The 2012 NFL Draft is in the Books-Did Your Team Win or Lose?

There is a nice piece in Sports Illustrated by Richard Deitsch that quite clearly shows the difference between ESPN and the NFL Network’s approach to covering last weekend’s NFL draft. It breaks down to one with a relatively minimalist approach (ESPN) and the other went with ‘kitchen sink” approach.

Of course over the course of three days the cast of characters changed a bit and the dynamics of the broadcasts changed with them. I tend to favor a smaller group because I find I learn more and hear more interesting bits of information when there are fewer people vying to be heard.

An interesting side note is that while the two networks had a gentleman’s agreement not to tip picks prior to the announcements, but that did not include Twitter. While the reporters for the respective networks did not tweet all of the picks, they did so on a number of them.

We found that following twitter was much better than following the broadcasts for the most part, not only because the information came fast and furious, but also you could much more easily cut out the noise from announcers filling air time.

There are of course a number of post draft appraisals available for fans to peruse but it is worth listing a few here. Bleacher Report did a nice job, I believe in rating the draft team by team. USA Today had very different impressions on a number of teams compared to the BR ratings so it is interesting to see why they differed and where they agreed.

In the past I have read a few, not from BR, that seemed to give everybody an A or B grade. Sorry, I don’t buy it. Some picks are just strange, and some teams seem like they went too far in breaking from group thinking. Of course it is hard to tell until a few years have gone by, for the most part, but you can make some informed statements based on what is already know about the players, and the teams they are going to.

For a general view of the draft I could point you back to Sports Illustrated and Peter King’s Monday Morning QB column where he talks about how there were a great many stories in the NFL draft. I would have never guessed. As a counterpoint you could always read Kissing Suzy Kolber’s rude interpretation of Peter King’s column instead.

I usually watch the draft switching between the two networks while looking at twitter. A buddy has two TVs going, using his computer to watch his favorite team’s war room and watching twitter feeds on his phone while scratching names off a list he keeps. Wonder what he will do until next year? Well now that the draft is over how long until training camp officially opens?

Friday Grab Bag: Harvard Bass Fishing?

MLB has teamed with Kinect Star Wars to present what it calls the “Ultimate Father-Son Sweepstake” in which participants can win a variety of prizes including a grand prize that includes 2 tickets to any 2012 MLB game and 2012 Opening Day game of their choice and a $200 MLB gift certificate.

What strikes me as odd is that of course in Star Wars the father spends the bulk of three movies trying to kill his son (and daughter) and is only reconciled on his deathbed. Not quite the message you might want to send.

App helps you see what apps are stealing your info
With all of the news about how insecure some apps are, and that they harvest data from your smartphone, tablet or elsewhere, the question is how do you find out which are secure and which are not?

Well one company, research firm PrivacyChoice has a program called Privacyscore for Facebook that it claims will explain which are and which are not to be trusted. The program explains the degree to which your information is protected, if you are being tracked and if so by whom.

It looks at each app and examines the privacy policy, and notes that some basically have none whatsoever, and provides a rated listing. The program is endorsed by the FCC.

NHL jumps of PrePlay bandwagon
So PrePlay, the app developer that lets you make micro-bets on any individual event during a sporting event has extended its reach and now covers the National Hockey League games. The goal of this and other predictive games is to engage users with fans around them or online where they challenge each other to predict the outcome, in this case maybe the final score or who wins a faceoff.

The company had a Subway sponsored Super Bowl push but that did not have the blessing from the NFL while this does have the NHL’s approval. The app, which is available at iTunes, will compete with others such as GrabFan that seek to establish themselves in this area.

Apple’s latest iPad has connectivity woes?
After the iPad overheating issue cooled it now appears that the very popular tablet may have connectivity issues. According to a report in Macworld it has a range of Wi-Fi issues that are annoying users.

It appears that the device has problems finding local Wi-Fi networks, drops connections and has slow upload and download speeds, among other issues. And that is just the Wi-Fi, for people that paid for cellular connectivity it apparently also has issues with connecting to 3G networks.

Harvard has a bass fishing team?
For that matter I was surprised that there is fishing tournaments in college-man did I go to the wrong school! This nice read from the Harvard Crimson talks about the challenges of forming a fishing team in an area, and at a school, that does not have a tradition of bass boats.

The overall sport is run by the Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) that currently has 30,000 members across 47 states. I wonder who the holdout states are? The ACA holds tournaments, offers discounts and provides a host of other amenities.

Ice Core Beer Pitcher
With summer looming we owe it to ourselves to ensure that we have the best tools available to enjoy the outdoors. One such tool, perfect for BBQs, is this simply device that is designed to keep beer ice cold without watering it down.

Using a center core made from aluminum a user simply fills the core with ice and attaches it to the center of the pitcher, which holds 60 oz. In a pinch you could fill it with ice tea or soda, I guess.

Microsoft loses Motorola patent case
The ITC has ruled that Microsoft did infringe on patents that are held by Motorola Mobility. The issue has to do with patents that relate to wireless connections and video compression that is incorporated in Microsoft’s popular Xbox game console.

The ruling found that Microsoft infringed on four of the five patents in dispute. It will have an opportunity to respond to the court’s ruling next month and if the comments from Microsoft are any indication expect more action on this front, not less.

And Motorola beats Apple as well
The ITC also handed Motorola a victory in one of its cases against Apple, this time ruling that Apple was guilty of infringing on a 3G wireless patent that is owned by Motorola. In addition the court found that Apple induced others to do the same.

The ruling comes on a lawsuit filed in 2010 and initially covered 5 patents but as the case progressed the case was whittled down to one. There is still a lot to be seen in this case as much of the determination is still classified but Apple appears confident that it can develop a work around to the issue, either via an alliance with partners that have rights to the technology or by developing alternatives itself.

Hints about Seahawks picks to be Twittered in Advance?

Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll has developed a unique tool to convey the intentions of the team in regards to each draft choice- he tweets about it.

But rather than make reference to the position or school that the prospective choice might come from he takes a different approach.

Two years ago he tweeted songs about the picks. His first was Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice” and this was followed by a number of other song hints. No explanation was provided, and in fact he tweeted a number of cryptic responses as to what, if anything they meant.

Last year he repeated the act with song hints from everybody from MC Hammer to John Denver to Black Eyes Peas. Is this all for fun or is he providing real clues? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has warned teams not to leak their selections, but this seems to be hazy enough not to get him in trouble if truly representing his choices.

This year he is at it again, starting Thursday night. You can follow him again, not at his usual twitter handle but at #seahawksdraftclues! To see what he posts this year. The team has the #12 pick in the first round and is reportedly looking for a speed pass rusher. If you crack the code let us know.

Friday Grab Bag: The Olympics are 98 Days Away!

Next week in pro football news, the ever popular draft is coming. One interesting thing about the NFL regular season schedule being released this week is that Las Vegas already has lines on the games! Not sure if it is time yet to lay a dime on Green Bay giving the points however.

Intel delivers high capacity solid state drives for consumers
Intel has delivered the Solid-State Drive 330 Series, a lineup that is directly targeted at the consumer market. Now being a consumer you might wonder why you would want one of these drives and the answer is easy. They have the capacity to store your growing digital music/video/images collection that might not fit on your smartphone or tablet, or even computer.

The drives will be available in the 60GB, 120GB and 180GB capacities and is a SATA 6Gb/s-based SSD. The difference between a SSD and what is probably in your computer is that a traditional hard disk drive has rotating material and so is much more prone to damage from dropping or other accidents. A SSD is what is in your smartphone, or at least the underlying technology is.

Exercise cycle delivers feedback wirelessly
Ever ridden an exercise bike and found that the data that it provided was worthless, or like at my gym, the data technology always seems to be broken? Well a company called Body Bike wants to fix all that with a wireless solution that can provide feedback using Ant + wireless technology developed by Ant Wireless.

The Body Bike Connect uses the wireless technology to send a wide range of information including VO2 max, calories, distance, and average, percentage and maximum values to an Ant enabled console. It also can be used to handle personalized settings.

Foursquare tops 20 million users
Now I have to admit I am not a Foursquare user. I don’t care that you are buying a cup of coffee or getting your haircut. Why do you think that is interesting to anybody but stalkers and home thieves? Well enough of the rant, as I see that the location-based check-in service startup has 20 million users, up from 15 million in December.

Google’s Motorola plans driving partners to rivals?
There is growing speculation that part of Google’s plans for its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility is to emulate what Apple is currently doing, becoming a vertically integrated developer. What that means is that it would develop the hardware, the operating system and possibly even the chip, for future Android devices. Currently it helps partners design products that are sold as Nexus systems.

This would make it very tough for partners to compete with Google’s own products, and could be a major impetus for them to look for alternatives. While Apple’s iOS is out two alternatives remain that already have at least a bit of mainstream acceptance.

The two are Research in Motion, which reportedly is in talks to license its technology to Samsung. The second and possibly more viable alternative is Microsoft. Its Windows 8 is due soon and it has Intel helping to promote the technology.

Apple and Samsung to settle?
Among the many patent battles being fought across the globe, two of the bigger participants are Apple and Samsung with over 20 cases between the two pending, and now it looks the top bosses will be talking face to face about how to settle the issues.

The two companies have agreed to settlement talks that will be presided over by a San Francisco-based magistrate judge. At the meeting are expected to be Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung, as well as the general counsel for both companies.

BBC will stream all Olympic games
The BBC is taking an aggressive broadcasting stance for the upcoming Summer Olympics. With the games in its own backyard the broadcasting giant said that it will be broadcasting up to 24 streams of live HD sports to cable and satellite broadcasters for television viewing.

This will enable viewers to watch every Olympic sport, if they were so inclined. The move is an expansion of its previous plan that had called for all of the games to only be broadcast online. In addition it will be broadcasting on BBC One and BBC 3 as well as radio coverage.

This move, coupled with NBC Sports promising to put a huge amount of the games online mean that viewers can now see events that they wish to rather than simply the ones that the broadcasters have determined that viewers want.

No Greek Warship for Olympics?
A Greek trireme powered by 170 rowers has been scratched from the opening ceremonies of the upcoming London Olympics- the reason is that they are afraid that it will be too popular, causing I guess people to actually want to come to the opening ceremony.

That is really too bad because it not every day you see a replica of the Olympias, an ancient warship that was used in one of history’s most important battles sailing by. I hope they are not planning on canceling the basketball portion of the Olympics because I hear that is very popular as well.

Oakley Developing Connected Sports Glasses

A while back we mentioned that Google was developing glasses in an effort named Project Glass that would provide real time feedback for users-well it seems that they are not the only one and Oakley is in tests with technology that could rival Google’s efforts.

Oakley executives said that they have been working on connected eyewear since 1997, which makes them quite the visionaries, and that the technology that they are developing would be compatible with Google’s Project Glass.

The basic specs that it indicated it was working with would call for glasses that have a built-in features as well as the ability to connect wirelessly, via Bluetooth, to a smartphone, with the possibility to it supporting voice commands. In the past the company has released glasses that have an MP3 player, and the product line is still on the market under the name of Thump.

Initially Oakley sees this type or product being marketed at athletes and possibly the military as well. It has some patents related to this area among it’s over 600 patents and has said that it is willing to license them.

I suspect that rather than being a rival to Google’s efforts Oakley seems like a prime candidate as a partner, licensing the software and adding its own on top. I can see this taking off in sports, and also leagues passing rules to ban them. It would be a great advantage to a golfer if his glasses gave him all of the breaks or a baseball batter whose eyewear helped identify what type of pitch had just been thrown.

The more I think about it the more I think I would enjoy all of the potential chaos that this type of product would bring to professional sports.

It should be noted that you can already get glasses that provide real time feedback, or rather goggles, if you are a skier, since there are several options already available. Recon Instruments, a startup in Vancouver, it markets a technology called Micro Optics Display (MOD) and is designed for use in skiing goggles. It is an adjustable, color widescreen micro LCD that provides real-time information to the athlete such as speed, GPS location, jump airtime, vertical and total distance traveled, temperature, altitude and time.

While not quite the same as what Oakley and Google are developing I think it shows that this type of technology is nearing mainstream and will likely expand into a wide variety of applications going forward.

Friday Grab Bag: Who gets Hard Knocks and Tablet Sales Soaring

Nike’s push to establish its FuelBand, a rubber wrist band that it is seeking to establish as a standard piece of wearable sports technology continues to move forward as the APIs for the device have been given to developers, according to an article in PSFK.

The FuelBandAPI will enable developers to create a range of applications that reach from a user’s iPhone out to the FuelBand and back, not only for sports related apps but also ones that could provide access to music and other iPhone features.

Are four cores twice as good as two?
Have you ever wondered what the difference between a dual core processor and a quad core processor, aside from the very obvious in terms of number of cores? Well Cnet’s Jessica Dolcourt has taken the time to break down the issues and lay them out in a piece entitled 7 Myths about quad-core phones.

She looks into issues such as app development, impact on battery life and top down development of the cores, all with interviews with developers to fill in the gaps. After reading this you might not rush out and buy the first quad-core smartphone on the market

“Hard Knocks” heading to Atlanta?
ESPN is reporting that HBO has asked the Atlanta Falcons to be the subject of this year’s “Hard Knocks” a series that follows one NFL team throughout its entire preseason training camp. There have also been stories that the Jets management wanted the program again while the team’s coach did not.

And speaking of pro football don’t forget that it is just a mere two weeks until the annual draft. Get ready now to ridicule either a) your team, b) the sports channel you watch the event, c) one specific draft expert or d) all of the above.

Intel to push tablets in education

Intel has delivered Studybook, a ruggedized tablet for the education market that is part of the company’s Intel Learning Series family and will come with a range of software designed specifically for the education space.

The tablet features a range of education software including the Intel Learning Series software suite for both students and teachers. The tablet can also serve as an ereader and has an estimated 5.5 hour battery life.

It is powered by an Intel Atom Z650 processor and features 1GB DDR memory, a choice of 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB storage, a 7-inch 1024 x 600 resolution multitouch display, with optional front and rear cameras. Intel will license the reference design to company’s working in the education space and the tablets can run either Android or Windows tablet operating systems.

Tablets sales soaring-Apple leads the way
A recent report from market researcher Gartner Group shows strong growth in tablets from last year to this, from 60 million units to an estimated 118 million, and it shows that Apple’s iPad, not surprising, leads the way.

Gartner estimated that Apple sold roughly 40 million last year and will account for 73 million, or 61.4% of all tablet sales this year. By 2016 Apple is estimated to still be the market leader, but Android is expected to make a strong push into a very solid #2 position.

Microsoft’s forthcoming tablet OS and accompanying hardware partners will see it gain a very distant third by 2016, with estimated sales of 43 million, or slightly better than what Apple did last year. Head over to look at the charts here.

MLB.TV Blackout Rules in need of a revamp?
While we here at MSR are pretty big fans of MLB’s wide variety of tools and apps that allow access at some level to baseball, one that has always been an issue is its blackout rules for MLB.TV, which seem more than a bit arbitrary.

A post by Chad Moriyama recently brought home a major flaw in the program. He was informed that the newly revised blackout rules would not only block Dodgers and Giant games, but all West Coast teams as well as some others for a total of nine teams, including games in Texas.

So you might wonder if he lives in some wonderful central location that enables him to easily drive a wide variety of parks, possible the Springfield that the Simpsons live in. No, he lives in Hawaii, 3,000 miles from a Dodgers game.

If Internet Commentators were around then…
The Sports Pickle has really hit it on the head about Internet commenting, not just on sports but on pretty much anything these days. I always seems that you cannot get 10 posts before one is a troll, and trolls attract more trolls.

Even so this recreation of what comments would look like for four famous events- The Steelers Immaculate Reception, US beats USSR in Olympics hockey, Frazier beats Ali and Lou Gerhig’s farewell at Yankee Stadium are all spot on.

How many smartphones?
Analyst estimates are always to be taken with a grain of salt, at a bare minimum, but no matter which estimation you believe smartphone sales are continuing to grow at a very fast pace. Credit Suisse is predicting that sales will grow 46%, to 687.9 million units this year. It estimates 1 billon sold in 2014.

Gartner has estimates that last year all forms of mobile phones reached a total of 1.8 billion units. Then there is Cisco, which has forecast that by 2016 there will be 1.4 smartphones for every person on the planet. Head over to Mashable to look at all of the numbers. I imagine that half of them will be lost in the back of a cab.