You Call That A Hard Foul?
• The 2008 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics kicked off June 5 in Boston, and we were on-hand for a behind-the-scenes look at Game 1 of the best-of-seven series and the technology that keeps it all running smoothly. The NBA's scoring and timing system, for example, gives referees complete control over the game clock—eliminating errors and inefficiencies using a microphone in the ref's belt pack that's tuned to the frequency of his whistle. Elsewhere, Cisco networking gear and Lenovo X50 Tablet PCs ensure in-game data gets to the right places—the PCs have touch-screen capabilities to minimize scoring errors and also feed information to the Jumbotron over midcourt. With such a clockwork operation, we wonder if they automate actor and Lakers fanatic Jack Nicholson's hands-over-throat pantomime, too. Head to channelweb.com for a rundown of how all the magic happens.
Real Oldies But Goodies
• Imagine that steam-powered computational engines had been built way back in the 1840s, bringing modern processing power online in the Victorian era. Or that the automoblies, airships and submarines conjured up by Jules Verne had ushered in high-tech adventures a full century before such things were possible. The subcultural movement known as "Steampunk" is based upon musings like these, and the movement is gaining converts by the day. Contemporary computers custom-modified to look like artifacts from an age when form was at least as important as function are garnering a lot of attention. Jake Von Slatt takes Steampunk's neo-Victorian clockwork aesthetic to create his "Victorian-All-in-One PC," pictured. Go online to check out more examples.
Seen And Heard
• It's all about teamwork. Sports teams succeed when each player puts the team ahead of individual stats. Businesses succeed when each employee works toward a common goal. Where better to see the value of teamwork in action than at Everything Channel's VARBusiness 500 event? Everything Channel, vendors and VARs gathered in New York City's Gotham Hall earlier this month to celebrate the companies that earned a spot in the ranking. We also honored 16 outstanding solution providers.
To drive home "there's no 'i' in team," up to the podium stepped our keynote speaker, Rick Pitino—head basketball coach of the University of Louisville and former head coach of the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Kentucky, Providence and Boston University college teams. Pitino spoke of building self-esteem and recalled his days with the Celtics, when he brought in Hall of Famer Bill Russell to address the players during a down time. Russell, he said, told the players, "I'm the most egotistical guy you'll ever find, but my ego's different. My ego is team ego. That's why I've won 11 championships."
But, holy cow, there's one other great team we can't go without mentioning: Batman and Robin. Accepting the crime-fighting-duo award was Batman himself, who had a rousing good time being back at Gotham Hall. The man behind the mask? If you weren't there, go to channelweb.com to find out.