Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘olympics’ Category

How Are YOU Watching These Olympics?

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So how are you watching these Olympics (if at all)?

I have to say, the whole time 15 hour time difference between here and PyeongChang isn’t exactly helping, either.

I don’t have cable, but have been recording the games via my TiVo and over-the-air broadcasts on NBC. 

The problem is, by the time I’m ready to watch a prior’s day performance, fast forwarding through the parts I want to watch, the morning news shows have already blown the news: Shaun White won his THIRD gold medal in snowboarding!

I guess you can’t embargo the news of a gold medal so easily (although NBC has tried). And I still go back to fast forward and see all the juicy bits, like Shaun flying through the air in one of his “1440s.” That way, I skip all the commercials.

The Wall Street Journal’s “CMO Today” e-newsletter today reported that NBC’s partnership with Snapchat for the Olympics is paying off, with 32 million users having watched its coverage thus far. Snap reports well over 90 percent of its audience watching Olympics coverage is under 35. All the people over 35 still think Snap is a tea-like drink (Snapple).

I also tried to download the NBC VR app so I could see Shaun flying through my VR goggles. Boy, was that a mistake. NBC wanted me to first lay claim to which cable provider I use.  Will they never learn?  Here I was, ready to go out of my way to download this VR app from NBC, and they were worried about whether or not I was paying a cable bill, instead of getting my eyeballs (and, presumably, driving up their ad rates).

The very same day, Ryan Murphy, he of “Glee” and “American Horror Story” fame, signed a $300 million, multi-year deal with Netflix.

Not with NBC or Disney or ABC.

This is the beginning of the end of the beginning, a new day for content consumption is at hand.

Stay tuned.

Written by turbotodd

February 15, 2018 at 9:38 am

TurboTech: The Wisconsin Episode

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Every once in a while, developerWorks’ Scott Laningham and I get together via Skype to catch up on the latest in technology.

This week, Scott’s on a remote, cheese-head “workation” somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin.

And despite being surrounded by trees and lakes, he found his way to an Interwebs connection, along with a gasoline generator, so we could do one of our “TurboTech” episodes.

I was afraid one of the rhinos that John Swanson thought he spotted in a separate “This Week on developerWorks” episodes recorded with Scott in the great outdoors might sneak up on Scott while we were mid-recording, but fortunately that didn’t happen.

In this episode, Scott and I opined on social media’s role at the London Olympic games, along with a deep space exploration of the latest Mars rover (“Curiosity”) landing on the Red Planet. We also mentioned several forthcoming IBM events stretching from Orlando to Vegas to Singapore.

Me, I’m just glad Scott’s generator didn’t run out of gas. That would have brought a whole new meaning to the phrase of having another episode “in the can!”

Written by turbotodd

August 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm

A New Pulse

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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. 

Click to enlarge. The new web-based edition of the Pulse news reader makes it easy to quickly check in on the latest stories broken down by your favorite topics.

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.

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Golfing For Gold

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To my fellow lovers of the links: All this London Olympics fervor has been slowly sinking in, and as I watched Jim Furyk hand Keegan Bradley the keys to the WGC-Bridgestone kingdom on the 18th green this past Sunday, it reached a fever pitch: Golf is coming back to the Olympics.

A brief bit of history is in order: The last time golf was featured in a Summer Olympic Games, Henry Ford’s Model T had not yet come off a production line.

Yes, it’s been that long.  1904, in fact.

Canada’s George Lyon was the last Olympian male to take a gold medal in golf.

When golf returns to the Summer Olympics in 2016 in Rio after a 112 year hiatus, it will be a much welcomed return for golf fans around the globe.

The International Golf Federation (IGF), which is the governing body overseeing golf’s return to the Olympics, proposed a 72-hole stroke play tournament for both the men and womens’ events in 2016, with a 3-hole playoff in the event of a tie.

Eligibility for the tournament would be determined by IGF rankings, with the top 15 players being eligible regardless of country, and then the next 45 players representing countries that didn’t already have two representatives.

And if you’re curious as to the designer, and designer, for the Rio Olympics course, check out this article on 48 year-old golf architect Gil Hanse, a “traditionalist” course designer known for his work at TPC Boston and Castle Stuart in Inverness, Scotland.

***

As to the FedExCup Standings thus far, after Bridgestone, Tiger Woods is still in the lead.  The next several behind him include Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan, and Bubba Watson, all of whom are pretty much neck in neck.  Bradley jumped up to 7th place after his victory.

This week’s PGA Championship at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, has some big stakes — and I don’t just mean the PGA Championship trophy.

The Ryder Cup is just around the corner in Medinah, and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will not only be playing the PGA — he’ll be scouting his captain’s picks.

PGATour.Com has Phil Mickelson “on the bubble,” and explains players like Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, and Hunter Mahan will be right on his tail.

The PGA Championship is the season’s last official major, but with the Ryder Cup looming ahead, there’s still plenty of great golf to be enjoyed before football season takes over (and baseball winds into the playoffs).

***

Turbo recently invested in a TaylorMade “Rocketballz” driver to fill out his golf bag, and based on his experiences thus far, swears that everything they’re saying in the TV commercials thus far is true!

As for my own game, I have to admit, the Taylor Made Rocketballz driver I recently bought has been a godsend.

I played a course in Frisco, Texas, this past weekend that required some serious needle threading off the tee box. Normally, I would be paranoid about such tight drives, and would panic hit them left, right…everywhere but center.

But with a minor swing adjustment where I keep my elbows closer to my body through my swing, I hit 13 out of 14 fairways this weekend (Note: I didn’t have to use my driver on the par 3s, thankfully 🙂 ), with most going straight and long…I’d say an average of 15-25 yards longer than normal.

Straight and long, the most beautiful phrase in golf.

However, I’ve plateaued in my mid-iron game, and could also use some help around the greens, so I’ve decided to take a golf school vacation.

I’ve been thinking about it for years, but it’s time to commit. The Academy of Golf Dynamics is located right here in Austin, and despite the 100+ heat, I’m hopeful the three-day course will help me work out those few kinks that are really keeping me from consistently lowering my score.

Their Web literature indicates that most players who follow their guidance and do the follow-up work achieve a 25% reduction in their handicap.  I spoke with one of the instructors there on the phone, and he explained the summer workshops don’t quite fill up as much as the spring, so if I’m willing to beat the Texas heat, I’ll get more than my fair share of personal instruction.

I’m certainly going to give it a try.  Golf is something you can never master, but it IS certainly something you can always improve upon. And for those of you who play consistently, you know that improving and hitting those masterful shots you always knew you could hit in your mind is what keeps you coming back for more.

So, I’ll be sure to take some notes in case any of you out there are considering such an investment and let you know how it goes.

Right after the three days of the workshop, my 70 year-old, 10 handicap father (I’m a 13), is coming in to town and we’re going to take a week straight and play some of the best courses in and around Austin to see if my investment in the workshop will have paid off!

Moving forward, I’m also going to try and more consistently use an iPhone app (“Golfshot GPS”) to track my play so that I can better understand precisely where and how I’m losing the most strokes.

Business analytics on the golf course?  Hey, whatever it takes.

Written by turbotodd

August 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Let The Games Begin

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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.

Facebook Foes

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.

Tablet THINK

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.

You can find the iPad version here, and the Android version here.

Written by turbotodd

July 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Sewing Up The London Olympic Games

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The new Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms for U.S. Olympics athletes at the coming London Olympics games may look spiffy, but a number of U.S. politicians have come out recently to complain they were manufactured in China. Let the games begin!

Well, it seems that the London Olympic Games are only a couple of short weeks away now.

As we get closer and closer to the lighting of the London 2012 Olympic torch, we will also start to see lines get drawn in the digital and social sand, as this will likely be the most “social” Olympic Games ever.

There will be lots to juxtapose in this year’s games in London with those of Beijing in 2008.

Most notably, the fact that we won’t have a 12 hour delay by the broadcast networks. Instead, NBC has already indicated that they will show many of the events live.  American GDP could swoon to a new low in these London Olympic summer games!

If you’re looking for a place to follow the games, there will be no shortage of television and digital opportunities. Just this week, Facebook and NBC announced a collaboration for “transmedia” coverage of the London Olympic Games.

In that deal, data from Facebook will inform TV coverage on NBC and other channels that will carry portions of the Summer Games starting on July 27, according to The New York Times. The specific uses will vary, says the Times, but there will be a “Facebook Talk Meter”  occasionally shown on TV to reflect what is being said online.

Conversely, on Facebook the NBC Olympics page will get frequent updates with what the companies call “exclusive content” for fans only. Fans will then be able to share what videos and articles they’re perusing on the network’s Olympics website.

It’s hard to believe that in only 4 short years, Facebook has grown from 100 million users, the number they were at during the Beijing Olympic Games, to over 900 million.  There’s no question this will be a much more social Olympics, but let’s also not forget the projected TV audience is 4 billion (In Beijing, the global TV audience was estimated at 4.4 billion.)

Speaking of China, U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) castigated the U.S. Olympic Committee for its decision to have the U.S. Olympics team dressed in Ralph Lauren-designed berets, blazers and pants that were manufactured in China even as the U.S. textile industry struggles to keep U.S. workers at their sewing machines.

Maybe they should introduce sewing into the Olympics as an official sport and we can have ourselves a “sew-off?”

I recently did some Olympic scouting of my own, looking for Websites and mobile apps to help make sure I keep up with the Virtual Joneses during the London sports festouche.  Here’s a few of them I unearthed:

I also found an interesting app for the iPad, the “Ultimate Olympic Guide,” which cost me a whopping $.99 and provided some nice background and overviews of each of the Olympic sports.

Feel free to add any other useful London Olympics resources in the comments section below.

Tiger Woods And La Roja

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Happy Monday.

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!)

Written by turbotodd

July 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

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