Web Streaming Update Spring 2015

Spring basketball is now in full swing. The men are coming off a big 33 point victory over Millikin last night. I hope you all are either dropping in on the games in person or watching the Titans on our streaming portal.
Scoreboard and Interface Enhancements
We have completed work on a new scoreboard interface that is branded specifically for Illinois Wesleyan. You will now notice Tommy Titan next to the scoreboard and a new look for all the information graphics used for the streaming broadcasts. I have included a screenshot in case you have not watched recently. Thanks to Robert Frank III and Michael Gorman for their assistance in making this a reality! Stew Salowitz also added new graphics to the video interface that you will see before viewing any videos on the Stretch site.
New Scoreboard

New Scoreboard

Viewer Statistics
Stretch Internet has now restored our viewer statistics capability! Here are the viewer numbers for Spring so far:

01/07/2015  Women’s Basketball vs Wheaton  308
01/10/2015  Women’s Basketball vs Carthage  245
01/10/2015  Men’s Basketball vs Carthage  362
01/14/2015  Men’s Basketball vs Millikin  292

Schedule
I just added games on our streaming portal that will provide games to watch until the first of May. We will be covering basketball, track & field, lacrosse, baseball, and softball this semester. All of our broadcasts are brought to you by our own students. Feel free to thank them in person the next game you attend. They are all excited and proud to be part of the IWU athletic program!

Web Streaming Update Fall 2014

We are back at it once again. Football, soccer, and volleyball are the sports we cover in the Fall. We have already live streamed 12 games this year. We are also featuring new software to hopefully make our viewers happier!
Game Central 2.0
One of the nice things about this new version of our viewing portal software is the live stats will now automatically show up beside the live video stream (if available for the game). Like the new University website we rolled out this year, our game central portal is now a responsive web design. This means it will automatically respond to whatever your screen size is and deliver the best possible video and stats, sized appropriately for your device. Other features we are hoping to take advantage of in the near future are:
  • Instant Highlights – allows us to grab highlights during the game and allow viewers to watch these either in-game or after the broadcast.
  • Multiview – You can now watch our live broadcast and up to three additional On-Demand broadcasts.
  • HD Broadcasts – We are hoping to move to a high definition (1080p) broadcast next year.
Student Turnover
We had three seniors graduate last year from the broadcast team. This meant that there was only one student returning with any experience. I apologize if any of you have had any frustrations viewing games this year. Please bear with us as our new students Hy Nguyen, Yangyuan Xu, and Sean O’Carroll get experience using the camera and get up to speed on all of our sporting events. Some of the games have been a little rough around the edges, especially football. I have been working with them and sending them notes after each game. They are really bright kids and will hopefully improve very quickly!
Another bad part of the student turnover is that we no longer have any students who will be doing play-by-play and commentary for the games. We lost Matt Rooney, Matt Siegert and Zach Szkowny who also graduated last year.  I was hoping to have a sit down committee meeting to discuss this during the Summer, but the website launch kept me too busy. I am still hoping to have one of our alumni come back (Tommy Gilbert) and talk with the committee about ideas to keep students in the pipeline for these duties. I will keep everyone posted on this.
Viewer Statistics
One of the drawbacks to the new version of Game Central is that there are currently no viewer numbers available. Ryan Emerling, from Stretch Internet, assures me that they will have this feature restored by the end of October. Hopefully, I will be able to post viewers stats with my next update

New Responsive Design Website

As of 6:00 A.M. Wednesday, July 23 ITS launched the University’s first responsive design website. This allows our website  to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones, tablets, netbooks, laptops,  desktop computers, and television based browsing). Many thanks are needed for all who were involved over this two year process.

  • First and foremost, thanks to Michael Gorman who provided roles as lead architect, programmer, and web developer on the project.
  • Matt Kurz for the many hours as the main content lead, project lead and author.
  • Ann Aubry for her tireless hours on implementation, author, and editor. Ann served on all of the campus groups formed during this entire process, including the Web Advisory Group, Web Redesign Work Group, and the Implementation Task Force.
  • Robert Frank III for his web design and artistic vision.
  • Rick Lindquist for his training support and conversion assistance.
  • Chandra Shipley for her work on the course plans and incorporation of the academic advising templates.
  • Paul McNamara for his web design and photographic cataloging work.
  • Amy Young for her brilliant work on all of the campus videos.
  • Laurie Diekhoff for her assistance on the internship pages as well as her work on the new internship searchable database.
  • Crystal Boyce for directing the usability studies and providing much needed feedback during the testing stages of our site.

To all the other members on WAG, WRWG, and ITF we could not have launched this web redesign without your countless hours of hard work and assistance. Other members on these committees include Bob Murray, Chris Kawakita, Kim Hill, Brad Sheese, Sue Wilson, Sue Anderson, Matthew Damschroder, Tim Obermiller, Carlo Robustelli, Jeff Mavros, Alan Russian, Alex Bechtel, Jake Thaker, Stephanie Kohl Ringle and Tera Lippert.

Video Streaming Update Spring 2014

Hosting NCAA Basketball Tournament
Illinois Wesleyan was chosen to host the first and second round of the men’s basketball tournament this weekend. I have just received permission from the NCAA for the streaming rights to these games. Here is our schedule for this weekend:
  • Ohio Wesleyan vs. St. Norbert – Friday, March 7 at 5:30pm
  • IWU vs. Webster – Friday, March 7 at 7:30pm
  • Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – Saturday, March 8 at 7pm
If you can’t make it to the games in person, please watch us from home and support our Titans!
Internship at WGN
Matt Rooney and his fellow WESN students have been providing play by play and analyst commentary for almost all of our streaming broadcasts. Matt is a senior this year and will be moving on after he graduates in May. Matt has let me know that he has an internship with WGN this summer and hopes to continue to explore broadcasting as a career. Matt, I think I speak for everyone in saying that you have done a wonderful job with your broadcast duties at IWU and we all wish you the best of luck with WGN and whatever your future brings! You will be missed.
CCIW Basketball Tournament Viewers
We had big viewer numbers for last weekend’s CCIW men’s basketball tournament.
  • Game 1 Wheaton vs Augustana – 293
  • Game 2 IWU vs Carthage – 270
  • Game 3 IWU vs Wheaton – 463

This represents the highest numbers we have seen for basketball this year.

Lacrosse Set for Live Streaming
Mike Wagner has just sent me the rest of the Spring sports schedule. We have our first Men’s Lacrosse broadcast set for Saturday, March 29 at 2pm against Olivet. Hopefully, we will have a great inaugural season!

Viewer Statistics
Women’s Basketball vs Augustana – 54
Women’s Basketball vs Millikin – 37
Swimming & Diving vs Millikin – 20
Women’s Basketball vs Wheaton -139
Men’s Basketball vs Wheaton – 231
Men’s Basketball vs North Central – 157
Track & Field vs I55 Triangular – 63
Men’s Basketball vs Millikin – 120
Men’s Basketball vs Augustana – 215
Women’s Basketball vs Elmhurst – 79
Men’s Basketball vs Elmhurst – 137
Women’s Basketball vs North Central – 87
Women’s Basketball vs Carthage – 142
Men’s Basketball vs Carthage – 160
Men’s Basketball vs North Park – 111
Women’s Basketball vs North Park – 48

Redirects

We all know the pain of clicking on a link and getting the dreaded “404 Error: Page Not Found”. It usually happens when someone links to someone else’s webpage and then that page is renamed or deleted. The Web is an ever-evolving source of tons of information, so we shouldn’t keep old pages around just to make sure this never happens. But what do you do when you do rename or delete a page? How do you update all those old links?

The answer is: you don’t have to! That’s right – through the magic of web server configuration, we can seamlessly hijack requests for nonexistent pages and send visitors to the new location!

Here, try it out. After you click on this link to the old Office of Student Activities website (http://www.iwu.edu/studact/), take a look at the URL bar in your browser. You’ve been seamlessly redirected to the new page!

But wait – there’s more!

Let’s say you’re making a poster or a mailing, and you want to link to a really awesome YouTube video. You wouldn’t expect readers to manually type in a URL like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FWUp2HCxr8, would you? Of course not! So, what do you do?

Here’s the solution:

  1. Copy and paste the old or complicated URL into an email.
  2. Figure out what you want the simpler new URL to be (and make sure it doesn’t already exist). It has to begin with iwu.edu.
  3. Send me an email!

As soon as I see your email, I’ll add it to the server configuration and you’ll be all set!

Some other examples of redirects we already have in place:

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or comment on this blog post.

Streaming Update Fall 2013-14

We are at it again this year. ITS and Athletics have provided financial support to pay for the streaming services again this year. We have also hired a new student (Erik Mena) to add to our team. Things are going well and we have had higher numbers in volleyball than ever before!

New Bandwidth
Chris Rutledge and his network services team have the new Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network bandwidth addition hooked in and in use. This upgraded us from a 155MB Internet connection to 700MB of usable bandwidth. So far this semester, we have only seen 350MB being used as our maximum. This not only means that we should no longer see our streaming broadcasts cut out when being viewed on campus, but should allow normal Internet use in the afternoon when it was very sketchy before this upgrade. Let me know if you still have problems on campus viewing a live or recorded broadcast.

Positive Feedback
Our game against the University of Chicago not only provided us with our highest viewer numbers for volleyball to date (64), but it also generated some good will! Kim Nelson-Brown passed along this letter from a viewer from the opposing team. We try to be fair in our broadcast as far as showing the other team during time outs and during warm up periods. Although, we do favor our team!  🙂 It was nice of this person to take the time to send this message while viewing the volleyball game from California:

Dear Coach,
  I am sorry your team lost tonight but I enjoyed watching my daughter from the University of Chicago on your webcast.
  She is a senior,  #10, Katie Huntington.
  Living out in Oakland, CA, I don’t get a chance to see many games in person.
  I appreciate your school taking the time and investing in showing the match. I want to you know people are watching.
The graphics were also very easy to read.
 Thank you again and good luck with the Titans this season.
Jim Huntington
Oakland, CA

WESN Plans
Matthew Siegert has let me know that WESN does plan on covering Football games this semester and basketball games for our winter schedule. This is especially tough on Matt since he is actually playing during football games!  🙂  He is trying to get a crew together to provide play-by-play and color commentary for the games. This adds so much to our broadcasts and helps keep our numbers for these sports high compared to other sports. It would be nice if we could find students interested in calling soccer and volleyball games. If you know someone who is interested, please pas this along to Matt.

Viewer Statistics
Women’s Soccer vs. Adrian 33
Men’s Soccer vs. Webster  30
Women’s Soccer vs. MSOE  22
Volleyball vs. Eureka  15
Men’s Soccer vs. Simpson 40
Men’s Soccer vs. Central College 34
Volleyball vs. Univ. of Chicago 62
Women’s Soccer vs. Univ. of Chicago 42
Volleyball vs. William Woods 40
Men’s Soccer vs. Univ. of Chicago 58


							

Streaming Update Spring 2013

The Bandwidth is Coming!
Trey Short has just reported that the Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network upgrade is targeted to go live on July 1st. This means we will be upgrading from our existing 155MB Internet connection to a 1GB connection! This should fix the issue Tony Bankston reported in our last streaming update (broadcasts cutting out when viewing from on campus). We are all very excited about this upgrade in ITS.

Smaller Numbers, But a Loyal Audience
We do have a smaller audience for softball & baseball compared to the number of viewers for basketball & football. However, this audience does seem to be more vocal in their support of our streaming efforts. Every baseball game I have attended I have had someone talk with me about how much they appreciate us covering the games. I had one guy tell me about watching Titan games for over 50 years and thought it was great that we are now broadcasting the games! Another guy told me about going to school at IWU and having a radio show with WESN. He was very impressed with our broadcasts featuring the WESN announcers! He is now working for Elmhurst and having a hard time rooting against the Titans. Recently, a mother asked if we were going to cover the doubleheader of baseball this Saturday. She informed me that she is not going to be able to attend and told me that it was senior day and was hoping to catch the ceremony prior to the game. I told her that I would have to talk with Dennie & Mike about this change (we are scheduled to broadcast the softball games). I did tell her that I would setup earlier to ensure that we cover the ceremony prior to the start of the game, if we do get to cover these games. Don’t be alarmed if our schedule changes this weekend.  🙂

Tommy’s Night
If you are not familiar with Tommy’s Night, it is an awards show put on by the student-athlete advisory committee and the athletic department. Last Monday’s award show was very well done. In particular, I would encourage committee members to check out the On Demand version of this on our Stretch site and slide over to the 1hour and 35minute mark to view Fightin’ Titan Award winner Angel Garcia (custodian for Shirk Center). As Mike Wagner describes, Angel essentially had the worst year of his life and still supported Athletics in a way only Angel could. It is a very touching tribute. By the way, Angel always offers to help our student workers carry and set up our equipment when he is working. He is such a nice guy.

Stats
One thing you will notice about the stats is that we covered a lot of doubleheaders for baseball and softball. This is an economical use of our time allowing us to cover two games in a short period of time with only one setup. Here are our most recent viewer numbers:

Softball vs Monmouth  15
Softball vs Monmouth  14
Baseball vs Millikin  38
Baseball vs Millikin  30
Softball vs North Central  30
Softball vs North Central  46
Softball vs Augustana  27
Softball vs Augustana  23
Softball vs Elmhurst  29
Softball vs Elmhurst  22
Baseball vs Knox  54
Softball vs Washington U.  18
Softball vs Anderson  21
Baseball vs Elmhurst  28
Tommy’s Night  45
Baseball vs Augustana  56

Browser Shares

As a web developer, I am keenly aware of many quirks of various web browsers. Many people don’t realize this, but different browsers often display the same content differently. These days, one of the biggest problems holding back cool new features in HTML5 and CSS3 (the latest and greatest in web development) from being widely adopted is the fact that too many people are using outdated browsers that don’t understand that new code.

Once a month, I compile statistics on which browsers have how much usage on the Illinois Wesleyan website. This information comes in handy when I’m developing new apps on php.iwu.edu or writing new code for the site as a whole. I was very encouraged by some of the statistics for December. Notably:

  • Chrome (my personal favorite) is now handling 25.26% of pageviews. Safari (on Mac OS) is at 23.17%. Firefox rounds out the top three, with 20.89%.
  • Old versions of Internet Explorer are declining significantly, while newer versions are rising in popularity. In the month of December, IE9 and IE10 represented 10.50% and 0.30% of pageviews, respectively. IE8 decreased from 8.83% in November to 7.87% in December. The two worst enemies of web developers, IE7 and IE6, are now at 1.36% and 0.04% (!), respectively, and both are on a steady downward trajectory.
  • Mobile browsing continues to increase in popularity, with iOS at 8.67% (up from 6.99% in November) and Android Browser at 1.52% in December.

These numbers are all encouraging to me, and they should be for you, too, as a web content provider. The fact that 88.79% of visitors all run on advanced, standards-compliant browsers means you don’t need to do too much cross-browser testing when rolling out innovative features, and when you do, chances are, everything will work as expected.

IE8, 9, and 10 all do relatively well with new CSS3 and HTML5 features, so checking compatibility in IE8 tends to suffice for me; IE9 and IE10 tend to be somewhere between IE8 and Chrome when it comes to compatibility. Most of the time, if it works in IE8, it’ll work in newer versions, too.

And as for IE6 and IE7 users, well, these statistics are showing me, month after month, that the time I spend fixing things for them is becoming less and less justified. Big changes will still be reviewed in IE7 (for now), but, frankly, I’m not even sure I’ll need to keep a copy of IE6 around for testing much longer. And that makes me incredibly happy.


There are no (ITS-related) reasons for keeping older versions of Internet Explorer around anymore. If you’re one of the people running an outdated version, you can upgrade on your own or contact Help@Ames (x3900) for assistance.

Streaming Video Winter/Spring 2013

As we move into the Winter/Spring 2013 schedule I thought it would be good to review how things have gone this past year. We now have three student workers who are completely independent and have worked at all regular sporting events. We can now count on them to cover most broadcasts with very little assistance from myself or Michael. We had a string of equipment and network related problems which caused cancellation of broadcasts. We had our highest viewer numbers for soccer ever. Despite some problems, things are going very well and we continue to improve each game we broadcast. Here are some details from our 2012 streaming schedule:

Amusement
If you are looking for a good laugh, just pull up this link of the women’s soccer game vs. North Park that took place last Thursday. Watch a few seconds from the start of the game where everything looks normal then take the play bar to almost the end of the game. Yeah, they had to stop filming because it got completely ridiculous! I can’t believe the game continued under those conditions. We did win the game 5-0. I have a new respect for those girls who played in this game. Completely crazy!

http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/iwu.portal?mode=link&eventId=64687&broadcastType=video

Problems
We had a series of problems during the fall 2012 streaming broadcasts.

  • A Stretch software update ended up breaking our older Mac laptop when we tried to upgrade the OS to accommodate this update. Luckily, Roy and Trey got together and provided us a new laptop. This new laptop is much better than the old one. We now provide streaming video at a steady 30 frames per second. The old laptop would sometimes drop below 12 frames per second on occasion.
  • Our network core upgrade took out a basketball broadcast. We thought we would be okay to proceed with this broadcast for two reasons. The first reason we left this game on the schedule was because we thought the upgrade would be done before the game started. The second reason was because we have a Comcast connection in Shirk and we thought we could use it if our network was still down at game time. To make a long story short, the network upgrade took longer than we thought and the Comcast connection was being used elsewhere and was unavailable to us.
  • This last problem did not cause a broadcast to be missed, but it did leave viewers hearing ambient audio and the PA announcer instead of our student WESN broadcast crew. Our radio finally stopped working and they had to switch over to the ambient microphone instead. Trey has since ordered a new radio. This new radio should offer better reception inside of Shirk Center. We hope to use it on the next broadcast that Matt Siegert and his WESN crew are able to do.

Streaming Stats

  • Tennis vs. North Central  3
  • Women’s Soccer vs. Wash U.  81
  • Volleyball vs. Carthage  32
  • Football vs. Millikin  233
  • Women’s Soccer vs. Milwaukee SOE  20
  • Volleyball vs. North Park  27
  • Football vs. Carthage  238
  • Volleyball vs. Elmhurst  40
  • Women’s Soccer vs. Wheaton  86
  • Men’s Soccer vs. Wheaton  102
  • Men’s Soccer vs. North Park  81
  • Women’s Soccer vs. North Park  51
  • Volleyball vs. Dallas  12
  • Football vs Augustana  162
  • Men’s Basketball vs Coe  134
  • Men’s Basketball vs Loras  64
  • Men’s Basketball vs Illinois College  49
  • Women’s Basketball vs DePauw  75
  • Women’s Basketball vs UW Whitewater  100
  • Men’s Basketball vs Wisconsin – Whitewater  149
  • Women’s Basketball vs U of Chicago  67

 

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