Archive for June, 2011

Lots of new toys

OK, first I gotta say that I love our blog name – there was definitely some debate in our office about what we should title our new blog (let’s just say that one idea involved clip art of an alligator – don’t ask). Is Taffy a little corny? Maybe… but admit it, you’re gonna remember it, right?

Alright, down to business.

Who says summer is time to rest? Our development team has been hard at work to get all kinds of new and exciting features in place for the Fall. Consider this a sneak peak…

•Live blogging! When we unveiled our GameCentral interface last summer, we included a live chat feature. And while many schools have used and enjoyed the feature, a lot of schools have held off simply because a chat room can open the door to, well, let’s just say some “colorful” commentary. With that in mind, we’re putting the finishing touches on an integrated live blog (which, like the chat, will appear in the portal adjacent to the audio or video stream). This new feature will allow our clients to utilize a more moderated environment; the admin can choose to approve or ignore user comments for inclusion in the blog, promote other users, include hyperlinks and all kinds of other pretty cool things. You can even use the interface for a blog-only event.

•Mobile live stats! (And, yes, I am going to add an exclamation point after every item because these deserve exclaiming!) We’ve got a beautiful graphic interface set for our mobile live stats this year. We’ll be ready to show off the baseball/softball interface at CoSIDA – and the Fall sports will not be far behind. We’ve spent a lot of time to make sure the interface is pleasing to the eye – but also incorporates the play-by-play and statistical information in a logical and useable way (which isn’t as easy as you’d think when you’re working with a lot fewer pixels!). So, any mobile device with a web browser will be able to access live stats. And, remember, we’re still the only provider to support both StatCrew AND DakStats (you’re welcome NAIA schools).

•Media downloads! (Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but this feature is already live and there’s a link available in the client CMS). Most of our clients have – at some point or other – asked us if they could get a copy of an audio or video file from one of their archives. Now, that functionality exists with just a few clicks. As soon as we’ve posted archives (which happens almost immediately after the event for video – and within 48 hours for most audio events), our users can download the corresponding MP3 (audio) or MP4 (video) files and edit them to their heart’s content. We also support batch downloading, in case you’re looking to download several files at once.

•Automatic audio archiving! For our clients who broadcast audio by dialing into our studio, we’re now going to provide the option to manually start/stop a recording of the audio through simple commands (for instance, 1# might start the recoding, and 2# might stop the recording). The benefit, you might ask? For clients who utilize this feature, their archives will be available almost immediately following the game in the On-Demand tab of the portal (no more waiting for our staff to edit the files).

•Integrated Twitter feeds in the portal! We’re pursuing a means of allowing our clients to have their most recent Twitter feed automatically scroll through the ticker area (above the media player) in the portal. Pretty cool stuff. So, let’s say you have a fan watching a live women’s basketball game and you just tweeted the final score of the MEN’s basketball game – within about 60 seconds or so, that tweet will scroll through the ticker. The possibilities are pretty exciting.

•Pre-roll integration! We already provide the means to incorporate rotating footer graphics and gateway graphics (splash screens) in the portal; now, we’re adding the ability to include pre-roll audio and video clips as well. You’ll be able to upload an audio or video commercial, for example, and have that commercial play as soon a user clicks on a “Watch” or “Listen” link – as soon as it’s done, the stream they requested will automatically begin playing.

So, there you have it! We’ve got several other exciting features coming as well, but this should at least get your feet wet. Let us know your thoughts!

28

06 2011

Welcome to Taffy – the official Stretch Internet blog

Stretch Internet is proud to unveil ‘Taffy’ – our official company blog where we hope to keep you current on all the latest streaming news – stretch-related and otherwise – to inform you, interact with you and maybe even entertain you once in awhile.  It’s an unofficially official re-introduction to our blog and we are hopeful that you will like what you find.  With our family of clients ever-growing we aim to provide a platform where we can interact directly with you the broadcaster, you the SID, you the administrator – or in some cases, you all of the above.  Planned topics to range anywhere from discussions on new technologies unveiled by us, to reviews of new hardware or software that may benefit the client.  You might stop by to find a post on answers to frequently asked questions or we may treat you to a Q&A with one of our school’s broadcasters or sports information directors.  The options are truly open-ended and the bottom line is that we want to provide something valuable, engaging and create an atmosphere where we can help you, you can help us and you can even help one another.  It’s really a win-win-win (those are a thing now, we just created a Wikipedia page).

Why Taffy?  Great question, glad you asked.  First and foremost, who doesn’t like Taffy?

Mmmmmmm

 

In all seriousness, the thought process behind the name Taffy was we wanted a name that was a little off the beaten path that would stick in your memory (no pun intended).  Also, Taffy is a stretchy material (pun intended) and we hope that this site will provide material that will stick with the reader (we’re done, promise).  And so… Taffy was born.

Since 2003, when Stretch Internet was founded, the primary goal has been to provide unmatched customer service.  Our feeling is that this blog, as well as some of our other recent social media initiatives, is just an organic extension of that mission (click the header to find us on Facebook and Twitter).  We hope that we can use all of these tools to further connect with our customers.  As for Taffy, we plan to go wherever it may go, with your help, reaction and feedback along the way.  Mainly, we hope that you find something worthwhile, that you throw our blog feed into your RSS reader and stop by throughout the course of your week to see what’s going on here at Taffy.

On that note, please feel free to leave us a comment to let us know what you think – what are some blog topics that you would find interesting and/or useful?

Happy streaming everyone!

18

06 2011