World Cup, Computers and the Yanks

Following the BBC's announcement that all the World cup games are to be streamed over the internet, there have been the usual hysterical reactions: 'the BBC is being charged with jeopardising corporate networks, and by implication the UK economy.' Really?

If Spain plays, say, Iran - will this really bring down the UK economy? If there's an England game, perhaps - but then, workers are likely to be distracted anyway.

If a corporation which relies on the net for it's key functions insists on a 'no TV' rule, doesn't do it's workers a favour for a critical England game working out a solution and cannot put in a simple fix on the network to prevent the network being used for this purpose, then frankly they shouldn't have the net as a mission-critical part of their operation.

For the rest of us, we're going to be watching the game, so we won't notice!

Yes, I know that it shouldn't be a distraction, and people should be professional but let's get real. If there is a critical game going on, people will get resentful if they miss it - this in itself is 'bad for business'.

Let's pause for a minute and look at just when and how the UK teams (or rather team, Scotland and Wales did not qualify) are playing.

For England, the games are

  • Saturday 10th, 2pm
  • Thurs 15th, 5pm
  • Thurs 20th, 8pm

...and then the knockouts start. The first of which are on the weekend of the 24th, (the knockouts extend to Tuesday, but England will only play on Saturday or Sunday).

If England comes second in group B and gets to the quarter finals, then they might play at 4pm on Friday 30th. Surely most businesses would see this as an opportunity and would use this as a staff bonding thing?

The remaining games are 7 or 8pm.

Yes, some people will have to work at these hours - but surely the dire predictions of a 2pm network crash are unfounded? Unless I've made an error, there are no weekday afternoon games for England. As far as the UK is concerned, the problem might have been overstated a little?

On a not unrelated note, on cable (either More 4 or E4, they merge into one for me) at 8:30pm there is 'The Daily Show'. It's a US import. Last night they were showing a re-run, as it's been taking a holiday in the US. They showed one with Denis Leary, and someone (I think it was John Stewart) said 'Isn't it the World Cup of Soccer this year?' About two people in the audience (an audience that normally whoops and hollers the way US audiences seem to do) went 'yeah'.

Add to this that the man had to ask! It's an interesting contrast with almost anywhere else in the world you care to look.

The Register has an article on the scheduling conflicts that may well take place this summer

"People are suffering schedule stress," warns psychologist Harry Witchel, who tested his theory by sticking electrodes into Lost fans and forcing them to miss an episode, the big bastard. The results, says Harry, were "dramatically stressful".

Hmm... electrodes? Lost fans? I knew I should have done some psychology!

If it were 'West Wing' that would have been cruel and unusual...