Oakland Shows Signs of Life

Well, I bitched about Oakland a couple of days ago, and today I’m watching the possibility that they might string two wins in a row. I was watching last night in the top of the 9th when I received a phone call from my son whose car crapped out an hour away (I spent most of the day today trying to get it going, eventually giving up and having it towed) so I missed the heroics in the 9th to tie and the 11th to win. Tonight they are leading 6-1 in the top of the 7th, so barring world-ending meltdown, they should make it two in a row. Haren pitched well, giving up a bunch of long popups to the wall. Nick Swisher had a nice catch bouncing of the wall, and Scott Hatteberg had a nice unassisted double play.

Could have gotten good seats tonight: the stadium seems empty.

Perhaps June will be kinder to the Yellow and Gold Yellow and Green.

It is good to see Crosby back in the lineup.

Addendum: In the bottom of the 9th, Nick Swisher hit a bases loaded triple, the first of his ML career. He’s got 4 RBIs on the night. 9-1 Oakland.

VIA Technologies, Inc. announces the C7

This website runs on a VIA Nehemiah 1Ghz motherboard. I used to run it on a dual 400Mhz Celeron box I built on an Abit BP6 motherboard, but that thing sucked power and generated heat far in excess of its utility. Now my webserver runs quiet and lowpower. That’s why I thought I’d plug the press release by VIA Technologies, Inc. on their new processor: the C7. The C7 will run at peak power of 20W at 2.0Ghz, and idles at only 100mw. It includes bunches of features that make it excellent for home theater/PVR applications. Apparently they are going to start shipping in Q2. Processors like this seem more impressive to me than the dual core behemoths that AMD and Intel produce. The world needs more reasonable power consumption for our mundane computing tasks.

Me

Me

Just a picture of me from my cell phone

Addendum: This post was really just created as a test of Flickr‘s ability to post photos that you upload to their site to a blog of your choice. It was just a picture that I sent to my wife during my long weekend away at Siggraph, to indicate that I missed her. Today of course, it seems equally applicable, since I’m spending my day trying to sort out car troubles.

Sigh.

Boing Boing: HOWTO add Half Life 2 elements to your photos

Cool link today from Boing Boing which extracted elements from the game Halflife 2 and embedded them into real scenes using high dynamic range lighting. This kind of approach is one that I think amateurs could pursue in making their own hybrid CG films. Good stuff.

Boing Boing: HOWTO add Half Life 2 elements to your photos

Tough to be an A’s fan…

I suspected that the A’s may have a difficult time getting to the playoffs this year. All three of the other AL West teams had reasons for optimism: the A’s traded two of their big three talent away. The over-under line for A’s was 78 or so. Realistically they would turn out to
be a .500 level club.

But holy crap, they are stinking up the place.

As of this afternoon, they are 17-32. Lost 8 in a row. 20 of their last 24. They are on a pace to win a tragically pathetic 56 games. And quite frankly, there is no end in sight. There literally is nothing to be optimistic about. They are just bad. Last in the majors with only 27 homeruns. Last in the AL, with only 181 runs. Something like 8 for 45 with the bases loaded.

Holy crap.

It seems a far cry from the heady days of winning 20 in a row.

Why the broadcast flag should go forward | Perspectives | CNET News.com

Dan Glickman, CEO of the MPAA has an editorial running on news.com entitled: Why the broadcast flag should go forward. I urge you to go read it and think about it.

A federal appeals court ruled that when the FCC mandated that all manufacturers of digital video equipment must implement and support the use of a Broadcast Flag by July 1 of this year, they considerably overstepped their powers granted to them by Congress. The FCC took the rather shocking stance that there powers are implied, rather than enumerated by Congress, and that they were free to effect mandates without legislative oversight, permission, or the involvement of the public.

The court naturally held a dim view to this interpretation, and rightly struck down the Broadcast Flag requirement, stating that the FCC did not have statutory authority.

Of course the MPAA is in support of this legislation. Despite Glickman’s claim that this is to “protect the magic of the movies”, it is really quite simple: they want to limit the ability of the public to trade in what they view as their property. For decades, individuals have had the right to record programs and play them back at a later time, or to send these tapes to their friends who may have missed them. They have had the right to record them and amass large tape libraries of shows. The MPAA views this as potential lost revenue, and they want it to stop.

Glickman says:

Our companies want to continue to show their movies and television shows to viewers who don’t or can’t subscribe to cable or satellite systems. But without the broadcast flag, that option will look less and less appealing.

By “less appealling”, he means “we will make less money”. This strikes me as similar to the arguments presented before the Sony case. “The videotape recorder will end movies.” “The entertainment industry will go bankrupt!”

The entertainment industry thought that the glass was half empty. In fact, it wasn’t just half full, it was entirely full. This FUD surrounding the broadcast flag is just more of the same.

Movie Review: Madagascar

Last night we had a screening of the new Dreamworks film Madagascar and I must say, it was one of the most enjoyable, light, fun, upbeat movies I’ve seen in a long time. I had a blast. It was colorful, it was fun, the voice talent was great, and it looked good.

The movie begins with a quartet of animals enjoying the good life in New York’s Central Park Zoo. Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller) is the king of the zoo, performing to the delight of New Yorkers. His friend is Marty the Zebra, who just celebrated his birthday, turning the big 1-0. Rounding out the foursome is Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith). Marty is suffering a mid life crisis, and wonders what it would be like in The Wild.

And… well… hilarity ensued.

I really like this film. It was cute, fun, light and easy to watch. Lots of good animation. The style, which I thought looked a bit uneven in the previews, works when it is all stitched together. I’d give it an 8.5/10.

Seamless Data Distribution System

My HouseGoogle Maps is pretty cool, but they watermark all their images which makes their satellite data a little less than entirely useful for goofing around with. That’s why I’m pleased to see the USGS has the Seamless Data Distribution System, which allows you to download high resolution imagery, maps and all sorts of other data. The image on the right is some high resolution imagery of my house. You can see my next door neighbor’s blue van. Cool stuff.

The Problem With Government in a Nutshell

Governor digs fixing potholes / San Jose crews destroy part of road for staged event

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to a quiet San Jose neighborhood Thursday, and — dogged by protesters — filled a pothole dug by city crews just a few hours before, as part of an attempt to dramatize his efforts to increase money for transportation projects.

It’s not exactly a surprise when a politician fixes a problem and creates a news event out of it. It’s not even a surprise when it turns out that the politicians themselves created the problem. But seldom are both clearly identified as occurring on the same day.

Map Projections: How Projections Work

North AmericaI like maps. I thought I’d archive a couple of useful links for generating your own maps:

  • First, a site to describe how to take latitude and longitude and project them into two dimensions. Contains lots and lots of formulas. Map Projections: How Projections Work
  • Of course, to use those formulas you need some raw data. The CIA World Databank II has such data, and is public domain to boot. The linked site has them in an easy to parse textual format for easy manipulation.

Addendum: the wikipedia has links to these sites, which is how I found them.

Addendum2: I also found this website to be useful. It countains outlines for the continents, which I used to generate this animated gif of the earth’s rotation.

Recipe: Pulled Turkey

I haven’t posted any of my culinary explorations lately, so I thought that I would rectify this wrong by detailing something that I tried for yesterday’s dinner. I’m a huge fan of pulled pork, especially in the form of barbecue pork sandwiches. I like getting a toasted bunn, piling it with this shredded pork, and then slathering on tons of a nice spicy barbecue sauce, and eating that with some delicious potato salad.

But that’s not very Weight Watchers friendly, so I don’t get to do it very often.

But, I did see a good idea on Calorie Commandos the other day, which was to make the same kind of thing, but use turkey legs instead of pork. I took ideas from their recipe and adapted it to what I had on hand.

I began by heating a tiny bit of olive oil and sweating a diced onion and a diced red pepper over medium heat. I didn’t have any shredded carrots, but I did have some of those tiny baby carrots (I buy them by the 5 lb bag for munching) so I just dumped in a handful of those, and let them sweat for a bit. I then added the seasoning: chili powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper flake, cayenne, black pepper and let that go for just a few more minutes, until it begins to smell and look good. Then I turned off the heat. The original recipe called for these to be cooked in the oven for four hours, but I work, so starting this in the evening would mean dinner @ 9:30 at the earliest, so I did it slightly differently: I skinned my turkey legs, and dumped them in my crockpot in the morning. I then covered them with this vegetable mixture, and then added enough canned nonfat chicken stock to cover. Plugged in the crockpot, set it to low, and left for work.

When I returned, the meat was literally falling off the bone. Took some tongs, and fished out all the legs, and let them cool on a rack. Then, I went through and pulled out all the bones and any tiny bits of skin that I missed before, and shredded all the meat by hand. The turkey legs actually contain a fair number of smallish sharp bones, so take good care while doing this step. You’ll be left with a pile of deliciously seasoned seasoned meat, very soft and delicious. I then toasted some buns, and piled on this meat mixture, and added some of my favorite barbecue sauce. I like Sweet Baby Ray’s among all the store brands I have tried, it’s actually quite acceptable in a pinch. I also had some fat-free vegetarian baked beans, and a side salad.

A feast!

You can do the same recipe with chicken thighs. Delicious.

Wish I had left overs.