Category: Technology

NBC Un-Olympic Coverage

This Olympics was very frustrating for our family. We decided that we would be willing to pay a little extra to be able to watch the Olympics together as a family. But, we didn’t get to watch hardly any of it!

After some Google searches, I found that Sling TV was one of the best options to stream the Olympics. I read that we needed Sling Blue to get NBC Channels, which was $25 a month. I thought it was worth it to pay for a month.

The problem is that NBC is only offered in certain areas. Our area isn’t one of them. We were able to get NBCSN, which included some of the Olympic coverage, but it didn’t include the main stuff we wanted to see. We missed the opening ceremony. NBCSN didn’t seem to cover the figure skating. The commercials were long and horribly repetitive. Sling TV wasn’t very reliable and would buffer. I looked into YouTube TV, but as I understand it, it didn’t matter which company we used, our zip code wouldn’t include NBC.

NBC supposedly live-streamed everything, but you have to have a Cable subscription, and you have to provide the login to be able to watch it on their website. We’ve found that Cable TV doesn’t hold enough value for us to pay for it every month. I wasn’t interested in trying to get a cable box and pay for a month of cable.

I don’t think NBC gets it. Surely, I am not the only one who has ditched the Cable. Netflix and Amazon Prime allow us to watch TV when we want to watch it, not when the TV company schedules it. For us, these streaming services have as much or more content that we would watch. This Internet age allows me to watch when I want and where I want with a reasonable price. NBC is still back in the old age.

To me, the Olympics is about bringing everyone together in a peaceful, competitive platform. Even countries with no snow like the Kingdom of Tonga could compete in Winter sports. Even differences were set aside long enough for North Korea to join. Does it fit to have broadcasting limited to only allow regions of people in the US to watch or only those who can afford Cable?

According to AdWeek, NBC was forecast to make $900 million from advertising. Would it really have reduced ad revenue to have opened the streaming up to anyone?

The Olympic Committee has given broadcast rights to NBC through 2032. So, do we have to put up with this for another 14 years? At least after that, could we get a company that can include a wider audience? What about YouTube or something like that?

Does anyone else feel the same way? Am I offbase? Please comment.


Response/Bible Study: Digital Tattoo

I ran across this article describing a digital tattoo:

Engadget: You can now unlock your Motorola phone with a ‘digital tattoo’

For those of you who know your Bible, does this scare you?  Does it sound like something from Revelation?

Revelation 13:16  — And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

So, we should just make sure that we don’t put the “digital tattoo” on our right hand or forehead, right?  Could this really be the mark of the beast?  Well, first of all, the mark is not a swirly mark.  It is the name of the antichrist or his number:

Revelation 13:17-18 — And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

I think that the most important part about the mark is that it is an act of worship of the beast or the antichrist.  It seems that every time the mark is mentioned, it is mentioned in conjunction with worshiping the beast.

Revelation 13:15-16 — And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

Revelation 14:9 — And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

Revelation 14:11 — And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Revelation 16:2 — And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

Revelation 19:20 — And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Revelation 20:4 — And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

So, is the digital tattoo wrong?  I would argue no.  It has nothing to do with worship.  Instead it is a convenience and security feature.  It makes it easier to unlock your phone.  In fact, it helps you make it so that you are the only one who can unlock your phone and access your sensitive information.

I’ve met some people to refuse to get credit cards and fear this technology that has any hint of the “mark”.  I think this is the point they are missing: the mark of the beast is an act of worship.  It’s not just a technology of convenience.

The “mark” probably will be given in the guise of convenience though.  The Bible does say that the people will receive a delusion and will get tricked into taking the antichrist’s side.  If you don’t choose God now, don’t think that you will choose him when the end comes.

II Thessalonians 2:11 — And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

Revelation 13:14 — And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

Still, I think that God will make it clear that those taking the mark are making a choice.  It will be a choice between God and the antichrist.

With the progression of technology, we can see how these marks might work though.  It makes sense that the “mark” will include some sort of RFID technology.  The Bible says that you will need the mark to buy and sell.  The NFC chip in the Google phone is a perfect example.  You can simply swipe your phone across the credit card scanner to make a purchase tied to your credit card.  So, it makes sense that the mark might have similar technology.

Revelation 13:17 — And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

The chips embedded in pets are an example of how such technology might be embedded into a living thing for tracking purposes.  So, all of the technology is available.  What remains is the component of worship.  Thankfully, there is no cause to use this technology as an act of defiance against God yet.

So, use your technology, and enjoy it.  Let’s just make sure we use it for God and to further His kingdom.

Great Link: Lightning Detector

We were just talking about lightning the other day, and I ran into this article on Engadget:

Engadget: Watch lightning strike around the world in real time

The article is talking about the website.

Lightning Map

A better implementation of the map is located at:


Some apps for your phone do exist, too.

Apps for Smartphones and Tablets

This is cool because I was just wishing that I had a way to determine how close the lightning was.  We were swimming and watching the storms brew trying to figure out when we needed to get out of the pool.  I wished that I had an alarm that would alert me when the lightning was too close for safety.  I think the first Android app on their list might take care of that wish!

Fun Fact: Technology Can Even Change How You Learn to Ride a Bike!

I ran across this article on Engadget and realized that even training wheels are becoming Old School!

Engadget: Forget training wheels: This bike balances itself

Now, I had heard the the argument that training wheels don’t exactly help with balance.  They can be a crutch that you have to break away from.  We ran across balance bikes that are supposed to help kids learn their balance quicker.  Here’s a video of what those look like.

One thought: my son is having trouble learning the pedal motion much less balance.  This wouldn’t help with that at all.

The Engadget article takes a new direction all together.  Add a gyroscope to the wheel to steady balance.  They put settings in there so you can control the strength of the upright force and slowly take away the help until the kids can do it on their own.

This video shows one Jyro Wheel in action.  The wheel looks different than the one in the Engadget article, but the name is the same.  I wonder if it is the first version.

Another thought: the gyroscope can correct balance, but it can’t correct steering.  Nothing takes the place of a parent teaching a kid no matter what tools are used!


Thoughts: Are Cool and Useful Mutually Exclusive?

The other day, I saw a great article on Sten Vesterli’s Blog:

Sten Vesterli’s Blog: Cool or useful?

Sten makes an excellent point.  You have to see the pictures on his blog to fully understand, but the crux of the matter is this:

If you are going to be handling controls while driving (whether at 55 MPH or 200 MPH), you need tactile feedback from the control you are operating. Tesla opted for cool, Formula One opted for useful.

I can definitely agree.  How many times have I reached for the radio volume button by touch while I am driving rather than take my eyes off the road to find it?  Or, the cruise control button on the steering wheel?  At times, less bling bling can be important.

On the other hand, can you imagine what would happen if you put that Formula One steering wheel in front of your average driver?  So, let’s pick an elderly person who is struggling with the possibility of surrendering their independence and giving up their driver’s license.  Which interface is more useful for that person?  I would venture to guess that the F1 interface would send them cutting their license to shreds and vowing never to drive again, while there might be a glimmer of hope at getting by with the Telsa interface!  Okay, let’s choose a new driver just mastering the different signs, lines, and rules of the road.  Which interface is more useful?  My guess would be that the F1 would send the person packing to city to live with buses and subways the rest of his life, while the Tesla would feel at home striking a similarity with the cell phone they have been carrying around for a few years now.

We live in an age when even the least technologically savvy of our society are walking around with advanced smart phones.  In my opinion, the Tesla interface probably appeals to that audience and the sense of familiarity to that “coolness” makes it more usable.


Useful is definitely important, but I don’t think they are always mutually exclusive.  A cool interface can guide a user’s eyes to where they need to go to get the job done.  This can cut down on mistakes and training if done correctly.

As the Internet gets more useful and slick at the same time, I think users are going to demand the same experience from everyday life.  Cars, TVs, phones, houses, thermostats, and kitchens are all going to demand both cool and useful interfaces.

That’s my opinion at least.

Great Link: Smart Soccer Ball

Our family has gotten into soccer a little bit, so this article caught my eye.  It’s about a smart soccer ball that can give you feedback on how you kicked the ball:

Engadget: Improve your skills with Adidas’ miCoach smart ball

I’m not sure that I am that much into soccer where I need a smart ball, but if I did, my one complaint would be the lack of an Android application.  For me, the price of the soccer ball would have to also include purchasing an iOS device.

Just out of curiosity, I thought I would see if I could find any other sports devices.  The CruchWear website has some different articles:

CrunchWear: Sports – Wearable Tech

For example, here are some of the devices I saw right off the bat:

The Smart Basketball looked pretty cool.  You can read more about that here:

94Fifty: Smart Basketball Learn Page

Update (7/22/2014): How about a baseball bat?

Engadget: Zepp takes a swing at baseball with its tiny data analyzer

Update (9/5/2014): Why stop at a smart ball?  How about we make the whole court smart?

Engadget: Nike’s LED basketball court boosts training with motion tracking

Technology: Formula E Racing

I ran across this new article about a new racing sport just for Electric vehicles:

Engadget: After two years of prep, Formula E cars are here and ready to race

While I’m not that much of a racing fan, this looks interesting from the standpoint that it will give incentive to develop new technology.  Maybe new batteries might come out of it or other technology that could improve the landscape for electric-only vehicles on the road.  It looks like the first race will be in Beijing, China on Sept 13, 2014.  I found this video that gives a nice overview:

If you want to know more, browse through the Formula E Racing Website.

My first thought was, “I wonder if Tesla would get involved here.”  I don’t know enough to comment about it, but I found an interesting thread discussing it.


Great Link: Germ-Resistance for Phones

This article caught my attention the other day: Driod Life: Corning Unveils AntiMicrobial Glass For the Germaphobe in All of Us

If you’ve ever shared your phone with a younger relative and watched him pull his fingers out of his mouth to slide them across your phone’s screen, you’ll appreciate this new invention.  We do everything with our hands which means we pick up germs everywhere with our hands.  Then, our phone collects them all!

For more information, you can read Corning’s official news release: Corning: Corning Unveils World’s First Antimicrobial Cover Glass

I had always thought of Corning as cookware, but they seem to be revolutionizing our world!  Check out this concept video.  Talk about information at our finger tips!

Apparently, Corning has sold off it’s cookware division maintaining only a small interest in it.  You can read more about the company here:  Wikipedia: Corning Inc.