Thursday, September 29, 2011

Morning Brief: A night to remember for baseball fans, captured perfectly by new mobile and tablet apps; Kindle Fire's new Amazon Silk and privacy concerns

At some point today I will be in a situation where I will have to explain what happened last night, the last night of baseball's regular season. It will be difficult, that is for sure.

If you are waking today unaware of how last night's big games turned out then this NYT story is a great round-up – at least of the Red Sox game. And while I have been a bit annoyed with the eastern press for almost completely ignoring the dramatic race in the National League, it turns out that focusing in on the Red Sox-Rays race was a good idea – that is where the drama really way. As for the Braves-Cardinals race, the Cardinals did not play by the script when they went out and destroyed the Astros last night, leaving it to the Braves to create all the drama, and ultimately all the disappointment.

So, there is no baseball today, the playoffs start Friday. As for my Giants, their season didn't really end when they were eliminated from the playoff race, it ended when their stars started falling, one by one. But Giants fans waited forever to win, we can wait again. That's baseball.

How did you watch last night's ball games? ESPN did an excellent job of keeping viewers informed of what was occurring in all the games, switching back and forth when they could.

But a national network has to be neutral. Not so the local broadcasts. And with the ups and downs of emotions it was good to have my iPad next to me loaded with MLB.TV's app. It is one thing to see the winning home run, it is another to hear the local call. Search in YouTube for a video replay of Edgar RenterĂ­a's World Series home run and you'll see that one of the most popular videos doesn't even show the big hit – its the radio call by Dave Fleming, his voice cracking after a long season.

This morning I can rewind the Red Sox-Orioles games and stop the action right when the final run was being scored. Red Sox fans, no doubt, wish it could be rewound permanently.

During the course of editing an early morning post yesterday about the Amazon tablet launch event, I deleted a sentence I wrote that went something like this: "the strength of the built-in browser may have a big impact on the success of the new tablet" – or something like that.

It has turned out that one of the more controversial aspects of the Kindle Fire is its Amazon Silk browser. By cacheing data on its cloud servers, Amazon hopes to speed up the performance of the browser, delivering websites faster than browsers found on other tablets.

But the implications are rather interesting. Here is some of the Amazon Silk Terms & Conditions:
Amazon Silk optimizes and accelerates the delivery of web content by using Amazon’s cloud computing services. Therefore, like most Internet service providers and similar services that enable you to access the Web, the content of web pages you visit using Amazon Silk passes through our servers and may be cached to improve performance on subsequent page loads.

Amazon Silk also temporarily logs web addresses known as uniform resource locators (“URLs”) for the web pages it serves and certain identifiers, such as IP or MAC addresses, to troubleshoot and diagnose Amazon Silk technical issues. We generally do not keep this information for longer than 30 days.

You can also choose to operate Amazon Silk in basic or “off-cloud” mode. Off-cloud mode allows web pages generally to go directly to your computer rather than pass through our servers. As such, it does not take advantage of Amazon’s cloud computing services to speed-up web content delivery.
Don't be surprised that this remains one of the features of the new Kindle Fire tech sites debate over the next couple of months.