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Skunk Works (A Digital Cable Tuner Saga)
Posted by Chris Morley

When you hear of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works division – the loving name given to their Advanced Development Projects Unit – you might think of the U2 spy plane or the SR-71, both of which were aircraft that were ahead of their time and encompassed the best of American aeronautical technology. But the Skunk Works’ story is one of true grit and forged out of dire necessity.

Formed in WWII, Skunk Works was tasked with developing aircraft capable of combating German technology. Their first plane, the P-38 Lightning, would prove to be the most successful of the war. Later, a small team at Skunk Works rolled out the United States’ first jet prototype in 143 days, the P-80 Shooting Star.

Similarly, our team of product development engineers has been hard at work getting ready to roll out digital cable support in our media centers. We started late to the game as the big name OEMs have been working on it for three years. We have had three months. The documentation was sparse, we had to jump through legal hurdles, and forge new relationships with partners like Cable Labs. To be honest with you, we were greeted with raised eyebrows when we talked about our intentions to deliver cable cards to our customers, but very quickly everyone found out how serious we were. So serious, in fact, that we not only completed our validation and engineering (which I consider to be some of the most grueling of my career - couldn't have done it without ya, Iggy!), but we were the first to submit our conformance documents to Cable Labs since the program officially launched in November of last year.

I consider this a prime example of what a motivated, resourceful, and agile company can do to be truly innovative in a market where the term is thrown around like a beach ball.

So lately we’ve been getting high fives around the office and from Microsoft, Intel, and AMD. NVIDIA’s pleased that they’ll be part of the story too, and we are all very happy that our customers are going to be getting these systems soon, as we will be the first company to actually ship a digital cable certified system. Our first customer systems will be rolling out of our facilities late this week, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Expect reviews to be popping up from the usual suspects as well…

Take a gander at the Velocity Micro CineMagix series, all of which feature ATI's TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner (OCUR).

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[3.19.2007 @ 2:35 PM]  [4 comments]  [Digg it]

Why you get the best customer experience here
Posted by Randy Copeland - Founder

Those of you who have checked in on this blog before know that a near obsessive committment to customer satisfaction and the customer experience drives everyone at Velocity Micro to excel. And that's what I'm very proud today to announce Velocity Micro's launch of the first ever concierge service in the PC industry.

We've created the concierge program to provide a fully first class experience to our customers. Much like a concierge at an upscale hotel, our concierges will be able to help customers with any question or issue they raise - no matter what it is, no matter which department it involves. The concierges are here to be the customers' advocates inside the company.

In that same vein, we've introduced a number of other significant changes that I believe will benefit the customer. We've increased the starting salary of our expert technical support team more than 25% in order to attract absolutely top drawer talent. We've just secured a new facility to house our customer care department - to give them state of the art facilities to best meet their needs. We've also recently hired a new Vice President of Operations, Brent Stanton. Brent's worked at the industry giants, like Dell, and will be helping to institute even higher, even stricter measures for quality and efficiency.

These are huge innovations - innovations you just won't see at other PC companies.

I recognize that Velocity Micro has experienced some growing pains over the past year - it would be hard not to when you more than double in size. These steps I've just outlined are our response to those growing pains and then some. I am committed to delivering the absolute best customer experience available - raising the bar beyond what the customer expects to what we believe they deserve.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, the state of support and customer satisfaction in the industry is poor. Major OEMs - focused on pleasing shareholders and managing their numbers - have chosen to cut the quality of tech support in order to produce a more attractive bottom line. Velocity Micro refuses to make that decision. As we continue to grow, delivering the best customer experience and the highest levels of customer satisfaction will remain our mission.

And so today we bring you the first ever concierge service in the PC industry and innovations that reflect our investment in our customers.
[3.13.2007 @ 1:35 PM]  [3 comments]  [Digg it]

The End of the PC Era is Canceled
Posted by Randy Copeland - Founder

Many naysayers are predicting that the PC will be replaced with various gadgets and appliances in the coming years. I just don't see it happening. Sure, the PC will continue to evolve, and more powerful notebooks will replace desktops for some, but the user interface, raw power, and incredible flexibility of the tower PC is going to keep it around for many years to come.

Can you imagine posting an item for sale on Ebay from your Xbox? As long as a TV is involved, consoles will not replace the PC. How about editing your pictures from that gorgeous new Cingular Blackjack? Storing your entire video, photo, and music files on a notebook? Alright, would you consider playing World of Warcraft (or any first person shooter) without a great, full sized keyboard? Draft your next report using your Wii? No, a fast desktop PC is far better at any of these tasks, and that's for the foreseeable future.

The beauty is, a fast PC can do all of these things simultaneously, thanks to multi-core processors, amazing new video cards, and gobs of affordable yet speedy storage in hard drives up to 750GB per drive.

And then there is the upgrade. While you can hack many of the consumer devices around, only the PC is specifically designed to continuously be upgraded to take advantage of the latest hardware technologies. Open architecture is what we live by, but I dare you to find a console or consumer device that actually encourages the owner to open it and replace parts.

So where does that leave us? We still need a great desktop computer for the very best gaming, media editing and storage, archiving, and even the most enjoyable web surfing experience. I have access to every fun toy and gadget on the market, plus some amazingly powerful Velocity Micro notebooks, but I'm still sitting at my brand new Vista powered desktop writing this blog, and I predict that every important PC activity I perform will be done on a desktop PC for at least 6 more years, and probably 10+.
[3.06.2007 @ 8:47 AM]  [1 comments]  [Digg it]

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