Posts Tagged ‘Boston’


Bad Night For Reddit

Friday, April 19th, 2013


I didn’t get to bed until 5:00 AM. Most of the night was spent watching screens. WCVB’s streaming video was full screen on one computer monitor. A second screen scoured text based sites like,, and A TV across the way grazed between MSNBC, CNN and Fox.

Reddit was particularly interesting because of a feeding frenzy surrounding their discovery of the identity of the two suspects in the Patriots’ Day bombing. Reddit’s discovery was made without police or help from old line media. It was an air tight discovery, supported by statements from people who had gone to school with one of the suspects.

Unfortunately, it was wrong. It was totally wrong. It was cruelly wrong.

Reddit fingered a missing Brown University student named Sunil Tripathi.

Imagine the grief this wildly speculative and vindictive coverage caused the Tripathi family, already wondering where their son was.

Journalists aren’t perfect. CNN’s John King can teach a graduate level course on that.

Traditional media doesn’t get a pass, but normally shows restraint–much of which you never see. Restraint was evident in every newsroom I worked in. We always ‘knew’ more than we said. We always waited to be sure. Someone was always there to say, “Not yet.”

I’m a Reddit fan. I go there many times every day. I consider it a great tech source. However, what went down on Reddit was no better than a 21st Century lynch mob!

In this instant info world we need to be extra diligent. Diligence is in short supply with self edited social media.

We need more caution. There are real people and families behind these names.


Monday, April 15th, 2013

I’m an emotional wreck tonight. The Patriot Day explosions, right at the finish line for the Boston Marathon, first shocked me. Now they anger me. I grieve that lives were lost.

The dead and injured paid the price, but make no mistake, we were all targeted.

I have no idea whether this was a foreign or domestic enemy. It was terrorism. We have been terrorized. A bomb packed with shrapnel is meant to terrorize.

The perpetrator will be found. Boylston Street, like most center city locations, is crazy with video surveillance. Cell site records will be examined. There were thousands of witnesses.

That doesn’t bring back the dead. There is never enough price to be extracted from the guilty.

We, as individuals and a nation, must not change who we are or what we do in response to this act.

A Part Of The Cablevision/Fox Story I Almost Forgot

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Last night when I was writing my entry about Fox versus Cablevision I wanted to include an interesting piece of history… but I forgot. Better late than never! I’m including it because it’s about one of the parties, but it really isn’t part of this current dispute.

Cablevision was the original cable TV franchise holder in Boston. Boston was the last major American cities to receive cable service. The franchise was presumed to be very lucrative. The bidders were aggressive.

Back in 1981 Cablevision promised 52 channels for $2 a month. Seriously. They offered another 20 channels for $5.95 more plus eight added pay channels.

Cablevision has long since sold its Boston system. It’s safe to say inflation has trouble keeping up with cable!

Here’s what the New York Times reported Mayor Kevin White saying the day the franchise was granted nearly thirty years ago:

”It seemed possible that Cablevision might be offering more than they could deliver, but the more I studied the company, the more I came to appreciate their intellectual integrity.”

You don’t hear a lot about company’s having their “intellectual integrity” appreciated anymore.

For his part I wonder if Cablevision chief Charles Dolan would say this today:

The Mayor made it clear that he didn’t want just another luxury service for people who could afford it, but rather something that was inexpensive enough to reach everyone and could make a difference in their daily lives.

Hey AT&T–What’s The Deal At Fenway?

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

We spent the weekend in Boston watching the Phils play the Red Sox at Fenway. I was astounded that as soon as I walked into the ballpark my data service (and possibly my phone service) disappeared. This happened Saturday and Sunday though we sat in different parts of the ballpark both days.

The limitations of the 3G network were readily apparent at Boston’s Fenway Park during a Red Sox game last week. Signal was consistently 4 bars, but the data network was totally non-responsive.

That’s my story… except it was written in 2008 and posted on Gigaom.

This is a long standing problem. Here’s another person with the exact same complaint as mine from Apple’s website.

You know what’s interesting… I was at Fenway Park in Boston yesterday. I had full bars on 3G, completely max’d signal as far as the phone was concerned. And with all of that signal, I could not get to a single web site or even send a text message. I kept getting errors sending data as well as timeout errors when trying to hit a web site.

It’s from July 2008 and, again, my story exactly.

More recently commenter writing about the iPad ban at Yankee Stadium added this about Fenway.

when I’m in my seats at Fenway Park with my iPhone, I get NO service. Not even EDGE.

Even a voice cell call from Stef went directly to voicemail while I was at Fenway. I got notice of the call only after we were walking back down Brookline Ave.

It seems difficult to believe at&t doesn’t know this exists. How could they not?

Recently at&t announced they were eliminating their “all you can eat” data plans for the iPhone. Maybe a nice gesture would be for them to stop signing new customers until they built a network that could handle the ones they’re collecting money for now.

Call me frustrated.

We’re In Boston

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Good aftahnoon from Bah-ston. Helaine and I have checked in to our hotel and will be leaving soon for Fenway Park.

The drive wasn’t too bad–just a little traffic. However, people of Boston are you living in an alternate universe? I used to drive here as a college student a zillion years ago, but I don’t remember such total denial that there might be other people on the road!

A city bus made a left turn as I was entering an intersection with the right-of-way. The driver held her hand up like she was a traffic cop. What was I going to do plow into her to make a point? She wasn’t the only vehicle to beat us to the punch at an intersection.

The grand prize, however, goes to pedestrians. The have been darting from between cars like cockroaches, often only a few feet away from legitimate crosswalks! Most crossed without bothering to look at their potential fate. Unreal!

We are at a hotel in the vicinity of Dana-Farber and other hospitals. Pulling into the garage nearly everyone we saw was wearing Phillies gear.

“Go Phillies,” Helaine yelled at a family walking out of the lobby.

We are among friends. Hopefully they will be happy friends later this evening (and tomorrow). Game time 4:05 PM.

Why I Love My Wife

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I got an instant message earlier this evening. It was Helaine. The message was just a link, nothing more. I clicked and saw:

3/3/2010 Baseball at Philadelphia Phillies 7:00 PM Listen

It was the Florida State Seminoles site. They played the Phils tonight. Helaine was looking to listen.
The isn’t preseason baseball. It’s pre-preseason baseball! No one’s playing with a jersey number lower than 85.

And you wonder why I love her so?

I used this as an excuse to buy the yearly Major League Baseball video package. We get it every year and it is well used!

major league baseball blackout map.jpgIt’s a great idea, but talk about a purchase limited by small print! If anyone’s game is nationally telecast the Phillies game is blacked out. If the Phils are playing in New York or Boston the game is blacked out (though we do get those games on cable).

There has been some kvetching recently from folks who are blacked out though they’re hundreds of miles from the nearest team and on-air or cable telecasts aren’t available. That’s just wrong.

I scrolled down the MLB.TV page looking for dirty tricks. Sure enough well below ‘the fold’ there was a pre-checked space expressing my desire to automatically renew next March 1. I unchecked it, as I had last year. Persistent bastards, aren’t they?

I love baseball. It means spring is right around the corner.

The Storm’s Over — The Numbers Are In

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

snow-shovel-on-the-steps.jpgThe snow has come and gone. There’s never a bullseye, but the forecast was reasonably close. If success is judged by number of complaints, or lack thereof, I’m doing fine. Here are the final DOT numbers. I have also added the Boston and New York NWS snow totals, which include Connecticut, for the Dec 20-21, 2009 storm at the end of this entry.

Not everyone was as lucky. A friend who forecasts in Springfield sent a text message saying he’d received nothing! “Bust of the decade,” he said. Ouch. Been there. I know exactly what he’s going through.

I was right about Southeastern Connecticut getting the most snow followed by the shoreline in general. The snow was fluffy and windblown as predicted. Accumulations were generally in line with my numbers. My call for the Northwest Hills and most of the area directly adjacent to the Massachusetts line was a few inches higher than the actual totals.

I wrote about this last night, but it bears repeating the most unusual and interesting part of this storm was the exceptionally dry air. During the summer we sometimes see 30 grams of water content per square meter. Last night it was around 1 gram per cubic meter!

The dry air was the wild card. Radar showed moderate snow over all of Connecticut for hours-and-hours before anything hit the ground. Once the atmospheric column over any location became saturated light snow turned to heavy snow. I’d never seen a situation quite like this before. It cut inches off all the accumulations.

It’s a shame this storm will impact Christmas shopping. Otherwise we’re lucky it came on a Saturday night when travel is usually light.

And now the dig out begins.

(NWS totals after the jump)


I’m A Tracking Fool

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Can we talk about package tracking? This is just another version of crack cocaine, right?

When was the last time you ordered something and didn’t check at least once… or seven times? Personally I feel anything worth tracking is worth tracking constantly. UPS and FedEx need to install GPS readouts! I want street-by-street tracking.

My Tuesday ordered computer mostly arrived Wednesday. UPS now says the rest, shipped from California and originally coming Friday, will actually be here Thursday!

It first went from Baldwin Park, CA to Ontario, CA. My guess is that’s a truck route. Then air freight to Dallas, Orlando and Boston.

Hmmmm… sounds like Southwest routing. I’ll check for peanuts upon arrival.

Two hours after it arrived in Boston it moved out again to Windsor Locks. Next stop is probably North Haven then out for delivery.

There are no stores locally that sell the stuff I just bought. Mail order drove them out. Even with instant purchase gratification it’s tough to compete with the selection and convenience of online.

A Bad Day

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Here’s how you know you’re having a bad day. From the NY Times:

“A picture caption on Thursday with an article about an agreement between The New York Times Company and workers at The Boston Globe misstated the gender of Cyn Goodenough, shown reading the Boston newspaper. She is a woman.”

Corrections in today’s Times takes fully one-quarter of page A2. Yeah, that seems like a lot. Most news operations don’t acknowledge mistakes at all.

Big Deal In The TV World

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

I got an email early this evening from Matt Scott, another meteorologist at the TV station.

“look at this! holy cow! – will others follow?”

There was a link to a WHDH news story… or maybe a press release. Can you actually report a news story about yourself?

BOSTON — Starting in September, you will be able to watch 7NEWS at 10 p.m. on 7NBC.

For those of you who have a hard time staying awake, Frances Rivera and Kim Khazei will bring you a full hour of local news an hour earlier, followed by 7NEWS at 11.

It’s what wasn’t said that’s most important. WHDH, Channel 7 in Boston will not be running the new Jay Leno Show at 10:00 PM. This is quite unexpected, especially in Boston, Leno’s hometown! I’m not sure exactly the totality of what it says about the future of local/network television, but I’m sure it says things are going to be very different.

NBC quickly pushed back hard. As reported in

“WHDH’s move is a flagrant violation of the terms of their contract with NBC,” said John Eck, president of NBC TV Network. “If they persist, we will strip WHDH of its NBC affiliation. We have a number of other strong options in the Boston market, including using our existing broadcast license to launch an NBC owned and operated station.”

Maybe they do have options, but none with the incumbent strength of WHDH. Even though WHDH’s ratings are down they still hold a lot of swagger in that market.

Here are some of the variables.

  • From NBC’s standpoint the earlier announcement of Jay Leno’s move to 10:00 PM removed an expensive hour of episodic programming, usually owned by others, for a cheap-to-produce show they own. They were willing to give up ratings with the thought their bottom line wouldn’t suffer… maybe it would even improve.
  • From the local affiliates standpoint Leno brings them reduced revenue and ratings with no reduction in cost. The assumption is the lead-in to their late local news would be lower as well, meaning Leno would cost them money in more than one hour per night.
  • Sunbeam, owners of WHDH, have a rocky history with NBC. They sued and later dropped their suit when NBC took their Miami affiliation away years ago. NBC took the affiliation because they had bought a Sunbeam competitor.

Is this the beginning of the end for network TV? Maybe.

Cable is starting to mount nearly as much first run programming as the traditional nets. The revenue model is different in cable where advertising is augmented by subscriber fees. I have been personally disappointed to see broadcast TV stations start to re-run shows that first appeared on cable.

The idea of distributing programming and bypassing local affiliates has to be enticing to the the traditional networks. They can cut out the middleman and his profit!

What do local broadcasters do? I’m not sure, but it will almost certainly have to include more, and cheaper, local programming.

From a selfish standpoint that’s not too awful for me. I could easily help a local station fill a few hours with a talk show or something else that’s aimed at a specific geographic audience.

Meanwhile I’m sure no one knows what the next step in this intricate chess game will be. Will WHDH relent? Will the networks fall apart? Will a local station admit they need local on-air talent? Who knows?