Video of the Day: An American explains cricket

If you’ve traveled to any of the Commonwealth nations, you’ve likely encountered cricket on television or in the newspapers. You may have even gotten stuck in a conversation about it while having no clue what anyone is saying. Heck, you might have even played it…poorly. Americans don’t understand cricket. Is it like baseball? What’s a wicket? Why does a match take so many days? Thankfully, one America has taken it upon himself to help us all learn about the game. Sit back, relax and let comedian Reginald D. Hunter explain the ins and outs of cricket. I think you’ll see that it’s a lot simpler than you feared.

Gadling gear review – Cricket Wireless wireless broadband service

Cricket Wireless may sound like a new mobile operator to you, but they have been around for many years, and have become the 7th largest operator in the country. With over 4 million subscribers, they have quietly been expanding across the nation, and operate a 3G CDMA network of their own.

In this review, I’m going to give you a look at their wireless broadband adapter, and explain why it is a fantastic deal.

The Cricket A600 modem used in this review is a compact EVDO Revision A adapter. It weighs just 1.28 ounces and features a rotating/folding USB connector and an integrated MicroSD card reader.
Installation of the modem is a breeze – its software is stored on internal memory inside the modem. This means you can install it on any PC (or Mac) without having to bring a CD or find a way to download the latest drivers.

By now, you are probably wondering why I’m covering this here on Gadling – so let me explain the biggest advantage Cricket has over any of their competition: price. At just $40/month for unlimited mobile broadband, they are the cheapest nationwide operator on the market. One other huge advantage is that Cricket does not require you to sign a contract or pass a credit check. This opens up their service to anyone who needs access to speedy wireless broadband, but does not want to commit to a 2 year contract like required by other operators.

Once installed, the Cricket wireless broadband application provides a simple one-click way to get online. It displays your connection status and signal strength (LED’s on the modem itself also show this).

The connection manager is also where you’ll find log files and statistics which is handy if you need to see how much data you have used. Even though the service is sold as unlimited, it still comes with the same 5GB limit found on every other wireless broadband operator.

Once you reach 5GB, you won’t suddenly find yourself without a wireless connection, you’ll just start seeing slower transfers. Web and email access probably won’t suffer too much, but don’t expect to be doing too much in the way of movie streaming or other high speed downloads.

Connecting takes about 5 seconds, and once online, transmission speeds are quite acceptable. The download speeds are on par with what you’ll usually get (on average) from other 3G operators, and the upload speed is on the high end of the spectrum. Of course, these speeds all depend on location and signal quality – for my test, I was getting “2 bars” (out of 3).

Now, back to the price – $40/month is $20 lower than what most other operators charge for unlimited wireless broadband. The current offer from Cricket (on their site) is for a free modem (after a $50 mail in rebate), free first month, free shipping and a $25 activation fee. If you already have (or add) a Cricket voice plan, you get an additional $5/month discount on the broadband fee, bringing it down to just $35!

There is of course a catch to this low price – the Cricket network is not as extensive as some other operators. When compared to Verizon Wireless and Sprint, Cricket covers a much smaller area. Compared to the 3G coverage on T-Mobile, Cricket is better.

I tested the service on a trip from Chicago to Milwaukee and was surprised to see that my entire route had a rock solid 3G signal. T-Mobile dropped to slow EDGE as soon as I left the Chicagoland area, and even dropped to slow GPRS in parts of Wisconsin.

The Cricket coverage map provides a very good street level indication of what you can expect in your own area (or destination). Put simply – many major cities have excellent Cricket broadband coverage, but outside those cities the broadband coverage is not always going to be present.

I’m quite happy with the Cricket service – speeds may be a little lower than what other 3G operators offer, and their coverage is still fairly limited, but at $20/month cheaper, and no contract or credit check, they are a very worthy offering in the busy wireless broadband market.

The service is perfect for someone who needs connectivity in places where the only option is no connectivity, or slow/expensive WiFi. With some WiFi locations charging as much as $12.95/day for getting online, the $40 fee for Cricket could be very easy to justify.

PRO’S: Price, no contract requirement, speed, upload speeds
CON’S: Limited coverage, download speeds could be faster

Cricket Wireless is available through their website, or a Cricket Wireless retail location.

Five ways to enjoy Antigua

When you travel to an upscale resort, it’s pretty hard to leave the property. It’s not like you’re held captive, of course. I had no problem actually leaving Curtain Bluff physically, but it was hard to get motivated enough to leave. This is where the accusations of snobbery enter the picture. The elite prefer to stay within the sheltered walls of the property. For some, this is true, though the judgment is often hasty. High-end resorts are designed to make you as happy as possible. Everything is supposed to be perfect … and why would you leave perfect?

Regardless of how amazing your resort is, there is plenty to see outside the gates. Even if you take just one day of your vacation to roam this small island (Antigua occupies only 108 square miles), you’ll walk away without regret.

So, you’re outside the gates in Antigua … now what? After the jump, check out five recommendations to get you started.


1. Nelson’s Dockyard
This national park boasts buildings several hundred years old and has a small museum chronicling the island’s maritime history. Be careful around the sick-house: once upon a time, there was only one cure for every ailment – rum.

2. Mix with the locals
Every Sunday evening, there’s a part at Shirley Heights. It’ll only cost you around $8 to get in, and the barbeque never disappoints.

3. Open an offshore bank account [Just kidding!]

3. Check out the cricket stadium
Even if Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is empty, reflect on the fact that it accommodates 20,000 people … on an island of only 85,000 (as of a year ago).

4. Hang out with Sir Allen Stanford [It turns out he’s busy right now, and probably won’t be coming back to Antigua for a very long time.]

4. Ascend Mount Obama
Right now, the highest point on Antigua is Buggy Point. In October, the mountain will still bear this distinction, but it will have a new name: Mount Obama. Antigua is an island of Obamaniacs, with cab drivers celebrating the U.S. president on their dashboards and signs scattered across the country.

5. Tempt Fate at the Devil’s Bridge
This small strip of rock was carved by a brutal ocean current. It’s slippery, and even when the waves around it look tame, you’re gambling with your life. One false move, and you could walk be carried away from Devil’s Bridge like one German tourist – with three broken ribs and two broken arms.

To learn more the other reason why Devil’s Bridge is famous, watch the video below.

Disclosure: Curtain Bluff did pick up the tab for this trip. Honestly, a prolie blogger like me wouldn’t be able to cover this destination without support from the resort. That said, my opinions are my own. Worried that my experience was positive? Blame the resort staff for doing a kickass job. I could lie and say it all sucked, but that would come at the expense of my editorial integrity.

Undiscovered New York: It’s all fun and games

You’re casually walking near New York’s Washington Square Park when an unusual sight comes into view. A giant Pac-Man comes running past your side, trailed by two blue and red ghosts in fast pursuit. Has your mind lost its grip on reality, you wonder? Fear not, these crazed video game characters writ large are actually playing Pac-Manhattan, a real life version of the famous video game played with humans and New York City’s streets as the playing field.

Truth be told, Pac-Manhattan is just one example of how seriously New York City takes its games of leisure. Although images of frantic chess players in Washington Square Park might dominate your thoughts of games in New York City, it’s only part of the story. Whether we’re talking about games played in the street, in a park or on a board, New York is a great place to play some of your old favorites or try out some gaming experiences that are a bit more unusual. The opportunities are only magnified by New York’s diverse immigrant culture, who brings with them the unique games and traditions of their homelands.

Ready to check out a Cricket match in the Bronx or Boules and Bocce in Brooklyn? Would a clue from a New York City scavenger hunt draw you in to learn more? It’s time to start keeping score as Undiscovered New York goes in search of the city’s lesser known games. Check it out below.
Games Outdoors
Sure, you probably already know New York is a baseball town. But what about a Cricket town? Or a Bocce town? If you like your games international then New York is where to find it. New York’s diverse array of immigrant groups have brought with them an equally interesting mix of favorite pastimes, lending a decidedly multicultural flair to the city’s leisure time.

One sport that has been gaining in popularity is Cricket. Devotees from around the globe gather around the wicket at Cricket fields like the one at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. Even if you don’t have the slightest idea how to play it can offer visitors an amusing insight into one of the world’s more popular games. If you want to learn more, New York Cricket is grand central for all things cricket in the Big Apple.

Equally beloved by New Yorkers is the sport of Bocce or Petanque, a strategy game which involves hurling metal balls across a gravel pit or grass. Though the rules vary slightly by country, the game is widely played in Europe, and the Continent’s New York descendants have taken a distinct liking to the sport. Ready to give it a try? Head to Brooklyn bars like Floyd’s or Pit Stop which both have their own court. Courts are also widely available at many city parks. Make sure to come back in September for the city-wide tournament.

Mind Games
New York is no doubt a thinker’s town and that fact figures prominently into many of its gaming pursuits. One example of that are the New York scavenger hunts created by Watson Adventures. Teams of contestants scour the city’s historic neighborhoods and museums in search of answers to some tricky questions. It’s a great way to learn more about the city and explore some less familiar/overlooked elements that give New York its particular charm.

If thinking games are more your style, you’re probably already familiar with Washington Square Park’s chess corner. Pretty much every day, hard core devotees spend their afternoons racing the clock at one of the park’s several permanent tables. Just down the street on Thompson is row of chess-themed stores selling an array of themed chess sets (think American Independence and The Simpsons) and players come to hang out strike up a few matches. Even if you’re not the next Bobby Fischer, it’s an interesting look at a culture that has long thrived in New York City.

Video Games
Gamers rejoice – New York’s got enough video game goodness to keep trigger fingers busy for hours. Gamers who have reached drinking age should make sure to stop by bars like Barcade in Brooklyn. It’s filled with 40-50 vintage 1980’s arcade games like Frogger and Space Invaders. Grab a quality pint of beer and and a few quarters and you’ll be set for the evening. Other bars like Crocodile Lounge on 14th Street offer a selection of bar games like Skee-ball as well as a FREE pizza with each drink.

If you’re looking for that rare Asian import game or vintage copy of Tecmo Bowl, look no further than Video Games New York. Devotees of Nintendo 8-bit goodness will find just about any older game to suit their heart’s content.

The Highest Cricket Match in the World

The sport of Cricket can trace its origins back to England in the 16th century. Over the course of the next 200 years, it rose in popularity to the point of becoming a national obsession in that country, and when the British Empire expanded around the globe, the game went international with it. Today, Cricket is played in more than 100 countries, one of the most popular sports in the world.

That popularity has inspired two teams to go to Nepal in an attempt to play the highest Cricket match in history. Over the past few weeks, the players have assembled in Kathmandu, flown to Lukla, and have been trekking up to Gorak Shep, a remote Himalayan village, where they intend to play an official match at 5165 meters or roughly 16,945 feet.

The teams are named Tenzing and Hillary, in honor of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, the first two men to summit Everest, the mountain that looms over the field they will be playing on. Traditionally a team is made up of 11 players, but these have 15 in order to ensure that altitude sickness doesn’t prevent them from fielding a full roster. That doesn’t seem likely however, as even though a few of the players have had to remain behind, they are expected to rejoin their squads over the next few days.

The trek to Gorak Shep was completed on Sunday, and the athletes will now take a few days to acclimatize and prepare for their match, which will include officially sanctioned umpires. You can read all about the teams, their quest to play the highest match in the world, and their adventures in Nepal at their webiste