Monthly Archives: September 2005

SkinsBlog 9/12/05

Let the quarterback controversy begin!

So Ramsey lasted nary a quarter, and after a particularly nasty headhunter hit, was gone for the rest of the game. In the interests of full disclosure, I’m not a Brunell fan. More importantly, I think it’s extremely difficult for an offense to run plays designed for a righty and then abruptly switch to a lefty quarterback. This was especially evident when Brunell kept rolling to his right.

Still, we managed to eke out a narrow victory. Normally, I’d say you can’t win a game on field goals alone, but this is one matchup where I thought it would be possible, and that’s exactly what happened. The 9-7 win was narrower than even I expected, but it was just enough, and a win is a win at the end of the day.

Elsewhere around the NFL, I hope nobody put money on my picks. But honestly, there were some major upsets that unfolded yesterday, and I doubt even some of the best prognosticators out there got them all right. A few highlights:

Miami over Denver. Shows you just how much difference a coach can make.

San Francisco over St. Louis. If you told me you saw that coming, you’d be lying.

Cincinnati over Cleveland. As previously mentioned, who outside Ohio really cares anyway?

New Orleans over Carolina. Certainly the feel-good story of the day.

Kansas City over New York Jets. Well, six fumbles by your quarterback will do that to a team.

Dallas over San Diego. A last minute nail-biter if there ever was one.

We’ll see tonight how Atlanta does versus Philly, but I still predict an upset by the Falcons.

Obsolesence Ad Nauseum

I’m learning a little more about the iPod nano, and something that doesn’t make me very happy: It will not sync with a FireWire connection. It’s USB only, baby, and that really galls at me.

I currently own three Macs (and a PC), but despite my significant contribution to Apple’s profit fund over the years, I am left with no way to connect an iPod nano to any of my machines via a high-speed connection. Yes, I can transfer at a pathetically slow USB 1.1, but it’s the principle that’s at stake here. Never has Apple’s desire to screw with their loyal consumer base been so blatant.

Because let’s reflect here for a moment. Apple has already announced Intel-based machines in the not-too-distant future. So, we either wait to upgrade our machines once the MacTels come out, or pony up the extra cash now on a USB 2.0 capable Mac. You can guess which path Apple would like us to choose. They’re scared sh*tless that no one will buy a G*-based Mac with the impending arrival of the Intels, so they give us the nano as an incentive to upgrade sooner rather than later. It’s sneaky, and I don’t like it much.

That said, will I buy a nano? Well, I don’t really have the cash at the moment for it to be an issue (buying a house and having a baby in one 12-month span will do that to one’s bank account). But if I could, then yes, I’d still buy a nano — and still wait on upgrading my machine. After all, I envision that I’d use a nano mostly for podcasts and baby photos. But I still fear how long it would take me to upload on my lowly USB 1.1 port. 🙁

SkinsBlog 9/10/05

Okay, Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays for the next 17 or so weeks (hopefully more) will now be SkinsBlog, devoted to news, analysis, predictions and commentary about the Redskins and other goings on in the NFL. So let’s get to it:

Opening weekend is here! No more meaningless preseason games. It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. I always love it when you get to open your season at home; a road game for the opener always feels off somehow. The Bears are coming to town, and that gives ‘Skins fans really something to cheer. We couldn’t have a cushier opponent if they were playing a high school team.

That said, the ‘Skins still have the Chicago defense to plow through, and that’s no small obstacle. Brian Urlacher is one of the best linebackers in the biz, and while none of the other members of the Chicago D are quite the household name that he is, they can still prove to be quite a bit of resistence, especially since the Redskins offense, at least in the preseason, was a bit lacking.

Which brings me to the concern of the week: How will Patrick Ramsey perform once the games start counting for something. Admittedly, I didn’t pay all that much attention to the preseason games, but what I did see was less than impressive. Picks and sacks were way too prevalent, and Ramsey once again is being criticized around the local media for waiting far too long to make a decision and actually throw the ball. If he wants to ever succeed in the NFL, he’s going to have to make his own opportunities, because defenses certainly won’t give them to him.

Also, how is he going to adjust to what is practically a whole new receiving corps? Coles is gone, replaced by his former Jets teammate Santana Moss. McCants was axed altogether during the preseason, but added was David Patten, fresh off his third Super Bowl ring with the Patriots. On paper, at least, the receiving squad is the strongest it’s looked in years, but that’s not really saying a whole lot.

The ‘Skins defense promises to have another great season with Gregg Williams at the helm and Lavar Arrington back from his knee injury that kept him out most of last year. Even when defensive players were dropping like flies last season, somehow Williams and his “mad genius” schemes kept the Redskins D the third ranked in the NFL. There is nothing to suggest that the same won’t be true this year, although I’d prefer it if half our starting defense weren’t placed on injured reserved by week 10.

So what do I think tomorrow’s game will hold? Well, with two solid defenses, and a rather pathetic offense from the visiting team, look for a low-scoring defensive grudge match. Redskins 10 – Bears 3

Elsewhere in the NFL:

These are predictions only, with no regard to the spread:

Cincinnati v. Cleveland
Who outside of Ohio really cares? I’ll pick Cleveland just because they’re home.

Denver v. Miami

Houston v. Buffalo

New Orleans v. Carolina
While it would be a nice story if New Orleans wins, they ain’t gonna. Carolina.

NY Jets v. Kansas City
I think I’m going against the grain here. Jets win it, but in a close one.

Seattle v. Jacksonville
Two teams that just bore you to tears. Jacksonville wins, but nobody will be awake to see it.

Tampa Bay v. Minnesota
Quick, name a wide receiver for the Vikings. I can’t either. Tampa Bay.

Arizona v. NY Giants
Every year you just keep hoping that the Kurt Warner who won one Super Bowl and went to another will show up, but he never does. New York wins now that Strahan is back and healthy.

Dallas v. San Diego
The Cinderella team from last year versus the Cinderella team from the year before. San Diego has the momentum on their side; they win.

Green Bay v. Detroit
I really think this is Favre’s last year. His games are really hit or miss these days, but I still will pick them to beat the Lions.

St. Louis v. San Francisco
St. Louis. Next.

Indianapolis v. Baltimore
Old Baltimore versus new Baltimore. Indianapolis wins easily. (P.S. This will be the Colts’ year to make it to the show. As long as they don’t have to go to New England in January.)

Philadelphia v. Atlanta
Oh, this is just too juicy. Have Donovan and T.O. really ended their lovers’ spat? Will Vick literally run circles around the competition? I dunno, and I wish I could watch this one but I’ll be on I-95 during most of the game. My heart (and my head, frankly) says that Atlanta will pull the upset and narrowly beat Philly, avenging their playoff loss from last season.

So there we go, boys and girls, the end of my innagural SkinsBlog. Check back Monday to see what I got right, what I got wrong, and where we go from here.

My Take on iTunes 5

I’ve only played around with iTunes 5 a little bit, but in that time haven’t seen all that much to get excited about.

The best new feature is the improved search functionality, which is based on Spotlight and lets you specify if you’re searching for an album title, artist name, song name, etc. This is great when you have chaotic libraries like mine and would like to play an album without having to browse through genre, artist (which many times could be compilations so artist is pretty much useless in that case) then album title.

The playlist folders is a natural progression for an Apple application, but I don’t particularly see the usefulness. Yeah, I can now separate out my baby music playlists from my grown up people’s playlists, but this subcategorization doesn’t carry though to the iPod leading to something of a disconnect.

And then there’s the interface. I like the gradiant gray, it’s a nice change from the brushed aluminum (which was getting rather tired-looking). But as others have noticed, this constant change in interface gets confusing after awhile. Pick a style, and stick with it. At least, for awhile. Change is good, but can’t we keep our apps looking somewhat consistent at any given point in time?

My biggest gripe about iTunes 5 (and all previous versions of iTunes, frankly): I keep longing for the ability to create playlists on a local machine using songs that are sitting on a server. I’m not asking to COPY the files, but just to use pointers to the server versions in playlists that I create on the computer I’m sitting at. In fact, I don’t WANT to copy music files from one machine to another! I don’t want to have five copies of the same song, or multiple libraries to have to manage and keep track of all around my house. That’s why I have a music server in the first place!

As it is, you can play songs that are resting in one library on another computer, and if that song is from the iTunes music store, the client computer must be authorized to play it. And you can also play music from playlists on the remote machine. But you can’t create a local playlist using remote music files. Why not? This makes no sense to me. Instead, one must create playlists by physically going to the remote machine (which, since it’s a server, could possibly be headless) or by using ssssllllloooooowwwww and not very reliable VNC. The last alternative is, as I mentioned above, actually copying files from the remote server to the client computer. But I don’t want to do that; it just creates library management headaches.

Apple, if you’re out there, please implement creating local playlists using remote files. I beg you!

Today Mommy took me to see the butterflies at Brookside Gardens. First, we met with a couple of other moms and their babies and had a picnic under a shady tree. That was a lot of fun. Then we went over to the butterfly exhibit where we went into this special room where there were lots of butterflies flying all over the place! It was really neat. After the butterflies, we walked through the rose garden with lots of pretty flowers.

A long hot summer, just about over…

This summer has sucked. It’s been so incredibly hot, and sticky, and blech the whole time that I haven’t wanted to go out with Sammy hardly at all. We’ve taken very few walks, and basically I’ve had a lot of cabin fever trying to keep him entertained all summer long.

Fortunately, we’ve actually had some brilliant weather in the past few weeks. In late August, I took Sam up to my mom’s house in NJ and we spent a gorgeous week pretty much in the swimming pool. And this weekend has been beautiful so far, too. I was able to take Sam out for walks last week, and today I had him in the stroller outside while I was doing a little gardening in front of our house.

Onto another topic…

If you saw PTI on Friday, then you saw the letter from the woman who pretty much thought that life (well, sports specifically, but life in general) should stop until all the chaos brought on by Hurricane Katrina has been addressed and all the people evacuated and so on and so forth. Well, I disagree. What has happened in New Orleans and the rest of the gulf coast is tragic, life in the rest of the country cannot come to a standstill because of it. After all, what can most of the rest of the country do? Contribute money. Okay, that really is needed, but that takes, what, 10 minutes? Then what? It’s not like every able-bodied man and woman can go down to help deliver supplies, rebuild houses or pluck people from rooftops. There are volunteers and uniformed personnel doing so, but there is not the capacity in that region for millions upon millions of volunteers.

True, life will never be the same for the hundreds of thousands of people in the affected areas. But the fabric of our society, from commerce to culture to, yes, even athletics, cannot simply stop and mourn. There is no enemy to rally against as was the case in 2001. The engines of our economy must continue to run if we are to help those in need in the South.

The exception to this would be the athletics (and other aspects of life) in the states that have been affected, such as at LSU and Ole Miss. After all, the student bodies at those schools have more to worry about than their football teams (or even their academics). But in places where the connections to the hurricane are a little more tenuous, life should continue on as before, but keeping the residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in our minds and hearts.