By no means breaking news, but Google’s foray into the mobile platform is as exciting as opening a pack of potato chips and finding out there are more than 6 chips inside (okay, more exciting than that).
Android has the backing of a gigantic brand name that has the potential of bringing solidarity to the industry that even Windows Mobile, Symbian and Blackberry couldn’t achieve. Add to that that the carrot that Google has devised – a 10 million bucks developer challenge to develop exciting new applications for Android.
This is level opportunity for anyone with brilliant ideas to step forward and stake a claim in the mobile arena. That’s what I really love about the Internet, those who can see the opportunities can seize them and make of them what they will, regardless of where in the world they might be.
So, an opportunity to develop for Android, and to win large doughs of cash. I have ideas, but do not have the primary resource for the endeavor, the most precious commodity of them all: time. I’m eager to learn up the platform, and I think it’s an extremely interesting opportunity. This is akin to the new beginnings of the Web, where people can build the anything remotely useful (and doesn’t suck), and pretty much gain a huge chunk of the market share simply by virtue of being the first.
Microsoft has an exciting development environment and platform in Windows Mobile. But Microsoft doesn’t have the same sort of clout (for the lack of a better word) to generate the same excitement that Google can. The notion that Google can do no wrong and their tendency to open up previously closed platforms makes Android look like a double-layered chocolate moist cake with caramel top – extremely tempting.
Personally, even evaluating the platform against other mobile platforms would be educational – sometimes even ten millions dollars cannot guarantee mass migration of developers from established players.
So I’m excited, and although my chances of winning the $10M is as remote as Michael Jackson turning black again, I think the journey would be interesting. Do you think a calculator with coloured keys be a $10M-winning candidate?


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We need a nicely produced, daily updated website that focuses primarily on badminton content. Something that has BBC Sports (or whatever online sports daily you prefer)-like quality that immediately exudes an air of quality, timeliness, accuracy and opinions that you can rely on and trust.
It’s so difficult to get a nice roundup of badminton tournament updates. We can get live scores, tournament match-up and draws, results, but they are lifeless stats. There is a very vibrant forum community in Badminton Central, but while it is informative and (generally) friendly, it’s not the proper place to get results, and match analysis. It’s also prone to partisan support from member majority (typically vocal Malaysians, I understand).
There are no other dedicated websites of note. Badzine.info is updated, but doesn’t have a lot of news content. I suspect the Chinese daily has a lot of info, but those of us who don’t read Chinese is screwed. Google Translate makes the badminton stories featured in the dailies make me laugh so hard!
So, we don’t have BBC Sports-like coverage of badminton. Anyone want to band together to create a badminton web-zine/blog style content that aims to consolidate all this information in a single, easy-to-use site, with a focus on a country-neutral, English language content for the world’s consumption? A group of opinionated, and passionate fans with a strong command of English, preferably experienced players at national/international levels, ought to do it as we start out.


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Sports commentators, in my opinion, occupy a very important position in the hierarchy of the full sports broadcasting spectrum. At one end of the spectrum are the sporting personality themselves, the athletes we plonk ourselves in front of our TV sets to watch. At the other end are the viewers, who do not have the luxury of time or place to be at the scene of the action. So sports commentators bridge this gap.
Normally the commentators simply vocalize the action we are seeing on the TV. The better ones backfill the viewers with information pertinent to the matches being run at the time of the broadcast. The elite few make the whole proceeding interesting by peppering commentary with interesting anecdotes of incidences that occurred on the floor outside of the cameras, and providing insight that maybe even the live audience members do not know.
So I was watching the Hongkong Open 2007 Badminton Super Series event (the website is crap, btw) for the first time since the tournament started, and had the pleasure of two gentlemen (native English speakers, I gather, and I didn’t really concentrate so I couldn’t place their accent. One of them may be Danish – I’ll explain why later) for live commentary. I don’t know their names and, since they never bothered to really introduce themselves semi-regularly for the duration, I didn’t care.
What I did care, though, was the quality of the commentary. From the onset it was clear these two were no Gillian Clark (the best badminton commentator, period). Before every match, when the players are moving onto the court and warming up, there was no witty repartee, no background on previous matches played (today was the semis), no nothing. Fine, I thought. I don’t need idle banter if prematch analysis isn’t available.
The real surprise was during the Lee Chong Wei and Kenneth Jonassen match. One of the chaps, who clearly didn’t come prepared, repeatedly called Chong Wei ‘Chong Chee Wei.’
“What makes Chong Chee Wei so deadly is the speed of his play.”
“Great point for Chong Chee Wei.”
“Chong Chee Wei is so handsome.” (No, I made that one up).
The point was, it was such an outward display of disrespect to the player on the court, and a disservice to all the viewers everywhere. If you’re going to be a commentator, and representing the action on court, you have the responsibility to know your stuff. You’re not a native Malaysian? Then spend the time to learn up the names at least! If you couldn’t pronounce the names accurately to the perfect pitch required that’s okay, but to mangle a name like that really shows how poor some commentators could be.
Hell, I’m neither a native English speaker nor a commentator, but I take the time to learn up the nuances of pronouncing names of Western players. Why shouldn’t you, as a commentator, take the trouble?
The irony is, they took the time to talk about how to pronounce Jonassen’s name! One of them (the one I presumed to be Danish, as the other commentator specifically asked this one how to pronounce Kenneth’s name) did clear up a long standing question on whether it was Peter-Gayd or Peter Ga-der (it’s Ga-der), and noted that the Danes do not pronounce the ‘h’ in Kenneth (therefore it’s Ken-net).
How conscientious of them.
See, the difference is, these commentators are *there* at the scene of the action. As journalists, they have access to the players, coaches, other members of the media. Why couldn’t they get a list of matches they will be commentating, walk up to the respective teams’ camps, talk to them and ask them to pronounce the names they couldn’t? Learn up phonetics notation (the ones you see in dictionaries), and make the effort! Gillian Clark is English, and never too proud to put in the effort to learn up the names – even the tough Chinese ones that give even me the creeps. That’s professionalism, boys.
If ever I become a sports commentator (that is to say, when I dream tonight), I vow to pronounce any name properly, and will not have any smartass blogger complain about my pronunciation in some silly blog somewhere.


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