Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Privacy

Here's the executive summary: You have none. Neither do I. I just admit it to myself and to others.

Now, for the slightly more involved version. I just read an article online in the New York Times about employers' checking up on people through their electronic footprints. This is annoying, but it's not news. As long as there have been ways to check up on people, it's been done by employers. In my case, I made a decision to share some of what I'm about online in a blog. Seven years before that, I put a homepage on the Internet that said stuff about me, too. I had a (now pretty much defunct) subsite dedicated to pictures of my son and his world that I updated every month or two until he was three years old - I just didn't publish the URL but I'm sure it can be found. I never took it down. I have a personal website still, a blog, and a website that represents my business. Plenty of information can be had about me just from the other digital footprints I've left over the last twenty years or so, and I've come to be pretty much OK with that.

Simply put, I know what I've put online myself. I keep track of what people say about me that can easily be found (GIYF). If I wrote it, I'm comfortable with a reader knowing it. I don't say a lot that I could, and I keep a lot of details intentionally vague. But overall my life is fairly transparent. I don't have a MySpace, or a Facebook, or a LinkedIn. Just what you see here. And if you're interested enough in my life and thoughts to read this twaddle, good for you. It's really not that big a deal. I live just as much of my life in public as I probably would without an Internet - it's just that "public" in the Internet world is really public.

Rant off - for a little followup thought to close out most of 2007 (I'll probably write my Traditional Year-End Post tomorrow night), business was good this year. The one thing I'm thinking of doing, though, is creating a company blog on my company website in the next few weeks. One of the features if I do so will probably be a "hall of shame" where I'll name the customers who don't pay their bills. You see, it's not really worth my while to join D&B, and I can't report bad debts to the credit reporting companies without using D&B or hiring a collections company. And letters/e-mails/phone calls don't always work. So I think naming names might be a good way to handle things. After all, Google knows all, and being named a deadbeat in Google is almost as bad nowadays as a credit report.

Not decided for certain on this - but I'm leaning towards it. I've got one guy who still owes me $1500 from 2006!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Apologies for the extended absence

Been pretty busy of late, and blogging just doesn't always seem like what I need to do with my time. A couple of interesting reads over the last week. First, Scott Adams' blog has been converted into a book. Mostly nice little thoughts and quotes, mildly inspirational affirmations, and a few Dilbert cartoons mixed in. Good humor in the Adams vein.

Also, I'm reading How Starbucks Saved my Life. It's by a man in his mid-sixties who was a former Master of the Universe at JWT (that's J. Walter Thompson for you folks who don't give a damn about the ad business). He got fired in his mid-fifties, managed for a few years as a consultant, had an affair and another kid with a woman who stopped liking him as soon as she realized he wasn't wealthy, wrecked his marriage, and then wound up working at a Starbucks in Manhattan as his consulting failed. Apparently the fact that he wound up working for black folks at Starbucks made him think about what a schmuck he was, and properly humbled, he picked up his life and made it suck less. It's total White Upper-Class Twaddle, but short enough that I'm reading it through to the end.

I had tickets to the Pats game yesterday, but I wimped out on the trip. At 41, I think my wussification is now complete.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yesterday's milestone

We came home yesterday afternoon to find a message from David's kindergarten friend Olivia on the machine asking him for a play date. This is, I suspect, the first of many...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Well, more of a game at last

Nobody's going to accuse the Pats of running up the score this time! Nice game by the Eagles, especially after the opening INT for a touchdown. Generally good game by the officials, too - they blew the Moss offensive pass interference call (if that hadn't happened the game might not have been quite so tight), but otherwise were pretty solid.

Teams like the Patriots seem to find a way to pull those kind of wins out, though.

Monday, November 19, 2007

NFL-related thoughts for next Caturday:

(rest of league) I can't has SuperBowl?
(Patriots) NOT YOURS!!!

Wow, what a wipeout. The good news for the Bills was that they beat the Pats' defense by a score of 10-7. Unfortunately for them, the Pats' offense put up 49 on them. Including a couple of what were basically scrub touchdowns. Stranger things have happened, but I don't see how anyone else can even come close to them the rest of the way. We've seen teams go as far as 13 weeks unbeaten (the Colts a couple of years ago) in the cap era, but never with this level of dominance. Simmons is right, though. It's like rooting for Cobra Kai. But nice.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

One other note

I think we'll see the first Leopard bug-fix rev this week. Just a feeling - I know it's been seeded, but I think they will want to have it out there before the Thanksgiving week gets rolling. 10.5.1 will probably be followed by a 10.5.2 around the end of the year. And from there it should stabilize for a while.

First NASCAR thought in a while

As I type this, barring catastrophe Jimmy Johnson will win his fourth race in a row. I can't farking stand him. And the Chase system really isn't working too well anymore - As of this point, there are only two contenders remaining, and unless Johnson wrecks early next week (or in the next 11 laps, which ain't going to happen), it's all over right now (Gordon's 86 points behind), and next week's race won't really be for anything at all. I really can't see a better way to solve it right now. The biggest thing I'd like to see is the Chase expanded to include all race winners in the first 26 races, and seeding changed a little - the Chasers should be reset a little differently. I'm fine with bonus points for wins, but Jeff Gordon shouldn't have entered the Chase in anything but first after building up a huge points lead in the first 26 races.

Had the Chase been expanded as I'd like, the only three drivers added would have been Casey Mears (won the Coca-Cola 600), Montoya (the Infineon road race), and Jamie McMurray (first New Hampshire). All three of them are in a good place in the standings (JPM is worst, at 21st), so it's not like some backmarker is likely to sneak in who doesn't belong. Anyhow, one more week and then it's all shut down until February. Football returns next weekend, hot stove season gets rolling this week (once free agency starts), and even though I'm not much of a fan, pro basketball will be a little more interesting here in Boston this year (Kevin Garnett has always been one of the players I enjoy watching - though not enough to actually become a full-fledged basketball fan at this point in my life), and rumor is there's a hockey team in town. Not sure what they're called, though.

Okay, enough of that. Time to have dinner and get back to work...

Friday, November 02, 2007

What to do with the Sox free agents

Well, since I'm so indispensable to the Red Sox front office, I figured I'd treat you all to a little insider info - my plan for the free agent market this year. Don't share this with anyone, OK?

First, the pitchers:
Curt Schilling - we'd like to keep him, we really would. If he wants to play one last year and isn't planning on an endless farewell tour, we'll offer him a deal with a base salary of about $8 million and incentives based on innings pitched to get him up to $13-$14 million if all goes well. He's his own agent, so if we can get it done it'll be quick. This gets him the dollars he's wanting and addresses our concerns about durability. He's missed time each of the last three seasons, you know...

Eric Gagné - Let's just try and forget this ever happened. OK?

Julian Tavarez - He's with Boras, so this could be tough. We like him, he's versatile, has a rubber arm, and is a pretty good clubhouse guy. If we can get 2 more years at short money we'll do it. With Boras that's probably not going to happen, so say your goodbyes now.

Mike Timlin - We think he's about done. But if we can do a year at relatively low dollars ($3 million or so), he's a good insurance policy.

Matt Clement - Matt's going to be a decent pitcher again. But not here.

Tim Wakefield - Pretend he's not even on the list. We've got a forever option, and if he's healthy he's back. Period.

Now, the position players:

Mike Lowell - First on the list. Yes, we want him. We heard you, OK? But for his age and career performance, we can only guarantee 3 years at $13 million - if he wants 4 or 5 years guaranteed we can't play. We'll try and bridge the gap with incentives to lock in the 4th year.

Doug Mirabelli - We love ya here, Doug. But you can't hit, you aren't great on defense (except you can catch Wake), you're kind of old, and you're expensive. Pat Cash gives us what you do at much shorter money, and he can catch a knuckler too. Bye.

Eric Hinske - Thanks for the help. We'll take it from here. Hope you catch on somewhere.

Bobby Kielty - We'll try and get a 1 or 2 year deal done with you, but we've got other priorities now (we might replace you with Gabe Kapler if he goes ahead with his comeback - he's got Sox rights for life like Wake does). Thanks for the Series-clinching homer if it doesn't work out!


And here's the free agents we have our eye on so far:

Kyle Lohse - yes, he's got a losing record. But he's got great stuff, is still young, and he's the kind of guy we like to take a chance on.

Livan Hernandez - Durable, solid starter. We want him or Lohse most likely, and in the 4 spot. But if the numbers aren't good enough and we keep Shill, we'll pass on both of these guys.

Hitoki Iwase - this kid's looking for a few big-money years in the States to end his career. We see him as a good bullpen lefty (we've already got a closer), and this could work better than the Gagné experiment (that is the last you will hear his name here).

Kerry Wood - We're interested in him as a reliever. But he'll never leave Chicago.

I'm really not thinking too much about the position players right now - we're in good shape there (in case you hadn't noticed, we just won the World Series), and we're dealing from strength. We'll trade Coco Crisp during the offseason and use him to upgrade elsewhere depending on what we can get, but we're otherwise not going Extreme Makeover on the roster.

Remember, keep this all secret, OK?

Monday, October 29, 2007

It must have been me

I just realized that since I went into business in 2004, the Red Sox have won two titles. I apologize for taking so long to get started.

I didn't wake David up for this one. He has school in the morning, and although fantastic, it's not historic like 2004 was. Still pretty darned cool, though. And especially for a team that looked absolutely cooked just over a month ago.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Here, kitty kitty...

Leopard has come to the Turiel Mansion, and here are my very quick thoughts:

- No idea what it really means for battery life, because Spotlight has been reindexing since it finished installing. I was down watching TV and reading, and it sucked the battery pretty dry in that time. After the reindex is done we'll be able to get some real numbers.

- It had to recreate my .Mac iDisk. Hopefully it's using a .sparseimage file now (I will check tomorrow). Blocking off all that disk for very little content has been annoying.

- The new, informative AirPort menu is spiffy. So is the new Network system preference.

- The translucent menubar and menu is very visually bleh. It really needs more opacity. 3rd party opportunity present!

- Quick View is a nice feature. The live icon previews are a little tough to get used to, but handy.

- The new folder icon look is not good. Very industrial, and not as useful as the old ones (the icons are more difficult to discern the "special" symbols on them for system folders)

- Mail is spiffy. iCal is fast. No server experience yet for another week or so, so I can't tell you if the iCal server's any good.

- Bonus feature: My MS Wireless Laser Mouse 800 now works fine - no hoops necessary. The Mac just pairs with it. Before, I had to repeatedly power-cycle the mouse to get it to work, and go through a weird procedure with BT File Transfer to get it to work at all (it's not Mac-compatible in theory without the special MS dongle, but I'm stubborn and I liked it's ergonomics). I turned the mouse on and it saw it, filled in the info properly and just started working.

- No noticed incompatibilities so far. Office appears OK. No CS3 testing yet. It's bedtime.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pre-Series random thoughts

- Papelbon is one strange dude. And I love him (in a manly way) for it!

- After all the fuss, Matsuzaka gave us about what you'd expect from a decent number 3 starter. 5 innings, 2 runs, sort of shaky towards the end but enough for the win. He should be better with some rest in Game 3 of the Series. I think Wakefield will be a little better as well.

- I'm told that there was more riverdancing tonight. I think I am glad I missed it. Though it will be repeated on-air for the next three days...

- Dustin Pedroia's got a pair. They may be bigger than he is. Youkilis, too.

- Kevin Millar's throwing out the first pitch was strange. Righteous, but strange. Isn't he a current player on a division rival?

- Why didn't Lofton get sent home? Not complaining, but you've got to play for the tie opportunity there.

- Was anyone really expecting JD Drew to hit another grand slam? Even I wasn't fantasizing about it (OK, maybe I was a little).

- I miss Orsillo and Remy. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver make me wish I was adept enough to synchronize my radio with my TiVo to get the WEEI broadcast. Even though they replaced Trupiano with dual sucktards this season.

- How many of you were expecting Beckett to drop a few F-bombs during his MVP speech, just because he's entered the "I'm Keith Hernandez!" zone. He could say or do anything, and just pull it off because he is absolutely Da Man right now.

- And wasn't that last Coco Crisp catch amazing? Good thing he was saved on the bench all game to keep him fresh for that moment.

- If the Sox win the Series, does Gagné get a ring? Or should it be a special "despite your contributions" ring?

(Yes, I thought it was a great deal at the time. We all make mistakes. Let's try and move on, shall we?)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

12-2, and...

Eric Gagné is in to pitch the top of the 9th in this blowout. Call him the Human Victory Cigar. Even he can get through three outs without giving up more than 9 runs.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

State of the Tooth

As most of you know, I am a sucker for a Bluetooth headset. When the latest, greatest stuff comes out I just have to try it. It's a relatively cheap habit. And I've been through a bunch of them. As of right now, I own five different ones, three of which are in my regular rotation now. Here's a short summary of the ones I've had so far, their strengths, weaknesses, and fates (the three current ones will be at the end):

- Jabra BT250: Huge. Great battery life. State-of-the-art at the time I used it (back about 5 years ago). Long since retired - David used to play with it and pretend he had a headset like Daddy.

- Palm Treo wireless headset: Not bad, relatively compact. Good battery life. It had a really annoying light on it. I gave it away to a tech freak at one of my clients.

- Jabra JX-10: Worked better with my Treo than any other headset. Light. A little uncomfortable for some reason, and had very good sound for a device with no DSP. It broke after about a year.

- Plantronics Discovery 645: Very good sound, but was unstable as hell with my old Treo. The battery life was awful. I tried to resurrect it when I got my iPhone and it was more stable, but the battery hadn't aged well and it could only hold up for about two hours' worth of talk. Currently sitting on the back of my desk at home, where it blinks forlornly every day or so.

- Cardo Scala 700: Very good sound, great battery life, cheap, and it worked well with my Treo. But it was also really uncomfortable. I used to keep it in my car as an emergency headset, since it could hold a charge for months at a time.

- LG HBM-730: Nice, but horrible with my old Treo. When I bought Jane an iPhone, I gave it to her and its been a hit so far. Fits her well.

And now the keepers:

- Aliph Jawbone: Great sound. Great battery life. The noise cancellation works as advertised. However, it's not great in outdoor conditions with any breeze at all, getting the right fit is tricky, and it looks like you're wearing a blinking cheese grater on your face when it's on. I use it now when I'm indoors, typically at home. I used to wear it all the time but the Dork Factor was too high.

- BlueAnt Z9: It could be perfect. Really good sound quality, comfortable, and excellent battery life. The noise cancellation is almost as good as Jawbone, but not quite. It's easy to turn off the blinking (hold both volume buttons down for 3 seconds). And, unlike all the other ones I've had, it can be software-upgraded. Why don't I always use it? Because it's prone to interference from other devices. If I use it in a room with a lot of electronics, I'll have nasty noises occasionally getting in the way. I'm hoping that it can be fixed in software. If not, I'll probably have them replace it soon.

- Plantronics Explorer 520: It's dorkier than the Z9, but less so than the Jawbone. Pretty comfortable, very good battery life (I haven't killed it yet), and the sound is impeccable. No, it doesn't cancel out all the background noise, but it does filter it down somewhat. I wish it didn't blink, though. It's my current everyday headset.

Oh yeah - I'm really tired of 8:30 start times for playoff games, too. It's about to turn midnight, and the game's not over yet.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

If the Sox make it through this series

I think it's clear that they can't afford to waste a roster spot on Eric Gagné in the World Series.
Other than that, theur chances remain pretty good here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I'd say I'm sad, but...

I'll miss playing the Yankees in the ALCS. Not. Seriously.

On the other hand, the Indians are playing really good ball right now, they'll have their fearsome top two starters rested and ready, and polished off the Yankees pretty easily. On paper, the Yankees are a much easier opponent. But I'd just as soon take my chances with Cleveland, thanks for asking.

Looking forward to Game 1 Friday.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The solution

I promised a few posts ago to solve the WWE's problems. Well, since today they announced that John Cena would be out 6-8 months from a pectoral tear, I figure now's as good a time as any to make my suggestions (even though I know nobody from Stamford reads this blog, and none of them would care if they did).

First of all - cut down on the number of chairshots and other high-impact objects. If you must use weapons, go back to the good old days of tin trashcan lids and objects you can cushion with your hands (like Triple H's sledgehammer - it looks nasty but he could whack a kindergardener with it - not mine, though - and not even cause a bump).

Second - more mat wrestling and holds. Yeah, it's not quite as exciting all the time as highspots (and Randall F. Orton uses chinlocks in 3-minute specials), but there's less chance of injury. Fans'll adjust.

Third - every wrestler should take at least two consecutive weeks off the road a minimum of twice per year. Stagger the vacations so as to not completely shut down, but even though WWE "Creative" is riding a horrible streak, they still can manage to handle it in their writing. Two consecutive episodes missed due to vacations will not kill a push if you write around it. And do it every 4-6 months after a feud gets blown off and it flows naturally.

Fourth - besides forced vacations, take the end-of-year holidays off. They pretty much do this anyway, but scale back the USO trip and run some more highlight clips. Nobody watches those two weeks anyways. And by most wrestlers having at least six weeks off during the year you should be able to cut down on a lot of those overuse injuries and the constant grind that puts a lot of the guys on meds to begin with.

Fifth - many of you have forgotten already, I'm sure, but before Dwayne Johnson was the thinking man's action hero and character actor, he was "The Rock" Rocky Maivia. And he was arguably the biggest mainstream superstar the business has ever produced, with two SNL hosting gigs (while still wrestling) and now a very lucrative Hollywood career. The thing is, he was a crappy wrestler. What he actually was (and still is), was a performer who mastered improv, had loads of charisma, and could take a crowd and work it. He didn't work from scripts. Rock had points to get a cross in a promo, and he made it work. In fact, virtually all the big stars were better talkers than workers (Ric Flair and maybe Kurt Angle excepted). They were so good they generally didn't have to bring five-star workrate to the table.

The current method in Stamford is to take performers and script everything they do in the hope of creating stars. What that does, though, is mess up characters and get in the way of a performer's really connecting with the audience. Wrestlers don't get into the business because they are great linereaders. And most of them sound lame enough to make my point. Sure, without scripting some of them might flop completely. But others will take their place.

Finally - save the giants to be special attractions, and lose the muscle freaks. The best of the big guys (Taker, Nash in his prime, Kane - to just name a few) don't have bodybuilder physiques. They don't need them. And except for maybe Triple H, I can't think of any mega-muscled guy (and H has shrunk a lot over the last few years) who was also a really first-rate worker or even that over to begin with. We don't need everybody to look like Spike Dudley, but more realism would be fine by me.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Playoffs?

Why the Sox will thrive in the playoffs:

- They've done a very good job resting regulars over the last couple of weeks and still managed to hold on to win the division.

- Curt Schilling has managed to become very effective even with his diminished velocity.

- Jacoby Ellsbury. Things happen when he's on the field.

- JD Drew appears to finally have started playing like he's capable of.

- Manny's healthy now.

- Same with Okajima. The rest helped (and with Dice-K, too).

Why there's no World Series in our future for 2007:

- Eric Gagné.

- Not enough bullpen (even with a healthier Okajima).

- Too much of a battle down the stretch - what have they got left?

- Yes, he's played spectacular defense. But offensively Coco Crisp's been a black hole for much of the season. Awesome trade bait, though.

- Kevin Youkilis is exhausted.

- Same with Varitek.

The actual results? We'll see. At least they didn't pull a Mets (I was really worried about that until a week ago).

Meanwhile, we spent the weekend in New Jersey - Jane's dad was given a nice honor by a local business group to recognize all he'd done for the town in his career. Cool, except the catch was we had horrible traffic en route, stayed at the hotel, and were back on the road by 11AM Sunday. So we really didn't get to spend any quality time, which David would have really enjoyed. He did get to swim a lot with his cousin in the afternoon Saturday, which was good. I hung out in the pool with the two of them for an hour or so and then left the supervising to others.

He had a blast, but finally he slurped down enough water that he got out and barfed on the patio (a lovely mix of pool water and pizza - bleh). He was fine after, though. And he was pretty good for the most part. A couple of moments here and there, but he was also pretty tired from all the travel and the weird hours we were sleeping due to it. No harm.

We got home last night at 6:15 (after stopping for 45 minutes in CT so we could have lunch and I could fix my mom's printer) - I was out right after to go fix a server back in Beverly. Got it done, though.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Winning the East will be nice

Very nice, but I still don't have high hopes for the playoffs. This team is not really built to go much further. But, hope springs eternal in the mind of a Sox fan.

Yes, I'm preoccupied with sports. And kindergarten (we had a teacher meeting tonight). And work. And not a lot else at the moment. Sorry!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's official

Even with a favorable schedule and everything in their favor, the Red Sox have collapsed. It's all but finished already. The bullpen has fallen apart (Okajima's arm is hurting, Papelbon's been ineffective two times in a row, and Gagné has been horrid, with no sign of recovery), Wakefield came back from a missed start decidedly mortal again, and we've got a mess of hurting offensive players. Yes, they've all but guaranteed a playoff berth, but right now we're looking at a 3-game sweep by Cleveland or Anaheim.

Oh well. Football season's looking good so far. I can't even be too bitter about this, because it's only been 3 years since we won it all. As opposed to 86 the last time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

In short...

This is the first chance I've had to type anything not for work in a couple of weeks. I promise to try and expand a little on the quick hits below as soon as I can, but no promises...

- I'm mildly sick again. Upper respiratory infection. Minor, but with coughing.

- Kindergarten: huge hit so far. He loves it, and is doing well with all. He's even being a little nicer around the house the last few days.

- Pats' videogate: Yes, I'm a homer, but I didn't see it as the transgression the national media saw it as. I think it's a safe bet everyone tapes, albeit mainly from the coaches' box and maybe even the stands. It's just that the Pats did it on the field. It's not like they were really trying to hide it, so that gives some credence to the "we're not using it in-game, we're just trying to build a reference guide to the respective coordinators" theory. But whatever.

- I expected this weekend to be a big smash for the Sox. However, that was before the Yankees just scored six runs off Okajima and Papelbon in the top of the 8th. Now, I'm not so sure.

- Our local independent minor league team is folding. I'm bummed.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Gas

So the latest steroid-related shoe has dropped at WWE - as of right now, 18 current and past performers have been fingered in the latest Benoit-driven scandal. At least the 18 named wrestlers had been customers of Signature Pharmacy in Florida, which is apparently a major source source of muscle enhancing drugs in the athletic world.

Currently on the active roster:

Chavo Guerrero
Shane Helms
Randy Orton
John (Nitro/Morrison) Hennigan
Ken (Kennedy) Anderson
Sho Funaki
Charlie Haas
Eddie (Umaga) Fatu
Adam (Edge) Copeland
Darren (William Regal) Matthews
Anthony (Santino Marella) Carelli
Robert (Booker T) Huffman
Chris (Masters) Mordetsky)

Deceased:

Eddie Guerrero
Chris Benoit
Brian Adams (retired six years ago)

No longer with WWE:

Sylvain Grenier (released about a month ago)
Mike Bucci (retired, he's a trainer now at WWE's "farm team" in Louisville)

The one thing I will say in defense of some of these performers is that in most of the articles on this so far, when dates are given virtually none of them have purchases after this past winter (I may have missed one). Many are farther in the past. What this shows is that for years, steroids, HGH, and related drugs were incredibly common in wrestling. After Eddie Guerrero died in November 2005, a lot of performers either stopped or cut back their usage. And after roughly a years worth of the WWE "wellness policy" in place (since February '06), most of them had made their last purchases. I do suspect that the problem is getting somewhat better.

What this shows more (to me) is that there's a slippery moral slope in this area, and that steroid users don't fit into the neat stereotype of "muscle freaks". William Regal (I use his ring name because more people know it) is known for having overcome serious drug and alcohol addiction problems, and is serious about it to the point that he will not even step foot in a bar. Yet he was buying steroids by mail. Sho Funaki, Mike Bucci, and Santino Marella are small guys without very muscular physiques. Regal's not a chiseled and toned guy. Umaga is a big fat Samoan how even uses his fatness as part of his gimmick. It really takes all types. Also, some of these guys (we'll see) have admitted to past steroid use (Edge, Helms, Kennedy), typically in the course of rehabbing injuries. No new news about Edge or Helms there, but Kennedy claimed to have stopped using them when WWE put their policy in place, yet he continued to buy them until this past winter (he could probably argue that he was using them as part of his rehab - he was out injured much of 2006 and may be able to show a scrip). It's possible that a few of them will be able to show legitimate use. I doubt many.

There is, though one factor to the WWE investigation in general that bugs me. In case nobody's paying attention, pro wrestling is not a sport. It's a performance, but more like circus or theater. The results are pre-determined, and audience entertainment is the reason they perform. It's not like real sports, where the use of steroids has a real effect on the results (say, a guy like Barry Bonds breaking the all-time home run record, for instance). As much as I would like to see steroids out of wrestling, I'd much rather see them out of real sports first. Let's have our priorities straight.

Next: my solution to steroids in wrestling...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Missed one today

There was a Woot-Off today. Way too short. And once again, I missed the Bandolier Of Carrots. Meh.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Now I've got to buy a friggin' boat or something

I took the afternoon off today and went out on a boat to fish with my friend Steve, his dad, and David. David liked the boat (a 23' walkaround), until we made it out into open water and Steve let the throttle out.

From then on, he loved it. We spent about 4-5 hours out on the water. The weather wasn't great (kind of overcast), and we caught no fish at all, but it was a nice time nonetheless. We did, however, find some good spots to try on a return trip (a couple of boats were working the area under the Beverly-Salem bridge with good results, for one). David started to get a little antsy towards the end, but it was excusable - he'd had a long day.

I pretty much ignored my phone the whole time, too. That was sweet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Treo/iPhone scorecard

I got my Treo 700p in late June of 2006. I owned it for almost exactly a year. During that time, Palm released a fix for Palm wireless keyboards, and a DST fix for this year's change. They did not release any new versions of Palm Desktop (in fact, a year and a half after Intel-based Macs arrived on the scene, there still is no Intel/Universal version of Palm Desktop) in that time.

(Mark/Space, the producers of third-party sync software for Palm, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry, produced two major versions of their software in the same timeframe)

In addition, there was no update from Palm to fix the numerous bugs in stability and Bluetooth functionality during that entire year. Palm finally released a firmware update in early July - but last week it was withdrawn due to problems with the EVDO radio that seem to be exposed by it. There is no given timeframe for a corrected release. So as of right now, Treo 700p phones are only availble with the original flawed software.

Meanwhile, in Apple-land, I've owned an iPhone since the end of June - slightly under two months. Not only was it more stable and functional out of the box than the Treo, but they've updated the OS on the phone twice so far - the most recent one having been issued about an hour ago. The first one eliminated just about every bug I had noticed initially, so I'm not even sure what they could have fixed this time!

The moral of this story: Treos suck. And the more serious moral is that Apple is quickly redefining the cellphone experience in a lot of ways - most importantly (in my view) with regards to responsiveness and how quickly bugs are fixed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beginning the Comeback

I'm back (for the moment). Last week I finally finished the big project that occupied virtually all of July and now I'm starting to emerge from the fog it left me in. Hooray. So where was I a week and a half ago? Oh yeah - waiting for the iPhone update. Well, it came out last Monday and sure enough, it fixed virtually everything that was initially wrong with the phone. Still no MMS, still no copy/paste, but otherwise pretty darned complete. It'll be nice to see what they start adding - they already somehow added a feature yesterday that allowed .Mac publishing from the photo/camera app. It must have been timebombed to appear yesterday after the Apple announcements.

Which, by the way, were worthy stuff. The new iPhoto has a very spiffy interface that takes full advantage of CoreGraphics, iMovie's had a radical makeover, and the other iApps have gotten new goodies and facelifts. iWork now has a spreadsheet, Pages can do revision tracking and supports Office 2007's file format, and Keynote got some more graphic goodies. If Pages could save natively in .doc format (instead of exporting) I'd have most of my clients switch suites (especially since Office 2008 for Mac has been delayed to January). As it is, I'm still interested in using iWork more.

The new iMacs are spiffy - they contain exactly what I expected them to (Intel=no major specification surprises anymore) but the look got prettied up and now looks kinda iPhone-influenced. The mini got some love with a Core2 upgrade, there's no more $999 box (not the greatest move, but my guess is the $999 iMac was so crippled it sold poorly), but best of all the Mac Pro and Xserve now have hardware RAID available and the AirPort Extreme now has GigE support. Spiffy.


At home, David's taken well to camp. For the first week or so he whined, but now he loves it. Other than that I don't have a lot of kid-related news for y'all. One thing we haven't done much of this summer has been getting him together with his friends, since now he goes to camp 5 days per week and we're away almost every weekend with activities or work. We're going to try and do some more of that the next few weeks as time permits before going away to MV again late in the month. He misses his friends.


And we hope to pick a painter for the fall repainting of our house this week. It's really in pretty rough shape right now.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I didn't forget y'all

Honest... Just been super busy with a research project for a client along with all the usual stuff. The only reason I can post right now is because I have some downtime while I'm sitting in my office salvaging a failed server of a client's.

One month into iPhone, it's still the best phone I've ever used. There are some flaws, but not major. I've had applications crash a couple of times (without affecting the rest of the phone), and the phone itself crashed once. Since my Treo used to crash several times daily I consider this a big improvement. AT&T's service is a little better than I remember (or possibly my first Treo - the 650 - just had exceptionally crappy RF performance). A couple of the dead spots I used to encounter are gone now. Battery life has emphatically not been a concern for me so far. Sound quality is very good, and Bluetooth performance is damn near perfect.

I'm eager to see what the first update (I figure it's due any day now) will bring.

In our personal life, David has adjusted well to summer camp and now claims to enjoy it. The first week? Not so much. He's also starting to come to terms with the idea that he is Not Going Back To His Old School. Period.

Everything else is a work in progress.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Farewell

RIP Mr. Butch. He died this morning in a scooter crash - the man was a fixture of my Boston days, and rare was the morning that I didn't see him and at least wave "hi" as I'd walk to work in Kenmore Square back in '87 (before it was gentrified by BU and Butch fled to Allston). He was one of the last from an era when the homeless guy in the neighborhood was a part of the community - not just someone you called the cops on. Adios, Mr. Butch. Boston is a poorer place without you.

Monday, July 09, 2007

iPhone - 1 week later

A week into iPhone, I've used it extensively and also deployed about ten of them at various client sites to boot. Here's some of my experiences, likes, and peeves:

- I rode the Acela down to Philadelphia on the fourth in order to rejoin my wife and kid during their vacation in progress. Other than a dead area coming out of Boston initially and underground in 30th Street Station in Philly, coverage was excellent along the whole Northeast Corridor (I was able to use my EVDO card, too). And battery life is terrific as well - I was listening to music pretty much the whole way and making a batch of calls too, and never dropped the power below 75%. I didn't recharge until I made it to Cape May.

- Power is a little flaky. It doesn't charge quickly unless you're using the AC adapter. When it's plugged in to a Mac it charges, but slowly - and if you're using a car power adapter for an iPod (I already had one stashed in my car from before) it pretty much just keeps the power from draining down if you're on the phone.

- I forward my calls to the iPhone from my office phone - and I've noticed that I will usually get a little popup that tells me a forwarded call is coming in. It's annoying, because it gives me an extra tap to dismiss that before I can actually pick up the call. But it doesn't happen every time.

- The keyboard click is sort of loud. Most of the other sounds are subtle.

- I still am annoyed about the lack of Notes support on the Mac side.

- I want support for password-protected PDF files to make up for it. Right now they'll load as blank pages.

- The more I think about it, the more I wish iPhone had access to location info (even E911 info from triangulated towers) in Google Maps.

- EDGE really isn't bad. And AT&T still has the same dead spots they had when they were Cingular. Not horrible, mind you, but a few annoying ones. Verizon has their share as well.

The iPhone still rocks, though.

Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone - day 1

So I went ahead and did it. And it's pretty spiffy, too. The line was a fun experience, and I picked up my allotment of two iPhones (one for me, one for a client). Setup was simple - I snapped a few unboxing photos with my iSight as I worked for the heck of it...


After that thrill was gone, I set up the new account (although they don't offer "business" account plans, I was able to work around that by using my business credit card for the account and reporting my office address), and then got cracking. Even though I live in Essex County (area code 978) I was still given a 508 phone number. Interesting. My old Cingular phone had a 978 number, and I was given choices of numbers during the manual process. That was the only strike, though - overall setup was far easier than traditional cell phone setup ever has been. iTunes rocks.

Initial sync took about 15 minutes, bringing over my iSync data, one playlist of about 200 songs (550MB) and my last 12 months' worth of iPhoto data (about a gigabyte when re-rezzed down). Re-rezzing took most of that time, and really strained the processor utilization - on my Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, it had the fans roaring for the first time since I bought this portable. Once sync was complete, I was able to pick it up and immediately be useful. E-mail setting synced automatically. In this initial release, IMAP push doesn't seem to work with non-Yahoo services, so I set timed sync for 15 minutes (the minimum). I haven't done too much yet other than experiment with the interface (slicker than I thought) and make some calls.

Voice quality is excellent - better than my previous GSM Treo 650 by far. The iPhone is almost impossibly slim (under a half-inch), but is about the same overall height and width as a Treo, but lighter as well. It feels very solid, unlike pretty much every cell phone I have ever used in my life. Because I'm paranoid, I bought some screen protectors and placed them on it almost immediately, but in the limited touching I did beforehand it didn't seem especially smudge-prone.

Bluetooth, unlike with my Treo, is a joy. My Jawbone paired immediately, and the connection has been rock-solid. In the few hours I've had it connected, my Treo would have already reset the Bluetooth connection several times. Score one for iPhone! I did have one glitch with iPhone, though - my first attempt to record my voicemail greeting hung the voicemail app - and trying to figure out how to unfreeze it I inadvertently rebooted the phone. Oops (turned out I pressed the wrong button combo - a different combo will reset an individual app, and I tested that later on purpose). The bright side, though, is that the iPhone rebooted in about 10 seconds to a fully operational state. The Treo 700p takes a minute or more.

Overall for now, this is a very spiffy little device. Quibbles - I'd like to see an LED that can be used to notify me of new e-mails without having to wake the phone up. Push support for non-Yahoo IMAP would be nice, too - my Kerio server supports it, so I want to use it. The mail client itself, though, is pretty good. The lack of copy/paste isn't a major problem so far, but I could maybe see that being an issue down the road. Also, my Jabra wired headset doesn't fit the recessed iPhone jack, and needs either an adapter to work or replacement. That's annoying. I don't really have too much else I can whine about yet, though I'm sure I'll find it - the nice thing is that given that it's Apple, there will probably be frequent software updates pushed via iTunes and most of these glitches will be addressed.

I'll probably write more about it in a week or so. For now, its nice to be off my accused Treo and on on something that actually works!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A couple more serious iPhone things

Here's the bottom line that I've learned from my year or so as a Verizon Wireless voice customer:

Yes, Verizon has the most complete network, with the fewest dead spots. They even recently seem to have closed the hole in coverage they had for years at the intersection of routes 1 and 97 in Topsfield. But it matters little, because Cingular and other GSM carriers have one key advantage:

SIM cards.

When you use a SIM card, your entire existence as a customer is contained there. Your account info, phone number, and such are dependent on the SIM, rather than on the phone. So you can go out and buy any off-the-shelf unlocked GSM phone and it'll Just Work with your SIM inserted. This is key. Verizon, for instance, has offered the same passel of "smartphones" for months now. The only two Treos they offer are the 700p and 700wx - where other carriers have completely moved on from those models. The 700 dates back over a year - meanwhile, the 680, 750, and now the 755 (for Sprint/CDMA) are out and have been for a while now.

Verizon, on the other hand, really doesn't seem to care too much about the smartphone market. They do have good Blackberry options, and are good in the consumer space, but if I want a new phone I have to go through them to get it and then I'm stuck with it.

If I did buy an iPhone (and I likely will - if not Friday then in the near future), and I decided the device sucked, I could always remove the SIM, sell the phone, and then buy an unlocked phone that I liked better. There's options in GSM, even if some aspects of the technology are inferior (I think voice quality is, in fact, better on CDMA networks).

Bottom line: Verizon is fine for people who want voice. Its great for people who want data, too (they're aggressively moving to EVDO Rev.A and they have the best overall coverage). But if you want a Wonder Phone that does it all, then it's not so much. Which may be iPhone's market opportunity in a nutshell.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

iPhone in 3 days...

Why I won't buy an iPhone:

It's expensive.
No removable battery.
Touch screen keyboard?
AT&T has a decent network, but it's not as good as Verizon's.
No 3G support.

Why I will buy an iPhone:
As much as Verizon's network is better, their multiple call interfaces and voicemail suck.
So does their Caller ID.
So does my Treo.
The iPhone is way smaller than the Treo. I'm sick of the dorky belt clip.
Battery life is better on GSM devices. I now know that. And I've never swapped a battery on my Treo during the day (I trickle-charge it in the car or on a sync cable when I need to).

Regardless of whether or not I buy one, I am going to the launch on Friday. It should be fun.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Holy crap

This afternoon, just before dinner, I saw the news that Chris Benoit, is wife, and their 7-year old son were found dead in their Atlanta-area home. That just plain sucks. Chris was a gifted performer, and by virtually all accounts I've heard he was a pretty good guy for virtually all of his 40 years of life. Assuming Occam's Razor holds true and the obvious answer is what happened, how does a good life go so far off the rails so fast? How does it all fall apart like that, and how can a child just barely older than my own son get caught up by it, too?

Food for thought. No, I don't believe in heaven or hell or any of that crud, but if there were an afterlife, Chris would be having 5-star matches with Eddie Guerrero that would bring down the house every time. And if there was a such thing as divine intervention, that family would still be alive - rendering the point moot.

Those of you with families - give your spouse and your kids an extra hug tomorrow when you wake up. Just because.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A few thoughts

Just a few things in the world at large I thought I'd comment on quickly this morning before I hit the road...

- In the local news here: Joe Kennedy's ex-wife is gloating, because she was able to get the annulment he had requested overturned by the Vatican on appeal. So this is a win for you how, Sheila? It just means that "legally" you can't move on with your life and get married again, either. So you're bitter that he divorced you. It was over 15 years ago - get over it, for Pete's sake! On another note, this annulment crap is yet another reason why I'm firmly convinced that religion in general is ludicrous.

- The Mass. Pike is thinking about implementing high-speed toll readers (good), and congestion pricing (bad). I like the readers, because it'll ease rush-hour traffic. That's a plus. However, despite my general preference of market-based solutions when possible, the idea of congestion pricing for roadways is one where I depart from most of my libertarian-leaning brethren. You see, driving isn't entirely market-based activity. Most people drive at a certain time of the day because they have to - not because they want to. Work and commuting aren't really discretionary, and the employment market has relatively little excess capacity for workers who want to change to save money commuting. Not to mention that virtually all employers don't really care what the toll prices are when they set work hours. They shouldn't - they don't pay that cost. So the burden of congestion pricing falls entirely on the workers, and they really can't do anything about it. Ergo, I'm against it.

The flip side of this is that on average traffic has vastly improved over the last decade or so - the Big Dig has made a huge impact here. There are still traffic hotspots outside of town (Route 3 southbound, Routes 93 and 1 northbound), but overall Boston itself is far easier than it was back in my commuting days - I drove through Boston as a commuter from 1992 to 1998, and I remember 45-minute delays on the Tobin Bridge and at the tunnel almost every rush hour. Those days are long gone.

- I'm kind of enjoying the last-minute hype boosts that Apple's orchestrating for iPhone. Monday they announced that the specs had been upgraded - the screen would be glass instead of plastic (a decision they must have made months ago, but held off on announcing until this week), and battery life was now 8 hours' talk time instead of 5. Then yesterday they announced that the "mystery" 12th application was YouTube on the phone. The hype has built to unprecedented levels, and there's still a week and a half to go - not to mention that they haven't even announced the service pricing for the darned thing yet! Cellphone industry, meet Apple. Enjoy the ride.

- This was our romantic "date night" last night: a nice dinner, followed by a trip to Home Depot where we bought a new grill (the old one had rusted out a couple of years ago) and some ant-killing supplies. I'm not sure if that means our priorities are different nowadays, or if we're just kinda sad!

(we were going to go to the movies, but we got too late a start last night to do that as well as dinner - hence the substitution)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Back in town

iPhone launch T-13 days and counting...

Vacation ended pretty well, and the last week was hectic in catching back up with life (plus, the week before Fathers' Day is one of Jane's Hell Weeks at work). I'm still jealous that David caught a fish and I didn't!

Over the next week as iPhone details trickle out, I will try and write a little more analysis. It may not be the greatest phone in history, but it is a significant event that has already changed the phone business. And I've been pretty deeply into it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Productive trip

We're leaving in a couple of hours. I was able to make it through three of the four books I brought this week (God is not Great, Rapid Response, and I'll Sleep when I'm Dead). I'm going to start The Assault on Reason this morning and read more of it on the ferry, plus I bought three more books out here.

Everyone needs souvenirs.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Coming in for a landing

Behavior improved somewhat - still nothing great, though he's had some good stretches. Yesterday we spent much of the day on a fishing excursion out on Chappy - we went out guided on a Trustees of Reservations private tour. We started out at Wasque, but when a big seal came through the fish scattered and so we headed up to Cape Poge gut. I have pretty much mastered casting by brute force (it's a simple motion to throw and a lot less work than, say, throwing a baseball), Jane and David not so much. Jane by the end of the day was at least no longer a threat to folks in her vicinity. David, of course, needed help casting but was fine on the reel - and he was the only one of us to catch a fish, too! He brought in a bluefish, roughly 18" long after snagging it on a gill. He was incredibly happy about it, though reluctant to touch it since "it was slimy". We let it go, though I think I still have some fish blood on my sweatshirt.

That was the only catch of the day. However, one fish made David an expert and after that he was happy to share advice with all the other anglers out there. We wrapped up the afternoon with a trip up to the top of the Cape Poge lighthouse, which was also quite cool.

Today was spent trying to get in all the last things we'd wanted to do before leaving (we're on the noon ferry tomorrow). First, we went into Edgartown for a coffee and some shopping over on North Water Street (where we hadn't had a chance to go yet on the trip). Afterwards, we tried to take the ferry out to Chappy again so we could go tour Mytoi, but the morning line was pretty severe and the ferry was backed up around 45 minutes. So we went up-island instead (after reassuring David we'd be back - he really wanted to go there), and had lunch at Larsen's. While we were there for lunch, David got to go aboard a fishing boat that was loaded with flounder. He liked that. Then we headed up to Gay Head for some pictures on the cliffs (Jane's activity pick), but the fog had rolled in enough that we didn't stay long at all. Then we drove out to the beaches on the Lobsterville side, and afterwards went back to our condo for a short visit before finally going out to Chappy. We drove down to Wasque first and went for a walk on Norton Point beach (though we didn't walk anywhere near to the breach), and then went back up to Mytoi. I bought a couple of t-shirts there - mainly because they had 2007 season shirts for $5 and you can't buy a good t-shirt for that nowadays, decorated or not!

Then, after regrouping at the condo again for a short interval we went back into Oak Bluffs one more time for some shopping, dinner at Sharky's, and a chance for David to redeem his nearly 300 tickets at the arcade. He did well for toys. Finally we went for one last trip to the Flying Horses carousel and he managed to snag two more brass rings. I think the last time he rode he wasn't trying very hard - he was kind of sick of riding by then (6 total on this trip - 4 of which he snagged and two of which were given to him).

Jane's planning to get up early tomorrow and let me sleep in for a few in order to get most of the packing and cleanup done. We have to be out of here by about 10. Should be home if all goes well (the mid-day weather is a little dicey tomorrow) by 3-ish.

At which point re-entry into normal life begins in earnest.

You know, if I could really grow this company of mine to 10-20 people, I could probably buy a place here and commute back to home during the summers...
(nah.)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Next day report

Better. Not great, but better. He made an effort, especially this morning, and we rewarded him appropriately. We went fishing for a while on the Edgartown/Oak Bluffs bridge until thunderstorms arrived and chased us away - no fish (of course), but very wet clothing! We went home to regroup and dry off, then went into Tisbury and had lunch at Zephyrus once the rain cleared up. After some wandering around town, we went back and got David to take a nap, after which we drove to Oak Bluffs for a walk around the cottages and supper. We tried letting him stay up later tonight - it's pretty much going to be policy the rest of this week to get him taking a nap at some point during the day in the hopes of better behavior overall. He's not that predictable, except to predict that he'll be unusually nasty when he's tired.

Tomorrow's agenda - more fishing in the morning. Afternoon activities TBD. And Thursday
we'll probably go out oversand to Cape Poge for - you guessed it - fishing! David's kind of obsessed with fishing, and it's harmless and fun so why not?

In other news, The Santa Rosa MacBook Pros were announced as I expected. No major changes other than the graphics chipset, and as most sources predicted the 15" will now use LED backlighting for better environmental goodness along with lower power usage and better brightness. Me like. The 17" now has a full HD resolution version available as well - so for those of you who edit 1080p HD on your laptop you can now play in Final Cut land. I'm actually leaning towards scaling down to the 15" again the next time I buy a laptop.

Also, the Santa Rosa chipset is full 64-bit, so you can now use a full 4GB of RAM in your MacBook Pro and have it addressed. Woot! (the original Core Duo was 32-bit, and the first generation Core 2 Duo was 64-bit internally, but used a 32-bit chipset). Expect an iMac redesign next week at WWDC along with more about the mini's fate perhaps - current rumors have the mini being canned.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Downhill slide

We arrived on the island around 1 on Saturday. Other than a key goof-up (the wrong keys were left for us, but fortunately that was rectified about 10 minutes after we made it to the condo), day 1 went fine. Jane and David went swimming right after we arrived, we had a very good dinner at Sharky's, and everyone went to bed tired pretty early in the evening after playing down at South Beach for a while.

Day 2 - Nice morning (a drive up-island in the morning with lunch at the dock), with a grumpy afternoon punctuated by a nap before we went back to OB for dinner. A lot of whinyness.

Day 3 - meltdown. Awful behavior all around, from breakfast on through the evening. After breakfast in town, we came back home to watch movies (quite a few have been provided here for us) and wait out the rainstorm. David's been foul, complaining that we won't play games with him and that he misses his cat. Finally, after the rain passed we went back into town for a walk and to get some stamps - when he went strolling out the door against my orders at the post office we finally decided enough was enough for the day, went back home, and confined David to his room until supper.

I'm hoping for better tomorrow, but I'm not overly optimistic. We've had a lot of this sort of trouble with him lately. Fortunately, there are some well-regarded babysitting services here that we can turn to for a break if he becomes unbearable. This vacation will be fun, dammit!

More seriously, what we're trying to do is mix in a decent number of the kind of stuff he enjoys (outside play, exploring, bookstores, and anything water/beachfront) with the slower-paced stuff we like to do. Today was really tough, though, because the weather held us back. I think the improved forecast will help some but he's really going through a tough stage right now. We're demanding more maturity from David than he wants to give, and eventually one side will break. We're counting on it being him. You don't need to be an adult at 5, but you can't be a toddler anymore, either. We'll get there.

And my business seems to be taking care of itself fairly well in my absence. Also a plus.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

On the horns of a dilemma

My first blog post in two weeks, and I'm distracted. Why? I'm going on vacation in a couple of days, and there's a Woot-off taking place right now (I'm auto-reloading the page every few seconds) - almost 48 hours into the Woot-off and still no Blinged-Out Cabbage! The suspense is killing me!

There's also no Palm Treo 700p MR yet, though there is still one day left in the week (I guess when Palm said "the week of 5/28" they planned to milk it right up until the end). Palm has, however, introduced "Foleo", which is a 2.5 pound Linux-running laptop with wifi and Bluetooth that had 5 hours of battery life, instant-on, and relies on your smartphone for virtually all its brains.

In other words, start shorting your Palm stock. This is a bad PowerPoint mashup given plastic form.

(in other news, woot just sold out the latest HD set and put up a crappy Athlon PC. I may just go to bed soon...)

And Apple's only product news of the week is that now AppleTV is available with 4x the storage (160GB) for $100 more. Santa Rosa systems coming in 2 weeks, max (at WWDC).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Phoney business

In a week or so the Treo 700p Maintenance Release (as Palm is calling it) will be available. It will supposedly carry the major improvements from the new Treo 755 (which is basically a 700p in the 750 case, with fixed software), though not all the new features. It will probably improve my phone a lot.

But I've been thinking about it. And I've come to a decision. If/when it is released with HSDPA support (the 3G standard for GSM) I will buy an iPhone. It's not because I love Cingular - I actually like CDMA voice quality better than GSM. It's not because I'll save money - since iPhone will not work as a modem I'll have to get a separate $60/month data account with either Verizon or Sprint.


What it is for is the little things. Things like the horrible multiple-call interface all CDMA phones share. For the way EVDO data transmission can't happen alongside CDMA voice calls. Because my voicemail doesn't recognize when I'm calling it from my handset and makes me use a PIN even then (yes, I've programmed a macro to make it auto-dial the PIN, but that doesn't always work). And because when I call someone from my cell the caller ID reports me as "MASSACHUSETTS", even though other carriers can carry my actual name in the caller ID. True, Verizon has generally better voice quality, but enough things suck about the service that I won't hesitate when I can get an iPhone with 3G support.


(I'd actually jump now, but there's no phone worth jumping for on the GSM side yet - and iPhone is all but certain to only include EDGE support in the first rev)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why didn't Apple update MacBook Pros yesterday?

I was asked this by a couple of people yesterday. The answer is actually pretty simple. With rare exceptions, Apple never announces a computer system before it can ship it in quantity anymore. Santa Rosa-based Core 2 Duo machines were announced from most vendors last week, but if you check their availability online, you'll typically have to wait around a month to get your new Santa Rosa laptop.

This works OK for the Dells, HPs, and Lenovos of the world because they will still be selling plenty of other laptop models with the current tech - standard operating procedure for them is to just designate a slightly different model number and then phase out the old one over time. In Apple-land, not so much. Apple's only got three laptops total (MacBooks, and two sizes of MacBook Pro), so if they preannounce a MacBook Pro without chips to ship them immediately they'll Osbourne themselves for an extended period. Has Apple preannounced systems before? Sure, when it makes sense for them. For instance, Xserves were preannounced four months before they were available - and the G5 version was only available for about a month after the initial announcement, so for almost three months you couldn't buy any Xserves at all! Xserve is a niche product for Apple, so they figured the ability to announce that the whole Intel transition was complete outweighed the impact of deferred sales.

So anyhow, I still expect to see a MacBook Pro announcement possibly as soon as next week, but maybe another week or so later. And at some point after that we'll get a move of the MacBook itself to Santa Rosa - but not before the MacBook Pro is on the market. And even though it's only a minor speedbump, I still may well wind up with one in the office at some point - with three employees who need a computer all the time, I really should buy something to have as a spare. And price-wise, I'm way better off with a MacBook than letting a MacBook Pro rot on the shelf.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Minor bump

Just a minor MacBook speedbump - each model moved up one speed notch, and they got the next HD size up for each model (and they all now have 1GB RAM - the cheapest one used to just have 512MB). Prices stayed the same.

Expect MacBook Pros within 2 weeks, probably next week is my best guess. Santa Rosa iMacs to follow soon after.

Sure enough...

As I type this, the Apple Store online is down... Rumormill tells us that today will be MacBooks, with MacBook Pros soon to follow.

More later today, perhaps...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Minor clarification

Reading tea leaves is starting to make me thing that the first Santa Rosa-based MacBook Pros may arrive in the next week or so. But I still don't think there will be anything compelling about them as far as new features - I think it'll be more of the same with a faster FSB and the ability to access all 4GB of RAM that you can physically install in a MacBook Pro now (current ones, like all Wintel notebooks on the current Core 2 chipset can only access 3GB of RAM due to limitations in 32-bit addressing - Santa Rosa supports true 64-bit goodness). I've got 3GB in mine now even though I don't really need that much.

If I'm right, expect max speeds to go up to 2.4GHz (from the current 2.33) and no other base changes. I don't think they'll even bump up the video preocessor.

When MacBooks come out with Santa Rosa, though, you'll get both the ability to run more RAM (current ones are limited to 2GB) and 3D graphics performance that, while still not as good as a dedicated GPU will at least be competitive.

Weekend was pretty good. I had the boy all day yesterday and we went to the Museum of Science for a long day of experimenting and Finding Stuff Out. He even sat through the lightning show for the first time ever. Today was quieter - we took Jane out for Mom's day to a place in Marblehead then did a couple of errands on the way home - and then she went out for a few hours by herself while David and I hung out, played games, and watched the race. Then I cooked my famous broiled cod for dinner and it was gobbled by all.

I think another growth spurt is starting - today the kid ate 2 bananas (one in the morning and one in the afternoon), a big late breakfast of 2 slices of toast, scambled eggs, a couple of slices of ham, and home fries, then dinner of cod with rice and broccoli (plus a few other things not listed here). After going to bed, he immediately announced he was still hungry, so after some debate we gave him a half peanut butter and jelly sandwich on top of everything else. That seems to have quieted him for now.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Apple prognostication

As I sit here, typing on my dented but happy 17" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo (soon to go into the shop for a replacement SuperDrive - mine stopped burning CDs for some reason but otherwise is OK), I can't help but think ahead to the next generation of Apple gear, and when I think we should expect it. As always, I have no special sources of information that you, the reader, lack. I simply have a pretty good track record of tea leaf reading and a good knowledge of industry roadmaps. Do not make life-and-death decisions based on this:

First of all, the 800 pound gorilla. The iPhone. Unless something goes horribly wrong, it'll ship in mid-June as planned. Probably announced at WWDC, along with an initial SDK and plans to certify applications for use on it. Unless they add UTMS support into the final version (which would not surprise me), expect a rev. 2 of iPhone by year-end with more RAM (probably 8GB standard, 12 or 16GB extended for the same price) and UTMS support.

Then, with Leopard having slipped to October, we should see some hardware shortly. There hasn't been a new Mac config (excepting the 8-way Mac Pro) since the initial Core 2 revs of the laptops late last year. I'm expecting a MacBook Pro revision in the next month that'll be incremental - probably just faster processors and maybe a chipset refresh. I don't think any major upgrades are in stock until right around Leopard.

My timetables for updates:
MacBook Pro - June
MacBook - July
iMac - July
mini - June (just a Core 2 refresh)
Mac Pro - July/August

As for redesigns and new form factors:

iMac - October
MacBook Pro - October (with LED backlit screens)
MacBook and mini - Not any time soon!
Mac Pro - January

And I figure the next iPod refresh will be in August - in time for back-to-school and after the initial iPhone rush is over.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

If you don't have something good to say...

Then don't say it. It's always been part of my basic social skillset. So, although I'm mainly happy with my work and kid, I've been pretty quiet lately. My own parents asked me today when I was going to post again - and I talk to them almost every day!

(you know your blog is missed when your own mom e-mails you asking for a post...)

Anyhow, there's a lot of things that I'm grumpy about lately, rest assured that my usual moderately entertaining stuff will return sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Phone suckage

My Treo 700p sucks. I will now clarify that. I have been using a Treo 700p since last June. As a phone, it does do some things well. The handset performance and volume is better than the Treo 650 I had before. Verizon's service is better than Cingular's (even though the CDMA multiple-call management interface is awful), and EVDO is a lifesaver for me on the occasions I need Internet access from my MacBook Pro (I hook up a USB sync cable, set up the modem application, and go to work). It has way more available RAM than the 650, so I can actually store documents on it.

But here's the fundamental problem. It's unstable. Bluetooth connections drop seemingly at random, with only a battery-out reset restoring some semblance of function. I do it every morning as a habit now. Resets also happen a lot during the course of a day, at the end of hotsyncs, and if I get a call just at the moment I try and place a call? Yep, another reset.

Today, Palm finally fessed up to the suckage. In a post on their new corporate blog, Palm's manager of Treo products promised a full firmware update sometime around the end of May. He discussed what it is expected to fix, and some of the reasons why it has taken so long. I still think it's a partial crock, but at least they said definitively that the fix is enroute. I will try and suck it up for another month with the phone (my third one - the first two died).

If I had a better alternative, I would have ditched this months ago, but despite how much the Treo 700p sucks I really can't find any tool that does all this better. And the iPhone would take me back to Cingular, which ain't happening.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

CBS - the Confiscated Balls Service

Apparently CBS, Inc. has no balls. And I say that in the worst way. As mentioned earlier, of course Imus is an ass. He's been one for thirty-plus years, he says insensitive things about everyone, and that's just how shock jocks work. Since Imus literally invented the genre that the Sterns, Opie and Anthonys, and Bubba the Love Sponges of the world inhabit it's kinda obvious.

And Al Sharpton (the original chest-thumping pimp) has a radio show. After Twana Brawley, Crown Heights, and a host of their offenses. And Rush "Obama Osama" Limbaugh. And all the others.

Les Moonves, you're a wuss. Quit now, because it's now obvious just how much you suck.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

First things first

Don Imus is definitely a schmuck. He's been one for the last thirty=plus years, though. He's also nearly 70, though, so he ain't changing. Soon enough, he'll say something that some humorless folks will take offense at, and it's not really easy to be an offensive shock jock with a national profile in the YouTube era.

But Al Sharpton taking him to task? Come on now, that's ridiculous! Al Sharpton does not have the moral standing to take anyone to task for a racial statement. And Imus, being a New Yorker, must have remembered that but not had the stones to do anything about it. Were I in Imus' position, and if I had Sharpton on my show to pry more mea culpas out, I would have simply said to him:"

"I said something wrong and stupid, and I apologized within a day once I realized how wrong I was. Funny that you're sitting here calling for my head Al, when you never even apologized for Tawana Brawley and twenty years have passed."

A national radio audience might have been left to go to Wikipedia, but everyone in New York over the age of 35 would know exactly what he meant. Sharpton has never had any credibility whatsoever with me because of that.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

When should stores close?

Today is Easter Sunday - and most businesses are, as usual, closed for the day. But it's very inconsistent. Circuit City announced that they were closed in their flyer. Sports Authority announced they were open. Most other places said nothing I could discern - so when I went out an hour ago to go to Staples (for a chair) and to Trader Joe's I went 1 for 2. Staples was closed, with no indication on their website or phone that they were closed. Trader Joe's was open (and rather busy).

My take on this is entirely secular (as is my entire life). Right now, there are three days when pretty much all businesses close: Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Two of the three are entirely Christian holidays, so I really see no point in a business closing those days unless all their staff refuses to work (I don't, however, think anyone should be forced to work on a religious holiday). In my commerce world, only two days would have businesses closed: Independence Day and Thanksgiving. Those two are distinctly American holidays, and are (at least theoretically), common to all who reside here.

Obviously, we're in a majority-Christian society, and though I don't take offense at the reality that folks close for Easter I also don't really see the point. To me, and to millions of other people in this nation who are either Brights or of other religions, today is just another Sunday.

Unless, of course, we want to celebrate it as Masters Sunday. Which, as a golf nut, would be fine by me!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

So I'm going to update my website soon...

I'm working (seriously) on some new pages for my company website, and one of the things I am really doing is a page about customers. I spent ten minutes writing it up this way just to vent three years' worth of bile, but the actual live text will be substantially different... (except for, maybe, the first paragraph or so - that might stay, kinda)

Can We Help You?


At JH Turiel, we're friendly, flexible, and we've got experience with darn near everything that matters. But we're not for everyone. And we're not always the best value out there, either. Before you call us, you should consider the following:


Is your PC just plain broken? Well, when a single PC breaks, that's what those big national chains with matching uniforms and funky looking cars are for. They're fast, and cheap. Of course, they'll just replace the part and/or reinstall Windows instead of curing the problem, but we might take longer than them and charge more to fix it the right way.


Did your antivirus subscription lapse two years ago? We get mad at you when you let that happen. And if you bring us in, we'll make darn well sure you don't get to do that again. Heck, we might even take away your credit card and use it to buy you a copy of AVG or something to protect yourself with!


Do you go off to your happy place when someone is trying to teach you something? We won't smack you to wake you up, but we may just walk away from you in disgust.


We don't nickel-and-dime our customers. We keep track of our time fairly, give away a lot of help that most folks charge for (we do most of our phone support for free, for instance), and don't sweat the small stuff as a matter of company policy. We've got a really good reputation for that. If you're the sort who calls up to whine about charges, or demands free visits because of your own mistakes, then do us a favor. Lose our number.


Also, if you think that your IT bills are something to pay "whenever", you probably shouldn't use us. We don't normally treat your problems as something to fix "whenever" (that darned professional ethics thing), so don't tempt us!


Like I said, the real page will be different. Way different. And any customers who have read this far - odds are you are more than savvy enough so that you know this doesn't apply to you. Feels good to type a few lines as Evil Josh, though.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Chuck Norris Facts (some of my favorites)

There is no theory of evolution, just a list of animals Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

The Great Wall of China was originally created to keep Chuck Norris out. It failed miserably.

Chuck Norris has two speeds: Walk and Kill.

In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Chuck Norris could use to kill you, including the room itself.

Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Followup

I called the police department to follow up - they checked out warrant-free, so they were brought back to the department and then run out of town.

Interesting night

Tonight was "different". While on my way home from the BNUG board meeting, my wife and boy were menaced, if you will, by a drunk and stupid couple who were searching the neighborhood for an imagined friend's house. Jane called our next door neighbor, who had been visited by the yahoos, to find this out - she never opened the door or responded to their knocks and doorbell rings herself.

Meanwhile, David was frightened by this whole fuss, but announced to Jane that if they bugged her or came in the house he would take care of hitting them with a baseball bat. Good kid. Jane called the cops, but they'd wandered off.

So I arrived home to hear of this, and I was able to get David to go to sleep by reassuring them that, if they turned out to be bad and not just stupid, I would break them for him and save David the trouble. I'm a big guy. I'm OK at stuff like that. I also told David that, while his offer was very brave, the best thing in the house to hit bad people with was Daddy.

So, a couple of hours later, Jane has just gone upstairs for bed and I'm down in the living room getting ready to turn off the lights - when suddenly, the doorbell rings. I head over only to see the guy (a short fellow with curly hair, an unsteady gait, and a tell-tale odor about him) heading back down the walk. After a brief confrontation, I sent him away rather vociferously, but since they didn't vacate the neighborhood quickly enough the police arrived and took them away. It appeared semi-voluntary - probably destined to spend the night drying out.

The woman waved up at us as she was getting in the police car. Hopefully that's not an indicator of future stupid actions on their part. I would rather not have to defend my family.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shocked, I say!

What? You say that a number of WWE wrestlers used steroids and HGH, even some who don't have massive physiques? I can only answer that accusation with one word:

Duh.

Seriously, is there any surprise here? Looking at a lot of these guys, the "look" they are pushed to deliver, and the grueling schedule they work (most of them wrestle 3-4 days per week, plus heavy gym time, with no off-weeks all year), it's no wonder. Not to excuse them, but one of the main reasons professional athletes take steroids is to speed recovery time and help them heal from injuries better. And most other athletes get an off-season to recover. Wrestlers don't.

I will say one thing in the defense of the WWE - pretty much all the steroid use documented in the current investigation happened in the time before they finally imposed drug testing. Since then, a lot of the guys (see, for instance, Masters, Chris F.) have vanished on testing-related hiatuses and returned with notably smaller bodies. Now, if only they could start taking some time off during the year for reasons other than injuries without fear of losing their spot, it might really improve.

In other news, I bricked my Treo again today. Had to go all the way to Burlington to replace it. Grumble.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Apple hints

I'm expecting some kind of new Mac in the next week or so - possibly as soon as tomorrow. Why? It's pretty simple, actually, so I'll lay out my reasoning:

- We know that the 10.4.9 revision (likely the final Tiger update) is pretty much done, with no new seeds issued in about two weeks. Normally, that would have hit the street by now. But holding it back probably means new CPU support is being spliced into it.

- Leopard is allegedly real close to going RTM. When Apple announces it, they won't want any Macs sharing that burst of publicity.

- There haven't been any new systems since October, when the Core 2 MacBook Pros shipped.

- Intel has been shipping quad-core Xeons for a couple of months now. No Mac Pro update yet, however...

- A new support chipset that enables true 64-bit goodness with Core 2 is shipping now, and it has improved graphics support.

My predictions:
Upgraded Mac Pros in the next week or so. Upgraded iMacs and MacBook Pros soon afterwards. At least one of them will come with and require 10.4.9. Minis will get Core 2 upgrades before Leopard ships.

And Leopard is announced in mid-April, with shipping scheduled for May.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Beware opportunity

A bunch of reasonably knowledgeable Windows techs are about to come on the market, but I don't think I'll be buying any of 'em. CompUSA just announced today that they are closing more than half the chain, including all the Massachusetts stores except for Holyoke. They are keeping the ones in "tax-free NH" and the one in Rhode Island as well. But they will be closing Danvers, Braintree, Woburn, Framingham, Brighton, and North Attleboro. I could probably find someone out of the Danvers or Woburn store pretty easily, but I'm a little nervous about the idea - CompUSA floor people never struck me as too customer-oriented and the techs I dealt with there were usually too geeky for even me.

But they did usually have decent stuff at pretty good prices. Unfortunately, it will render the $30 gift card I'm supposed to get soon (it was a rebate from the Epson photo printer I gave Jane for her birthday) semi-useless, but such is life.

And the WWE released Test today. Yet somehow their ECW product continues to suck just fine without him. Just let Sabu and RVD go to TNA, bring CM Punk up to the main roster, and shut the darn thing down once and for all!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I think he's crazy enough to do it...

We now have a second aircraft carrier off the Iranian coast (of course, that puts it close to Iraq, too - but I really don't think that's why it's there). Iran is ratcheting up the short-range missile tests and naval drills. As this latest Bush fiasco escalates, I seriously think he's just batshiat-crazy enough to try something. After the dust settles (and he's hopefully impeached), I really hope we as a nation take this as an example and break down the Republican party back to their roots, ripping the religious influences from it and making them safe for democracy once again.

Of course, I doubt it. Only about a quarter of Americans understand that the theory of evolution is correct. So what hope do we have of reforming the Republicans?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Kathump kathump kabamm

I've had a variation of this discussion with my dad over the last week or so. Basically, over the last few years I started paying attention to auto racing. Specifically, NASCAR. Better technology in the coverage has made it a lot easier to follow on TV (not to mention the onset of HD). And the race we went to back in 2004 was a lot of fun. So I follow it now, much to the sporting chagrin of my folks (who suspect I may be a closet troglodyte since I watch racing and pro wrestling - they fail to understand the irony thing).

But even before I started following racing, I still was enough of a sports nut that I always watched the premier events in each sport - even the ones I wasn't ordinarily interested in. I don't enjoy golf on TV (I love to play, but I can't stand watching it), but even before I took up the game I'd still watch the Masters. I've been to one horse race in my life, but I always watch the Kentucky Derby. Even if I don't give a crap who's in it (like this year), I watch the Super Bowl. The only exception to this rule of mine is the World Series - if the Sox aren't in it I don't really care who plays.

Anyhow, I also generally have watched two car races. The Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. One is the oldest open-wheel race of them all and the other the granddaddy of all stock car races. More to the point, this years' Daytona 500 was one of the most compelling auto races I've ever watched, even from my former "watch the big game" perspective. It had it all - strategy, dramatic wrecks with nobody hurt, and a classic finish as Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick battled to the finish with the rest of the field wrecking behind them. Harvick won by less than a hood length, getting pushed into the lead by Matt Kenseth (this happens in restrictor plate races - it's called bump drafting) and behind that his teammate Clint Bowyer finished 18th. Upside down. On fire.

It was amazing TV. The rest of the season will be anticlimatic by comparison after that (what other sport opens its season with their most prestigious race and ends it with one nobody cares about?) - though I'd say early that Harvick and Tony Stewart (who crashed out with about 70 laps to go) are the early favorites.

Work-wise, I can't take the holiday tomorrow off - too much to be done. I'll make up for it in a week or so. I did goof off today, though. Which is more than I usually can get away with.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Xroads

Yes, two posts in a week! Can you stand it?

As for my material this time, I'm going to bore you all with my business. Sorry...

Anyhow, I'm just short of three years into my business life (incorporated on 2/15 and opened an office on 3/1), and I've reached a natural point of reflection. Basically, I went into business with a goal. I thought I could make a decent living for myself, make my own hours, work exclusively doing stuff I wanted to do, and maybe if I was lucky grow to the point where a self-directred person or two could make a living alongside me. I figured this was all manageable.

In hindsight, though, I've learned something - why so many companies seem to have a relentless focus on growth. I've been lucky (and good) - so far, a good number of companies have beaten a path to my door, and I've been able to keep most of them pretty happy. It's not hard. I've seen so many examples of downright negligent work performed by ostensible peers of mine that it's amazing that their victims all haven't come to me yet. I try to treat my customers with decency, humor, and professional competence, which seems to be a formula lacking in the industry. And I own up when I screw up - fortunately I don't screw up too often.

Last year, I planned to add an employee. By sheer luck, I got the right person at the right time - but she got to the point of being near-overbooked within a month or so because the demand increased to match the available staff hours and then some. Within the next month or so I will have to add another full-timer, but now I can see an increasing amount of my time going to planning and supervision rather than engineering. Which means I probably need to expand further to make sure that folks can get the attention they need.

It's a difficult situation, but I'm not really complaining. I'm doing pretty well right now, but this could change in a moment. And this is still way more fun than a Real Job is, despite the hours, stress, and constant travel I'm doing. It's more that I've realized my original model for the company wasn't quite able to accommodate the reality. I've got to go at least a little bigger and more complex than I planned, but at least I've got the opportunity to do so.

If anybody knows a good midlevel (knows clients inside and out, knows enough server to be useful, but isn't an AD god) Windows person looking for a nice opportunity, send 'em my way...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

And the fuss was about?

This Super Bowl was anything but. Mediocre play on the part of both teams, but unparalleled offensive ineptitude by the Rex Grossman-led Bears was the deciding factor (I'm now expecting Rex to take the place of Britney sperm-donor K-Fed in next years' "Life comes at you fast" commercial). Once the absolutely electrifying opening Hester touchdown was over, the game proceeded to suck hard. Even the commercials weren't much this year.

On the other hand, the party we went to was fun and I won two squares - so I had that going for me which was nice.

And the sun may well rise from the west in the morning - because Peyton Manning Has. A. Super Bowl. Ring. Which is currently #3 on my top ten "signs the apocalypse is upon us" list, right in between a Democrat winning the governorship again in Massachusetts and George Bush admitting that he made a mistake getting us in Iraq, but he was drunk at the time. I wasn't surprised to see the Manning Face today - I just didn't expect to see it on Rex Grossman instead of where it belonged.

Then again, I don't think I really expected the Bears to win, but as soon as the weather forecast was announced I thought taking the points would have been a wise move. Shows you what I know.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Other than that...

Work is darn near out of control right now, but there's light at the end of the tunnel. I'm just about finished with three of my new server deployments, and I've got a couple more that are going to roll through over the next couple of weeks. I'll know by the end of next month pretty much what my growth target will be for the next year, and when/if I hire another full-timer.

I've had more time for work the last few days, because the Mrs. and boy went down to her parents' house in New Jersey on Wednesday. Or rather, they almost did... about 20 miles from their house Jane's car blew its transmission, and has been in the shop down in Bass River since. She's planning on going to get it tomorrow morning and head home then.

I'll spend the waiting time at my office, filling out rebate forms, installing a couple of hard drives, and worrying about the refurbed transmission she had installed.

May you live in interesting times.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wait 'til next year!

I'm not used to two consecutive years without a Super Bowl appearance. It's odd. But before I start my adjustment period, I'd like to think about the prospects this team has come next fall of a return. I've got mixed feelings, so I figure I should lay it out there (plus I've got a few minutes to kill before I leave for work today):

Why the Pats have a great shot at returning to the Super Bowl next year:
- $30 million under the cap as of today (assuming no cap increase)
- 2 late-round picks in the first round
- Despite a huge injury problem, and no real dependable receiving corps, still finished 12-4 and made it to the AFC title game
- Any team coached by Bill Belichick and quarterbacked by Tom Brady has a chance
- Very solid defensive front 3, and a quality O-line
- The 2-RB approach can probably last another season

Why the run may be sputtering to an end:
- Asante Samuel is a upper-tier cornerback, but may not be worth to the Pats what he could get on the open market (look for him to be franchised for the 2007 season)
- Rapidly aging linebacker corps - Bruschi and Vrabel have been prototypical linebackers for this whole run, but both are now showing their age. Bruschi in particular seemed to be having trouble playing the run during the playoffs
- The Colts have won the last three meetings between the teams, including yesterday in the playoffs. That's meaningful.
- Not for nothing, but only Troy Brown's amazing play last week stopped the Pats from losing on a Brady pick. Tom Brady is still one of the best, smartest quarterbacks in football, but he may be getting to that point where a quarterback tries to force things to happen around him a little too much. It's happened to plenty of other ones (see Favre, Brett or Cunningham, Randall), but Brady is still young enough to stop it.

Other than that, spring training starts in just over a month, and I'm looking forward to it. Maybe the Sox will even have finished the JD Drew contract by then!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Well...

They sure as hell earned this one. The Colts came back in the second half, put the Pats on the defensive quickly, and managed to make the game-saving pick that's usually reserved for a Pats player. Give 'em their props, and good luck at the Super Bowl in two weeks.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I've got less than a year to make up my mind - even less if I want to try and do anything other than cast a vote for the candidate of choice. There's so many options this time around:

Obama - the trendy choice
Clinton - the other trendy choice (and the one who's been running for six years)
Edwards - welcome back, mr. Populist!
Biden - it's the Presidency, not the Lifetime Achievement Award...
Dodd - love ya, but no way - same problem as Biden
Kucinich - makes Bernie Sanders look Republican
Clark - still a contender
Vilsack - Who?
Kerry - in or not? who cares this time?
Gore - making up for a screwjob only surpassed by Montreal (a sop to my wrestling fan readers)?

More seriously, I think the top tier is Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, with Gore as the outside shot to step in late this year and sew it up early. Something about open seat elections pretty much guarantees that all the Democratic Senators will at least explore running. I think there's about ten of them this time around either in the race, considering it, or dropping out after testing the waters. Bottom line, though, I'd vote for Dennis Kucinich before I'd support any pantload the Republicans toss out there - at least until the cancer that is the religious right gets cut out and we see a party that returns to the principles of moderation and fiscal discipline that I support.

Then I could re-register as a Libertarian again. Being a Democrat is better than being a Republican, but it still makes me a little queasy.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Holy crap, Apple!

iPhone...

After Apple starts shipping these things, they are going to be filling rooms with cash - they money will be rolling in so fast! Steve Jobs will be rolling around in it, just like Scrooge McDuck.

More seriously, the idea of building it on an OS X foundation was a masterstroke that can pretty much kill the entire smartphone industry off in one blast. Blackberry will remain relevant due to their "special sauce", Windows Mobile will still be around due to sheer hardware diversity, but Apple just basically killed off Palm, Nokia, and half the rest of the market. The only thing between Apple and global phone dominance is the lack of an EVDO version right now. Wow.

I've already got several customers counting down the days until June. And I'll tell you, were it not for the high-speed data need I have, I might be in that line myself.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

One (huge) step forward, two (little) steps back

So we've had our TiVo Series 3 for a week now. First of all, this is the way to watch HD. The picture quality is amazing, the sound is amazing, and it's got all the ease-of-use that is TiVo's hallmark. Unlike the old one, it can record two shows at once (or record a show while you watch a different live show), and the remote control is more substantial, adds several ease-of-use features, and is trainable. The Series 3 supports 1080i as the maximum HD resolution, but nicely it can also take care of up-rezzing all your content to display at 1080i. If you have an old-school analog CRT HD set (like me, with a 38-inch RCA behemoth), the changing of video modes was really annoying until this.

Why is it not yet perfect? Well, several reasons. Most importantly, the cool new software features that have been added to Series 2 TiVos in recent months (one-touch deletion, unerase, TiVoCast, KidZone, among others) are not yet present in the Series 3. It basically has the software feature set from about a year ago in the Series 2. Also, the greatest features of Series 2 (TiVoToGo and Multi-Room Viewing) are not yet supported - and neither is the eSATA port on the back of the TiVo, just begging for me to attach an external 500GB drive to jack up the storage. This is because of bizarre CableLabs rules dictating that any external connectivity must be certified by them if CableCARD will be allowed in the device. No certification, no CableCARD. CableLabs are terrified that you might try and remove the content from the box.

So it's not TiVo's fault that the connectivity doesn't work, but it still detracts some from the overall experience. With CES this week, hopefully a software update'll be announced to deal with some of it.

But still, we've got TiVo in HD now, and life is definitely looking up!
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