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Tag: super bowl

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.

Twitter Droppings

Being a small collection of links from my Twitter posts of the past week that deserve a few more than 140 characters.

Last week Google announced that HTML 5 would be the default format for all videos on YouTube. Most YouTube have no idea what that means (or the explanation in the post) but in the larger picture of the web, it’s good news. And one more sign that Flash is dying as a media distribution format, which can’t come fast enough for those who do understand since the technology is still buggy after all these years, not to mention a major security hole.

After last weekend’s Super Bowl, no one should be surprised that the NFL has annual revenues of $9.5 billion. What should shock you, not to mention the people leading this country, is that they are still a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. And it gets worse when you add in the billions of subsidies from state and local taxpayers that are used to pay for stadiums and other team facilities. “You really couldn’t ask for a better symbol of everything that’s wrong with US predatory capitalism.” Indeed!

Last week, the FCC decided to make some changes to reclassify internet service providers (like Verizon and Comcast) as “common carriers” under something called Title II. What does that mean to most of us who use the internet? David Weinberger asked an expert and their explainer is well worth a read. The issue is not that complicated but this is a major change that goes a long way to maintaining a “neutral” internet.

And finally, Fast Company speculates on why introverts are the best networkers on Twitter. I’m not sure I buy the premise, but much of the advice in the article could still apply to working with introverted students. And with helping everyone make the best use of social media.

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