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Archive for March, 2006

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The Future of Google

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Here’s what Google will look like in 20 years. (Hat tip: Jeff Porten)

UPDATE: Michael Weinmayr adds another example.

Categories: Tech Talk, The Future is Now | No Comments »

Live blogging: Penn vs. Texas, Round 1

Friday, March 17th, 2006

CBS is showing free, live streaming video of all the games, so even though the Penn game doesn’t rate national television, I’m still able to watch it live. Here’s the scoop:

NCAA Tournament – Round 1
University of Pennsylvania vs. University of Texas
Dallas, Texas


6:34 left to play: Penn 14, Texas 13
Yes, really. Even more amazing: Penn has 4 3-pointers and 2 foul shots. They haven’t made a 2-point shot yet.

3:41 left to play: Penn 16, Texas 16
They finally got a 2-point basket and they’re holding their own against Texas. I’m sure this will all fall apart in the end, but for now, WOW!!!

1:59 left to play: Penn 19, Texas 18
They are playing amazing defense. No fast breaks. No lay-ups. Double-teaming the best guys, and then getting back to cover their own men when he passes it off. Quote from the announcers: “Who would have thought…”

1:00 left to play: Penn 22, Texas 20
That’s two more 3-pointers for Penn. Unbelievable…

HALFTIME: Penn 23, Texas 22
YOWZA!!! And for those who care, the Penn Band’s version of “Fight On, Pennsylvania” is drowning out the Dallas, TX crowd. Go Band!!!


Penn is shooting 28% to Texas’ 38%, but they are 6/14 in 3-pointers. The bad news is, I think we might have pissed them off. Here we go…

18:10 left to play: Penn 25, Texas 25
Texas keeps shooting & missing, but they keep getting the rebounds. Penn better start hitting their shots, or this could get ugly…

16:35 left to play: Penn 25, Texas 27
Fast break…Penn missed a 3-pointer and Texas took the rebound coast-to-coast…

15:20 left to play: Penn 25, Texas 29
Texas made two foul shots, Penn couldn’t get a shot off before the shot clock ran out, and then they fouled Texas again. The crowd’s getting into it now. Penn needs a 3-pointer to turn the momentum tide RIGHT NOW…

14:30 left to play: Penn 28, Texas 31
Texas made two more foul shots, but Penn got that 3-pointer, and now Texas turned it over. Very cool…

13:14 left to play: Penn 28, Texas 31
No scoring, but the Penn guy was just rolling around on the floor with the ball, while the Texas guys tried to take it away. IVY BALL!!! Such a familiar sight… ;-)

10:00 left to play: Penn 31, Texas 38
If there were quarters, this would be the 4th. They’ve still got the lead, but the game’s not out of reach. Penn just has to stay close, and then get lucky at the end. This is the best they could have hoped for at this point…

8:49 left to play: Penn 36, Texas 39
Gotta love those 3-pointers. One more & we’re back to square one. Let’s go Quakers! Announcer quote: “Penn will not go away…”

7:48 left to play: Penn 36, Texas 41
They got a rare fast break & put one in. But Penn has two foul shots coming now (they’re in commercial)

7:48 left to play: Penn 38, Texas 41

6:19 left to play: Penn 40, Texas 41
PENN with a fast break. Can you believe this? 3-Point scoring right now is Penn 27, Texas 3. Time out, Penn. GO BAND!!!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Just turned on CBS. They’re still showing the UNC game, but the Penn score is now one of the three running totals at the top (to be fair, it’s probably because all the Texas fans are curious about their #2 seed, not all the Ivy League viewers, but still…)

5:00 left to play: Penn 40, Texas 43
Texas got a layup. Penn just lost the ball. Uh oh…

3:49 left to play: Penn 40, Texas 45
…and Texas has two foul shots coming. Penn just missed a 3-pointer. Like I said, they have to get lucky at the end. Still a chance, but it’s getting dimmer. Porten’s right – this is going to be a heartbreaker. I’m just not sure I know who’s heart right now…

(EDITOR’S NOTE: UNC has 38 seconds to play. I bet they switch to the Penn game on CBS when the UNC game ends…)

3:32 left to play: Penn 42, Texas 47
Penn made two foul shots. Now they’re trying a full court press. Foul on Penn… Ah, well.

3:10 left to play: Penn 42, Texas 49
Two more foul shots for Texas. These guys just don’t miss…

2:00 left to play: Penn 42, Texas 49
I think Penn’s starting to unravel. They’re pressing inside, rather than trying to find the 3-pointer. Texas keeps taking the ball away inside.

1:22 left to play: Penn 45, Texas 51
Jabber just made his first 3-pointer of the half. Maybe someone on the bench is reading my blog. ;-) Anyway, it still looks bleak, but it ain’t over yet…

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Funny, the announcer keeps saying, “let’s go back to Greg Gumbel” and then keeps talking. It just occurred to me that the TV broadcast probably breaks back to Gumbel, but the Internet feed is not going to leave this game…)

1:00 left to play: Penn 45, Texas 51
Penn did a great job of trapping Texas, but couldn’t get the ball. Finally, they fouled. Now Texas has two foul shots…

52.8 seconds left to play: Penn 45, Texas 52
Texas made one of them. Penn drove right to the basket & missed. Penn trapped them in the backcourt and they called timeout. Great trapping, but it’s costing valuable time. I would think they’d run down the court, take a 3-pointer, and then foul right away…

35.8 seconds left to play: Penn 45, Texas 52
Same thing: great trapping – took Texas almost to the limit to get the ball over the half court line, and then Penn fouled. So they succeeded, but it cost them 27 seconds. I don’t get it…

30.8 seconds left to play: Penn 47, Texas 54
Texas made them both, but Jabber just made a shot and got fouled. Missed the foul shot, though…

28.6 seconds left to play: Penn 47, Texas 56
Another two foul shots.

23.5 seconds left to play: Penn 49, Texas 56
A field goal for Penn. Band is playing Cheer, Pennsylvania. They stack up nicely to the Texas band, who I’m sure does more rehearsing. Nice job, guys…

14 seconds left to play: Penn 52, Texas 58
Another time out. Texas band is playing a smokin’ version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad…” Penn needs some unanswered 3-pointers, and I mean NOW Unfortunately, they don’t have the ball…

10.7 seconds left to play: Penn 52, Texas 60
Two more foul shots. Dunphy is subbing in some other players (so they can say they played in the game).

GAME OVER: FINAL SCORE: Penn 52, Texas 60.

What. A. Game.

Hurrah for the Red and the Blue….

Categories: Sports Talk, University of Pennsylvania | 10 Comments »

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Blogging

Friday, March 17th, 2006

Well, my new job puts me in Rockefeller Center each day, which is a stone’s throw from 5th Avenue, so on my way to grab lunch today, I stopped by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

This was probably my first St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I say “probably” because I deal with the participants of the parade every year (the mostly drunk, exceedingly green-clad people who clog the streets, drink too much, and laugh incessantly for no apparent reason. One year, there were a bunch of drunk revelers on the train in to the city (that would be roughly 7AM – gotta admire that kind of dedication), but I’m honestly not sure if I ever actually saw the parade itself.

So here’s the report: Meh.

Marching bands, cheerleader squads with batons and flags, a few Irish flags – your typical parade stuff. The spectators were extremely well behaved (at 12PM – must be a record). In fact, I didn’t see anyone who I’d categorically declare drunk.

The most interesting thing at the corner of 51st and 5th (that’s right by St. Patrick’s Cathedral) was the New York Police Department. They had the side street divided into three lanes with wooden police barriers. The far right lane was for people who wanted to cross 5th Avenue eastbound, the far left lane was for people crossing westbound, and the middle lane was for people who wanted to approach 5th Ave and watch the parade. It was extremely well organized and was working like a charm. Every time there was a break in parade traffic, they let a clump of people on each side of 5th Avenue cross, then cut the line off when the next float came by – optimizing street-crossing without disrupting parade traffic at all. Yet another well done, thankless job by the NYPD.

I’ll probably have more to report after I attempt my commute home – after all, today is St. Patrick’s Day, Day 2 of the NCAA Tournament, and Friday. Lots of reasons to party tonight – I have to believe there will be more interesting things to report by nightfall…

Categories: New York, New York | No Comments »

The History of Computers

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

A classic from James Lileks:

Remember: your iPod has more storage capacity than everything in this room.

If you like that, check out the whole series here.

Categories: Tech Talk, The Future is Now | No Comments »

The Philly Skyline

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

For the UPenn alums in the crowd (any any Philadelphia fans, I guess), check out the new building that’s going up near the Walnut Street Bridge.

When I graduated from UPenn 15 years ago, the only real “skyline” building was 1 Liberty Place.

Categories: The Future is Now, University of Pennsylvania | 1 Comment »

Couch Blogging!

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

OK, OK, I know I’m the last one on the planet to go wireless, but my new job provided me a laptop and a wireless card, so I went out and bought a wireless router, and bingo – I’m sitting in my den, blogging from the couch. Very, very cool…

Still lots to do – I can’t get on my corporate network yet, and I haven’t figured out things like viewing files from my home PC, sharing a printer, setting up all the various security features, etc. But for now, I’ve got internet access, which is a good start.

UPDATE: Trying again on Friday night. Last night, every time I went in my den, the network went offline (I think it’s a distance thing). Right now, it’s showing me 2 out of 5 bars, and the performance is acceptable. Maybe I should just go out & get a repeater so I don’t have to worry about it.

Categories: Tech Talk | 1 Comment »

Quantifying the Potential of Wintel Windows

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

The investment banking firm Needham & Co have done a study that attempts to determine how much Apple would earn if the Mactel machines ran Windows natively.

Bottom line: 1 million more machines, a 22% increase in sales for Apple, and an 80% increase in market share (9.2%, up from 5.1%).

The article points out that the survey is biased because it surveyed college students who already are mor highly disposed to Macs than the general population. Fair enough, but what it doesn’t consider is the corporate purchases that would come if Apple were just another hardware provider, like HP or Dell. Without any supporting data, I would guess that this number would drawf the ones above.

Categories: Money Talk, Tech Talk | 18 Comments »

Apparently, Kenny wasn’t the only one killed…

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Isaac Hayes, rock & roll icon and voice of the Chef on South Park, is suddenly offended by the cartoon and wants out.

I don’t watch the show, but I wouldn’t think it would be a place for sensitive folks. This (rather angry sounding) quote from co-creator Matt Stone might have it right:

“This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology,” Stone told the Associated Press. “He has no problem–and he’s cashed plenty of checks–with our show making fun of Christians.”

Categories: Primetime TV | No Comments »

No Whammies, No Whammies….Stop.

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

This guy died.


Categories: Primetime TV | No Comments »

A Review: Billy Joel – My Lives, Disc 4

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

This is the fourth in my series of reviews of the “My Lives” Box Set from Billy Joel. Scroll to the bottom of this post for links to reviews of the other discs.

I can sum up my feelings on Disc four with one word: Meh.

This disc is basically representative of what Joel has been doing for the last ten years or so (except for his current tour which, not accidentally, harkens back to the previous 3 discs). It contains live versions of those songs that he most often performs live, a couple of benefit performances he’s given recently, and some of his more recent, classical music.

The live stuff comes primarily from his Millennium concert in Madison Square Garden (12/31/99). Don’t get me wrong – these are entertaining and energy-filled versions of the songs, but since the Millennium Concert has already been released on CD, none of it is new. The exceptions here are You May Be Right which comes from a Face-to-Face concert and is a great (new!) version of the song, and Los Angelenos, which sounds like it’s from an older concert and could very well be the version that was on Songs in the Attic (in which case, it’s out of place on this disc).

The benefit numbers include The Beach Boys’ Don’t Worry, Baby from a tribute to Brian Wilson, which may be the best track on the disc. He dedicates it to his daughter, Alexa, which is sweet when the lyrics are “Everything will turn out alright; Don’t worry baby,” but gets kind of creepy when he gets to “Oh what she does to me; When she makes love to me.” I guess we can give him a pass, since the song he wrote for her is much more appropriate. There’s also the September 11th tribute version of New York State of Mind, which is about as soulful as Billy Joel gets (and with good reason, of course).

Finally, there are three selections from Fantasies and Delusions. I have a great respect for those who compose (and perform) classical music, but I have to be in precisely the right mood to want to listen to it, and can’t honestly claim to ever enjoy it, so I’ll refrain from commenting further on these.

The disc also has a hidden track, containing a mock interview with Billy Joel (probably by someone in his band), which purports to be promotional material for Glass Houses, circa 1980. It’s basically Joel kidding around with his buddy, making fun of the concept of promoting an album. He plays a couple of joke songs, including one in the New Wave style that was hot back then (classic moment: he stops in the middle and says, “Oops – too many chords” and plays it again – all on the same chord). He also runs through potential promotional slogans for the album which I greatly enjoyed (examples: “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t listen to the Stones” and “People who buy this album shouldn’t get stoned.”)

So, to summarize: the box set was a nice dose of new Billy Joel material to listen to, which was refreshing for someone who’s been listening to the same old stuff for quite some time now. There are some great nuggets in there, along with a bunch of repeats from previous discs to fill out the mix. I think it’s a must-buy for the “rabid fan,” which is likely why they released it in the first place. The casual fans should probably stick with the studio albums, though, unless they enjoy rarities of any kind, in which case this is certainly a treasure trove.

I also feel obligated to note (for completeness’ sake) that there’s a DVD included in the box. When I get around to watching it, maybe I’ll post something about it too, but I’m assuming it’s just a collection of concert videos. The big exception there is the two UMixIt tracks at the end, which allows you to remix the songs (and even add your own tracks) if you play the DVD on your PC. At the very least, I look forward to isolating the piano part on these tracks and re-learning them on the piano based on what he’s actually playing, rather than what the sheet music says he’s playing. More to come on that front…

My other reviews:
Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4

Categories: ISBS Reviews, Words about Music | 3 Comments »

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