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COUNTDOWN Charter customers can expect no disruption with upcoming broadcast conversion

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For part of each work day, Charles Franklin’s role shifts subtly between salesman and educator. His job on the showroom floor now includes correcting public misconceptions and debunking misinformation. “There’s a lot of confusion on the part of customers themselves,” says Franklin, sales manager of the local Tweeter home entertainment store. The source of the confusion is a federal mandate calling for conversion to digital television broadcasting – the deadline for which was recently pushed back to June 12. However, some local stations may be going forward with the transition on Feb. 17th. The good news for Charter Communications customers is they don’t need to do a thing. The deadline will come and go seamlessly, without them having to lift a finger or spend a dime extra. “This is all going to really happen backstage to our customers,” says Jim Corrin, Charter’s director of government relations. That’s because Charter long ago made the investment in digital technology that will pay even greater

to digital

dividends starting in February. Existing customers won’t have to buy new televisions or worry about disruption of their service. The format change is the result

of a law passed by Congress in the 1990s requiring full-power television broadcast stations to convert from analog to digital signals by 2009. Most are already broadcasting both. The goal is to free up part of the available broadcast spectrum for use by public safety services, such as police, fire and ambulance. Pat Hayes, Charter’s regional director of technical operations, says the existing system’s vulnerability was revealed when emergency teams responding to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York weren’t able to communicate with one another. But the mandate will also allow the Federal Communications Commission to auction off some of the spectrum to companies that wish to offer new digital services. That decision is likely to give consumers more programming choices. The conversion is certain to revolutionize television viewing habits. The sharper images, improved sound quality and greater capacity of today’s digital technology have become the industry gold standard

for home entertainment. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Americans are keeping up with the learning curve. Franklin reports his customers often have difficulty distinguishing among the various types of television technology. He’s taken to comparing it to the three grades of gas sold at service stations, with analog being the least powerful at 87 octane, digital at 89 and HD at 93. (The law is forcing retailers to phase out analog TV sales so they won’t be an option much longer.) Franklin says the technological complexity has made customers more cautious. Where decisions were once made in a single visit, now they tend to come and go several times before buying a television. When they do finally reach for their wallets, the average person is spending $1,000 for a 42-inch digital screen. Franklin says the same set would have cost $8,000-$9,000 five years ago. But confusion is also being caused by some retailers, who either by deceit or honest error have persuaded customers they must buy a new digital television. And that’s simply not true.

FREE VOD/Pay Per View Movie Max value $4.99

888.GET.CHARTER

2009 Charter Communications. Redeemable at any Charter walk-in location. Not valid on events, specials, or adult titles. Void where prohibited by law. Any other use constitutes fraud. Only valid to current customers with accounts in good standing. Cash values $.01. Not redeemable for cash. Residential customers only. Customer will pay all sales taxes. One coupon per household, per month. Non-transferable. Photocopies not accepted. Digital receiver may be required. Other restrictions may apply.

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Charter’s HD Lineup Enjoy true high-definition programming on Charter – unlike with satellite providers who claim to offer as many as 100 HD channels – when there aren’t 100 true HD channels currently available! A&E HD** Animal Planet HD** Charter Braves HD** Cinemax HDTV-East** Discovery HD** ESPN HD** ESPN2 HD** Food HD** Fox Sports Net South – HD** Fox Weather HD* FX HD** Golf HD** HBO HDTV-East** HDNet** HDNet Movies** HD Theater** HDPPV** HGTV HD** History Channel HD** National Geographic HD** NHL PPV** Palladia** SportSouth HD** Showtime HDTV-East** Starz HDTV-East** TBS HD** TLC HD** TNT – HD** The Weather Channel HD** Universal HD** WLOS-DT ABC* WYFF-DT NBC* WHNS-DT Fox* WSPA-DT CBS* WNTV-DT PBS* *HD equipment required **Charter HD equipment is required

© 2009 Charter Communications. All services and networks may not be available in all areas; lineups subject to change.

A digital-to-analog converter box – a device that makes DTV signals viewable on an analog set – is a one-time purchase; expect to pay from $40-$70 at select consumer electronics retailers. To help defray the cost, the Federal Government is offering U.S. households up to two $40 coupons to be used toward the purchase of certified converter boxes. For information or to request your coupons, call 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009); visit online at www.DTV2009.gov; apply by mail at PO Box 2000, Portland OR 97208; or fax 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632). Deaf or hearing-impaired callers may dial 1-877-5302634 (TTY). Coupons are free, but the supply is limited. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis through July 31, 2009. The coupons expire 90 days after they are issued – and cannot be re-

issued – so it’s important to review your information packet as soon as it comes in the mail. Still, there’s an easier – and more entertaining – way to navigate the digital conversion. “The simplest way to take care of matters is to become a Charter customer,” says Corrin. With Charter, you’ll be able to access the cable provider’s all-star line up of television and movie channels as well as its premium pay-per-view and on-demand movies and sports programming. Franklin recommends consumers use the existing conversion equipment as a buffer to insulate them from impulsive purchases. “You don’t have to rush and go out and buy a TV,” he says. “Do your due diligence.”

Gary Hyndman is a writer living in Greenville, SC.

…DIGITAL UPDATE… On February 17, some full-power broadcast television stations in the United States may stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital. The remaining stations may stop broadcasting analog sometime between March 14 and June 12 – the final deadline for terminating analog broadcasts under legislation passed by Congress and expected to be signed by President Obama.

Note: Congress has delayed the final transition until June 12, 2009. However, some local stations will be transitioning earlier, so it is wise to prepare now.

CONVERTER BOX COUPON PROGRAM

Until July 31, 2009, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has responsibility for administering the coupon program. (Please note that these coupons will expire 90 days after mailing). More information can be found at www.DTV2009.gov.

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eye More than meets the

Clutter creates chaos in your physical space AND your psyche

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strewn attic represents… well, you get the picture; clutter in certain parts of the house corresponds to chaos or confusion in certain aspects of your life. But even without symbolism, feng shui makes sense. “If you’re tripping over clutter in the entryway, you’re going to be angry as soon as you walk in the door,”

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RECOMMENDED READING

Interested in learning more about feng shui? Pick up one of the following books: • ““Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life: How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Happiness” Money, Respect and Happines by Karen Rauch Carter • “Does Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?: An Easy Plan for Losing Weight and Living More” by Peter Walsh • “Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston • “Creating Sacred Space With Feng Shui: Learn the Art of Space Clearing and Bring New Energy into Your Life” by Karen Kingston • “Interior Design with Feng Shui” by Sarah Rossbach and Lin Yun or ki ng

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Hamilton says. “If you see chaos every time you pull into the garage, it’s going to create negative feelings.” Once clutter is addressed, feng shui principles – some simple, some complex – can be used for placing furniture, choosing colors and accessories, and adjusting spaces according to the “bagua,” an octagonal-shaped map that allows you to enhance any living or working area to bring positive chi into specific aspects of your life such as career, relationships, family, health, creativity and children. In your bedroom, for example, place the bed – with a nightstand on either side – so that it’s approachable from both sides (a single nightstand or space to climb in on only one side of the bed is symbolic of solitude). Be sure to have the headboard against a solid wall, as this generates a feeling of safety and security, and don’t place the bed in a direct line with the door. Hang artwork that makes you feel joyous – place your favorite piece opposite your bed – but save family photographs for other rooms. Choose soft, natural colors overall to enhance tranquility or consider rich earth and skin tones for coziness, then add in just a few accent pieces in “passion colors” such as red or pink to spark romantic energy. “Feng shui works – it definitely works,” says Senac. The name is strange, the concepts seem far out, but if people give it a chance they’re usually amazed at the results. “Feng shui will enhance your home, and it will enhance your life, too!”

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Clearing clutter is fairly simple – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, says Carol Hamilton, a certified feng shui consultant and trainer in Greenville. Here are a few of her recommendations to get the process going: DO set an intention. Visualize all the positive benefits of getting – and staying – organized. DON’T judge yourself. Having clutter doesn’t make you a “bad” person (though it does inhibit the flow of good energy). DO bring something joyful to the process. Open a window to let in fresh air and sunshine; turn on beautiful music; wear wonderful, comfortable clothes. DON’T “binge clean.” Things didn’t get messy in one day, so don’t expect to get organized in a single day, either. Take it one room at a time – or, if necessary, one box or one drawer at a time. DO have a system. Have boxes or bags marked “discard” and “donate” for nolonger-useful items that are leaving your house. DON’T be afraid to ask for help. Bring in a non-judgmental friend or relative – someone who has no emotional attachment to the clutter. Better yet, if money allows, hire a certified professional organizer or feng shui consultant. io at uc

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GET GOING

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There’s more to clutter than meets the eye – even if it’s hidden in the attic or shoved under the bed. Whether piled, stuffed, boxed or scattered, clutter creates chaos. And that chaos, many believe, extends beyond our physical space to negatively influence the flow of events in our lives. Disordered accumulation is nothing new – indeed, stuff’s been piling up for thousands of years – but there’s a resurgence in the idea that clearing clutter changes more than our immediate surroundings, according to local feng shui practitioners. An ancient Chinese practice that directs placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony, feng shui – which is pronounced “fung shway” and literally means “wind and water” – has enjoyed a renaissance of late as people struggle to find balance in their 21st century lives. Feng shui is all about “chi” – that’s the universal energy permeating everything around us, including our own bodies – and clutter is the antithesis of chi. Good feng shui encourages the flow of fresh, vibrant chi into and throughout our homes, which in turn nourishes a positive flow of chi in our bodies. Clutter inhibits, or sometimes completely blocks, this vital energy. “The more clutter there is, and the longer it stays, the more negative energy it collects,” says Michele Senac, a certified feng shui practitioner and interior redesigner in Taylors, who recommends re-organizing every closet, every drawer, every room, even – especially – the garage. “It’s essential that clutter be addressed.” Touch every item and ask yourself: Do I need it? Do I use it? Does it work? Does it fit? If the answer is no, then let it go. “It’s hard for people to let go of clutter,” says Senac. Most of the time, there’s an emotional component to overaccumulation, so clearing it out is a process that’s somewhat akin to therapy. “You have to look at everything and release anything that is not serving you well,” Senac says. “You’re also symbolically letting go of anything useless in your life.”

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simply hide the clutter. Out of sight does NOT mean out of mind, according to feng shui principles, because any jam-packed space – whether under a bed, in a drawer or cabinet, even in the attic – inhibits the positive flow of chi. “Energetically, it is still there,” Hamilton says. “It doesn’t feel better because you aren’t hiding it from yourself.” Closets can be especially troublesome, crammed as they often are with clothes we no longer wear, sports equipment we no longer use, musical instruments we no longer play … the list goes on. “Sometimes we keep things because we’re holding onto an old identity,” Hamilton says, but refusing to release the past blocks the fullness of the future. This may be distressingly true when it comes to clothes. “You are the size you are – accept yourself, and don’t hang onto clothes that don’t fit.” Feng shui is full of symbolism – the attic symbolizes the brain, for example, so a well-organized attic represents wellordered thoughts while a scattered, trash-


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© 2009 Charter Communications. *Offer good through 2/28/09. Offer valid to new residential customers who have not subscribed to applicable service within the previous 30 days and have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Standard rates apply after promotional period ends. Certain equipment may be required at installation and charges may apply. A small population of viewers may have an analog non-cable ready television. These TVs may require additional equipment, charges may apply. Charter’s carriage of specific broadcast signals, and continued analog delivery, is subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Installation, taxes, fees and surcharges are extra. Programming line-up may vary. Charter reserves the right to determine the level of service to which this offer applies. Valid service address required. Credit approval, prepayment or major credit card may be required. All services provided are subject to the subscriber agreement which is subject to change. Charter’s carriage of specific broadcast signals, and continued analog delivery, is subject to change. Other restrictions may apply. Call for full details.

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our vision a world without breast cancer

IT BEGAN WITH A PROMISE… AND BECAME GLOBAL INSPIRATION. Passion, focus and dedication to a world without breast cancer. These are the traits the Upstate South Carolina Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure recognized in Milestone Custom Homes and Greenville Journal when it pledged its support for the construction of the Inspiration Home.

Benefitting:

Builder:

INSPIRATION HOME

Community:

The Upstate’s Premier Product Showcase Tour

Open Weekends April 17 through May 10 Participating Media:

Today’s Lite Rock

For ticket information visit www.IHomeSC.com 6

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The future comes

T

HOME

he house of tomorrow … today! Come discover all you’ve dreamed of – and so much more – at The Inspiration Home. Marrying old-world craftsmanship with innovative design, this brick-and-stone beauty goes beyond simple aesthetics to showcase an array of progressive building processes, materials and technology. “Everything you’ll find in the Inspiration Home is affordable and repeatable,” says Jerry Fay of Milestone Custom Builders. “We’re showcasing real possibilities for today’s home buyers.” The home-building industry’s hottest trends are on display here, proving it’s possible to blend quality and beauty with responsible sustainability; indeed, “green” has never looked so good. The exterior, for example, is constructed of all-natural thin-stone veneer, a green product boasting attractive color, feel and texture along with innate durability (read: less maintenance over the life of the home). The driveway features waterpervious pavers that allow rain to return to the soil, rather than create run-off. Inside, the Inspiration Home is filled with innovations promoting health and wellness. “‘Clean living’ is a growing concern for homeowners,” Fay says,

Cobblestone showplace exhibits inspiring array of possibilities

pointing to iHome features such as a reverse-osmosis water system – think bottled water straight from the kitchen faucet. Other appealing products include indoor air quality enhancers such as an anti-microbial spray applied on all surfaces and a natural purifying system that pumps oxygen and peroxide molecules throughout the house to attack bacteria on contact. Long-term economy begins with advanced insulation to reduce energy consumption and extends to a full complement of high-efficiency appliances making for more convenience and less expense. But it’s not all about saving money – indeed, the iHome features an intuitive floorplan that makes it delightfully easy for families to spend time together. Spread across 8,400 square feet on three levels, it comprises five bedrooms, seven baths and an abundance of flexible living space. A family command center is designed for household activities ranging from meals to homework. Other communal spaces were created to encourage family interaction as well – just imagine the potential family night fun in the iHome’s rec room, billiards area and home gym! There’s also a cutting-edge home theater and media room filled

with the latest technology from Charter Communications. For those who love to entertain, the iHome features a spacious grand room and a formal dining room that easily accommodate parties of all sizes; while cooking in the kitchen, you can still be part of the festivities by encouraging guests to mingle in the adjacent hearth room. For al fresco affairs, there’s a screened entertainment porch overlooking a resort-style swimming pool. Alone time matters, too, so the iHome floorplan includes privately situated bedrooms; children can enjoy their own loft, while parents luxuriate in an incredible master retreat complete with sitting room and spa bath. So come take a look! The Inspiration Home, located at 112 Putney Bridge Lane in Cobblestone, is open for weekend tours April 17-19, April 24-24, May 1-3 and May 8-10. Hours are noon-7PM on Fridays; 10AM-7PM on Saturdays; and 1-6PM on Sundays. Tickets are $12 in advance ($10 per person for parties of 10 or more), $15 at the door and $5 for ages 6-16; children 5 and under are admitted free. All proceeds benefit the Upstate South Carolina Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For details, visit www. ihomesc.com.

S P E C I A L

See the latest and greatest Charter products and services at iHome The clearest, true HDTV pictures. DVR and OnDemand programming that let you watch what you want, whenever you want. High-speed Internet connections that download even the biggest files in a flash. And home telephone service with unlimited local and long distance calling. All of the Charter cable services you could dream of will be integrated throughout the Inspiration Home to show how Charter truly “brings your home to life.” Charter Digital Cable® with Charter OnDemandTM reinvents the way families watch TV with hundreds of the latest movies and thousands of free shows. You’ll see how easy it is to start, stop, pause and rewind any program, anytime – including great entertainment from networks like MTV and HGTV and premium channels like HBO, Starz and Showtime. Charter HDTV® may just take your breath away – with picture clarity up to five times sharper than standard TV. The difference is clear in every room at iHome: a Charter HD receiver and HD programming on Charter Digital Cable® is the best way to experience today’s HD television sets – 10 in all at iHome! See how Charter DVR® (Digital Video Recording) ends family conflict over what to watch. Record one program while watching another. Pause and rewind live TV. Charter DVR is easy to use with just a few clicks of the remote. Charter High-SpeedTM Internet 20Meg (BRAND NEW IN THE UPSTATE!) will be the star of iHome’s family command center – where work and play can be done at lightning speed. Upload photos in seconds; download music and movies in a fraction of the time that DSL requires. And be sure to check out how Charter Wireless Home Networking allows family members to get on-line from any room in the home – even the outdoor living spaces – with up to five computers online at the same time.

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With Charter, enjoy the simplicity of three incredible services on one low bill. Go green, save some green. Call 888.GET.CHARTER

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