Friday, August 29, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not Six. Technically, Four Point Five.

I'm in Illinois right now. After leaving my old neighborhood in Evanston, it was dinner time. Rather than going to Double Vision, I went for the predictability of a Buffalo Wild Wings in Mount Prospect, Illinois. (It was on Euclid Avenue; since I live in Ontario, California, the street name was easy to remember.)

I didn't get there until after 8:00 pm CDT, and I couldn't stay late, so I jumped into the Six game during Round Two. So instead of playing all four rounds, I just played three. (Hence the title.)

I still got a score of 26,738, but it was nowhere near the winning score for the site.

And that may be it for my actually having an opportunity to play NTN Buzztime for a while, despite my fame as an identifier of all things trivialicious. I can't guarantee that I'll play during Oracle OpenWorld, since Sunday will be busy with the blogger dinner, and Wednesday will be busy with the concert (unless I lose my wristband again).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More on the Buffalo Wild Wings on Bardstown Road

As you can see from the picture that I took, the Buffalo Wild Wings on Bardstown Rd. in Louisville, Kentucky was obviously a movie theater at one point.

A Wikipedia article contains this interesting tidbit:

Before the era of multiplexes, small single-screen theatres dominated. Several in Louisville were located along Bardstown Road and were popular sources of entertainment in the Highlands for decades.

Baxter (later called the Airway). 1055 Bardstown Road. Housed the The Brycc House in the late 1990s, now home to a Buffalo Wild Wings

The article then lists several other movie theaters that have been converted to other uses.

Incidentally, the Brycc House is now publicly known as the Brick House - perhaps because they're desperate for donations to fulfill their mission statement.

As a community resource, The Brick House seeks to provide a safe, oppression-free space to people of all ages and persuasions, where they may gain the knowledge and collective engagement to be self-reliant and to live sustainably.

Friday, August 22, 2008

How did THIS blog make the Oracle OpenWorld news rounds?

I'm in a hotel in Louisville, waiting for the concluding banquet for the conference that I'm attending. But things keep on happening that remind me of a conference that I'll attend next month.

First, I decided to make a presentation at next month's Oracle OpenWorld Unconference.

Then I found out that my blog writings have been cited in an Oracle blog. This in itself isn't surprising - my blogs have been featured by Oracle over the years - but what is surprising is that it's THIS blog - the Empoprise-NTN blog - that was cited.

This morning, Jack Flynn wrote a post entitled "Around the World." This is (part of) what he said:

Empoprise-NTN High Noon—Beale Street Bar and Grill (San Francisco, CA)

Worried about your trivia skills getting rusty while at the conference? Don’t fret. Blogger Empoprise has already found an NTN Buzztime location for you close to the Moscone Center—which is named after former San Francisco mayor George Moscone, in case you get asked.

The favorite part of the citation is the fact that Flynn managed to work a trivia question into the thing.

(Other possible answers include Dianne Feinstein and Willie Brown. Harvey Milk is not a correct answer.)

So, much to my surprise, I am going to add the openworld08 label to this post.

And you know what this means.

Yes, I'll have to write about Elvis Costello and Seal in Empoprise-MU.

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Buffalo Wild Wings (Huber Heights, Ohio)

This is the site I mentioned last Sunday.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm back.

Hope the games work.

Jeff Berg joins the NTN Buzztime corporate fun

NTN Buzztime the company continues to retool. On August 19, they announced a change to the Board of Directors:

NTN Buzztime Appoints Jeff Berg to Board of Directors

CARLSBAD, Calif., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NTN Buzztime, Inc. (Amex: NTN), today announced that the Board of Directors has been increased to six members adding new media executive Jeffrey A. Berg. Mr. Berg has been appointed to serve as an independent member of the Company's Board of Directors, effective August 19, 2008.

Mr. Berg, a significant shareholder of NTN Buzztime, Inc. is currently Chairman of and lead investor in Surfline/Wavetrak Inc., an action sports web site. In 1999, he co-founded Swell, a direct marketer of surf apparel and accessories, and is currently its lead Director and largest shareholder. He is also founder and owner of Airborne Media LLC, a specialty media company which operates web sites and publishes magazines and other niche-market print products. All told, he has over 12 years' experience in founding, chairing and/or holding lead investor positions in new media companies and taking 'hands-on' roles in contributing to their success.

Between 1995 and 2000, Mr. Berg was Chairman of AccentHealth. He led its financing and strategic development from its pilot phase to a network now providing segmented, patient education-oriented TV programming to over 10,000 medical waiting rooms. AccentHealth programming reaches 11.7 million consumers every month.

Mr. Berg has over 20 years' experience as a professional investor, having founded Matador Capital Management in 1993, and before that working for 9 years at Raymond James Financial as an institutional securities analyst. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Florida and certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Commenting on the appointment of Mr. Berg, Michael Fleming, Chairman of the Board and interim Chief Executive Officer said, "We are very pleased to welcome Jeff Berg to the Board of Directors. Anchored by his success as an investment professional, he has practical new media experience and relevant success with advertising supported networks. The expertise and vision he has shown in leading multiple new media ventures to success will prove uniquely valuable to our management team in charting the way forward for NTN Buzztime."

The addition of Berg to the expanded sixth seat is a concrete demonstration of the company's commitment to bringing new talent to the Board of Directors. It is anticipated that the Board will include two or three new directors by next year's annual meeting.

Now that last statement is an interesting twist. Are they talking about expanding the board further, or are some board members planning to depart (one way or another)? Here are the other board members:

Gary H. Arlen was appointed as a Director in August 1999. Since 1980, he has been president of Arlen Communications, Inc., a research and consulting firm specializing in interactive information, transactions, telecommunications and entertainment. Arlen Communications provides research and analytical services to domestic and international organizations in entertainment, media, telecommunications and Internet industries. Mr. Arlen was a founder and board member of several interactive media trade associations. He is a member of the Academy of Digital TV Pioneers and the Cable TV Pioneers.

Barry Bergsman has been a Director since August 1998 and was appointed lead director in August, 2004. He is president of Baron Enterprises, Inc., a privately owned consulting company established in 1965. As president of Intertel Communications, Inc., from 1985 to 1998, Mr. Bergsman pioneered the use of the telephone and interactive technology for promotion, entertainment and information. Prior to 1985, Mr. Bergsman was engaged in television production and syndication and was an executive with CBS. He currently serves as a director and member of the management team of Photogenesis, Inc., a private medical device and biotechnology company.

Robert B. Clasen has been a Director since November 2001. Currently he is President and CEO for Starz Entertainment Media Group, the largest provider of premium movie services in the United States. He was appointed to this position in December 2004, previously serving as President of Sales and Marketing since September 2003 and President and COO since May 2004. For most of the past ten years, Mr. Clasen has been President and CEO of Clasen Associates, an advisor to a broad range of technology and service companies who operate in the broadband, wireless and satellite sectors.

Joseph J Farricielli, Jr. was appointed a Director in December 2007. He is currently a Senior Vice President of Fidelity National Special Opportunities, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial, Inc. Mr. Farricielli also serves as a director of three privately held companies, Look Investment Agency, Inc., Recycling Enterprises, Inc. and Hamden Sand & Stone, Inc. Previously, Mr. Farricielli held executive positions at Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, LLC; Imperial Capital, LLC; The Bank of Nova Scotia, and GE Capital Services.

Michael Fleming was appointed a Director in November 2001. Mr. Fleming is currently chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Fleming Media Group, advising a broad range of content and technology companies on interactive television, broadband, wireless and other convergent technology opportunities. He is the founder and recent past-President of Game Show Network, a satellite delivered television programming service dedicated to the world of games and game play. Mr. Fleming has held senior executive positions at Playboy Entertainment Group, ESPN, Turner Broadcasting and Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Company. He was inducted into the Cable Pioneers in 1999.

Back to Berg. A corporate filing provided additional information:

There were no arrangements or understanding between Mr. Berg and any other person pursuant to which he was selected as a director.

On August 19, 2008, in accordance with the Board compensation provisions with respect to new directors as currently in effect, Mr. Berg was granted options to purchase 30,000 shares of the Company’s Common Stock pursuant to the Company’s 2004 Performance Incentive Plan (the “Plan”). One half of these option shares are immediately vested and exercisable. The remaining shares vest and become exercisable in equal installments each month immediately subsequent to the date of grant and up to the date of the next annual meeting of shareholders, which is expected to occur in or about May 2008 [SIC]. The option shares are subject to full acceleration of vesting upon a change of control event (as defined in the Plan).

But can Berg make NTN Buzztime, in a word, kewl? Here's a description of his current company, Surfline:

Welcome to -- the most comprehensive surf-related web site on the Internet. We're not talking about the kind of "surfing" done by Uncle Fester-looking cyberheads; we're talking about the kind done by real surfers -- those of us who do it in the ocean, on wind-borne waves, and who frequently suffer from such unsightly ailments as saltwater sinus drain, bone-clogged ear canals, sandpaper-like eyeball pimples and dermatological sun damage of the highest order.

We were hesitant to use a superlative such as "most comprehensive" in that first sentence up yonder, but we're confident that it's true. Spend a few hours browsing around and we guarantee you won't even come close to getting to the end of every cul-de-sac on the site. We have compiled close to half a million words and 1,500 images and video clips. We have also spent much time and energy trying to organize that content in a way that's at once utilitarian and stylish, intuitive and surprising, simple and complex. Our goal is simple: we want to pin you to your chair at the same time that we inspire you to get out of it. And once you decide to get wet, we want to help you figure out where to go, when to go, how to get there and what to ride.

But Berg presumably realizes that NTN Buzztime needs the casual gamers to survive, and can't limit itself to the boss trivia d00dz.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

When the games pause on NTN Buzztime screens, and as we sip our adult beverages, our minds are being non-subliminally invaded by advertisements. But NTN Buzztime isn't the only outfit doing this. From Brandweek:

In an effort to strengthen its position as a leader in the out-of-home interactive entertainment network category, TouchTunes said today it has acquired Barfly Interactive Networks, which operates a digital media network in bars in major metropolitan areas. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TouchTunes, New York, has more than 35,000 touch-screen jukeboxes in the U.S. and Canada, located in bars, retail outlets and elsewhere, offering music, advertising and other content. Based in Austin, Texas, Barfly delivers interactive and customized content in 150 locations for brands in the beer and spirits categories, including Anheuser-Busch, Skyy and Diageo.

NTN Buzztime is briefly mentioned:

In terms of scale, the alliance is dwarfed by digital signage networks like Premier Retail Network, which delivers content into more than 6,800 in-store televisions at Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Circuit City; and AdtekMedia's Pump Top TV, which has a stable of screens at 75,000 gas stations. The in-bar network category leader, NTN Buzztime, Carlsbad, Calif., has about 4,000 digital signs in bars and restaurants.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reward for a successful hotel room bid in Simi Valley

What do you do with the money you save? Piepi had plans:

2.5* Simi Valley Holiday Inn Express Simi Valley, $58 ... 8/16/08-8/17/08

I bid at 5:20 A.M. this morning for a same day stay. Today is August 16, 2008.

I was expecting the Grand Vista. This choice seems fine. According to tripadvisor, Holiday Inn Express is #2 and Grand Vista is #3. WooHOO

I just need a quiet place to work. Now, that I see its location, I may reward myself after working with a little shopping and NTN Buzztime (bar trivia). Simi has at least 4 restaurants with this fun interactive game.

Hope Piepi played well.

Monday, August 18, 2008

NTN Buzztime loses a site in Columbia, Maryland

B. Santos recently wrote about Rocky Run in Columbia, Maryland. Here's a relevant excerpt:

The Smartest Patrons Ever Known

I am serious about this point. Since the day it opened, Rocky Run always ran the NTN/Buzztime trivia games; Half hour trivia contests that linked thousands of restaurants across the United States. Rocky Run attracted a clientele that was adept at these games (and for a long time, I was one of them) and often times Rocky Run would be ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Occasionally, a person would arrive at Rocky Run just based on seeing the restaurant on the trivia boards at other restaurants. During the late 1990’s, Rocky Run and Nottingham’s were engaged in a battle of trivia supremacy. Trivia players were courted. Scores were displayed; cell phone calls were exchanged after games.

What gave this rivalry depth was that at Nottingham’s, it was known that the trivia players typically shared answers. At Rocky Run, the unwritten rule was that you played your game. Shouting out answers was considered bad form. That is not to say that the trivia players were stoic and silent. After playing for a while, players got to know each other. Most were witty, some were outright funny, and all liked passing time together.

Unfortunately, this story has a sad ending:

[Friday] I stopped by to take the picture to accompany this post. The owner came out and said hello. We talked for a short while and then I just had to ask: What happened? He told me that business had really dropped off drastically in the last four months. I thanked him and inquired how the staff were doing. He had told me that more than a few had already found jobs. I was relieved to hear that. I just smiled and thanked him again. He smiled back and thanked me, then quietly went inside. I took a minute and sat on the bench outside. As I sat there, four cars pulled up, and each asked the same question: What happened? I told each what I had heard, and they all, hesitantly, walked back to their cars, muttering “This is awful…This was my favorite place…”

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Triviapalooza - Perhaps I should drive to Huber Heights, Ohio

The secret of community is community. And the Buffalo Wild Wings in Huber Heights, Ohio (and other locations) is apparently community-minded:

Sun, 8/17 8:00 pm

Buffalo Wild Wings, Huber Heights
7875 Waynetowne Blvd.
Huber Heights OH 45424

ProfileA Buzztime player-planned event where trivia fans will go head-to-head to play the games offered by NTN Buzztime, an out-of-home interactive entertainment company that develops and supplies interactive games. It will feature more than 100 devoted players from 17 states. Triviapalooza begins with a happy hour. Players will have the opportunity to win prizes while enjoying the opportunity to chat with fellow event participants and members of the Buzztime corporate team. The three-day event will also include a charity auction benefiting Adventures In Movement (AIM) for the Handicapped, Inc.

Even if a local place (local being Louisville, Kentucky) is participating, I unfortunately have another commitment this evening.

Good luck to all Triviapaloozans. Hope the auction goes well.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

James 4 comes to Louisville

Things could be better at the moment.

During my second game (the 15 minute True, Half True, or a Lie), my screen display disappeared. My entries were still being counted (I was 29th in the network), but I was playing blind.

During my third game (Odd Couples), either we lost connection to the network, or the entire network went down. The TV screens went black, and my Couple 3 results (4 of 4 for 1000 points) continue to display on my Playmaker.

Oh well, it could be worse. I could be in the UK.

An extra bonus

(cross-posted to mrontemp and Empoprise-NTN)

As I play NTN Buzztime in Louisville, the Redskins are on TV. (Can't tell if the Jets' new QB is playing yet.)

Life is good.

From the Buffalo Wild Wings on Bardstown Rd in Louisville, KY

James 4 notwithstanding, I made it here, taking the 17 bus from downtown. The neighborhood is funky, and the BWW itself is a converted movie theater.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Beale Street Bar and Grill (San Francisco, CA)

I'm going to Oracle OpenWorld in a month, and figured that I should perhaps check out the gaming opportunities.

This is the closest option to the Moscone Center area, and one of only two NTN Buzztime sites in San Francisco.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are you too smart for NTN Buzztime? Think again

Think of your stereotypical image of a Mensa person. You imagine that he or she is hiding away in a library, far from the crowds - and certainly not in a bar, playing trivia.

Well, that stereotype has gone the way of quadrophonic recording. Here's the word from Summit County, Colorado:

A Frisco couple who honed their trivia skills on an electronic game popular in bars outsmarted some of the biggest brains in the country in claiming the Mensa “national championship.”

Dennis and Wendy Lenahan practiced on NTN Buzztime trivia games twice each week at Po’ Boys Restaurant before going on to win the CultureQuest trivia contest with High Mountain Mensa’s Team Highbrow.

The High Mountain Mensa group website is here. But Team Highbrow's chances of winning in the future may have decreased:

There has been a “brain drain” in the high country since the competition, however, as the Lenahans recently moved to Salem, Ore., to be near their children. Dennis Lenahan said he’ll probably remain a member of the Western Colorado group, as he edits its newsletter. But Wendy may join the group in Oregon because it needs someone to chair its scholarship committee.

The statistics for the Po Boys Frisco site are at

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The new team retracts

I never did officially blog about the NTN Buzztime second quarter results, although I did share from brief comments via Google Reader.

Here are some excerpts from the earnings announcement:

Revenue from continuing operations decreased $0.6 million or 8% to $7.0 million for the second quarter of 2008, compared to revenues of $7.6 million for the second quarter of 2007. Net loss from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2008 was $2.1 million compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $377,000 for the second quarter of 2007. Although site count declined by only 3.6% compared to the same prior year date, revenue decreased by a higher percentage due to the longer-term effect on recurring revenues of a net decline in sites over recent quarters.

This has already had one result, as announced by Chairman/interim CEO Michael Fleming:

As part of our continuing efforts to focus on growing our core Entertainment division which now includes our promising new digital signage product, we have determined to discontinue our United Kingdom operations as currently constituted, and began winding down our U.K. operations in July. However with proper market conditions and appropriate timing, the potential for expansion into territories outside North America remains in place.

So cheerio, United Kingdom. We may come back. Again.

Obviously NTN Buzztime is assembling a new management team. We'll see if the retrenching results in new opportunities in the future.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - Double Vision (Glendale Heights, IL)

There are a ton of NTN Buzztime locations in the northwest Chicago suburbs, but the name of this particular establishment caught my eye.

It appears to be a new site, so if you want to get on the leaderboard, this is the place to go.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A new NTN Buzztime trivia game - Guess the Earnings

This particular game won't be played in your favorite bar, however - unless your favorite bar is on Wall Street.

NTN Buzztime announced on July 31 that they'll release their earnings report tomorrow (August 7):

[NTN Buzztime] plans to release financial results for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2008 after the close of regular market trading on Thursday, August 7, 2008. The Company's senior management will then host a conference call to discuss these results at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

To access the conference call, please dial 1-866-360-7027 if calling from the United States or Canada, or 1-706-643-3291 if calling internationally.

A replay will be available until August 13, 2008, which can be accessed by dialing 1-800-642-1687 if calling from the United States or Canada or 1-706-645-9291 if calling internationally. Please use pass code 57562093 to access the replay.

The call will also be accompanied live by webcast over the Internet and accessible at the Company's web site at

Their previous Form 10-Q wasn't all that impressive, and miracles aren't expected this time around. We'll see what happens.

The whole other NTN Buzztime world - Cadaco's NTN Buzztime card game

I concentrate on the restaurant/bar offerings of NTN/Buzztime so much that I usually end up ignoring the other offerings with which the company is associated.

Lynn Little at BellaOnline doesn't suffer from this myopia:

This fun restaurant trivia game network is now a fun card game. There are four Buzztime Trivia decks, each featuring a different theme. The NTN Buzztime TV Trivia offers 200 questions about television throughout the years. The card game can be played individually, with other players, or in groups.

The game itself comes from Cadaco, a company that has been around for a while:

Seventy years isn't ancient by most standards...but it is in the toy business! We're proud to say CADACO is one of America's oldest toy and game companies, and certainly one of the most colorful. To this day, we remain a family owned company, and look back fondly on the trials and successes that have made us what we are today.

It all began in 1935, when Donald Mazer, a sports enthusiast and game lover, and Charles Berlsheimer, a businessman and investor, teamed up to form their own game company. They called the company "CADACO," an acronym for "Charles and Don and Company." Their first office was modest: a rented garage in San Leandro, California.

Unfortunately, Cadaco seems to be reworking their website, so I can't access the official Cadaco information on the product. See Lynn Little's post for more information.

This is actually available on Amazon, and I have my own Amazon storefront thingie (did you see my June promotion?), but rather than me posting this on my site, I encourage you to go to Lynn Little's page and buy it from her.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Take 15 - Ask It Already, Immortal Words, and Lexitopia games introduced

Here's the meat of a recent NTN/Buzztime press release:

Beginning today, three new premium games will be available in operator locations as part of Buzztime(TM)'s network upgrade. The three additions, each of which will be formatted with Buzztime's new 15-minute game time model, include:

Ask It Already! -- the all new multiple-choice game where the sequence is flip-flopped and answers come first.

Immortal Words -- a game about famous quotes from movies, TV, books, philosophers, authors, poets, comedians and more.

Lexitopia -- brought to you by, Lexitopia is a challenging multiple-choice word and definition game.

I didn't know that NTN/Buzztime was using a 15 minute game model for anything other than Appeteasers.

Here's a longer description for Ask It Already:

Ask It Already is Buzztime Trivia… in reverse! We’ll show you the answers first and then ask the question. It’s the same Buzztime Trivia you love -- with a twist!


Grab a Playmaker and create a Handle
Choose Buzztime Trivia from the menu on the Playmaker
You will be asked 10 questions, worth a maximum of 1,000 points a piece
There are four possible answers
Use the Playmaker to select your answer
As time counts down, so do the points, also 2 of the incorrect answers will dissapear at alloted times
You can change your answer at any time
There is no penalty for getting the answer wrong
The person with the higest local cumulative total wins the game
Your scores will be ranked across the nation as well, so check to see how you did at the end of the game on our National Leaderboard!

Immortal Words:

Admit it… you love to quote your favorite movie, TV show… even your favorite song.

We’re going to see if you really know where your favorite quotations came from.

Immortal Words will challenge your ability to identify who said what… was it a movie, TV, book, philosopher, author, poet, comedian? Nothing is off limits.

Um, NOTHING is off limits? Including this blog? If they quote from here, I may win...but I probably won't.


Lexitopia, brought to you by, will test what you really know about all of those words you haven’t seen since taking the SATs.

We’ll give you the word, you’ll tell us what it means. Sound simple? We’ll see about that!

I just checked the USA Primetime Schedule, and these games are scheduled for the following times:

Ask It Already - Tuesday 5:00 pm Pacific, Thursday 5:30 pm Pacific, Saturday 8:15 pm

Immortal Words - Thursday 6:45 pm Pacific, Friday 5:30 pm Pacific, Saturday 8:00 pm Pacific

Lexitopia - Wednesday 5:45 pm Pacific, Saturday 8:30 pm Pacific

And yes, they have a TON of 15 minute games during primetime now.

Empoprise-NTN High Noon - 8th Street Grill (Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota)

I played here several years ago during a conference in Minneapolis.