cyberbarf June, 2007 Vol. 6 No. 10


A quick examination from the Real World can give you a status update on your Net World.

In the past year, I bought only one Sunday newspaper. As a youth, the Sunday newspaper used to be a family event which adult and kids teared a part the thick stack for his or her favorite section. No longer.

In the past year, I bought only a few magazines. In college, the newspaper stands were filled with weekly and monthly publications you read like religion. No longer.

In the past year, I bought about a half dozen books at the book store. In college and until recently, I could easily read a text or novel on a weekly basis. In the slow descent of the times, it went down to maybe one a month. Now, about half of those are on the table unread.

It is not that the publications do not have interesting subject matter. Or that on the most part, the publications have gotten thinner while the price tag increased. It comes down to that pesky little thing called TIME. No, not the magazine, but the grinding linear concept of the 24 hour clock, 7 day work week.

It is the Down Time part of the equation which is squeezing the Past routines from the Present realities.

As an individual, you are your own gatekeeper of knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge is a primary goal in education and experience. The application of knowledge is the driving force eating away at your work day. It is the sum and substance of the stop watch arm whizzing through the day that one realizes that it is not slowing down but speeding up. There is less time to vegetate or relax.

So it usually falls to the quick and dirty game of hit-and-run information gathering. It is not as bad as watching sausage being made at a slaughterhouse. It is not only the quantity of the content available but the quality of the information that is at stake. Professional journalists are trained to report accurate, collaborated, truthful statements of fact. But internet conventions do not have the check and balances of a reporter-editor-publisher review of the content before it is published to the world. Book publishers used to have staffs of fact checkers to verify the claims of non-fiction writers. What is true and what is false is nebulous concept on the net because the culture has shifted toward rewarding opinion over factual reporting. The 24/7 cable news channel is fed easier with talk-like shows opining and speculating on the news headlines of the day. In tabloid rumor fashion, the blocks of time are filled with inane spouts of speculation, political gamesmanship and press release fodder.

The nation is being lulled into the gray area between truth and falsity. If someone believes a statement is true then it is true. It is not politically correct a person's misstatements. Such bias discourse has made people tune away from alleged news programs. News media web sites link with wire service stories are becoming a staple of short information gaps. But even news organizations are hyping their own blogs and columnists which contain opinion and speculation over the hard news that has been the foundation of the news business since Ben Franklin began cranking out revolutionary newsletters.







Inspired by the world being on the verge of the wide world of professional video gamers,

there will be the same kind of professional sports weird craziness, like prima donna players and strange pro agents.

And the with the term, Rapter, we defer to the Japanese anime spelling just to be difficult/different.







The Internet is changing how modern fan interact with their sports. Only a generation ago, one was born into a parent's or grandparent's passion for a local professional sports team. The stories from past great performances was passed down by an oral history and family outings to the ball park or stadium.

Bill James is credited with starting the statistical baseball industry. He used statistical formulas to explain the hidden facets of the game of baseball. To prove or disprove common held notions about the strategy of the game, managerial moves, and the debates on which player is “better.” As a result of the popularity of this style of analysis, stats-mania has grown into a career and business model. Every major portal and sports site has its own numbers crunching fantasy leagues covering the gambit of professional sports.

A fan's past team loyalty is divided by the stats league mania. Since stat teams are composed of many players from different teams, one naturally tends to root for their fantasy players to gain statistics (hits, runs, homers, act.) even if it is to the detriment of their hometown or favorite team. Can divided loyalties last? The leagues and owners must think that the fantasy play is a way to rope in the young, tech connected fan. It keeps them interested in reviewing box scores on a daily basis. It may help them with their math skills. It has to be considered a factor in stopping popularity slides. Major league baseball has stated that their overall attendance has risen consistently over the past few years. However, in the post-Michael Jordan era, the NBA is generally considered in decline in ratings and attendance.

Football is still King of American Sports. It has the advantage of a shorter schedule, a weekly schedule, and simple scoring to the casual fan. When the fall rolls around, the football fantasy leagues come to the forefront. The concept is hyped during some of the pregame shows as ex-jocks tout their favorite fantasy players for the day's games.

Unless you self-manage your fantasy league, the Internet portals group together strangers who rarely have any interpersonal interaction except for email trade proposals. The impersonal nature of the sports experience is growing. The experience of going to the ball park, taking in the sights and smells of the action, and the time between plays, is something a play by play box score can never recreate. Going to the ball game used to be a quaint family outing. However, with the pressures of work schedules and youth sports taking away more and more time from the nuclear family, the tradition of the Saturday or Sunday day at the park is fading away. It is ironic that participation sports are taking away from the traditional sports fare.

Sports has to be one of the most popular site subjects. When the World Cup was going on, international bloggers were posting pictures of their favorite countries players or ragging on the officiating. It was a universal reaction. That event is as close as the world pauses from their daily chores. American sports magnates must feel jealous by the attention (and serious dollars) spent on the World Cup. American sports leagues are always trying to find ways to export the American sports to Europe, Japan and China. It has been best a PR move; the real money as the International Olympic Committee knows is in American television contracts.











You can never tell what strange thing you will find on the Net. Example, a week before last season's controversial premiere of The Simpsons, I watched the preview episode in full on a French website. First, I thought I would never be able to see the episode before the television premiere. Second, on a French website? As fans recall, this was controversial because in the end, there was a strong image of the City of Springfield in total ruins with a space alien commenting that it looked like Iraq. Well, in the final US television showing, the final comment was edited out. Instead, the ruins were covered by a melody-filled happy song as a contrast. A feature which I recall used in other episodes (other last minute editing by the network censors?)

As the US presidential primaries gear up a year too early for most, every candidate prays that they will not become the next Howard Dean. He was the media darling candidate who imploded his campaign by hooting and hollerin' like a wacko after the Iowa caucuses. Now with cellphone cameras and YouTube style video sites, everything and anything a candidate says or does (including those private moments behind the stage curtain) could be seen by millions of potential voters in an instant. With modern technology, political guerilla warfare of creating political mash-ups as real events is sure to follow. In a sound bite orchestrated media campaign, the independent video Internet is sure to cause a few ulcers by the time the first primaries begin in 2008.

The music industry is grousing about their falling record sales. Sales of CDs from mainstream artists continue to frazzle. The concept of gold and platinum record awards (500,000 and million sales) are no longer touted by PR departments because they really don't exist anymore. While traditional record sales fall, legal downloads of music continue to grow. Even a techo-uncle can help his 7 year old niece download her first album from iTunes to her iPod on a Saturday afternoon. The record labels are concerned that they have lost distribution control over the music, which means loss of control over the artists themselves. That is why music moguls are setting their sites on existing publishing rights to music catalogs like the Beatles or Nirvana - - the money is on licensing old music to advertisers and movie studios.

Television producers are taking notice of fan discussion boards. In active show sites, fans bemoan bad plot twists. They have their own theories on how serial show plot lines should work out. It has been reported that this season, producers of 24 and Lost may have altered characters and story lines as a direct result of the negative reaction posted on fan discussion forums. What is next? Fans writing the shows (for free)? Probably not, but if television producers can tap into a free, real time focus group, they could tailor their shows to stop ratings slides.







Inspired by the souls being lost in the sink holes of cyberspace, comic commentary cyberbarf style.






Trying to get ahead of the next great Tech thing is like trying to herd a hundred cats. But a recent idea has begun to sprout up in discussion boards. The idea is that someone will soon try to create a video podcast network. A traditional television network is an affiliation of local stations that distribute programs in 24 hour cycles. The network traditionally manages the acquisition, funding and commercial selling of the prime content shown on the stations. The podcast network idea is to funnel creative video podcasts into one location.

Small screen from the mainstream? The lure of small independent content providers collaborating to find an audience is part of the new buzz of community webbing. The small independent web producer is up against the large, institutionalized television finance and utilitarian distribution system that has habitually hooked viewers for decades. A single person does not have the time or resources to produce interesting content to fill a 24 hour 7 day week schedule. Even conglomerate television networks can't fill that much time. Most stations rely upon re-runs of old shows and movies to fill in the limited schedule of new prime time fare.

Another issue is that video is a pig on bandwidth. A true podcast network would have to have huge resources to upload, manage and distribute show content on demand. YouTube may have the template for managing content, but it does not have an organization structure to manage a coherent network of programs. Current television networks like ABC show repeats of their popular shows on their premium websites, or sells them on the iTunes store. But this is not a huge success. The market is buying big plasma screen televisions to watch those programs in HD. There is no crusade to shrink the programs onto a computer window or microsize them onto an video iPod.

If the Internet video podcast idea comes to bear, it will be more modeled like the old Ma & Pa Video Rental store, pre-Blockbuster. It will be a small video portal, most likely focused in on a single theme or locality. The most likely candidate for such a launch would be a podnet devoted to technology, computers and gadgets.







The Sultanate of Clintonia-Rogstaden

The global on-line gaming experience has quietly exploded into a a bandwidth python of multi-hour, multi-kingdom game spheres. Whether it is the team combat arena, or the total simulated fantasy genre, more and more men and women are using their free time to escape to a virtual world. As a result of our tech guru's prodding suggestion, cyberbarf.com has created Sultanate of Clintonia-Rogstaden. Readers will have a running update of the status of this virtual country; get the backstories outside the game's program. For example, check out the images of the national currency. There will be inside jokes, satire, humor and pulse of a real bizarre country. New features will be added on a regular basis. So check out the cyber-soap opera of nation building here at cyberbarf.com.

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