August 10, 2016 If you want the best Olympics viewing experience, stream the Summer Games

Streaming is coming on strong during the 2016 Summer Olympics, and for many people - myself included - it’s a welcome relief from NBCs archaic TV coverage.

Between the network’s roundly criticized primetime tape delay, non-sports fluff and incessant commercials, I sought an alternative way to watch the Games over my TV. Online streaming is, so far, the perfect solution.

Though the NBC Sports app (iOS and Android) offers a similar live streaming experience (and lets you watch replays), I spent most of Tuesday glued to nbcolympics.com, a tab open in my browser while I went about my workday.

Armed with my cable login information, I had unlimited access to watch any sport that was Live”. I saw the US women’s gymnastics team capture gold, a bronze medal judo match, some heroic sailing and Michael Phelps 20th gold-medal swim. Not only did I see these events unfold live, but I then hopped on Twitter to join the conversation, rather than learning about the results for the first time there. The lack of commercials - and, in the case of some events, commentary - was refreshing after three straight days of TV viewing, where ads are so disruptive and NBC would rather focus on pre-packaged content it patronizingly claims female viewers prefer over the sports themselves.

With the live stream, you don’t get any of that. It’s a nearly unfiltered look at the events as they happen. There’s no time delay, no sponsored segments. The feeds I watched offered an all-around more comprehensive look at the entire event, rather than focusing almost exclusively on US athletes. It’s the competition presented as-is, nearly as good as if I were in the stands. The US rights holder through the 2032 Games, NBC is catching extra flack this year because of its tape delay for primetime. As a West Coast dweller myself, it’s particularly brutal. Not only does NBCs coverage last until midnight, but I’m seeing events hours after they’ve happened and the results have shown up on Twitter.

Someone there had the perfect quip as the women’s gymnastics qualifying round wrapped up on Sunday night: Sure glad NBC decided to tape delay tonight’s Olympics to the 11:45pm Prime Time. #nbcfail” I understand NBC is beholden to advertisers who’ve spent millions for those savory primetime spots, and it wants as many eyeballs on them as possible. I’m also aware of NBCs packaging” strategy, and Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post has a great column on how turning the Olympics into a story-driven reality show - mainly aimed at female viewers - is hugely problematic.

But Twitter complaints aren’t the only thing NBC has to worry about: ratings were way down in the Olympics’ first few days, though they’re starting to recover as the Games go on, according to Variety.

Turns out, NBC is seeing better results online. On August 6, the first full day of competition, NBCs Olympics digital platforms had their best day ever, Deadline notes. Live streaming was up 263% from the same day of the London Games, with unique users up 7%. According to Variety, 13.4 million unique viewers watched Olympics coverage online on Monday, another record day for the network’s digital platforms.

The online numbers illustrate what everyone already knows: people’s viewing habits have shifted away from traditional TV. NBC is aware of the change, and this year’s Games are the first time it’s adopted streaming as one of the primary modes of delivering Olympics content. The jump in live streaming also suggests viewers really do want live sports (shocker), and not the feel-good presentation NBC hammers home for four hours every night.

Needless to say, I enjoyed my day spent live streaming events because it was free of NBCs primetime baggage, and I plan to keep streaming throughout the remainder of the Games (so long, productivity). There are so many sports to see, all so easily accessible, that it feels like a waste not to sample them all.

That said, I can still see the appeal of watching the Olympics on TV. NBC produces some exquisite supplemental content, and their athlete access is unmatched. Many people can’t watch the Games during work, and primetime allows them to catch up on the biggest events when they get home.

My advice to NBC is to strike a balance between the immediacy of streaming and the human interest-style pieces it does do well. Then, it may have a formula that engages viewers without enraging them.

Is there a happy medium somewhere? I’m still trying to figure that out for myself, as I’m sure NBC is, too. The network has another two years before it has to worry about it again, and who knows, maybe by then NBC will have it all figured out. Until then, though, I’ll keep streaming, thanks.
OK, I can definitely say live streaming didn't work for me. A friend and I couldn't get the nbcolympics.com site to let us authenticate at all, there was a huge accessibility failure with the drop-down list of providers. It just didn't work for me, no matter what browser and/or screen reader combination I tried, and my friend even tried it on her mac. I was going to have someone authenticate it for me, then I realized that I probably couldn't shut the system down or restart it for updates, because if as much as the live extra app fails to remember that you're actually still authenticated, (and that's every time you want to watch something live, in my experience,) then I'd end up having to have someone re-authenticate every time I wanted to stream something, with is a pain in my backside if you ask me!
Not only that, but I had issues where what I wanted to stream didn't have commentary, (yeah, this is actually a big problem for me, not refreshing at all!) Oh and then there was the we're going to show an ad every 2 minutes, so we'll stream what you want to see, but we'll show you and ad every 2-3 minutes, yeah... no thankss! Then I had the problem of having it say something was streaming, and it... well... just wasn't, I think it was over or something.
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August 4, 2016 This is just a test post to see how everything works! I'm going to try publishing this as an HTML file because it's going to have links in it. here’s a link to my podcast. Life’s Everyday adventures! that's a link to my personal blog.
August 4, 2016 Senior GOP Officials Exploring Options if Trump Drops Out

Republican officials are exploring how to handle a scenario that would be unthinkable in a normal election year: What would happen if the party’s presidential nominee dropped out?

ABC News has learned that senior party officials are so frustrated � and confused � by Donald Trump’s erratic behavior that they are exploring how to replace him on the ballot if he drops out.

So how would it work?

First, Trump would have to voluntarily exit the race. Officials say there is no mechanism for forcing him to withdraw his nomination. (Trump has not given any indications that he no longer wants to be his party’s nominee.)

Then it would be up to the 168 members of the Republican National Committee to choose a successor, though the process is complicated.

One Republican legal expert has advised party officials that, for practical reasons, Trump would have to drop out by early September to give the party enough time to choose his replacement and get the next nominee’s name on the ballot in enough states to win.

Here is what the RNCs bylaws say about filling a vacancy on a presidential ticket:

Rule No. 9: Filling Vacancies in Nominations

  1. The Republican National Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination or otherwise of the Republican candidate for president of the United States or the Republican candidate for vice president of the United States, as nominated by the national convention, or the Republican National Committee may reconvene the national convention for the purpose of filling any such vacancies.

  2. In voting under this rule, the Republican National Committee members representing any state shall be entitled to cast the same number of votes as said state was entitled to cast at the national convention.

  3. In the event that the members of the Republican National Committee from any state shall not be in agreement in the casting of votes hereunder, the votes of such state shall be divided equally, including fractional votes, among the members of the Republican National Committee present or voting by proxy.

  4. No candidate shall be chosen to fill any such vacancy except upon receiving a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the election.
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August 4, 2016
In the aftermath of a devastating email-hacking incident involving top Democratic party officials, WikiLeaks is preparing to release new information �on a range of important issues.� According to organization founder Julian Assange, WikiLeaks is now immersed in formatting the information to be easily accessible to journalists and the general public. Judy Woodruff interviews Assange for details.
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August 4, 2016 CNN hosted a Libertarian town hall last night, this is audio of it from Youtube. Apparently, since I didn't know this whole thing was happening beforehand, I missed it live. audio CNN election politics
July 24, 2016

EFF Lawsuit Takes on DMCA Section 1201: Research and Technology Restrictions Violate the First Amendment

EFF Lawsuit Takes on DMCA Section 1201: Research and Technology Restrictions Violate the First Amendment

Washington D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the U.S. government today on behalf of technology creators and researchers to overturn onerous provisions of copyright law that violate the First Amendment. EFFs lawsuit, filed with co-counsel Brian Willen, Stephen Gikow, and Lauren Gallo White of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, challenges the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the 18-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These provisions—contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA—make it unlawful for people to get around the software that restricts access to lawfully-purchased copyrighted material, such as films, songs, and the computer code that controls vehicles, devices, and appliances. This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing. Ostensibly enacted to fight music and movie piracy, Section 1201 has long served to restrict people’s ability to access, use, and even speak out about copyrighted materials—including the software that is increasingly embedded in everyday things. The law imposes a legal cloud over our rights to tinker with or repair the devices we own, to convert videos so that they can play on multiple platforms, remix a video, or conduct independent security research that would reveal dangerous security flaws in our computers, cars, and medical devices. It criminalizes the creation of tools to let people access and use those materials. Copyright law is supposed to exist in harmony with the First Amendment. But the prospect of costly legal battles or criminal prosecution stymies creators, academics, inventors, and researchers. In the complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., EFF argues that this violates their First Amendment right to freedom of expression. The creative process requires building on what has come before, and the First Amendment preserves our right to transform creative works to express a new message, and to research and talk about the computer code that controls so much of our world,” said EFF Staff Attorney Kit Walsh. Section 1201 threatens ordinary people with financial ruin or even a prison sentence for exercising those freedoms, and that cannot stand.” EFF is representing plaintiff Andrew bunnie” Huang, a prominent computer scientist and inventor, and his company Alphamax LLC, where he is developing devices for editing digital video streams. Those products would enable people to make innovative uses of their paid video content, such as captioning a presidential debate with a running Twitter comment field or enabling remixes of high-definition video. But using or offering this technology could run afoul of Section 1201. Section 1201 prevents the act of creation from being spontaneous,’’ said Huang. Nascent 1201-free ecosystems outside the U.S. are leading indicators of how far behind the next generations of Americans will be if we don’t end this DMCA censorship. I was born into a 1201-free world, and our future generations deserve that same freedom of thought and expression.” EFF is also representing plaintiff Matthew Green, a computer security researcher at Johns Hopkins University who wants to make sure that we all can trust the devices that we count on to communicate, underpin our financial transactions, and secure our most private medical information. Despite this work being vital for all of our safety, Green had to seek an exemption from the Library of Congress last year for his security research. The government cannot broadly ban protected speech and then grant a government official excessive discretion to pick what speech will be permitted, particularly when the rulemaking process is so onerous,” said Walsh. If future generations are going to be able to understand and control their own machines, and to participate fully in making rather than simply consuming culture, Section 1201 has to go.” For the complaint: https://www.eff.org/document/1201-complaint

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