Changing the PAT

Both Deadspin and Peter King had pieces discussing possible changes to the nearly automatic PATs in the NFL. It seems like one possibility involves moving the PAT kick back to the 15 yard line, effectively making it a 32 yard field goal. According to the Deadspin article this drops the predicted success rate from 99.6% to around 90%. If an average teams scores about 40 touchdowns a year that would mean about 4 missed extra points. That might be enough to swing the outcome of a one game per team per year. Is that enough?

The more drastic changes would either be to do away with the extra point completely, or make more radical changes that could significantly increase the impact of the play. An example of a radical change would be some sort of variable point system based on the distance and the way the conversion is attempted. Kicking from the 10 yard line might be worth one point, while kicking from the 30 yard line might be worth 3. Running a regular play from the 5 might be worth 2 points while a regular play from 15 might be worth 5. This would all sorts of new strategy to the game, but probably would upset “purists” a bit too much.

Moving the spot for kicking back, which is what is actually being thrown around, might increase the number of two point attempts, but probably not by a significant margin.

It also might just make sense to eliminate the point after try all together. At a 99.6% success rate, and again assuming that the average team scores around 40 touchdowns a year, that only equates to around 5–6 missed extra points per season, or about one per about every 50 games. The odds of a missed extra point actually factoring in to the outcome of a game at this point is so minuscule. In the name of “player safety” it would certainly make sense to eliminate the extra 6 or so times a game players are awkwardly trying to block a kick. It seems unlikely that most fans would miss this at all.

It is very clear that something has to change. Either eliminate something that adds no value, or make it valuable by increasing the reward and difficulty.

The Challenge: Battle of the Exes 2 Recap

[SPOILER ALERT: The following discusses details, including the winner, of Battle of the Exes 2]

Another season of MTV’s The Challengeis in the books. It was my third time watching it unfold in real-time (I have watched many past seasons online), and it was tremendous. One of the best seasons of The Challenge in a long time. Great battles, good contestants and two very deserving winners.

One of the twists of the new season was that contestants from MTV’s Are You the One? were included. With rumors swirling that Real World won’t be back after 30 seasons, it seems like this preemptive move to tie another show to The Challenge makes a lot of sense. And despite everyone’s fears going in, it worked out pretty well. John and Simone were non-factors, but Adam and Brittany won a bunch of elimination rounds and both had the personalities to fit in. Adam is a pretty beastly competitor and if he comes back has a chance to be a future star. Brittany is feisty and fun and it seems very likely she will be back as well.

Meanwhile Real World: Ex-Plosion cast members Jay and Jenna not only made it to a final as rookie, but did it without ever seeing an elimination round. That was huge for them because it seems unlikely that they ever would have won a dome, and had to give up in the final on a checkpoint that didn’t even require physical activity. Very embarassing, but they will be back after making it that far. No way they last that long again.

Leroy has always had the physical tools to be a serious threat but refuses to play the politics game. That coupled with some bad luck over the years has prevented him from making it to the end and winning. He came up short here, but he was an absolute beast throughout this show. He and Jordan have setup a possibly legendary battle over the next couple of seasons.

Speaking of Jordan, he got his first win, and Sarah finally got hers after coming up short and suffering from horrible luck over the years. Sarah had partners leave the show twice and be forced to give up. This win was definitely a long time coming and after the Diem and Knight tragedies it was exactly what the show needed to put a positive cap on the end. It will be interesting to see if this was her last Challenge. She is married (to a very successful man it sounds like) and probably thinking about starting a family soon. And now that she has this elusive win she might decide that is enough. Jordan, like Leroy, was an absolute beast throughout this season. He looked like he was barely exerting himself in the final and was also a lot more likeable than in past seasons. He really looks like potentially the “guy to beat” for a while.

Johnny Bananas is great, but his complaining about Sarah putting them into the final elimination is bogus. I have never been on this show, so I don’t claim to know how things really work behind the scenes, but from the outside looking in this is a game, with a lot of money at stake. People should be (and are) trying to win at all costs. Keeping Jay and Jenna around proved to be an absolutely genius move.

Nia getting kicked off was sad, but she was slowing going off the rails all season. She is going to be back because they love to have at least one unpredictable loose cannon back. She was very disappointing as a competitor, especially since she talks so much game. She flat out gave up on one of the last challenges, claiming she was “too tall”. Zach was another disappointment. After crapping out in the final of Free Agents and then failing to win a crucial elimination against Jordan. It’s clear he is nearly unbeatable at anything where size is the main factor, but we may have overestimated him. Johnny Reilly looks like a guy just on the outside of the Leroy/Jordan “tier”. He will be fun to watch going forward. His partner Averey looked sharp and very likely will be back for more.

Speaking of which, here is my best guest for likelihood of returning on future challenges:

Definitely Back

  • Bananas
  • Jordan
  • Leroy
  • Reilly
  • Zach
  • Jay
  • Adam
  • Nia
  • Theresa
  • Jenna
  • Jonna
  • Nany
  • Brittany

Maybe Back

  • Wes1
  • Tom
  • Dustin
  • Sarah
  • Averey
  • Jemmye
  • Hailey
  • Jessica

Probably Not Back

  • CT
  • JJ
  • Simone
  1. With all his companies you never know []

Late Game Fouling in Basketball

The NCAA tournament starts today, which makes it as good of a time as any to discuss the awfulness of late-game fouling. This farce goes on in basketball all the time, both college and pro, but becomes much more in the “do or die” environment of the NCAA tournament. The end of any close game becomes a series of intentional fouls and a parade of free throw attempts. Not only is this boring and unbearable to watch, but it takes the game away from what it should be. It’s the equivalent of shootouts in soccer and hockey, and doesn’t always reward the team who played better for the first 38 to 39 minutes of the game. There has to be a better way.

These fouls at the end of games a intentional. In most cases they are clearly intentional. At any other point during the game these types of fouls could be called as intentional/clear-path/flagrant fouls. But for whatever reason in the last two minutes of the game this goes out the window and the intentional nature of the fouls is not taken into account. Wrapping a guy up or slapping him on the back as he runs by seems like it would be easy to rule as an intentional foul. These fouls should not only include foul shots but possession of the ball as well. This does not seem like a long term solution though, as many teams would just get better at making the fouls seem less obvious. But that would take time, and would not always work.

The better alternative is probably to change the penalty (bonus) structure of fouls. In the NBA, after the 5th foul in the quarter, or second foul in the last two minutes of the half two free throw shots are rewarded. This is considered being in “penalty”. In college basketball this occurs at seven team fouls in the half, after which point the team being fouled is awarded one foul shot. If they make it, they get a second. After 10 team fouls in a half, the team being fouled is then awarded two free throws regardless of whether they make or miss the first one. College basketball does not speed up this process in the final two minutes the way the NBA does. In order words, if a team only has committed four fouls prior to the final two minutes they must commit three more before the other team shoots free throws.

There are a lot of different ways things could go here. The ultimate goal however would be to discourage excessive intentional fouling in the last couple of minutes. Bill Simmons has suggested simply modifying the rule so that in the final two minutes of a half a team can chose to either take the free throw shots or retain possession of the ball. This is an interesting idea but it seems unlikely that most teams would do that. Too many things can go wrong on the inbound pass. There might be occasions where the person fouled is such a bad free throw shooter that it makes sense to take the ball instead, but it doesn’t seem like it would happen too often.

A better idea would be to give the team free throw shots and the ball after a certain point. In college it could be adding a third level of penalty (the triple bonus) that kicks in at 12 or 13 total fouls or at two or three fouls in the last two minutes. This would force teams to play different way and not resort to just hack-a-thons to try and make a comeback. Might it take away a few miracle comebacks here and there? Probably. But the game would be better for it overall.

Remember that there was a time when the shot clock didn’t exist. Teams would get way ahead and then just play “four corners” and pass the ball around for minutes killing time. This was not only boring but took away from the spirit of the game. No one can imagine what the game would be like before then who didn’t see it then. A “strategy” for a winning team was to just pass it around forever. So while there would be an adjustment period to any sort of change like this, over the long term it would be best for the quality of the game. Regardless what the change is, it has to make things better than they currently are.

Nintendo is Going to Make iOS Games

Sam Byford of The Verge with the news that Nintendo is making smartphone games:

Nintendo has long resisted the call of mobile gaming, but today it entered the space in a big way. The company has announced that it will team up with DeNA, a major Japanese mobile gaming company, to make smartphone games featuring Nintendo characters. The two companies “intend to jointly operate new gaming applications featuring Nintendo IP, which they will develop specifically for smart devices,” according to a Nintendo statement.

I have touched on this topic twice before. It is about damn time. Nintendo hasn’t been the #1 home console since Nintendo 64, which was released in 1996. The GameCube had fans, and Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong and Smash Bros. have always attracted dedicated fans. But outside of a blip with the original Wii, Nintendo is falling behind. Their mobile gaming devices remain very popular, but that market is getting more and more saturated by tablets and phones. It is smart for Nintendo to start making mobile games before they literally have no choice and it is a last ditch effort.

It sounds like the games could be exclusive to mobile devices though, which is a bit sad. Are these just going to be tablet-specific games that feature Mario? Nintendo would be stupid not to start porting the crap out of every old game they could. If they can figure out a decent control scheme, or find a way to make controllers, there is a lot of money to be made. If Nintendo starting selling the back Mario catalog in iOS for $2 a pop they would probably do quite well for what presumably would not be a terribly costly endeavor1.

Either way this is definitely cool. And could get me more into iOS games, and back into Nintendo games.

  1. Seeing how many emulators exist, Nintendo surely could whip something together in iOS quite easily []

Homeland Keeps Screwing Up

[SPOILER ALERT: If you are not caught up on Homeland and/or you don’t want the slightest hint of what me coming in season five do not read on]

Showtimes drama Homeland is one of the more polarizing shows on TV. It has one of the best first seasons ever, and if it had been an anthology type series where season 1 was it’s own separate thing it would have been remembered as the best 10 hour spy movie ever. Unfortunately everything was ruined by seasons 2 and 3. Season 4 was a nice rebound eventually (the first few episodes sucked) before the finale just crapped out. Apparently the creators didn’t agree.

Dan Fienberg of Hitfix talked with Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa:

“It really did not feel risky to me at all,” he insisted, saying that the show had finished its action arc and merely doing action-for-action’s-sake would have been “pandering.”

As Gansa puts it, “If you want to watch a story about an escape from a Middle Eastern country, go watch ‘Argo.’”

Wait, what? Pandering? PANDERING!? The second to last episode had a gigantic reveal/twist. It would be one thing to have this be the finale, but to then go and basically pretend like it didn’t happen was downright crazy. It would literally be the equivalent of making a baseball show, and having the second to last episode end with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th of the World Series and the home team down by a couple and the show end as the pitcher winds up then coming back in the season finale and not even mentioning how the game ended.

Gansa’s second statement is everything wrong with this show. Everyone wants this to be Argo. And the previous five episodes were exactly that. Then there is a big twist involving the main villain and the show’s creator literally tells people who wanted to see what happened next to f-off.

But at least when the new seasons starts we will finally get to see the aftermath, right?

Cynthia Littleton of Variety had these tidbits with a recent Q&A with Gansa:

The time frame of the show will jump ahead two and a half years from where it left off at the close of season four in December. “Homeland” will shoot in Europe later this year, probably Germany, after lensing last year in Cape Town, South Africa, which subbed for Pakistan.

Most intriguing, Gansa said, Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison “will no longer be an intelligence officer,” he said.

C’mon. This is a joke right? No one would really say/do these things. Two and a half years. Why now? Why not before this previous season? Carrie re-establishes herself as a CIA agent and now that is all going away. And what is she now, a yoga instructor? I don’t know anyone that watches this show for Carrie’s personal/romantic life. Everyone watches this show for the spy stuff. The character they were chasing all of season four leaves under the protection of a long tenured CIA agent and it’s just going to be forgotten?

There are a lot of bad shows that waste talent and a good situation/topic, but none had the amazing first season this show did. This show is like the Brian Bosworth of television. So much wasted potential.

The Apple Event Shook Things Up

Apple’s event on Monday no doubt shook things up across several landscapes. There are some who think ResearchKit could be the biggest impact on society, but that will take time and it’s surely not as fun to talk about. The other things are though.

HBO Now

The rumors were true and HBO can now be had (with an Apple TV) for just $15/month without any sort of cable/satellite subscription. This is the dagger equivalent to what iTunes did to the music industry as we knew it. When this exclusive deal with Apple ends, and the floodgates open, things are going to get crazy. It will be very interesting to see Comcast/DirecTV subscriber numbers a year from now. The longterm impact of this really should be the end of subscription TV in it’s current form. It will also likely mean that a lot of channels will go away. There are too many niche channels that won’t be able to survive on their own. It will be interesting to see if this forces cable companies to produce a more a la carte model as a response. That might hold off their demise for a while. Apple also dropped the Apple TV to jut $69. They are going to sell a lot of those this quarter.

Apple Watch

It seems weird that watches are (potentially) about to make a huge comeback. As a 31-year-old I know very few people who wear a watch. They have definitely become much more of a fashion statement than a utility. In fact I literally know someone who wore a non-functioning watch for years because it looked good even though it served no purpose as a time keeping device. The argument for the uselessness of the Apple Watch seems to be something along these lines: “I take my phone out of my pocket to check text messages or other stuff so often, and then I get distracted by my phone. If I could see what the message/notification is without taking it out of my pocket this wouldn’t happen as much.” I guess that makes sense.

I like the concept in general but just don’t find wearing things on my wrist very comfortable. I purposely go with fitness trackers that don’t have to be worn on the wrist for this exact reason. But something that has many functions at least makes more sense. And there are circumstances where it seems like it would be super useful. Perhaps in the future it will make a lot more sense, but in the meantime I am just not interested.

MacBook

The new MacBooks have caused a stir amongst the nerds of the world because it has just one port on it, a USB-C port. This port is used for charging as well as (with a separately purchased adapter) peripherals. There are many people who think that no laptop can thrive with just one port, but this is not meant as a replacement for the MacBook Pro, but instead seems to be the mythical “iPad Pro” people have anticipated coming at some point. It is super thin, and having only one port makes that easier. And the truth is that the average person probably doesn’t plug anything but power into their laptop mot of the time. Those that use a mouse probably use Bluetooth. Most people are moving toward backing up or storing things in the cloud rather than on USB powered external hard drives. Except for people using their Mac for work, people are not plugging them in to external displays.

The argument for why this “won’t work” is the same thing as the physical keyboard/replaceable battery argument that said the iPhone would fail. But at the end of the day this computer is going to appeal greatly to a large audience, and it’s just the vocal heavy/professional users who won’t be able to make it work. So many “regular” people are moving towards just using iPhones/iPads as 99% of their computing. This new MacBook is much closer to that, and can be that bridge for people who want to be closer to an iPad-only world but can’t commit all the way.

Summary

The Apple TV is going to sell a lot in the next 6 months. HBO Now is going to be a huge success and change subscription TV in a big way. The Apple Watch will be successful and could change the product category the way that the iPhone and iPad did even though they weren’t first. The new MacBook will take time to catch on but will end up being the new normal. And all of this means Apple is going to make a ton more money.

Question For the Cutler Haters

NFL Free Agency is in full swing. It seems like a good time to talk to the Jay Cutler Hater Association. So much blame is placed at the feet of Jay Cutler. Some of it is justified, other parts of it are not. But the better question is, how could the Chicago Bears do better?

Jay Cutler ranked 21st out of 30 in ESPN’s QBR. There was only one QB ahead of Cutler who was a free agent this year, 15th ranked Mark Sanchez. 24th ranked Brian Hoyer, 27th ranked Austin Davis and 28th ranked Josh McCown were/are also available. Consult some free agent rankings and names like Jake Locker (who retired!), Matt Moore and Ryan Mallet might bubble up. CBS’ free agent rankings don’t have a QB before #83 (Jake Locker) and only two others in the top 100 (#85 Mark Sanchez and #88 Brian Hoyer). Shaun Hill took 569 snaps last season, he is out there. So are Michael Vick and Colt McCoy.

How many truly “elite” QBs are there in the NFL? Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo when he is healthy, and the aging quartet of Manning, Brady, Brees and Roethlisberger, maybe. Guys like Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Phillip Rivers are surely better than Cutler, but all three are with their original team and none of those teams are trading them for anything short of a buttload of draft picks. While on that note, the Washington Professional Football Team is currently seeing what life is like after mortgaging draft picks for an unproven QB. Ironically he is one of the guys that could probably be had for a draft pick. Russell Wilson might be on his way to being elite, and joins Ryan Tannehill and Cam Newton as young QBs no team is giving up on yet. Colin Kaepernick already got his extension, which he will either earn or not be worth, so he won’t be available anytime soon unless he stinks. Ditto Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford.

Maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick is available. Kyle Orton retired. Eli, Big Ben and Rivers will all be free agents after this season, but it’s hard to see any of those teams letting any of those franchise QBs walk away if they are still productive if for no other reason than good QBs are so hard to come by. Sam Bradford will be a free agent next summer, but if he is good enough the Eagles will probably keep him.

The kinds of guys who hit free agency and change teams are not the kind of QBs that Bears fans would want. With the exception of Peyton Manning in 2012 here is a breakdown of QBs who switched teams via free agency lately. In 2011 examples are Tyler Thigpen, Matt Moore, Bruce Gradkowski. In 2012 some of them are Matt Flynn, Kyle Orton, Chad Henne and Jason Campbell. In 2013 it was Chase Daniel, Drew Stanton, Matt Hasselbeck, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kolb, Brian Hoyer (and some of the guys from previous seasons). Last season it was the same guys again: Orton, Fitzpatrick, Campbell and guys like Charlie Whitehurst, Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez and Derek Anderson.

Some might point to Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer and Mark Sanchez. Stanton might fight for a starting job this year, but he will be 31, in his 8th season and has 12 career starts to date. Hoyer will be 30 before Halloween, in his 7th season and has just 17 starts to his name so far. Sanchez won’t be 29 until November and has 70 starts under his belt through 6 seasons, but he has already re-signed with the Eagles so it doesn’t matter.

So who do Bears fans want? Even if the Bears fans use a draft pick on a QB, it seems like a two QB draft. Sure they can dream Marcus Mariota is there at 7, but he won’t be. Worst case for him is that someone trades up to take him. There probably isn’t another QB worth taking in the 1st round. This is the problem with the QB position in the NFL, it might be the toughest commodity in all of the major American sports. A team has to luck into someone in the draft, mostly by having the right pick in the right draft.

So who do Bears fans want?

Pygmy Reviews #51 – TV

The Newsroom – Season 3 (HBO)

Aaron Sorkin seems destined to be remembered as the guy who wrote a few great movies, made one successful TV show and a bunch of others that just didn’t work. Sports Night was before it’s time. Studio 60 went against 30 Rock and was just poorly executed. The Newsroom was just Sorkin officially deciding to do things his own way damn the consequences, and it didn’t work. The third season was an OK sendoff. It didn’t try to get too crazy with the ending, and didn’t try to send people off in every direction for a “clean” finish. It felt a lot like the show it had been the previous two seasons, which was a mix of good and bad.

The Newsroom suffers from the longtime TV show conudrum of feeling like it has to have a romantic element. It is one thing for a show like You’re the Worst to have this, but it seems like so many other shows feel an obligation when often times it just does not fit. Maybe that is still what people want, but the Mackenzie/Will relationship was always one of the things that brought this show down. Sorkin TV shows, with their witty, quick-thinking dialog, have always been well put together, but sometimes the story choices just drag it down. The Harriet/Matt subplot on Studio 60 was always one of the more uninteresting aspects of that show. And in The Newsroom the romantic storylines (of which there are several) just took away from the better parts of the show.

Overall season 3 was a nice sendoff to a show that had a few really great moments (like the bin Laden episode), but mostly mediocre moments. Treme (which by the way I loved) lasted 13 episodes longer than The Newsroom. That is probably all most people need to know when figuring out where this show lands in the minds of some.

Halt and Catch Fire – Season 1 (AMC)

AMC’s status as the new TV drama “darling” after Breaking Bad and Mad Men has been fading into oblivion. Although The Walking Dead is a massive hit they miss more often than not these days (see: The Killing, Rubicon, Low Winter Sun, Hell on Wheels). One of their most recent attempts is about the personal computer revolution taking off in the early 1980s. Although it aired over the summer I just got around to finishing it last month. There is no doubt that the only thing that kept me hanging out was the subject matter, which is near and dear to my heart. This show was more than once been accused of creating a Don Draper clone, complete with a shady/unknown backstory. That coupled with (again!) a forced romantic component makes it a tough pill to swallow.

One thing the show seems to do well is treat the women in it as intelligent contributors instead of just people to get pushed aside by the men who “know more”. The supporting cast is certainly OK, but Joe is so much a Draper clone that it borders on copyright infringement at times. Shows try so hard to copy the “anti-hero” trend these days that sometimes it just takes away from an otherwise unique opportunity to tackle a subject matter that hasn’t been attempted all that much. Now that everyone has a computer and smartphone, this kind of topic is probably more widely appealing than it once was. Unfortunately it’s not executed in a great manner. This show will be back for season two, and I will watch it, but I am not super excited about it’s future unless it shifts its character focus more.

The Bridge – Season 2 (FXX)

The first season of The Bridge was great. Some people didn’t like the serial killer story, but even with that it was one of the better first seasons of television in a while. The expectations were high for season two, even though the ratings hadn’t been especially good up to that point. Many people were excited by a storyline that ventured away from the one-man serial killer. Unfortunately The Bridge mimicked Homeland with an inexcusable season two thud that ultimately led to it’s non-renewal for a third season.

A few new characters were introduced, and some other characters were marginalized to smaller roles, which led to a huge focus on new character Eleanor Nacht (played by Franka Potente from The Bourne Identity). A weird and mysterious character in the beginning, she never got more interesting really and the payoff did not end up being worth the build-up. The zig-zagging across borders did not help the show’s problem of jumping from story to story a bit too much. It was also not helped by a somewhat boring main arc of the season.

This show’s problem ultimately was that it didn’t spend enough time with the characters played by Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir, the two “stars” of the show who were also 85% of the talent. The bench on this show had a bunch of seasoned actors, but vastly underutilized (as opposed to the early years of Mad Men where a bunch of unknowns made ‘B’ plots soar), and ultimately it’s easy to ascertain that it wasn’t just ratings that sunk this show. On top of all of that, because it was cancelled after production finished, the ending does not provide any sort of closure. For anyone that didn’t watch this show, season 1 is worth your time, but it pretty much ends there.

House of Cards – Season 3 (Netflix)

House of Cards continues to be Netflix’s flagship show, being first will do that, but it is far from it’s best anymore. Season 2 turned Frank Underwood into a villain right out of a comic book and took the show to places that seemed beyond crazy. Season three toned that down a bit, but this show still has a ton of problems. Todd VanDerWerff of Vox did an amazing job covering these flaws in detail, and sums up how I feel almost completely.

The constant flip-flopping annoys the crap out of me, and makes it have almost an Ocean’s 12 vibe to it, where it seems like everything you are seeing is not what is really happening. In this case it’s because 10 minutes later everyone literally does/says the opposite of what they did 10 minutes ago. This gets old really fast. Characters change their allegences and positions on issues so frequently and rapidly that it makes it impossible to root for anyone. Perhaps that is by design to make the audience root for Underwood, who might be the worst “anti-hero” in the recent history of the concept.

Without introducing some more compelling characters this show probably doesn’t have much more of a shelf life. Thankfully the show has the built-in endpoint of Frank not winning re-election, but that prospect seem slim at this point. This show fits well in the recent trends of great first seasons squandered by missteps shortly thereafter, and like Homeland, House of Cards seems destined to be remembered as a great show that fizzled fast.

HBO Now for $15 Would Be a Game Changer

Jon Fingas over at Engadget says HBO’s standalone streaming service reportedly costs $15 per month:

Wondering how much HBO’s hyped-up standalone streaming service will cost you when it (hopefully) arrives this April? Considerably more than your Netflix subscription, it seems. The International Business Times hears that the internet-only offering, reportedly called HBO Now, will set you back $15 per month. That’s not extravagant (your TV provider, if you have one, is paying roughly as much behind the scenes), but it reflects the company’s view that this is a premium product.

IF this is true…Game. Changer. $15 per month is about what a person with cable/satellite is paying now for HBO, and in some cases in order to even “qualify” for HBO with some companies there is a minimal plan required. In other words, this could reduce the cost significantly for some people. And depending on where it can be watched, this could truly through the entire model of cable/satellite TV into mayhem. Being able to watch this on an iPhone/iPad/tablet is one thing, but if this can replace HBO Go on Apple TV/Roku/game consoles then this will probably mark the truly beginning of the end for TV as we know it.

Couple this with the recently released Sling TV and the already burgeoning popularity of Netflix and Amazon Prime as more than just “occasional” viewing and so-called cordcutters are going to be able to do most of what they want for a fraction of the current price. Sling TV ($20) + Netflix ($7) + HBO Now ($15) + Amazon Prime ($99/year) mean that for about $50 people could have ESPN, HBO and a buttload of recent/classic shows/movies ready to go (mostly) commercial free and (mostly) on-demand. Like I said, Game Changer.

With Netflix and Amazon producing new series that are both good and award-winning, plus HBO continuing to do the same, it really seems possible that the seismic shift is more real than ever. And the impact of this is going to be massive. Similarly to the way the newspaper industry devolved, this impact will be felt not just with television networks, but to all companies who rely on television advertising.

It will be very interesting to see how large the impact is on advertising, and more importantly if it yields results that TV ads don’t do as much for brands and products as they did 20 years ago anyway. So many people skip commercials with DVRs, and instead find out about products from social networks and other online sources that maybe TV ads don’t matter as much as they used to already. But airtime and production costs are high, so the financial impact could be big.

A buzzword in the last decade (or two) has been “disruption”. The music industry is drastically different than 20 years ago thanks to music piracy, followed by digital downloads, and now streaming services. Newspapers are a joke to anyway under 30, and the thoughts of paying these former newpaper companies for online content appears to be almost as big of a joke to that same demographic. By the time current 10-year olds are 30, the act (or concept) of buying a cable subscription will be a laughing matter.

Own Your Data

David Chartier of Finer Things on Tech on getting data back out of web services

Making matters worse, most modern service features and architecture are often so fundamentally different, or just plain anticompetitive and unregulated, that normal consumers generally cannot move their data from one service to another. Try importing your Twitter archive into Facebook some time, and remember when Steve Jobs infamously claimed Apple would release FaceTime as an open, documented standard?

This is a huge problem that no one really cares about because the right situation hasn’t yet reared its ugly head. Facebook has been the dominant place for people to post pictures and other types of statuses, although Twitter and Instagram are gaining steam. The problem will manifesst itself when the “next thing” comes and people want to move from once place to another. Are they going to try and migrate 100s (or thousands) of pictures from Facebook to that new thing? The problem is that the average person hasn’t really fully moved themselves in a way that warrants taking content with them. At the same time a major service used by the masses hasn’t yet shut down.

More and more people seem to migrating towards doing 90% of their personal computing on their phones. When they run out of space they just delete pictures because they have them uploaded to Facebook or Instagram. But getting all their photos back out of there and moved to somewhere else might not be an easy task. Do people believe so much in the concept that “everything lives forever on the internet?” That is true in some sense. But jut because stuff stays out there does not mean that will be easy to find or access.

That is why I am a huge proponent of owning your own data. Whenever possible keep your stuff on a server or site or self-hosted service that you know no one can just pull the rug out from under you. Keep it in a format that can be exported or backed up so that the files can always be saved somewhere else. Because this entire concept is so new, it’s likely that a lot of people are going to learn the hard way what all this means. All those boxes of pictures from your childhood maybe seem like annoying clutter now, but at least those can be moved from one house to another. It seems very likely that a generation of people will lose some of these memories because they are on their 200th difference social network and things are scattered everywhere.