Tag:Tech Korner
Posted on: May 19, 2009 3:27 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2009 5:36 pm

Tech Korner: Some sports tweets worth following

In the Twitter universe it's often not what you tweet, but who it is doing the tweeting. For example, Danny Glover is on Twitter. Since he joined around April 17th he's posted six updates. They're all about following something called "politicalrap."

Yet he has 236,159 followers.

Take Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams as another example. He has 847 followers despite recent tweets like:

"NBA draft lottery tonight. Not since 2004, when the Orlando Magic ended up with Howard, has the team with the worst record won the lottery."

That's what's on your mind, coach? How about something on Greivis Vasquez's status. Or who you're replacing him with? Not some cornball stat about the general NBA lottery.

As with most things in life, having a brand name also makes a huge difference in Twitterville. So the question today is, which sports-related brand names are worth following?

Please add on any suggestions you have (as well as any sports-related feeds you follow), but here's my primer for those looking to beef up their following index.

Drew Rosenhaus , agent (Terrell Owens, Santana Moss, Chad Ochocinco), 7,622 followers

Sample tweet:

"Going to the NFL Owners Meetings in Fort Lauderdale to make some money for my clients. I have several deals that I'm working on right now."

Or if you want something a wee bit more newsworthy, there was this gem earlier in the week that made noise due to it's sensitive playbook nature:

"The Dolphins are using wide receiver Ernest Wilford some at H-Back/Tight end. Wilford has the size & strength
to play both positions."

Lamar Odom , Lakers forward, 27,907 followers

Sample tweet:

"Lamar Odom: Anyone feel the earthquake? Whoa! I hope everyone is alright. Must have been the Rockets and their red glare shooting outta LA. Lol"

Ba-zing, Rockets fans.

Ron Zook , Illinois football coach, 1,745 followers

Sample tweet

"Can't believe my daughter gradulated from Illinois already.Go Illini"

Thrilling? Not at all. But there have been some odd updates at even odder hours coming from Zook so it's worth at least keeping an eye on.

Mark Cuban , Dallas Mavericks owner, 47, 424 followers

Sample tweet:

"Mark Cuban: An Apology to Kenyon Martin’s Mom: It started as a smart ass comment that I know that no one heard. How do.. »
link to An Apology to Kenyon Martin’s Mom « blog maverick"

Cuban's interest in Twitter is higher than an adolescent on goofballs. He may end up cracking the monetization code to this social medium. Plus, he sometimes has to make nice to "thug's" moms.

Coco Crisp , Kansas City Royals outfielder, 3,585 followers

Sample tweet:

"OK i officially have a new (baseball) disease called PPA (Piss Poor Aim). Everytime i hit a ball hard PPA kicks in. There has to be a cure."

Have to love his self-deprecating style.

Jay Feely , New York Jets kicker, 1,031 followers

Sample tweet:

"Today was one of the most entertaining days of the year. First practice for the rookies, vets smell blood in the  water and go for the kill"

Former Cold Pizza host can put together coherent thoughts, which is a big win in Twitterville.

Category: SPiN
Posted on: May 5, 2009 5:00 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2009 5:30 pm

Tech Korner: NBA Game Time app ain't primetime

Sometimes an iPhone app from a reputable organization comes along and you ask yourself: Why?

Why take the time to make this?

That's the question I ask myself after using NBA.com's (via Turner) Game Time app for the first round of the playoffs. The Game Time app promises: "No frills. Just scores, schedules and stats."

It does all those things (sort of). End of story, right?

Not really, because it doesn't make sense to make an app to do just that. Not when sites like ESPN, CBSSports.com, FoxSports all offer pretty robust NBA playoff coverage.

Now I like the way NBA Game Time does what it says it will. It's clean, easy and didn't crash after an update was installed (it crashed a lot prior to that). And that's why I'm disappointed. I want more from the NBA's (or even TBS') official vault. Give me highlights, analysis, heck, how about at least a preview story?

But again, that's asking things of which it didn't promise. I will nitpick about it's "real-time scoring during live games."

The app offers a line score and player stats. That's all. And that's simply not enough.

It doesn't offer Recent Plays, or a way to look at any of the game's plays. That's a big deal when you're wondering why the app's gamecenter line score hasn't updated in a few minutes. Is it because the game is at commercial? Is it because both teams have gone cold? Is there a hawk flying through the arena?

There's a playoff bracket, which is attractive, but not really user friendly. Instead of say, starting on the current round, it starts with a close-up of the final matchup. Of course, there is no final yet, so it's just a big, "The Finals on ABC Beginning in June" promo.

There are also Schedule and Standings tabs, which make as much sense in a playoff-only app as the Chewbacca Defense . Use that real estate for news stories, user comments, photo galleries. Anything that I could play with while I wonder what's happening in a game I'm interested in.


Who makes it: Turner Broadcasting System in partnership with NBA.com
Selection process: Scroll wheels for changing dates (which is useless since there are never any available upcoming dates on the Schedule wheel)
How to locate it: It's the top free app under sports
Cost: Free
Website: NBA.com

Kay's Kritiques

Usefulness: 2/10
Functionality: 2/10
Has potential: 4/10
Recommendable: 1/10

Category: SPiN
Posted on: April 24, 2009 1:03 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2009 1:10 pm

Tech Korner: Tell ya 'bout the birds & the tweets

Maybe your stance of Twitter mirrors the plot of a teen sex comedy. Like a high school senior you feel like you've waited long enough and now, no NOW!, is the time you must join the legion of Twitterers. It's a right of Internet passage, gosh darn it!

So you sign up at Twitter.com and try and solicit some friends. But your first tweets are awkward, too short and clumsy. You think, "what if I initiate?" So you start following some friends. Except, they don't follow you back. Ruh-roh.

You kick it up a notch. You try tinkering with your background appearance and avatar image. You re-tweet other people's posts. You add more friends. Still nothing.

But just when you hit the bottomless pit of despair and think, "will I die not knowing what's it like to be a good Twitterer?!" a person starts following your Twitter feed. Oh, the excitement! This inspires you to start tweeting even more, which leads to a few more people following your feed. Your ratio of 70 following to 5 followers is still atrocious, but hey, your Facebook profile wasn't built in a day.

As you build to your collection of followers you come across some interesting names. People like THE_REAL_SHAQESPN and Dodgers superfan Alyssa_Milano . Do you start following them? You think, maybe if I start following their feeds, they'll follow mine. 

You click the follow button and next thing you know, you're getting updates from ESPN's Twitter feed every hour. And it's newsy type stuff. You add CNN, The Onion and even YourCBSSports and before you even know it your Twitter feed is chock full of corporate-entity goodness, yet sprinkled with a dash of friendly personality from the likes of local bloggers, actual friends and players like Steve Nash.
So what exactly is Twitter? If you know Facebook, it's status updates, plain and simple. Like Facebook, these status updates can include links. They can also involve re-publishing another's update (re-tweeting) as a way to share something interesting with your followers. You can reply to somebody's update and you can also direct message another Twitterer. It's like an RSS feed that's come to life. It's like an RSS feed that's, well, fun.

To some Twitter is simply a large cocktail party with all conversation said in 140 characters or less that features oddball technical difficulties messages featuring whales and birds. That may be attractive enough for you, now a promiscuous social butterfly of the Internet. And Twitter seems to attract cocktail-party types. While anything can be conversed through Twitter the hot topics and trends on a daily basis are big-time news stories like Somali pirates, pop culture phenoms like Susan Boyle, technology news like anything Apple does and sports.

So what exactly does Twitter mean to the plugged-in sports fan?

During the Frozen Four I updated YourCBSSports live from the Verizon Center in Washington with real-time info. I become part of a larger stream of consciousness going on with Twitterers who were watching the game on TV, unable to watch the game and even some other people who were inside the arena. Twitter, in essence, became an unusual game chat between media, observers watching the ESPN telecast, people relying on second-hand info and even other people posting tweets on their mobile devices from inside the arena. Where else will you find such an eclectic gametime experience?

Twitter is also a way for fans to stay on top of their favorite players. This is often what draws the ire of mainstream media. Bucks forward Charlie Villeneuva was written up by reporters and lampooned by bloggers for Twittering during halftime of a regular-season game. Shaq recently posted this insightful tidbit to his feed, "I cheated, I had a texas size honeybun, it wnt happen again, no more cheatin, shaqlyte is in effect." That is, when he's not responding to people who replied to him. It's mundane for my tastes to follow an athlete mainly because their posts are sporadic, poorly written and lacking any serious insight. Now if Shaq broke news of his retirement on Twitter, now we're talking. Or if Shaq shared locker room gossip on his Twitter feed, that also may pique my interest. But for the most part, using Twitter to solely follow athletes gets, well, a bit boring. It's like pursuing the head cheerleader and actually landing her. Turns out she's not as much fun as your fantasies made her out to be.

Twitter is also chock full of entities like YourCBSSports. Almost every sports website, blog, team, league, fan site has a Twitter feed populated with news. Our feed, for example, is powered by our top headlines list and some community elements like baseball threads. It's also updated manually when breaking news happens. It's also active, so if you ask YourCBSSports something, odds are you'll get a response. I'm guessing most major publications that have Twitter feeds operate in a style somewhat similar.

Twitter is also a place where your friends may hang out. Maybe their posts are mundane. Maybe they're insightful. Maybe informative. Maybe, like the Twitter account OfficeChair , reflections of the existence of an office chairunderneath a gassy San Francisco worker.

The problem Twitter faces comes from the same media that can't help but write about it. Every publication is looking for the new big thing in social media and Twitter is lucky (or unlucky if you're the engineers at Twitter) to be saddled with that label. It's unfair because Twitter doesn't aim to be that. It's not a place to post photos, and other rich media about one's self. It's not a place to join causes, wall post and pass around chain letters. It's just a place to converse, or follow other people conversing. Unless you're Ashton Kutcher . Then Twitter becomes an usual battleground to wage a nonsensical war vs. CNN for the sake of publicity.

So how do I use Twitter? As mentioned, I blend all of the above to create a unique RSS feed. I log on to Twitter in the morning, keep it open all day and see what my favorite sports and news sites are saying, what some of my favorite bloggers are saying and what some of my favorite celebrities are saying. Sometimes it's mundane, but most of the Internet is mundane. But the longer I stay plugged into Twitter the more I see its value. Sure, it caters to a certain younger demographic prone to following real-time conversations and who aren't expecting the world from every new social site or tool launched. But for better or worse it was through Twitter how I found out about Susan Boyle, and that was 36 or so hours before the mainstream picked her up. While that may not be something to boast about in your circle, the point is, Twitter is laced with those in the Internet know. And if that's a world you want to be a part of, it's worth diving in, no matter if you're thinking is "not another social networking medium."

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Category: SPiN
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com