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Tag: Sports

Don’t Delete that NBC Olympics App Yet…More Live Sports are Coming

Posted by Alan at 3:33 PM on September 1, 2012

NBC Sports Live Extra

I recently switched phones from a Motorola Android device to a brand new Samsung one and one of the apps I didn’t bother re-installing was the NBC Olympics.  After all, the games are over for another four years…or two depending on how you want to count it.  Now it looks as though I may want to revive that app because NBC has announced that it’s not dead and will be re-branded as NBC Sports Live Extra.

This update has now taken place on both the Android and iOS versions of the app.   The new content that will be streaming live through the app will come from events covered on NBC, NBCSports Network and the Golf Channel.  Before you get too excited, the app will still require users to authenticate, meaning they must prove they subscribe to a cable or satellite package that provides these channels.

It’s both good and bad news for users.  The app isn’t useless and, in fact, will be far from it, but these services are eventually going to have to learn to break away from the traditional models, which are proving every day to be more broken.  Perhaps NBC would be better served by charging a nominal monthly fee for use of the app rather than being beholden to the traditional home providers.  There’s little doubt that will eventually happen, but we aren’t there yet.

 

Fitness Technologies Waterproof Video Solutions

Posted by Alan at 9:07 AM on February 17, 2012

This year Fitness Technologies has introduced a new line of waterproof video cameras designed for rugged outdoor use.  The first is a helmet-mountable camera that is perfect for a sport like mountain biking.  There is also a mini camera that fits into a waterproof case, as well as one that is actually built with a waterproof housing.  The latter two are made with scuba divers in mind and they are small enough to mount on something like a wrist strap.  The cameras retail for $200 to $250 and are available now.

You can see all three cameras in the video below, plus you can get a look at a pair of tiny waterproof MP3 player and a new line of diving flashlights.  You can find more about these and other products by visiting Fitness Tech USA.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.

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Follow The Cycling Season Online

Posted by Alan at 7:30 PM on March 14, 2011

If you are fan of Pro Bike Racing, specifically of the big stage of the European circuit, then there’s a great resource to follow it live with both data and video.  You will want navigate your browser to ProCyclingLive and follow their Twitter feed and also their Live Stream.

What you will get when you follow them?  Follow them on Twitter and you will get a live stream of updates from every major race, updated every few minutes with leaders, time gaps, distance, and lots of other tidbits.  If you have Twitter on your phone then this really becomes indispensable when your are away fro home.

But, even better, if you go to their website and click Live Streams you will find links to video feeds of the major races with multiple links for different languages.  Video can be spotty at times and you may have to try a second link on occasion, but it’s surprisingly solid most of the time.  Video does tend to be somewhat time delayed so if you don’t want a spoiler then don’t check Twitter while watching it.

There are lots of somewhat sketchy sites that carry online video of live sports, but ProCyclingLive is a reliable, above-board site that you can rely on.  Most of these races are not carried on American TV, which makes it a must-visit for US fans of the sport.

Liquid Image Sports Cameras

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 3:02 PM on January 30, 2011

Liquid Image creates camera for the sports enthusiast, including water, snow and motor sports. The camera is installed right in the mask or helmet, so there is no concern about it falling off and getting damage. The lens is in the upper center of the mask between your eyes. It takes both stills with a 5 mega pixel camera and digital video. The camera designed for scuba diving can film in water up to 300 feet below the surface. It is also designed so that you can see the environment around you while you are filming. What you see is what you get. It is a fix focus lens with a range of 6 inches to infinity. The lens are made of temper glass and have a crosshair, to help you line up your shot. It produces video up to 1080p, and has a battery life of from 2 1/2 -3 hours.

The batteries are rechargeable Lithium Ion. There is a micro SD card slot and can handle up to 32GB. When the camera is recording the light blinks and when it is on but not recording the light is solid blue. A solid red light indicates the camera is in in still mode. You can see the light out of the corner of your eye, but it doesn’t impede your vision. Depending on the model the price will range from $300 to $400 dollars.

Interview by Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Recon’s GPS Goggles

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 12:05 AM on January 27, 2011

World's First GPS Goggles

If you are an avid alpine skier and want to have real-time stats available to you while you are skiing then you may want to take a look at the Recon Transcend Goggles. These Goggles come in two models the 1st is the SPPX which has a polarized and photochromic lens at $499.00 and the SPX which has a polarized lens at $399.00.

Both goggles have the same heads up display. The heads up display is a micro LCD display, which is in the lower left hand corner of the goggle.  The display appears to be about 6 feet in front of the user. It is small and does not impede the vision of the user. The display can show the following information

  • speed
  • altitude
  • length of run
  • top speed
  • longitude/latitude
  • run counter
  • temperature and time
  • chrono/stop watch mode

The above information is collected, along with GPS data.  You can charge the display and transfer the data using the included USB cable and transfer software. If you are serious about your skiing and you need to keep track of your data, these goggles are worth trying.

Interview by Esby Larsen of MrNetcast.com

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The NFL Takes a Baby Step

Posted by Alan at 5:45 PM on July 31, 2010

Not long ago I wrote an article wondering if the NFL would join the media revolution that the other major US sports are already in.

Apparently a couple of recent emails I have received are answering that question and the answer is, well, kind of.

Will they provide a way to purchase games online?  Yes, and No.  Will they provide a way pick and choose what game(s) you want to buy?  No.

This is what they are doing.  First, they are, for the first time ever, providing an online subscription to games.  It’s not A la carte though.  Instead, you have to buy a subscription to all of the games.  And, it’s only for the pre-season.  That’s 50 games for $39.99 and you can sign up here.  And here’s what you will get:

ALL NEW! Watch over 50 preseason games live and on-demand* with enhanced features like Big Play Markers, home and away game radio broadcast*, and multiple-game viewing. Scout for your fantasy team all preseason long and never miss a rookie’s breakout moment or your favorite veteran’s return to the field.

This news was encouraging.  While it didn’t imply that I’d be able to get just my team’s games during the regular season, it did seem to imply that I would at least be able to watch games on my media center PC and not have to resubscribe to my DirecTV service, which I dropped a couple of months ago.

Then I received a second email.  For $99.99 (regularly $129.97) you get the aforementioned pre-season game package and, get ready for it, audio only of regular season games and you can watch video replays of all games, which will be available AFTER the game happens.  Details are here.

Watch over 50 preseason games* in HD with enhanced viewing options. Listen to every NFL team’s official live radio broadcast, wherever you are. Replay every NFL Regular Season game and customize it to your specification – in HD and commercial-free. Enjoy unlimited access to Preseason Live, Audio Pass, and Game Rewind when you buy Game Access.

Well, great.  It’s a step forward, but still far behind the other major sports.  I would guess, at this point, that this is it for the 2010 season.  It’s really not any substitute for their exclusive and pricey DirecTV deal.  And that deal also still requires you to pony up $300.00 for every game – still no team packages for a lesser price.

Basically the NFL still has not learned how to deal with the modern world of online content.  They still don’t realize how much money they are leaving on the table.  How many people could they add to their subscriber list if they added online regular season games?  If they added a team package to their DirecTV Sunday Ticket?  Even the Olympics, that bastion of stodgy, sue-first technophobes, have allowed online broadcast of their events for the past 2 or 3 Olympics.  Maybe 2011 NFL?

Will the NFL Join the Media Revolution?

Posted by Alan at 1:53 PM on July 11, 2010

The NFL is the last major US sport holding out.  MLB, NHL, and NBA all have deals in place to bring you whatever game you want, live, on your PC.

But, if you’re a football fan, and want to see the game of an out-of-market team, then you have one option.  Get DirecTV and then, on top of that, shell out $300 for NFL Sunday Ticket.  What if you don’t care about the other 14 games going on?  Too bad.  Pay for them anyway.  Want a package to just watch your team?  You can’t have one.  Want to buy a particular game and, heaven forbid, watch it on your PC?  No way!

Oh, unless you live outside the USA (Game Pass).  That’s the one caveat the NFL has allowed.  You can watch a game, online, pay-per-view style, if you have an IP address that exists outside the borders of this country.  Yes, you can watch it via….ahm….let’s say….non-sanctioned streaming services.  I won’t list them, but they aren’t hard to find.  Or, if you do live in this country, they will sell you a radio (IE audio only) broadcast of your team that will stream live.

Will they change this coming season?

That’s what I have been trying to look into.  And, the short answer is, there is nothing being said at this time.  I emailed the NFL and got no response.  I checked with a couple of fellow fans/bloggers/online TV users and they have heard nothing.  The season is still a couple of months away from beginning and a lot can change, but at this point it doesn’t look promising.

Right now they seem to be steadfastly stuck in the 1990′s.  While the other major US sports pass them by, the NFL continues to leave revenue on the table.  Do these corporations never learn?  Will they continue to push their old, broken business models all the way into irrelevancy?  Does the NFL really think they are immune to this?  They may be sadly mistaken.  Not that I think the NFL will fade away, but they need to get their online act together before it starts biting them in the wallet.

The Impact of Twitter

Posted by Alan at 7:14 AM on July 11, 2010

I was pretty early in signing up for Twitter.  I don’t remember exactly when, but early.  I followed a few people, mostly ones in the tech world such as Leo Laporte, etc.  I didn’t check my account all that often and, when I did, there were too many posts to read back through.

After a while, I discovered Twitter desktop apps and things improved.  I think it was twhirl, but I couldn’t swear to it.  My use of Twitter went up with this new advance.  Now I could keep the app open on my desktop, in the background.  I started to follow a little more, post a little more, and was better able to keep up with the posts of those I was following.

Then I got an app for my phone.  After a while I changed to another and then yet another.  Currently I use TouchTwit.  This, the phone app, was the biggest revelation for me.  Now Twitter is always with me no matter where I am.  Now I no longer miss any posts from any of the people I follow.  And I post much more than ever.

This phone revelation, which began for me a couple of years ago, prompted more changes than those I just mentioned though.  It prompted me to really think about who I followed.  I made changes.  I added and I removed.  I discovered there were two distinctively different types of people (or in some cases entities) I was following.  There were those I followed for fun – some are my friends, some are pro athletes, some are tech journalists.  And then there were those I followed for news and information – for instance a local news radio station and local newspaper keep me up-to-date on local news, Breaking News keeps me informed of national and world news, ProCyclingLive keeps me up to the minute about what is going on during a bike race, AmazonMP3 and AmazonVideo give me deals on purchases and rentals (complete with the occasional coupon code for a discount), and this list goes on.

There is humor to be found – take a tweet I remember from a year or so ago from Lance Armstrong (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Dear ATT, it’s been two weeks since you said you’d fix my home phone.  Maybe tomorrow?”  Followed a few hours later by another tweet along the lines of “just returned from a training ride and there’s an ATT truck in front of my house.”  Not only was it amusing, but it also demonstrated the power that having a LOT of followers can have, even over a major corporation.

There’s the real human impact that came home to us last year when we all sat spellbound as the only news that we, or even the major outlets like CNN, could get about the Iranian Election protests came to us via the citizens of Iran as they posted to Twitter what was happening, complete with pictures and videos, in their country.  Their internet shut off by a dictatorial regime, they got word out to the world using Twitter apps and cellular connections.  They nearly brought down a tyrannical government using modern technology that these old-style regimes weren’t prepared to deal with.

I sat dumbfounded over my breakfast one morning as tweet after tweet rolled past revealing the horror of the Chilean earthquake and subsequent tsunami warnings.  The information leapfrogged the best news outlets we have because it came, first-person, from those who were there on the ground, in the middle of the devastation.

And, I will close with a gem (for me at least).  Recently my daughter celebrated a birthday.  She is also a huge football fan of, thankfully, the same team that I am a fan of.  I took a chance and tweeted to one of her favorite players that she was a fan and it was her birthday.  Within 20 minutes I received a reply from him wishing her, by name, a happy birthday.  She now has a printout of that tweet hanging on her wall.  I certainly can’t say that all such people in his position would have done this.  But it’s great that we have this way of communicating with even the famous and, if they want, they can communicate back with their fans.  (Note: I am not naming him because I wouldn’t want him to be swamped with requests.)

In a short time Twitter has gone from posts about what you had for breakfast to changing the world.  They may have fewer users than Facebook, but there’s a very real reason why many say Facebook has Twitter-envy.  They may have the power and the technology to change the world in very palpable ways, especially in places where governments have a vested interest in the suppression of information.

Watching le Tour Online – Followup

Posted by Alan at 7:44 PM on July 5, 2010

Okay, it’s been three days of watching the Tour de France online and my experience has been less than perfect.  The audio has been fine, but the video has been, mostly, bad.  The Prologue,  on Saturday, froze continuously while we tried to watch the On-Demand version.  Yesterday’s Stage 1 was pretty close to prefect.  Today’s Stage 2 was great until around 50km to go when the video began freezing – and I mean CONTINUOUSLY freezing – as in, I had to refresh the page to get the video started again and then it would freeze again within a minute or two.

I was on the verge of calling, or emailing, Versus to cancel and ask (or demand) for a refund.

But, I will give them props for beating me to the punch and sending out an email today answering what must have been a landslide of feedback about these issues.  They even got rid of the Autobahn plug-in that they had been using, and which may very well have been the source of these issues.

Below is posted the email I received from Versus today.

Dear Tour Tracker user,

First of all apologies for the problems over the last few days with the Tour Tracker service. We know that many of you have experienced problems and have contacted us through our support email or posted your feedback online. We’ve responded to many of you, but while we’ve worked on fixing these problems we know many of you have not yet received a response.

Due to the problems with the Autobahn plugin, after today’s stage we removed the video player and replaced it with one that does not require Autobahn. Initial reaction is that this has fixed the streaming problems. This was also why the On Demand video of todays stage was delayed.

Another issue (particularly for the prologue) has been the start time of the coverage. We start the coverage when the International TV broadcast starts, some days this includes the start, some days it does not – it depends on when the host broadcaster in France decides to start the broadcast. The feed goes up on the Tracker at the same time as anyone in the world gets a TV feed.

The daily schedule of broadcast times is now published on the FAQ page: http://tracker.versus.com/faq

The other issue that many of you have commented on is the audio feed and the lack of background noise. We’re frustrated with this as well. We’re working hard on a resolution to this with the host broadcaster in France to correct the problem.

We’re cycling fans too and understand that the problems over the past few days have been extremely frustrating, we appreciate your understanding and hope you will enjoy the rest of the tour without any further streaming problems with the service.

Regards,
The Tour Tracker Team.

Watching le Tour Online

Posted by Alan at 5:45 PM on June 28, 2010

While the world is buzzing about the Soccer World Cup and the vuvuzela, I will be following the OTHER big European sport – cycling.  Being a cycling fan in America isn’t easy.  While the big races are covered live on all of the big Euro TV networks, America has only sporadic coverage on Versus and Universal Sports.

Now, since I turned off the satellite for the summer because Lost ended, 24 ended, and football hasn’t started, I have had to scramble to watch bike races.  Video recaps are surprisingly not too hard to find online.  But now the granddaddy of all bike races is set to start this Saturday.  That is, of course, the Tour de France.  And, I want my full coverage – every stage, in it’s entirety.

The Tour has been covered daily in the US in recent years by the Versus Network, and they have done a great job.  But, no satellite, no Versus.  Enter the new beta version of their web site.  For $29.95 I can get full coverage of every stage in it’s entirety, both live and, thankfully, since stages start around 7-8am my time, on-demand.  It is being broadcast in “full” HD, even real-time GPS tracking of the riders!  It’s a geek/cycling fan’s dream-come-true!

In the past I have watched some video recaps and extras on the Versus website and the quality has been good.  So, I have high hopes for this.  I am plunking down my $29.95 and I will let everyone know what I think after the race actually gets started this weekend.  It should be an epic race this year so the coverage better also be epic!

Now, if I could just avoid all of those Twitter spoilers until I get home from work and actually watch that day’s stage….