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Submission + - SPAM: NFL ratings plunge could spell doom for traditional TV

schwit1 writes: Football, America’s biggest prime-time powerhouse, has been thrust into a crisis this fall, with dwindling ratings sparking questions over whether it can remain a gold mine for television in an age when more Americans are abandoning traditional TV.

Network executives have long used the National Football League’s live games as a last line of defense against the rapid growth of “cord-cutting” and on-demand viewing upending the industry.

But now, the NFL is seeing its ratings tumble in the same way that the Olympics, awards shows and other live events have, falling more than 10 percent for the first five weeks of the season compared with the first five weeks of last season. A continued slide, executives say, could pose an even bigger danger: If football can’t survive the new age of TV, what can?

The explosion of modern entertainment options, offered on more devices and at any time, has splintered American audiences and sped TV’s decline, Hughes said. “Sports seemed to be immune from it — it was live, the last bastion of broadcast television. But [the world] has caught up to it now.”

They pointed to “a confluence of events,” including the election, to explain the ratings slide. Other weaknesses have plagued America’s most popular TV sport. Some of the league’s top players have retired or have been suspended, including Peyton Manning, Marshawn Lynch and Tom Brady, creating a star-power vacuum that may have driven casual fans away.

Add to that the cowardly way the NFL handled the Colin Kaepernick situation, which alienated so many, now former, fans.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:What about range on this smaller car? (Score 1) 247

Have you been to any of the expressway oasises? I haven't been to them all, but the northbound one on 294 has a charging station.

I travel through Chicago a few times a year now (and lived there before open road tolling existed) and did not notice them before. Great information and I do wonder if how many have them and if there is a build out plan.

Comment Re:What about range on this smaller car? (Score 2) 247

If you are on a long trip, you are usually passing filling stations: very few people do 200 miles entirely on back roads. And good safety means that you should take a break about every 150 miles or so. So, as soon as filling stations do electrical recharge, the problem goes away for drivers not trying to keep going avery minute of the day. The problem is always chicken-and-egg: until people have the cars, the charging station will not exist.

In the Chicagoland area, they have a number of oasis situated on the expressway that have food, restrooms, gas. I imagine if the tollway authority added charging stations to the parking area, you would see an uptick in adoption. I know other metropolitan areas have the same type of setups; a few strategically place charging stations could start turning the tide.

Comment Re:funny (Score 1) 567

Then there is the Aether theory. You think scientists are somehow magically infallible or something like that?

Not trying to go a little off topic, but

I actually think the whole concept of Aether being the medium to transmit light "waves" is a good example of science working the way it should. Individuals observed that all waves appear to need a medium to travel in. Therefore, there must be a medium for light waves.

Now, the difference between blind faith and science is that someone wanted to show that the Aether theory was correct. This was the famous Michelson-Morley experiment where the theory was shown to be wrong (yes, I know there were many experiments in this area of study with varying results) and was a stepping stone to special relativity.

So yes, scientists are fallible but that isn't the same as not willing to be show the "light" in the face of evidence.

Comment Re:Stupid is as stupid does (Score 1) 250

The grandparent poster is on the mark. Would you really trust a black doctor who was a quota admit to med school?

Better you than me.

I don't know... did he or she take all the same class work as the other students? Did he or she pass the courses with sufficient grades to graduate? Did he or she successfully complete their residency? Did he or she pass the medical boards?

If yes, then I would. If they are competent and can demonstrate mastery of their craft, why would you not trust them?

Comment Re:Hero ? (Score 4, Insightful) 236

Why exactly is it a bad precedent?

So I'm perfectly happy with a society that aggressively shuns those people, regardless of judicial outcomes.

IMHO, engineers have a hard job. They constantly need to manage trade-offs, complex concepts, and scope/schedule trade-offs. Sometimes they make mistakes. I've worked in design of automation equipment, enterprise software, and medical devices and in all cases there were the occasional mistakes. People forget to update a requirements document, a change order is approved but not implemented, a drawing rev number isn't updated before sending to vendor, a critical bug is mistakenly set to low, a vendor changes a part and someone uses the old data sheet, etc.. There are recalls all the time on products through honest mistakes people make. Should we call out each of these people individually?

We would need to have a Google size site just to publish the name of every software engineer who introduced a bug into some software package. Everyone better step-up if we want to do that. I want the world to shun the individual who made a bad trade for my 401K, every person on a road crew who didn't finish a road project on time -- well, there are countless people who make mistakes who are nameless part of a bigger organization.

Comment Re:Where I live, that's normal weather (Score 1) 290

Americans need to toughen up. Cancelling work and school because of a bit of ice and snow?

Never underestimate just how much of a mess what we call a small amount of snow can cause in a place which doesn't normally have to deal with it.

I have always lived in the mid-west. Actually, most of it in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, and went to school up on Lake Superior. Driving in snow and ice should be second nature to us.

However, I see the same behavior up north at the beginning of winter. Some people who are use to driving full speed all summer and fall suddenly have a hard time dealing with the snow...and these are people who grew up in these areas. It takes a little time for many to get their "snow legs". Obviously, this isn't everyone and you would expect people to think a little before jumping in the car the first time... but it happens anyway.

Comment User Interfaces Need Maturity (Score 2) 180

Some of the distraction I find in my "smart car" features are due to poor user experience--location of hard buttons, layouts on screen of information or touch buttons ,and quality of speech recognition. From the article:

Voice activated systems in newer radio systems would seem to offer an advantage over older car radios of keeping the drivers eyes on the road. (Indeed, tuning an older radio was used as a baseline task in these tests.) But according to Mehler, problems arise when the system needs clarification of what the driver wants

It's the clarification that is the problem, not that it is voice activated (i.e. user experience). I find this with Siri when I'm driving (using built-in blue tooth to integrate it like a "smart" car function) when trying to listen to or respond to a text using voice. Approximately 1 out of 5 times Siri misunderstands a word and I have to change the message. This pulls my attention from driving and I usually give up and wait for a light to try again.

This is just one example. In dash systems need more work on user experience.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

I have a PET4032...

You officially have me jealous! I forgot to mention I have a TRS CoCo and Apple IIgs too.

I also should mention a TI 99 4/A and Commodore SX64 is on my list of desired additions! I'm always soliciting donations of old computers from people I know. If they ever mention some old computer in the attic, I offer it a good home.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

You don't have any pictures?

Someplace in a deep dark place with the rest of my college material there lives a picture. This thread makes me want to go dig around again! Probably sitting next to a banner saying "Commodore 128" made with Print Shop on a Citizen 120D and some really cool drawings I made on GEOS geoPaint.

I remember we named it MAXX but I cannot remember why anymore.

I have a soft place for the 8 bit machines and actually have a small collection: Osborne executive, Atari 800, Atari 400, Commodore 4+, several C64, C128, VIC20, and Apple II/IIe and a few more. Would love to find PET, MSX, and Sinclair machines.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 2) 179

The closest I got to robotics back then was the Radio Electronics interface board to the Armatron... I never got the Armatron...

We used the user port to drive a board with 5 volt relays that, in turn, were used to turn on and off the DC motors (re-purposed windshield wiper motors). For input, I used the joystick ports since BASIC 7 had features to react to button presses, etc. and all the I/O was essentially just switches. I could POKE on the gripper motor and have the system react when the gripper closed "fire button" was hit before turning it off.

Reading and reacting to the encoders required a machine language routing to keep up with the pulses. I think that lived in the cassette buffer but I'm fuzzy if this was the case. One final cool feature: I could use the joysticks to train the robot to move by recording it's actions and then replaying them (after trading out the joystick for the I/O plug). This was fairly amazing to most people in the late 80's.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 5, Interesting) 179

I went from a Vic20 to C128 instead of a C64. I was amazed that I could use CPM and a very advanced basic. The power of this machine enabled me and a good friend to build a robot in college made of nothing but old car parts, DC motors, relays, and plates with holes drilled in them for encoders. That directly led to my first job as an automation engineer.

The C128 also was the last computer that fueled my dreams. I went to college to become a computer engineer so I could build what I called the "compatibility machine". This machine could execute all the major 8-bit computer software (they all had Z80's or 6502) without the user intervening or worrying what version of software they purchased. The C128 showed me it could be possible!

By the time I left school the writing was on the wall that Mac / IBM style PCs would rule the world. It didn't stop me from getting an Amiga, but it was pretty clear that CBM was on the way out.

Comment Re:How much does Google stand to lose with somethi (Score 3, Insightful) 120

If you display erroneous information the you will be liable.

Previous poster pointed out that this is true if sold as a medical device by an OEM. Medical device OEMs have a strict set of guidelines they need to follow for the creation of these devices--risk management, CAPA processes, demonstration that design outputs are tested against design inputs. (FDA 21 CFR Part 820, for example)

That being said, a hospital has a much less stringent set of requirements (though I believe there is much discussion in the FDA related to this). With the proper research agreements, IRB review (Institutional Review Board), and following proper research procedures (e.g. patient consent), a doctor can try new ideas, technology, or off-label use of existing device. However, Google would not be liable unless they want to sell a healthcare version.

Comment Re:Really? Did we ever really want smart watches? (Score 1) 365

20 years too late? Similar gadgets have been introduced and failed long before that. Seiko wrist TV is but one.

There were many examples. Timex had a watch that would sync calendar and reminders which required you to point it at a IR transmitter (for laptops). I had one and the sync failed far too often. At least it looked like a nice sports watch.

Motorola had a wristwatch pager called the Mermaid that was a large device as well. I couldn't find a link except to another collaboration between Timex and Motorola. I think there were others.

The watch space feels like the early mp3 player market. Many people trying to crack the code for what consumers will jump on but nobody quite yet has a break out product in usability and features.

Submission + - Tiny Pacemaker Can Be Delivered to Your Heart's Interior Via a Catheter ( 1

the_newsbeagle writes: About four million people around the world have pacemakers implanted in their bodies, and those devices all got there the same way: surgeons sliced open their patients' shoulders and inserted the pulse-generating devices in the flesh near the heart, then attached tiny wires to the heart muscle. This invasive surgery carries risks of infection, of course, and those delicate wires are often the failure point when pacemakers stop working.

A device that just received approval in the EU seems to solve those problems. This tiny pacemaker is the first that doesn't require wires to bring the electrical signal to the heart muscle, because it's implanted inside the heart itself, and is hooked onto the inner wall of one of the heart's chambers. This is possible because the cylindrical device can be inserted and attached using a steerable catheter that's snaked up through the femoral artery. This blog post has an animation of the insertion process.

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