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No Vuelta Video

I may be missing something, but it doesn’t appear that there is any video of the Vuelta Espana this year. Too bad, as it seems to be a race where Astana is trying to prove a point about not being at the Tour de France.

And it also seems that there is a really epic climb, to give the race to a true climber. See the Velo New story about the Angliru.

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Funny Commercial

Thanks to Sean Wheelock and USSoccerplayers.com for this. A great PS on an interview with the funniest guy in MLS, Jimmy Conrad.

Don’t we all have fantasies?

Silverlight Olypmics Viewing

The promise of internet video on demand seems to be close to fulfillment. So far, it seems that various events are available to view “on demand, on line” (OK, so far, only soccer games, but what else is so important besides bike racing?) at my convenience. And note, I enjoyed watching the Dutch play Nigeria without a voice over announcing what I could see for myself, and without promo and popup adds. It seems that nbc has put the raw feeds from the venues on their web site ( http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/index.html ) for your enjoyment. Check it out.

Now, of course, the bad news. NBC uses Microslop Silverlight as the player. Note from the screen shot that the resolution is decent on our DSL line. And it caches info locally, so there is no noticable stutter. But:

  • Silverlight is only available for the major browsers (IE, FF, Safari) on Windows or OSX. Sorry Linux fans, can’t watch on that OS.
  • Silverlight locks down the content with DRM, so you can’t save it locally without some hacks that I haven’t yet researched. I guess I should research this, but it seems I couldn’t burn this to DVD for archiving.
  • There is no full screen mode. i repeat, THERE IS NO FULL SCREEN MODE. So the screen shot is the best I could do to watch it on the TV from my easy chair. I couldn’t get the stuff above the viewer “off screen,” but thanks to Firefox 3 I could zoom the image to take up more screen real estate. I estimate that on the TV I could use about half of the available pixels before I zoomed the lower part of the content off the screen.

But, I could pause, rewind, and fast forward, adjust the volume, etc.

And by the way, with the stadium sound pumped from the computer into the stereo in the living room, it did sound a lot like I was in the stadium.

Now, if they really cache the full bike race, and other full events, I won’t need to watch the evening shows much. I might avoid all that endless talking head filler that always gets in the way of the Olympics.

Alternative Communte Transportation

Sometimes it is hard for die-hard athletes to admit that others may not have the physical tools to walk or bike to work or the store, even for fairly short trips. In China and Europe, many “bicyclists” have been using power-assist bikes to get around.

Here is an interesting review in SI. Note that one can only now get this in the USA, but it is already pretty well tested.

Of course, it also needs lights and racks. Some other manufacturers probably already provide that.

Another Class Act Retires

Sorry, Mr. Favre, but please look at this man as the proper way to retire. From the IHT.

Lilian Thuram decided to retire, even though his medical condition was a “false alarm,” to spare his loved ones from worry. Of course, he has enough money to last him ( and them ) a good long while.

Surfer dude talks about the California lifestyle from Ohio

Good old Spicolli, hero to surfer dude Frankie Hejduk of the Columbus Crew and Cardiff. Best interview from the Columbus Dispatch with him I’ve seen in a while, extolling the fitness one gets from surfing. It also allows him to get away with a high fat diet.

Some questions I wish they had asked:

  • How many espressos a day does he drink?
  • Is he a better surfer than Brian Ching?
  • When is he going to open a brewery to make his own pilsner?

Le Tour in 2008

Part of me wants to write to the Tour de France organizers and tell them that I won’t watch this year because of what they did to keep the new Astana and its established stars out of the tour, and efforts to battle the UCI, the other part of me just has to watch. I can’t help myself.

First, the HD Versus channel is now on Dish, and just looking at the countryside in France from the ‘copter is great eye candy. And when I record the early morning coverage, I can actually see the race unfold in something like real time. You can watch the breaks, the chase, the various attacks and sprints, and judge for oneself their importance and chances for success.

Second, thank you Will Frischkorn. For the great break on stage three. For the diary. For the agony and frustration in your interview on Vs. with Frankie realizing the missed chances to actually win the sprint. You are trying to make me forget the cynicism I have developed over the politics and money involved.


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