sites. This week, NBC launched a promotional contest using the linking technology. An NBC executive said the company has been assured that Digital Convergence will honor its contract throughout the campaign, which ends July 11. GE has an 8.94 percent stake in Digital Convergence. Calls to the company Friday were not returned. Belo has a stake of about 6.92 percent and invested $37.5 million in Digital Convergence, according to Mr. Cass. He said he could not comment on how Belo would handle its investment. RadioShack Corp. wrote off its $30 million investment in Digital Convergence in the first quarter, saying that Digital Convergence has had problems getting financing because of the technology industry downturn. The Fort Worth-based electronics retailer manufactured and distributed Digital Convergence's free handheld scanners. RadioShack plans to continue handling the devices. "We have stock in the stores, and we're continuing to distribute," said Laura Moore, senior vice president. "I believe manufacturing has been completed." Digital Convergence spokesman Peter Eschbach said the company can support its customers and investors with its remaining crew. "Quite frankly, we're even going after new business," he said. Digital Convergence gave fired employees no severance pay. The workers were told they would receive stock options if the company's current financial situation changes. "They could have value, if at a future point we have an IPO or enter a strategic alliance with a public company," Ms. Reilly said. In March, Digital Convergence said market conditions forced it to withdraw a planned initial public offering. The company had intended to issue 10 million shares at an offering price of $11 a share.


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