Sports betting, Uncategorized 0 comments on College Football – Review Week 4

College Football – Review Week 4

First, you’re going to need to watch Saket’s review of week 4, and then watch my response embedded below:

Finally, my pick’em group shows that for last week I only got 7 out of 22 picks right last week. It was just… AWFUL! I think it was a function of the games being too unpredictable, but one thing I’ve noticed this year, which I spoke about in the video above, is that a lot of teams are much closer on any given Saturday than we have seen in years past. Outside of the Top 5 ,or as Saket said, the top 3, it’s really a crap shoot this year, and for a fan that’s just awesome! I wish every year were like this where any given Saturday is one you can’t miss.

I love college football.

Technology, Uncategorized 3 comments on Oh CSS… You drive me crazy

Oh CSS… You drive me crazy

I’ve been working on the content pages at work for the last few weeks, and it makes me wonder how people can work with CSS everyday without going bald (good thing I had already lost all of my hair). The inability to create a consistent user experience across web applications has got to be one of the largest dead weight losses in productivity and efficiency in the web industry. Not finding a solution for this, and a solution which is accepted industry wide, is just going to create a workplace for mediocre middle men whose sole purpose is to make sure that IE looks like Safari (or maybe I should say WebKit to include all WebKit based browsers) looks like FireFox. These people should not be in the industry because this problem should not exist in the industry.

(On a side note, this was a problem for Javascript, and the solution has been to build frameworks so that one isn’t working directly with the browser implementations themselves. I haven’t done the work to try and understand if there are CSS frameworks which mimic this, but please let me know if there are)

My specific problem was probably a bit of an extreme case. I often wonder when doing this work if there is a best practices to all of this, and if I’m just missing it. I’ve often made my way over to QuirksMode to see, but I’ve found that it’s often non-comital at best. But, back to the case at hand!

I was working on our new Platform page, and we were adding a call to action button (the Getting Started button that you see on the right hand side of the page). I have the image above it laid out in its own <div>, and I thought that I could put the call to action button underneath it, add appropriate padding, and the two columns which make up the content section of the page would be all lined up. Result…

Now that’s a surprise! I think the first thing that I needed to change was to set the image width and height explicitly instead of in the CSS selector. This helped things in IE, but ended up changing nothing for FireFox. Safari saw no difference. The irony of it all was that there’s no such thing as a FireFox specific stylesheet in our ecosystem.

I’m sure that if we were to do browser detection and build out a full HTML+CSS site, then we could do have a FireFox specific stylesheet for these nuances.

Nothing I tried using a two column layout worked. I finally ended up taking out the two buttons from the bottom of the content section, and creating a footer <div> which aligned the two buttons as we wanted. This was the cross-browser implementation that finally worked, but either my lack of knowledge or the quirks of an imperfect system really drove me batty on this one.

Technology, Uncategorized 2 comments on Fighting Java Ant… Setting params in a foreach loop

Fighting Java Ant… Setting params in a foreach loop

It’s really frustrating to me that doing something ever so slightly differently leads to such drastically different results when dealing with software. It’s true that software engineers (if you’re curious about the treatment of the word engineer, then just call me on TokBox me and I’ll explain) tend to be the harshest critics of software, and that it’s hard to impress someone who thinks that they know how to do it better. Every software engineer thinks that they know how to do it better.

With that disclaimer, I want to complain a bit about some behavior that I found in working with Ant.

I don’t know how to do Ant better than the creators of Ant have. It’s not my favorite tool, but if I had to use makefiles, then I would stop developing code. I don’t think whether I use hardtabs or softtabs should determine the validity of my code. That, however, is a different rant. However, I was very surprised to find that when using the <foreach> tag in an Ant script, that it doesn’t inherit the properties that have been set so far. Instead, you have to expressly define what properties to pass into the <foreach> tag. As an example:

target: buildinfo
<property name="" value="${current.time}"/>

target: getcssfiles
<foreach target="compile-css" param="the_file">
        <fileset dir="${localedir}">
            <include name="*.css"/>

The <foreach> loop doesn’t know that the property exists. Every other target does, but the <foreach> doesn’t. However, if I were to add:

<param name="" value="${}" />

into my <foreach> loop, then it not only knows the build number, but everything builds! The final code ends up looking like this:

<foreach target="compile-css" param="the_file">
    <param name="" value="${}" />

        <fileset dir="${localedir}">
            <include name="*.css"/>

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 4 comments on Memories… from King Tut

Memories… from King Tut

Today I went to the King Tut exhibit at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Just walking through the ten rooms that they set up really took me to another place and time. Clearly, the exhibit itself takes you back over 3000 years, and gives you that glimpse into a world that’s nothing like the one we live in today.

It left me with so many questions. What was it like to be poor in a world where the pharaohs, and I’m assuming the rich, had so much wealth? Was the middle class, if there was one, just enabling the wealthy? How does an economy react to as much wealth as was in Tut’s tomb being effectively destroyed when the pharaoh dies? Have we really advanced as much as we often claim in technology, art, culture?

(As an aside, having just written those questions down, it makes me realize that there are a lot of things that probably don’t change at all…)

On a personal level however, it took me back to elementary school. I was fascinated with Egyptology in third grade. I would actually skip recess to have a chance to go the library, and try to find one more book to read about that world which fascinated me so much. I don’t think I was as passionate about anything in my life to this day as I was about becoming an archaeologist when I was in elementary school.

Remembering that really has me questioning a lot of things all of a sudden. I know that I’m good at what I do today, and that makes me very happy.

However, should I have gone after that dream? Would I have been good at it? I’d still be in school, and I definitely would not have gone to NC State. I would not have met James or Matt who are my future co-founders in waiting. I’m not sure where I would have ended up, but I do know that it would have been doing something that I loved.

I ended up asking myself, and my brother the Philosophy major, do we need to fail many more times than we succeed to say that we’ve even tried.

I don’t know what the answer is today, but I’m going to work through it a bit in my head, and see if I can come back and answer the question. In the meantime, please feel free to share.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Making a wish

Making a wish

Tuesday night was Kadir Gecesi, and I asked my co-workers to join me in fasting that day. Kadir Gecesi was the one psuedo-religious/cultural event that we celebrated as children. One prayed that night, and whatever was wished for would be granted (or so the story goes according to my mom). I thought the fun idea of earning a wish for fasting was a good premise for sharing Ramadan with the team.

There are two things that I think one day of fasting teaches a person.

The first is that the body is truly a spectacular machine, and that we haven’t come even close to replicating what was created regardless of the technology we discover and innovate.

The second is that the individual is unbelievably capable of things that he always doubted about himself.

Is it tough to skip that afternoon coffee? Yes, but two of my friends did just that. What about not drinking all day?

The Big Deal himself texted me four or five times about not being able to drink, but on his first day at a new job, he pulled it off, and I bet he even looked good doing it.

And as the time ticked closer and closer to 7:18pm (sunset in San Francisco), the group collectively came together to support each other, and to fill those last minutes, which often seem to last for hours, with camaraderie and laughter.

And so, I realized that I didn’t need to wait for Kadir Gecesi to make my wish. If everyone were as lucky as I feel I have been to have people around me who love me this much, then the world would truly be a better place. It’s amazing what giving up on food and water for a day can teach a person about how full their life really is.

just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on Taking Responsibility

Taking Responsibility

The flip side of calling out those who can’t compete is taking responsibility when you fail your team, or you fail yourself. I feel like tonight I did both. We lost again, and I was a very selfish player. I didn’t move the ball well, and I didn’t play solid defense. When I had the ball at my feet, I did generally make good decisions, but I also generally failed to execute.

Now I’m trying to figure out what to do when I don’t trust half of the team to make good decisions. There are just people who don’t know how to play soccer, and the level at which we play is too high for someone who is a recreation level player. So what should I do? Is the right thing to do to not include them in the decisions that I make?

I won’t pass him the ball. I won’t trust him to get back on defense. I will play as if we’re a man down when he’s on the court.

That doesn’t seem fair to me, or to the team at large.

I’m trying to improve my level of play, and that includes making the other people around me better as well. It’s selfish to be any other way.

Acting as if that person doesn’t exist really hurts the team as well. We need to become a better unit. We need to move better, and maintain a shape that works on the indoor court. It needs to be a team effort, and a team responsibility.

All of that said, mainly out of frustration, I need to set goals for myself for the next match. First of all, I need to be a more positive force on the team. The important thing for me is to get back to the basics, and force myself to play 2-touches max, and focus on moving the ball, and my body position around the field. Finally, I think I need to just push the individual to work on improving one piece of his game. Work on defense first, and let’s get marking, body position, and general defensive techniques down. From there, we can really accomplish anything.

I failed myself, and my team today, and I’m not going to let it happen again.

Sports betting, Uncategorized 2 comments on A Quick Football Update

A Quick Football Update

First week of the college football season is about to come to a close as the Miami/FSU game is about to start. I had a horrible week of gambling, but a really great time just watching the games. I got my parent’s Slingbox going to watch some East Coast games, and then ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 going locally to watch the rest. Some interesting first observations:

  • Not a fan of the defenseless receiver rule in practice, though I love it in theory. No one wants a player to get hurt, I don’t care how much you hate the other team. But this kind of rule feels so subjective, and it feels as if some really big games are going to be spun on a defenseless hit penalty, and it just frustrates me that the refs have that control
  • The ACC is a lot worse than I thought. I think the top of the ACC is competitive, but after the top four teams, this weekend was really disappointing. At least there’s basketball season…
  • I think the Big 12 lost some of its luster this season with the Sam Bradford injury. That said, Oklahoma State is a bit better than I had anticipated, and I don’t think Texas will be challenged too much this season given their schedule, and a likely Bradford out for the year
  • The Pac 10 is still boring whether you live on the West coast or the East coast.

Finally, I just wanted to throw out my results for this week, and I will update on Wednesday night my picks for this upcoming week (including a play on the Ohio State/Southern Cal game).

Oregon (+4) at Boise State => LOST
Akron at Penn State (-27) => LOST
BYU (+22.5) vs. Oklahoma (neutral site) => WON
Navy at Ohio State (-22) => LOST
Record: 1-3-0

Sports Stories, Uncategorized 2 comments on Step on the field to play the game

Step on the field to play the game

I played a game with my indoor team “Where’s the Beer?” last night. I think we lost 19-1 or something along those lines. It wasn’t pretty. I’ve learned that the most important element in the match is coming out of the match with a degree of pride for the way that you’ve played. You can’t come out of a 19-1 loss and have pride in anything, and so I decided to put some time into what went wrong.

The league that I play in is a competitive co-ed league. I’m gonna go ahead and say that the key component to success in a co-ed league is the quality of the girls on the team. Generally the guys on each team tend to cancel each other out, and so the determining factor ends up being the ladies. So it would be really easy using this theorem to say that clearly our girls just let us down. It was 19-1 after all.

But, in this case, which seems to be the exception which proves the rule, the theorem is wrong.

I love the game of soccer. I love competition. I love how anonymous individuals can together form a group, call it a team, and work together towards a common goal. Soccer is about passion. You don’t have to be the best, but you have to love the game. You have to love the challenge of being one on one versus a defender and attacking the goal. You have to have the patience of a saint in allowing a possession to develop. You have to be selfless enough to make a run off the ball knowing that you’re expending energy with no chance of getting the ball, but hoping that a teammate recognizes the space and makes the appropriate run.

We failed to do that because our individuals didn’t understand the mechanics that make the game beautiful. They weren’t selfless; they weren’t patient; they weren’t passionate. People didn’t run, and then they didn’t sub. People didn’t play defense, and then looked surprised when they didn’t get a pass. The philosophy of the game was that we have more players than they do which means we should be able to outrun them. That isn’t soccer.

Next game we need to start with the basics. Start with defense first. Don’t move up the field unless there’s a reason to. Going up the field because the ball is there isn’t a reason. Understand your responsibility on the field. Know that everyone plays defense, and that playing defense first and holding the game close is more important than making a run, and losing shape or focus. Let’s start there. We’re going to lose the next game, I can almost guarantee it. But from there, we can start to learn how to not lose, and by the end of the season we should learn to win.

The end goal… step on the field to play the game.