Sunday, August 07, 2005

In defense of technology

Sometimes it is great to live in the 21st century.

The last few days I've been listening to the audio commentary broadcast of the WSOP final table that Card Player magazine webcasted. The content is great - I never thought I'd so much enjoy hearing Phil Hellmuth speak, but he makes a damn good commentator-host. And they've swapped in so many other great pros so far - Daniel N, Jennifer H, Eric Lindgren, Greg Raymer, Jesus... Not to mention that it is great to hear the full hand-by-hand discussion of the full final table. You won't get this on ESPN!

I've been listening to this on my iPod on the train to work in the mornings, and today going to and from the Tokyo card club, and it is a great way to spend train time. At first it doesn't seem to be so different than listening to a taped sporting even on your walkman on the way to work, but when I think about it, it is really a great time to be able to do this.

1. This type of content would never be broadcast on the radio. Poker is pretty big now, but would they really take up 14 hours of radio airtime to broadcast a full commentary on the main event final table? Radio can't/won't do that, but webcasting will.

2. Even if it were radio broadcast, I'd need to be in range of the broadcasting station to get to hear it. I don't live in Las Vegas, I live in Tokyo! But I'm still able to listen to this show because it's broadcast on a worldwide data network.

3. Even if I could get the radio show, it would be a pain to save the show to listen to it later. Who makes 14-hour audio tapes? And even if they did, wouldn't the audio suck? To tape this show, you'd need to swap tapes every few hours.

4. Playback would be a pain. Would you carry around 14 one-hour audio tapes to listen to this whole beast? With my ipod, I can fit this stuff on there no problem, and still have plenty of room for other stuff.

5. What if you missed the broadcast? Maybe you got the time and date wrong, or you're working or whatever and can't hang by the radio to tape this stuff. But even after the fact, you can find the audio on file-sharing networks and download it to catch up. Brilliant.

No comments: