Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good Advice

Back when ULM was still Northeast, the PR director, Bob Carroll, once told me you've got to stop operating that camera if you want them to take you seriously. This was when I was a GA, shooting all the film (that's dating) for football. It proved to be a position that opened a lot of doors, and because I was so good at it -- and also the only person with the skill set needed -- the department was very accommodating. That special knowledge was both power and security. Of course, what Bob inferred was the ubiquitous "they" won't recognize your talents and ability to take on larger tasks because they'll always just see you as a worker and/or specialist.

Over time, Bob was right.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Mobile Evidence

Nielsen Wire brings this summary of a Council for Research Excellence (now there's a Keilloresque National Association of Associations moniker if there ever was one) about who watches what where via television. No big surprise, the younger the demo, the more mobile the user. For those of us here in college athletics, the secondary finding is more significant.

Of those watching TV away from home, the younger cohort is more apt to watch sports; the older news.

Fire up those apps, people.

Travel Quote of the Day

Lost in the past two years' assignments here is the "road" half of the blog; quite fully atrophied by circumstance. Here's a wonderful offering to momentarily revive the wanderlust part, taken from a must read piece by Tom Swick

Soak this in:

How else to explain the decline of the travel book in the age of globalization? True, there has been a concurrent rise in travel blogs, but these seem to be, for the most part, cyberspace’s version of the vacation slides people used to inflict on friends.

Ah. Yes. My own little boring slide show for you, the handful of readers. That's a delicious little self-schadenfreud.

To read the entire piece, jump here. It was found off the RSS feed of Arts and Letters which is a fantastic sorbet to the usual grind of the prespiring arts.

And now, back to the strum-und-drang of current media.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Double Note

We've mentioned that TMZ.com is getting more aggressive in the sports area, and bears your watching. The recent Oklahoma men's basketball events get more interesting as TMZ spent a little time digging through the Twitter accounts of the players. They add a story to their original on the wire payments with this. Very likely it could be coincidental, but just another reason for your own monitoring.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dolphin Update

Realize during today's snowstorm that I had a Curious George of my own. My wife has this brass double-dolphin that was a special object from her birth mother, Pat. It sits on a bistro table on the deck outside our bedroom here in Fayetteville. Since it's perfectly exposed -- along with the deck railing -- to the elements, it makes for a super simple snow measure.

In the past snow days, I'd taken pictures of the dolphins as a measure. Now, friends on Facebook have made fun (and snarky) comments about the Dolphin Update.

Well, today, I'm forecasting a total eclipse of the dolphins. The noon photo, and the real measurements around the yard are at 10 inches.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Simple, Brilliant, Social

Anyone who follows SEC women's basketball contact Tammy Wilson's Facebook page knows about her mini Curious George stuffed animal. She takes pics of George meeting famous SEC athletes, in famous places, at major SEC events.

For some time, I've thought it was cute. Then at the SEC women's tournament, Tammy told me, as Paul would say, the rest of the story.

Single but with a job that takes her lots of places, Tammy said the reason she started taking pictures of George in the places she traveled to was because it seemed a little awkward, or self-centered, to put pictures up on her Facebook of herself at these places. But, she wanted to have a way to put them on-line and talk about them.

Thus, George becomes Tammy.

Like many an 0n-line phenom, George gets his own comments, has some of his own followers and those that keep up with Tammy wonder what will happen to George next.

George is brilliant.

If you want to look into George's Great Adventures, jump here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Streaming Media Events

Few notes for friends and other schools on our recent upgrades at media conferences. A steady stream of comments and complaints -- inside and outside -- were to continue to improve the audio of the media questions. We added a hand microphone at our recent football event, and several media members were uncomfortable with it.

The last two media events, we had run a second camera that was turned back on the media crowd to show our fans and followers the crowd. Still, the hand mike -- changing from shotguns or just riding the levels on the other ambient microphones -- got their attention. Among the comments:

Don't you need our permission to do this?

We don't want to be a part of your website.

I can't appear on anyone else's pay website.

Good questions, but I didn't pick the model out of thin air. The White House and other governments -- including our own Fayetteville City Council -- have turned the cameras around so everyone gets to see. As a public event, that the media themselves are taping and posting whole on their websites, I'm not sure about the appearance concerns.

We feed the audio for the questions into the mult-box for the media, who are also taping the event. So, for those who were already running the whole press conferences on their websites, these media members were appearing in audio form on competitor websites (unless they were actively editing out the questions).

My goal was to improve the quality, and to keep up with the media organizations. For some time, many of them were taking the audio or video from these events and playing it unedited on their broadcasts and websites. We have the advantage of a TriCaster that allows us to both create a nice quality encode and switch the second camera. Why not?

As a technical matter, the hand-offs were slow with the hand microphone, so we'll try to use two at future events, or we may spend the extra money to add more crowd mikes to pick up the audio without the hand microphone.

Still, this is the standard at the NCAA post games. We're not charging for fans (and other media, I might add) to watch the events. And again, news reporters and political beat reporters experience this every day, most visibly from WhiteHouse.gov.

What I would advise fellow schools is to give your media earlier notice if you plan to make a similar change. My mistake was assuming our media had noticed the additional cameras and shotgun microphones pointed at them the past couple of events.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Somewhere Orsen Wells Smiles

The east European state of Georgia was put into a panic by a political spoof by one of the Georgian pro-government TV stations. Apparently Russia's Interfax agency missed the disclaimer that their own troops were rolling into Tbilisi and the Georgian president was dead.

Looks like the "old" media is just as prone these days to going with a rumor as those pesky internets.

Read more from Reuters.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I've Been Everywhere, Man

Driving away from the back of the Country Music Hall of Fame, I felt like that old Johnny Cash song.

To Duluth, which is Atlanta and hang a right for another hour.

Back to Fayetteville for 48 hours

To as far as I could drive last night -- oops, two days ago now -- in Brinkley

Up early to finish out in Nashville. Blog one game. Tape one press conference. Upload.

Drive back to Fayetteville in time for gymnastics meet.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Internet Rising

A quick note before repacking my bags for the next SEC tournament. Pew Internet and American Life survey shows that "the internet" has moved to third among the sources for most Americans for news.

Let me repeat. That's local TV news, first.

National TV news, second.

Those darn internets, third.

Radio is next, then newspapers.

What's even more remarkable are the actual numbers. The internet at 61% is a full 10 points ahead of newspapers at 50%.

More people used their cell phones -- 26% -- than read national newspaper dailies -- 17%.

That means the future is brighter for iHog than USATODAY.

Let me preach here for a minute: CoSIDA members, your own websites are increasingly becoming the primary news conduit to your fan base. Even more proof that "sport contacts" must evolve into "sport content producers."

The main story is here.

And now, back to packing


Ashley Fae, my rising eighth grader, just survived the tryouts and cut to make the Woodland Junior High basketball eight grade team.

I only wish they'd listened to have junior high boys soccer here when Will came through -- pretty confident he'd have made that team, but we were stuck in rec play before a knee injury screwed up his chances at high school.

Friday, March 05, 2010


I've never been so happy to see the first stat post on monitors than today's games so far. A monster series of setbacks finally bring us to tonight's session with all our stat toys running. Name it -- it happened: burned out VGA splitter on the first setup, no connection for the initial test, mysterious computer fails, hardware conflicts, software surprises (has anyone else actually seen StatCrew eat its own files? They haven't either -- email me if you have).

Actually, we missed the all-time winner. Back early in the stat monitor days when CRT's ruled the world and only a handful of people invested in these things called ROBOX converters to run VGA monitors at long distances, we rolled our gear into the Roundhouse at UTC.

Learned a lot one night about arena's with mixed power circuits. As in the half of the arena had its grounds lifted on the house AC to knock down ground loop hums for TV trucks. And what happens if you mix grounded and ungrounded monitors with a replacement VGA cable that doesn't have it's ground lifted too.

"Hey Don, why's this power light glowing so bright . . . . "

In one hand, ROBOX with the little red LED blooming like a prize rose. In the other hand, the power adapter plug. In between, the realization that if I don't have the power plugged in for this unit, but it's suddenly powering up, DROP THE BOX NOW.

Across the floor, tiny little Hiroshima clouds, plumes of the exploding capacitors and that unmistakable electronic fire smell emanating from the now fried monitors as AC power sought to find its ground, right through the VGA ports.

Nothing a soldering gun and a REALLY good electrical supply house couldn't fix as we were literally rebuilding ROBOX with new IC chips and other parts.

Ah yes, good times.

Yesterday came close. Things are far more virtual, but the software explosions reminded me very much of those burning chips. I think I could even still smell that acrid odor during the peak of the fun.

But we survived because we've got a very, very, very good stat crew team, some solid tech support behind us from back home and determination that eventually we could overcome. Little I did, much more done by this whole team.

Here's to praying we're done with surprises from Duluth.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Road Trip Hiatus

Good news followers -- road trip ensues to the SEC Women's and Men's tournaments. Bad news -- unless terribly, terribly surprised by the pace of things; this space will be on about a 10 day break. Will return when I can, but don't forget the Twitter feed.