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back to article IOC asks Olympic spectators to cut back TXTs and tweets

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has blamed spectators’ twitchy thumbs for the infamously spotty television coverage of the Men’s Olympic Cycling Road Race. Reuters reports an un-named official said the sheer volume of data traffic generated by the million-plus spectators on the route prevented cyclists’ GPS units from …

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WTF?

The IOC can piss right off

SMS and Data are paid for by all users of the network. They have absolutely NO right to ask anyone not to use it. They shouldn't be using the cellular phone data network for such things if it's that important

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Re: The IOC can piss right off

Indeed. I'm sure the RSGB could help them out with an alternative system.

APRS with some cheap radios on a commercial UHF frequency would possibly do quite nicely.

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Agreed. Don't want to hear any bullshit excuse about network congestion. If the service providers can't provide a service they shouldn't have bid for the contracts in the first place.

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Re: The IOC can piss right off

>> They have absolutely NO right to ask anyone not to use it.

Surely they have the right to ask nicely? That is what they did.

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HMB
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Professionalism

It's completely unprofessional. Relying on a public data connection for transferring mission critical data at the exact time when you expect mass public data usage.

They're getting paid too much to be this incompetent.

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Anonymous Coward

Contractor that can't perform to their contract

Sonething sounds familiar here... can't imagine where I've heard of this before.

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Pint

Re: The IOC can piss right off

FTFY: Why not put the mountains of unsold WP7 phones to good use by giving one to everyone who attends? That way, the text/data usage will drop to zero for the duration of the games as everyone will be too embarrassed to be seen using metro.

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Re: The IOC can piss right off

I'm sure they could have done something with prioritising network traffic, it's not as if it's impossible as PAYG customers are used to that. Or maybe they're using PAYG SIMs to phone home?

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@iGoto: Network congestion

I agree in principle, but if you've got a cell out in the middle of the countryside and suddenly tens of thousands turn up to watch the bikes go by, you may not be able to cope. Trees and hills are also a problem for GHz signals - living in the Chilterns, I know whereof I speak.

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Re: service providers

"If the service providers can't provide a service they shouldn't have bid for the contracts in the first place."

Did anyone bid for this contract? It sounds much more like cyclists were all using tried and tested off-the-shelf hardware. Presumably it is the same tech that didn't fail during the Tour de France, and that's hardly a minor event.

These Olympics have cost quite enough already. Can you imagine what the comments on this site would have been if the IOC had tried to implement their own cell network? "What a waste of money? Why can't they use the extensive network(s) that are already there? Jeeeesus, I could do it myself for a fiver and still make a profit. What a bunch of idiots! ... (continued on page 94)"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: service providers

@Ken Hagan:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/cartoon/2012/jul/28/olympics-modern-toss-freestyle-moaning

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Re: The IOC can piss right off

They have every right to *ask* and that's all they have done. It's like your neighbour asking you not to park outside your house if he (or she) has a delivery coming. He or she can ask, but they cannot compel you to comply.

That said, where I work, we were told by OFCOM to switch off all unlicenced radio transmitters (even those that did not require a licence, like Wireless Mics) as we are next to an Olympic venue, and LOCOG wanted all unlicenced frequencies available both for security and in case they needed them. We were also told that OFCOM would be actively scanning the area.

So, it's not as if LOCOG didn't have the radio bandwidth available, they presumably were trying to avoid the cost of the infrastructure required to use it.

None of which lets O2 off the hook. They can wheel in mobile cell towers where there are festivals and other big events. Would it not have been possible to wheel in one or two to carry the load of the Olympics? After all, if people were managing to clog up the existing cell(s) with text messages, it's not as the profits wouldn't justify it.

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Re: The IOC can piss right off

I used APRS in the 2000 Olympics to track motorcycles for the TV coverage, and this worked without incident. Any competent broadcast rf engineer would know that trying to rely on the phone system during a major event is dumb

Darry

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Risk analysis? What risk analysis?

Surely this should have been spotted as a potential risk when the solution was being designed ? Network congestion is not a new or unusual phenomena; there are plenty of ways of designing around the problem.

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Trollface

The Six Ps

Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance... Obviously the London Olympic committee doesn't understand that age old idea...

Oh and on a side note... that bike rider and go kiss a wombat... exactly what obligation did our valiant athletes have to help the dirty pommy bugger?

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Re: The Six Ps

"Oh and on a side note... that bike rider and go kiss a wombat... exactly what obligation did our valiant athletes have to help the dirty pommy bugger?"

None whatsoever - if GB didn't respond to the breakaway then it's their fault.

It's just that Team Sky didn't have their Aussie to do the hard work.

(yes, I know -- but who didn't keep thinking it was the Sky team?)

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Re: The Six Ps

This pommy bugger agrees with you. I presume that there would have been no question of sharing the gold medal had the Aussies "done their bit to help".

On the other hand, I'm prepared to believe that someone whose Olympic dreams have just crashed and burned might be in a state of mind where they make ill-judged comments that it would be kindest to politely ignore.

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Coat

Re: The Six Ps

Regarding the mens road race, no one had any obligation to help the GB boys chase, but it is the usual form for teams not represented in the break to get together to chase. In this case two teams not represented in the break but with fast sprinters (Germany and Australia) appear to have decided not to help with the chase. It's not the usual thing to happen, but maybe because it's national teams instead of trade teams that made a difference.

Cav can be beaten in a sprint, but only by careful thought. In this case it seems to have been the thought that by ensuring he couldn't go for the win then he and all the other sprinters would be beaten to the line.

Next thing someone will be complaining that Vino served a suspension for doping a few years ago.

Mine's the one with Barry Hoban's autobiography in the pocket.

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Gimp

Tweets provide better comentary...

Than the twats on TV.

Seriously, every nation is making a complete and utter dogs breakfast of it.

Easier to watch the raw footage, with the sound turned down than listen to NBC go on about how the Olympics related to Ryan Seacreast and dancing with the stars.

Or worse yet, CBC (Canada's broadcaster) Playing "5 degrees of separation" with every athlete and Canada.

Worst of all is the Australian coverage, with consists of the presenters masturbating furiously when an Australian wins a medal.

If no one is winning a medal, they cut back to past Olympics of the same event, where they did win a medal, and start jacking it all over again

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Re: Worst of all is the Australian coverage

If no one is winning a medal, they cut back to past Olympics of the same event, where they did win a medal, and start jacking it all over again

I couldn't agree more. It's soul-destroying to watch and I regret not coughing up for a UK-exit VPN. Anyone who complains about the Beeb should be forced to sit and watch ultra parochial Nine's coverage.

Example: the canoe slalom (introduced as "slaylom") just showed the Aussie competitor and no one else. It's pretty much all like that. They didn't even show the end of the women's road race last night cos some Aussie was 97th in the men's 750 metre knitting relay and that was deemed more important.

I'm not going to bother watching anymore of the first week. The Aussies have all gone home by then and the real sport begins.

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Trollface

Re: Tweets provide better comentary...

"Worst of all is the Australian coverage, with consists of the presenters masturbating furiously when an Australian wins a medal.

If no one is winning a medal, they cut back to past Olympics of the same event, where they did win a medal, and start jacking it all over again"

Are they *cute* presenters?

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Re: Tweets provide better comentary...

[i]Are they *cute* presenters?[/i]

Ugg... no... they are fat middle aged men for the most part.

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Meh

Re: Tweets provide better comentary...

Not only that, but they're fat, middle aged *rugby league* presenters, who present every sport as if some beer swilling bogan is about to throw a punch in someones face. (except for the gymnastics commentator, who apparently feels the need to berate every athlete for every mistake that *she* would *never* have made).

As usual, SBS coverage will be the one I watch - there might be less coverage of Australia, but at least the commentators rely on professionalism and skill to create interest, rather than simply shouting their banal comments into the microphone a bit louder.

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Facepalm

Re: Tweets provide better comentary...

Try the Spanish coverage of the opening ceremony, which was getting half the cultural references which they did bother to explain wrong and then a countdown to the appearance of the Spanish team and then a special camera following the Spanish team for the rest of the parade of nations and the commentary switching to talk about the Spanish team. Why they needed a special camera following them I'm not sure, it's not as if their clothing didn't make them stand out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tweets provide better comentary...

"Easier to watch the raw footage, with the sound turned down"

That's exactly how I watched the female beach volleyball.

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Re: Tweets provide better comentary...

Then apparently (I didn't watch it) you missed out on the most inspired choice of background music in Olympic history. (Try Googling "beach volleyball Benny Hill theme".)

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FAIL

Simple ... Just change the cell Class of Service

Cell systems are not equal opportunity. They have Class of Service which can allow one user have service whilst the guy right to him, on the same network, gets a busy.

It would hardly be noticed had the cell companies changed the COS for the riders for the duration of the race.

Another IOC failure.

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Trollface

Oh

Are the Olympics on?

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Anonymous Coward

"Plan ahead for congestion"

That was what we were told, wasn't it?

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FAIL

Coverage?

My sister lives on the cycling route and reported no issues at all. Sure she was texting, facebooking and uploading pictures of the cyclists. Her data stream seemed to work fine, and is presumably of such strength that the few KB of GPS data the cyclists were beaming back to the IOC were swamped.

I am guessing someone bought some cheap gear and it didn't work as expected.

Also, do they not have this problem in paris at the end of the TDF? they didn't seem to have it this year and I am pretty sure the French have modern phones!

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Anonymous Coward

if you want to refute something

isn't it required that you provide evidence or proof? Otherwise it's merely a denial.

Not that I care either way. If it happened that the Aussie team would rather ensure GB don't win, than give themselves a chance of winning, they're allowed to. Seems a bit feeble to me, though. Most likely they just ballsed up their tactics as well :-)

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Headmaster

Re: if you want to refute something

google refute vs repudiate vs refudiate :D

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Anonymous Coward

@john 62

Concise Oxford: refute: prove falsity or error of (statement, opinion, argument, ...)

No proof was provided, hence whatever it was, it wasn't a refutation.

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Belgian

The cycling stream was originated from a Belgian team NOT THE BBC

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FAIL

Re: Belgian

Dutch - NOS.

And the coverage - the camerawork and direction - was good. They mostly had the motos in the right places (and "mostly" is pretty good). Shame they couldn't use a heli on Box Hill, but the trees couldn't be cut back enough to make that possible. Perhaps not quite as good as France 2 during the Tour, but much better than the complete shambles Spanish TV made of the Angliru climb on the Vuelta last year.

The problem was the data. Without gap info, a peloton/breakaway chase is tricky to follow. Without the GPS data, the auto-id of riders in a group was also missing, which left you with the commentary to ID the groups. Even the best commentators make mistakes; you should get the teams right nearly always, but until you see the number or a close-up, you can't be sure of that many individual riders.

But the BBC commentary was terrible. Porter was a complete waste of space, which kept Boardman busy identifying riders and correcting Porter's errors, leaving him no time to analyse. I suspect that Boardman would do fine in the Paul Sherwen/Sean Kelly if he had someone as good as Phil Liggett or David Harmon alongside him.

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Presumably the IOC is going to start demanding Olympic data lanes as well, in future. Everything that goes wrong at the Olympics seems to be astonishingly, gob-smackingly, mind-numbingly predictable, and the attitude of everyone organising assumes that everything will work perfectly when it absolutely has to. Hello trees, hello sky...

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Err...

Everything that goes wrong at the Olympics seems to be astonishingly, gob-smackingly, mind-numbingly predictable.

Err... It's very easy to sit at home and say that problems are obvious AFTER the event.

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Strange how they .....

.... never have that sort of problem on the Tour de France with their motorbike/pillion cameraman combos connected by wireless to the broadcast vans.

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Word from the peleton is what the IOC official said is tosh. All the team cars had correct timing at all times, it was just the braodcasting company did not put it on the screen.

So no technological failures just misdirection from the IOC chappie.

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Happy

All you need to do...

is give us back our Zil lanes, and then we'll stop tweeting. Deal?

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Anonymous Coward

The mobile networks aren't standing up to the challenge, it's not the IOC's fault, they just want to try and solve the problem.

Does anyone know what network provider they are using?

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Joke

Lord "Nothing to see here" Coe

I'm sure Lord Coe will come over all Mythbusters and 'reject your reality, and substitute my own' as per.

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"The mobile networks aren't standing up to the challenge"

And it IS the IOC's fault for failing to predict this, then relying on those networks themselves.

As others have said, the IOC could have contracted for higher class of service.

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Anonymous Coward

but......

Aren't they promoting this as the FIRST SOCIAL MEDIA games, what did they expect in that case.

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