Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TV shows now on iTunes Canada

No, you're not dreaming!  After what seems like about ten years (probably closer to two), TV shows are now available for purchase in the Canadian iTunes Store.

Not much there yet, of course, but hey, lest we forget, the US Store only started with a handful of shows back in the day (2005).  Plus, since the Canadian broadcast culture absolutely depends on simulcasting US shows as I've discussed before, it might be a good long while before we see The Daily Show, 24, Heroes or any of the other big name shows.

However, it's nice to see the price is the same as the US, at $2 an episode.  I assume the quality is the same, not quite DVD.  Also, Canadian hit shows Corner Gas, Little Mosque on the Prairie and other homegrown hits are on there for those who never realized sometimes we do make our own shows.  In a fit of irony, Canadian networks could thank themselves at this point for the lack on content on there.  Make some more of your own shows, fellas.  Then you'll own the rights!

And what Canadian video store would be complete without a smattering of NHL content?!  Well you're in luck, as there's even some 'Stanley Cup Classics' up there.  5 old-skool Stanley Cup games, back in the days before the Salary Cap was King.  They look to be full length games, no ads.  While I assume we're still a long way from next-day highlights or current game downloads, this is a good move for the NHL, kudos.  And anyway, if you're a Leafs fan, there's lots of content already up in the Podcast section...check out "Game in Six Minutes", and the LeafsTV post-game show is also available:

One more point:  If I was a Canadian film or TV producer, I would absolutely be phoning Apple this morning to find out how I can get my content on here.  Bypass the broadcaster completely and get your show in front of people on their computer or their iPod.  No brainer.

Anyway, we'll see where this goes.  Interesting to see when/if movies get added, but again, if I had a Canadian film, I'd skip fighting tooth and nail trying to get it into 3 screens across Canada opening weekend competing with Harry Potter and Spider-Man, and just get it online where everyone can find it and buy it for dirt cheap.

Personally I'm hooked on Blu-Ray since the PS3 came to stay at my house, but the online download world has not yet begun to fight, not in this country anyway.  Well, ok, now it of today...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Skates have changed...

So, it's that time of year season in full swing, and it comes time to don my own pair of blades and hit the local arena.

I don't think I made it out even once last year. My main issue was how freakin' cold the arenas are. These are indoor arenas, yet my face felt darn near frozen, and even with a decent Therma-something toque on, it was too much for my ears to take. So I quit going.

This year however, I've decided to fight the good fight, and make my way back, if not into shape, then at least to a point where lacing them up doesn't wear me out!

After searching high and low for my old skates, and not finding them, I made my way over to Canadian Tire to have a look at new ones. Maybe I was just too early, but no one seemed interested in helping me out, so I trucked off to SportChek, where I had a good experience buying new shoes a month ago.

Wandering around SportChek, it makes you feel for parents whose kids want to play hockey...this stuff is expensive! Gone are the days of wood sticks, black skates, and one size fits all jock straps. No, we're now in a world of $100 helmets, $60 elbow pads (you'll need two of those!), $100 composite sticks (cause yeah, like those never break!)...and, you can spend as much as you have in the world on skates!

Fortunately, being the non-competitive, public skating participant that I intend to become, the options sort of limit themselves. I don't quite need skates built for Crosby or Ovechkin.

So here's the ones I got: Easton Synergy 500 SC

The salesman was very knowledgeable and helpful, which is rare these days.

However, you don't just buy a pair of skates and head out to the rink! SportChek puts them in the oven, bake 'em for 5 minutes, and then you put them on as tight as you can and wear them in the store until they cool down. This molds the boot and padding to the shape of your foot. It sounds believable, until you try it, then it's just weird. But it works, my ankles carved themselves a nice spot in the sides.

While I was waiting for the oven, I wandered over to the hockey jerseys and t-shirts and had a look. There were a couple Leafs shirts on sale, but for the first time ever, I paused for a few minutes, and realized that I refuse to put more money into the hands of MLSE (who care more about condos than championships) until they put a decent team on the ice. That starts with the Leafs making the playoffs this season...we'll see.

It's a weird feeling, falling out of love with your favourite sports team. Let me put it this way: On Tuesday I watched Montreal vs Florida, and Wednesday I watched Pittsburgh vs New Jersey...and I was much more entertained than on the previous Saturday when I watched the Leafs give up several leads to lose 6-4 to the Penguins. Watching the Leafs is just too upsetting these days...anger, followed by misery, but they hook you with a burst of excitement here and there. I'm much happier watching Crosby set up (or finish) beauty goals, or even just marveling in the speed of other teams. And since I don't care who wins, the stress and anguish are gone.

We'll see. Also helps that those other two games were on TSN HD, which production-wise puts CBC to shame...but I think I've harped on that before, and likely will again.

Anyway, I've got my new skates, so I'll make sure to dress warmly this time, and I'll see you at the rink!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ok, one more NHL Centre Ice outrage

So I'm on having a look around, and I click on the banner ad for Center (US spelling) Ice Online, thought I'd see if they've lowered the price at all (laughs)...

"Sign up for a Season Pass today for only $169 USD!"

$169? What a's $219 CDN? Isn't the CDN Loonie worth more than the USD greenback? WTF?

Sure enough...CDN currently should be $164 then...sigh...$55 more for what, exactly?

Memo to NHL: Cut the bullshit!

Course, this is nothing new, Canadians are being hosed all over by various retailers...cell phones, books, cars, you name it, we're paying too much up here. It's just extra annoying when it's an online product that has no physical product to ship...and when it's the NHL doing the hosing. Shame on them.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

NHL Streaming, now on will be streaming Leaf games now, but they just link to the NHL Centre Ice Online package. They claim it's $60 for 50 games...that's a good price. I guess that just gets you the Leafs games...which is all I'd want. I'll watch other teams (Edmonton, Vancouver) on TV, but no great desire to stream them.

The free preview of NHL Centre Ice has ended...I thought it was until the end of October, but it ended on Tuesday...during the Leafs game, just before the 3rd period...although they were already down 5-1 to Carolina, so I suppose I was done a favour. :)

$219 CDN they now want for the Online portion of the Centre Ice package. If you streamed 15 games per month (3 games per week, October to March), that's $2.08 per game.

But, you wouldn't need Centre Ice for that many, cause CBC is streaming all their games for free (plus they're on TV nationally, but we'll leave that for now). So, if you minus 1 game every Saturday (2 if you watch the double header), that's 88 games at $2.49 per.

And oh yeah, you wouldn't even get Leaf games, unless you spoof you IP, cause you don't live in the proper Leaf region...sigh, we're back to that again.

So, yeah, basically I can't see any possible reason why to give them one goddamn cent! I enjoyed watching the free games on my TV that I was able to, but in that case you're better off with the cable/satellite Centre Ice package, which is the same price, but much higher quality...

So, perhaps that concludes my coverage of NHL Centre Ice Online. I give it Two Swollen Thumbs Way the Hell Down! At the same time, I have to thank the NHL sincerely for trying, but they are far from where they need to be.

Friday, September 21, 2007

NHL Centre Ice Online - I'm Logged In!

Ok, so literally whilst I was drawing up an email to the NHL with several questions re: Centre Ice Online (price, blackouts, Mac support, etc), they went and updated their site! Man, I'm on the forefront of change! (There's no games on tonight, if you're wondering what the deal is with that screenshot).

So I got my answer about price...get can sign up for the Free Preview, which ends after the first week of the regular season. OR, you can sign up now for the entire season, for the low low price of $200 CDN!!! ROFLLOLWTFNHLBBQ!

Now, I'm no finance wizard, but I'm starting to know a rip off when I see one! For one thing, I could sign up through my cable company for less than that, $170 for the season, $150 at the Early Bird price! Maybe I'm stupid, but I think a cable feed to my TV is a helluva lot better quality than low grade Windows Media over the Internet! How can the Online price be anywhere NEAR the broadcast one?! That's ballz.

Not only that, but they're missing the entire 'secret' of Internet commerce: Micropayments! Ok NHL, I'm gonna say this once: $2 per game. That's what you're going to get from me. I'm not gonna watch every single game this season, therefore, I want to only pay for what I watch. And that's ONLY if I can log in from Saskatchewan and watch Leafs games...again, it's not clear.

Now, I thought I saw, during the sign up process, a reference to something called "Day Pass". I didn't get a screenshot of it unfortunately. However, that sounds like a much more reasonable option. Maybe a Day Pass option will roll out at some point and be about $2.

The NHL is seriously over-valuing its product in this case. I cannot believe it's more money than the actual cable package...that's lunacy!

Anyway, one step forward. I'll enjoy the free preview, and see where we go from here.

On a related note, the CBC will be streaming all its games online this year. They can do that because they have National rights to the games. The LeafsTV only have rights for their "region". Anyways, props to the CBC. I assume they'll use the despised Windows Media as well, but that's what Flip4Mac is for...

It's not that I want everything to be done my way all the just seems like it. :)

Easy Come Easy Go

Ah, now we're seeing the true colours of the Blue & White (and the NHL): So much for my Leafs preseason games on the iMac...Today I need an account!

Ok fine, where do I sign up? Oh, the "Sign Up Now!" button...ok, my, gosh, wait a sec here, seems they've turned on my favourite Web 2.0 feature - Geofencing:

Well, thanks for the 3 games this week fellas, but I guess that's all she wrote. Unless/until I sign up for NHL Centre Ice Online (which I previously mentioned has NO signup info on their site, no price points, nothing)...damn they're making this difficult.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

NHL Centre Ice is in fact online

Ok, I was referred to that link for more info about Centre Ice Online. Now, if someone can point to me where on that page is the price, or sign up information, cause I don't see it. I'll guess they haven't set the price yet, since my local cable provider doesn't have info for the Centre Ice TV package either.

After watching two Leafs' preseason games online this week (and a third coming up tonight!), I'm not sure what I'd pay for the season. A lot of times it might be handy, since I'm usually in front of the iMac, love to have a little window open with the hockey pouring in. And I think they just give you a log in, which I could use anywhere, if I'm out of town for example, but I'm not sure about that...doesn't mention it on their site.

On the other hand, there is an HDTV where I live, so ideally you want to watch games on that baby!

It's also not the highest quality stream I've ever seen, and the Mac support is somewhat there, could be I said, it does work in Safari, although last night I had to close and restart it a couple times, and by the end of the game the audio was kind of out of sync. Among the Mac requirements it says "Pentium III 1GHz"

So yeah, how much would you pay is the question. Like I said before, I'd like to see a "per game" micropayment like iTunes, but I bet they're looking for more of a $40 a month or something, judging by the cable/satellite package prices. Also, it's not clear if you can just get the Online package without getting the cable package, unless I missed that somewhere.

Anyways, I'm glad to see the NHL moving in this direction. Wouldn't hurt them to buy a few banner ads on Canadian websites, letting people know that online is now an option, get the word out. Hell, put up one on their own site, be a good start!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NHL streaming Centre Ice?

Jackpot! As you can see in the pic above, the NHL is finally got its Centre Ice package online, and that means Streaming Live Games!

Details are sketchy, I can't find anything about this on the NHL web site, I basically stumbled on it. Here's some instructions on how you to can see these games on your PC (or Mac! Even works in Safari, although it warns about lack of support):

You launch the 'console', then click the right tab, "Centre Ice". Then you can click on the game(s) you want to watch, I think up to 4 at a time! It will likely complain that the URL is invalid. Doesn't matter! Click the little button on the top right, it looks like a square within a square. This should maximize the prefered game screen to the whole pane, and then it will start streaming the game!

Obviously the NHL will want to make money off this (and I'm not even saying they shouldn't). I thought I remembered reading something about Centre Ice being available as on online package, but then I read how much of a rip off it was. Plus, I thought you could only get it if you subscribe to the cable package, you can't just pay for a single online game...which is insanity. They need to move to a "$2 per game" micropayment model. I think (and hope) perhaps they're streaming all the preseason games, in order to wet our appetites. Consider it wetted.

Here's the link for what little info the NHL has, but like I said, nothing about online games here:

So, we'll see where this goes. But for now, it's nice to watch a live Leaf game on my Mac! (Plus they're muting the ads for me!) :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Couple stupid gaming related things...

Found this slice of stupidity at the store the other day. I was searching for the Mac versions of the EA Sports games that EA promised to deliver day and date with their console counterparts (which surprise surprise didn't happen). Anyway, go there and search "Madden"'s what I got:

Hmm, guess I'll have to wait for "Hidden NFL 08" to arrive for the Mac. Actually, I'm not even a bootball pan, I just lant SenHL OhAte to come bout, and then Greed Four Speide.

Not to be outdone...Best Buy is running this exciting promotion on their web site:

How dost one prepare thyself for such 'faming'!? You famer. Get your fame face on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Regina Getzlaf the Cup!

Today was Ryan Getzlaf's day with the Stanley Cup. Ryan brought The Cup back to his hometown, Regina, Saskatchewan.

Here's a link to a Flickr set of photos. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

RUWT...coming to Canada

So, have you ever checked out It's a site where you can let other internetters know what sports event you're watching. It's kinda like, but for sports television.

It's cool because they provide links to NHL highlights on YouTube right next to scores from the games, so you don't have to go find them yourself. Also has TV listings as to what games are on what channels, etc. And I suppose there's the whole social web 2.0 aspect, where you can shout to other people watching the same games. Oh, and it'll alert you when the Canucks and Stars game is going into overtime...

Anyways, it's currently US listings, but plans for Canada are in the works....just got this email today!

Thought it deserved a mention here. So, there you go.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sidney Crosby - TIME's Person of the Year needs DIGGERS!

Vote Sid the Kid up and he could make it on the cover of TIME magazine. Then you can tell all your friends "That is because of me and my fellow diggers!!!"Not only that, but they're mistaken on his "Con" list! There's no way he lead the NHL in penalties in his rookie season! Seemed low to I looked it up...sure enough, Sean Avery, 257 PIM for 2005-2006. Crosby is 45th, with 110 PIM. He didn't even lead the Rookies in PIM that year (4th!). Especially since his rookie year was the first year after the lockout, with the new 'standard' being called, everyone was taking even more penalties than usual. Can't deny he whines to officials though.Unless...perhaps for some reason whatever stats they looked at, maybe they're only counting 2 minute minors, and the 3 rookies ahead of him took more 5 minute majors, so on paper it looks like he took more penalties? I dunno, that's bizarre.He's one place above author J. K. Rowling! Since when is the NHL more popular than Harry Potter?! Is this another "Vote For Rory" campaign I'm not aware of?

read more | digg story

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Wind Power. Gimme.

It's windy as sin around here the last week or two, and whenever I question why we don't have those wind turbines on every street corner, I'm laughed at and scolded about the supposed "expensive" costs. Well, it seems like I'm not the fool here. It'scost effective to make, way less footprint on the enviroment, and they're just fucking cool to look at. Saskatchewan, time to step up and harness your greatest foe!

SaskPower's doing their part, but this part of the world doesn't show up on Google Maps.

Not much on Flickr either.

I want one in my

NTFS on OSX, ask me how...

Dunno if anyone else was aware of this, but it was a revelation to me: It is now possible to read and write NTFS volumes in OS X! For those of us with Boot Camp, it's a good ability to have.

I installed Boot Camp a couple months ago, and made the partition as FAT32, so I could read and write to the Windows drive from my Mac desktop. Comes in handy when find something on the web I want to try in Windows, but don't want to have to save the bookmark (or download) in my Gmail, reboot to Windows, log in and find it again...just drag n drop the thing to the Windows desktop folder.

Anyways, as everyone who cares to know knows, FAT32 limits your partition to 120GB, and your biggest files to 4GB. Which is pretty much useless these days if your doing video or any other giant file stuff. While my Boot Camp partition is only 32GB, I don't use it enough to make it bigger at the moment.

Which leads me to the new solution (as usual, it's brought to us in part by our Google overlords, all hail!). As I understand it, there's this thing called "FUSE" in the Linux world, and it's some sort of mechanism, that allows stuff to work (I know, pretty technical). Anyways, some brilliant folks have ported it to the Mac, to create MacFuse. MacFuse allows us to run Fuse-compatible things in Mac OS particular, NTFS-3G, the package that allows reading AND writing to NTFS volumes.

So, all I had to do was download the MacFuse Core installer, and the NTFS-3G (contains two installers). Install them in that order, reboot, and my Boot Camp drive now shows up with full read and write ability (after converting it in Windows to NTFS). Slick.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Survey Says....

So, a poll of NHL players was conducted, courtesy The Hockey News. On newstands now, or you can buy it online and read it on your computer...see, that's what I'm talking about, Big Business, the internet is your friend! You can even get single iTunes for magazines.

Anyways, for some insightful analysis of this survey, check out this entry on Mike Chen's Hockey Blog, where I first read about the poll. For some irreverent analysis, however, stay right here.

Just want to highlight a couple of the funnier answers...particularly those given by only 1 player. The fun is trying to guess who said what.

"What’s the worst thing about your job?"...At least one player answered each of these:
"Protein shakes, watching video, late nights, filling out forms, fighting, autographs, missed childhood, girls, money, Cam Janssen, getting yelled at, pre-game skate, coaches and being booed"

"Cam Janssen"...I can just see Tomas Kaberle hunched over his stall in the dressing room, madly scribbling in his answer. Or perhaps Janssen himself wrote it, after all the Dr. Phil he watched during his 3 game suspension?

"Filling out forms"...yeah, can't the NHLPA just hack our email and read the relevant ones to us? Why do I gotta put in my name and password every time?!

"missed childhood"...well, couldn't be Sidney Crosby, it's too soon. Chris Chelios? Likely didn't miss it at all, just's been a lot of years since then.

"getting yelled at"...well, nobody likes that. However, I'll say Bryan McCabe...I know I'm constantly cursing his name after each turnover, giveaway, or blown chance...sigh.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hockey Rights in Canada, plus streaming!

Well, I wouldn't have thought it possible, but the word has come down today, CBC will keep Hockey Night in Canada coming on Canadian TV sets Saturday nights for six more years. More coverage here.

To be honest, I was kinda in Bell Globemedia's corner (CTV, TSN) for the past couple years, ever since I found out the rights were up for renewal. I've grown exhausted of the overall quality (or lackluster) of CBC's production. Don't get me wrong, I love Bob Cole and Harry Neale, may they live to be 1000 years old. And Ron MacLean and Don Cherry are Canadian staples, although if I never have to watch Ron interview Colin Campbell again, I'd be alright. But, I'm talking about PRODUCTION...sound (mixing, levels, quality and creative use of), music beds, graphics, stats, interactivity, etc. On these fronts, CBC is about 15 years behind TSN, 30 years behind NBC. But that's just me.

On the other hand. CBC recently, maybe 6 weeks ago, updated all their graphics (except the GIANT in-game time clock, the most needed upgrade), some newer music here and there, and new voice overs for their production. Most of it is crap, but hey, it's newer. Here's hoping they have even newer stuff planned for next year, and keep it fresh for another 6 years. Basically, if you watch a game on NBC, and then watch CBC (or vice versa), you'll know what I'm talking about. NBC takes full advantage of the 'new NHL', including much better access to the players during games. There's an on-ice interview at the end of each period, generally you can hear the mics that the refs wear to announce penalties, and every period or so they do the "Verizon Sounds of the Game", where we get to hear what Sidney Crosby talks about on the bench. Full marks NBC!

Here's another highlight from the article, from league commissioner Gary Bettman:

"...this coming Saturday, when Hockey Night in Canada will begin a new tradition which will only enhance the viewing pleasure for hockey fans in this country: Both games of the double-header will be provided in high definition."

Sweet, it's been low-def Oilers, Flames and Canucks for too long! Well done! Hopefully this doesn't mean they've stolen some HD cameras from the Leafs and will continue to offer 'fake HD', where the main camera is HD, but any side or opposite angles are decidedly standard definition. Anyways, you take what you can get in this country.

The article mentions that the CBC's beloved "Hockey Day in Canada" (the annual triple header featuring all six Canadian teams) will continue...hmmm, last I heard, the NHL was committed to its current ridiculous schedule, which doesn't even have each Canadian team meet next year!

But wait there's more. And this is the biggest news, if you ask me (from the CBC article):

"Also, a multimedia package including live and on-demand video streaming of all CBC's hockey broadcasts will be available online at in the near future. That means fans in Canada will be able to watch any Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on, regardless of what game is being broadcast in their area of the country."

Hallejujah!!!! I streamed a game off Comcast's site Friday night, and it was awesome. The game wasn't on anywhere locally, but since I was able to stream it, it DOESN'T MATTER WHERE I LIVE (unlike LEAFSTV)! I get the feeling I'm gonna be watching a lot more hockey now that I can just go to and click on the feed I want. Damn, I think I'm drooling. Here's hoping for a decent resolution, 30 fps, and Quicktime (Please Lord, don't let them fall into the Windows Media trap that lives in). CBC currently uses Quicktime and Real Media (yikes...but I think that's just for the older Linux crowd).

Ok, well that's about all I have to say on this at the moment. Gotta let it sink in. I think I'm fine with CBC having the rights (not that I can do anything anyways), as long as they step up and prove that they deserve it, instead of winning it just cause they're the incumbent and "Canada's Network", despite what the numbers say. Richard Stursburg is the newly minted head of CBC Sports, so hopefully he's watched a few other broadcasts in his day (he used to run the show over at TSN, so there's hope!). Let's see some more HD cameras and much much better production. Truth be told, I didn't want to pony up to the extra tiers from my cable company just to get TSN HD (your area may vary). I'd rather cancel the cable outright, and live off the 'tubes, which as of today, has become a lot more realistic.

No, the main victory from today is the streaming games. Looking forward to it...I wonder when it takes effect, probably not until 2008? I was hoping this week, the most exciting playoff race (in the Eastern Conference) in years! Go Leafs Go!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

TV Listings Web Site That Actually Doesn't Suck

While this may be old news to any of my fellow TV junkies out there, gotta spread the word...Allow me to introduce the hands-down best site for TV listings that I've ever come across, Snapstream's!

Just cruise over to their page, enter your postal code, choose your TV provider, (de)select any channels you want shown in the grid, and voila. Now you have a grid you can drag, with a little red line that moves as time passes, and you can click on any show you want and it actually gives you decent information (repeats, cast, etc). Much beyond what even my set top box shows.

Seems to only work in Firefox, but that's no shocker. Anyways, just share the happiness, for all of us who've long suffered the set top guide, or worse, the Channel 13 scroll listings...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

O Canada, We Sit and Wait for AppleTV...

Ok, I just read this interesting blog entry regarding the new AppleTV device, specifically the current lack of Canadian content for the thing.

So, I felt inclined to add my two cents...which grew into about $10 worth of analysis of the CRTC, Canadian Networks, the future of broadcasting, and of course, Canadian content (the quality, the lack, the marketing, etc). My comment is #7 on that page, but I'll post it here as well, just cause it took so long to write, but please check out the link above to get the whole context:

While there's nothing I like better than ripping into the CRTC (except maybe ripping into the CBC), I feel Canadian content creators/owners/distributors themselves are also to blame. They need to be ones pushing the CRTC (and maybe they're trying, who knows?) to be better and more competitive. Our system in this country just flat out does not work.

Take this evening for example. CBS is running Survivor tonight (Wednesday) instead of the regular Thursday slot, due to basketball or something. But wait a minute, Global runs Survivor on Thursdays...Bones and Prison Break are on Wednesdays...what's Global gonna do?! Survivor is no good a day later, due to co-worker induced spoilers, but if they bump their regular programming to match CBS tonight, then they'll lose viewers for tomorrow nights' regular shows, people who tune in tomorrow, expecting Survior, and those expecting a day-late Bones or House or whatever else Global bought up at the big conventions down south. Also, they likely won't have prepared any promos this past week telling people when to find their shows, since we don't seem to produce episode specific promos in Canada. Blah, makes my skin crawl.

If there was any thinking, internet-savvy people in higher up positions, then I'd be able to launch iTunes, browse to the CTV section of the Canadian iTunes Store, and buy, download and watch Degrassi, Corner Gas and Robson Arms (If I wanted to, just for example). Also, I could browse to the Movie section and choose from a wide variety of Canadian films, most of which people have never heard of, because people here also do not understand marketing. They think if they open a film on 25 screens across Canada, then that's a huge widespread success?! And most never even come out on DVD...rediculous! They spend their entire marketing budget on a few bus boards in downtown Toronto, useless.

Internet Baby! iTunes, and online distribution methods like it, are the way to go, it's painfully obvious. But I'll give credit where it's due, CTV does manage to stream (Windows Media...yuck) shows on their site, and I visit TSN Broadband every day during the hockey season (especially since I don't get TSN on my cable box, cause I'd HAVE TO subscribe to the analog tier in order to get the HD feed...the main reason I hate the CRTC).

Where was I...blinded by my own rage here. Oh yes, the CRTC. As luck would have it, they are up for a review this year, and I'm praying the Conservatives will blow them up but good. This is the only way to save Canadian content providers: not by propping them up with 'blood money' made from second-rate simulcasting of US shows and running the same Tim Horton's and Subway ad every single break, sometimes the same ad back to back. No, but to challenge them to find new avenues to get their content to the people who want it the most.

I also prefer to watch the US feed of 24. Global's feed removes not only the US HD ads, which I prefer over the Canadian low-def poorly lit slap-stick (even though I mostly fast forward everything anyways), but they also remove the pre-show promos voiced by Big Voice Guy, Don, they also shove their cheap looking 'Viewer Discretion' warnings into every commerical break. Bah, who needs it, I'll just watch it on the West Coast feed, which thankfully is not simulcrapsted.

But wait, if we Canadians watch all our favourite US shows on US networks, won't that kill Canadian advertising, which Canadian networks use to fund new Canadian shows? Well, no, I don't really think so. The fact is, a good show is a good show...I don't care where it comes from (My favourite show is the British "The Office", for example). Let's look at Corner Gas. They've been averaging 1.6 million viewers, making it one of the highest rated Canadian shows. You think people are watching it for the Subway ads?!!??! Nope.

Advertising during a TV show is an outdated model. It's also expensive, that's why so few do it well. I know I would jump at the chance to sell my show direct (via iTunes, or other online method) to my fans! That's the pool of opportunity Canadian content providers need to dive headfirst into. You think Avril Lavigne gives a damn if her songs are played on Canadian radio?! No, but I'll bet she's interested in seeing those iTunes sales numbers!!! Hence all the bonus content you're finding on iTunes music these music videos, alternate mixes, PDFs of lyrics and art, and concert tickets, etc.

Everything is a marketing opportunity, if people use their heads.

I think my point a minute ago was supposed to be, if Canadian broadcasters would quit spending all their money on licencing US content, and instead develop their own shows, we would start to see higher quality Canadian content, and more of it. People don't care where content comes from, they'll watch it if it's good and they like it. We're so protective in Canada, but at some point you have to just worry about playing your own game, not worry what the other team is doing...sorry, watching the Leafs trying to get into the playoffs these past weeks is wearing me down. ;)

The government already has the Canadian Television Fund, which all the cable companies pay into to fund home grown programming. But then when the show is made, they bury it against Hockey Night in Canada, instead of running them in decent timeslots against, dare I say it, American shows. America churns out the same percentage of crap as we do, don't worry. I say it's time to rise to the challenge. But bottom line, nothing will get watched if you don't market it...put out the pilot on iTunes (or the show's own web site), stuff like that.

Anyway, broadcasting may not be completely dead just yet (live sports for example), and ads will always be around. Either we buy the shows outright (TV on DVD, iTunes), or get them free, but with ads. I would love to see more Canadians take advantage of the freedom of the Internet. Cut out the middle man, in this case, the dinosaurs at the CRTC and cable companies, and sell direct to your audience.

The Apple TV will hopefully provide the missing link for many people to send digital content to their living room. I think it's pretty cool, although I have a lot content not in iTunes which may not play, and I already have my iMac hooked to my HDTV with a 20ft DVI cable anyways.

Thanks for your time, I didn't intend to write this much, but my blood just boils when I think of all the content we're "not allowed" to get in this country. And when I think of all the content we should be making on our own, but we're too worried about CSI and Law & Order. On the other hand, there's plenty of hockey to watch! Course, hockey has it's own regional ridiculousness, try being a Leafs fan outside of "Leafs Nation"...

Bottom line, Canadians should be all over iTunes...buyers and sellers alike. Here's hoping those screenshots from the new iTunes are indeed signs of things to come, sooner the better!

Also, I read an article earlier today about how all the best Canadian writers go South to write for US shows. Maybe if we produced more shows here, some of them might stay? We have plenty of talent, just look at our roster of world famous comic actors.

All this being said, I myself have not yet sent a letter to the CRTC, which is pretty lame of me, I just haven't made the time, but I will. Here's some decent contact info, looks like they have fancy new forms and everything:

Might I recommend the "Complaints and Inquiries" button? :) I'm gonna tell them I really don't approve of simulcasting...let me watch American shows the American way, and I'll watch Canadian shows the Canadian way, whatever that ends up being. I'm paying the Canadian cable company to get the US networks, I fail to see where it says I don't get to watch them in their entirety!

The CRTC site says your complaint will be responded to within 10 business days, so they do read them. I did send an email to TSN last week thanking them for TSN Broadband, but I also asked them why doesn't it work in Safari yet, etc. Somebody will read it, and that's enough to make it worth it. It feels better to get it off your chest.

One more thing, a good site for more information on all things Canadian Production-related:

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ah, streaming games...oh wait...

Now you too can sign up to beta test (for $4) LeafsTV's first streaming regular season game, Tuesday vs Washington. Excited? Yeah, so was I, until I looked closer. Don't get too excited, cause once again for the usual insane reasons, you have to LIVE IN THE MAPLE LEAFS REGION in order to stream the game....sigh.

The 'beta test' is limited to 5000 people anyway, but it would have been nice to at least have a shot at it. Well, maybe if the Oilers or Calgary ever stream games I can qualify for that, since they're in my 'region'. Course, with Ryan Smyth gone to the Island, there's not much point in watching the Oilers.

Nice try fellas, guess I'm saving $4 next week. Amazingly that's actually a decent price if the stream is high quality, compatible with Macs, etc. Looks like you can choose your own camera angles, etc...reminds me of the promises made back when the Information Superhighway was first being paved.

Ok, gotta go Google how to spoof my IP, make it look like I live on the corner of Bay St and the Gardiner Express Way...dunno why they don't want my money, I guess non-Leafs Region money is worth less once it gets to the GTA? Is there a provincial exchange rate I haven't been made aware of? Do I love the Leafs less than my regional-rivals?

In the future what would be cool is to go to, and there's a huge menu there of every game, regular season and playoffs, for every team. Pick your team, pick your game, add to cart, and boom, streaming Leafs delivered to your digital door. What'd be even cooler is if they use Quicktime...Windows Media and the NHL need to get a divorce, but I feel like I've harped on that before.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Does Jim Lang Really Love NASCAR?

OK, so I was perusing my usually aggregation of headlines courtesy Google Reader, and when I got to Sportsnet's Jim Lang's blog, I couldn't help but notice it doesn't appear to be written by the Jim himself (see screenshot). Who the heck is Rob MacNeil, and why is he putting his name on Jim's entries?! Cause when you go to the actual blog, Rob's name isn't there.

I don't subscribe to the other Sportnet blogs, just the "Hockey Hearsay" feed, and that one appears to be written by "ryanjohnston". So maybe it's just the name of the guy posting it. Pretty weird though, I mean, why wouldn't they just put "Sportsnet" in the name field.

Anyway, just thought it was worth mentioning, but not worth spending more than 5 minutes on. Just kinda shattered my illusions for a minute there.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pretty Dead Things...

OK, here's the quick version, since Blogger has once again kindly reminded me to keep these things short and sweet...seems once I get rolling on an entry, the browser crashes. Guess we don't share the same sense of humour...? Actually, I'm gonna type this up in NeoOffice, which auto-saves every minute, then add the links later, let's see them try to stop me now!

I was in the process of telling the story about how my Maxtor One Touch II external 200GB drive died this weekend. I had been using it flawlessly for the past week at my work to provide some extra room for my projects. On Friday when I was done, I re-saved everything back to the internal drives so our server could back it up, and so I could bring my drive home.

However, once I got it home and plugged it in, the two blue LEDs on its face would just blink in unison. The drive still sounded like it was still spinning up, and a Google search suggested that the enclosure itself is probably dead, but most people pop the drive out into another enclosure with good success.

Fortunately, I already had such an enclosure. So I popped the Maxtor case open, removed the drive, and stuck it in the Ultra. Attaching it to my Mac in the usual fashion (via Firewire)...nothing. Ok, try the other FW port...nothing. Hmm. Try the USB port. Nope. The drive inside wasn't spinning up, similar to how it was in the Maxtor. But it wasn't my ports.

Yes, the Ultra enclosure turned out to have died also. Yes, extremely weird timing.

So, a quick perusal of the usual online hardware retailers (NCIX, FutureShop, Best Buy, Staples) and I found the AcomData 590 USB at Staples for $43. So far, it's working great. It's kind of a hassle to get the drive in there, the instructions are actually missing a couple steps (such as “screw the stand to the actual drive, don't just leave it hanging loose like sleeve of wizard”) but once it is, it ain't movin'! And it's fanless, which is required for me, I can't tolerate fan noise, hence the iMac.

Also, I picked up a Digital Research Technologies 500GB drive for $200 at Best Buy on Friday. Now my iMac has it's 500GB safely mirrored externally, and it can be booted from in case of emergency, thanks to SuperDuper, the ultimate drive mirroring software for not a lot of money.

So, I didn't lose any data, but it was quite a couple of days. Anyway, better post this before Blogger gets angry again. I was using FireFox, but that's two strikes, so I'm back to Safari. Safari integration is pretty sad though, it doesn't let you do any sort of formatting, check spelling, add pictues, or even links. Stupid. But it's free.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Marlies Losing Money

Just a quick one today. According to Richard Peddie, distinguished President of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, moving the AHL Marlies to Toronto from St. John's, isn't quite the money making scheme they hoped it would be. Basically they're just having a little trouble filling the arena, getting about half the crowds they expected.

And all this time I thought the point was to save on flights when calling up players to fill in for injured Maple Leafs...surely they've made up the difference this year alone!

And one more thing...Apple announced the iPhone yesterday. Here's a more fun link, all the fake mockups and speculated images people were putting together ahead of yesterday's keynote. See if you can pick out the real one...

There, I didn't want to be the only blog in the world to not mention it. Might be a while 'fore it shows up in Canada of course...but that's nothing new.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Jersey New Arena aka My Blog Ate My Homework

Ok, well, up until three minutes ago I had a witty little post written up about the Devil's new name for their new arena...alas (with help from Firefox via the Devil's web site and a Flash blocking plugin) decided to unceremoniously trash it. Guess I'll be hitting that "save as draft" button down there a little more often!

Anyway, "The Prudential Center" is the new name. I had looked up "prudence" on (since that's what sportswriters do when they're stuck for a hook) and found this:

1 : the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
2 : sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs
3 : skill and good judgment in the use of resources
4 : caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

Then I believe I said something about how numbers 2 and 3 actually fit the New Jersey Devils and their management very well. Blah blah blah Lou Lamoriello's magic wand had removed Malakhov and Mogilny's salaries from this year's books, thus tucking the team safely under the cap, with room to re-sign Scott Gomez, etc. Also fits the team's mastery of the defensive "trap" system, which fueled their way to three Stanley Cup championships in the '90's and '00's, and some of the most boring hockey you've ever seen.

And that's where it died on me.

Anyway, I don't think I even mind the corporate names so much (who else can pony up $100 million for a hockey rink?), maybe it's mostly just the last word in the name, in this case "center". Course they use that word cause it'll also house rock concerts, wrestling, bake sales and car washes, anything that more than one person will pay money to get into. I just miss the old days I guess, with Arenas, Forums and Gardens. But, whatever, it's not the name that matters, it's the caliber of hockey being played under it.