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It's An Olympics Tradition: How Difficult Can NBC Universal Make It To Enjoy The Olympics?

from the yet-again dept

Is it really that time again? When NBC screws up its coverage of the Olympics by showing people what it thinks they want to see, rather than what they actually want to see? Every two years, the Olympics does two appallingly annoying things: makes it difficult to watch the Olympics online... and refuses to show it live on TV. In the 20th century view of NBC execs like Rick Cotton, the only thing that matters is prime time television. So they hold off and focus everything around that prime time slot... effectively pissing off everyone else. As Erick Schoenfeld noted: "The only Olympics tweets I've seen all day are from people pissed that NBC is not broadcasting the opening ceremony live."

Hell, even when they go on Twitter the Olympics can't do things right. There was a lot of buzz around the fact that NBC and Twitter teamed up to create an "Olympics" hub. Great (though some people are pointing out that NBC's own Twitter feed is now tweeting stories that it refuses to broadcast live). However, as Canada-based reporter Mathew Ingram discovered in trying to look up the Olympics Twitter hub, thanks to NBC Universal restrictions, Twitter is geoblocking access. To check it out, I visited the Olympics hub site from the US and saw this:
And, then, through the magic of the internet, "transported" myself (or, at least my connection) to Toronto, where I reloaded the page... and saw this:
In the end, I'm not really sure it makes a huge difference. To be honest, I'm not sure I quite understand the point of the Olympics "hub" on Twitter, but it's yet another way in which NBC Universal seems focused on restricting access, rather than enabling access. It's 20th century thinking for a company that is in desperate need of 21st century leadership.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:12pm

    I've said this before, but if Google ever wants to take its foray into television seriously, it should buy the rights to broadcast the 0lympics.

    Google could broadcast every single event live and stream them for later viewing. It'd be awesome. Everyone would love it.

    Come on, Google!

     

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  2.  
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    vegetaman (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    This is the same sort of logic failure that causes CDs to be released in Europe an entire month different from when they are released in the US. But at least THEY can pretend to have a physical product/distributor excuse.

     

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  3.  
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    justok (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:18pm

    Re:

    Keeping with the Olympic memetif, it should by Lycos (one of the sea spirits native to the island of Rhodes; the gods killed them when they turned to evil magic)

     

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  4.  
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    Emily White, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    AGREED!

    THANK YOU FOR THIS!!

    I don't own a television and would HAPPILY pay for on-demand live streaming coverage.

    Every quadrennial I hope that The Olympics coverage has caught up with technology and every time it is a let down.

    For now, I'll just enjoy reading all of the U.S. swim team's Tweets as at least the can keep us in the live loop!: https://twitter.com/#!/swimswamnews/us-olympic-swim-team

     

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  5.  
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    Paul Alan Levy (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:33pm

    Live Olympics

    For the past couple of days I have been enjoying live soccer at the Olympics -- er, I should say, I have been recording the live broadcasts, then watching at home later.

    If I lived out on the West Coast, I could actually watch some of it live.

     

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    Rekrul, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:36pm

    To be honest, I'm not sure I quite understand the point of the Olympics "hub" on Twitter, but it's yet another way in which NBC Universal seems focused on restricting access, rather than enabling access. It's 20th century thinking for a company that is in desperate need of 21st century leadership.

    You have that backwards...

    The 20th century was all about innovation and inventing new technology. The 21st century is all about crushing innovation and locking down new technology.

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:38pm

    Re: AGREED!

    Freetard

     

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  8.  
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    Emily White, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:58pm

    Re: Re: AGREED!

    I just said I'd pay fyi.

     

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  9.  
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    PRMan, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    I wondered...

    I wondered why nobody was tweeting results that I already read on 12 other pages. What a joke.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:05pm

    Aren't the Olympics over yet so that we can get back to more interesting IP & Copyright topics?

    If advertisers want my eyeballs, they will need to start advertising on Techdirt.

    I'm not going to put myself (or my family) though the trouble of watching the Olympics advertising until they make it easy for me to obtain.

    In the meantime, Go Pepsi! Go Wendy's! Go ASIC!

     

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  11.  
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    ShellMG, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:06pm

    I guess we need a new Olympic sport -- the Circumvention Freestyle -- also known as the twists and turns sports fan must undertake if they wish to watch the Olympics in a reasonable fashion.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:32pm

    Ah, the Olympics. A truly "global" event.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: AGREED!

    Fuckwit.

     

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    Adam Bell (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 5:55pm

    CTV Olympics

    In Canada, CTV has the franchise and even better, has an iPad app that showed the opening ceremony (actually about 15-20 seconds later than it was on TV). Having looked at the show on TV, I discovered that the iPad 3 image was actually better on the Internet. Unfortunately, CTV's desktop machine access is the pits for me -- it uses Silverlight and looks really bad; smearing images, etc.

    Mike could use his Toronto connection to have a squint.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    EN BECEE, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 6:00pm

    Stop The World And Bring back 1960!

    When TV was king and we didn't have to work to stay filthy rich!

    Your interweb thingy sucks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 6:23pm

    Don't really care anymore. They can block it all they wish. Been so many years since most of it was broadcast, I've lost interest in the Olympics. Haven't seen one in years. Nothing to get excited about anymore on it.

    Maybe they should just block it to everyone that doesn't have pay for view. It'd work about as well.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 6:43pm

    F*** NBC I haven't watched their Biased network for over TWELVE YEARS, and I won't start with bad coverage of the LAME GAMES. IOC SUCKS.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 6:44pm

    alright raise of hands who just torrented the opening ceremony?

     

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  19.  
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    Shadeyone, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: AGREED!

    Wait, how does not having a TV equate to wanting all things free? Some people don't have a TV because they don't want one or they have a subscription to Netflix and watch everything on their computer or tablet.

    I've got a TV, but no cable because I've got a 3 year old and I'm not gonna pay over $50 a month for something I'm barely going to watch because I want to be a decent parent and husband and spend time with my family.

    So according to you in my situation, wanting to spend time with family=freetard pirate apologist who is intent on destroying the fabric of life as we know it

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 8:29pm

    Mike, what is amazing is that, after a decade of writing this blog, you still don't get the ideas of rights being held by different groups in different countries.

    Shocking. Next you will fail to understand that the sky is blue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Robert (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 8:56pm

    Just reminds me again of how I wish I could buy a British TV license and get access to the BBC's streaming services. :(

     

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  22.  
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    Danny (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:48pm

    Thank you NBC

    i suggested to my wife over lunch today that we turn on the opening ceremonies. Found they weren't there and not scheduled until 6:30pm in Chicago. We had 7pm dinner plans at home (a guest came over), so we recorded them and watched at 10 when our guest left.

    It was great. Since it isn't live anyway, it really doesn't matter if we watch it when it airs, or a little bi later. We were able to kip all th commercials and see about two hours of show in 90 minutes (I wish we'd skipped the rap too).

    My wife is still watching; I had my fill. Anyway, this slight personal delay worked so well we I'll do it for je rest of the games. So thanks NBC for showing us that not watching live means not watching commercials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Danny (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:51pm

    Thank you NBC

    i suggested to my wife over lunch today that we turn on the opening ceremonies. Found they weren't there and not scheduled until 6:30pm in Chicago. We had 7pm dinner plans at home (a guest came over), so we recorded them and watched at 10 when our guest left.

    It was great. Since it isn't live anyway, it really doesn't matter if we watch it when it airs, or a little bi later. We were able to kip all th commercials and see about two hours of show in 90 minutes (I wish we'd skipped the rap too).

    My wife is still watching; I had my fill. Anyway, this slight personal delay worked so well we I'll do it for je rest of the games. So thanks NBC for showing us that not watching live means not watching commercials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: AGREED!

    I think some people have a broken sarcasm detector.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 11:22pm

    Re:

    He does understand. What he doesn't understand is why, in the 21st century, in a day when a person from Country A can view content online from Countries B through Z quite easily, is suddenly faced with geo-restrictions. The internet is a global distribution hub.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 1:02am

    Re:

    Mike, what is amazing is that, after a decade of writing this blog, you still don't get the ideas of rights being held by different groups in different countries.

    Rights for tweets?

    I understand TV rights, but the Olympics hub is just about tweets. Those tweets are global. No reason to limit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 2:11am

    This is what destroying culture looks like

    We are witnessing the destruction of culture.

    For all those IP maximalists who demand strict IP to preserve culture, FUCK YOU.

    The Olympics are supposed to be about GLOBAL goodwill and are an historical event. We live in a time with technology that allows everyone around the world to view and record and share the experience in real time. But we can't.

    The Olympics should be the one event where all IP is suspended.

    Please explain how this is protecting culture.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 3:51am

    Move to the UK, the BBC are showing everything, on the TV, via redbutton channels, on the web, over the web, on pretty much every device!

    =)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    You're talking out of your ass, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 4:08am

    you're talking out of your ass

    Aside from Rick Cotton, who is legal counsel and has nothing to do with programming, ALL of the management has changed since past Olympics.

    This article is full of shit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Beech, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 4:23am

    The problem

    So there's only a handfull of olympic sports i care about. Judo, Taekwondo, Shooting, maybe one or two others. I just spent 45 minutes bouncing around the official olympic website trying to find when any of them aired. eventually found a nice little tool that lets you put in your zip code and TV provider and it gives you a list of what events are airing on what channels when. Awesome. Until half the stuff is on NBCSports which i don't get, the other half is on MSNBC which has "Olympics" as a 4 hour block of programming and my DVR won't let me start the recording 2 hours late (I don't need 2 hours of coverage of sports i dont care about).

    So after all that work I have not a whole lot to show for it. Time to see if there are other less legitimate options to what the event i want when i want with a minimum of fuss.....

     

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  31.  
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    Beech, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 4:28am

    update:

    after about .5 seconds of searching the seedier options i found that apparently The Pirate Bay is ready to accommodate those of us who like sports other than track, swimming, and gymnastics. I mean, just look at their homepage! http://thepiratebay.se/

    I wish the official olympic site was as welcoming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 4:52am

    I'll do it, provided that NBC Universal just pay off my debts and give me a $70k salary. It'll take three easy steps, too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 5:28am

    Re:

    I feel you need something pointed out.

    When it says "Anonymous Coward" it isn't actually "anonymous". Techdirt knows your IP address and could rather easily publish it for the world to see. Armed with your IP address a savvy social engineer could call your ISP and have your name, address, and phone number and publish this data as well. All of this could be done literally within minutes.

    But Techdirt doesn't do that because they respect your privacy and right to speak your ignorant mind.

    It's best to not provoke the caged lion when the cage door is wide open...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    abc gum, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    I've been enjoying the "Games" over there on that little island immensely. One event in particular has caught my attention and that is the "Insult the Host Country" event in which I believe Mitt Romney has taken Gold !! There is another event called "Back Pedaling" which again our very own Mitt has won Gold. Very impressive performance. I think he declined to compete in the "Find Something Make In The UK That You Want" event because he had little chance of a winning a medal. The nation feverishly awaits the remainder of his Insult The World tour with drooling fervor and anticipation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    CTV is doing all that from Canada, too, so we don't need a BBC license. :-)

    Nor do Yanks who know Mike's trick!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Re: you're talking out of your ass

    For this issue the legal counsel would be part of the decision making. "Gee, how do we follow the example of the Olympics themselves and maximize our IP in the worst ways possible, Rick?"

    Rick -- "We delay everything till Prime Time and then start to stream on Silverlight just like we have in the past. Here's the playbook from Beijing just follow everything in it!"

    (Rick passes the playbook to Programming"

    Porgramming -- "Hey, cool! Thanks!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), Jul 28th, 2012 @ 8:31am

    "It's An Olympics Tradition. . ."

    Due to years of these kinds of restrictions and more over the years, I boycotted the 0lympic$ years ago. Everyone in the restricted zones should do the same. You could also subscribe to a VPN service in another country. It may also be possible that video clips will be available via torrent magnet-links, Pirate Bay, etc. Screw NBC and the 0lympic$ committees. They're as bad, if not worse than di$ney corp and all the other US media fattys.

     

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  38.  
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    you're talking out of your ass, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: you're talking out of your ass

    LOL, I'm not sure if there's any truth to that, but it made me laugh none the less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    Re:

    I don't really get why people are making such a big deal out of his remarks. Granted, I'm neither British nor American, but his remarks didn't appear that upsetting to me. If I were an American, I'd worry much, much more about my politicians lying about each other than about one expressing doubt about the security of a sporting event.

    Of course, if you're going to play Insult Other Countries, it's almost a shame Santorum isn't in the race anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    abc gum, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Of the many things a politician ought to be capable of, diplomacy is rather high on the list. More so for those at the higher levels of government. Flippant responses and a general lack of respect will get them a lot of attention (mostly bad) followed by the digging up of similar remarks from the past, with Romney they have much material to choose from.

    Honesty is good trait, no doubt, and is somewhat lacking in most politicians. What really bothers most of us commoners is when they lie straight to your face and expect everyone to believe it. Then they act all annoyed when called out on it and refer to it as "gotcha journalism".

    I'm relieved that the American Taliban is no longer in the race, however - I'm sure they will be back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re:

    Because an IP address identifies someone about as much as a telephone area code does.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    indieThing, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    You could always just subscribe to a VPN connection with UK servers. It's far cheaper than buying a British TV license.

    I do it myself to view american TV shows on services such as Hulu. You should be able to use the BBC iPlayer once you're up and running.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    HBP, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 8:33pm

    Real Solution... Dump NBC!!!

    Honestly... the US has Screwed it's self for way to long allowing Media to dictate what it can and cannot watch. the Brits have it right, hence the reason I pay 7 Euro a month(Via Paypal = about $12) for a VPN to watch TV...

    AND GUESS WHAT!!! I Saw the opening ceremonies live, and get to watch all the events all the sessions no matter what, because they are all streamed and if I happen to be asleep, I can catchup. all 24 streams of the olympics live in HD.

    none of this commercial bullshit that we as americans have come to accept as TV... if the match is 20 minutes long, your watching 20 minutes of folks playing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    james ingot, Jul 29th, 2012 @ 11:37pm

    In the UK the BBC are screening 24 HD channels of the olympics live.
    No adverts

    So we can see any sport we choose at no extra cost.

    They also showed the opening ceremony in 3D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 4:07am

    Re:

    Next you will fail to understand that the sky is blue.

    I'm amazed you understand that given how much of a hard time you have with reading comprehension.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 5:22am

    Re:

    Everyone would love it...cept the Olympics Commission. The reason I no longer care about the Olypics is because its too commercial now. Everyone wants money from it while the stars, the athletes, get to simply live in near poverty for two weeks (plus training and all that) to represent their countries in nike ripoffs that, rather than litigate, Nike actually did the right thing and gave them real Nike uniforms.

     

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  47.  
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    jackn2, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    What's an Olympics?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    Peter Voveris (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    The greatest con on earth?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    Ian, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 5:18pm

    Re:

    @Robert You can just 'transport' yourself to the UK in a similar way as 'transporting' to Canada in the story. VPNUK will do the trick for you at about a fiver a month. Then you get all the BBC live feeds

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    Ian, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Whoops missed your comment somehow - think I wasn't viewing chronologically or summit like that. Anyway @Robert needs a UK VPN we're all agreed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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