Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ch-ch-ch-anges

This has been a year with a number of changes, both personal and technical, so I thought it may be interesting to write a bit about some of them here.

1) Shift Changes
In September my team at work, which had been running on shifts of four days on/four days off/four nights on/four days off switched to a trial of two days on/two nights on/four days off. I had really become accustomed to that pattern, I felt it really suited me, and I especially loved the night before my first nightshift. That was a time that I could catch up on my Sky+ recordings, play some games and generally have a little me time.

Now I don't have that. I tried staying up late after my second dayshift, but it didn't work. Lots of experimenting saw that the only way I can really work with this is to go to bed at a normal time after my second dayshift, and then get a sleep in the afternoon before my first nightshift. It's had a bit of a negative impact upon my personal life, but I've been able to get through work without feeling too tired.

2) No More Google Reader
For a number of years I had become somewhat of a Google Reader addict. For me it was the easiest way to keep in touch with my RSS feeds, especially the Lifehacker feed which frequently published over 20 items a day.

I held out until the end, hoping that Google would change their mind and continue to support Reader. However they proceeded with the shutdown as planned on July 1st, and I had to switch. I tried Digg Reader, but for some reason I didn't like it as much.

Additionally just after Google Reader died a digital death Lifehacker carried out what felt like their umpteenth instance of needless tinkering with their RSS feed, again changing their RSS feed so that only part of an article was shown. Their intention was clearly to drive more traffic to the site itself, but by doing this again at a time when I was considering the usefulness of RSS readers they managed to change my behaviour entirely. I unsubscribed from the RSS feed and began to follow them on Twitter instead.

So I'm no longer an RSS junkie. I was a Twitter junkie already, so that behaviour is unchanged, but Lifehacker are seeing much less traffic from me (N.B. I retweet them frequently, as I think their writers are usually fantastic). I keep a few low volume feeds in Digg Reader, but to be honest I can't remember the last time I even logged into it.

3) Farewell ESPN America
Although I had already unsubscribed, I was still disappointed when ESPN America went off the air on August 1st as part of the reshuffle of sports channels that saw the start of the BT Sport service. The disappearance of the only sports channel specifically for North American sport was disappointing, and forced me into a position where I could only keep up with my favourite shows by podcast (Pardon the Interruption, Highly Questionable) or in some cases not at all (yep, I've really missed College Gameday this season).

While I'm not party to the ESPN decision making process I wonder if part of the reason for the channel's ultimate demise was the restrictive nature of the highlights they were able to show, and the ultimate effect it had upon many of their programmes, including the flagship SportsCenter franchise.

In addition to being reduced to being a podcast listener, I've also come to find meagre highlights and features on various YouTube channels. To find other highlights and clips I've had to become somewhat of a YouTube ninja, and while this has been bearable (along with my reduced quantity of TV watching), I do still miss it somewhat.

Ultimately I look forward (hopefully) to a time where media rights can be eliminated, and programmes like Pardon the Interruption can be shown globally in their intended format. Until then I'll just have to get by in the way I do at the moment. It may sound naïve, but with torrenting and streaming still prevalent I think major channels like ESPN and Sky will look to find a way to monetise their broadcasts globally rather than losing out on additional income.
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