Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

Category: technology

The same thing

Blurred shadow of dirigible, zeppelin

I spend too much time looking at commons images. The images you can use and share without worrying about copyright or payment. They can improve a piece of writing and can sometimes offer an inspiration. They are generally one of the internet’s better rabbit holes, a glimpse into the past but also an alternate history, a motley collection of professional and amateur photography, strange illustrations from stranger books, carvings, engravings, lithographs, screengrabs. A world once there, a world gone, a world never known about.

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Person/a

Couple in disguise in back of car

Friend of the blog Tim has written a great post about the distinction between his written personality and his personality in real life. You should go away and read his thoughts rather than mine. Tim is incredibly eloquent, clear and heartfelt. Because that is just how he writes. That is what he does. Read the rest of this entry »

Split personalities

Double exposure of men standing on street

I remember as a kid being on holiday and going to some sort of country fête-type thing. On one of the stalls was this guy with a CB radio. I was fascinated by the idea that from this one box this guy could communicate with people from around the world. He asked me to name a country and said he’d try to find someone to talk to from there. I said Tristan da Cunha, and he unsurprisingly couldn’t find anyone. I wasn’t a smart arse, I promise. I just liked Tristan da Cunha for some reason. And I liked the idea of speaking to other people over the radio. I liked the handles they used, the anonymity and the freedom.
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Sports stuff I’ve enjoyed this week

Here’s some of what I’ve enjoyed reading in the world of sport this week…

I’m always a sucker for nostalgia, and there’s something I love about obsolete technology too, so I enjoyed reading Twohundredpercent’s look at the imminent demise of teletext very much indeed. The television text service was for many years the main way to access the latest football scores on a Saturday afternoon, with the added drama of having to wait for the right page to come up (and then inevitably looking away and missing them at the crucial moment). In this age where everything is available on demand, and Soccer Saturday’s constantly scrolling results, it’s fun to think back to how things were in simpler times.

Geegeez looks at the trends for November’s Melbourne Cup, if you could do with a few pointers for one of the world’s biggest horse races. I could always do with some help with how to not lose my money, so this is very welcome.

And there’s fun to be had at the Rogue’s Baseball Index, a sort of urban dictionary of, well, baseball.

What sporting stuff have you been looking at this week?

Watching sport on television – no longer a passive activity?

Radio_News_Sep_1928_Cover

I recently read an article in the International Herald Tribune about how sports coverage on television in the States is evolving. Cable companies have started to integrate twitter feeds into their service, so viewers can not only watch the feed while they watch a game, but also tweet themselves through their remote control.

mlb.tv, meanwhile, has integrated twitter into its media player, so you can tweet (with hash tags handily added for the game in question) and read the feed as the game progresses. I’ve tried this myself and it really is a fun addition. I imagine it works well with sports like baseball and (American) football as there are so many intervals in play. As the match is made of a series of discrete moments there are plenty of opportunities to tweet, and read other people’s tweets. Would this work so well in a faster-paced sport like basketball, ice hockey or football? I’m not sure.

As the article suggests, this sort of interaction makes watching sport at home a lot more like watching sport in a bar or with friends. Rather than just letting the game wash over you, you can state your opinion and find out what other people think, in real time from the comfort of your very own comfy chair.

‘Interactivity’ isn’t necessarily new in sporting coverage on television. Here in England, the BBC has experimented with ‘red button’ technology, where the viewer can choose which match to watch at Wimbledon, or which audio stream to listen to when watching the football – the TV commentary, radio commentary, or no commentary at all. Sky has offered similar options, plus offering a number of camera options for games. But did anyone ever watch the player cam, focusing on one man all game?

What’s interesting about the twitter developments are that the ‘interactivity’ is all about creating dialogues, between viewers and also between the viewer and the television company. Previous technology has concentrated on providing a series of viewing options. The experience remained a passive one. Now the viewer isn’t restricted to shouting impotently at the TV. Now s/he can share those views. And have them saved for posterity on his/her twitter feed.

Will this revolutionise television? Probably not in the short-term. There will always be plenty of people who aren’t interested in articulating their views, and certainly not interested in reading the views of others. There is also the quality control issue. If the feed is full of drivel, it won’t catch on.

However, if it can be built upon and refined, interactive sporting coverage on television could work. It certainly seems the best ‘genre’ for it. It’s on regularly, has a dedicated and opinionated audience, and its integral unpredictability should, most of the time, bring up plenty to comment on. A twitter feed alone may not be the answer, but something more sophisticated might be just around the corner, that will put a stop to television being a purely passive pastime for the majority of viewers.