Suggestions to the NBA from an NHL Fan

The San Jose Sharks were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday. It was a fun
season this year, but they kind of fell apart at the end. So, as a member of the
bay area community, I find myself watching the Golden State Warriors as they
advance through the playoffs. But there are too many stoppages of play in the
NBA. You get about 5 seconds of action, and then everyone stops for 10 minutes.
It seems to me that the NBA could borrow some ideas from the NHL and create a
better basketball experience. So, without further ado, my suggestions:

  • Rolling line changes. In the NBA, to substitute someone, you have to wait
    for a stoppage in play. Then a horn blows. What’s with that horn, anyways???
    Did the inventor of basketball have some sort of freight train fetish?
    Anyways, the horn toots, and the new player is allowed in. Forget that; let
    players come in and out of the game at will. It works for hockey, it’ll work
    here, and it’ll speed up the game.
  • Reduce the number of timeouts. I’m not positive, but I believe each team
    gets about 50 full time outs and 35 short time outs. Per period! Boring! Cut
    that to 1 time out per game, like hockey. 
  • Power plays. Again, I’m not sure, but I believe each team gets 20 fouls per
    period and then the other team starts shooting free-throws. That’s rather
    arbitrary, isn’t it? And again, it slows down the game. Forget that. Have
    delayed penalties. You get 5 fouls without a stoppage. After the 5th foul,
    the other team goes on a power play, for 2 minutes. Get rid of the
    free-throw, it doesn’t belong in the game.
  • Longer periods and more players. With the above improvements, there will be
    fewer stoppages, and periods will go faster. Switch to three 20 minute
    periods and increase the roster size to deal with the increased playing

Make these changes and I’ll be the first in line for season tickets!


Apple TV

I just bought my third Apple TV. This is the device that acts like a video iPod connected to your TV. While it has some
shortcomings, it’s already replaced my beloved Squeezebox for distributing music (and now video) throughout the house. Critics rightly point out that it’s missing some key features: no 5.1 Dolby Digital sound support in software, you can’t access the iTunes store directly from it and iTunes doesn’t sell high-def movies. Another criticism, that it has too small a hard drive, is, at least for me, a non-issue (see caveat later). My aTVs are set up to just stream from my main iTunes. My computer is on all the time, and this works great. It’s my guess that an upcoming software update will fix the surround
sound issue and add the ability to access the iTunes store. It’s also my guess that a criticism I have of iTunes in general, that it doesn’t allow renting of movies, will also be fixed soon.

I will be upgrading the hard drive on the aTV that I just ordered to a 160GB Seagate drive. This is because I plan on placing this aTV in my place in Tahoe, and will be setting it up to sync from my main iTunes, instead of stream, like the others. The reason I need to configure this aTV to sync is that my home DSL line does not have enough upload bandwidth to support streaming over the Internet. I’ll also need to configure a VPN so that this aTV thinks it’s on my local home network, because iTunes doesn’t permit sync’ing over the Internet. The result of all this work will be that I’ll be able to access all my movies and music in Tahoe, without having to worry about keeping things in sync. It’ll just happen automagically.

With all the current shortcomings noted, this is the future. I can now easily watch any of my DVDs at any time on my TV. I can purchase movies and almost instantly start watching them. We are inching towards a future where all media is available all the time, and not just on computers.

Techdirt Insight Community Steps Up To Public Beta

Techdirt, a company I’m an investor in and board member of, today launched a new version of their web site and more importantly, launched the public beta of the Techdirt Insight Community. From the announcement:

The Techdirt Insight Community is a network of expert bloggers, who we’ve brought together to collaboratively help companies get the insight and analysis they need in order to make important decisions. Over the last few months, we’ve grown the network of expert bloggers in the program, while having them work on all sorts of interesting challenges and issues raised by our corporate customers — from designing a strategy for developing a mobile application to understanding the potential for Google to enter the CRM space to understanding how the enterprise software world is changing. Today we move the Techdirt Insight Community into public beta, and open it up to a much wider audience.

Think of the Insight Community as the eBay of analyst research. I think it’s a huge opportunity and I think Techdirt’s doing a great job.