Been Busy

by aakar on August 9, 2011

The new job has been keeping me busy and alas this suffers.

SOTM: Mike Posner – Cheated

by aakar on February 28, 2011

Mike Posner – Cheated

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Dr. Dre – I Need a Doctor

by aakar on February 28, 2011

Soul-crushing

by aakar on January 17, 2011

Being a sports fan is a difficult and emotional ride. Largely it is heart-breaking & soul-crushing. Tends to be that way more often then not…

Jets Continue to Mouth Off

by aakar on January 13, 2011

Often times what gets lost in sports is the difference between confidence and egotistical behavior.  There’s a clear distinction between “I know we’re prepared” to “We’re going to smack you around”.  Now I’m not stupid enough to believe that trash-talking doesn’t happen in sports.  It obviously does and to a very large degree.  Where I start to get a little oft-put is when it comes off the field and from someone or some team that hasn’t won or done anything of significance.  Especially in 50 some-odd years.  And from a team that got absolutely demolished the last time they took the field against the Patriots.  If you aren’t aware of what I’m talking about you can look at ESPN’s bulletin board where they lay everything out pretty well.

It started last week with Rex Ryan throwing a jab at Tom Brady when the Jets were preparing for the Colts.  Further fuel was added to the fire this week as more comments were made by Ryan.  Then yesterday it seemed like hell broke loose when Antonio Cromartie decided to call Tom Brady an ‘asshole’ and further stated ‘fuck him’.  Look it’s clear these teams don’t like each other nor should they.  They should despise each other because of their history and because of the fact that they are division rivals.  But why do the Jets want to do this?  Haven’t they learned from the past?

F​reddie Mitchell tried similar tactics before the Superbowl.  He called out Rodney Harrison and said he “didn’t know the the numbers of the cornerbacks”.  What happened?  The Patriots held him to 1 catch for 11 yards.  He became non-existent during the game.  After the game Belichick had this to say about Mitchell:

“All he does is talk. He’s terrible, and you can print that. I was happy when he was in the game.”

Now where is he?  He’s on the Millionaire Matchmaker TV show, that’s where.

Anthony Smith had similar bravado before the Steelers played the Patriots in the 2007 season.  If you remember correctly, he guaranteed victory.  You know what Tom Brady did?  Ian O’Conner laid it out pretty well in an article this morning on ESPN:

Brady threw for only 399 yards and four touchdowns, including two long ones at Smith’s expense, in a 34-13 victory over the Steelers that inspired Bill Belichick, of all people, to pile on. “We’ve played against a lot better safeties than [Smith],” Belichick said.

So what does this all mean?  Well it’s simple, according to Rich Cimini’s article:

Football 101: You don’t challenge Belichick, and you don’t insult Brady, one of the greatest coach-quarterback tandems in history. More often than not, they will turn your loose lips into a fat lip.

W​hy is that?  Well, as much as you want to believe Belichick when he says all this talking doesn’t mean anything and they don’t pay attention to it that’s a flat out lie. Cimini had this great nugget from the past:

In January 1991, a few days before the Giants’ famous upset of the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV, a Tampa, Fla., newspaper ran a photo of a few Buffalo players at a local jewelry store, getting measured for Super Bowl rings. Privately, the Giants delighted in the Bills’ arrogance.

“That was the defining moment of the week,” Belichick told me years later in an interview. “When we saw that picture, we got that baby and slapped it up on the wall in the meeting room. We just said to ourselves, ‘We got ‘em now. We’re going to get ‘em.’ It was a great confidence builder. Everybody was talking about that picture.”

You can bet that at the meeting on Saturday evening Belichick will be bringing up this stuff.  Listen I​’m not saying the Patriots are going to crush the Jets, hell this is a tough match-up for the Pats.  The Jets are a decent team.  But I’m saying you don’t wake a sleeping giant.  And right now you’re just adding more wood to the fire and getting yourself into a mess of trouble.  This was from an Ian Rapport article today:

”Yeah, I think he’s going to unleash hell on them,” Dilfer responded. ”I do. Early in the week, I felt like the Jets had a chance in this game. I looked for every reason why this thing could be an epic battle. That the Jets could redeem themselves from the 45-3. Then I started to look at more film, and realized the Patriots are just smarter than everyone else.

”And then I look at how they’re handling (the trash talk), and yeah, I do think it festers in a good way,” he went on. ”They have the ability to use all this stuff, and hold it inside, and use it to their advantage come game time. I don’t see how this strategy works against the Patriots that the Jets are using. I can see it working against somebody else. I just can’t see it working against the Patriots. I think Tom already with a razor sharp focus, finds even another level to his focus and his preparation. I can just see him playing one of those flawless football games.”

‘Unleash Hell’ #12, unleash hell.

iPad/iPhone Home Button Disappearing Soon?

by aakar on January 13, 2011

T​here’s a rumor circulating that the next version of the iPad/iPhone won’t have a home button.  This rumor was further fueled with the introduction of the new multi-touch gestures in the new 4.3 developer beta that got released for the iPad yesterday.  While this could very well be a distinct possibility, especially because from an Apple design standpoint, where it’s clear Apple pushes minimalism and simplicity, it would make sense.  But at least from a usability standpoint the idea of removing the home button seems highly unlikely.  Why?  Well I had the opportunity to use the multi-touch gestures yesterday and while they bring up some interesting possibilities, the gestures are uncomfortable to use and may be difficult for the regular Joe to pick-up.  That of-course makes them a difficult sell, after all the great thing about the iPad and the iPhone is the ability for anyone to just pick one up and use it.  Gruber makes this point even clearer:

I’m not saying these are bad gestures. But they’re like keyboard shortcuts on the Mac. For any command you expect normal people to actually find and use, there needs to be a visual way to find it. You can add a keyboard shortcut for expert users to memorize, but you can’t have only a keyboard shortcut. Same with these gestures.

Again the gestures aren’t ‘bad’, they’re intuitive but uncomfortable and slightly difficult to pull off.

Boy Was Eric Wilbur On the Right Track

by aakar on January 3, 2011

Now that the 2010 regular season for the New England Patriots is over it’s nice to look back and see what all the critics and NFL pundits were saying prior to the seasons start.  I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and go through all of the information but I know one thing: you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone in their right mind who picked the Patriots to go 14-2 this season.  If they say they did they are either insane or just down-right liars.

Eric Wilbur, while not picking the Pats to go 14-2, had some interesting things to say in his prediction piece:

In the same vein, thats why offensively this team will be fine despite a nonexistent running game. Off-field contract boredom aside, Brady and Co. will motor, just so long as Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate can emerge as solid No. 3 guys. The Pats may even employ a tight end in the passing game this season. Imagine.

But that afternoon in January is why the Patriots will win the AFC East. That HBO bravado, the doubts that linger, and the general sense of disbelief is why they are primed to tell the world, “Told ya so.” Talent is one thing. But where the Patriots may come up short in that category, there remains a rather large chip. And if anyone can get his players - lacking in veteran leadership or not - to use that chip to the best of their advantage, its Belichick.

Sleep on them if you prefer. That seems to always be when they awaken.

Happy Holidays

by aakar on December 24, 2010

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday. I hope everyone spends a few minutes this holiday season appreciating their families and their friends along with all the things that they have and all the liberties that they’ve been given. It’s important to take a few seconds to understand how fortunate most of us are. I also hope you take a few minutes to give back in any way possible this holiday season because being so fortunate gives us the ability to help those who aren’t so fortunate…

Enjoy the holidays and stay safe…

Google Cr48 Chrome Notebook Early Thoughts

by aakar on December 14, 2010

When I loaded up the new version of the Google Chrome browser on Tuesday morning I noticed a notification at the top asking if I’d be interested in testing out the new Google Chrome OS notebook. “Boy would I”. Filled out the form thinking the likelihood of this happening is slim. But low-and-behold, I went home for lunch yesterday and noticed a large package outside my front-door. What a great early Christmas present from Google.

Hardware

It’s important to point out that the hardware was never meant for public release and the software has a little-ways to go before it will be ready. But Google decided to send out an unspecified number of test units to developers and early adopters who signed up so they could receive feedback on the device and particularly the OS.

The contents of the box aren’t anything to scream about. The box contains a “Getting Started” page, an ‘Intel Inside’ card, the battery, a charger, and the Cr48 itself.

The first thing I noticed was the casing of the Cr48. The shell is nice. It has contours which are rounded on the edges, which makes typing on the thing slightly less irritating then it does on a unibody Macbook. I say that because some of the unibody Macbook Pros I’ve used have an edge that tends to be sharp. You can feel the pinch on the wrist/arms when you’re typing. The Cr48 is small and light-weight, not as portable or light as the Macbook Airs. The Cr48 though is noticeably smaller than many laptops. Honestly, while the design leaves a lot to be desired, obviously due to nature of it being a test laptop, the Cr48 ‘feels’ nice for a netbook/notebook or whatever type of book it’s supposed to be.

The Cr48 doesn’t have a lot of input/outputs: a SD Card slot, a VGA Out (which doesn’t seem to work), and a USB Port. Just above the screen is a typical webcam which is found on most laptops now-a-days.

Keyboard/Trackpad

The keyboard feels great. It’s got rubber-keys and makes typing a breeze. Google also went ahead and changed around some of the functionality of a regular keyboard. There’s no Windows/Mac type of keys so the ‘CTRL’ and ‘ALT’ keys are pretty large. There’s no ‘CAPS LOCK’ key, instead there’s now a ‘SEARCH’ key which opens up a new tab and puts focus on the ‘omni box’. There are a bunch of self-explanatory function keys up at the very top. Keys that do browser specific functions such as refresh, go forward, go backwards. There is also the typical volume mute, volume up/down keys. There is one specific key which is interesting that is the ‘Go to next window’ key. Chrome OS has an OSX ‘Spaces’ type of virtual desktop option. Whenever you open a new Chrome window or incognito window it moves the window into a new virtual desktop. To toggle between the new windows you use the ‘Go to next window’ button. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here that makes me feel like they are making uncomfortable changes. So for me it works fine. Although, I’m not a big ‘CAPS LOCK’ guy so getting rid of that key doesn’t leave me craving it.

The biggest issue, sans performance, I have is with the trackpad. I’m not sure if it’s the trackpad itself or the software for it but in general the trackpad is abysmal, awful, and atrocious. There’s no actual mouse button, it mimics the latest Apple Macbooks where there entire trackpad is a button. However, it is nowhere near as crisp or workable as the Macbook trackpads. To right-click you push down with two fingers. This gesture doesn’t pick up a third of the time. Scrolling is with two fingers sliding across the pad, which is also inconsistent. As I mentioned the hardware is really just for test, but the trackpad is such an important part of the experience that it’s downright miserable to use. Honestly, it is infuriating, not at times, but infuriating all the time.

Performance

The boot-up process is pretty quick, about 15-seconds. Coming out of sleep-mode is even faster: 1-3 seconds. Initial setup of the device is pretty simple. On the initial boot-up you are asked to select your wireless network. Once that is done it asks you to log in using your Google account, which is rather painless. Then it asks you to use a webcam to take a picture of yourself. This picture will become your profile picture. Once you are officially logged in you get what amounts to a full-screen Google Chrome browser. Let that sink in for a second. All you have is a Google Chrome browser. There are slight modifications such as a battery icon and a WiFi icon in the top right corner. There’s also what is referred to as “Panels” at the bottom of the screen. So far I’ve only noticed notifications and GoogleTalk as the two items that use the panel. They are nifty however it’s difficult to determine if you have any panels open at the bottom of the screen because the panels are hard to discern if there’s a website with a white background (most of the internet). You can drag around the panels and move them around, but as I mentioned above the trackpad is awful and as a result the idea of moving a panel from left to right is almost impossible. Other-then-that that’s basically it.
That’s what the Chrome OS boils down to, a large browser window where the tabs you open are essentially either websites or web applications. Because I use Google Chrome as my default browser, I have browser sync setup. This just lets applications, bookmarks, extensions, settings, i.e. your profile sync between computers. As a result, after a few minutes all my settings and extensions sync’d to the Chrome OS and I had everything that I would need to complete surfing the web. It did take a few moments to complete the sync actually it took long enough that I was able to file a bug-report complaining of my inability to sync.

Again, Google Chrome OS in its real simple form boils down to the Google Chrome browser. If you think about that, it really is rather an odd way to look at the computer. The initial impression of the experience left me feeling “weird”. Initially I didn’t know what to do. I just started testing a bunch of websites. All of which loaded with relative ease and I was initially impressed with the performance. That is until I started using anything related to Flash. It was immediately apparent that Flash was not optimized for the hardware in the Cr48. YouTube and Hulu load videos fine and at times work OK. But more often than not the videos tend to be choppy and some other times look like stop-motion. There has been only a few times where I’ve noticed that Flash video is completely unbearable to watch but in general it’s, please mind my Bostonion slang, wicked slow.

Once you start opening a bunch of tabs you’ll notice performance implications immediately. What’s noticeable is a slowdown of loading sites and of clicking around especially if you have a few flash sites open in some of the tabs. Yesterday evening I was running ‘Yahoo Fantasy Stat Tracker” and “Grooveshark” while having Google Reader, Gmail, Google Docs, and ESPN.com open. There was a noticeable slowdown switching between tabs. It’s hard to complain about such things because at the end the performance implications will really be based on the hardware that OEM’s will use to build these notebooks.

Finally, I had a chance to use the webcam w/ GoogleTalk. Again the hardware/software marriage here on this test device isn’t that great. As a result the user on the other-end was disturbingly choppy and the audio wasn’t that great. I also appeared like a stop-motion character during our conversation. I’m not sure if that’s just the case with GoogleTalk’s video-chat plugin but it was absolutely unusable from my point of view.

Again, it’s important to stress that this hardware is just for test purposes and shouldn’t be the sole judge of how Chrome OS will be in the future. Especially, since the OS isn’t finalized yet. I still need to test out a bunch of other things such as the SD-Card reader. But in general there are a lot of positives to take away from the device especially the simplicity in nature of such a device. This is really what I imagined a netbook to be. Something that’s connected to the cloud, no matter what laptops you log into you have all your data immediately available to you.

Patriots vs. Jets

by aakar on November 30, 2010

The stretch of tough opponents for the Patriots continues down the home-stretch. The Patriots take on the trash-talking Jets on Monday night and while a lot of the Patriots might just state that this is “just another game”, it should be noted that this game is as important as ever. The possibility of home-field and bye for the playoffs rides on this game. If that’s not enough to churn your stomach, I just spent a few minutes reviewing the Patriots schedule for the rest of December and it doesn’t get easier.

Jets
@ Bears
Packers
@ Bills
Dolphins

Every single one of those games will be meaningful for a team that would like to have a bye and would like to play at home.

Belichick loves to let players know that the real season begins after Thanksgiving. Well folks, the real season is beginning and the Patriots have a lot of work to do…