Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘soccer’ Category

My World Cup Runneth Over

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If you’re a soccer fan (even if the U.S. men’s team didn’t make it into this year’s World Cup, which it most certainly did not), then you had plenty of drama over the weekend and into Monday.I don’t even know where to start.

Over the weekend in the knockout round, France beats Argentina, Uruguay beats Portugal, Russia beats Spain, Croatia beats Denmark (both those last two games went to penalty kicks).

Today, Brazil beat Mexico, and Belgium comes back from a 2-0 deficit to somehow win 3-2.

Obviously, seeing Argentina and Portugal go gentle into that good knockout round is hard for world soccer fans to see, especially considering they have some of the world’s best players.

On the other hand, it IS a team sport, a very collaborative one at that (meaning, you can’t just depend on Ronaldo and Messi), and those who have made it this far are playing a long, and increasingly careful, game to get into the quarterfinals.

I have not seen every team play yet, so I’m holding off on my predictions for the moment.

Up next: Sweden vs. Switzerland and Columbia vs. England tomorrow. We’ll see if they’re as nail biting as several of these knockout round games have been!

Written by turbotodd

July 2, 2018 at 4:49 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

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

Smarter Soccer

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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.

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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.

Written by turbotodd

July 19, 2012 at 4:54 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

Smarter Futbol

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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.

Written by turbotodd

May 21, 2012 at 10:05 am

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