Scenes from an Olympic hockey game

VANCOUVER, B.C.--It may not have been the most anticipated hockey matchup, but there was plenty of excitement inside Canada Hockey Place on Wednesday as Finland took on Belarus in the first game of the day.

Like many of the fans I talked to, I chose this game because it was the one I could get tickets to. Among those in that camp was Gareth Farfan, who brought his daughter Lily. Outside the arena, he stopped to get her a Finnish flag, choosing to cheer for them because Sami Salo, a member of the local Vancouver Canucks, plays on … Read more

Vancouver to give spectators a better flame view

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Bowing to intense criticism that the Olympic cauldron was too hidden, organizers on Wednesday announced plans to improve the view.

In a statement, the Vancouver Organizing Committee said it would move some of the current fencing and add a rooftop observation point that provides an unobstructed view of the Olympic flame.

"The Olympic cauldron is a powerful symbol, and the desire to get as close to it as possible has been remarkable--more than we expected," VanOC CEO John Furlong said in a statement. "We are pleased to provide enhanced opportunities for all to see the … Read more

Olympic notebook: The glitchy Games

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--As the sun rises into a bright blue sky here, it's hard to imagine a more picturesque setting for the Olympics. But the sun is just one of many problems that have marred the start of these Winter Games.

Even before the Games began, the weather had caused problems for course builders at Cypress Mountain, sending them scrambling to use straw and other innovations to make up for a lack of snow. Since then, organizers have had to cancel thousands of general-admission tickets at Cypress, saying weekend rains had made the standing areas unsafe.

On the day … Read more

Top U.S. bobsledder is a gold medal nerd

WHISTLER, British Columbia--Team USA is pinning its bobsled hopes on a geek.

Luckily, Steven Holcomb is a reigning world champion in the four-man bobsled, in addition to being a big computer nerd.

"I'm working on my computer science degree," Holcomb said in an interview with CNET. "I'm a huge gamer. I'm A+ certified and a Microsoft Certified Professional."

Computers have taken a back seat in recent years, though, as Holcomb has been driving bobsleds full time on the World Cup and international circuit.

Still, though, Holcomb is never too far from technology. He … Read more

Olympic notebook: A fresh look at the medal table

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Although most of the attention on Olympic national medal totals focuses on the top of the aggregate standings, one company is offering a different option.

Radnor, Pa.-based QlikTech has an application that breaks things down along other means, adjusting for things like population and gross domestic product, to offer another measure of performance. While the U.S. tops the aggregate medal chart, for example, Norway is most impressive, when adjusted for GDP or population.

The application, which is available on QlikTech's Web site, also offers a weighted medal count (giving four points for a gold, two … Read more

Live from an Olympic medal ceremony

WHISTLER, British Columbia--While most of the medal ceremonies Monday are taking place here, the most important one in this country was the one held moments ago, two hours south, in Vancouver.

That ceremony, for men's mogul skiing, was the clear centerpiece and shown on the big screen here ahead of the medals handed out live.

There were loud cheers for bronze medalist Bryon Wilson of the U.S., louder still for Australian silver medalist Dale Begg-Smith, but a deafening roar erupted for now national icon Alexandre Bilodeau, who brought home Canada's first gold of the Vancouver--or any Canada-hosted--games. … Read more

Olympics notebook: Interview with a Games junkie

VANCOUVER/WHISTLER, British Columbia--There are a lot of hassles to running one's own business, but for Norman Tu of Fremont, Calif., the benefit is that he never has to miss the Olympics.

Tu, who runs DCL, a warehouse logistics company, said he is now at his seventh Olympic games, having previously attended the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games as well as summer installments in Los Angeles, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Beijing.

"L.A. is where I got hooked," said Tu, whose company helps companies like Symantec and Jawbone store inventory and handle online orders. Sydney was … Read more

Olympics notebook: Mapping the Vancouver Games

Among the many battles being waged in Vancouver is the Olympic struggle between Microsoft and Google.

The Internet giants are both aiming to make sure that their search engines, mapping programs, and mobile software all capture the spirit of the Winter Games.

Google has been featuring Olympic-themed doodles on its home page, while Bing is featuring Olympic-themed photos as its background, with the images rotating several times a day. Microsoft can also tap the fact it is helping power NBC's Olympics Web site through MSN, giving it access to quite a bit of content from the Games.

More importantly, … Read more

Crowd-controlled airship to fly at Winter Games

A crowd-controlled blimp created by students at Canada's Simon Frasier University is getting ready for its big date with visitors to the upcoming Winter Games.

Just over 3 feet long, the helium-filled WeBlimp is outfitted with a tiny camera that wirelessly transmits video back to a laptop in the "control room" of the two-room media installation. The little propeller-powered airship, created to explore crowd collaboration in the context of navigation, conceptually places observers inside its attached gondola by projecting images onto a wall-size screen and offering a bird's eye view from the blimp's perspective.

But … Read more

The Vancouver games: Here's the app for that

After tonight's opening ceremonies, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games will get down to business: skating, slaloming, bob-sledding, and all the rest of it.

Of course, it's always a challenge keeping tabs on the various events, which is why I'm tickled to have the free NBC Olympics app on my iPhone. Among other things, it serves up a complete interactive event schedule.

That schedule includes a scrolling TV guide so you can easily see what events are being aired during any given day--and on what station (NBC, CNBC, or Universal Sports). The app provides online listings as … Read more