Ok. I just gotta say that I'm a keen supporter of football, which is soccer to some of you. My fascination with the sport came to me rather late in life and on the field I suck as a result. But, I know, being an average-sized guy that it would have been a much better sport for me to play than basketball or american football. But, it was never an option.

Every four years comes the World Cup. This country in which I live isn't exactly the world's greatest superpower on the field, but kids enjoy the sport. And just yesterday, from my living-room window I watched a young teen, who lives across the street, dribbling a football. I was excited. I haven't ever seen this kid do anything physical outside before and here, after the USA struggled to get a tie with Italy, the kid was inspired to try his foot at the game.

Ahh. That's the real world. And this is information technology. So any geek needs to ask themselves what can IT bring to the table?

Yes, there are games. 2006 Fifa World Cup, Championship Manager 2006, Football Manager 2006, and Winning Eleven.

And there is the Emirates Airline & FIFA & Yahoo / BBC tickers that have live text. And folks in Britain can stream games to their desktops, thanks to the BBC.

But, for the rest of us, Firefox and Nike have recently (i.e., released on the 6th day of the 2006 World Cup) teamed up to bring something even more integrated and practical for those of us stuck in the office while the games are going on: the joga.com companion.

footballjogacomplugin.jpg

The joga.com companion integrates a ticker, news headlines, a small panel in Firefox's status bar and a football-themed skin for Firefox. Alerts arise in the bottom right of the screen when a card is handed out or a goal is scored. I'm not into skins, in general, but this one does offer some consolation for sitting in the workplace.

When the World Cup is over, or if you'd like a cuter, less commercial way to follow the scores, you will want to check out the low-profile FootieFox extension, by Boris Ruf of the Hasso-Plattner-Institut at the University of Potsdam.

FootieFox has the capability of following 18 leagues throughout the year. That is super cool!
Footiefox sports faster updates than the joga.com companion. I'm talking minutes difference in reporting goals. (Ein Sehr Gut, fuer Herr Ruf!)

Und darf ich mal sagen, dass FootieFox schon ein Jahre alt ist und hat viele Besprechungen bekommen. That's to say FootieFox is a year old and has already been reviewed several times .

Like, the joga companion, FootieFox will yell out "Goal!" when one is scored. In fact, users can set FootieFox to signal goals with other sounds as well.

As mentioned, however, FootieFox is less ambitious in its marketing and information. FootieFox simply stays in the status bar and doesn't provide information about who received a yellow or red card or who scored. (But, in some games, particularly US games 🙂 it doesn't matter. I mean come on, we've not got any big names!)

For now, I'm using both Joga and Footiefox. But, I may switch over to FootieFox and the FIFA matchcast for the fastest responses as the tournament heats up.

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