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April 9, 2006 - April 15, 2006 Archives

April 9, 2006


Got the Dodgers-Phillies game on right now, and KCAL-TV is doing something that Fox did for a while for the NFL and some other local and regional carriers do that drives me crazy because it's such a pointless, showoffy thing to do. Here's what the screen looks like:

Quick glance- who's leading whom? Okay, both teams are at least represented by the portion of their logos that actually say their name, but isn't the Phillies logo hard to read? Even the Dodgers script is cut off. It's cluttered-looking and doesn't tell you clearly what you want to know: LA 2, PHI 1, 3-2, 2 OUT, TOP 8TH. Why crowd it with graphics? Why use the logos at all? When Fox did it with the NFL's helmet graphics, it was completely useless, with the added comedy of the Cleveland Browns represented by an orange square and no text or graphics at all.

And while we're at it, why does everyone s-t-r-e-t-c-h the score line across the top or bottom of the screen? When the "Fox Box" started, they put the score in a little box in the corner, unobtrusive and informative. Now, it's annoying and cuts off actual action- this KCAL line leaves pitchers without apparent feet.

Never mind. Check out the ace camera work on Howard Stern's On Demand channel:

Glad I'm not paying for this view.



Theme: vulnerability, and the consequences of showing it. By the end of the episode, Johnny Sack's being dismissed because he cried when being dragged from his daughter's wedding, Vito's in a motel room ready to end it all because he was spotted at a gay bar, Junior's in a psych home and crying out to be allowed to go home, and Tony's resorting to mindless, unnecessary violence to reestablish to his crew that he's the man, behaving, as Dr. Melfi suggested, "as if" he was back in charge and the same tough guy he was before the hospital stay.

Good one. Random violence, lap dancing, an ostentatious wedding, all good. Assless leather pants, we coulda done without. Really.


April 10, 2006


And here I was wondering if I was the only person not as happy with MLB.tv this season so far. Guess not. Colby Cosh dropped his MLB.tv subscription but a reader of his notes trouble:

    I'm not impressed with MLB.tv this year: rather than allow you to use the RealPlayer, they use a Flash-powered plugin bringing up a proprietary player... which proceeds to show you the final score when watching an archived game. Why the hell would they do this?

    The same MLB TV player has crashed my computer once already over a two-game period, and the lack of RealPlayer means I can't pause the game at a commercial break and have the 30-40 seconds of built-up lag "shoot ahead", letting me effectively skip the commercials. I also can't replay a scene as I could with Realplayer's TIVO-like powers, and for the Season Opener last night for some reason the radio audio was tacked onto the ESPN TV feed.

Well, I was wondering the same thing about a Cardinals-Phillies game where the video was from Philadelphia's CN8, complete with commercials, but the audio was from St. Louis, not quite synced with the video and sans commercials. (Mike Shannon out of sync- there's a surprise) And I'm truly annoyed that I can't use a player that I can set to stay on top of all windows- that was the one feature I need the most, because I have the game on while I'm working. I can't figure out any way to get the new player to stay on top. And Extra Innings is not an option- too few Phillies games (yeah, I know, I should be grateful, but that's what I get for staying loyal to the home team after moving a few thousand miles away).

Deadspin is also on the case, and some commenters are saying they have some success with Firefox. I tried Firefox and the Flash download isn't available. Same for Opera. Should I have to go through all this to watch a freakin' baseball game?

I guess once they have your money, they really don't care if you're happy.


April 11, 2006


Have you seen this? Brings a tear to my ABA-nostalgic eye.

The "HEAT Floridians" thing is a little- no, a LOT awkward. And the REAL Floridians uniforms didn't say "Miami" on them back when they wore the magenta/orange/black gear. But their heart is in the right place, I guess. And make sure to click on "HEAT FLORIDIANS NEWS" way at the bottom of the page- if you can tear yourself from the ball girls gallery, there are some cool old ABA pictures, including a weird composite shot where Warren Jabali is posing in a Denver home uniform as if he's in the shot behind him, which is actually the Nets' Billy Melchionni guarding an Indiana Pacer obscured by Jabali (the shot's from a game at Indiana University). I have an old Floridians program and a media guide- one of these days, I'll scan some of that.

Now, if they'd only move back to Dinner Key or the Miami Beach Convention Center and play with the red, white, and blue ball...

The bigger news, of course, is this. La Bamba Check Cashing?


April 12, 2006


Happy Pesach, y'all! I can do without the fake, unleavened food, but any holiday involving potato kugel is A-OK by me.

Meanwhile, my MLB.tv dilemma continues with this: apparently, instead of doing what any real business with real customer service would do and check the database for expired or cancelled credit cards, then notify the users so they can update the information, MLB.com just plain cancelled everyone's subscription, then after the fact e-mailed them that they will get a few day's reinstatement while they resubscribe.

Trouble? Not really. It gives me a chance to decide whether to bother re-upping. And now that I know that they're using a crappy proprietary Flash-plus-Windows-Media-Player setup, lousy video, sync problems, and no way to keep the window on top of other windows anymore, I'm wondering whether the $80. is worth it anymore. I used to love it- I'd put the Phillies games on at 4 pm, open it in Real Player, select "Always on top," and stick it in the corner of my monitor so I could work and keep track of the game at the same time. Now, I can't do that.

And I now have XM as well as Sirius, so I have the radio coverage of the games already in the house. OK, there's no video, but it's paid for. And, yeah, you get only the home team's broadcast, so no Phillies announcers on the road, but, let's be honest here, the Phillies' radio broadcasts aren't anything worth going out of one's way for. I just put tonight's game on and it's Skip 'n' Chip Caray doing the game, which is mildly disturbing and unfortunately homer-ish, but it's the same game with clear reception. Do I really need MLB.tv anymore?

I don't know. I have a few days to decide. They sure don't seem to care if I subscribe or not.


April 13, 2006


Yeah, server's down at AllAccess.com. They're working on it. Keep trying.



Man, that was frustrating.

AllAccess.com was down for a few hours today, and I toyed with putting the Talk Topics material up here, but stripping out the All Access coding and redoing it for this page seemed like too much work for someone, like me, who is so overloaded with work and personal commitments that his head has been on the verge of exploding for a while now. So I didn't- sorry.

The site came back while I was running errands, but I'd supplied the folks in Malibu with some stories to post in my absence. Meanwhile, I had to pick some stuff up at the hospital, and sitting there waiting, I thought about how much I hate hospitals. It's not just what happens when you have to go into the hospital, it's the whole atmosphere. When I was a kid, I did an internship at a hospital, and I remember the smell of disinfectant, the pallor people acquire laying there, the impersonality of the place. And they haven't changed much. If you aren't welcoming a baby into the world, chances are that the hospital's not going to be your Laughing Place. Couldn't wait to get out of there; unfortunately, 2006 is our Year of the Hospital, so I'll be back.

Anyway, that's all just random incoherent rambling. Too bad that's all I have tonight. I'm way too tired, physically and mentally, to do much more. Control any displays of your disappointment.


April 14, 2006


They were talking about sex again. They're always talking about sex. They're a regionally syndicated radio show that I occasionally hear, and every time I check to see what they're doing, it's more sex. But it's lame sex. It's always about guys trying to hook up with girls, what size the girls' breasts are, that kind of stuff. It's what they do. And it's the same every day- sex talk, sex trivia, sex games, sex, sex, sex, brought to you by two interchangeable guys with a token woman in the studio for them to occasionally tease.

That's what some radio executives think "FM talk" is all about, because, hey, Howard did that. But that's NOT what Howard did. Howard talked about sex, but he talked about other stuff, too. (Now, he's all sex and Bush-bashing and Moonves-bashing, and it isn't as good, but back in the day, it was different) These guys may be capable of talking about something else, but they don't. And they're successful only where there's zero competition.

This kind of show annoys the hell out of me. I know what the format is supposed to do, and this is what happens when someone who just doesn't understand why Howard was successful and why New Jersey 101.5 was successful and why Real Radio 104.1 in Orlando was successful decides to just copy, paste, go. That's what I hear on many of the current FM talkers. It's disheartening. I know what the format is capable of achieving.

And as I'e said before, I could fix it. I know what's wrong and what they need to be looking for in talent. But it'll cost them. Until then, they'll just have to keep wondering why their guys fail while others succeed. I'm not telling until I see some cash.


April 15, 2006


Before you get too excited, remember:

Washington, Florida, and Milwaukee.

You've played Washington, Florida, and Milwaukee.

Just sayin'.


About April 2006

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in April 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2, 2006 - April 8, 2006 is the previous archive.

April 16, 2006 - April 22, 2006 is the next archive.

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