Author Archive

Make your Grandmother Happy – Get Her SIRIUS

Friday, August 14th, 2009
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Our audience skews a bit young, after all, the average satellite radio listener is 43 years old, and being an internet store, our average customer might be younger still.

Since we don’t think of older people and satellite radio together usually, I want to fill you in on a secret.  Your grandparents will FLIP OUT if you get them SIRIUS for a gift.  For example, take my Nana.  Satellite radio is perfect for her because she:

  1. has some time to kill, especially lately, as she has been recovering from shoulder surgery
  2. is used to listening to the radio a lot, most of her life has been spent during the years when FM radio was a major form of entertainment
  3. loves music (and news) and wants to access the ever-proliferating amount of content, but has NO PATIENCE for figuring out complicated technologies like internet radio, ipods, itunes, etc.  The genius of satellite radio for her is that it puts modern technology into a familiar interface.

I attached a voice mail message that she left me a couple days ago (on my birthday) where she talks about how much she likes the Tivoli Sirius table radio that I sent her a few weeks ago. Take a listen.

SIRIUS radio is a great gift for grandparents everywhere.

Nana’s MP3

Me and My Nana in Door County

Me and My Nana in Door County

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New Shipping Option for Light Items

Thursday, August 13th, 2009
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Mail Innovations is Cheaper for Light Items

At TSS-Radio we always only used high-end shipping options – UPS and USPS Priority.  You won’t find us sending packages Parcel Post or First Class or using un-proven shippers and logistics companies, since they are not reliable enough.

However, for cheap and light products, like a satellite radio power cord, paying an additional $5 or in shipping stinks.

Yesterday we unveiled a new shipping option for that circumstance.  It is called UPS Mail Innovations that is as reliable as USPS Priority but much cheaper.

It works by having UPS deliver the package to your local post office and USPS delivers it to you.  Since UPS takes it almost all the way there, the reliability and speed are much better than similarly low-cost shipping methods from the USPS.

Mail Innovations is Cheaper for Light Items

This method is slightly slower than USPS Priority, but it still gets to most of the US within 3-4 days (green and blue areas).

Mail Innovations Transit Times

Mail Innovations Transit Times

Mail Innovations does not offer tracking, but it does offer delivery confirmation, which is almost as good.  In fact, it is the same delivery confirmation available on the more expensive USPS Priority option.  However, it’s confusing because you have to go to the USPS website, NOT the UPS website (even though this option has UPS in the name). See below for an example of what the delivery confirmation information looks like (on a test package that I sent to my home).

Delivery Confirmation

Delivery Confirmation

Hopefully this additional shipping option makes shopping at TSS-Radio more affordable and convenient.

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Sad Road Trip Without SIRIUS

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
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Mountains and Reindeer in Colorado

Two weekends ago I went to a wedding in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  I have been to Steamboat a few times before, but always in the winter to snowboard.  In the winter one of the biggest appeals of Steamboat over other ski areas out west is that it has a little airport about 20 miles away that has direct flights from Chicago – much nicer than driving out I-70 from DIA to get to Breckenridge or Vail.

However, in the summer there are no direct flights from Chicago to Steamboat / Hayden Airport and I had to drive up from Denver.  It’s about a 3.5 hour drive and my wife couldn’t come so I was doing it solo.  I rather like road trips and I took the long way, through Rocky Mountain National Park, which was beautiful, and spent the morning hanging out in Boulder, which I enjoyed as well.

I am really really cheap, especially when it comes to travel, especially when I’m not traveling with my wife (who is not that cheap).  So I completely skimped on the rental car and got a $20 / day rental from Hotwire.  The car itself wasn’t bad, a Carolla from Avis.  Because of the mountains I would have preferred something with a little more power.  But what really sucked is that it didn’t come with satellite radio.

I am also really spoiled since, as an owner of TSS-Radio, I have satellite in my car and home and I completely take it for granted.  After about 20 minutes of listening to FM I was seriously pissed off – the stations sucked, the reception was awful in the mountains, there were way too many commercials and the playlists were generic and boring.

More Mountains

More Mountains

In Boulder I hit up a cd store and bought 4 cds for about $50.  I was a pretty happy camper for the first two listens of each cd, or about 3 hours.  Unfortunately, between the drive there and the drive back (thanks to some horrible traffic on I-70 coming back) I had about 8 hours of driving total.

Lesson?  I should have paid the extra $10-15 to get a fancier rental car with satellite radio in it.

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Sirius Power Cord

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
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One of the most frequent problems that people have with their SIRIUS setup is that they break their SIRIUS power cord.  Fortunately, we stock a replacement option for most SIRIUS radios, both for in-car setups and in-house setups.  If you need help picking out the right one for your setup go here or give us a call at 773-772-4340.

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We are Hustlers

Friday, January 16th, 2009
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This morning I was hit by a really excellent blog post entitled Work Smarter and Harder from another Chicago entrepreneur, Jeffrey Kalmikoff from Threadless about how he views his work/life balance.

What became very clear to me is that there are two distinct types of entrepreneurs: hustlers and lifestylers. Me? I’m a hustler (aww, yeah!). I escape 9-5 by working 8 to 8. I work weekends. When I’m not working, I’m thinking about work. Sound bad? Maybe we have different ideas of what work is. Work has no negative connotations to me. It’s equally rewarding as it is inspiring; equally exciting as it is relaxing. I always have my eye on the prize: making things better all the time for our company, for our community and for our customers. It’s not that I have no life, hustlers are expert life-multitaskers. They recognize that ideas or opportunities can arise at any time, and they’re always prepared. Ever seen Gary Vaynerchuk speak or watch WLTV? Hustler. Ever notice how Mark Ecko always has 100 things going on at a time? Hustler. Hustlers work smarter and harder.

That’s how Taylor and I feel about this business.  Thanks for putting it so clearly @fancyjeffrey.

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Being a Generalist is More Fun

Monday, June 9th, 2008
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One thing that makes TSS-Radio unique and, I hope, a good place to work, is that everyone here has multiple jobs.  Unlike many companies that have armies of customer service reps, who handle 100s of calls per day and are judged on how quickly they “resolve” the calls, at TSS-Radio almost everyone answers the phone and works on other projects between calls.  Other projects include: researching complicated issues for customers, artwork for the website, descriptions on the website, answering questions on sirius-related forums, researching new products, etc. Even the bosses – managers and founders of the company – answer customer phone calls and emails.  Here are some reasons why we think this is a good idea:

1. Better customer service – because we are not exhausted and under pressure to maximize the number of calls we answer we have more time and patience for our customers.  Lots of us have worked in the “other” kind of customer service job and know from experience how much it sucks.

2. It makes us smarter – the same people writing content for our website and ordering new products are also talking to customers.  This allows us to write content and order products that our customers are telling us they want.

3. Training – those of us who have been here the longest, can better teach our new employees by example.

BusinessWeek recently wrote an article about a sports clothing company in Canada called Lululemon, that is much bigger than TSS-Radio, but where every employee, even the CEO, needs to spend a full day each month doing “front-line” work like customer service or sales.

Alexander the Great, one of history’s most successful leaders and warriors,  is also famous for leading from the front, fighting like any other soldier.

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Example: Installing a Vehicle Specific Mount

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
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Josh made this cool video of installing a Vehicle Specific Mount along with a  Slim Swivel.  The Slim Swivel is a good idea for everyone because it provides some separation between the car kit and the Vehicle Specific Mount, making it easier to plug the wires into the back of the Vehicle Specific Mount.

As you can see in the video, installing a Vehicle Specific Mount can be quite easy. Please keep in mind, however, that the difficulty does vary depending on the model of your car.

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It was nuts here during the holidays

Thursday, January 24th, 2008
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The holiday season for TSS-Radio peaks about two weeks before christmas and subsides at the end of the January.  It is a fun time for us because we help lots of people, the adrenaline flows and we are on the top of our game, but everyone is a bit wiped right now and are glad that it is beginning to slow.

Here is a video of a busy day at TSS-Radio –

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIlhiZEgofE[/youtube]

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Stiletto available for pre-order

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006
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We are now making the Sirius Stiletto available for pre-order. This is the email that we sent to our pre-order customers yesterday:

Thank you for joining our Sirius Stiletto pre-order notification list.

As promised, we will keep you updated as we learn more about timing and the details of the Stiletto’s capabilities.

Timing / Order Process

Based upon our latest conversations with SIRIUS and Directed, we expect that the Stiletto will first become available to retailers, including us, near the end of September or in early October.

As a member of our notification list, you have the opportunity to reserve one of the first Stilettos by following this link:

http://www.tss-radio.com/products/sirius-stiletto-live-portable-receiver-sl100pk1

– we expect significant demand for the Stiletto and recommend that, if you want to be one of the first to get one, you reserve it now.

Simply proceed to the above link, add the Stiletto to your card, and checkout. Your credit card will not be charged, we just store your credit card information so that we can charge you when the Stilettosarrive. This process also checks with your bank to ensure that your credit card has capacity for the charge.

We have placed a very large order of Stilettos from SIRIUS and expect to be one of the first retailers to receive them. Upon receiving them we will ship all orders in the order they were received. If you are one of the first several hundred to pre-order, yours will be shipped the day that we receive them, if you are later on our pre-order list yours will probably ship the next day. We expect to ship all pre-ordered Stilettos within 2 days after they arrive.

Details on the Stiletto

The SIRIUS Stiletto SL100PK1 is SIRIUS’ first truly portable device. Unlike previous devices, which can only receiving programming when docked, the Stiletto can receive live programming while undocked. That means that you can listen to SIRIUS live while you are jogging, riding the bus, grocery shopping, etc. However, to receive live programming you must be in an area where you can get reception.

If you are in a big office building, or a very solid home with lots of trees around it, or a concrete bunker, you will not be able to receive  live programming from the satellites.

However, for situations where you cannot get reception, Stiletto can receive live programming via a wireless internet connection. There are two limitations to using the Stiletto in this way. First, you must have access to a wireless network (WiFi, also known as 802.11)We expect that most people will find the

Stiletto’s wireless internet capabilities most useful in their homes and offices where they have a wireless internet connection but would not otherwise get reception.

The Stiletto contains 2GB of flash memory to allow storage of up to 100 Hours of SIRIUS content. By connecting the Stiletto to your PC you can also upload, store and manage MP3 and WMA files for later listening on your Stiletto.

The Screen is brighter and has twice the resolution of the S50 screen.

We have spent significant time playing with a demo Stiletto from SIRIUS and we really like the interface. The navigation on the unit is easy and intuitive, essential for a device of such complex functionality.

Based on our early experiences, we expect there will be far fewer initial problems with the Stiletto than there were with the S50.

Future Firmware updates allow the device to get even better over time.

A big advantage of the Stiletto is that it can download firmware updates from a wireless internet (WiFi/802.11) connection. That means that, if you like, you can use the full functionality of the Stiletto without ever connecting it to a PC (Apple-users will love this).

Firmware updates are optional.

While you don’t need any accessories to get the full functionality of your Stiletto, there are a wide variety of accessories that will allow you to get SIRIUS content in a wide variety of contexts:

The Stiletto Vehicle Kit will allow you to connect the Stiletto to your car stereo and will be available at the same time as the Stiletto

for $69.99 you can pre-order your vehicle kit here – http://www.tss-radio.com/products/sirius-stiletto-vehicle-docking-kit-slv1.

The Stiletto Home Kit will allow you to connect the Stiletto to your home stereo and will be available at the same time for $69.99 you can pre-order your home kit here – http://www.tss-radio.com/products/sirius-stiletto-home-docking-kit-slh1

The Sirius Soloist is a small docking station with built-in cutting edge NXT flat-panel speakers and will be available shortly after the Stiletto for $149.99. The Soloist is perfect for using with your Stiletto in an office or a small room in your house that does not already have a stereo system. You can pre-order your Soloist here http://www.tss-radio.com/products/sirius-soloist-universal-sound-system

The Stiletto Boombox is a standard SIRIUS boombox that works with the Stiletto and will be available shortly after the Stiletto for $99.99. The Boombox is useful for the deck, a boat, camping or other environments where you want a solution that is rugged and portable. You can pre-order your Stiletto Boombox here – http://www.tss-radio.com/products/sirius-stiletto-universal-boombox-slbb2

Keep in mind that the Stiletto does not come with any of the above accessories. We expect that the accessories will be in short supply as well; if you would like one, please reserve it by following the above links and proceeding to checkout.

We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more about the timing and functionality of the SIRIUS Stiletto.

Thank you,

TSS-Radio Team

773-772-4340

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A Sirius Install Example in a Honda Odyssey

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006
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I am going to try to post a nice example of a SIRIUS installation, along with instructions every week. We will kick it off with an install of a Sportster Replay in a 2006 Honda Odyssey. This install was done by jimmyha from SiriusBackStage and was originally posted Here.
Jimmy bought his Odyssey with the Nav system and DVD player, but Honda only integrates that system with XM. Unlike for General Motors cars, there does not exist a GM Sirius Connect equivalent to adapt the Honda system from XM to SIRIUS. Hopefully SIRIUS will release such a system in the future but as of today we are not aware of any such plans.
This install began with the installation of the antenna. As highlighted in red in the image below, Jimmy attached the sirius antenna above the windshield and routed it down under the rubber molding to the door where he squeezed it into the rubber molding around the mirror and through the door jam without kinking the antenna wire.

Then he ran the antenna under the glove box and stuffed it under the console and through the small storage area at the bottom of the console. This storage area is right below the accessory outlets, so running the power to it was easy.

When the radio is removed, the docking station and power cable tuck neatly into the storage compartment.

In tihs install the sound is transmitted from the Sirius radio to the radio in the car using the FM transmitter that is built into all SIRIUS radios. Better sound quality could have been achieved by hardwiring the audio connection using a Wired FM Modulator Relay or a Aux Input Adapter.
The advantages of this install are 1. that it was quick and 2. that it did not require any modification to the vehicle and can be removed in an instant if necessary.

Thanks to Jimmyha from SIRIUSBackstage for letting us post his install on our blog.

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