Super Bowl Commercials on YouTube!

Thanks to YouTube you now have no excuse for missing the commercials that everyone will be talking about next week.

Picking up the slack left behind from when AdCritic went pay, YouTube already has their Super Bowl Commercial page ready to go.

Super Bowl Commercials


So, whether you want a second viewing of the commercials (some of which may never be shown again) or you just think that a four hour (or more) football game is too much to sit through for a few minutes of cool ads, YouTube has you covered

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Cat Herding

In 2000, EDS, a major information technology and business firm took the term “cat herding” and ran with it for this fantastic super bowl commercial, but what does cat herding mean?

The term is used to draw a parallel between cats, who are inherently independent and difficult to control, and IT workers, who are inherently independent and difficult to control. Anyone with a cat of their own probably has a good idea what I’m talking about. In a more broad sense, herding cats refers to getting different people or groups to coordinate on a goal.

Carla Emmons sums it up nicely:

Herding cats implies the futility inherent in a position as an IT manager.

In a modern IT shop it is quite literally impossible for a manager to know everything about their employees’ jobs and I believe that is the main cause of this precieved futility. To try to understand and control everything your employees are doing is just as bound to fail as trying to get your cat to come when you call its name. The good IT managers know it, the best ones embrace it.

So what is an IT manager to do? I think effective cat herding boils down to just these three things…

  1. Hire good people
  2. Get them the resources they need to do their jobs
  3. Protect them from the politics and metawork as much as possible

Remember, cat herding (IT management) isn’t about your own goals or job fulfillment, it’s about allowing your employees to reach their full potential.

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How do they paint the first-down line on the TV?

First-and-TenWith the Super Bowl being this weekend lots of people like me (who can’t stand not knowing how something works) will be sitting around wondering “How do they paint the first-down line on the TV?”

Since 1998, Sportvision has provided many of the major networks with the technology called “1st & Ten” to paint the first-down line on the screen.

How does the line get there?

Well, the short answer is a computer analyzes the position of the camera on the field, takes into account zoom and the angle the camera is at, and where the first down line is, and draws the line on the image.

Why doesn’t the line cover the players?

There is a carefully calibrated color pallet of all the colors on the field, and another color pallet of all the colors of players’ uniforms, skin, the ball, and anything else which the line should not be painted on.

Before the line is drawn, very pixel on screen is then compared against these two color pallets. If the pixel matches a color in the field pallet the line is drawn on that pixel, if it matches the non-field pallet the line is not drawn.

Of course all of this has to happen 30 times a second to keep up with moving cameras and players, so as you can imagine it takes some serious computer power.

For more detail, check out Sportvision’s description of the technology or How the First-Down Line Works from HowStuffWorks.com.

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