The Olympics are here. What an awesome time of year. Personally, I have taken off of work just so I can watch the first week of the Olympics without worrying about losing my productivity at work. What is not to like about the Olympics? Well this is one of the last great world stages were nation states can compete against each other. The other great stage is the World Cup. Athletes are putting themselves on the stage to compete, win or lose, everyone that competesis awesome in my book. Watching the Olympics, to date, has left a lot to be desired. The main programming on cable TV is cherry picked to only show the USA audience “tape-delayed” media athletes. Media athletes, while great athletes such as Michael Phelps, receive too much attention and its seems the same athletes are on the TV every 15 minutes. The NBC stream requires a subscription to cable TV, the video is choppy, I have to sit through the same stupid Facebook health advertisement every minutes, and no commentators so it is hard to follow along with the action. Case in point with Weightlifting I have to turn up volume to hear the in house commentator stating if this lift is for first place, second, world record or Olympic record, and WTF happened in the 77kg Snatches? Or, if I wanted to watch a sport I know nothing of, such as badminton, I am lost in the action and do not know what is going on.
Do we have a choice to watch coverages say from the UK, yes we do! We can use VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Some of us may use this on a daily basis to remote into our office network when telecommuting. Think of VPN has a tunnel that your data flows through between your computer and the network or computer that you are connecting to. The benefits of VPN is that it almost anatomizes your traffic and provides protection for the data flowing from your computer to the VPN gateway. The downside to VPN is that the VPN gateway can perform a man-in-the-middle attack and capture all of your data as well as the location of your computer. Just think of a VPN gateway as the connection point from your computer the VPN host. The VPN host can be located anywhere in the world. The VPN host than can then decrypt your traffic and forward your traffic to the original destination. So for example if you are connecting to bbc.com and the VPN host is located in England then bbc.com thinks you are visiting bbc.com from England and not America.
The BBC’s Olympic coverage is a lot better than NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. Plus BBC is a great acronym, if you are aware. But, BBC blocks traffic to their live Olympic coverage based on geo-location. If you are browsing from an American network than you cannot access the BBC live Olympic coverage. Both 70′s big and All Things Gym (ATG) have a great how-to connect to through VPN to watch the BBC and other European live Olympic coverage. But, these solutions cost money to setup and view. Another solution exists, but is only for “strong hackers”. Unblock-us is a great solution that requires a little network and computer knowledge to setup. I got mine working on my Ubuntu server but it took around an hour to play with. It is easier to setup with Windows and Mac. An added bonus if you work blocks streaming media you can use one of these solutions to watch the Olympics at work, but at your own risk of course. Enjoy and let me know if you are using any other creative solutions besides tethering your phone. Edit: I forgot to add this link from lifehacker.com.