Watch Super Bowl Live Online

So NBC has the big game this year and similar to what they do with their Sunday Night Football games they will be streaming the Super Bowl live. Other than ESPN I cant honestly say I know of any other network doing live sports events online.

And since my initial review of Sunday Night Football being streamed live on NBC they have continued to improve the UI (even if just slightly) and the performance. So as long as no one is streaming from Netflix, Hulu or trying to watch 5 hours of Adriana Lima you should be fine with NBC’s stream.

So to you NBC I say Kudos and Thanks! Now all of you other networks please start streaming more sporting events as well. And if you happen to be out and about during the game (perhaps out on a beer or chip run) check out the Super Bowl on your mobile device.

Sunday Night Football

Top 10 Reasons why Chicago is a Heartbreaker

So I randomly said something on Twitter tonight and actually got a response: people agreed and said that the tactic was past its prime.

Inspiration for this comes from @kristy, @msaleem, and @monicawright

Well I have 2 words for you: Its not dead just yet. Okay, that was a few more, deal with it.  So without further ado, I present a random off the cuff Top 10 list.

  1. Bulls – Ever since MJ left they have been one.
  2. Italian Beef – They cant be that good for your heart, especially in the quantity of them that we eat here. I do have to admit, they are very very good.
  3. Blackhawks – Another year, another Chicago sports team doing their thing. Notice a trend with the sports teams here yet?
  4. Wisconsin – They have cheese and more cheese and are just 40 miles away. Cheese does the heart good!!
  5. Da Bears – Can we get a QB in the house please? Cutler, you looked good so far so that is a start. Keep it up and stay healthy will you?
  6. Pizza – Deep Dish Chicago Style FTW. If you have ever had some, you know what I am talking about.
  7. Summer – To think that it is the end of August and we still have yet to have a full week of Summer weather.
  8. Politics – As the mayor of Chicago sells off the city, Springfield is 3 for their last 4 (Im pretty certain) in sending Governors to jail.
  9. Six Flags – If they go bankrupt and close Six Flags Great America we will be forced to go to the Dells
  10. Cubs – Need I say more? I love them but really? Natural born heartbreakers they are.

So that is my list, what did I miss? What in (or around) Chicago breaks your heart? I admit I spent all of 5 minutes on this so forgive me on its weakness!

BMG Music Service is being discontinued

I just got the following today and it doesnt shock me as more people buy digital but it still is sad.

Dear Music Lover,

We’d like to tell you about some upcoming changes to your membership.

BMG Music Service is being discontinued as of June 30, 2009.
That doesn’t mean your music savings are coming to an end. Your savings can continue with our other service, yourmusic.com, where shipping is always free and there are no automatic shipments.

Here’s some important information regarding your current account:

  • You will receive one more Featured Selection Announcement email from us.
  • You will still be able to shop at bmgmusic.com through May 31, 2009.
  • We have discontinued our Music Points program, effective January 31, 2009. You will be able to redeem your outstanding music points through April 30, 2009.
  • You’ll have through May 31, 2009 to redeem certificates or free CDs you’ve earned.

Remember, you can still shop online at bmgmusic.com and take advantage of our great selection and prices until May 31, 2009. Please make sure you have signed up to receive emails from us so you don’t miss out on special offers and important updates. Click here to sign up.

As you can see, there will be no more BMG Music Service. Back in December they stopped taking new customers so the writing was on the wall. If you head over to http://www.bmgmusic.com/ you get a nice message that tells you plain and simple – no new customers.

As I already said, this isnt shocking, its just sad in a way.  So what is the next type of site/product to give way to 2009?

SuperBowl + Pepsi + Youtube

So I am on Youtube looking up a new band that I found thanks to @KimSherrell. The SuperBowl has just been over for some 50 minutes and Pepsi already has ads up. The ad even is giving its congrats to Pittsburgh for winning – holy fastness Batman.

Pepsi ad after the SuperBowl on Youtube

The ad is nice, clean and big but um, who is Will Arnett?? I had to look him up to figure it out. Was he even in one of their ads tonight? No idea as they had a bunch and I just watched a few hours of football and ads.

Oh well – nice try with the ad guys.

Metallica Concert Review @ Allstate in 2009

I have been to some shows but keep failing to write up any sort of review – I am trying to right the ship tonight.

So last night (Monday Jan 26, 2009) Metallica came to Chicago and rocked the house. I would comment on the opening bands but I was late getting to the show. Also I would like to point out that it was not my fault this time!!!

Chicago is cold and snowy = we get lots of snow. The past few weeks have been filled with both and the parking lot of the Allstate Arena showed it. There are usually two entrances in but for the Metallica concert there was only one – never a good sign. All you saw from the road were a few cars (Im assuming they belonged to those controlling traffic) and huge mounds of snow.

After trying two other places with no luck we got back in line to park out in the sticks (it must have been .5 miles plus). The only good side to parking in the sticks was not having to pay some huge parking fee (see my Sears Centre Review for an example).

We finally park, catch a shuttle, and get inside only to run into another problem. Why is it impossible to find a place to get banded? When you are on the floor you need wrist bands but they never tell you where to go other than the wrong place. They tell you a gate or the East Gate or the North Gate but with the lines of people for beer and food you cant see anything. Then after 20 minutes of pushing through lines you find the nice little old ladies that band your wrist.

Once banded we could enter…. the sauna that was the Allstate. As you walked towards the center stage it just got hotter and hotter and did so the entire night. It wasnt until 75% of the way through the night did it feel like they turned on the AC. Thanks to them, the heat, and me wearing a sweatshirt I just about passed out from the heat. PITA getting heat stroke is, especially when its right in the middle of Metallica playing One. Talk about bad luck.

Speaking of the music, I have found a set list that looks correct. Im not 100%, but it should be very close to what Metallica played night 1 in Chicago.

1. That Was Just Your Life
2. The End of the Line
3. Creeping Death
4. Ride the Lightning
5. One
6. Broken, Beat and Scarred
7. Cyanide
8. Sad But True
9. Wherever I May Roam
10. All Nightmare Long
11. The Day That Never Comes
12. Master of Puppets
13. Blackened
14. Nothing Else Matters
15. Enter Sandman

Encore:
16. Last Caress (Misfits cover)
17. Motorbreath
18. Seek and Destroy

Source for set.

The show itself rocked from start to finish. I think the total running time was just over 2 hours with no real breaks. They had 3 down times (including the break prior to the encore) but someone was always on and they kept them really quick.

The spot we had was on the side (it was away from the big mosh pit) and were just some 15 feet away from the stage – very cool. I wish more bands would use the stage setup that Metallica did for their concert – it was small but big. They had plenty of room to roam around, were close to the crowd, and overall just made for great fan/band interactions. Interactions like James throwing his guitar pick and my brother getting hit in the head with it – and no he didnt get it as the people around us jumped on it super fast.

So was it a good show? I have to say yes. It had everything you want from a Metallica or any rock concert:

1. Die hard fans
2. Metallica playing *$@@#$ good
3. Mosh pits were going on
4. Great light and laser show
5. Great seats (go here for Metallica Tickets – thanks guys, you saved me)
6. Coffins hanging from the ceiling
7. Easy out parking
Metallica @ allstate in chicago

I have more photos and videos that I will upload the next few days and share.

Tennis Scores on Google

I cant say that I do that many searches for tennis scores or players but I did one tonight.  Im sitting here (still am watching and Federer is about to win) watching Federer play and wondered how he has been doing as of late.  So I type in Federer into Google and what do I find but the score of the match I happen to be watching!

Federer Search on Google

The curious person that I am, I hung around Google to see how long from the finish of the match to the time that Google would update the score. Well some 5 minutes after the match was over I got an update by Google of Federer up 4-1 in the 3rd set.  This puts the data some 10-15 min behind.  The final score came in some 20 minutes after the real final. So these arent “real time” scores but they arent bad.

12th Annual Toys for Tots XMAS BBQ

It’s that time of year again! When we invite all of our friends for some good fun, good people and free booze!

Bring a new unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots and we take care of the rest.

Saturday Dec 6th 2008.
Piano Man
3801 N Clark, Chicago
Map: Click me for Google Map

Kiddie Party Details:
3:00pm    Party Starts
3:30pm    Mr & Mrs Claus Arrive
4:00pm    Pizza, Chips & Pop served (for my Autism community friends we will have some GFCF choices)
4:30pm    Games, prizes
5:00pm    Magic Show (Not to be missed)
6:00pm    Kiddies Go Home with goodie bags

Of course if you can find a sitter for later in the evening, we’d love to have you back for the rest of the shindig.

Big Kids Party from 7pm-3am includes Live Music, Food, Drinks and Fun.

To stay updated, you are encouraged to read the wiki.

12th Annual Toys for Tots in Chicago

Watch Sunday Night Football Live Online

It was another weekend of football around my house. With the Chicago Cubs going down in 3, my hope was for a good showing by my college teams and the Bears to win over the Lions.  All went well for my teams – and Dave was happy.

As I wrote up my experience with Live Streaming MLB Playoffs, I started to be upset at myself for not commenting on the better NFL experience.  So tonight, I am doing just that.

Sunday Night Football with John Madden and Al Michaels is a great way to wind down from the weekend for me.  The problem in my house has become the number of shows on Sunday nights that everyone wants to watch. It has made it difficult for me to just sit and watch, until I found out they were streaming the Sunday Night Football games online. How awesome is that, the NFL live and online?

Unlike the attempt by TBS and MLB for having MLB Playoffs Live Online , it seems that the NFL and NBC have done everything right.

Initial Sunday Night Football View

NFL Live on Sunday Night

As you can see, they give you a few views and the picture is very clear.  You can follow players around, watch the broadcast,  watch the cable cam, or pick the sideline cam. All give you great angles and if you dont zoom in on any one you can watch them all at the same time (not fully but you get an idea of what is going on everywhere).  When in this view (or even when zoomed in) and you mouse over either the right or left sides you are given the option to switch to a different view. This again, just makes it such a smooth UI to use.

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Watch MLB Playoffs Live Online

Recently I was able to watch a Sunday Night Football game live and online and it was great. Everything about it was great. The video quality was good, the sound, the option to switch back and forth from different camera angles – all I can say is that it was well done.

Tonight I had some work to do and thought I would see if I could watch the Cubs online. What do you know, but I can. Great I thought to myself, this is awesome.

Not so much.

UPDATE:

I figured out where to get audio for the MLB Playoffs. It is from ESPN so it doesnt match the video exactly that MLB and TBS show, but it gives you some sound. If you go to ESPN Radio and hear the ESPN team covering the game – I cant tell you which one to pick but tonight the Dallas, Tx channel has the game. Like the entire setup by MLB and TBS it’s not perfect but it works.

END UPDATE

MLB Game Online

I added in the white lines (where the video was playing) to show you how they have it set up. It simply uses Windows Media player to stream the video.  The page loads with 4 screens which I figured out later can be set to the full video area by clicking the Mosaic, Backstop, Pitcher, Dugout or Batter icons. How was I suppose to know those were buttons?

Once I figured that out – it was nice to have a bigger picture.  The quality wasnt bad but it wasnt great. The sound – what sound? They piped in the sound that the camera picked up. There werent any anouncers or anything, just the sound of the crowd. This isnt exactly watching baseball online if you ask me. Luckily for me I live in Chicago and get WGN – so I listened to them. The problem with this is that the video was lagging some minute or so behind the radio broadcast. Another strike against MLB Gamecast or MLB Live and Online.

The final straw came when the video just stopped.  So there I am, watching a blank screen. I kept trying to refresh the page but couldnt find a nonflash area on the page. Finally I got it, but had to wait for it to buffer, load, buffer, and finally play. Talk about another stike against them.

So lets recap:

Sound Quality: Strike

Usability: Strike

Video Quality – Foul Ball

Streaming: Strike 3!!!

And that is when I turned it off.

Office Prank – Cardboard + Free Time

I have seen a wide variety of office jokes and office pranks in my day, and might have even partaken in a few but I have never seen anything like what you will see below.

I have to wonder how the logistics of pulling something like this off. Some of my questions I would ask (in the even I was to… oh… say want to pull the below office prank):

  • How many cardboard boxes did you need to build that office?
  • How many people helped?
  • How many hours per person did it take?
  • Who’s idea was this and can I hire them?
  • Did you use anything other than tape, markers and boxes?
  • How can you possibly have that much free time? Are there any job openings?

And my question to you the reader: What is the best office prank or office joke you ever pulled off?

office prank - cardboard boxes

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