Not Super, But Still Interesting

I probably don’t have to tell you that the Super Bowl happened last Sunday. And I have a confession about that: I really don’t care anything about the game.

I haven’t been to a Super Bowl party since the event was in the XXXs, couldn’t name any player on either team other than Tom Brady, and even had to ask Google where it was being played. Is that anti-social? Un-American?

Now I did have the program playing on my tablet in the background while I did other things, so I guess the ratings people counted me as one of the billion or so viewers. But I find the periphery of the event far more interesting than football. The competition to create entertaining ads, the subtle (and not so subtle) political messages people try to inject into everything, Lady Gaga’s backup drones, the running commentary on Twitter.

Football1

Being completely oblivious to football during most of the season, I have to rely on others to explain why this Bowl became so Super, which is where a recent segment of the Freakonomics podcast, An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl, was so valuable. That 30 minutes, half the length of the actual game play, was more interesting. One of the former players on their panel is even a PhD candidate in math. At MIT. Now that’s something I never expected.

One other item that caught my eye during the game were two high profile commercials (featuring “that person looks very familiar” celebrities) for web hosting companies2. Both ads were trying to sell the idea that anyone can build a compelling, profitable website for their business. It’s a nice, if somewhat inaccurate, story.

I know web publishing technology has advanced to the point where it really is easy to build a site. However, I also know that creating a site that people will actually want to use is still a very complex process. My advice as someone who has worked on many of these projects is, in addition to paying SquareSpace or Wix, spend something on a good designer.

Anyway, that’s pretty much my Super Bowl experience. I can’t recall much about the actual game, especially the second half since I went to bed after the Snickers live commercial (which did not live up to the pre-game hype).

Yes, I know there was a “historic”, first-ever, tie game that was won in overtime. And New England set all kinds of records. And there were possibly many other significant cultural aspects to this event. Sorry, I just don’t care.

Anti-social? Un-American? You decide.

Skip The Tech Hype

Every year during the first week of January, the Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las Vegas. It’s a huge event with thousands of companies spending millions of dollars to show off their stuff. Producing a flood of over-hyped media reports on all the “new”, “innovative”, “amazing” tech products.

But how much of this is worth the attention of anyone outside the business? Do us electronics consumers really need to know about this stuff?

When I look at this year’s show, I see a lot of things no one needs, and few people will want. It’s a Sharper Image catalog brought to life, the ultimate “Why? Because I can!”

The tech reporter who started his post with that thought, continues to explain why we can safely ignore some of the “big trends” at CES. And I certainly agree with him that the “idea of MS Office in the car is truly frightening”.

BTW, has anyone declared drones to be the next revolution in edtech? I’m sure I missed that announcement.