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In The News 08-03-2012

In The News 08-03-2012 – Gold Medal Edition
Your Weekly Update In The World Of (Olympics) Technology

London 2012

Once every four years countries worldwide align in the summer to decide who’s the best at table tennis, synchronized swimming, and bouncing on a trampoline (and I guess some other sports too).  If Dick Vitale were part of the broadcast crew, he’d say “It’s the OLYMPICS, baby!”  It’s also no secret that with our ever-advancing technological world, the Olympics are keeping up to date with their own use of technology.  So let’s take a look at this week’s news in technology from an Olympic point of view…

Wi-Fi Police

Say Hello To The Wi-Fi Police

 One rule that London set in place for the 2012 Olympics was the complete ban on 3G Wi-FI hotspots at all Olympic venues.  The Wi-Fi hotspots use 3G networks to create a Wi-Fi signal for other devices.  Unfortunately this can cause a serious problem at the venues due to interference.  The technology at the events, such as timing devices and cameras, often rely on wireless signals to transmit their data.   The Wi-Fi hotspots can get in the way of those signals.

London is taking the rule seriously too.  Of course there are people that don’t listen, so London brought in these guys (see image above).  They carry a device around that sniffs out those hotspots and shuts them down.   The device is a directional antenna that traces interference sources.  The fact that’s a super large red arrow is even better.  “You there… yes you, I’m pointing at you with my comically large arrow… no Wi-Fi for you!”

Twitter Gold

Twitter Gets Gold For Being A Serious Pain In London’s Neck

Before the Olympics even started, many people were calling 2012 to be the Olympics of Twitter.  The social networking site was going to be filled to capacity with tweets that were Olympic in nature.  We’d share results, excitement, and more… but it turned out to be more than the games organizers were ready for.

First, the criticisms.  NBC, the network that holds the rights for broadcasting the Olympics, have been met with with fierce criticism over the times they’re showing events (tape delaying medal events for prime time) and even over their announcers.  In fact, Twitter even shut down a critic’s account due to violating the site’s terms (he was later reinstated).  The hashtag #NBCFail is constantly trending on Twitter.

Then athletes took to Twitter to vent their frustrations, and in some unfortunate moments threw out racist comments.  A Greek athlete has already been kicked out of the games due to their comments.

Then London stepped in and essentially said to stop using Twitter unless it was ‘urgent.’  They stated that the large amount of tweets going out, which also include GPS geo-locations, was interfering with the GPS communications systems during one of the cycling road race events.

One thing is for sure, however.  People haven’t stopped using Twitter, and the Olympics are not even half over yet.