NBC Criticized For Not Streaming London Olympics’ Opening Ceremonies

The first controversy in the first Social Media Olympics has already occurred before one medal has been awarded.

With Twitter, Facebook tablet use and social media phenoms Instagram to Pinterest abuzz with activities, what didn’t happen was streaming content of the spectacle of the Opening Ceremonies.

According to an Associated Press report, NBC has received its share of complaints for not streaming the traditional pageantry start to the Olympics online. Instead, the occasion was reserved for the network’s Friday telecast.

Deadspin, the irreverent sports site, posted the link the the BBC’s stream of the ceremony under the headline:

“How To Watch The London Olympics Opening Ceremony Live (And Give The Finger To NBC)”

Christopher McCloskey, an NBC spokesman, told the AP the network had no plans to stream the opening ceremonies because the spectacle doesn’t translate well online. NBC also didn’t stream the opening ceremonies in Beijing, China, in 2008.

James Raia is a freelance journalist in Sacramento, California. Visit his website: www.tourdefrancelife.com.

Friday Grab Bag: Kindle Rumors, Odd Olympic Facts

Every Olympics you see some piece about the sports that have come and gone for the games, baseball and shooting live pigeons being two that readily come to mind. However there is something much more fundamental about the games that has changed a great deal as well, mainly how you get your information.

Everybody on the Internet must know by now that this is the most social media Olympics in history (also the 1st?), but think about past games and how you got the news and how they were broadcast. A nice piece in Mashable and accompanying infographic lays it out quite well.

The first modern Olympics, in 1896 had carrier pigeons, first radio broadcasts in 1924, first live telecasts in 1936 but worldwide broadcasts had to wait until 1960. The Internet hit way back in 1996! In my opinion one of the best things is that you can now get all of the games not just the ones that the studios decide I want to see, and no tape delays!

Speaking of Pigeons — get a load of these Guinea Pigs
Ok, this rates as the dumb post of the week but it just cracked me up. It is just a series of six photos that show a set of guinea pigs competing in a number of Olympic events in London. So let the real games begin!

Record iPad sales not enough for Apple to meet expectations
Apple’s revenue for the past quarter and forecast for the current one did not meet with analysts’ expectations despite selling 17 million iPads during the quarter, up 84% compared to the same quarter a year ago and up 44% from the previous quarter. It sold 26 million iPhones, down 26% from the previous quarter.

The company did manage to have $35 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 22% from a year ago and had $8.8 billion in net profit, up 22% from the previous year. Apple plans to update its MacBook line this quarter, release a new Mac operating system and a new iOS later this fall.

Bucs bailing on iPads
The NFL seemed like the next conquest for Apple’s iPad but now a report from JoeBucsFan.com, as relayed by ProFootballTalk, makes it look like one team is backing away from the tablets. Tampa Bay is reportedly discontinuing the use of the tablets to its players according to the blog.

It seems that players were forgetting to charge them, did not update them automatically and the team could not be sure that players were using them. I wonder how they can be sure that the players are reading the 500+ page binders they issue each week?

Elemental streams Olympics
If you are watching the Summer Olympics in London on line, you can give thanks, at least in part, to Elemental Technologies. A product from the company, Elemental Alive, is the backbone to the live streams that will be seen worldwide.

While we have mentioned that NBC will be live streaming all of the events from the Olympics live in the US, it should be noted that the BBC will also be streaming the games to much of the rest of the world, and both rely on Element’s technology to send the video to computers, phones and tablets. That is quite an accomplishment for a company still in startup stage.

Apple, Motorola Mobility both appeal dismissal of patent infringement case
Well here is one thing that the two companies can agree on; both have appealed (separately) the decision from last month by a U.S. federal judge to dismiss their patent infringement case. The case was thrown out ‘with prejudice’ by Judge Richard Posner, who ruled that they could not resubmit the lawsuit.

The case has been ongoing for some time and had increasingly been drawing the ire of the judge, along with the overall US patent system. He has dismissed expert testimony and honed down the number of issues involved in previous ruling prior to his dismissal of the case.

Seattle pushing for new NBA team
After losing the Supersonics, its NBA team a few years ago, Seattle looks to be trying to be back in the mix for a team. The King County Council is about to vote on a proposal that is now in front of it regarding building a new arena, the lack of which was a core cause in losing its last team.

The proposal, from investor Chris Hansen would call for a $490 million new facility with private equity paying $290 million and the rest from bonds by the city and county that would be paid for by arena generated taxes and fees. The issue must also be passed by the Seattle City Council. No word on where the team is going to come from.

Kindle rumors galore
It seems with Google’s entrant into the 7-inch tablet space with its well received Nexus 7 and the possibility of an Apple product in the same space has cause a rise in the rumor mill about future Amazon Kindles to combat the new rivals.

Tom’s Hardware is reporting that the current Kindle’s may see a 15% drop in price, to around $150 as it prepares its new ones for market. The new ones may be here as soon as next week, according to SiliconAngle, which reports that a pair of tablets, a new 7-inch as well as its first 10-inch may be released as early as the 31st of July.

PlayUp Brings its Fan-Interaction App to the Olympics

Fan interaction app PlayUp, which made its name this spring with several pro-athlete chat rooms for big events, is stepping up its own game with a new release of the app just in time for the London Olympics.

Announced today, version 3.1 of the PlayUp app for the iOS platform adds some interesting new features, including third-party content and sports news, as well as targeted sports feeds by the user’s geographic location. This feature, PlayUp said, brings the most regionally relevant content to the forefront when a user launches the app. PlayUp can be downloaded free from the iTunes store.

The PlayUp app, which gives sports fans the ability to track teams, scores and to converse with other fans in either small or large, or private or public groups, will now bring that interaction to the Olympic games, which begin July 25 and go until Aug. 12. The PlayUp app will give fans real-time results, standings and leaderboards for almost all the events, in addition to the app’s signature ability to let fans talk smack, agree and cheer, or otherwise communicate with friends and fans worldwide about their favorite sports.

What should be interesting is to see how third-party entities contribute to the PlayUp app to make the experience richer for PlayUp users. (You may even see some Mobile Sports Report content there soon, so keep your eyes peeled.) The app already has news feeds featuring stories from Yahoo, ESPN and CBS, so PlayUp has you covered when it comes to quick coverage from the top media outlets. The MSR take here is that more integration and aggregation is better for fans, who don’t have to leave an app to check, say, a Twitter feed. The challenge for PlayUp will be to convince partners that their app can bring in new sports-savvy users.

“Now sports fanatics can turn to PlayUp to get sports content, stats, Twitter feeds and more, and can be assured to get their sports fix even when no live games are being played,” said PlayUp CEO Dennis Lee in a press release. “We now also have the opportunity to connect brands and developers with sports fans and provide these third-parties with more effective ways to connect with potential customers across the globe. There is no bigger and better event to showcase PlayUp’s new features than the Olympics.”

Friday Grab Bag: Bannister returns, Big Ten embraces Android

A sip of soda cost Ronaldinho $1.57m?
Apparently drinking the wrong soda can be costly as Brazilian soccer superstar Ronaldinho found out. He appeared at a press conference for his new team, Atletico Mineiro sipping a Pepsi, which happens to be one of the teams’ sponsors.

However Coca-Cola happens to be one of Ronaldinho’s sponsors, with a deal valued at $1.57 million. Apparently the powers that be at Coke’s headquarters were less than pleased and canceled his contract.

Big Ten moves to Android

The Big Ten Network has expanded its mobile reach with the release of BTN2Go for Android. The app, which enables subscribers to the Big Ten Network via their cable supplier, to view a huge range of sports on smartphones, tablets and via the web.

They will be able to watch live feed of all of the networks programming that includes more than 40 football games and 100 men’s basketball games among the hundreds of programs. The app is available at Google Play.

2/3 of new mobile buyers opt for smartphones, Nielsen says
The latest newsletter from Nielsen Wire shows that the in the second quarter of 2012 smartphone growth has continued unabated. Currently 54.9% of all US mobile phone subscribes now use a smartphone as of its June 2012 study.

Two out of every three new phone purchases were a smartphone during the last three months. According to the survey Android is the operating system of choice with 51.8% of all users adopting that platform while 34.3% use an iPhone from Apple.

Despite past results RIM Exec takes upbeat view
Research in Motion has seen things go from bad to worse as it reports losses, declining customer base and delays in its next generation smartphone, a product that it is hoping will bring it out of the doldrums that surround the company.

However there is a light cutting through the clouds according to Frank Boulben, RIM’s chief marketing officer said that the late delivery of its BlackBerry 10, after the important Holiday shopping season, will actually benefit the company as it will allow carriers to prepare and allow it to have the spotlight to itself.

Microsoft/Motorola Patent tiff on hold

Microsoft and Motorola have decided to wait until the hearing over Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing obligations is heard later this year before continuing their patent lawsuits against each other.

While this will slow the lawsuit issue to a degree it does not affect any potential ruling by the International Trade Commission on two complaints involving the two companies, according to a piece in Electronista.

Microsoft is also aiming at Apple- Shock

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer has said that it is a new day at Microsoft and that its Surface tablet will be taking on all comers, including Apple, vowing not to leave any market segments uncontested to its rival.

According to an exclusive in CRN Ballmer said that the company and its partners had ceded some areas in the high tech space to Apple and its innovative ways. Areas that Microsoft plans to now more fiercely compete include the consumer cloud and in the area of hardware/software innovation, he said.

It is interesting that one of the reasons Apple is still around as a company is because Microsoft invested $150 million in 1997, a deal that eventually netted Microsoft almost 19 million shares of Apple stock for an average cost of about $9 per share. Microsoft has since sold the stock.

NBC has an Olympic app-if you are a subscriber
NBC Olympics has developed the NBC Olympics Live Extra app that will enable users to watch every event live, which will run to an estimated 3,500 hours of coverage, according to a report from Michael Hiestand in USA Today.

The app will be available for Apple’s iPad and iPhone platforms as well as some Android devices. However NBC will only allow access to viewers who get NBC’s MSNBC and CNBC channels — that’s about 100 million households out of the 114 million total U.S. TV households.

London Olympics salutes Roger Bannister
Roger Bannister, now Sir Robert Bannister, the first man to break the sub-4 minute mile barrier carried the Olympic torch on the track where he broke the record 58 years ago. As part of the relay for the torch as it arrived in London he walked on the track and then handed it off. There is speculation that he will be selected to light the cauldron to start the Olympics.

Tablets continue to erode PC sales
Market research firm Gartner has reported that for the seventh consecutive quarter sales of PCs have continued a trend of anemic growth as demand lessens in favor of tablets. However it notes that economic weakness in both the US and Europe are also contributing to the poor demand.

According to the company sales in the second quarter were 87.5 million units with Hewlett-Packard the market leader followed by Lenovo and Dell.

Social news site Digg sold
Once high flyer Digg, a social news site, was a top destination on the Internet and it saw its valuation numbers soar with its popularity, but as with many popular sites, its appeal waned and viewership fell off as other newer technologies took its place.

The drop appears to now be complete as the site has been sold for $500,000 to Betaworks, which gains the site and its technology, which will be incorporated into a new unit that Betaworks will announce in the future, according to the New York Times.

Adobe, NBC Team Up for Real-Time Olympic Action Apps

When NBC announced plans to stream every single bit of Olympic action from London this summer, you knew eventually there would be an app for that. Today, NBC and Adobe announced they’ve been working together to create apps for iPhones, iPads, and Android phones and tablets. Here’s a short video blurb to explain:

What is confusing (and will no doubt frustrate many folks) is that there is not one, but TWO apps — one is called NBC Olympics, and one is called NBC Olympics Live Extra. The latter one is the one that’s most interesting. Read here to see what NBC says it does:

The NBC Olympics Live Extra app will live stream every athletic competition for the first time ever. In all, the app will live stream more than 3,500 total programming hours, including every athletic competition, all 32 sports, the awarding of all 302 medals as well as event rewinds. NBC Olympics Live Extra will also live stream the Olympic content that airs on the four NBCU cable channels – NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo.

In another first, NBC Olympics Live Extra will provide multiple concurrent streams for select sports, such as gymnastics (each apparatus), track and field (each event), and tennis (up to five courts). For example, during a session of track and field, instead of viewing only a single feed that moves from event to event, a user can choose to watch a stream dedicated to a specific event, such as the long jump or javelin.

Compared to that, the second app sounds like a forgotten orphan:

The second app, simply titled NBC Olympics, will provide short-form highlights, TV and online schedules, live results, columns and the new Primetime Companion feature – the ultimate complementary, second-screen experience for NBC’s nightly primetime Olympic broadcasts.

Well, OK. Maybe it was too hard to put two apps together? But we’re just glad to have the opportunity to watch online, so no more kvetching.

Of course, nothing this good could possibly be free but if you are already a paying customer for a cable contract that includes CNBC and MSNBC, you’re covered. How do you verify mobile devices so that you can watch? Here is a quick list from NBC:

— Download the NBC Olympics Live Extra app
— Open the app
— Tap the “Touch Here & Get Ready” callout
— Select your cable, satellite or telco provider
— Enter the username and password that corresponds with your account
You are signed in throughout the Games on that device!

Plus, NBC has also created an entire Live Extra Help Site page, complete with a video featuring Carson Daly. Why Carson Daly, we are not sure. But he does a very professional teleprompter-reading job of explaining how to set it up.

London Underground Renamed for Famous Olympiads Past and Present

If you are fortunate enough to be in London for this year’s Summer Olympics the London Underground, its subway system, is a pretty efficient means to get around, and much easier than trying to drive yourself, as I have found from past experience.

However if you have been there before you might find one thing different than in the past; the city has renamed 361 stations after celebrated Olympic athletes, some going back to the founding of the modern Olympics.

This is a very nice way to remind people of some of the greats that have paved the way for the games that we will be seeing this year. A number of top American athletes are represented around the city including Michael Phelps, who will be participating again this year and has the honor of the main Olympics’ stop along with Cassius Clay. Other US athletes honored include Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Bob Hayes and a number of others.

The Transport for London released the Underground Olympic Legends Map focuses primarily on Gold Medal winners but not exclusively. It also has a few famous defeated athletes sprinkled in as well as as some notable ones that never participated.

I have to give a shout out to a Hungarian friend who pointed out this tribute as he was notably proud of the fact that his country was represented by 13 athletes.

Three-time gold medal winner water polo players: Gyarmati and Karpati (1952-1964)
Three time gold medal winner boxer: Laszlo Papp (1948-1956)
“Million times” gold medal winner fencers: Gerevich and Karpati (1932-1960!!!)
Five times gold medal winner swimmer: Kristina Egerszegi (1988-1996)
Four times gold medal winner swimmer: Tamas Darnyi (1992-1996)
Three-times gold-medal winner legendary pentathlon champion: Balczo (1960-1972)
Legendary rapid-pistol champion (who changed hand after an accident):Karoly Takacs (1948-1952)
And finally: Four members of the 1952 Gold medalist Hungarian soccer team: Puskas, Kocsis, Bozsik and Czibor.

I found it interesting to try and name the countries for all of the athletes and failed miserably, I will not even mention how few I actually got correct. You can try and even buy a copy of the map here.