Tom Canterbury once said, “The trouble with referees is that they just don’t care which side wins.” For many sports fans—actually a great majority—it is, obviously, incredibly important which team wins. But seemingly more important is that SOMEONE wins.

Just a few months ago, the National Football League was embroiled in discussions over shortening the overtime period from 15 to 10 minutes. The logic behind the proposed adoption of the rule was to protect player safety and even the playing field for teams facing overtime in a “short week” where the team has played on Sunday and again on Thursday night, or vice versa. The most immediate and vehement opposition to the proposed rule was the prospect of more tie games.

Author Eric Simons describes his book, “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans,” as “an expansion of a fan’s sense of self.” Simons writes, “A sports team is an expression of a fan’s sense of self, as I learned from dozens of interviews and research articles I surveyed for my book It is not an obnoxious affectation when a devotee uses the word “we”; it’s a literal confusion in the brain about what is “me” and what is “the team.” In all kinds of unconscious ways, a fan mirrors the feelings, actions and even hormones of the players. Self-esteem rides on the outcome of the game and the image of the franchise.”

So you could see how a tie game, or even the prospect of a tie game, can have a tremendous effect. This has never seemingly been a concern in the “tech wars” that have existed over the past several decades.

The progress of any new technology has invariably led to a bitter competition over the adoption of one of two opposing forms or formats of the technology. Take for instance Blu-Ray vs. HDDVD, Mac vs. PC, or VHS vs. Beta. Many times, the popularity and adoption of one leads to the utter destruction of the other. Other than in the context of having been destroyed by the other, very few have ever known of Beta or HDDVD.

Sony introduced its “Beta” video recording system in 1974, expecting that electronics manufacturers would all back a single format “for the good of all.” To its dismay, JVC, in particular, went with its own format, Video High Density, or VHD. While other manufacturers did introduce other options and formats, “None of these disc formats gained much ground as none was capable of home recording,” and the battle between Beta and VHS began. Ultimately, a lower price and longer recording capability allowed VHS to emerge victorious.

In some instances, like Mac vs. the PC, while the seemingly less popular option never matches the popularity and volume of users, it finds a cult following. Just ask a graphic designer which platform they prefer, and you’ll know what I mean.

In many cases of competing technologies, new or established, the winner is that which best suits the needs of the individual or organization. Take, for instance, Accelerated Life Testing for vibration fatigue.

In his article, “Repetitive Shock or Electro-Dynamic: Which Vibration System Will Meet Your Needs?”, Neill Doertenbach explains the different mechanisms and resulting fatigue characteristics created by RS vs. ED systems.

So check out Neill’s article and everything else we have to offer in this month’s Quality.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Darryl Seland,
Editorial Director