Olympics 2012 – The most antiviral thing in the world.

Olympics 2012

As a South African, I was close to tears with utter excitement when Chad le Clos, stunned Michael Phelps in the 200-metre butterfly to win Olympic gold by 0.05 seconds. It was a moment that South Africans could watch over and over again. I wanted to share this moment with my dad. He had predicted the South African swimmers would fair well in the Olympics, and I thought he might appreciate Chad’s victory even more than I did.

Sharing information in today’s age is usually a click away. But I, and most probably a heap of other people in the world accessing the BBC, NBC or any Olympic streaming website, was fairly annoyed by the following message: “Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory.”

The BBC is not allowed, The Guardian reports, to broadcast “anything online outside the UK from the Olympic Park or other Olympic venues.” That includes radio shows broadcast from these venues. I thought the BBC was global news brand? Well clearly not: “As the official Olympic Broadcaster in the UK, the BBC geo-blocks its online content, so that video and audio streams are not available to audiences outside the UK.”

TechCrunch had an interesting post on how the sales of UK VPN’s spiked just before the Olympics kicked off. For all the normal, less technically inclined people out there, a VPN would give you a UK IP address and with that, users can visit the BBC’s site, as if they were in the UK. All the online Olympic goodness would be just a click away.

My initial shock and horror, when I got denied access to a video of our medal winner, most probably occurred because I am a bit of an information brat. South Africa has fairly loose media morals, we don’t restrict internet activity like China, Iran, North Korea and the Emirates. The online-world and its wealth of information, is available to all with internet access. I started investigating other media locations. YouTube was filled with Olympic videos that had been removed because they violated copyright.

The more time I spent on finding a videoclip of our brand new Olympic rock star Chad le Clos, the more apparent it became that the IOC had paid a lot of people, to make sure the 2012 Olympics the most antiviral thing on the internet.

I find this so unusual, and completely counter productive. I don’t think the IOC will lose a tremendous amount of money by streaming a time delayed channel or two somewhere. One up! They can make even more money by selling ad-space on their delayed streaming channels. Something like this YouTube channel would be great, if it wasn’t geo-blocked.

Am I the only one totally confused by the logic in geo-blocking an event as big as the Olympics?

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Black Tuesday

Black Tuesday, the darkest day for South African democracy since 1994.

Members of parliament will almost certainly pass the protection of information bill, otherwise known as the “secrecy bill”. The South African public will be deprived of free information.

Military intelligence, like weapon designs, could make us vulnerable if leaked. But we have not been reading about these topics in our newspapers. We have indulged in a feast of corruption, shady arms deals and financial scandals. Stuff that makes Nixon look like a toddler.

The ANC is now attempting to muzzle our press. The new laws would make it a crime to leak, possess or publish information deemed classified by the government, with whistleblowers and journalists facing up to 25 years in jail. Surely this bill is in direct conflict of the international human rights laws?

The apartheid government muzzled our newspapers. I thought all the political violence in our country happened in the name of freedom. Freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and association. Robert Mugabe pulled the same move as he has steadily eroded the freedoms of his people. It’s frightening that we do not learn from our mistakes.

As a blogger, I rarely write about politics or government related topics. But if times should get tough, I would like to have a voice.

I’m joining my first protest – I’m wearing black today.

The Graeme Watkins Project & Jesse Clegg

SATURDAY 25 June 2011 – River Deck

Jozi was dishing out the frostiest weekend of the year, and I thought dancing to some seriously cool, live tunes would warm me up. I picked up my friend Mari, and we braved the night kitted with 7 layers of clothes each. (Mari made me promise that I would not go into too much apparel detail)

The Graeme Watkins Project (GWP)

GWP

I had heard a song or two on the radio by GWP, and I think their “Music Affair” video, is the seriously hawt – It looks a little like Panic at the Disco, but sounds a little like Franz Ferdinand. They’re definitely doing something haven’t tried locally, and I love it. Graeme, runner-up of SA Idols Season 5 in 2009, had a supremely cool stage presence. It takes a special kind of strange to warm up a cold room like that. He was rocking it. The band consists of 3 phenomenal musicians: Ryno Zeelie – Lead Guitar (Turns out we went to school together), Rudo Pieterse – Bass and Matthew Marinus – drums.

*Watch this [               ] – these d00ds are going places!

Jesse Clegg turned out to be way more rocky than I expected. I’ve never seen anyone have that much fun on a stage. I was surprised by two things. The first being a cover of “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone. It was really cool. The second, he is only 23. He is young,  talented, and looking so comfortable with all of it. *respect

Both these bands are heating up venues all over Johannesburg this coming month. Layer up, and go see them!