It’s no secret that the Olympics and NBC are pretty ass-backwards when it comes to technology. In addition to not showing events live — the major gripe of EVERYONE on Twitter — they’re tightly controlling what clips appear on YouTube. And apparently they think they can shove technical mistakes off onto other people, like the fact that during a cycling race there was a bit of GPS imprecision.
An International Olympic Committee spokesman said the network problem had been caused by the messages sent by the hundreds of thousands of fans who lined the streets to cheer on the British team.
“Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say ‘Don’t, you can’t do it’, and we would certainly never prevent people,” he said. “It’s just – if it’s not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy.”
It is absolutely true that cellphones, or more specifically the RF signals they emit, can mess with GPS systems, but we’re talking about enormous amounts of energy here, energy it would be hard for even a few hundred thousand tweeting Londoners to generate. Cellphone are specifically engineered to stay way the hell away from the signals broadcast by GPS satellites, for obvious reasons.
We’re sure that Twitter and Facebook beating their official broadcast partners to airing the actual results of each game have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this request. In addition, nobody at British cell providers had noticed any problems. So we’re chalking this one up to less tweeting Londoners and more a Games hoping to keep a tighter control on their information.
image courtesy Squaregraph via Flickr