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TechGraphs News Roundup: 4/8/2016

Greetings, fair TechGraphs readers. It’s a good weekend for sports fans — what with the beginning of the baseball season, the winding down of the NHL regular season, and yet another edition of The Masters. In case you were too busy getting your DFS lineups ready (void where prohibited), here are the news stories that we found interesting this week.

Speaking of The Masters; they released a new app for iOS that will let you stream the whole tournament. The streaming capability is obviously cool, but the whole app itself looks like a really well done production.

If audio is more of your thing, you can catch full Masters coverage courtesy of TuneIn. Golf of the radio?! How will we contain our excitement?! What a time to be alive.

If you’re anything like me, VR makes you a bit motion sick. However, it might be willing to stomach it (pun 94% intended) if it means I can use StubHub’s new tech to see the exact view from my perspective seat.

If VR doesn’t make you queasy (and you play professional baseball), you can now use VR for batting practice.

Wrestlemania was this past Sunday, and it appears that some WiFi outages at AT&T Stadium had some wouldbe attendees stuck at the entrance gates.

Apple and MLB have always been pretty tight when it comes to product integration, and now it seems that Apple is turning Siri into some kind of baseball trivia guru. Full disclosure: I asked her/it a bunch of questions and she did not perform well. She didn’t even know the Astros record in 2005!

The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament is over now, so you can stop checking your brackets online. Many articles have been written about how much companies lose due to people making/checking brackets at work. However, Techcrunch has an interesting look at the possible security implications of all those people visiting sports web sites on their work machines.

We already covered it here, but in case you missed it, you’ll be able to watch some NFL games on Twitter this season. That still feels weird to type.

We’ll have more on this in the future, but it’s a pretty big deal that MLB is now allowing (some) wearable tech on the field this season.

This could be big news for Zepp’s new, very cool bat sensors, though they haven’t been approved as of yet.

ESPN Radio (along with some more music services) can now be streamed on your T-Mobile phone without hits to your data cap, thanks to their Bing On plan.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and be excellent to each other.


With Twitter/NFL Deal, It’s All About Execution

It was recently announced that Twitter will begin streaming NFL games on Thursday nights. In yet another attempt to bring more users into the fold, Twitter has made a sizable investment in bringing the country’s biggest sport to its platform. The details are fuzzy at this point, so we don’t know the exact way this thing is going to shake out. But the devil is in the details, in this case. What this whole thing will actually look like will have a great deal to do with its success. To ride the rails of a fairly-tired cliche; We know the who, what, where, when, and (mostly) why. The biggest question mark revolves around how.

A while back, I heard Ben Thompson — tech analyst and host of the Exponent podcast — describe Twitter and its problems in a way that stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing, but he essentially said that issue is that Twitter is that its dealing with two groups of people — people who tried their platform and didn’t like it, and people who love it and never want it to change. Somehow, they have to placate both crowds. They have the tech. They certainly have the brand recognition. They just need more people. With the NFL deal, they’re going after new audiences. But trying to solve the problem of gaining new users might run them headfirst into their second problem — those who don’t want it to change.

For people (especially sports fans) who use the platform, Twitter makes and excellent companion to watching something on TV. You hear about companies looking to expand the “second screen experience.” That all started with Twitter. It was a way to share and interact around a centralized event — the Super Bowl, the Oscars, a big news story. You watch on your TV, and you follow along with others’ views (and share your own) on your phone. But Twitter is trying to make your second screen your first screen in this case. Which is all fine and good, but it opens the situation up to a paradox. How can one share their feelings about an event on social media when the social media platform is how they’re watching said event?

Twitter is a large company that employs a whole lot of people smarter than I, so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt at this point. But if they want to keep the people they’re bringing in with the NFL offering and avoid ridicule from their current user base, they’re going to have to tread lightly. The experience is almost certainly going to have two elements. There will be the actual video stream, of course, and there will need to be a way for people to still read and share on the Twitter service. UI is key here. There are a lot of options for something like a laptop screen.

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But how does this work on phones and smaller tablets? Will there be enough real estate for everything?

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Let us not forget the fact that seemingly every time Twitter makes a change, people lose their minds. Most recently it was (probably rightfully so) algorithmic feeds, but there are countless other UI changes and other tweaks that drive the Twitter faithful crazy. Twitter is no doubt going to use its product to advertise the crap out of their NFL offering when the time comes. If that experience is lackluster, there will be noise about it.

If Twitter doesn’t nail this, NFL fans are going to happily return to watching on TV. CBS itself is even offering a stream of the games on their own platform, so it’s not as if Twitter has a monopoly here. There are other avenues fans can travel. Twitter is making a push — taking chances and working hard to bring their product to forefront of social media while trying desperately to take a bite out of Facebook’s current dominance. You can’t fault them for trying. But if history is any indication, they’re really going to need to nail this. They need to impress new customers while trying not to piss off the current ones. It’s an unenviable position. But a ten-year-old company that is still struggling to post profits needs to put themselves in that kind of position every now and again. They’re partnering with a very recognizable brand. If I were a lesser man, I would advise them not to fumble the opportunity.


This is the Way Daily Fantasy Ends — Not With a Bang, but With a Whimper

This is the Way Daily Fantasy Ends — Not With a Bang, but With a Whimper

Last night, I was at a fantasy draft party (12-team auction, for those who care). The television was on in the background as people were preparing their spreadsheets and whatnot, when an ad for a daily fantasy sight came on. I’m not being coy be neglecting to mention which one, I honestly don’t remember. Those ads are so ubiquitous, that they rarely seem to grab anyone’s attention, but when it came on the TV at the party, a guest looked up and said “do people still do that?” He was being a bit facetious, of course, as people certainly still do, but we might be honestly getting to the point where scandal and legal hassles the constant state of flux of the industry might be enough to lay daily fantasy — or at least the behemoth it has shown to be not terribly long ago — to rest.

The most recent cut-down of daily fantasy comes in the form of an announcement that DraftKings and FanDuel will cease offering contests that include NCAA games. Reading between the lines, it appears as if the NCAA was giving DraftKings and FanDuel the business, and since college sports were a minor part of the business and the two companies already have enough legal stuff to deal with, they threw in the towel.

It’s those legal troubles that would most likely spell doom for the two companies, should that come to pass. The bottom line is that many states are now looking into whether daily fantasy should be considered gambling. If it is, then it can’t be allowed to occur on the Internet thanks to the Federal Wire Act that, although its reach has been questioned, states that bets cannot be placed over communication channels like phone or Internet lines. As of this writing the commonwealth of Virginia has allowed daily fantasy to take place on its soil, so long as certain restrictions and regulations are in place. New York State originally filed an injunction to stop daily fantasy operations, then was overruled, but in the end FanDuel and Draftkings stood down on the issue, hoping that legislation will be passed allowing their sites to continue operating in the state. Yahoo! Daily Fantasy volunteered to do so as well, seemingly to remind the general public that they exist.

The legal back and forth will be a very interesting one to watch, with many ramifications involved. The things is, if litigation and appeals and everything else involved in the process goes on as long as it looks like they will, none of this might even matter. If daily fantasy doesn’t burn out, it might just fade away.

FanDuel and DraftKings will always have their loyal customers — those who spend lots of time and money on these sites and who will be watching in earnest as the rulings and laws come down state by state. These people aren’t who daily fantasy sites should worry about. They need to worry about the casual player, the person who gets the wild idea to drop $10 or $20 or $50 on a random contest one Sunday to try their luck. The common person. The square. This is who these sites need.

Remember, none of these sites actually care about how any one player does. They don’t lose money if Andrew McCutchen has a better night than Mike Trout. They just let the players duke it out while they take their 10% off the top. The model is pretty much the same for sports betting at casinos. The casinos want an even amount of bets on either side. The losers pay the winners and the house gets the juice. DraftKings and FanDuel acutally have a better model. The casino can still get hosed on a one-in-million bet cashing in. Daily fantasy doesn’t give a crap. It just needs players. It needs bodies that are willing to pay a fee (and forget that the odds are stacked against them) so that it can take its share. But without Joe Sixpack kicking in his money, there is less of a pot to skim from.

The big hitters and the sharps will still have their high-stakes games. If they live in a state where the contests are banned, they’ll find shady workarounds to keep playing. But your coworker or next-door neighbor won’t. If they can’t play, they’ll … just stop playing. And even if the laws are changed or massaged enough where they could theoretically start again, most won’t, or at least not as much. The thrill will be gone. Daily fantasy’s biggest enemy isn’t the law, it’s attrition.

FanDuel and DraftKings aren’t just interested in a positive decision, they need a fast positive decision. Time is of the essence here, as they need to both counter rulings and legislation against them in some states while regaining the right to do business in other states all in a timely enough fashion that the public doesn’t forget about them. So far, it’s not looking good. Layoffs are happening. Funding and partnerships are being pulled. All this effort may end up being just some rearranging of deck chairs.

This is not to say that these companies can’t make a comeback. If they laws fall in their favor, and cloud of doubt is blown away from the industry, the investment money and partnership deals will come rolling in right quick — no hard feelings, right? And maybe they can gain a second wind and intice people into coming back (now 100% legal!) And we may once again be carpet bombed with ad after ad regaling us with stories of average people becoming millionaires overnight. But some serious legal kung fu has to happen first. Luckily for these companies, they have the scratch to spend on top-notch lawyers.


Building a Retrosheet Database for the 2016 Season, Part 2

Hi, folks. Below you will find Part 2 of our video series involving building a Retrosheet database. If you haven’t, make sure to check out Part 1 before digging into this.

*The video explains this, but you’ll need to re-download the files from our GitHub page. I found a couple of small errors there. No harm done, just make sure you have the updated files before continuing. The video explains how to do this.

Enjoy! Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if you have any questions or problems.


ALERT: T-Mobile Customers Can Get MLB.tv for Free This Season

T-Mobile is still pushing hard on its “Un-carrier” campaign, and their newest venture is a huge boon to baseball fans. T-Mobile and MLB have extended their partnership another three years. This means a lot of T-Mobile branding will be seen on various MLB properties — including things like the All Star Game — but the “celebration” of the partnership brings some big-time savings.

Any T-Mobile customer on the Simple Choice plan will have the opportunity to sign up for a free year of MLB.tv. And from what I’m reading, that doesn’t really include a lot of red tape or hoops to jump through. There is one slight catch, however. The deal isn’t available until April 3rd. This is all well and good for the start of the season, but not so much if one is interested in streaming Spring Training games. To counteract that slight bummer, T-Mobile and MLB are sweetening the pot a little.

The free subscription also comes with complimentary access to the MLB At Bat Premium so that users can get all the additional features of At Bat on their smartphones and tablets. The inclusion of the app usually comes with MLB.tv regardless, but it’s nice to know that there won’t be any sneaky gotchas after signing up.

Also, MLB.tv qualifies for T-Mobile’s (somewhat controversial) Bing On program, wherein customers can stream MLB.tv (along with many other video services) via their cellular connections without it counting toward their plan’s data allotment. T-Mobile customers are free to watch games on the bus, in church, during work, or anywhere else they don’t have access to WiFi without worry of data overages.

The kicker to the deal is that a user’s MLB.tv subscription will be valid for any device, not just their T-Mobile phone. This means fans can still watch on their smart TVs, gaming consoles, or other connected devices using their MLB account. This is a nice pivot from other offerings like Verizon’s NFL package, which allows fans to watch certain NFL content (mainly Red Zone) for free, but only via their Verizon device. T-Mobile’s deal will let people watch via their PlayStation or Roku with no extra strings and, theoretically, they’ll never have to even watch on their phones if they don’t want to.

MLB has seen some big changes recently in terms of their MLB.tv offering. It’s hard to say whether this T-Mobile partnership is an extension of that or not, but it’s certainly a nice added bonus. There are some lingering questions, however. If I purchased MLB.tv already, can I cancel and sign on via T-Mobile? If I cancel my T-Mobile account, does my MLB.tv go away? Details on this are fuzzy right now, so it might be best to stop into a store or call T-Mobile yourself to get the best answers.

Wireless providers are pulling out all the stops these days to convince customers to switch, and if a baseball fan were shopping around for a new carrier, this might be the very thing that puts them over. I doubt the offer will be good next year, but for current T-Mobile customers or people who were already looking to switch, saving over $100 is always a good way to start the season.


Building a Retrosheet Database for the 2016 Season, Part 1

Baseball season is almost upon us. Soon, people will flood to ballparks in cities all over our great nation in search of entertainment and meaning, while baseball bloggers will continue their search for relevance and the mysterious Full Time Gig. If you fall into the latter camp (or if you just like having this kind of data handy), then it’s time to get your Retrosheet database installed/updated.

For those not in the know, Retrosheet is a magnificent project that essentially looks to turn box scores into computer records. And they’ve done a great job of it. They have all box scores from games since 1914, and play-by-play data since around 1940. What we’ll want to do is convert their records into an easily-searchable database that we can query for fun and profit.

Below is a video walking you through how to get your machine set up. We won’t actually be loading the data yet — that will come in Part 2 — but we’ll make sure your computer is prepped and has all the files and utilities is needs.

If you already installed a Retrosheet database using our instructions from last year, most of this won’t apply to you, but feel free to follow along. You’ll certainly need the links to the new packages that are now up on our GitHub page, but most of what you’ll need is in Part 2.

(Mac people: as I mentioned in the video, your instructions are coming)

Links mentioned in the video:

TechGraphs GitHub: https://github.com/techgraphs/2016Ret…

MySQL Server: https://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/

Wget: http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/packa…

7-Zip: http://www.7-zip.org/

SQLyog: https://github.com/webyog/sqlyog-comm…


How to Quickly Search Your Favorite Baseball (and Other Sports) Sites with Launchy

If one were brave enough to scour the Internet, one could find a myriad of articles explaining how to optimize their workflow. Our workflow is super screwed up, it seems, and only optimization will help us become the well-oiled, hyper-productive sacks of meat we were always meant to be. You can eat better, you can spend your money more wisely, you can take a more efficient way to work, and you can certainly manage your time better — again, according to the Internet. My friends and loved ones point out my shortcoming often enough that I don’t worry myself too much with my workflow. I have, however, found a few tips and/or tricks which make the act of sitting at the computer a little less terrible. One such tip is using the application Launchy to help me perform searches faster. And by tweaking the program a little bit, you can make Launchy get you your desired content from your favorite sports sites without using your mouse to dig around for those little search boxes.

Launchy can actually do a whole lot more than what I’m going to explain here. It markets itself as a “keystroke launcher,” which basically means it’s a little applet that helps you perform tasks with just a few keystrokes. You can open other programs, search for files, or play music through Launchy without ever having to touch your mouse. If you’re a Mac user, you’ve probably heard of a similar program called Alfred. Alfred has plenty of its own perks, but we’ll be focusing on Launchy since it does what we need, is free, and is cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux).

Download and install Launchy. By default, it should open by itself. If it doesn’t hold down the Alt key and press the Space bar.

Now that Launchy is open, let’s test some things out. Type in Google and hit tab. Then type techgraphs and hit enter. A new browser tab should open with a Google search. Now open Launchy again (Alt+Space) and simply type techgraphs.com and hit enter. It should bring you right to our home page. You can even do math in Launchy. Open it and type 4+2 and hit Enter. You should get a result. This is just a sliver of what Launchy can do, but now you know the general mechanics of the program. Now that we have that, we can start customizing.

The first thing you will want to look at is the keyboard shortcut for displaying Launchy. If you click the little gear icon you’ll be presented with the Launchy settings page. On the left-hand side, you’ll see a section to select the hotkey for Launchy. By default (as we’ve seen), it’s set to Alt+Space (on Windows), but you may want to change it to something that feels better to your fingers. It’s not necessary, but if you do feel like changing it, now you know where to do that.

(Apologies for the slightly-off screenshots. I can’t get my screen-cap software to pick up the Launch pop-up window.)

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That same settings window is where we’re going to add our custom sports searches. At the top of the window, click Plugins, then click Weby from the list of plugins on the left.

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In this list you’ll see all the sites that Launchy can help you search, including some of the ones we tested earlier. These are very handy to have, but we want to add our own sites, which Launchy allows us to do. But first, we need the proper syntax. Launchy needs to know the search URL that we want in order to work properly. Let’s track one down together, like old friends. Click Cancel for now and close out of Launchy by pressing ESC.

Let’s start with FanGraphs, which my boss tells me is a fantastic baseball site. We’ll want to use Launchy to quickly search on a player, so we’ll need to start with the proper search URL. Go to FanGraphs and do a search for “Stanton.” Don’t click anything, just type “Stanton” in the search box and press Enter. In the next page, note the URL in the address bar. It should say http://www.fangraphs.com/players.aspx?lastname=stanton. Notice the last bit. The string “stanton” is passed along with the search URL. The address up to the equal sign is what we want: http://www.fangraphs.com/players.aspx?lastname=. Copy that and go back to your Launchy settings.

Back in the Weby plugin window, we’ll want to click the + sign. This will create a new entry. The name field is up to you, make it something you can remember. I use the boring but explanitory “fangraphs” (no quotes). In the address field, paste the URL you copied, and add %1 to the end (the %1 just means that we want Launchy to ask for a variable). The whole thing should look like http://www.fangraphs.com/players.aspx?lastname=%1. Press the + button again to save. Now press the OK button, which should bring you back to the main Launchy window.

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Let’s test. In the Launchy box, type fangraphs (or the name you chose) and hit Tab. You should see the name, followed by a right-facing arrow. Now type Stanton and hit Enter. A new web browser tab should open up and bring you to the same page we saw when we grabbed the search URL. Pretty cool, right? Now, open Launchy again. Type fangraphs and hit Tab, but this time enter Giancarlo Stanton after the arrow and hit Enter. Boom, you’re brought right to the corresponding page. Pretty cool, yeah?

This only works with unique names, so searching for Alex Gonzalez by full name will still bring you to a search page where you’ll have to choose the right person.

This will work for all kinds of sites, so long as you know the search URL. Here are a few examples:

  • Baseball-Reference: http://www.baseball-reference.com/search/search.fcgi?results=&search=%1 (You can also search for specfic teams by using syntax like 2015 Royals)
  • Baseball Prospectus: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=%1
  • Pro-Football-Reference: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/search/search.fcgi?search=%1
  • ESPN: http://espn.go.com/search/results?q=%1

You can plug all of those into Launchy to create your own custom searches. Of course, feel free to search out your own. Just search for something on your favorite site and pay attention to the URL of the corresponding page. Copy out everything that isn’t your search term, and you should be able to plop that right into Launchy.

This is a great tool for writers, fans, or even fantasy owners during a draft. It might not save you hours off your workflow, but it will at least limit the amount of time you need to spend at your computer — an exercise that is probably killing you. Happy searching!

(Header image via Leo Leung)

TechGraphs News Roundup: 2/12/2016

Salutations, dear TechGraphs readers. Those “X Days Until Pitchers and Catchers Report” tweets are actually starting to get relevant again, as baseball season is actually on the horizon. Stay tuned to TechGraphs for additions to our Retrosheet series, plus some other fun things. In the meantime, here are the news stories we found interesting this week.

If you haven’t heard already, MLB.tv is cutting its price by $20. It’s all part of a class-action lawsuit regarding blackout restrictions that was settled earlier this year. Click the link to learn more about how to watch your favorite out-of-market team even when they are in your neck of the woods (spoiler: it will still cost more money).

Speaking of; now that MLBAM has purchased the rights to stream NHL games, the folks at Puck Daddy wonder if the same restrictions will be enforced.

We’ll have more about the daily fantasy landscape next week, but between divisions being shut down, partnerships being dissolved, and investments getting devalued, it’s not been a great few weeks for the big hitters in the market.

The Super Bowl was streamed live, and CBS claims that the venture broke a bunch of records. That doesn’t mean the rollout went flawlessly, however.

How much data does a stadium in an already-tech-savvy town offer up to fans during the Super Bowl? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 TB.

The Raptors are teaming up with IBM’s Watson platform for a computational approach to talent analysis, and presumably to get better at Jeopardy!

A bionic knee brace is being brought to market and holy crap does it look equal parts awesome and terrifying.

Helmet company Riddell is in hot water after claims that their equipment help prevent concussions turned out to be false.

Jealous of the fact that your iOS-using friends were the only ones who could design and buy Nikes on their phones? Well, fear not, Android user, your wishes have been granted.

That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend, and be excellent to each other.


A Case for Open Source Concussion Research

The Case for Open Source Concussion Research

Not so long ago, the divide between hardware and software was fairly distinct. Certain companies made hardware and others made software. Or, to be more precise, companies made software and others scrambled like hell to make hardware that would run it. This was the time of the 80s and 90s PC market — Microsoft was king and others fought each other to build the machines that would run Microsoft’s software. But as time went by and the silicon got smaller and more diverse, it made sense for the manufacturers to also implement their own software. They knew how the hardware was supposed to function, after all. We see this now with smartphones and tablets. Apple makes their own hardware and software. Samsung makes the phones and and the heavily-modded Android OS that run them. And, of course, we see it with the wearable market. If you want to see the data from your FitBit, you need the FitBit app. The same goes for Misfit and Jawbone and the Microsoft Band. Truth be told, this is usually a perfectly workable system. But the boom of the wearable market has brought with it the proliferation of devices that do more than just track steps. Multiple companies now produce products that measure force and damage done to the head in efforts to try and reduce or at least understand concussions — a now-important issue in sports that we should have paid attention to years ago. But if individual companies are making their own hardware and software to collect this data, the collaboration disappears. Important sharing of knowledge goes by the wayside. Everything gets segmented and compartmentalized. With the threat of head injuries looming so large, should we not strive to pool our collective research? Can we not create products for both good and profit?

The term “open source” brings with it some confusion. Open source was spawned out of the Free Software movement, and in the name lies the first problem. When many people read the term “free software,” they think of those handy programs one can download for free off of SourceForge. It is true that many developers offer their products free of charge, but that’s not what free software or open source is about.

In the 1990s, Linus Torvalds — in either one of the most important acts in the history of computer science or one of the stupidest moves in the world of business, depending on who you ask — created his own variation on the Unix operating system and released it, for free, to anyone who wanted to try it out. It was released under the GNU Public License. The GPL basically* states that anything released under said license is free to be tested, used, and modified. Those who make modifications are even free to sell their product for profit, so long as they pay the GPL forward and release their code for the same testing and modification.

*I know I’m giving a very high overview of this. My apologies to the hardcore free software people out there.

Torvalds’ flavor of Unix was named Linux, and if you haven’t heard of it, your nerdiest friends sure have. It runs almost every web server, ATM, smart tv, and super computer, and can be found on around 50% of the world’s smartphones. This article is being written on a laptop running Linux. Company after company took Torvalds’ work and improved upon it, personalized it, and commoditized it. All they had to do was show their work.

This is how open source works. Google doesn’t technically make money off of Android, which is based on Linux. They do make money off the Android Store and the data the OS collects about users’ habits. Companies like Ubuntu and Red Hat make a killing selling their special flavor of Linux for servers, and/or by selling support for that software. Sure, some organizations do it just to do it — to work toward a common goal of creating something great and exciting — and for the mere challenge of it. But do not be fooled, there’s big money to be found in open source, in one way or another. Device manufacturers need not be afraid, especially when their work goes toward the greater good.

Imagine a company that makes sensors for football helmets. We have covered quite of few of them at this site. The sensors are meant to measure impacts and forces that could lead to brain injuries. The company packages their devices with their special software and sells it to professional, collegiate, and even high school teams. Meanwhile, another company is doing the exact same thing and selling their wares to other such teams. Who’s right? Who has the best data? Each system is self-contained so there’s no opportunity for this type of data to be compared, contrasted, and improved upon.

This is where innovation and collaboration stops. Sure, each company gets their share of the pie, but they’re not necessarily making athletes safer. This data is somewhat useful in the hands of coaches and parents, but imagine if it were open to research groups — if doctors and scientists could pick apart the code to find exactly what was being measured and submit improvements to the software. We might actually have a chance at learning something.

In a recent article about CTE, Deadspin‘s Barry Petchesky wrote:

We don’t know a lot. We don’t know the rate at which CTE develops, or the mechanism. We don’t know the correlation with playing football as compared to other contact sports. We don’t know if some people are predisposed to developing it. We don’t know how its symptoms manifest in the living. (We don’t know if it has symptoms—correlation is not causation.) We don’t know if there’s treatment. Each announcement of another CTE-riddled NFL brain amounts to, basically, cataloguing.

Petchesky is exactly right. We’re at a stalemate with this issue. If a company were truly passionate about this, they would release their software under the GPL. They could still make and sell their hardware, but others would be able to sift through the mechanisms for measuring head injuries and submit advancements to make it better. Other companies could edit and enhance this code and implement it into their own sensors. Another company could come along and do the same. Meanwhile, everyone competing in this space would constantly be working to make better systems for tracking these types of things. Researchers, now armed with the code that powers these systems, could implement it into their own experiments and research. The conversation might still take a while, but at least everyone would be speaking the same language.

I understand that the point of all these systems is to make money. They give coaches and parents peace of mind knowing that steps are being taken to protect player safety. But there’s an untapped market here of contributing to the greater good. There’s still money to be made, it just comes with a little extra peace of mind that when a company uses this hypothetical open source system, they are putting their work out there for all to see. They are daring others to create a better system. These dares only lead to other dares, and sooner or later, people might actually learn something definitive about this subject. Players get better and companies still make money — imagine that.


TechGraphs News Roundup: 1/29/2016

Hello, fair TechGraphs readers. I tried to come up with something witty for the intro, but this is already a little bit late, so I’ll cut right to the news stories from the sports-tech world that we found interesting this week.

A late-comer, but probably the biggest news of the week: the payment processor for DraftKings and FanDuel is cutting ties at the end of February. If you’re a halfway-decent coder with some experience in API work, it might not be a bad idea to float them your resume.

The Super Bowl is a little more than a week away, and Wired has a nice look at all the crazy cameras we’ll be experiencing on TV.

If you are going to see the big game in person, check out this primer on the wireless tech employed by Levi’s Stadium.

Also in time for the Super Bowl, EA is releasing Madden 16 for free on EA Access on February 2nd.

On the subject of Madden, Polygon looks at how the game deals with teams changing cities.

My friend and former FanGraphs contributor Jack Moore looks at how how the MLB media streaming landscape might change (or not) in upcoming years.

They’re going to put esports on real, actual television this year, and David Wiers is ecstatic about it.

In the vain of Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook is giving live-streaming access to everyone (with and iPhone). Now, when you can’t make it to a game, just make sure to befriend someone who can. Watching from the stands on your cellphone is just as good, right?

Periscope countered this news with an announcement that you’ll be able to stream on its service using a GoPro.

I don’t think I’ll ever get too deep into esports, but I can very much see myself plopping down on the couch to watch some drone racing.

Apparently the whole snafu with Surface tablets at the AFC championship game is being blamed on some bad cabling.

And finally, details are starting to come out about MLB The Show 16. I’m going to buy it either way, but the improvements mentioned are certainly welcome.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend. Be excellent to each other.