Friday Grab Bag: Super Bowl prop bets, anyone?

Sure you have purchased a square or two in the office pool and made a friendly wager on the outcome of the game, but that is scratching the surface. Did you know you can bet on how long the National Anthem will be or if the singer will wear gloves? Will the game go overtime?

A look at which are good and bad can be found in a number of places but I liked the ones published in SportsOnEarth and one that was in Football Outsiders as they give some context to what you should and should not do.

Is the Super Bowl a boon on the local economy?
Every year we see a number of time-honored myths rolled out about the Super Bowl. Top day for avocado consumption. No. Top day for spousal abuse. No. That it is a financial boon to the host city/area. Maybe no as well.

A piece in the New York Times points out that since past predictions of prosperity by the NFL were destroyed once the methodology was public the same might be true now. The current estimate, between $550 million and $600 was determined in secret, they will not say who did it or how they arrived at that number. However advertisers are flooding the host city so that they can be seen prior to the event so maybe they know something they are just not telling us.

Winter Olympics broadcast schedule
In case you actually can watch the games from the comfort of your sofa or a cozy corner pub here is a complete viewers’ guide to the events, when they will be broadcast. It should be noted by figure skating fans that the first events take place prior to the opening ceremony.

For a breakdown on what will be interesting as well as the challenges that the broadcaster NBC could face look over to Sports Illustrated and a piece by Richard Deitsch. Will the network let possible bad news from the surrounding area taint its broadcasts?

Why no respect for American soccer players?
With the World Cup now looming on the sports horizon ESPNFC did a piece on why it seems that European based leagues do not value American players and why increasingly that feeling is being reciprocated.

The nice thing about the piece is that it does not jump to a conclusion but points out how different development systems, short earning window and other factors all play in the decisions that players make in where they want to play.

Another black eye for Sochi?
The upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia has received a series of bad news with intolerance, corruption and potential terrorism issues rising to the forefront. Now a recent piece from ABC shows that there could be another piece of bad news on the horizon.

They are saying that one of the key figures in helping Russia win the games over Austria and South Korea was a man named Gafur Rakhimov. The trouble with Rakhimov is that he is considered by U.S. authorities to be one of the top four or five people in the heroin trade and is under indictment in Uzbekistan.

Friday Grab Bag: MSG to Close? NASCAR on the Move

Hewlett-Packard may be looking to double down in the tablet space as rumors are emerging that the company, already having re-entered the space, is now looking to head to the low end by offering an affordable $99 tablet.

According to DigiTimes, HP will team with Walmart to sell the 7-inch tablet that HP will have built in China. It will be targeted at the back to school market and will be the second offering in the 7-inch space from the company.

NASCAR on the move-to NBC
NASCAR and broadcaster NBC have signed a multiyear, multi-billion dollar deal that will see the racing league move from its longtime homes of ESPN and Turner Sports, while Fox Sports will maintain its portion of the coverage.

The details of the deal have not been released but Sports Business Daily has said that it is estimated that the deal is 50% greater than the existing deal that was valued at $2.74 billion for 8 years. The new deal will start with the 2015 season.

Will 2022 World Cup move to November?
If you wondered why FIFA awarded the 2020 World Cup to Qatar, a nation that being in the desert tends to be very hot during the summer when the tournament is played you were not alone. Now FIFA appears to be rethinking its clever plan.

Increasingly reports are emerging that the governing body is looking to move the tournament to the fall or winter so that it does not have dozens of players falling from heat stroke. However this will have a huge impact on most of the major European leagues’ seasons so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Nate Silver to ESPN
Stats guru Nate Silver has just moved to ESPN, leaving the New York Times. Silver cut his teeth in sports prior to moving to the Times and developed PECOTA, something that most baseball fantasy players will be aware of.

Hopefully in his new role he can help bring realistic use of statistics to the World Wide Leader. Does anybody really follow its quarterback rating system and does anybody remember its ill-fated productive out stat? Here is an interesting look at some areas he has impacted in the past and could in the future.

Madison Square Garden to close in 10 years?
Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks’ home, is slated to close in 10 years as New York is looking to renovate Penn Station, the mass transit terminal upon which sits the sports arena. Currently Penn Station is the busiest transportation hub in the United States.

The news cannot come as good news to the team which has been in the midst of a 3-year renovation that, according to Yahoo, will cost an estimated $968 million. The team had been applying for a permanent permit for the arena.

Friday Grab Bag: Unhappy iPad Users? Is Facebook Home Dead Already?

Will Microsoft buy Barnes & Noble’s Nook Business?
The rumor has once again emerged that Microsoft is looking at buying Barnes & Noble’s Nook business unit, a unit that Microsoft has already invested $300 million. TechCrunch is now reporting that it has internal documents that show that indeed the software giant is pondering such a move.

The cost is approximately $1 billion, which would also include Nook Media and related digital business operations. The documents show that Barnes & Noble is considering discontinuing its Android-based tablets next year.

Apple Patents invisible buttons
As smartphone users seemingly are demanding additional functionality with each new release of their favorite handset product designers are faced with the classic issue of form or functionality. Now Apple has patented a technology that seems to solve the issue by enabling fully functioning buttons and sliders that are not visible.

If you are wondering how you would use invisible items, they are not always hidden from the eye, but would appear when you motion towards them, according to a piece on them in Geek Newsletter.

Is Facebook’s Home burning down?
A few weeks ago amid a great deal of hype Facebook offered its latest and greatest mobile offering, Facebook Home. If you missed the announcement it was the debut of a smartphone, and a related app for owners of alternative Android devices, which made Facebook your smartphone start screen.

The HTC First was the first smartphone to come with the technology as standard and it was available from AT&T for $99. It has been apparently been met by a universal shrug of the shoulders by users, which had led AT&T to drop the price of the phone a bit, to 99 cents! Salon gives a good look at how far and fast this technology has dropped.

Amazon to offer smartphone with 3D display?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting (via C/Net) that Amazon is working on a pair of smartphones and that one of the two will have a 3D capability that will enable hologram like images. However the article made clear that the smartphones might never see the loght of day.

Amazon is increasingly delving into the hardware space starting with its popular Kindle tablet. While the rest is rumor, so far, it sounds like a set top box and the aforementioned smartphones are also in the works.

Google Glass takes another hit.
In case you missed the send up on Saturday Night Live you can look here but real world resistance to Google Glass technology is also continuing to rise. A nice piece in the New York Times outlines some of the major Pros and Cons of the technology.

We have always wondered how Las Vegas would deal with the glasses, and the NYT is of the opinion they will be banned, an opinion backed by Caesars Entertainment statement that they would be prohibited. However it is estimated that the glasses could generate upwards to $#500 billion for Google.

Bill Gates chimes in on iPad
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates recently spoke with CNBC and said that iPad users are frustrated with the lack of keyboard and because there is no Microsoft Office app for that platform that they will migrate to PC Tablets.

As can be noted in the Guardian’s coverage of his statements so Apple has sold an estimated 141 million iPads to unhappy users while the happy Microsoft Surface users have already swarmed the stores for an estimated 2 million units. Of course the Surface is still relatively new so we will see what the future brings.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Cheap Google Tablet? Apple Map ills

The latest rumor on new tablets comes from the partnership of Google and Asus, which just recently introduced the popular Nexus 7 tablet. Now it is being reported by Digitimes that the t

wo may be looking to break new price point barriers with a $100 offering.

With new Nooks from Barnes & Noble, Kindles from Amazon and systems pending from a host of other OEMs over the next few weeks the competition is getting much stiffer as customers are now being presented with more viable options to Apple’s iPad. It will be interesting to see if this pans out. Others are already claiming that the rumor is false.

Fallout from Apple Maps continues
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized to customers about the poor shape that Apple’s maps is in. The app, which replaced the popular Google Maps, has some glaring flaws like eliminating landmarks and moving roads.

Cook said that the company was very sorry for the frustration that it caused its customers and he even went so far as to recommend 5 apps that might do as a replacement to Apple’s offering. Speaking of Apple the iPad 3 (not iPad Mini) rumors have started- stay tuned for a growing wave of them as others launch their latest tablets.

Google loses appeal on patent enforcement
Google has been barred from enforcing a German court ruling against Microsoft that would have led to the banning of select Microsoft products on Germany. The ruling came from the US Court of Appeals and it upheld a lower court decision that prevented Motorola from enforcing the ban.

Foss Patents appears to see this as a positive move in getting Google to start licensing its patents on a FRAND basis.

FCC OKs wireless auction
There may soon be more bandwidth available for wireless use as the Federal Communications Commission has given approval to the auction by television broadcasters of bandwidth that they no longer need.

The expected bidders will use the bandwidth to meet expanding cellular and wireless Internet usage. The FCC is still working out the details of the auctions, according to the New York Times.

Nokia signs mapping deal with Oracle
Nokia will now be providing mapping software to Oracle, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The deal is expected to be announced today at OracleWorld and will allow Oracle’s application users to integrate mapping capabilities.

Android and iOS market shares grow
Android and iOS grew market share during the summer according to a report from market analytics firm comScore. The study, which tracked the operating systems from May to July show that Android represents 52.2% of the US market while Apple’s iOS is now 33.4% of the market. It looks like the Apple win over Samsung might have had an impact as Samsung had stagnant growth, losing 0.3% of its hardware sales.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Lots of Apple News- NASA uses Android

NASA satellites to operate using Android phones

Gizmodo is reporting that the brains that will operate a set of tiny asteroids that are being built by NASA will use the smartphones running Android. The satellites, called PhoneSats will be made from off the shelf materials and will only cost around $3,500.

The devices will be approximately 4 cubic inches and the next generation is expected to launch next year. NASA already has tested the first generation that uses a Nexus One smartphone for two way communications and other uses.

iPad Mini in October?

The rumor mill has been churning over the features and delivery date for the expected iPad Mini from Apple. The tablet is believed to be a 7-inch tablet, the first from Apple. Now Cnet is reporting that the device will officially see the light of day in October.

Original reports had the device coming to market along side the next generation iPhone, that is expected in early September but apparently Apple had different plans if the most current reports are correct.

IAC has purchased for $300m
Internet conglomerate InterActiveCorp has reportedly purchased from the New York Times in a $300 million cash deal. The Times was probably happy to rid itself of the money losing property, having taken a $194.7 million non-cash write down on the group last quarter.

However the Times originally purchased for $410 million in 2005. is similar to a property that IAC already owns,, and is being positioned as a complementary property by IAC.

Samsung shares drop $12 billion after US Court verdict
Samsung, already stung b

y losing big in its court case against Apple in the US, with as much as $3 billion on the line took another hit after the verdict was read. Its stock dropped like a rock, with shares dropping 7.5%, resulting in a loss of $12 million in the company’s market value, according to a report from Reuters.

Apple still dominates tablet sales according to HIS iSuppli

Apple is slowly expanding its dominate market share in the tablet space according to market research firm IHS iSuppli, and now sells seven out of every ten tablets. Apple's 69.6 percent share in the April-June quarter is up from about 58 percent in the first quarter, helped by the release of a new model just as the quarter began.

HIS iSuppli’s top 5 in the second quarter of 2012Here are the top five manufacturers of tablets in the second quarter, as released by IHS iSuppli:
Apple 69.6 percent share
Samsung Electronics Co. 9.2 percent. Inc. 4.2 percent
AsusTek Computer Inc. 2.8 percent
Barnes & Noble Inc. 1.9 percent
Other, 3 million, 12.3 percent
It will be interesting to see the next two quarters as the Microsoft Windows 8 show as well as the very popular Nexus 7 could have an impact on the standings.

ITC provides Apple with an additional win
The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in Apple’s favor last week wjhen it stated that the company did not infringe on three of Motorola Mobility’s patents, in a complaint that has been ongoing since 2010. The ITC remanded the investigation of a fourth patent that is under dispute by the two to an administrative law judge.


Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: HP, Lenovo tablet plans, Apple/Samsung go to Jury?

Apple and Samsung met to try and narrow their dispute in the ongoing patent case that is now being heard in a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif. At the judge's request the two met but could not come to any resolution in narrowing the scope of the case.

With this failure the case is likely to be handed over to the jury for deliberation this week. Apple wants the ban on Samsung tablets to be continued and that the ban also expend to Samsung’s smartphones, both of which it claims infringe on its patents.

Kodak patent sale gets complicated
Kodak, faced with an industry that does not hold its patents in quite the esteem, or at least the dollar value that it does, is said to be considering keeping the over 1,000 patents that it had put up for auction. Once believed to be worth several billion, bids came in significantly lower than it has expected, in the $150-$250 million range, according to reports.

Another rumor making the rounds is that Apple will team with Google to buy the patents from Kodak. Considering the animosity between the two this seems hard to believe. Both have huge cash reserves and at the current expected cost of the patents it would be no hardship for either to purchase them by themselves.

Google/Motorola seek US iPhone ban
The long running battle between Apple and Google/Motorola has witnessed a new front open as Google is seeking to get a ban on iPhone and iPad devices claiming that they violate select patents that Google owns.

The complaint, filed with the US International Trade Commission, claims that Apple violates seven patents including e-mail notification and location reminders. The two have been fighting in court since licensing talks ended two years ago.

HP to focus on consumer tablets, report said
The Verge has been touting an internal memo it has received that shows that Hewlett-Packard’s future tablet plans will inc

lude a big focus on consumer tablets and the group will be led by former Nokia exec Alberto Torres.

As many remember HP delivered its first tablet last year, the Touch Pad, and then quickly killed it off and the division, only to reignite the effort some months later. The previous tablet was based on technology it gained it its Palm acquisition, the new generation is expected to be based on Microsoft’s Windows 8.

Lenovo believes RT tablets will be a hot item
Lenovo said that the pricing on operating systems will allow hardware OEMs that build tablets using the Windows RT version of Windows 8 to offer significantly less expensive tablets that the OEMs that use the Windows 8 models.

According to Bloomberg the tablets will be $200-$300 less, resulting in RT tablets in the $300-$400 range while the Windows 8 tablets will be in the $600-$700 range. Lenovo has already talked about its Windows 8 tablet here.

LG Optimus Vu headed to stores globally next month
The hybrid tablet/smartphone that LG first showed back in February is expected to reach the market sometime in September. The Optimus Vu will sport a 5-inch display with an Nvidia processor, 32GB of storage and a 5MP camera. Pricing and exact availability are not yet known.

Will verdict in Apple’s favor change market?
The New York Times has a piece that speculates that a victory by Apple in its lawsuit could have one interesting consequence; it could force rival tablet and smartphone makers to truly differentiate their products.

The opposite could also be true if Samsung emerges victorious, with a lot of manufacturers doing Apple knockoffs with no real fear of legal action by Apple. One would hope that developers would try to differentiate on their own, but after looking at vanilla PCs for a decade you know it is not true.