The technical community been through the fives stages of grief with Adobe’s Flash. Now, it’s time for TV stations, specifically licensed to serve the public interest, to get a clue about mobility and dump Adobe Flash on their websites. It’s critical during natural disasters.
The recent fires in Colorado Springs and near Ft. Collins, Colorado have made it very clear that some TV stations that have websites have dropped the ball when it comes to serving the public interest. That’s because residents, in any geographical area, for any kind of weather emergency, are likely to be on the move, at work, busy evacuating, or already evacuated from their homes. Their typical link to news may be a hastily grabbed iPad (or other tablet) or their smartphone often an iPhone.
During the recent fires, checking the news with my iPad, I was often confronted with a notice that I needed Adobe Flash to view a video. Now when it’s in the course of everyday technology kerfuffles, it’s an annoyance. However, I can see how a family, trying to view local news and weather in an emergency, when confronted with such a notice, would be outraged.
One particular offender during the Waldo Canyon fire was Channel 9/NBC (KUSA) in Denver. More times than not, when attempting to view a news or weather video on my iPad, I got a notice that I needed Adobe Flash. The people who build these kinds of websites need to recognize my browser type and generate alternative formatted content rather than cop out with a nastygram.
The general problem is that different videos on different pages at different sites are enabled or not enabled for the iPad/iPhone. Recently, I was looking at the TV station websites in Denver, Colorado on my iPad. I noticed that Channel 9/NBC (KUSA) was a particular offender while Channel 4/CBS (KCNC) was pretty good. All the videos I tried to view at KCNC played. Channel 7/ABC (KMGH) takes the easy route and doesn’t deliver much of anything in the way of videos when the website, evidently, detects that I’m on an iPad.
So here’s the urgent request to the TV stations everywhere. Make sure that your website videos, especially those related to weather and emergency news, are always viewable on any mobile device that may be connected. A special weather app to be downloaded is nice, but don’t depend on the viewer, in a crisis, having the time or inclination to go get it. Your website has to carry the load in emegencies.
Blank windows, with notices like the above, are not what we want to see in an emergency.
Tech News Debris
Here’s a related story. Early in the design phases of various products, managers overlook key insights into how their technical staff is going to implement a service. Then, later, when the shit hits the fan, the managers have to apologize with a “dog ate my homework” excuse and promise to fix it. Here’s a classic tale. “How Flash failed JetBlue, and you.”
There are scientists and there are scientists. For example, calling a laboratory coordinator at a small college a scientist is a stretch. Even so, this is is a worthwhile story to see how various technical people are using iPads. “How the iPad helps scientists do their jobs.” As might be expected, the imagination of smart, individual users about how to exploit their iPads foreshadows and trumps the collective wisdom of institutional buyers.
You knew this was coming. It’s a strong social trend to watch TV on mobile devices, something other than a traditional set-top box. Those devices are predicted to account for only 50 percent of the viewing of pay-TV by 2015. Will this social trend catch the cable and satellite providers napping? Will this be Apple’s opening? “TV Set-Top Box Use Dropping.”
TNT on iPad (Image Credit: Turner Network Television)
Kurt Eichenwald with Vanity fair was recently on the Charlie Rose show talking about his new feature article in the August issue: “Microsoft’s Lost Decade.” The premise is that Microsoft has squandered the last ten years under Steve Ballmer. That’s going to be an article worth looking for and reading. Here’s a preview.
Speaking of Microsoft, I have expressed my own concern about Microsoft’s strategy with their Surface tablet. It’s basically an Ultrabook with a slightly different design. But the agenda remains Windows, and clinging to that is, of course, of immediate interest to Microsoft. It may also be the company’s downfall. Here’s some background that explains why the Surface RT may fail first. “Windows 8 Pro on Microsoft’s Surface: A usability nightmare.”
“When is a search listing an ad? When does an ad need to be disclosed? These are foundational answers you need to know if you really want to conduct a review about anti-competitive actions.” So says Danny Sullivan in a particularly detailed and eye-opening piece. “After A Month, Silence From The FTC On Search Engine Disclosure.”
Do we take our iPads and iPhones on vacation because we want to work? I think it’s because these devices are just so darn handy when it comes to maps, restaurants and events when on vacation. Unfortunately, there is still a tendency to sneak in some work. Maybe because we want to be indispensable? Ryan Fass ponders: “iPhones and iPads Are Robbing Us Of Truly Work-Free Vacations.”
Finally, Dish Network is going to take this add hopper, The “Hopper” as far as they can take it. However, I’d be prepared for the worst because you never know how the courts will come down on this subject of having the DVR skip the ads during playback — rather than making you do it yourself.
Worse, when it comes time to negotiate agreements for carrying content, I don’t see how Dish can avoid problems. But, of course, customers love it, and it just goes to show how dated, obsolete and rationalized the whole TV advertising business is. “Ad-Skipping DVR Household Penetration to Grow 22%” This appears to be another opportunity for Apple. When’s the last time you sat through an ad while watching content on an Apple TV? I thought so.
Forest fire image credit: Shutterstock