Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Abusing the tech again ...

Cricket's back on the telly again :-)

It's at a bit of a hostile time though. It's coming from New Zealand and it's the opening day of the test series with England. We've already seen the one day games but this is the Main Event. It's the big interest. One day games can be a bit random in who wins. But Test Match victories are different, they're earned. Or thrown away. Either way, it can be compelling viewing.

The game was actually supposed to start yesterday but rain put paid to that. I suspect England would like it to be still raining as they've lost 3 wickets already. Not good.

Hostile time ? It's not as bad as the India series but the play starts at 9pm and goes on until 4-5am. I can watch the first 2 hour session but after that, it's sleep time.

So where's the tech come in ? Cricket is a really low tech game when you get down to it, although tech is helping out with making the gear better.

Well - at the moment I have 4 pieces of input coming in, plus I'm tapping away the keys on this blog post.

Tech 1 - the laptop is streaming music across to my hifi. I'm watching the game but I'm not particularly interested in the commentary. So I have the laptop playing the music across the network. Oh - I'm getting on top of getting all the music listened to as well, I have less than a day (400ish tracks) of music I've not listened to yet.

Tech 2 - cricket on the telly. This is a bit more of a deal than the old analogue tuners. My cable box is effectively a small computer. It has a bunch of tuners to pull in the picture and sound and it gets those from the same pipe as my internet. The computer puts the pictures on the telly or into the hard disc.

Tech 3 - watching/listening to a review of Sim City over youtube. It's a Totalbiscuit video so ordinarily, you'd be locking your wallet somewhere that you wouldn't end up buying the game. Not with this one though, as TB + Missus are being very honest about its flaws. The new SimCity looks like an incredible game that's going to be submerged beneath modern game design issues. It's subject to always-on DRM, which means you need to be always connected to the servers to be able to play. The "server" end of that is most critical, as those servers are very busy ... The game is also saved on those servers.

Personally, I don't trust the Cloud. I see too much unreliability and inaccessibility from systems that are supposed to be 100% online and available.

Anyway - tech. Youtube is working much better on Virginmedia now, which is another example of where Cloud can break things. Allegedly, VM used to cache Youtube videos on their own server. This led to massive buffering issues where their server couldn't cope with the demand of you watching the video. I still see those occasionally but it's much better now.

Talking of buffering ...

Tech 4 - my Iphone playing cricket commentary from the Test Match Special people (superior to Sky commentators). I'm using an app called Tune In Radio, which I've used for years now. It lets me play cricket commentary in a car that doesn't have Long Wave radio. But when playing through my home internet, it was buffering a lot ... VM strikes again (or network contention with that audio streaming and youtube playing). I've switched to listening to commentary via 3's 3g network and there has been no buffering at all.

At some point, I may have to try putting the wifi card back in my desktop to see what happens when VM breaks Youtube again. As in, my iphone provides the internet.

Tech's easy though. If tech breaks, you just swap it out for a replacement. Wish I could do that with my body at the moment, although to be honest it seems to be becoming trying to avoid damaging myself more.

I'm getting measurably better but very slowly. And it's very easy to set back the healing. My upper arms have been looking like I've been hugging wild animals with very sharp claws. Oops. But - my legs are improving to the point where there's good tough skin there again. If they continue to improve, I may be able to train soon :-).

Hopefully I'll continue to improve enough to play cricket this summer, with enough extra recovery time to let some of the incidental problems (hip issues from sitting in uncomfortable positions) get better.

PS I'm not buying SimCity. Looks interesting but I'm not paying the entry fee, plus I suspect it'll be yet another game I'd play for a few hours and then put away to gather dust.

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