Saturday, November 28, 2009

Charlie Morton's First MLB Hit (08/07/08)

Here's a few clips and links to Charlie's first hit. Charlie got his first MLB hit, a double, against the Arizona Dimondbacks on August 7, 2008 as an Atlanta Brave.

I'd been looking for the clip and found it on a site called Brave's Love . The clip and post-game interview are below, thanks again to Lauren for the comment on her blog! Sorry CM, couldn't edit out the subsequent pick...


Charlie's First Hit, a Double down the Left field line



Post-game Interview

Speculation on Fire Hydrants, Airbags and the #1 Golfer in the World




Lots of stuff out there about Wood's "car accident." I'll let you do your own Google searching, but it doesn't look good. But the bigger question is possibly, why are you surprised? I've always been skeptical of things that look a little too perfect since we all know people who constantly try to show us how great their lives are. Be very skeptical of those who tell you their family is perfect, etc. the truth is usually inversely correlated.

This is why I'd always prefer a beer with Phil. I hope America can handle another hero who is about to fall and be exposed. All that money and fame is so intoxicating to those who are shallow, because it's all about "how things look" rather than the hard work it takes to create something that's real. I couldn't care less, I know this sort of thing happens every day somewhere, but c'mon, you've got kids. Disrespect each other, fine, you're adults, but when kids are involved, it just seems a bit more sinister and narcissistic.

Look more closely, connect the dots, and ask yourself, do you really think an air bag would deploy if you hit a fire hydrant at 10-20 mph? Give me a break. That's what you get from a guy who probably worships Jordan now that his dad has passed. Maybe we'll see Tiger on Oprah soon asking the world for forgiveness, since so many people look to Oprah for inspiration.

Should be interesting, I know, I know, innocent until proven guilty. I'm sure he was just in a hurry to get to the driving range at 2:30 AM.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Allen Iverson Tribute

Allen is retiring after a 14 year career. Man this guy was something on the court.




and the famous Practice video....Not a game!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bladeless Fan -- Dyson



Dyson, of the bagless vacuum fame, has launched his latest invention, the bladeless fan. Pretty cool idea, I've posted the video below. The fan has no blades, and as he explains, it's basically an air multiplier. In a nutshell, the fan works by creating a field of negative pressure by moving air across a curved surface. The air initially is drawn into the cylinder base, and then pushed out a slit that runs around the whole "circular frame". The small slit that the air is pushed out of and through accelerates the air much like putting your finger in a garden hose to get the water to move faster or farther does.

As the air is pushed across the curved surface of the fan's ring, the speed of the air above the inner part of the ring is moving faster than the air below the flat, outer part of the ring. This speed differential creates a pressure differential, ultimately producing an area of negative pressure. When you have negative pressure, the air then begins to move because of this pressure differential (think isobars on a weather map that ultimately result in "wind"...)Finally, what you the user ends up feeling is a cylinder of air (whose base is the size of the circular ring...) that moves towards you, versus the traditional way fans work by drawing air towards the blades, then "cutting" the air up and sending it towards you. Supposedly this cylinder of air is more forceful than the "cut" up air that a bladed fan throws at you in an inefficient manner. And once the cylinder starts moving due to the negative pressure field, air "behind the ring starts to also be drawn in and through the ring as well towards the user. Kind of makes sense actually.

It's an interesting concept, and the marketing spin is that it's safe and more powerful. The physics around this design are no different than what generates lift on an airplane wing. Looking for some reviews, but think about it, this guy makes an innovative change to a product whose design hasn't changed in centuries. Pretty awesome. Man I wish I were smart.

From the NYPost

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"This is Indexed" -- Great website















There is a great website out there called "This is Indexed." It's based upon the book by the same author, Jennifer Hagy. Jennifer is obviously a mathematician, and she uses a bunch of graphical functions to represent different ideas in an extremely slick and witty way. I wish I had thought of the same idea.

I've posted a pic from her website above to show an example. Here is a graph of the function f(x) = x^2. The function has a local minimum, which is important here since the dependent variable of "Confusion" drops to a minimum at a certain level of "Information" (the independent variable). But with insufficient information (Breaking News, Swine Flu) or too much information (think CNN, CNBC, a 2" snow forecast) then you get the far reaching impact of a simplistic graph shown above.

I love this site. Lots of good stuff here....enjoy. Ms. Hagy obviously shares my level of cynicism of the world and of people and their motives. Here are three more that have lots of wisdom that often goes unspoken.

"Entitlement vs. Disappointment"


"Bitterness vs. Time to Reflect"


"Time vs. Prestige and $$"

My First "Blog Post" [circa 1988]
























I was going through some of my stuff recently and found a newspaper clipping from the local paper that I had kept all of these years. The clipping was from "The Reporter", the local newspaper published in Lansdale, PA, back in 1988. I was in junior high, and had sent in an "op-ed/opinion" to the staff there after a well publicized Air Show crash happened at Ramstein Air Force base in Germany that year.

The Italian Air Force had been performing a maneuver called the "Pierced Heart." In this maneuver, 8 jets from a heart shape, and then one jet flies through the middle of the formation at a faster speed, piercing the heart formation, and the other jets scatter. However, on this day, the pilot who performed the pierced part of the formation collided with the main formation. Three of the 10 jets were destroyed, but worse yet was that the piercing jet crashed near the spectators, and its fuel tank made it to the spectators burning and killing many of them. One of the jets from the formation that was hit also tragically crashed into an area that had rescue helicopters, killing one of the pilots on the ground there as well. In all, 70 people were killed by the events that day.

There were two things I wanted to be growing up; a fighter pilot and a doctor. [Yeah look at me now...] So I naturally took the contrarian position and defended the pilots while acknowledging the tragic result of that day. But beyond that, looking back, it really was my first attempt at what was to later become a blog by this author.

Link to Wikipedia entry on disaster

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for Telomeres













This year's Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to a trio of scientists for their seminal work in the area of telomeres. When this article came across Bloomberg's wire, it gave me pause since I had cited and presented some of Dr. Blackburn's work on telomeres during my prior life as a scientist. I've blogged about my attempt to understand the super-secondary structure that DNA might adopt given these highly conserved DNA base pair sequences which might offer insight into how cellular senescence is controlled to understand a telomere's structure and possible the enzymes that interact with these chromosome ends holds great promise in the field of medicine. Congrats to Drs. Blackburn, Szostak, and Greider for their award.

Scientific American Link

Official Press Release for 2009 Award

Bloomberg Wire

Charlie Morton's Complete Game, 4-Hit Shutout

















Charlie threw a complete game, four hit shutout against Chicago on his last outing on Sept 30, 2009. Some quick stats from the 1st game of a day-night doubleheader in Wrigley.

Complete game, 4 hits, 0 ER
119 pitches, 76 strikes
Charlie faced 34 batters
8 K's, 3 Walks
Of the 27 outs recorded, 11 were ground balls, 6 were fly balls.

What is so impressive about this outing was that not ten weeks before, Charlie had taken the mound against the Cubs at Wrigley, and did not get out of the 1st inning, giving up 10 runs. The complete game shutout, throwing from the same bump in the same field, with the history that he had there, is about throwing 1st pitch strikes and getting into a pitcher's count.

We're proud of you Charlie, proud of how hard you fought this year, to show the League you belong. You have such an awesome privilege to pitch at the highest level, and today, the most important thing is, you proved to yourself you can do this and have fun.

Congrats, awesome stuff to watch. Remember the name, Charlie Morton.

Charlie being congratulated after the CG

From the Post Gazette

From MLB.com

From the PBC Blog

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hero of the Week - Rick Reilly from ESPN.com on Tiger Woods


I think Tiger is amazing, and have certainly blogged about it. But lately, many have noticed his on course antics, and are quite frankly, growing tired of it. It's been well known that TV doesn't always cover everything during an event, and people have been quietly posting about Tiger's behavior when the camera isn't on, etc. So I will first defend Tiger somewhat, but frame this defense in the context of a hope that he might start to show a bit more on the course.

Tiger is one of the most recognized people on the planet, and a figure that transcends sports in the sense that you may not follow golf, but you know who he is. So with that said, he can't go anywhere, and people by and large are dopes, so with that in mind, it's a wonder he can tolerate these folks. But that is the price to be paid for fame. There are no free lunches. A simple example, Tiger gets paired with [insert any name here] and they are standing in the fairway waiting to hit their approach shots to the green. It's Friday, not even Sunday, no charge up the leaderboard, nothing. And so player "x" hits his approach to 15 feet and the crowd shows its appreciation by clapping. Tiger hits his approach to 15 feet, and the crowd goes berserk. Tiger's ball is no closer to the hole, yet the spectators, both on the course and in their living rooms, are screaming wildly like a bunch of dopes. These are the people that, like the tourists in NYC, have not a clue.

But even with the enormous pressure of being in the public, I do believe that Tiger owes the game a bit more that has given him so much. We've all played with the dude that throws his clubs, or yells when he makes a birdie like it was the first one ever made, but playing with these people can be one of the longest rounds of your life when you find yourself with this person. I have had the misfortune of playing with a fair number of people like this, because I often travel or get to the golf course as a "single" and get paired up. Thinking about who I might be paired up with on these rounds is a lot like gambling. On my best days, I personally have found these people somewhat fascinating, because it piques my intellectual curiosity, but even that wears off quickly. (I'll save you the suspense, the person is always a narcissist.) The game is hard, and it's the pursuit of trying to perfect the game, knowing you only borrow the game, that makes the game great to those of us who play rather than tell you the score they shot or the birdie they apparently made that no one else can.

My final point is this. I'd choose Phil every time over Tiger to drink a beer with in a bar. If you watch Phil, he gets it in the sense that he's almost as big as Tiger to their sport, and all the guy does is win majors, and give high fives to the spectators as he walks to each tee. And the fact that he does these things despite all that he has going on is remarkable, at least to me.

Links to Mickleson's Recent Off-Course Trevails

Link 1

Link 2

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs



This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I just saw the promo that Sony is putting the movie out as an animated feature. Very cool.

Morton Gets Win Against San Fran



Charlie got the 2-0 win this past Saturday against San Fran and showed Bucs fans what we've known for some time. Some video of his game, and the MLB.com write-up is here.

The kid's got great stuff. Saturday night, he had great movement and kept the ball down. What was also good was that he kept hitters off balance when got second and third looks at him.

Some stats from Saturday's game:

7 innings pitched
3 hits
2 walks
6 K's

Charlie faced 25 batters, and had 10 ground outs with 2 fly outs. Mr. Morton also threw 90 pitches, 58 were strikes for a ratio of approximately 2:1. The best part about the game was that he felt good and wanted to stay out there past 7 innings.

Great win Charlie. Remember the name folks. It's fun to watch people go after their dream.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Whoops...Nobody sent Watson the Memo



Two rounds of the 2009 Open Championship are in the books, and Tiger has missed the cut. The conditions were apparently brutal at Turnberry, as Open golf is supposed to be. Sometimes the weather is the only defense a course has at the end of the day.

Woods was a 13-5 favorite to win his 15th Major, but failed in his bid. You could hear him protecting his ego earlier last week when he stated that Turnberry is "harder than folks let on." Well, the bookies certainly thank you, as I'm sure they cleaned up this time around.



But the bigger story is Tom Watson. The 59 year old major Open championship winner has turned the clock back and is within range of doing something historic. While no one will doubt Tiger is the best of our generation, and will go on to break Jack's record to be the greatest until someone else comes along. But why is golf so much more exciting when guys like David Duval, Kenny Perry, and Phil are in contention versus one guy running away with it?

This man is 59...look at that release.


Just my humble opinion, but it's fun to watch the underdogs go after it. At least for me.

Enjoy your weekend Tiger. 15 will just have to wait.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Recession, Divorce...And Americans Living Beyond Their Means

There was an interesting article in the WSJ the other day that got picked up by Yahoo Finance. It's an interesting development in the context of the current recession and what couples are doing who apparently have decided that they can't stand each other anymore, and want to file for divorce. The recession is apparently causing some of these folks to put off divorce and continue to live together ("co-exist") since they can't sell their house in a down market to settle the financial claims of the assets that will be divided up and/or are afraid to go it alone in a down economy. Truly fascinating stuff from a behavioral science perspective. But perhaps it's not that surprising that a couple might find themselves forgetting why they went down the aisle, because they've been living beyond their means, spending every last buck on stuff, and now the financial stress has become bigger than them.

If you think it can't happen to you, think again. People do it all the time. If it can happen to Ed McMahon, MC Hammer, or any other celebrity who you later find out is now broke, why can't it happen to the average joe? It apparently happened to the King of Pop, and all he was was one of the biggest selling recording stars ever.



Link to WSJ Article is here

Link to Famous People who filed Chapter 11

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Forgiveness, Introspection and Connie Culp, my Inspirational Person of the Week

I neglected to publish this for whatever reason back when the story was first gaining national attention. Here is the re-post from back in May of this year. JW
























There's a lot of bad stuff out there in the news, etc., and most times it feels like we aren't connected to it. But every once in a while, there's a story that seems innocuous at first, but reminds us all of our common bond as "higher functioning" organisms.

If you haven't heard by now, Jon and Kate are experiencing some issues (more on this later, I will no doubt surprise you), there's a swine flu out there determined to kill us all (yet the story reminds me more of the dopes who run out and buy 3 months worth of milk and bread when a small snowstorm is coming), etc. But to me, I'm always searching beyond the drama that sells ad revenue for the truly inspirational stories that give me hope for all of us. This week, I think I found that story.

Connie Culp, in my humble opinion, is one of the most courageous people you'll probably ever hear about. She is the woman who has received a face transplant after being shot by her husband in 2004. It's a horrible story, but one that reminds us all that there is more to life than just how much we own, or what score we shot in golf. Connie's story initially received attention due to the questions surrounding the "ethics" of this controversial procedure. I won't go into the arguments surrounding this part of the story, because quite frankly, I think it completely misses the point.

Ms. Culp received her new face from the Cleveland Clinic. If you listen to what she says in recent interviews, her statements are incredibly inspirational. Yes, she looks quite different, and yes, people will and do make fun of her. But all the cliches are appropriate; beauty isn't always what you can visibly see. At one point, Connie states (paraphrase) "this time a year ago, I didn't have a face. I used to be worried about my weight, my hair. It's so foolish."

So up till this point in my post, all the usual things apply. But the thing about this story that is so remarkable to me is her capacity to forgive her assailant. It's a true life lesson that we all should take with us. Connie showed me that you cannot truly live, cannot truly be happy, or truly appreciate your life until you learn how to forgive. And the life you have is the one you make.

As a side note, organized religion preaches this "forgiveness" message, but the validity of the argument is often lost since the messenger or congregation preaches "love everyone" and in the same breath, says something racists, homophobic, or otherwise, because God's loophole is that he supposedly forgives all of us for our crap. It's a joke, and the folks that seek this guidance are the even bigger joke. Said differently, if you think you could go through something comparable to what Ms. Culp has, and handle the situation with the same dignity and class that she has shown, you probably don't need to go somewhere with the herd on Sunday morning. For the rest of you, keep searching.

All you really need is someone like Connie Culp to remind you of what true forgiveness looks and sounds like. It's such a refreshing story, I'm very thankful for Ms. Culp.

Links to Connie Culp's Story are here and here .

Celebrity Soundboards


















This is a funny website that has various sound bytes of celebrities saying different things. Tremendous resource with lots of good clips.

Enjoy...

Celebrity Soundbytes Webpage

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Elmo's World and Kevin Clash

As a new parent, I must say that I have been fully immersed in Elmo's world. In a lot of ways, it's Elmo's world, and I just live in it. Allison loves Elmo, for whatever reason, perhaps it's the voice or just the eyes, but he is a cute character.

I grew up on Sesame Street. I was surfing around on YouTube, and found tons of clips of Elmo. One that is quite popular on YouTube is Elmo's guest appearances on a talk show down in Australia. One clip that stuck out was the clip of Kevin Clash, Elmo's puppeteer. It's amazing to watch how these folks bring these pieces of material to life.

Enjoy...just a "FYI" post. It's pretty amazing how these guys do this. I am convinced that Jim Henson did a lot of drugs. Sometimes, the results aren't always bad.

Elmos and Kevin Clash


Elmo on Rove Live

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dave Matthews Covers

As an aspiring, self-taught guitarist, the internet has made learning guitar even easier. During college, my absolute favorite all-time band was DMB. Prior to DMB, I loved the usual Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan. But there was something about Dave's music that was so new and different, much like when I felt when I first heard Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It's interesting to think about how interwoven music is within our society, and where we are at the time. I have always thought that the music of the 60's was so good because good music starts from your soul. Since the 60's were characterized by chaos, you could see this get channeled through the lyrics of great song writers like CCR, Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, and CSNY. I digress, but you get the picture. The final word on this is today's music sucks. But I guess that's indicative of where we are in the cycle.

Well I remember buying DMB's Remember Two Things at the Bucknell bookstore my sophomore year, and it was the precursor to an amazing body of music. Agreed, I am an old school fan, liking DMB's early music much more than its current form. But as a guitarist, you have to love his playing. It's amazing. I was driving around the other day and Pandora chose "The Best of What's Around" and it just made me smile. The song is like scotch, no worries, just chillin'.

So I am posting a couple of YouTube videos of Dave's early days in Virgina before he went nuclear. And I also want to post a video of this guy on YouTube as well who does covers of DMB on acoustic guitar. He's one of the best I've seen in the sense that he plays identical to Dave all over the fret. The guy's amazing.

Dave's Early Days


Akangell on YouTube (DMB Covers)


So Much to Say - Cover



Internet Sites to Learn Acoustic Covers (This guy dumbs it down in a major way):
Guitar Sage

Guitar Tabs

Michael Jackson's Ghost?

Creepy video on the web that was supposedly seen on CNN live with Larry King.

Who knows, in these days of hype and ratings, the skeptic in me says it was planned or manufactured. Who knows...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground



Last night was a slow night for sports...so I found myself clicking through a very interesting program. Frontline is a great series; last night's program was titled "Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground."























The show piqued my interest because when I was in B-school, I was in a class that was about socially related business issues, for lack of a better word. One of the classes was about how China was becoming the world's dumping ground for what is called "e-waste." This waste is related to old CRT monitors, keyboards, and computer desktop towers that were discarded by "the West." The reason this class stuck with me was because 1) it was interesting and made you think 2) there was almost a riot during the lecture since there were many disturbing images shown to the class. These images were considered inflammatory to my Chinese classmates. Images of children sitting atop massive piles of old outdated monitors, etc. were shown. Remember, we were in b-school, and China is the world's next economic engine. These pictures were humiliating to my Chinese classmates, who viewed the images as insensitive...

Well I digress, but the show was really interesting. Suffice it to say, our professor was not out to humiliate anyone (at least I don't think), but rather bring to light a very real and growing problem that flies under the mainstream media. It's not just China that receives all of these items, but rather, as the map above shows, many places of lower socioeconomic regions. Ok, ok, I have a point, and here's why you should care about this problem, beyond the obvious reasons.

Two Reasons Why You Should Care...Beyond the Obvious During one part of the segment, the investigators showed how people's hard drives are ending up in these distant dumping places. No joke apparently. I was skeptical, but low and behold, the investigators bought hard drives from folks in Ghana who got them by sifting through the garbage. (Apparently, if you melt a motherboard down, you can take the copper that is left and sell for about $1 USD. Since a hard drive can fetch money, this is obviously the hand of economics driving the people to look through the waste...) One woman purchased a hard drive, and plugged it into another computer to read its contents. There were pictures, credit card info, you name it. If you are surprised, don't be. The hard drive, with an operating system on it, is the computer...So you might think you're wiping the data, but the only way to truly wipe it is to physically destroy the platters in the drive. Easier said than done, as I've blogged about before..
.

The segment also showed one clip where they had found a hard drive from Northrup Gruman, a defense contractor. When they looked at the drive, they found, among other things, classified documents of government contracts won or applied for. Applying for government contracts is apparently a highly confidential process. The data was shown to the FBI's homeland security deputy, who promptly told you why you should care about this...To paraphrase:

"This is unbelievable. In the wrong hands, these documents would show someone how to infiltrate a government agency. Once you have someone you don't want on the inside, you don't have security."

There you have it. Check the program out, it's worth it just to show you how a seemingly innocuous decision made can leave ripples around our world and come back to bite you.

Link to Hard Drive Issue

Link to Hard Drive Issue

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Google Chrome's Logo



This is an interesting picture of one blogger's interpretation of Google's logo for its Chrome browser. I have never used the browser, but it is worth noting why they couldn't have come up with anything else.

The tech war is once again becoming an interesting arena. If you think corporations aren't driven by their arch enemy, think again. What's a bigger question is that an arch enemy, or at the very least, someone who pushes them, is necessary to move forward, not bailouts. Look at the Cold War, and how silly that all seems now. If you don't believe me, watch the video below, which is what they used to show children so they were prepared for a nuclear war. And yet, we're the only country that has ever used a tactical strategic nuke. Organizations, people, you need a motive to create, innovate and move the collective forward. Sadly, we have a new enemy pushing us, and after we conquer them, we will find another one to drive us. Fear is a great motivator. Of that I'm sure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jackass Prank

We were talking about this video when the Leigh's were in town last weekend. It's by the crew on Jacka**, hilarious stuff. Johnny Knoxville puts a car seat on top of his car with a baby "doll" in it, and proceeds to drive off...

Seriously, what would you do if you saw this?

So Scary

I don't even know where to begin. No, it's not a clip from the terrorists, but it might as well be.

I've posted a video clip below of a trailer for the movie "Jesus Camp." Seriously F**KED up. I don't know who is more disturbing, these kids or Al Qaeda. I'm actually pretty sure these kids are the same and hopefully on Homeland Security's list. But maybe it's not the kid's to blame per se, but certainly the parents.

This camp was located in South Dakota, go figure, the interior of the country, but you know, these folks are probably closer than you think....parts of PA are not much different.

I think I'll just leave it at the clip. If you can't see the problem with this, you should check yourself in.



Here's some other links, in case you aren't convinced at how disturbing this is.

Link

Link 1

Link 2

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Project Natal

Well, it's finally here. I think that this was inevitable, and MSFT should thank Nintendo for initially building the market for this application. At the most recent E3 show, MSFT unveiled its latest application for the Xbox 360. The project, codenamed "Natal", utilizes technology to do full-body motion capture. This is essentially the same technology used in film production when people where the body suits with "balls" all over them to capture their movements. Here's a link in case you are thinking about doing some motion capture and need a suit.



Wow, this is really cool. The battle to seize control of your living room between Sony and Microsoft has just gone nuclear. Round 1 went to MSFT with their launch of Xbox before Sony, Round 2 went to Sony for the entertainment industry's endorsement of Blu-Ray vs. HD, and now in Round 3, the Wii sets the table and MSFT runs with it.

Competition is a good thing, it drives us forward. Remember that when you think about the state of affairs and bail-out nation.

Kid's Back
























Charlie Morton fans, he's back. Pittsburgh Pirates get Charlie and two other players for McLouth. Charlie is the #5 pitcher, and his next start is next Tuesday against Minnesota.

Welcome back to the Show Charlie. Remember, all you can control is the ball, your location, and your state of mind. Get out of your own way, and dare yourself to be great. We're all pulling for you bro.

Now go get it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Triumph the Comic Insult Dog
















This dog is the best. I think this clip was on Conan, and it's spot on. Turn the volume down if you are at work. Triumph goes to NYC and talks to the Star Wars geeks that are lined up for attack of the clones premiere. Spock makes an appearance at the end, it's worth it just for that.

Seriously, people really dress up as Star War characters? Get ready to laugh.

Part 1


Part 2





Links to Other Triumph Bits

Thursday, June 4, 2009

F&(#*@&$!K -- Westbrook's Surgery
























If this is true, then the Bird's 2009 season is going to be extremely tough. I wonder if D-Mac will pack it in, since no Westbrook exposes McNabb.

This sucks.

Link to Story on Westbrook's Surgery

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Best "App" for Blackberry Bold

Pandora is an application for phones. It is basically a smart internet radio service that allows you to create radio stations based upon your interests. The station then generates a song list that is based upon other people's similar interests. The technology is fairly well established, but for some reason, this one works really well for your phone. You can go to their website over the internet to set up your station/interests, but be forewarned. The free service tries to monetize the service via lots of ads. But for some reason, there are no ads or pop-ups on my Bold.

It's a really good free service, and worth it if you have the unlimited data package.

Link to Pandora

Google Maps and Street View

I have a good friend from B-school whose name shall go unmentioned. This person hates Google, swears by it, so I've dedicated this post to him.

I'm a big fan of Google Maps, given that it seems robust and much better than Yahoo maps, and god forbid Mapquest. If you are still using Mapquest, do yourself a favor and stop.

Google Maps is on my Blackberry, and the GPS function is phenomenal. I have used it on several occasions, and am glad that I didn't spend the $5,000 to get a GPS mounted into the car as an option when I can get it on my phone. One thing I had always wondered is how the street views are generated on Google maps...Below is an image of this Streetview, that gives you an actual view of the street you may want to navigate.

Well if you search a bit, you can see that the street views are generated with cars that have cameras mounted on their roofs. It's fairly amazing, but one thing should occur to you when you see this. If the government was doing this, would you think the technology is so cool?

Makes you think, and reminds me of the "law of unintended consequences." Google is a fascinating technology with endless potential really. But with great power comes great responsibility, someone once said. Most often you might think of these words in the context of "stem cell research" or "nuclear power" but sometimes the most disruptive, potentially devastating technology can seem as innocuous as an internet map that is a huge improvement over the last generation of web-based map technology.

If nothing else, it makes you stop and think. But if you've got nothing to hide, what's the fuss? I am personally of the opinion that there are too many people on the planet, so any deterrence is fine with me if it makes folks think before they act.

Links to Google Streetview Controversy here, and here

Wikipedia entry on Google Streetview here

Video of Streetview Car in action

GigaPan -- Unbelievably cool technology





I had heard about this technology earlier, but then stumbled across it recently. If you haven't heard or seen, check it out here. In a nutshell, it photo stitches together thousands of pictures from independent sources to generate a "whole" picture.

There is an especially incredible "gigapan" of Obama's inauguration. It's located here. The cool thing too is that you can pan and zoom. It's really incredible. My personal favorite is here. It's a nighttime shot of the NYC skyline from Weehawken. This is exactly what I would see riding the bus into work every morning. The city is truly beautiful.

The technology was based upon work done by NASA, Carnegie Mellon and Google. Another win for Google, I want to hate them, but I think that in 20 years, they will own MSFT, and MSFT knows it.

Gigapan of Duck Bay on Mars

Here's some other links to Gigapan related websites.

Gigapan Magazine
Gigapan Facebook Page

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gwinnett Braves -- Morton gets the win
























Charles threw 7 innings of 4 hits ball, giving up just 1 ER yesterday. The kid is 6-2 as a starter and has an ERA of 2.91 in his rehab assignment with the Gwinnett Braves.

Here is the link to Charlie's latest outing...

New Blackberry -- Code Named "Onyx"

I'll keep this short and sweet. I've loved Blackberry every since I can remember. I used to have a Palm PDA back in the day, but now, I must say that the I am addicted to my Blackberry Bold. I looked at the iPhones, and they are neat. But I just couldn't get around the keyboard issue.

Here is a site I frequent often. It's www.crackberry.com, and the author has access to new products from RIMM. BTW, RIMM traded down from a high of $110 since the beginning of 2008 to around 40-50, but has since rebounded. I think the following blackberry has introduced has kept their product cycles robust, since the latest innovation was WiFi and a better display from the Curve.

Enjoy. RIMM and Blackberry, the best things to come out of Canada.

Link to Video Comparison of "Onyx" to Bold, Curve, Storm
If nothing else, the Johnny Cash is worth it.



Link to Comparison/Review of "Onyx" (March 24, 2009)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Very Cool Time Lapse Videos

Flatiron Building New York City from Brian Przypek on Vimeo.



I stumbled upon a cool time lapse website. The site has lots of time lapse videos of different areas. Above is the time lapse of the Flat Iron building in NYC.

Here is a link to the site....

A Nice Story in the News

Here's a nice story that's making its rounds. A mother got her degree today. Apparently, her son, who was serving in Iraq, flew back to surprise her and give his mom her diploma. Good stuff. Congrats to them both.

Link is here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ass of the Week
























There are three recipients for this week's award...Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). Apparently these three elected congressmen want to investigate college football's BCS (Bowl Championship Series.)

Don't these people have more important things to worry about? There is always a motive; if you read between the lines, the motive gets back to Hawaii and Boise State being kept out of the series despite having undefeated seasons. Why were these teams kept out of the BCS in the past? Because the invisible hand of economics dictates that not many people would watch those two teams. To quote elected official Neil Abercrombie, who argues for the very reason as to why these two teams were left out:

Abercrombie said the matter is worthy of federal review because college football is big business with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

"It's money. That's what this is all about," he said.

No sh*t. I'm sure these three entered politics to help people.

I'm sure congressmen Simpson is on the 3rd weiner-speeder-bike...

4 Milion Snuggie's Sold



















If you haven't heard by now, here is another sign that something is seriously wrong, or at least, there's something seriously wrong with at least 4 million people. Apparently, USA Today has reported that the Snuggie has sold 4 million units as of Jan 2009. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please refer to the infomercial below. The family of idiots looks like a cult. Thank god they didn't wear the white ones for the commercial...



I remember seeing this infomercial while up with Allison at like 4AM back in December, and honestly, I thought I was hallucinating from the sleep deprivation. Apparently not, sadly it's for real. While there's lots I could say, I think I'm most upset with myself for not thinking up the idea because clearly I believe the market is potentially endless for this crap. Hopefully the inventor is selling it below cost, so that he/she goes bankrupt. My theory is that the birth of the Snuggie was a manufacturing mistake, and someone said, well, we've got 4 million of them, some idiot will buy it. (Remember button candy? That was clearly a clogged nozzle for some candy at Willy Wonka's...next thing you know, you have button candy.)

4 million idiots later....Put on a f#^%@#g sweatshirt, you Klingons. No wonder the jobs are heading overseas.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gary Dell'Abate's First Pitch at Citi Field (5/9/09)

Here's a clip of Gary Dell'Abate, the producer from Howard Stern's show. They've been railing him for 2 days, and, well, it was well deserved.

Enjoy. Oooo fa.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another Trip Down Computer Memory Lane




Here's another great post on old school computer hardware and software. If you recognize the items on this list, you probably had a Panasonic KX-1124 dot matrix printer printing boldface by printing the same line three times.

Post on old school computer stuff is here...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bill Gates, Commodore 64 Easter Egg, and Computer Archaeology


If you are a computer/techie geek like me, you owe it to yourself to check out the following blog post...The author walks through some of the early folklore that surrounds Microsoft and Bill Gates. Two things leap out at you after reading the story:

1. Computer programmers were incredibly paranoid, and for good reason. Those who recognized the technology's application and potential knew the stakes were enormous.

2. The early computers that predate what we have today is a great reminder of the progress that has occurred. Singularity is certainly closer than we were just 30 years ago. In fact, etching and circuit width is the latest bottleneck to processor speed. It's amazing to see the old 8-bit architectures that laid the foundation for the 64-bit technology that exist today.

For those who don't know, "Easter eggs" are things that programmers put into their work that are secret. But they are accessible, usually via some special action to trigger the special treat. Here is a link devoted to various easter eggs found in various formats (DVD movies, software, etc.). As a side note, the first egg i found was the one in Excel; the original programmers apparently put the game "Spy Hunter" into Excel 97, and the game would appear upon a certain formula and sequence of events in Excel.

Anyhow, for those that follow the folk lore of microsoft, check out the blog titled "Pagetable". The post on Bill Gates' first easter egg to send Commodore a message is a good one.

Link to Pagetable -- Software Archaeology

The Kid's Still Kicking


Charlie Morton is doing a rehab stint down in the minors for Atlanta. He's working through a minor injury, but hopefully will get back to the Show soon. If you want to follow his progress, the links are below.

Let's go brother...do what you do.

Link to Charlie's last outing

Link to the Gwinnett Braves

Link to Charlie's stats with Gwinnett

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tom Toles -- True Brilliance

True brilliance, again by Tom Toles at the Washington Post simple short and to the point. I don't even know where to begin with the current state of affairs, but this cartoon is a nice starting point. Much more to come on why the current rally has no fundamentals behind it, why volatility is resulting in traders leading the momentum, mark-to-market is saving capital ratios of otherwise insolvent banks, and profits are true accounting artifacts without real economic merit behind them.

Fear and greed.

The bailouts remind me of the show "Extreme Makeover" with that idiot Ty running around screaming at everyone, etc. I know, I know, it's TV, which is sold to the dopey masses (yes that's me watching Idol and Lie to Me). Create drama, push product. But here's the reason I hate this show; it's the same reason why I hate the bailouts.

If you watch the show, the set-up is by and large always the same "car crash." Some family has gotten itself into some trouble, and they are living in "dire straits". So in comes the ABC crew, sends them on a vacation, and promises to build them the house they've always wanted, but could never afford, etc.

Now don't get me wrong, there is some genuine tragedy in this show and some of it is not self-generated, so I'm not disgusted by the family's situation. I find myself more annoyed by the house they end up building the family. I get it, a big gaudy house sells ad revenue from Sears, Ford, etc. We all feel better watching a family in need get what they otherwise can't. But in all honesty, they should just build the family a modest house, and set up a college fund with a financial advisor, so the family can gain the skills they need to be financially self-sufficient. What does giving someone a large house prove or teach the family? What does propping up a car company that makes cars no one wants to buy do besides allocate capital in a wasteful fashion? If moral hazard is a the only solution, then the situation must be incredibly bad, and much worse than you and I are even being told. Just watch what happens after the bank stress tests.

I suppose the best part is that the basis for the show is, to me, a subtle microcosm of present America and the path we took to get into the trouble we are in (BTW, google Glass-Steagall...the seeds for the credit bubble were sown long before Greenspan and Bush got here. They just kept the beer flowing.) Americans wake up thinking they should have huge material things to be considered successful. Blame the banks, yell at AIG and the TARP money, etc. the average American probably couldn't even explain the TARP or TALF programs. But I wonder how many of the folks that are yelling are the same people that got themselves an exotic mortgage with the intent to live beyond their means or flip a house for quick profit they can no longer flip? There was a market for this stuff, and markets need demand before supply is ever created. Forget about houses, just think credit cards. There's plenty of blame to go around.

Guns don't kill people, people do. It's like the drug addict that blames drug dealer but never themselves. But don't worry, superman is going to save the world.

American Idol






















This year's American Idol has been painful to watch in the early going, and I've alluded to why I've become hooked on the show here. One of my dreams would be to be able to sing while playing guitar, having taught myself how to play.

The three pictured in this clip are probably the most deserving to make it through to the finals. However, it's become painfully obvious how much better one contestant is versus all of the rest this season. Adam Lambert has in my opinion, completely exposed how ordinary the others are. It's true, these three all have tremendous vocal ability, but week in and week out, Adam continues to take huge risks that show not just how great his vocals are, but that he can interpret a song that's been done a million ways in that million+1 way that is so cool. The evolution of his celebrity began with his rendition of "Ring of Fire" (WTF???), and then broke out with his original version of Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears" (Holy sh*t) to his performance of Gary Jules/Tears for Fears song "Mad World" (Wow, the guy's for real) to finally tonight's version of "If I can't have you" (seriously, how do you make that disco upbeat song into a power-ballad? That guy just did it. Unf*#%ingbelivable.) The arc to celebrity has been really cool to watch evolve; in marketing, they call it the tipping point.

It's hard to really explain, but it's something that you see and just say "I can't really put into words what celebrity is, but I do know what it looks like." And that's kind of how you see things after this guy performs. To put another way, Paula Abdul is a complete trainwreck this season. But for some reason, her antics and words are only a distraction when speaking after the other performances. With this guy, she still says stupid things, but his performance is so memorable, you don't really remember what she says.

The only real question I have is, I think it's been acknowledged that Adam is gay. I wonder if America is ready for a "gay" american idol? I suspect they are, and hope so, because this guy is seriously an amazing singer/artist. Talent is talent. Good luck Adam. It's fun and inspiring to watch someone succeed in achieving their dreams.

Tracks of my Tears




Mad World


Frontline - Bush's War

For those who want to look beyond the headlines related to Iraq, you should watch Frontline's program "Bush's War." By posting about this, I am not taking a position, but this program is fascinating and gives a view of the events leading up to "shock and awe." To PBS's credit, the program examines the events that led to the decision to go in by looking at it from the perspective of the CIA, White House, FBI, Justice Dept., etc. If you watched Colin Powell present to the U.N. about the mobile missile launchers, etc. this program offers a fascinating behind the scenes that led to that presentation. The key takeaway is that you see how organizational dysfunction can lead to decisions that may be sub-optimal. While that statement is anything but profound, the stakes were enormous, so you owe it to yourself to at least understand potentially how we made the decision to go in with the best information we had at the time. This program makes it apparent that the information was all over the place. I think if nothing else, the program is a tribute to the brave men and women who have lost their lives over there.

Most who know me know I am fairly conservative on lots of things, and liberal on others, but really anything but political since at the end of the day I am a true cynic, but this program is worth watching. Albeit, it's an op-ed piece, but for those willing to set their political affiliations aside for the greater questions, you do have to ask, where are the WMDs?

Fast forward to today, and if nothing else, this program offers a possible answer as to how we potentially got the leadership we have today and why this country likely voted into office someone most had never ever even heard of, and looked the other way when most tough issues came up. It may have had nothing to do with race; things apparently were so bad people were ready for a change, no matter what it took.

Funny Superbowl Commercial from Careerbuilder.com

I had to post the below "movie" since it was a hilarious spot by Careerbuilder.com during the past Superbowl. The clip below is just part of the whole commercial...if you missed the spot during the game this past January, you should check it out. The ad agency for careerbuilder is quite good, and they have clearly hit a vibe with folks during these tough times. (BTW, most who know me know that I love animals, probably more than people all else equal, so the below clip is meant to get a harmless laugh, nothing more.)

funny animated gif

The original full commercial is here...enjoy.

I'm Back...I Think

So after a short hiatus, I'm back. Lots to post on, so hopefully with baby Allison finally sleeping through the night (mostly) I can start to find some time to begin writing my crap again.

Don't be blaming me daddy...!


Allie and big cousin Ava...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is SportsCenter


I remember when these commercials came out...They were instant classics. If you are a sports fan, then you know what I'm talking about. I've posted the link to ESPN's SportsCenter Commercials. They are organized by time period... I think one of my early favorites was the one with Charlie Steiner where everyone wants to "play box "with him since he covered boxing matches, and he ends up punching the Syracuse Orangeman mascot out in the parking lot because he's had enough. Or the recent commercial with LT putting mail in the wrong slots because of his visor.

I've been looking for these...enjoy, they are tremendous.

Link to "This is SportsCenter commercial archive

American Idol -- Why It's Brilliant


So I have to admit that over the past 2 years, Erin has managed to successfully get me hooked on American Idol. I will confess that I am more interested in the early shows, and by the time it's the finals, I pretty much have lost interest. So I found myself asking the question, why do I find myself drawn to this show? For those who know me, you'd be shocked to think I actually watch this show.

The easy answer is that I find myself drawn to the show for the trainwrecks that show up and sing. It's astounding to watch people sing horribly, and then act shocked that professionals find them so untalented. My favorite personality last year in the early rounds was Alexis Cohen, the girl from Allentown, PA. She kept telling Simon to "take it" in her follow-up interview.



Maybe the answer is I watch because the producers always show someone that reminds you that there are some really good people out there. Like the girl on tonight's show who started a group that goes and sings at senior centers so the seniors don't have to be alone. That's pretty awesome, you have to admit. Her parents must be so proud, I know I'd be.

But ultimately, I realized the the draw for me at least, is that there is something truly inspirational watching people go after their dreams. I've posted about this before, but it's true. We all talk about having a vision for our life, but how many of us truly go after our dream? It's easy to identify and watch the auditioner on the show that will get through. But I always find it more fascinating to try and to identify the person that will continue to go after their dream even when the experts tell them not to. Quitting is easy; as the saying goes, tough times don't last, tough people do.

I guess that's it, that's the hook for me. This show reminds you to never stop a person from trying to realize their dreams. My hope is that Alexis is realizing her dream somewhere....

Fox Network's "Lie to Me" TV Show

Just saw the promos for Fox's new drama, "Lie to Me". Link to show info is here, interesting that a network picked up a show that is about two experts that understand the signals people give when they lie...

You may remember my post on this topic last February2008, here.

I think it's interesting that this show might have a potential market ("following").

Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Luck BO


Toles is awesome. What a mess. Don't believe the hype, it's all ambition. But it can't be much worse than the legacy of the last 8 years.

And as far as the tillion dollar stimulus is concerned, remember my post earlier on the four levers to drive economic growth (post is here). Consumption, Investment and Trade Exports are all turning negative, so government spending, unfortunately, is the only, quick lever available.

What a Game...The Eagles are in the NFC Championship Game
























So the #6 seed goes on the road and beats Minnesota...and then this past weekend, bingo. The Giants are left for dead. What a defense, Jim Johnson is awesome, put the ball in Eli's hands, sans Plax, and the Birds earn a trip to Arizona. One more game, do you believe...?

I am sure it's been written, but I believe that benching D-Mac was Andy Reid's moment of clarity. It's very obvious that Andy has always tried to prove that he made the right pick taking Donovan as the #1 pick back in 1999 by creating gameplans that force Donovan to throw the ball all over the lot. The Birds finally look balanced, and the defense is playing out of its mind. Defenses win championships, it's been proven over and over again.

Go Birds...Please don't let this ride end. Let's shock the world Philly.