Beta

March 27, 2008

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An hour or so ago we sent out the e-mail to our private beta user group to preview our new live scoring product. This is the thing that I've been working on since like October that has required all the travel up to Atlanta. I went there a lot during the process including at least one day every week for the past eight weeks. I'm so glad I don't have to go again for week nine. That trip was kicking my ass. There still stuff to do, but the first version is out the door so I can let off the throttle a little.


Six Stages

March 19, 2008

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Sitting in a hotel room on yet another trip to Atlanta and after having had a few drinks myself to unwind. I find the The 6 Stages of Drunkenness in Japanese Cellphone Charms highly amusing.


The tornado missed me

March 16, 2008

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I was in ATL again this week. Spent a few days this go round including Friday night when a tornado hit downtown including the Georgia Dome where Bama was playing basketball. I was watching the game in the hotel bar about 2.5 miles away. Looking outside the weather was obviously severe, but I didn't realize it was a tornado till later.


Improvement that isn't really one?

March 11, 2008

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I subscribe to a service called Safari Books Online for one of the premiere computer related book publishers: O'Reilly. Here is a snip of an email I recently got from them with the subject "Safari Books Online Service Improvement". We have recently implemented a new, streamlined login procedure to access your safari.oreilly.com account. Going forward, you can enter your user ID and password directly into the safari.oreilly.com homepage. These changes will result in a more efficient and responsive authentication process for you. As a result, when you login to your Safari Books Online account, you will no longer be automatically logged into the network of other O'Reilly websites. Similarly, when you login to the O'Reilly network, you will not be automatically logged into your Safari Books Online account. So, they tell me this is more efficient. Then, immediately tell me that something that used to work won't with the result being that I have to log in two times when I only used to have to do it once. I'm not the brightest bulb in the box, but that sounds like the opposite of an improvement to me. Granted, the old way was a little cumbersome as well, but this is more like a trade off of one inconvenience for another one. One step forward + One step back = no movement. Or, the Cha Cha if you are watching Real Genius. Unfortunately, that clip is not on YouTube, but what appears to be the trailer is: Talk about a trailer that has an entirely different tone than the movie it previewing. Also, I don't remember the the balloon chair in the film. Anyone else? (As a further tangent, it's weird that we still call them "trailers" instead of previews even though they come before the main feature now instead of after them.)


Opting out of more junk mail

March 11, 2008

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Some time ago I discovered optoutprescreen.com which lets you tell the three major credit bureaus that you don't want to get all those pre-approved credit card solicitations in the mail. After I got my house, I was getting probably 20-30 a week. None of which I wanted. I have one card and that's all I want. Within a few months, my junk mail was way, way, way down. I've been meaning to try to kill some of the rest of it and have known about the Direct Marketing Association, but have done a little more research that points to the Abacus Catalog Alliance as well. It took me a little while to cross reference, but "Smart Money" has this article up with how to opt out. I also verified the Abacus Opt Out address by searching the epsilon.com web site and getting to this page. Epsilon is the company that maintains the Abacus database. By the way, if you want to freak out your privacy meter, jump around the epsilon web site for a bit. Once again, in some ways 1984 ain't got shit on 2008. In my searching, I saw another address for the Epsilon/Abacus opt-out, which may work, but I trust the Smart Money article and internal address more. So, now that I've had a chance to cross reference this stuff, I'm gonna give it a shot tonight. In a few months, I'll try to remember to post a follow up.


Farewell McNulty, Bubbles, Lester, Omar, Kima, Bunk...

March 11, 2008

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… and the rest of the crew on The Wire. I'm bad about doing the "What's your favorite Movie/Song/Album/Show" game, but the Wire would easily be in the top list of shows. If you haven't watched it go rent the DVDs starting with season 1. It's paced and told differently and has a more amorphous scope than most shows. So, if you don't like it at first, give it at least 5-6 episodes before you bail. A key element that drives my liking of the show is that there the line between good and bad can get really fuzzy. In the fifth and last season, there were several times I was worried that they were taking this a little too far. That they were getting so far out there, that they wouldn't be able to get back. I'm happy to report that, for the most part, this wasn't the case. While by no means at the top, the final episode was pretty high up there on the awesome scale. There were some thing in the story line that I didn't like in terms of where they ended up, but they all kept to the tone of the show. It was more about the characters and feeling like you wished that things turned out better for them. So, empathy for the characters inside the story and not feeling short changed by the creators of the story. That's a tough thing to pull off. I didn't notice the title of the episode till I was looking up the spelling of a name on the HBO web site. The last one was called "—30—" which is a great node to the newspaper industry (which the last season has a heavy focu on) where articles and press releases often end with that string. Here's a fun little page about ending with that. Apparently no one is sure where the origin is, but the one I heard was alway to signify the end of a story over a transmission. In that light, it's a perfect title for a damn fine ending.


P.S. one thing that I really didn't like about the last season was the episode count.

  • Season 1 - 13 Episodes
  • Season 2 - 12 Episodes
  • Season 3 - 12 Episodes
  • Season 4 - 13 Episodes
  • Season 5 - 10 Episodes

Not cool with the shorter. Might have been the writer's strike, but I don't care. I want those 2-3 episodes back.


Not Broken

March 05, 2008

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So, I shot a wedding for a couple of friends on Saturday. Overall, it went very well. At least I think it did. I'm not sure yet since I haven't pulled down the images yet. I'm in the process of cleaning up my digital photo archive and want to get that done before I throw more images in. Anyway, one not so fun part of the evening is when my I was adjusting my camera on it's tripod and didn't have the tilt locked in. The result was the camera, while staying attached to the tripod pitched forward with basically all its weight and smashed my left pointer finger between it and the tripod. Hurt pretty bad, but I was able to keep shooting without much issue. If it had been my right hand I would have had to taken a couple quick shots of whiskey to dull the pain to be able to keep shooting since it would have been my shutter pressing finger. By the end of the night, the finger had swollen a decent amount and started to turn a little blue/gray. One of the guys at the wedding was a doctor and said I should take it in a get X-rayed. He said it was unlikely that it was serious but if it did break and did it a certain way it could cause some pretty serious issues. The good news for me is that according to the doctor I saw today, it's not broken. Just need to keep some ice on it when I can. Take some ibuprofen for the swelling and keep a little finger guard on it so I don't keep knocking it into things. Interesting things in this experience:

  • My doctor at the clinic looked exactly like Teller from Penn and Teller. He wore glasses, didn't do magic and, of course, talked, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't him but I suppose that could have been the trick.
  • The little exam room had a TV with cable and a remote in it. It's a great touch. Instead of that awkward just sitting and waiting on the little bench with the roll of paper on it, I channel surfed. Made for a much more comfortable wait.
  • I asked for the X-ray which they let me have. I don't think I've seen an X-ray of myself before. The only time I can think of that I'ce had an X-ray was before I was going up in a ROTC helicopter to shoot photos for a story in my college paper. They made me have an X-ray of my teeth so they had my dental records to match in case the thing went down. It's really odd to see an X-ray of part of my body. I've seen a few other X-rays before of other people, but this is the first time I've "seen" my own bones. They are much smaller than I would have thought.

So, the main outcome of all that is that I'm finally going to get a ball head for my tripod instead of the one I have now where you have to lock down three gears or risk serious injury.


Acronyms

March 04, 2008

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The other day, I forgot the word "acronym". The closest I could come up with was "abbreviation". I use acronyms all the time, but rarely call them by their title. It was a weird experience. I tried to search for it on the google, but had no luck. Nothing I described in my search worked out. I kept getting actual acronyms, but never what they were called. It just clicked back in place for some reason. Use it or lose it, I suppose.


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