Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, January 25, 2021

As expected, the recent St. Petersburg Times feature on the all-sports all-time greatest uniform numbers list elicited a good amount of reader response.

Which was the point, after all. Selecting Mia Hamm as the definitive No. 9 over Ted Williams, Bobby Hull and others guaranteed a stirred pot (which the paper readily admitted to in the first place). A bit of a surprise: The representation for NBA legend Oscar Robertson as the pick for uni No. 1.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/25/2005 11:15pm
Category: Sports
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search your tube
Google is now in the video search business — but not in the manner that you might expect:

With Google Video (www.google.com/video), Google is indexing the closed-caption transcripts from PBS, C-SPAN, Fox News, the NBA and others. Closed captions, originally intended for people with hearing impairments, are the text translations of program that typically scroll across the bottom of TV screens.

For now, the Mountain View search engine will not link directly to video content. Instead, when users click on a search result, they’ll be taken to a “preview page” that will show excerpts of the closed-caption text alongside relevant still images from the video program.

Where available, Google will also display programming information, such as the date and time the show aired and when it will air next.

“The idea is to help users find programs they know about and find upcoming programming they might want to know more about,” said Jennifer Feikin, director of Google Video.

So instead of locating the megabytes of mpeg, avi and other digital video clip files floating around the Web, Google’s just pointing the way to supplemental information. I can think of three reasons for this:

1. Most of the television video clips on the Web are unauthorized copies. At some point, rightsholders may go the RIAA route and decide to sue people/services that are providing these copies for Web distribution. I’m thinking Google is sidestepping any potential legal issues by only indirectly pointing the way, rather than directly linking to these shady files.

It’s worth noting that the competition isn’t concerned about this so far. Yahoo! Video Search brings back links to the real-deal video clips, without regard for where they reside.

2. For all the advancements, Web search technology is still basically primitive: It relies on text identification to harvest results. Even things like Google Image Search works by indexing the text information that surrounds the media being sought (in this example, the captions and accompanying text on the same page as the image files). So at root, it’s easier for Google concentrate on transcribed data instead of the files themselves, which is far trickier.

The search method for Yahoo! works on the text-search principle: It goes strictly by the filename. So the search service is dependent on people naming their video files accurately. To an extent, this is unavoidable, and a good bet regardless, but still not foolproof: If someone decides to use numbers instead of titles to name their video files, those files are harder for search engines to find (if they can find them at all).

3. Combining the prior two points, Google can position itself as an attractive search technology provider for DVR manufacturers/services. By building this search index now, based upon video content descriptions, Google can present it later as a ready-to-go utility to be bundled into a set-top box. And by demonstrating ahead of time that it won’t aid and abet the recovery of unauthorized copies of intellectual property, Google becomes a strong good-faith partner to the television industry. Yahoo!, with its current video search offering, can’t make that argument.

So I’m seeing this branch-out as laying the groundwork for bringing the Google logo to your television screen, in the mother of all convergence plays. The search heavyweight will soon be ubiquitously; I suppose someday, you’ll be Googling your refrigerator…

(This musing was inspired by a comment I made over at Blue Glow Worm)

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/25/2005 10:56pm
Category: Internet, TV
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Check it out: The slate of candidates for the recent Jacksonville Beach mayor’s election runoff:

- Fland Sharp

- Bland Cologne

Fland and Bland. Those are actual names of people. Yikes.

Fland won. I’m thinking residents of Jax Beach are heaving a sigh of relief. Who wants a mayor who reminds people of weak aftershave?

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/25/2005 10:09pm
Category: Florida Livin', Politics
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madden stand-in?
I know we all remember the Terrell Owens-Nicollette Sheridan “Monday Night Football” incident, along with the theories about the roots of the outrage.

Now we find out that the original script called for announcer John Madden to star opposite Sheridan in the spot. According to ABC, T.O. replaced Madden at the last minute.

That’s not the only thing that changed from the original conception:

“[T]he script we had, the towel wasn’t dropped at the end and there wasn’t a jump into the arms,” ["Housewives" creator Marc] Cherry says now. “And I think that was something that was decided by the folks on location. So it was one of those cases where all these little decisions got made and suddenly this thing became this other thing that wasn’t really intended in anyone’s mind.”

Looks like we might have missed out on some big fun. Thank God for the convoluted watering-down process that is television production!

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/25/2005 09:51pm
Category: Football, TV
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Judging by the traffic I’m getting related to that wacky background music in the Vonage and Chevy television ads, I figure a lot of people are looking for identifying information.

Since I hate for folks to visit and come away empty-handed, I’ll provide some answers:

- The original “woo-hoo” music, which wound up playing on concurrent ads for both the phone service and the car company, is “Woo Hoo”, by The 5.6.7.8′s. The song is also on the soundtrack for Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (which I saw, but don’t remember the song; I do remember the band, though).

I guess there was a slightly different rendition on the Chevy ads, performed by a band other than The 5.6.7.8′s. No clue about who did that version.

- A couple of weeks later, after the coincidence was obvious, Chevy replaced “Woo Hoo” with a new track. According to a comment left by one Summerville Steve — who I have no reason to doubt — the new music is the 1966 Yardbirds classic “Over Under Sideways Down” (sorry, no mp3 for that one; look for it yourself).

Also thanks to Steve for reminding me that the Chevy model being pimped in the commercial is the Cobalt. My brain still refuses to process that part of the ad message, which perhaps speaks to its lack of effectiveness.

So that’s that. Try not to get either tune stuck in your head.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/25/2005 09:16pm
Category: Advert./Mktg.
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