Friday, March 16, 2007
March Madness, UK-style (and I don't mean University of Kentucky!)
We have several posts in the works, one on the food festival we attended last week and another on how one can buy anything used here. But today's blog entry just has to be about last evening. After I got home from work, we popped a frozen pizza into the oven, cracked open a few beers...and watched Texas A&M beat some team in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament! Now Katie's an Aggie so the win was exciting enough, but I was more amused and impressed by how we watched the game: on our laptop.
For the 2nd (3rd?) year, all the tournament games are streamed live over the internet and I had signed up for a VIP pass last month since I heard they limited the number of people viewing (there's no cost). I tested the system at work and the computer network guy there (who was highly amused) said I wasn't hogging any bandwidth so I edited a story while watching Maryland barely win their game.
Katie was able to log on at home over the wireless network, but she was on the top floor and video was choppy and even audio only was in and out. So we brought the laptop downstairs and plugged it directly into the cable modem providing our internet. We had a long cable so we propped the laptop up on the coffee table, sat on our new couch and ate pizza and drank beer while cheering on the Aggies (Whoop!). There were remarkably few breaks in video or audio and the picture looked fine on the 14 inch laptop screen (one can switch to full screen mode instead of the mode you see above). In fact, the experience was better than watching TV at home in the U.S. in that I could pick any game to watch. I wasn't at the mercy of whatever game CBS chose for me.
Katie had to go to London early today so she went to bed early. I stayed up and watched the Michigan State game, but I must admit I couldn't stay awake for the whole thing--the game started at 11:30pm here and I do have work today! Curiously, I went to watch the archived game to see the ending this morning and viewing outside the U.S. was forbidden--even the highlights! I guess only live TV is permitted for streaming here. Still, with March Madness in full swing on our laptop. I could almost forget I'm in England. Go Spartans!