Archive for the ‘soccer’ Category
We’re getting down to the wire on these London 2012 Summer Olympic games.
First off, bonne chance to the U.S. Women’s soccer team, who will have another go at the Japan women’s team, a powerful side that beat the U.S. last summer in the Women’s World Cup finals in penalty kicks.
Kick-off should start around 1:45 CST, and can be found on NBCOlympics.com.
I also wanted to send a shoutout to the ThinkPad, which is celebrating its 20th birthday.
Though IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo a few years back, it was 1992 when IBM introduced its first IBM ThinkPad laptop — I remember it well, because I was an early and proud owner of one of those first machines.
To celebrate the ThinkPad’s birthday, Lenovo is introducing some new machines, including a tablet aimed at business professionals and which runs Windows 8, the Thinkpad Tablet 2.
This new machine will have a 10.1-inch screen and is a mere 9.8mm, and it includes a new Intel Atom processor.
Because it will run Windows 8 Pro, it will be able to run those legacy Window apps you can’t afford to be putting in your desktop recycling bin!
And for you news junkies out there who use Pulse on your iOS or Android devices, there’s some new news on that front: Pulse is now available on the web.
The Web version will include most of the features you see on your mobile device, although the list of news sources will now be on your left, with the stories appearing in an elegant grid layout.
Nice way to catch up all the news you can (and cannot) use with a quick glimpse.
I added the “sports” category to my web edition, among others, so let’s hope there’s a nice big picture about the U.S. Women’s soccer team victory over Japan a little later in the day!
You can find your new Pulse here.
What a Friday.
The London Summer Olympic games are set to officially kick off with tonight’s opening ceremony. In the U.S., it actually starts at 4 PM EST, so get those DVRs ready to record.
I’ve been perusing the NBCOlympics.com Web site to try and get a better lay of the land, and I have to say, it’s a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to watch, what with all the social and livestreaming capabilities and endless broadcast coverage.
On the other hand, there’s a little something for just about everyone (and for me, that means soccer!)
London, I wish you all the best and will be watching from afar. Much as I love you, boy am I glad I’m not there trying to fight the crowds in person.
Uh, in the meantime, following up on that last post about waiting for the bugs to get worked out to upgrade to Mountain Lion?…well, he says sheepishly, I admit it, I have no self-control…I dropped by $20 in the Apple virtual till last night, and after about a gazillion hour download, was able to effortlessly upgrade my MacBook Air with the new Apple OS.
So far, I’ve had no pains whatsoever, and I think my machine actually runs that much smoother and faster with the upgrade.
I’ll reserve full judgement until I’ve had the opportunity to take it for a few more times around the block, but so far so good, and I haven’t even begun to play with the new toys yet.
I’m looking forward to the Facebook integration, which is expected in a Mountain Lion later update this fall. I expect Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg might be looking forward to it as well, for after yesterday’s post-earnings announcement beating that Facebook stock took, Z’s probably ready for any good news to come his way.
All this Facebook smack talk, particularly in the mass media on TV shows like “Morning Joe,” makes me wonder if there’s a hidden conspiracy afoot. Are broadcast media concerned about Facebook’s growth and stickiness because, perhaps, it’s starting to steal time spent watching their TV programs, and, thus, swiping $$$ away from their bottom lines?
Facebook revenues were up 32% year-over-year, an increase that would be perfectly reasonable in most any other business, but for social media growth expectations have become over-inflated. When a property like Facebook grows from 100 million to 800 million in a few short years, you can presume at some point the growth will slow.
On the other hand, by having a user base where over 500 million of those consumers come back daily on average, it seems to me that’s a place where plenty of marketers would want to be.
What cable channel, offers up 500 million pairs of eyeballs on a daily basis?
Oh well, perhaps it’s time to look for other diversions on this Olympic Friday.
How about this one?
To celebrate centuries of science and technology innovations, IBM has reinvented its award-winning 2011 THINK exhibit at New York City’s Lincoln Center as a free interactive app for iPad and Android tablets.
Geared to tech fans and educators, the IBM THINK exhibit app is an “innovation time machine” that shows how early tools have evolved into modern advances that create healthier populations, greener energy and safer, less congested cities.
It includes all kinds of cool stuff, including an interactive timeline that chronicles the simple act of measurement since prehistoric times, as well as various stories of progress on everything from space exploration to weather prediction.
The Euro 2012 National soccer championship may now be history, with Spain putting another significant win under its belt, but that doesn’t mean the sport of soccer doesn’t continue to make some significant advances.
In fact, the U.S. Major League Soccer organization, along with sports manufacturer Adidas, have announced what could prove to be a game-changing breakthrough in how sports organizations around the world use big, real-time data to help optimize player and team performance.
The above screen shot taken from adidas’ Webcast earlier today announcing details of its ‘”miCoach” data tracking and analysis system for soccer demonstrates the type of data coaches using the system will be able to generate in near real-time. This particular graph demonstrates the total distance run by each of the players on a team. This type of information will help inform the coaching staff on everything from player position to conditioning.
Next Wednesday, the Major League Soccer All-Star team will take on the English Premier League’s Chelsea in what will be the world’s first “smart” soccer match.
In that game, Adidas has partnered with the MLS to have its new “miCoach” data tracker embedded in player uniforms, part of an overall integrated wireless system that, using iPads, will provide coaches with real-time data about player position and performance.
This new technology builds on the existing MiCoach Speed Cell, a small device that snaps into the bottom of the Adizero F50 soccer shoe. That device tracks pace and distance, average and maximum speed, distance covered at high intensity and acceleration.
But the miCoach technology will go a step further, so to speak, and provide coaches with a variety of real-time data: player position, power output, speed, distance, intensity of play, acceleration, heart rate…you get the picture.
And so will the coaches of both teams.
Through their ability to monitor player’s movements, heart rate, and the other key data, and be able to relay that to coaches in milliseconds, this new technology will help all involved to develop a better understanding of the physical and physiological impact on both teams and individuals in both games and practice.
Further analysis of the cumulative data will help coaches in preventing overtraining and risk of injury, and hence maintain optimum player performance throughout the season, not to mention to help shape and adjust their coaching strategies.
As both this game, and future trial runs, bear out, one can only imagine the potential of such types of new “datatainment,” enabling fan access to such data via wireless tablet devices, smartphones, interactive TV, and the like.
But with 3.5 billion and counting soccer fans around the globe, Adidas and MLS had better invest in lots of servers.
Adidas and Major League Soccer announced plans today have the MLS integrating the adidas micoach Elite System league-wide in 2013, marking the world’s first “smart league.”
Beginning in the 2013 season, all 19 MLS clubs will use the data-tracking technology from adidas, providing coaches, trainers and players with real-time performance metrics including heart rate, speed, acceleration, distance, field position and, for the first time, power.
The adidas micoach Elite System has been in development since 2010, and is the product of extensive research, science and cutting-edge technology development by adidas to create the most advanced system for elite teams across the globe.
The micoach Elite System was developed in close consultation and collaboration with many of the leading soccer coaches and clubs including Major League Soccer teams New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and Seattle Sounders FC, as well as Real Madrid, AC Milan, Ajax and Bayern Munich.
In the U.S. you can watch the MLS All-Star Game against Chelsea on ESPN2 at 8:30 EST, Wednesday, July 25th.
For those of you in the northeast who endured those crazy storms, especially in and around the D.C. area, you have my utmost sympathies, particularly with the oppressive heat moving in as so many people were without power.
Someone who discovered some new power over the weekend was Tiger Woods, who won his own tournament, the AT&T Congressional, as he sidled by Bo Van Pelt in a tight finish cemented on the 18th and final hole.
Woods explained to folks in his post-round press conference, “I remember there was a time when people were saying I could never win again. That was, I think, what, six months ago?”
In the period since, Woods has won three times in his last seven starts, and with Sunday’s victory, passed Jack Nicklaus with 74 PGA Tour victories.
Sam Snead’s 82 career victories looms off in the distance as a next milestone.
In sporting news that most Americans were probably not conscious of unless they accidentally slipped into the ESPN channel zone, Spain (better known in Spanish parts as “La Roja,” the “Red”) routed Italy in the Euro 2012 Championship, 4-0.
La Roja’s David Silva had a brilliant header in the 14′, and Jordia Alba then took a brilliant through-ball from Xavi to go 2-0 at 41′ to make it 2-0 before the first half ended.
For much of the second half, Italy played a man down due to injury, leaving them woefully exposed and a victim to two more goals by the hungry La Roja soccer beast.
Though I’m not sure it would have mattered had Italy 11 players the full game.
Spain’s triangular passing and relentless ball movement, particularly down in Italy’s corner of the field, was just overwhelming, and it’s not for nothing pundits are raising the question whether or not this Spanish national team is the “best ever.”
Considering they’ve won three major championships in a row — the Euro in 2008 and 2012, and the World Cup in 2010 — it’s certainly a point worthy of discussion.
As for me, I’m not going to lie, I was rooting for Espana the entire tournament, so I was elated to see them win at the beautiful game once again, and congratulate all my amigos in Spain who I know appreciate all the good news they can muster at the moment!
Fear not, futbol fans, if you’re worried about going into soccer withdrawal, help from the five rings are on their way when the first Olympic Match between Great Britain and New Zealand kicks off on July 25th at the London Olympic Games, and the English Premiere League premieres Saturday, August 18th with the Wigan Athletics and the Chelsea “Blues” (minus Didier Drogba!)
It’s been a while since I was on a plane all night, but I must say, the trip from Dallas to Madrid was most pleasant. It was right at a little over 9 hours flying time, so ample time to get some shut-eye, even in coach class.
I don’t know if I dreamed on the way over, but if I did, I’d like to think it was about soccer (or, “futbol,” as many refer to it across Europe and around the world).
I’ve been a futbol fan ever since I was a wee lad, having played starting in YMCA leagues early on, and having embraced that most defensive of positions, goalkeeper.
So I would like to think I was dreaming on the flight over of the Chelsea v. Bayer Munchen final for the European Champions League, played Saturday night in Munich.
It seemed a minor miracle that Chelsea even made it that far, but as a team, they pulled together to beat some of the best in the world to get there, and Didier Drogba once again demonstrated what a clutch player he is — even as his contract with Chelsea expires shortly.
It was all Bayern Munich all the time for the first half, and well into the second half. Possession slid into 54-55% Munich, easily, and it seemed like every time I looked up, their relentless offense was pounding Chelsea on their end of the field.
But things took a turn for Chelsea late in the second half. They were getting the ball more on Bayern’s end of the field, and seemed to be picking up momentum…that is, until Bayern’s Thomas Muller knocked in a brilliant header in the 83rd minute.
Chelsea’s sails deflated, with only 7 minutes left in the match, it looked as though it was Bayern’s for the taking…but that’s where Didier Drogba comes in, levelling it at 1-1 with his own brilliant header. You could feel the tide turning across the Bayern stadium.
Drogba almost became the anti-hero in extra time, fouling Franck Ribery and engendering a penalty kick from Arjen Robben that Petr Čech was able to deflect.
Enter the drum roll, as the two sides went to penalty kicks, and the last opportunity came down to Drogba’s penalty try, which sent Petr Čech diving to the left as Drogba spun the ball into the right side of the net, anointing Chelsea this season’s European Champions League victor.
Anybody following the UEFA Champions League semi-finals this week?
If you’re a soccer fan, it’s been a “must-see” week, with Chelsea outing the world-class Barcelona team on a 2nd half lay-up by Fernando Torres in a match earlier this week, and Real Madrid losing to Bayern Munich last night in a heartbreaking 3-1 penalty shoot-out after Bayern had tied Real-Madrid 3-3 in the aggregate.
Bayern, a four-time champion of the Champions League, will now have reached the final for the second time in three seasons, and will take on Chelsea at Allianz Arena May 19.
Of course, if you’re more interested in the football that takes place on this side of the Atlantic (I happen to enjoy both!), then you’ll want to tune in to ESPN this evening at 8 PM EST for the first round of this year’s NFL draft.
The first five projections? Stanford QB Andrew Luck is expected to go to Indianapolis at #1. #2 is Baylor’s QB Robert Griffin III to the Redskins. #3 is offensive tackle Matt Kalil from USC, expected to head to the Vikings. #4 looks to be Alabama running back Trent Richardson, expected to be picked up by Cleveland. And bringing in the rear is LSU corner back Morris Claiborne, expected to be taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But this is all pure speculation, so watch tonight’s first round tidings to know for sure.
Meanwhile, IBM made an important announcement today in the healthcare research field. It announced that researchers from The State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo are using IBM analytics technology to study more than 2,000 genetic and environmental factors that may contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms.
As part of the initiative, Researchers will tap into IBM’s analytics technology to develop algorithms for big data containing genomic datasets to uncover critical factors that speed up disease progression in MS patients. Insights gained from the research will be shared with hundreds of doctors to better tailor individual treatments to slow brain injury, physical disability and cognitive impairments caused by MS.
Using IBM analytics technology, SUNY Buffalo researchers can for the first time explore clinical and patient data to find hidden trends among MS patients by looking at factors such as gender, geography, ethnicity, diet, exercise, sun exposure, and living and working conditions. The big data including medical records, lab results, MRI scans and patient surveys, arrives in various formats and sizes, requiring researchers to spend days making it manageable before they can analyze it.
Using an IBM Netezza analytics appliance with software from IBM business partner, Revolution Analytics, researchers can now analyze all the disparate data in a matter of minutes instead of days, regardless of what type or size it is. The technology automatically consumes and analyzes the data, and makes the results available for further analysis. As a result, researchers can now focus their time on analyzing trends instead of managing data.
MS is a chronic neurological disease for which there is no cure. The disease is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, infectious and autoimmune factors making treatment difficult. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are approximately 400,000 people in the US with MS, and 200 people are diagnosed every week. Worldwide, MS is estimated to affect more than 2.1 million people.
You can learn more about IBM’s Big Data strategy and portfolio here.
I’ve been so consumed with technology these past few weeks that I’ve all but forgotten to mention what really counts in life, and that’s sports.
First, and my first love, golf.
What in the world got into Padraig Harrington yesterday at Transitions? Harrington comes out roaring with a 10-under 61 in the first round, and is already -1 for the day today, still leading the pack.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods says no Achilles heel, or in this case, tendon, will keep him from the Masters. I just hope his game keeps him in through the Masters weekend.
And Rory McIlroy continues leading the FedExCup points, not to mention the official world golf ranking. Oh, yeah, AND the money rankings.
I’m keeping my eye on a few golfers for the Masters, we golfers’ SuperBowl of Golf. Yes, Rory should be in the running this year, but I also have my eye on Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Lee Westwood, and Keegan Bradley. We’re only a couple of weeks away, so we’ll see how they stack up the next two weeks.
Then, there’s the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. I went to ESPN and picked my brackets the other day, and so far, I’ve had four bad picks and twelve good ones. Pretty good for not having really handicapped the teams this year. Although my Texas Longhorns had better get it together — they currently trail Cincinnatti by 3 in the 2nd.
Way over in another part of the world, congratulations go out to Sachin Tendulkar, cricket “god,” who finally scored his 100th international ton in a match against Bangaladesh earlier today (a match which, in a theme not unfamiliar to Indian cricket fans, India lost!).
And my Premiere League fave, Manchester United, lost 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League, exiting them from this year’s tourney. This will be the first time since the 2001-02 season they won’t contest a cup final.
And alas, for you fans of the new HBO David Milch series about horse-racing, “Luck,” well, you won’t have much of it. The series’ filming has been stopped due to some horse-racing deaths (three so far) during production. Once again, a Milch series won’t make it to the HBO finish line, leaving the series’ denoeument to its viewers’ imagination (the same thing happened to “Deadwood,” some of the most brilliant TV I’d seen in years).
Too bad, the characters’ complexity were just coming more clearly into view, with stellar performances by Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, among others, and the cinematography some of the most gorgeous I’d seen on TV in eons.
I want to send a congrats and thanks to the U.S. Women’s soccer team, who played a brilliant, nailbiting game against Brazil in the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals in Dresden, Germany, yesterday.
If you haven’t seen any coverage of this match, or some of the play-by-play, you missed one of the classic soccer matches, male or female.
I tuned in at the start of the second half, and after Australian ref Jacqui Melksham offered up a questionable red card, U.S. goalkeeping wonder Hope Solo blocked a Brazil penalty kick, only to be offered a yellow card herself for allegedly coming forward off the goal line before the ball was launched.
This led to Brazil getting another attempt on the penalty kick, and this time they were successful, tying the match.
But that’s about when the drama had only just begun. The U.S. played most of the second half a woman down (10 players, as opposed to 11), and was able to hold the match to 1-1 through regular time.
In the second minute of extra time, Brazil’s star player, Marta, took a pass to convert a left-footed shot that bounced off the post and past Solo to give Brazil the lead, 2-1.
The U.S. spent the next 18+ minutes trying to keep the ball on the Brazil side of the field, and thankfully the Australian ref saw through Brazil’s Erika attempt at time-killing faux injuries to give the U.S. three more minutes on the clock, enough time for Megan Rapinoe to kick a brilliant cross to Abby Wambach, who headed the ball past the Brazilian goalkeeper and into the goal in the 120th minute — you could hear American fans cheering in the stadium and across Facebook and Twitter.
That set up that most dramatic of soccer’s denouement, the penalty kickoff, which, just like as with the U.S. against China in the Women’s World Cup Final match in 1999, the Americans won, this time after a single missed Brazilian penalty kick by Daiane (the same player who had knocked in Brazil’s own goal early in the match) — even as America converted all five of theirs.
The U.S. Women’s team now moves on to meet France in the semi-finals, which provided their own surprise ouster of England on Saturday, a match that also ended in penalty kicks 1-1 (4-3).
It’ll be a tall order for that match to beat the one between the U.S. and Brazil, which some are already calling one of the greatest games every played.
Monday mornings are never dull.
I awakened this am, still stinging from the defeat of my Dallas Cowboys in their new $1B+ home (“the palace in Dallas,” some are calling it, which would work great, except the stadium’s actually located in Arlington) by the New York Giants on a last play field goal, only to discover that Dell has announced its intent acquire IT services firm Perot Systems in a deal worth an estimated $3.9B.
According to a press release on the Dell web site, “the acquisition will result in a compelling combination of two iconic information-technology brands. The expanded Dell will be even better positioned for immediate and long-term growth and efficiency driven by:
- Providing a broader range of IT services and solutions and optimizing how they’re delivered;
- Extending the reach of Perot Systems’ capabilities, including in the most dynamic customer segments, around the world; and,
- Supplying leading Dell computer systems to even more Perot Systems customers.
The Wall Street Journal indicated the merged firm would have “$8B in services revenue” and would seek to “better position Dell among its more diversified rivals like HP.
Speaking of rivals, did anybody catch the Chelsea Blues 3-nil trouncing of the Tottenham Hotspurs (“Spurs”) yesterday morning (U.S. time) at Stamford Bridge?
I’m still convinced most Americans don’t know what they’re missing in not checking out more Premiere League soccer (read: futbol) action…I’m convinced it’s one of the best and most competitive sports leagues in the world…and with satellite and cable carrying so many of their games these days, it’s an excellent way to fill in the gaps in one’s sports calendars.
Anyhow, that first goal by Ashley Cole, in which Cole seemed to glide across the turf a few inches and head in a cross from Didier Drogba, was an absolute thing of beauty.
Of course, all this football talk is perhaps just me getting psyched up for next year’s World Cup in South Africa, fantasizing about being sent there to blog about how IBM can help build a smarter planet through World Cup soccer.
A man’s gotta have his dreams…including Michael Dell.