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Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

LiveRugby app – second screen or settling an argument?

5 February, 2012 3 comments

This post and all other business-focused posts are now being held on the Seven League blog.

 

An iPhone app that has live rugby union data for the 6 Nations and that promises to fulfil my second-screen needs. I had high hopes of you, LiveRugby app, and lovely though the data detail is, you don’t overcome the challenge of entertaining me with data. Or even engaging me. Datatainment delight is still a way off.

Let me go back a step.

I’ve always been more of a rugby follower than a football follower, so I was excited to see that there was a new app, using Opta’s incredible wealth of live data, which would be delivering an experience on the iPhone for the 6 Nations competition.

It’s nice enough. The interface feels all ‘chalk-boardy’ and it’s pretty straightforward to use. I think the interesting stats, the Opta stuff, is too far down the IA. I didn’t download this as a ‘general information about the 6N app’… I downloaded it specifically for in-game data updates so a) make it easier for me to get to them b) set a default auto-refresh that i can change the frequency on, or can turn off – having to hit the refresh button is another user-friction feature.

Oh, and “Don’t have a tv? Never mind watching the game. Use our LIVE commentary!” says the promo copy. Really? You mean I  should read less-than-twitter-length updates? In the Ireland v Wales game that has just finished I counted 71 updates across the course of the match. Bearing in mind it was a fantastic game and so much was happening every 60 seconds, there’s no way you’d want to stick with the app updates. Even if you couldn’t get near to a tv or radio, if you’ve got a smartphone you can still get to the BBC mobile site (there they go, impacting the market again!) for an experience that’s more like the excellent TMS coverage.

I think there’s a fundamental problem with the concept.

Is it trying to be a second-screen app? or a data-resource app?

Use case 1: I’m in the pub and I want to reference back to a match from last weekend and prove an argument about the distribution of rucks, the success of kicks, etc etc. In this case, the app will be great. It still makes the information more difficult to find than I want, but it’s all there.

Use case 2: I’m watching the game / listening to the game and I want to use the app as a second screen to add to my experience of the match. This is where the app stumbles.

There is a problem with the presentation of data. It’s passive. I don’t like passive data. Passive data is difficult to work with. If you can turn it into information, that’s better – but to do that you will need to make some kind of comparison. This app does that – some of the key information, like the fact that Scotland made 68 tackles (all successful) against England’s 153 (of which 14 unsuccessful) is, indeed, presented. But again, it’s done in a rather passive way.

Data – Information – Engagement – Editorial – Entertainment

So you’ve got the data, you’re informing me… but I still have to work hard. You’re a long long way from entertaining me. It’s the editorial layer that’s missing. England were forced to defend by Scotland’s attacking efforts – but a combination of what Gavin Hasings called ‘schoolboy errors’ combined with some resolute English defence meant that Scotland couldn’t convert their opportunities into points. That’s the story here – that’s what the app should be pulling out – that’s what editorial intervention would add.

But if this app is trying to offer passive data, or to inform the pub argument after the event – then it succeeds.

If it’s trying to enhance my in-game experience, then it fails.

There is, of course, the fundamental point that bringing the appreciation of data into live games is difficult. Jonathan Davies on the BBC Sport coverage has a man beside him trying to put together interesting insight into the performance but there’s very little time to do so. Little production time and then little air-time – so his insights have to be very simple and ‘top level’. Of course Davies and the BBC experts could go into great detail, but there just isn’t the time.

Second Screen vs Speed

The same is true for users of second-screen apps. Football and rugby are both fast-moving games and there isn’t time to be digging 4 clicks down into an app and then hitting refresh to get passive information. Sunset and Vine may have done it in cricket, and many US sports have much more time within the flow of the game.

But if the second screen is going to work in football and rugby, then data and editorial will have to work much more actively together to be able to enhance the in-game experience and engage, and even, dare I say it, entertain the audience.

100 views from the tower

12 July, 2010 1 comment

In March 2009, I started work for a media company based on the 19th floor of 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf – also known as the tower. This is a photo journal of the view from my desk. Click here or any of the images below to go to the slideshow.

The view is looking west across London with the River Thames in the foreground, the Gherkin and Tower 42 (formerly the NatWest Tower) in the distance on the right and the BT tower in the far distance. My favourites are the sunsets, the snow and the window cleaner.

Almost all shots were taken with an iPhone 3, those of higher quality/more zoom were a Canon Ixus 430. Oh, and it took me till shot 15 to standardise the position of the camera.

June's summer sun

Christmas lights

Visitor outside

The view from my desk: 100 image slideshow

iphone H2G2 fubar: PANIC!!!

13 April, 2009 Leave a comment

Joe’s iphone, reconditioned, is having a problem. It shuts itself down – rebooting style – at the slightest effort. iPhone response? PANIC…

iphone_panic

iphone_panic_close

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I’m in (iPhone) heaven

15 November, 2008 1 comment

Picking up hotel wifi connections, taking decent quality pictures which can then be sent straight to flickr, playing me my ‘get by in spanish’ course, playing random tunes from it’s surprisingly dcent quality speaker and… my favourite new thing: I can record audio in decent enough quality using the iTalk app.

Last night recorded a xylopohne band, some traditional music, and a 10-man street party band. 

De Botton’s point, echoing Ruskin, in Art of Travel is that we should not so much seek to possess the beauty and the experience of travel by relinquishing all our attentive capabilities to modern technology – and i totally agree. In my photography I have always tried to capture just enough of the feeling of a moment or a place so that it will act as a fulfilling psychological prompt.

But the beauty of this one device is that it has just given me a new way, through audio, to retain the experience and re-live it at a later date.

I took heed of Mr Fry’s advice but have no need of a laptop. And forgetting the charger for my camera is, in a way, a godsend as it forces me to be even more economical with time and my attempts to capture experience.

There are problems of course – the processor just isn’t powerful enough to handle this blog page – and so i have to revert to the “tradition” of the net cafe – for example. But for now, it’s a blessing.

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