18 Game NFL Schedule

Mandatory player bye week?

Couldn’t part of the 18 game compromise be that no player is allowed to play more than 16 or 17 games during the regular season, and more players can suite up on game day (all 53 on the roster)?

That way, each team needs to strategically decide when to rest, for example, Tom Brady or Arian Foster.

The outcome is a nod to player safety, and the owners get their 18 games. 18 games should also benefit players if more revenue is generated by more games, but no one player has to play more games than he currently plays.

The strategy around when to rest each player also leads, for good or bad, to even more media and fan coverage (over coverage) of every facet of the game. People will debate ad nauseam who their team should rest each week if each player has to sit a mandatory player bye week or two.

Linkedin Usability

Thwarted by Linkedin usability.

Um…yeah, so how do I do that. I’ve been staring at this page for 5 minutes and have no idea how to comply with Linkedin’s alert that I need to provide an email address in order to complete the friend request. Happy to oblige if it were actually possible.

Christmas Card from Mark Wagar, Empire BlueCross Blue Shields

A Christmas letter from my Health Insurance Company’s CEO.

Dear Mark Wagar, President, Empire BlueCross BlueShield,

Thank you very much for your timely letter, which arrived on December 28, 2010, informing me that as of January 1, 2011, Empire BlueCross BlueShield will no longer support my current health plan, the Empire Total Blue Option 1. This provides me ample time to research the alternatives to find the health care plan that is best for me.

I duly note the plan you recommend for me going forward, Empire Total Blue Option 2, and will research the pros and cons of this recommended health care plan for 2011, along with other options that I find on my own, between today and tomorrow, which are the last two days of the year before my current plan, Empire Total Blue Option 1, expires.

You mention in your letter, conveniently scanned and illustrated below for your reference, that your 3 day notification of a change to my health care coverage is permitted by “Section 3221(p)(3)(A) of the New York Insurance Law”.

I tried to google “New York Insurance Law Section 3221” to try to familiarize myself with Section 3221(p)(3)(A), but could not find the fine print outlining your right to terminate my plan with under 5 business days of notice. So I contacted the New York State Insurance Department to see if they can help me familiarize myself with Section 3221(p)(3)(A). Their initial response (on the same day I submitted my question, I might add) is as follows:

Dear Mr. Cervieri,
You have reached the Health Inbox at the NYS Insurance Department.
I encourage you to file a formal complaint with the Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau (CSB). Due to the time sensitive nature of your issue, you may want to call them directly at 1-800-342-3736.

Formal consumer complaints may be filed either online or through the mail.

To file an online complaint, please go to the “How to File a Complaint” page of the New York State Insurance Department’s Website:


Please follow the instructions to submit the complaint form needed for the filing.

If you prefer to file on paper, please compose a detailed complaint letter, taking care to express all of your concerns and pose all of your questions. Then sign it, add clear copies of any material you wish to accompany your letter, and send it to:

New York State Insurance Department Consumer Services
One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12257

Original hard-copy complaints or supporting documentation to complaints filed online can be faxed to (212) 480-4735. (The main fax processing unit is in the Manhattan office.)

Once you have filed a complaint, any additional information or inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Services Bureau. They will contact you for more information, if necessary, or when they arrive at a determination.

We hope this information proves useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any additional questions or concerns.

New York State Insurance Department, Health Bureau

Mark, I’ll give them a call and keep you posted with updates.

Thanks again for your thoughtful letter, which arrived over the holidays, concerning my health coverage for the new year. I would wish you a merry Christmas, but seeing as Christmas has already passed, I guess I can wish you a happy new year to you and your family in 2011. I’ll be thinking of you pretty much from day 1.

Thanks again for thinking of me over the holidays.

Hugs and Kisses,

P.S.: I’m sort of excited for my first ever adult healthcare moment, whenever that may be. If this experience is any indication of things to come, I feel extremely confident that Empire BlueCross BlueShield will absolutely have my back when it comes to providing the best care possible and taking care of my expenses. And given the personalized nature of your Christmas letter to me, I can breathe a little easier knowing that you’ll probably take a personal interest in my case when that moment arrives.

Top 10 List of Top 10 Lists of 2010 (INCLUDES PICTURES)

Click on Me. You Know You Can’t Resist Finding Out Who Made The Top 10

My other working title for what I will readily admit is a rant was, 10 Things You Can Do To Boycott Top 10 Lists.

It seems like every publication has a Top 10 this or, if they can’t think of 10 things, a Top 5 that. Every clever email marketer does the same thing. You open the email and the headline reads (hold on, digging for one I just got), 5 Awesome Marketing Blogs.

And you think to yourself, holy shit, I MUST click on that link to see what the 5 Awesome Marketing Blogs are. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t know about these 5 handy, must-read marketing blogs.

Online publications and marketers constantly create these lists because, well, we click on them. And they know it. Creating a Top 10 list, of practically any topic, is the easiest, mail it in way to generate lots of links, tweets, retweets, traffic to your site, or clicks on your email marketing headline.

Top 10 Travel Spots for 2011. Top 10 Luxury Yachts. Top 5 Must Eat Restaurants in NYC for the New Year. 10 Beautiful Photos from 2010. 10 Most Important News Stories of 2010, Top 10 Poops I Pooped In 2010 That Resemble Famous Celebrities (WITH PICTURES), 10 Worst Celebrity Plastic Surgeries of 2010, 10 Most Important Tweets of 2010 (I’m looking at you @twitter).

I could go on and on all day long coming up with Top 10 list ideas – they’re ridiculously easy to brainstorm – and have an intern write the Top 10s for each list. We can publish one Top 10 per day and wait for millions of you to click on it, page by page, from 1 to 10. And me, I get to deliver advertisement after advertisement to you and show my advertisers page views popping like popcorn.

So I want to propose a novel concept, especially as we near the end of the year and everyone creates their best of 2010 lists as an easy way to drive traffic to their sites and page view stats that are, well, 5 – 10 times as robust as they should be due to the very nature of a Top 5 or Top 10 list.

Please boycott Top 10 lists. Restrain yourself. Hold back on the bug to light (or bug to pooh, or bug to a 500 watt light bulb placed in pooh) urge to click on a Top 10 list. You can do it, I know you can. And if we all refrain from clicking, even for a month, like during lent, it may not matter or make a difference in the grand scheme of life, but it will make me happy. Don’t you want me to be happy?

* NOTE: The arts and crafts part of this article, creating the headline collage, actually took me longer than writing the rant itself.
** NOTE: I’m interested to see what kind of Search Engine Friendly Traffic I get from people actually searching for things like Top 10 Male Enhancement Products or Top 10 Spas and Yoga Retreats in America. If you unsuspectingly came here based on an actual search, be bold and let me know in the comments section below what you actually searched for.

iPad and iPhone to Support Flash?

Could it be? Steve Jobs has a change of heart.

The above video is from a series of interviews I did with speakers at Streaming Media West in LA this past week. While obviously unconfirmed, the idea of Apple supporting Adobe Flash on the iPhone and iPad would make life a lot easier for publishers and developers. It would also have consequences on HTML5 adoption for video. I mean, if the iPhone and iPad supported flash, would anyone really be talking about HTML5?!?

Rhode Island Politics

The joy of watching local political races heat up.

While waiting for NFL pregame, I’m watching a riveting debate on local NBC Providence with the candidates who are running for Congress from the 1st District in Rhode Island.

David Segal, who looks about 24, is the most articulate of the candidates.

Current Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline seems like kind of a douchebag from my first TV impression, principally because he pulled one of my least favorite politician moves. The last time I met / talked to / watched a Providence mayor on TV was during the Buddy era, so this was my first look at Cicilline.

After David Segal said he wants to bring the troops home and stop spending on the war, except for expenses which relate to support and protection of the troops, Cicilline then talked about what made him different from David Segal and said something to the effect of, “what makes us different is that I support our troops.”

Fortunately, the moderator called Cicilline out on the fact that his opponent had just said he supports the troops and wants to continue to provide funding to support them, both in battle and when they return home, to which Cicilline responded that he didn’t mean to imply that his opponent doesn’t support the troops. He then reiterated that the difference between him and Segal is that he supports the troops.


Um, either you’re incompetent (retarded was my more offensive word) and can’t understand what other people say, or you’re disingenuous and intentionally choosing not to listen to others and misconstruing what someone else says.

Bill Lynch, another candidate at the debate, seems like a decent guy.

My brother then called and distracted me with software development chatter for the next 20 minutes.

As for the RI District 34 race closer to home, the one thing I know is that I wouldn’t vote for my next door neighbor in Narragansett, David Caprio. Sometimes, people who are politically powerful & connected do things that are so audacious that you can only surmise their egos are so big that they think they are above the laws of the land, or of common sense (see: Edwards, John).

I’ll bite my lip on what my beef is with the Caprios, tweedle dee (David) and tweedle dum (Frank), but I’d vote for David’s opponent, Teresa Tanzi, in a heart beat, and I don’t even know who she is. I’d also vote for Lincoln Chafee for Governor, who is running against tweedle dum.

Hopefully, our house won’t “mysteriously” burn down for saying that….

I will give the Caprios one thing, I did a lot of my most prolific underage drinking at the Coast Guard House. Thanks fellas for making The Coast Guard House a notoriously college kid friendly drinking establishment for so many years 🙂

Ok, time for Pats / Bengals…

NBC Cross Platform Olympic Experience

A panel discussion around the business, technology and workflow issues related to live online big event streaming.

Moderator: Peter Cervieri, Director, ScribeLabs
Darren Feher, President, CEO, Conviva
Jason Suess, Principle Technical Evangelist, Microsoft
Hayle Chun, Director, Digital Media, NBC Sports & Olympics

Hear a panel of NBC Universal executives and industry experts discuss the execution of the network’s cross-platform Olympic strategy. What were the final audience numbers across devices for the Winter 2010 games? What worked and what didn’t? Who were the technology partners that helped make it all happen? How did sponsors assess the cross-platform experience?

Enjoy a lively conversation around one of the largest cross-platform initiatives of 2010.

Below are my notes for the session. They give a good sense of the business, technology and workflow topics covered.

– cable company verification process
– piracy (China)

– consumer expectations: TV-like experience – high quality, no buffering
– what happens if the experience doesn’t meet consumer expectations

Sponsors / Advertisers
* had to buy cross-platform package
– what was the pitch? i.e., the benefits they should expect from a cross platform buy with NBC around a major international event?
* do they value an online or mobile viewer (less than / as much as / more than) a TV viewer?

Lessons Learned
– from Beijing
– from Vancouver

Social Media
* Twitter, Facebook, Blogs
– did you have a strategy to tap into Social Media
– were you monitoring Social Media (e.g. tweets, positive or negative sentiment)
– did you have a strategy to interact with fans via social media?
– decision to not allow journalists, fans, bloggers to grab and embed on-demand videos / highlights.

Smooth Streaming

Jason managed development of video player, live encoding of video
NBC does encoding themselves to necessary formats

– lessons learned from Beijing
– convergence
– complexities of building a multi-platform experience
* what was the business case around Beijing?
* versus vancouver?
time zone issues / push and pull

– intelligent streaming platform. protect audiences from rebuffering, stuttering or audio out of synch. quality issues that interrupt consumer experience. multi-bit rate policy control that works on top of adobe and silverlight. prevent what interrupts viewers. vieweres who get interrupted watch 30% to 80% less video.
– for Olympics
* real time analytics
* drive predictive algorythms to make switching decisions.
* know what every viewer is watching every second
* preventative actions to increase quality
* real time audience engagement. ad completion, etc.
* real time access to information and decision making.

video internet is different than non-video internet. Olympics and World Cup – large scale, live, complicated, high quality video events. you need sophistication and real time control to guarantee quality. video viewing is growing @ 45% per year. and people are watching about 4 hours per viewer per month.

how ready is the internet for high quality video experience to multiple devices??

instrumentation and measurement
user experience

3,500 hours of content in 17 days.
built a highlights factory in the Saturday night live studio. 40 interns. routing feeds for shot selection, rough cutting, routing to craft edit…..
at work audience. stream lots of stuff.

less content. only two sports were pre-cleared for live streaming. primary ad sales for air was lagging.
more mature technologies.
first time that NBC put a registration wall in front of content for people to tell who their ISP or cable provider was.
difference in traffic between semifinal
10 times more people (300,000 concurrent) for semifinal, which didn’t have a registration wall vs. 30,000 for finals, which did have a registration wall.
– it was an experiment.
– cable authentication and sign-on. need better usability. Comcast wanted the registrant to be sent to their system for verification and then sent back to NBC. need to give people better experience and incentive to go through the verification process

cable says “we’re not going to pay you as much for cable distribution because you’re showing the content online. we won’t pay premium carriage fees.”. content companies were starting to do direct to consumer deals. this was cables response.

Mobile was done by NBC

feedback on technology from customers that are putting on big events.

NBC gets a multilateral feed from the IOC. editors in Vancouver were cutting up the footage. NBC took care of VOD workflow. MSFT built the player. Akamai was the CDN.

MSFT primarily on the live side.

MSFT built the player (Vertigo did the design and development on the player)
Worked with iStreamPlanet to do the live workflow (encoding and origin)
Other tools
– web-based video editor (rough cut editor – open source). while hockey game is going on you can cut a highlight against that without requiring any transcoding. no storage needed. no transcoding needed.

Silverlight Media Framework
– also open source (similar to rough cut editor)
* ask why they decided to open source these tools. enabling tools for the MSFT platform

Post-mortem lessons learned
– HD engagement levels were high
In Canada, CTV viewers were watching 74 minutes online per day (live and on-demand video)
– when people got home they still watched online, which goes against what you would expect. you’d expect that they’d move to the TV once they get home.

Fraud detection. Anti-piracy

835 hours across its broadcast, cable and digital platforms, compared to 419 hours from Torino, Italy, in 2006 and 375.5 from Salt Lake City in 2002. It will also be the first Winter Games to be produced and broadcast completely in high-definition with multichannel surround sound. But the coverage will actually be generated by a significantly smaller staff and a leaner technical operation, a reflection of current economic realities, technology advances and NBCU’s growing expertise in pulling off these massive events.

NBCU’s Olympics staff in Vancouver will number 2,168, compared to 2,768 in Torino and 3,260 in Salt Lake City.


NBC Olympics will stream around 400 hours live from Vancouver. The live streams will for the first time be restricted to subscribers of cable, satellite or IPTV services

NBC also once again decided to show some key competitions on TV only, where its family of broadcast and cable channels will air 435 hours of live programming.

Silverlight player developed for the Winter Olympics will offer slow-motion, fast forward and information overlays, as well as a live-blogging play-by-play of the event. Users will also be able to share select moments of the games on third-party web sites. However, don’t expect blogs to share hockey game highlights. Sharing will be restricted to non-competition content

Mobile.Nbcolympics.com will feature daily highlights of the events for mobile phone users.

AT&T Mobile TV and Mobi TV will carry the NBC Olympics 2Go channel with live video coverage from the games.


During the two weeks of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, NBCOlympics.com served a total of 75.5 million streams and 9.9 million hours of online video coverage.

“I have Comcast cable and internet, and I still can’t see the premium content. Their authentication software doesn’t work. I go through their one-time sign up screens and login to my account, but it just says that I’m not a subscriber.”

“I am a Mediacom cable subscriber. Turns out that isn’t enough to see the nbcolympics “special” videos. With Mediacom, you also have to be a broadband internet subscriber.”


Ultimately, the quality of the player isn’t enough to make up for poorly-designed site navigation and lackluster content [and laborious verification process].


iStreamPlanet is taking the live video feeds from NBC in New York and feeding them through the stream preparation process. Inlet Technologies‘ Spinnaker will encode each stream into six different bitrates for Microsoft’s IIS Live Smooth Streaming and send them to Microsoft’s Windows Servers. Akamai will deliver and cache the content around its network. Viewers will tune into a version of the Silverlight player customized by Vertigo, which brings in a data feed from Deltatre for play-by-play and stats. Conviva contributes monitoring software to immediately report any issues with the streams to NBC and Microsoft.


adaptive bitrate streaming, a technique of detecting a watcher’s bandwidth and CPU capabilities in real time and then adjusting the quality of a video stream. That requires encoding a single video at multiple bitrates and switching to the most appropriate one on a moment-by-moment basis. The result: very little buffering, fast start time and a good experience for both high-end and low-end connections.


Canada: Canadian TV is obviously all over the games, and sports fans north of the border can watch simulcasts of ten TV stations online. Canada’s CTV is also featuring a number of online-only live streams on its site CTVOlympics.ca. The declared goal of Canada’s broadcasters is to have “every single moment” of the games available online.

The U.K.: The BBC is covering the Olympics with four live interactive streams through its BBC Sport website. The Beeb’s iPlayer makes it possible to catch up on highlights of the game. The broadcaster wants to make a total of 2000 hours of Olympic coverage available online.

Europe and the Middle East: In addition to local broadcasters like the BBC and Germany’s ARD, the Olympics are also streamed by Eurovisionsports. Access is restricted to residents in some 50-plus countries, including Denmark, Israel, Turkey and Serbia via IP address localization. Eurovisionsports is aggregating coverage from 30 European broadcasters. The site also features six dedicated live channels, as well as a 24-hour Olympic news channel airing more than 3,000 hours of live event coverage

In Beijing, NBC provided 2,200 hours of live streaming, 61 percent of its 3,600 total hours of event coverage across 10 TV networks. In Vancouver, NBC is allowing 400 hours of live streaming, 48 percent of its 830 total hours of coverage. (It has the broadcast rights to live-stream every hour of Olympic action on the Internet, if it chooses.)

NBC’s Web site for the games, NBCOlympics.com, does provide every Olympic event on demand in full after it has been shown on TV, though Web users must be subscribers to participating cable or satellite providers.

NBC lost $223 million on the Winter Olympics

In a decision that might surprise some viewers who have become frustrated by NBC Universal’s handling of online video content, it streamed the entirety of the quarterfinal Men’s Hockey matchup between the USA and Switzerland live at 3:00 pm EST, the same time that it was broadcasting the match on NBC. And it did so without requiring users to log in to the site, making the video open to anyone who tried to access it.

NBC has restricted access online to only those fans who prove that they are paying cable subscribers.

That approach to the Olympics has not only frustrated fans, but it could have driven some potential viewers to look for coverage elsewhere. Despite being the go-to outlet for the 2010 Winter Games, NBCOlympics.com was ranked third among sports sites featuring Olympics coverage during the first week of the games. With 6.5 million unique visitors during the week of Feb. 8-14, NBCOlympics.com lagged Yahoo (9.3 million unique visitors) and ESPN (8.4 million uniques), neither of which has rights to Olympics video content.


NBCOlympics.com clocked 710 million page views and 46 million unique visits during the games, and the site served up 45 million streams. That’s obviously more than during the last Winter Games, when it saw 310 million page views, 13.3 million uniques and only 8.4 million streams. However, it’s a far cry from the Beijing Olympics, during which NBC served 1.24 billion page views.

Granted, Summer Olympics tend to be much more popular, but NBC’s numbers also indicate that the network didn’t make video work as well this time around: In 2008, it served 9.9 million video hours while clocking 51.0 million unique visits. This year, the network’s Olympics site served only 3.5 million hours, despite having only slightly fewer uniques (46 million).

Yahoo continues to celebrate the fact that it had a larger audience despite not having access to any of the content NBC exclusively licensed. The company told us today that its coverage of the Olympics brought in 18,189,052 unique users during the second week of the games, compared to 9,779,440 uniques for NBCOlympics.com and 10,265,008 uniques for ESPN, according to comScore data.


In addition, NBC Olympics Mobile served up 82 million page views and 1.9 million mobile video streams. But those numbers were a small part of the overall picture.

Akamai delivered more than 5,000 hours of live and on-demand video over 17 days and at peak, served more than 30 concurrent live-streaming events.
At its peak, Akamai was streaming close to 374 Gbps of video.
The company delivered more than 12 Petabytes (12,000 TBs) across its Olympics customers. To put that in perspective, the Internet archive has over 3 petabytes of data.
On Feb. 28, at its peak, Akamai served up about 2.4 million pages per second, with the majority of traffic coming from North America, followed by Europe. This could be explained by the USA v. Canada ice hockey finals and the closing ceremony.
Other continents had a passing interest in the events of the day.

Killing People

We recently shot and edited a 9 part Web talk show series. In this episode, two guests talk about what it’s like to kill someone.

We produced a series of short segments for a TV talk show that will be shopped around to networks as well as turned into a recurring WebTV series.

Above is the second episode in the series “That Show with Michael Rakosi.” The show is based on the radical premise that, ‘men talk’. It is a talk show with guys. No Sports, No Politics, just our stories.

Michael Rakosi, the show host, is the type of guy who walks into a deli to order a bagel and starts to chat up the person standing in line behind him. Through his life he’s met an interesting cast of characters, many whom will be featured as guests on the show. Average people from all walks of life tell their story or give their take on topics such as betrayal, forgiveness, love, family and a host of other topics typically not associated with a talk show full of guys.

That’s kind of the point of the show. It’s not the man show, it’s not sports talk radio, it’s not a Sunday political round table ranting.

I believe this is a concept that will find an audience – guys who want to talk about stuff that’s not sports, politics or girls, and women that want to understand men, and the fact that we actually have insightful things to say about topics such as love, forgiveness, abandonment, etc.

I envision a social media community, or simply conversation, around the topics raised in the episodes. So the episodes serve to seed a conversation topic rather than be the end of the discussion. I also think there’s an opportunity to have a monthly event series where the panelists are on a stage, with an audience of 50 – 100 people. Michael leads the discussion, but the in-person audience participates.

The events can, of course, be webcast live online, produced as on-demand video, syndicated through a variety of platforms and players. Revenue would come from sponsorship and event ticket sales.

So even if it’s not picked up by a TV network, we still generate enough revenue through other channels to continue production.

Adventures in Suburban Wildlife: Hawks

A hawk almost flies in the house through the door I left open.

This morning I walked outside at about 6:30am and spotted a hawk making its morning rounds. It had spotted a birds nest as I walked out and was about to see if there were any eggs inside. I think I threw him for a loop, so he flew back up into the trees. After a while, he eventually made another run at the birds nest, only to find no eggs.

I am becoming quite the ornithologist. I want to train the hawk to land on my shoulder and then to do my bidding, like pecking peoples eyes out if they cross me, or taking down the geese that poop all over the yard. Hawks, by the way, take monster dumps. I would not want to be standing below one when nature calls.

I used a little panasonic HD camera to film the hawk. Since he was far away, I had to zoom in a lot which leads to super shaky footage. It didn’t help that it was like 40 degrees out and I was in my pajamas, trying to hold the camera for 45 minutes with frozen hands.

I used Red Giant Magic Bullet Steady, a Final Cut Pro plug-in, to get rid of some of the shaky camera syndrome. I also used Magic Bullet Looks to tweak the coloring a bit. Since the first footage I shot was just as the day was going from dark to light I had to brighten the image up a bit so you can make out what is going on in the video.

When Mail Merge Goes Horribly Wrong

Sometimes I don’t feel so special. Am I just another name on your mail merge list?

I thought this was funny:

From: mperalta@sterlingpr.com
Date: April 20, 2010 9:00:38 AM EDT
Subject: Telestream’s Vantage Wins STAR Award at NAB

Hi merge:_receiver_first_name,

I wanted to let you know that Telestream was a recipient of TV Technology’s 2010 STAR Awards for its new Vantage product announced at the NAB Show this year. Below is a recap on the news with general product background and links for more company information and dates for upcoming events such as webinars or roadshows where you can check out Telestream’s new products.


Marisa Peralta
Account Associate
Sterling Communications, Inc.
415.992.3215 | mperalta@sterlingpr.com
AIM: mperaltasci | Twitter: marisaperalta

Does this mean that every marketing email I receive wasn’t hand crafted just for me?? And I come to the sad realization that I’m not so special after all…