Friday, November 21, 2008

BCS: Success or Mess?

Just about everyone has weighed in this season on the Bowl Championship Series or BCS for short. Most notable is our next President who wants an 8 game playoff system.

The Chairman of the BCS committee respectfully disagrees. Guess who wins that one? The BCS Committee says a play-off wouldn’t be in the best interests of the “student-athletes.” Heck, it might be the best chance their professors actually get to see them.

Here at Video Professor we run the gamut of school favorites. Big 12, SEC, Big 10, PAC 10, ACC, the MAC and the WAC and the list goes on. We have a lot of proud alumni of some great schools working here.

The BCS is a strange brew of polls, both human and computer that no one seems to quite understand, although everybody has an opinion. The best win-loss record doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the NCAA National Championship. Other factors include some conferences like the Big 12 and SEC have conference championship games while others like the Big 10 and Pac 10 do not, plus strength of schedule, blah blah blah.

But the powers that be refuse to consider (at least publicly) a play-off, even though there is one in college basketball which is a 65 team tourney. Guess what? When you add up all the bowl games played this year and early next year, 64 Division 1 football teams will play.

So we end up with 4 BCS games, and one National Championship Game. In most cases, someone is unhappy.

Ultimately this won’t come down to what’s right, but what makes the most money. ESPN just closed a deal to carry BCS games starting in 2010. While they plan to carry the Rose Bowl on ABC, you’ll have to have cable or satellite to watch the others. Another option is the games will be available on your computer or mobile device.

In the meantime, it’s great fodder for sports talk shows and interviews with the likes of Pete Carroll. He suggests removing the “C.”

I won’t have to wait to hear who makes what BCS games. I’ll just check the vacation request forms and do the math myself.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Reach him at

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vision depends upon your point of view

Folks sure like to predict things. Sometimes the predictions come true, often times they don’t. Predicting can be very un-predictable.

I came across these quotes about computing and technology from years past.
“No one will need more than 637KB of memory for a personal computer” by Bill Gates (Currently new PCs use around 524288KB+).

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” by Ken Olson of Digital Equipment Corporation in 1977.

“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” by Popular Mechanics, 1949.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. ” by Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

“But what ... is it good for?” (referring to microchip) by an Engineer at IBM, 1968.

“ [By 1985], machines will be capable of doing any work Man can do. ” by Nobel Laureate, Herbert A. Simon.

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” by Charles H. Duell commissioner of the US Patent Office in 1899.

We seem to have a fascination with trying to predict things. Football pregame shows always include predictions. ESPN’s Bowl predictions change every week.

Las Vegas makes a lot of money off people who make predictions.

It’s all so very predictable.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at

Friday, November 07, 2008

The transition from traditional media to Web 2.0

How did you watch the election returns Tuesday night? Did you watch on TV, your computer or both? The networks provided a dizzying array of graphics. CNN even used holographic images of reporters and analysts that looked like something out of Star Wars. All produced with computers of course.

But the razzle-dazzle often times got in the way of what most people want on election night, what candidate or issue was winning or losing.

I heard one report that stated as many as 28% of you monitored election results on your computers. Most networks, newspapers and radio stations provided election night web sites that let you be the producer for election coverage.

Web 2.0 played an important part in Campaign ’08. The same held true when the vote was being counted.

While the networks may have been focused on one state, if you were interested in a different race in a different state, there were online options for you. It’s yet another example of how computers and Web 2.0 empowers you and puts you in control of the information flow.

Most election night web sites offered a full map of the United States. You simply clicked on the state you were interested in, and could drill down for more detailed information from there. Another plus was the ability for you to interact with these sites, post comments and blogs.

I try and never take any of these advances in computers for granted, thinking back to the days when we introduced our first lesson on MS-DOS. There have been huge technical advances in computing during the 21 years we’ve been in business at Video Professor, and there was no better proof than what we all experienced on election night.

More changes are coming as “traditional” media makes the full switch to the Web. The Christian Science Monitor will no longer publish a print edition. Everything will be online. Print circulations for newspapers continue to decline, while viewers shift their attention to the online editions.

Radio station web sites now offer multiple video clips. When radio uses video, you know the times are indeed changing.

I’ll make a guess that many of the 10 million people we’ve taught over the years, were watching election results online this year. Good for you. We’re happy to have helped you do so.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at