Mike

Phillies Spring Training 1979

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These are Polaroids my grandparents took in Clearwater. I’ve had these for a little while, they likely were discovered when cleaning out the trailer. I think they are from 1979 based on some detective work. The first overlap was Pete Rose (I assumed his son would only be there when he was on the team) and Greg Luzinski. That narrowed it down to 79 to 81. The most obscure name was Hebner which I figure to be Richie Hebner, who played for the Phillies in 77 and 78, however he was traded to the Mets late in March of 79. So I’m going with 1979.

Scan1
Richie Hebner and Tim McCarver

Scan2

Greg? I assume Luzinski.

Scan3

Pete Rose Jr. I think I saw him play in the minors.

Scan4

Tony Taylor. He thew me off for a minute because his last year was 1976. Then I figured he must have become a coach, which is correct, he was the First Base Coach from 77 to 79.

Scan5

Hebner and McCarver. Again.

Scan6

Tug McGraw

Scan7

Greg Luzinski and my grandmom. Very curious about this one. Did they track him down in the parking lot? How did they capture this since he is walking by but my grandparents were prepared to take the picture?

Scan8

Mike Schmidt being interviewed.

Scan9

Greg Maddox

Mike

Join or Die with Craig Ferguson on History Channel

Mike No Comment

With all the turnover in late night over the past year, I’m still adjusting. While the new shows are all pretty good, I still miss Dave, Craig, Jon, and faux Colbert. I heard Craig Ferguson would have a new history focused chat show and had no idea what that might be like. It premiered this week with two episodes – political blunders and bad medical advice. Each episode starts with six topics in the category. The panel discusses and eliminates before a winner is chosen at the end.

Some thoughts after watching the first night …

  • A monologue about historical events is a brilliant move. While some of the topics may still come up in current monologues, they can lead to groans since it’s such old news. But this is history, so that’s the whole point. There also isn’t a reliance on current events, a slow news day/week doesn’t weaken the monologue.
  • Good chance you’ll learn something new. In the bad medical advice episode, mercury was one of the topics. This is where I learned that a mad hatter is actually a thing. Hat makers used a solution containing mercury and the fumes wound up driving them mad. Link to something about it on the internet.
  • Solid guests, at least to start. The format from these first two seems to be someone knowledgeable about that week’s topic, a lesser known comic, and a celebrity. I expect this would keep up since Craig has enough celebrity friends.
  • Generally, getting a monologue from Craig and having him chat with guests is all I really need.

Obviously I give this a 10/6.

Mad Hatter

Show Page

iTunes – Premiere is Free

Mike

Slacker or Pandora or Songza or ? – Streaming Radio

Mike , No Comment

Trying to get the most of out my Sonos setup with a decent streaming radio option. I’m been using Spotify for quite a while now, and only really listening to the music in my playlist there. I’m completely out of the loop on any new popular music. I’m looking for suggestions. You can share your opinion right away in the comments, or read on if you want to know my thinking so far.

Some basics of what I’m looking for:

  • Pre-defined stations
  • Cheap or free with few ads – I already pay for Spotify, but their radio doesn’t work with Sonos
  • Works with Sonos

Slacker – Slacker starts out ahead because I used it for a whole summer a few years ago. It checks the pre-defined station mark. I’ve only used it a little this week but so far I sill like it. There aren’t many ads on the free version, and the paid version is only $4/month.

Pandora – I’ve never been a Pandora person. I know people love it, but I never got hooked. It looks like it has pre-defined stations, but they don’t show up in Sonos. Bonus Points: Each time I’ve gone to the site this week, it auto-plays my Mitch Hedberg station.

Songza – This was new to me, but seemed to have solid reviews. I tried it out and loved it instantly. They have tons of different stations with typical and completely random themes. You can navigate by genre, decade, mood, or activity. They will even suggest categories based on the time of day and ask what you are doing. They have an Angsty mood, which is exactly my favorite kind of music, so that got me hooked quickly. I haven’t heard a single ad and can’t find anything about a paid service. It looks like they had one but then were bought by Google, I can only assume they stopped offering the paid version. The biggest con so far is that on some of the stations I’ve tried this week, the songs repeat way too often. It might win just because it is free and there are so many stations to jump between.

Let me know of other options. iTunes Radio isn’t on Sonos. I’ve heard good things about Beats radio options, but they are more of a Spotify replacement and even though I want out of Spotify, Beats doesn’t offer the features I want. I used to have Sirius and loved it but I don’t drive as much any more and its very expensive. Their newer streaming stuff where you can customize your station looks perfect, but only the basic non-custom stations are supported by Sonos.

Mike

iPhone Home Screen – October 2014

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I thought this was something I did more often, but it turns out, I’ve only shared my iPhone Home Screen once, and it was 3.5 years ago. Look how shiny all the icons used to be. I missed sharing the extra row with the iPhone 5, so now with the iPhone 6, I have 2 more rows than that last post.

Photo Oct 12, 7 26 28 PM

Most of these are pretty common. Some of the new additions to this screen thanks to the new row on the iPhone 6: Dropbox, Afterlight, Audible, and I’m not sure what the 4th choice was.

A rundown of the not completely common. (I think you are familiar with Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, etc.)

Screens – VNC to my Macs. Handy if I need to do something on a computer via the phone (it’s a bit easier on the iPad).

Afterlight – I just recently got this, seems like a great, easy to use photo editor that has a few more options than the Photos app. It comes in handy for photos that need a border to fit into Instagram.

Reeder – For RSS feeds. Looks like I was using Reader in the last post. Back then it had a different icon and it was still using Google Reader. The Reader app still exists, but now you have a choice of services. I pick Feedbin for my main service.

Tweetbot – I held onto Echofon as long as I could. It did such a solid job of syncing my last read tweet. However, they gave up on the Mac version, which made the phone version useless to me (they wound up releasing an update when the API changed, but it just wasn’t very good). I searched and searched for a new option but nothing worked all that well. Tweetbot was appealing, but the Mac version was $20. I finally decided all my searching was more painful than spending that much, so I went with Tweetbot across the board and it has been solid ever since. If only they would update the iPad app.

Hangouts – iMessage is so easy to use that it comes first. I used Hangouts for something nice I could use with my friends on Android, although many of those friends are moving to iPhone as it comes time for their 2nd smartphone.

Instacast – I always had a terrible time syncing podcasts between my computer and phone. Instacast was one of the first options that would let me do that outside of iTunes. It still seems flaky at times where I’ll listen on one device and it will still appear on another. Every time it seems to work well, an update is released with some new features that breaks the basic syncing. Overall it gets the job done. I’ve tried to see if the Apple Podcasts app has improved, but that app has just gotten confusing. I think this version of Instacast is free now with the next version coming out soon.

Folders – At some point there were too many things I wanted access to and I had no other choice than to add some folders. Apps includes common stuff that I need a lot (Contacts, Calendar, App Store, Settings, Clock, 1Password, Delivery Status, and some others). Sports should be obvious (league apps, SportsCenter, Yahoo! Fantasy). Videos are common as well (Netflix, Videos, HBO Go, YouTube).

Mike

ABC with maybe 1 new show, plus podcasts and PTI

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TV
Today was ABC’s day to share their fall schedule (LW). With TiVo, I have to take a minute to think about what I actually watch on a channel. For ABC I think it’s only Modern Family and The Goldbergs (please watch The Goldbergs). A slight adjustment puts those two shows back-to-back.

But is there anything new?
Selfie jumped to my attention first thanks to Karen Gillan (Amy from Doctor Who) and that it is somewhat based on Pygmalion (the character’s name is Eliza Dooley). I wasn’t blown away by the trailer but those points earn it a chance. Other than Selfie, I’m not seeing much.

Podcasts
I haven’t listened to much Nerdist recently, but it’s one of the many podcasts that I keep around just to see the guests before deleting. When I saw this episode with Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham (LW) pop up, that was a guarantee listen. I mentioned them and their show Playing House a few days ago. The town on the show gave me a Gilmore Girls vibe and has that potential so when Jessica compares it to that during the show, I was very happy to be proven correct.

I’ve only just started on Friday’s No Such Thing As A Fish, but their first fact is shareable. It was about a jockey that died during a race, but didn’t fall off the horse, and finished in first. To add to that, the horse’s name was Sweet Kiss, gaining it the nickname Sweet Kiss of Death. I didn’t find a ton of information, but OMG Facts had a quick post (LW).

Sports
Well, sports tv to be exact. PTI will be around for a while longer with both Tony and Wilbon extending their contracts (LW). I actually haven’t watched in a while. The show comes and goes as it seems I’ll hit a stretch of a few days when I’m looking for something to watch when it is on live or a replay. It was one of the early podcasts I listened to, but many have since replaced its spot in that rotation. 

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Mike

Fox’s schedule, then video crazy

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TV
Fox’s fall schedule (LW) was released today. Fox starts off with a lead over NBC because I actually watch some series on Fox: New Girl (which needs help), The Mindy Project (which is one of my favorites and really pulled it together this season), The Simpsons (still going), and Family Guy (which still brings it most weeks).

Any of the new shows interesting? Oh yes. I think I’m in on Gotham, the Batman before he became Batman. It look to focus on not-yet-Commissioner Gordon and all the villains along with a young Bruce Wayne. Check out the trailer. Then there is Gracepoint, which is an American version of Broadchurch (both starring David Tenant). The one reason I might not watch is if I catch up on Broadchurch this summer. I’m in on Mulaney, I don’t even know what it’s about, but he’s hilarious and has earned a shot.

Now some videos from last night …
The Simpsons couch gag was the Game of Life. (LW)

Last Week Tonight at least had the right number of people for an actual climate debate. (LW)

Robot Chicken explains that The Parent Trap was a really really horrible premise. (LW)

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Mike

NBC has 1 show I want to watch this fall, plus new podcast and clever PSU students

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TV
NBC’s Fall Schedule (LW) is out today. I’m not sure I care about this too much. The Voice and Sunday Night Football appear to make up half the schedule. There is really only one show I’m at all interested in watching, A to Z. It’s a romsitcom starring The Mother from HIMYM and Rashia Jones is one of the producers. Those facts got me to watch the trailer (LW), which hooked me.

The biggest hole in the NBC schedule is the cancellation of Community (LW), which isn’t too surprising except if they weren’t going to cancel it the past three years, there wasn’t much reason to cancel it this year after it got things back together and had a great season.

The only excitement for NBC comes from their not yet scheduled shows, which include Parks & Rec. Plus, there are two or three interesting new shows, based on who is involved: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (created by Tina Fey), Bad Judge (produced by Will Ferrell), and Mr. Robinson (starring Craig Robinson).

Podcasts
The Gist is a new daily podcast on Slate. Hosted by Mike Pesca, who is also on Hang Up & Listen (the best sports podcast). This one isn’t sports-focused, but more news and general interest. For example, on Thursday topics included the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, improv rappers attempted to teach Mike how to rap, and a round up of news items related to urine. So yea, topics will vary, but they will all fall into informative or entertaining.

Penn State
Hard to believe that it’s college graduation time, this was graduation weekend at Penn State. That means that finals were last week. Business Insider covered some students who decided finals were worth ’tailgating’ (LW). My only issue is that it appears they actually ‘GameDay’d’ finals with clever signs. So thumbs up to the students, but Business Insider, get your facts straight.

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Mike

Pilot season is sort of like the draft

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Let’s see how posts work taking some of the highlights from my WinkStream on LinkyWink over the past day or so.

Video
TEDTalk from Randall Munroe who writes What-If on xkcd. If you follow What-If, or follow me as I Wink about half of them, then you’re already all in on this talk.

TV
Upfronts are apparently coming up soon. Usually that means lots of cancellation news, but it seems that most of my favorites fate has already been decided. Only Community is still up in the air. This year all the news seems to be around pilots.

Difficult People on USA (LW) created by Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner. Most of the news stories focus on Amy Poehler producing, and she’s great, but you have me sold on Eichner/Klausner. The show is about best friends who hate everyone except each other, so it sounds perfect. It’s on USA, which I hadn’t watched in forever, I think they used to show American Gladiators in the mornings during the summer. Recently, they hooked me with Playing House, which is a slightly different show from Best Friends Forever, but mostly the same, as it should be because NBC should have never cancelled it.

Rashida Jones had a pilot picked up on TBS (LW). It’s produced by Steve Carell and his wife and sounds a bit like Brooklyn Nine-Nine just because it’s a cop comedy. Making fun of Law & Order, Rashida will work in the RHCU, Really Heinous Crimes Unit.

Grantland had a good overview of pilots on all the networks (LW).

Sports
The NFL Draft is tonight, which I have no desire to watch but probably will anyway. The Eagles having a decent year means I have to watch more than the first half hour this year. The pre-show is also worth watching, as the Style Girlfriend will be interviewing and commenting on the night’s styles. 

The only draft related link I have for you is from The Onion, where Mel Kiper has been trapped under his Big Board (LW).

Last, for the Philly based fans. The Eagles aren’t brining back Dan Baker (LW). You might not know the name but if you have been to a Phillies or Eagles game, then you know his voice. Always seemed to me like a while Phillies season was enough, so hopefully he’ll enjoy a lot of free Sundays.

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Mike

NBA Tanking – Don’t count the blowouts

Mike , No Comment

There’s been a lot of talk about tanking in the NBA all season thanks to the deep draft class expected this year. That talk has heated up after the trade deadline with a few teams appearing to have given up. The 76ers have lost 15 in a row and show little sign of hope to win again. As someone who follows the 76ers (I don’t pay too much attention to NBA games not involving them), I’m perfectly happy with this strategy. Finishing each season between 6th and 10th in the conference wasn’t going to get us anywhere besides the 2nd round of the playoffs on a rare occasion.

I’ve seem some suggestions on how to fix tanking, if it’s even possible. The wheel is the most common idea referenced. The idea is that the draft order is set and rotates in some way each season. If there are 30 teams in the league, you’ll have the #1 pick once every 30 years, guaranteed. You’d get that pick if you were the worst team in the league or if you just won the championship. I like the idea for its creativity and discussion it has created. I don’t like the idea so much as a complete solution. It’s hard enough to turn a franchise around through drafting and free agency, taking away a draft advantage makes things a whole lot harder.

How do you tell if a team is tanking? There’s no clear way. Is a team just bad or purposely bad? Did a GM make a trade just to make the team worse? You’d have to weigh the long term value of the trade. Is a team faking injuries? You can’t ask that.

Let’s assume that there is no difference between a tanking team and a really really bad team. A tanking team is trying to not win games. They want to lose to everyone. Meaning they will lose to the bad teams and get blown out by the good teams (and maybe some bad teams too). What if we just don’t count games where they get blown out? Make the lottery a ranking of the teams with the most non-blowout losses.

I took the current lottery teams (as of last night) losses, then looked at what the draft order would look like if blowouts were removed. Now, choosing what counts as a blowout is just a guess. I tried 20 points and 15 points. (more…)

Mike

New iPad

Mike , , No Comment

Which iPad did I go with?

iPad Air 64gb T-Mobile, Silver/White

Each part of that product model was a decision, except for the Silver/White model, I’ve been going with the white model on all my iOS devices since they’ve been available.

Air
This is mostly about how I use it. I’ve never found my regular sized iPad to be too large for my uses. That is usually on the couch or on my desk playing a video while I’m working on my iMac.

I have a Nexus 7 around the house, it is slightly smaller than the iPad Mini. I found it to be too small for what I want out of a tablet.

I can see why someone might want a Mini. It can much more easily fit in one hand, it’s lighter, and can be tossed in a bag more easily. It also has the same screen as the regular iPad, which must look really great.

64gb
When I got the iPad 1, I got the 32gb. I was always close to filing my 16gb iPhone whatever-version-i-had-at-the-time and I knew I’d want a few movies on the iPad. 32gb was just fine but recently as I’ve been buying movies on iTunes, the file sizes are in the 3-4gb range. Just a few were filling up the 32gb. Really, the question was if going 128gb was worth the extra $100. It actually probably would be worth it, $100 for another 64gb. However, when I realized that I only have 128gb in my MacBook Air and the price would be just below what I paid for the Air, it seemed like a bit much.

The argument against larger sizes that I’ve heard most is that everything is in the cloud. That’s true, but I tried that method a few weeks ago when traveling. When I went to load a movie from iCloud, the download time was about 10 hours, and it never survived for longer than 30 minutes, restarting each time. The cloud only works if you have a network that will let you grab a few gbs.

T-Mobile
For the iPad 3, for some reason I decided to go with an AT&T version. It was the sort of thing that I’d rather have and not use than really wish I had later on. I never used it.

So obviously this time around I went with T-Mobile. Crazy, right? I was all set for the WiFi version and saving a few bucks. I have tethering on AT&T, so I’d just use that. Then T-Mobile offered 200mb free every month for life. I’m not sure how far 200mb will go on an iPad, I almost never go over 250mb on my phone. I’ll just use it occasionally, and for times that I know I’ll be on for a little while, I can turn tethering on for my phone.

Benefits:

  • I can see how T-Mobile’s network is around town and maybe switch next year when my contract is up and the next iPhone comes out.
  • If I start using it and want more data, instead of tethering, I can buy pre-paid passes from T-Mobile, or add it to my AT&T share for a month for $10. iPads are unlocked and there is only one model, so you can toss in whatever type of SIM you like.

There was all sorts of discussion Friday morning about T-Mobile charging $10/month for the free data. Their web site is pretty poor on the clarity front. It seems to be even worse for account management. Their account page has been telling me it is down since I set up my account on Friday.

I had no trouble setting up and getting my free data. The most difficult part was having to choose a password with a symbol.

A Weekend In
That’s how I decided, in my few days with the device, I’m a huge fan. If I really thought about it, my iPad 3 was surviving just fine. iOS 7 didn’t make it unusable and I don’t even know which features didn’t make it to the iPad 3, so they can’t be that important. Still, there are a few reasons I’m really happy I made the upgrade.

  • Size and weight. As soon as I took it out of the box, I compared it to the previous design to see the obvious inch or so reduction in width. As for the weight, it reminds me of when I pick up an iPhone 4/4S compared to my iPhone 5. The old iPhones feel like bricks. What did they shove in there? The 5 is so light. When comparing the two the only conclusion can be that half the space inside the 5 is just left open and that it’s only that size because anything smaller would disappear.
  • Speed. I said the iPad 3 was running iOS 7 fine, that just means it’s tolerably slow. The iPad Air flies. I don’t game harder than Angry Birds on the device, so the speed should be able to keep up until the next re-design that hides behind a golf pencil.
  • Lightning! The only reason I considered the iPad 4 for a minute was the Lightning cable. The switch from the 30-pin was a long time coming but it was a pain to have to have both types of cables after I got my iPhone 5.
  • Battery. I haven’t noticed this yet, but the last design took a long time to charge, this should be a much more tolerable recharge time.

Apple Store
I ordered online at 3am for in-store pickup. I went over during lunch and was about 5th in the pre-order line. There were 2 or 3 people in the didn’t pre-order line. There were plenty available for everyone, but I wasn’t taking any chances, especially since I wasn’t sure how many T-Mobile versions they’d be stocking. Once I was up, I was taken to the first table, gave my order number, waited a minute for someone to bring the iPad up, signed, and left. Super simple.

Biggest Problem
The biggest problem is that the size bezel is so small that my iPad stand is a little too large.
iPad Air StandThe stand I use is the Twelve South BookArc, which I have two of because I like it so much.

Mike

I don’t like August 31st, let’s change the calendar

Mike No Comment

I always think August is a 30 day month, so it’s always a bit of a surprise when August 31st rolls around. It leads to a lot of confusion when trying to figure out what day of the week things in early September fall. Even when August 31st gets here, the date just doesn’t seem right. There could be better uses than a 31st day in August. I have a though.

My proposal:
February 29th stays. It’s a pretty cool date, I think we should have it every year rather than every 4 years.
What month gets the leap day? February 30th would just make February like all the others. So let’s go crazy. Pick one of the months with 31 days and give it a 32nd. But which? January doesn’t need to be any longer. New Years Eve on December 32nd wouldn’t work. That leaves March, July, and October. You know what, I feel the same way about March 31st as I do August 31st. But peeling that one off too makes things complicated.

July 32nd or October 32nd? Easy. October 32nd would screw with Halloween. July 32nd means an extra day of summer every 4 years. (shh that I just eliminated one in August). Solved.

Final changes:

  • No more August 31st.
  • February 29th every year.
  • Leap day is now July 32nd.

I’ll give you until 2015 in case you’ve already got your calendars.