Category: convergence

The Problem with Olympic Spoilers is Selection


Image source: E News

By Eduardo Navas

Posted on August 1, 2012 on The Huffington Post

Social media spoilers are inevitable when the broadcasting network decides to block-out selected events and save them for primetime. This became evident to me as I experienced the Olympics during the first three days.

It began on Friday when I settled to watch the opening ceremony. At this time I briefly considered the fact that the broadcast was not live on the East Coast of the United States, where I live. I also realized that people on the West Coast would see the opening extravaganza three hours after me.

I said to myself that it did not matter because viewing a delayed broadcast of an opening event, sure to be considered historic, would not change my viewing experience. Such a situation is equivalent to one’s willingness to watch a television series knowing that it is a recorded production.

Things were different when I selectively viewed the first events on Saturday live on Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, and NBC Sports. The multiple broadcasts were also complemented with apps for mobile media, well supported with the nbcolympics.com website.

Throughout the day I checked twitter and Facebook for updates and comments. I soon learned that Michael Phelps took fourth place in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley, while Ryan Lochte took first, winning the gold. However, I was not able to experience the historic moment until primetime on NBC. At this point I was more interested in knowing how it happened, and was no longer invested in the event as I would have, had it been live.

The same thing happened again on Sunday when Lochte and Phelps participated in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay only to come second to France. Again, I learned about this in the late afternoon, but I waited to view it during primetime on NBC.

The decision by NBC to select certain events, from earlier in the day, and broadcast them during primetime began to be discussed as soon as Saturday, and by Sunday, stories were written on different online publications. Entertainment Weekly, in particular, ran two extensive stories. NBC apparently made its decision in order to attain higher ratings during its primetime broadcast. Understandably some people are quite unhappy about NBC’s decision, which is why, as I write this, the hash tag #nbcfail is still going strong with rants.

After viewing the events on Sunday night, however, I don’t think that the problem for NBC is that selected events are shown well after they take place. The problem, in my view, is that NBC appears to be selecting the wrong events for delayed broadcast at night.

To be specific, both on Saturday and Sunday during primetime, NBC went back and forth between gymnastics and swimming. When swimming came on, I could not help but think that I was about to see something which had already taken place. But with gymnastics, I did not mind the delayed broadcast at all. Why, I thought? I came to the conclusion that it has to do with the type of sport.

Swimming is an action sport, which deals with extreme physical performance dependent on time. It is defined by exciting moments such as when your favorite athlete does not even take third place. Add to this the possibility of breaking a world record, and you are sure to have a nail-biting experience as a viewer. Such thrill is unlikely to happen with a delayed broadcast of a major swimming competition such as Lochte’s and Phelps’ once it has been spoiled earlier in the day due to social media and online news sources.

Gymnastics, on the other hand, is a sport about physical strength, precision and gracefulness. Add to this the fact that it depends on points given by judges who, in large part, rely on aesthetics, and we have a dynamic that is closer to viewing a theatrical performance, and not so different from viewing the opening ceremony. Gymnastics is one of my favorite categories in the Olympics, and I don’t think I have ever experienced them live.

NBC’s situation actually makes apparent the fact that major networks need to better understand how to create a worthwhile experience for viewers who are likely to know already much about sporting events that took place early in the day (in this case the Olympics) which they decide to deliver during primetime.

If a network decides to hold out on a sport defined by its physical excitement, such as swimming, then an effort should be made in creating a viewing experience about how and why something happened and not “what will happen.” This approach would then make the juxtaposition of swimming and gymnastics a better fit given their differences as I explained. With this more realistic approach Bob Costas will not have to say “no spoilers” as he introduces the taped segment of Lochte winning gold while Phelps takes none, hoping that the viewers will have a thrilling experience. I did not.

Siri, Take This Down: Will Voice Control Shape Our Writing?

In the future, you will talk to your computer. Voice, the predominant mode of human-to-human communication, has been migrating to silicon for more than a decade and is now poised to hit the mainstream.

Already, voice interfaces have become commonplace in the telephone customer-service industry, have long been of assistance to the blind, and are increasingly used by doctors for transcribing patient information. Even your less-tech-savvy relatives may have seen, for example, the recent profile of Nuance Communications in the New York Times. Nuance is the big fish in the small pond of dictation programming development, and the force behind Dragon, the highly-regarded though still expensive dictation-software package, as well as Siri, the iPhone 4S personal-assistant application, and the Ford “Sync” system’s voice-command interface.  Google’s concept video for “Project Glass” includes voice-to-text translation.

So it seems as though our voices may some day displace our keyboards and mice as the primary means through which we manipulate our computing devices. But while to command by voice is one thing, to write by voice is another, and the question remains whether — or how — this shift in technology will shape the words we “pen.”

Read the complete article at The Atlantic.

Support RE/Mixed Media Fest

The RE/Mixed Media Festival, now in it’s 3rd year, is an annual celebration of collaborative art-making and creative appropriation. It’s the artists’ contribution to the ongoing conversation about remixing, mashups, copyright law, fair use, and the freedom of artists to access their culture in order to add to and build upon it.

The festival – which this year will take place at the Brooklyn Lyceum – a 3-floor 10,000 sq. ft. venue on the border of the Park Slope and Gowanus neighborhoods of Brooklyn – will feature performances, panel discussions, live musical collaborations, hip-hop, sampling, film & video, DIY, food and drink, DJs, technology, interactive installations, painting, sculpture, software, hacking, and much more!

Read more at KickStarter and Remixedmedia.org

Big Data – The Emerging Technology Trend

Big Data is a term used to describe the technologies and techniques used to capture and utilize, the exponentially increasing streams of data, with the goal of bringing enterprise-wide visibility and insights, to make rapid critical decisions.

To explain it in very simple terms – Huge amounts of Data need to be processed at the right time to help businesses make critical decisions. This exponentially huge amount of Data is Big Data.

Read the complete story at rishabhsoft.com

Thorana: Classic example of convergence art

In 2009, Liv Valmestad, a librarian at Manitoba University in Canada received a SmartPhone for a three year project which encouraged to use the technology for outreach and to create innovative programs. She created a project through the convergence of media including Google Earth, Flickr, blogging, and QR (Quick Response- QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that look like a maze, predominantly black-on-white) codes.

Read more at The Nation