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Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management. Photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and nature who is exploring the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found.
Author and Blogger. They are not the same thing. Sports occasionally spoken here, especially hockey. Veteran of Sun, Apple, Palm, HP and now Infoblox, plus some you've never heard of. They didn't kill me, they made me better.
Person with opinions, and not afraid to share them. Debate team in high school and college; bet that's a surprise.
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Monthly Archives: December 2007
Chuqui 3.0: All I want for Christmas is Aperture 2.0…:
Though it would seem I would likely disagree with you on the amount and kind of “adjustments” one can make to photographs and still call them “real,” I do agree that Aperture needs to do more.
Erik opens up a can of worms with his comment on my blog…. I tend to agree with him in that a photo really should represent what was seen and captured — not necessarily absolute photo-realism, but in the neighborhood.
But I spent some time last week reading through Scott Kelby’s Scott Kelby’s 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3, and I found some of the things he was doing in the samples fascinating (and adapted them, via aperture, for that hawk photo a bit).
It made me think. We’re already doing things to “improve” (really save) marginal photos in our workflow that go far beyond anything we could do in a wet darkroom. Many of the images we’re using today would be klinkers in the “good old days”. So where do you draw the line? I don’t honestly know. Or necessarily care. I’m not like some photographers who clone inconvenient branches out from in front of a bird’s face — to me, that’s a bit much (but again, it depends on circumstance; if that’s what I’d need to do to sell an image, I’d do it….). With HDR such a growing force, we can’t even say “well, it was in the camera, we’re just figuring out how to make it show up”, either — we’re now stitching multiple images and exposures together.
The whole photographic world is in transition and sticking to the old values clearly isn’t the right answer. We don’t know yet where the new standards will draw the line. I see this as a great opportunity to instead help figure it out and set those standards. And as I’m figuring this out I’m realizing that the technology is really transforming all of this in ways we need to understand.
but think about this — my standard rig, a D30 with 100-400IS and various toys, when you include the 1.6 sensor magnification — that’s a rig that would make a professional nature photographer cry in the 70′s and early 80′s. today, it’s prosumer gear. There’s a lot more going on here than “just” using layers to improve the blur of the bokeh on a nature shot… Realizing that keeps some of the post processing magic more in perspective for me.
Still, I managed to tally four life birds, a benefit of having spent little time in coastal California. These included two parids—Oak [=Plain] Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus) and Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)—seen in the neighborhood while walking the dog, a pair a California Towhees (Pipilo crissalis) that awaited us on the front porch when we returned from Sunday brunch, and a Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) foraging for food on the sidewalk at the Oakland International Airport. I guess the moral of this story is, always keep your eyes open and your binoculars handy.
This one caught my eye, because it’s a great reminder (not just in birdwatching) that “common” and “rare” and “new” are all in the eyes of the beholder. Here in the bay area, birds like Bushtit and California Towhees are basically ignored by birders because they’re so common, and even the Titmouse wouldn’t cause a birder to get up off of a bench.
Yet here they are, special to someone else. Wonderful.
Reminds me of one of my favorite birding trips this year… I was during a time when I was trying to figure out just how serious I wanted to be about birding and in what ways (that’s another posting, for one of these days), and feeling a bit down and overwhelmed and still pretty damn sucky at ID (now, months later, I”m finally starting to not only feel comfortable with what I’m doing, but understanding where my limitations are and what NOT to try…. Like freaking third cycle moulting to adult hybrid gulls….)
So I was out at shoreline and heading out to look for things to photograph, when a couple of women who were also arriving to bird said hello. It turns out they were from out of state for a short visit and checking out the area — from Washington, where one was a senior birder.
Since they didn’t know the area, I offered to tour guide, and we wandered about for about 90 minutes, showing them some of the places where I know the birds tend to be. Not only was it a lot of fun spending the time — here I was with an experienced birder helping them figure out the locals and find some of the unusual birds — best was a Sora down in the reeds — but even birds like Snowy Egrets and Cinnamon teals made their day, not to mention spending a chunk of time with the shorebirds and making sure they saw the black skimmers.
And it really kind of put the whole thing into perspective for me, and helped me realize there are ways to contribute even while you’re learning — as well as understanding that you never stop learning, either. but mostly it reminded me more that it’s about enjoying what you do and taking on the challenge of being good at it, not who knows the most birds and how long your list is.
Hell, I still don’t know how long my life list is. It’s something I should really compile, but it just hasn’t been a priority… Early on, I didn’t by design because I wanted to avoid the competitiveness of chasing a life list; today, I’m still not all that interested in chasing rarities for the sake of ticking a checkbox, but I’m curious about what I’ve seen and what I haven’t, and it’s really gone beyond keeping a mental list in my head for the most part. So, one of these days…
(speaking of, this pretty much sums up my view of things…)
Mike’s Birding & Digiscoping Blog: Closing 2007:
I’ll probably never have an annual list of 300 or more and that’s alright. There are Wisconsin birders who meet or exceed this tally every year and I think I might understand what motivates them, but I don’t know if it’s the love of birds, science of ornithology, addiction, compulsion, the chase or some combination thereof. Speaking only for myself, when I did a Wisconsin Big Year in 2004, it was sort of like a crazed obsession. After awhile, whenever a rarity was posted to the Wisconsin Birding Network, I would experience a kind of unease and obligation toward my list. If I didn’t chase the most recently reported rare bird, I would have to make it up somewhere else along the line in order to keep “300″ as a realistic possibility before year end. It created a kind of anxiety toward achieving that goal.
I began to reduce the “chase factor” in 2005 and my birding endeavors are now much more relaxed, focusing on quality experiences rather than quantity. When I didn’t chase the Green-breasted Mango in Beloit and felt no guilt, I knew I was cured! This present birding pace is a comfortable one that keeps the gasoline budget more reasonable and opens up a lot more time for doing other things I’ve lapsed with; things like bicycling and reading. Birding locally and recording observations into eBird is how I plan to continue with this rewarding hobby.
I never did go after the Booby that’s been living on the salt ponds this fall, or the Indigo Buntings in the hills this spring. To be honest, I’m more curious about understanding the birds and their environments and how these change over the year — and the excuse it gives me to get outside, away from computers and even (horrors) a bit of exercise. That’s going to be a much bigger aspect of things in the new year, knees willing…
globeandmail.com: Globe on Hockey – Shoalts: NHL’s version of jumping the shark:
All right, this outdoor game nonsense has to stop. Now they’re talking about putting one of these abominations in a domed stadium next year.
When reports first surfaced that the college boys planned a game between Michigan and Michigan State next December at Ford Field, with the Detroit Red Wings and possibly the Toronto Maple Leafs making it an NCAA-NHL doubleheader, I didn’t think much of it. The Red Wings said talks were “extremely preliminary,” while the Leafs said no one had called them.
Then I ran into Leafs general manager John Ferguson last night. The Leafs still haven’t been asked but it was clear that if the Wings come calling, they will get a receptive audience. Figures, since Ferguson was a college player at Providence.
If this comes off, it will be the NHL’s version of jumping the shark, even if a new record for attendance at a game is set.
Okay….. So, it doesn’t matter that it’s popular. Or that’s it’s REALLY popular. Or even “setting records” popular.
David Shoalts doesn’t like it, so it sucks. Evidently the only opinion that matters here is his.
God help us that the NHL does something that people like, and creates an event that spurs interest in the league. It might actually get media attention — and that might draw new fans. And that would suck, because then what would people have to complain about Bettman over? (answer: bettman can’t win; they bitch at him for not doing enough to grow the sport and expand it’s market and exposure, and then they bitch at him when the league does things like this and the trips to Europe where they actually seem to be creating interest and doing things that seem to be growing the sport and expanding its markets. In one case, he’s being ripped for not being innovative — and when he’s innovative, he’s ripped for what he’s doing not being traditional. Go figure.
Personally — I’d love to go to one of these thing, for the same reason I went to a Grey Cup (yes, I’m an american. so?), went to the All Star Game in San Jose, and want to get to a Brier — they’re great events. Shoalts is being way too pissy here, frankly. It’s good for the game, and it’s fun, and it’s something that generates interest. Stop thinking so hard and just let people enjoy it, for goodness sake. When it stops being fun, people will stop going, and the league will stop doing it. horrors that the league has figured out how to get 70,000 people to go to a damn hockey game. How terrible.
Say the NHL wanted to grant four expansion franchises around North America, and gave YOU the power to put a team in any city in which a team could feasibly be profitable. Where would you put these teams? Who deserves an NHL club?
Over at The Bleacher Report, writer Dhavel Patel picks four Canadian clubs out of his five selections, with Milwaukee, a city few regular NHL fans have ever considered, as a possible destination for an NHL club.
Ice Hockey is the biggest sport in this state and they do have the resources to support an NHL franchise, so why no NHL team. This is one of the strongest hockey states in the USA and Milwaukee is a metro area with close to 2 million people
The main reason for a lack of a team in Milwaukee is opposition from the Wirtz family in Chicago, because of Milwaukee’s proximity. It was under consideration during the expansion to 12 team era, but was blocked. Instead, they ended up with the IHL Admirals, which has had strong support over the years.
1. Las Vegas, Nevada – Our own Eric McErlain has been on the case, and it seems there has been some interest from movie mogul Jerry Bruckheimer in having a team in Sin City. Without a pro sports franchise in the city, you can bet that the NHL would get itself a lot of interest and pack the house with sports-hungry citizens.
Sure, there is lots of competition from other entertainment options, but how many of them are sports-related? Very few. The NHL may also claim that the whole gambling thing is a turn off, but we know the NHL would LOVE to have people bet on their games. (As long as they don’t *ahem* coach in the NHL)
One might hope, but the problem is that it isn’t about competing for sports entertainment dollars, it’s entertainment dollars. That’s the problem in any non-hockey-crazy city — where it’s not a way of life, it’s just one option for the budget, not THE option. The fact that there isn’t a major league in there now isn’t something I’d consider an advantage. Instead, it makes the market an unknown. That said, I’d certainly put one in there with the right ownership.
2. Hamilton, Ontario – Politics is the only reason preventing someone like Jim Balsillie from moving a team or expanding a team to this city. The Metro Toronto area could easily support another profitable NHL franchise, as there are a few million hockey-starved people who can’t ever get to Leafs games due to the cost and lack of ticket availability.
That, and media dollars. Putting a team in Hamilton might well add 18,000 butts in seats a night, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Problem one: one of the reasons canada is generating the revenue it does is because of the insane demand for tickets in Toronto, allowing them to charge very high prices for tickets — $44 to $405CDN per. In San Jose, it’s $19 to $150US. So, add a team in Hamilton. It sucks up some of that excess demand. Toronto ends up having to lower prices (or freeze prices for a few years). So yeah, you can go from selling 18,000 seats to 36,000 in the region, but you’re not going to get the same average ticket price when you do. Hamilton makes money — and it’s not all NEW money to the league, some of it is sucked out of the Leafs.
Problem two: media. The two cities share media. Adding Hamilton to the mix up there won’t create new markets for television or radio; it’ll spread the existing audience out across more games and more ads, meaning it’ll be harder to justify prices for the ads that get sold. End result: advertising revenue stays about the same, maybe even drops some (similar to average ticket prices) because of saturation and reduced demand. Hamilton makes money — and most if it comes out of Toronto’s revenue stream, it isn’t created as an addition.
Bottom line: adding a team to Hamilton would be GREAT for the Ontario fans — but it’s rather a mixed economic blessing for the league, and it’d be a real kick in the shorts for Toronto. Now, I know most folks wouldn’t mind kicking the Leafs owners in the shorts over this; but the league and the Leafs have other ideas — and honestly, adding a team there doesn’t make the league stronger or better off financially or anyone richer. Except the Hamilton owners; nobody else really benefits financially.
Instead, the NHL really needs to put a Canadian franchise back in Winnipeg if it can, and consider Halifax. Quebec City MIGHT be a viable third option, but it ain’t gonna happen. Neither is Hamilton, no matter how much Ontario (and the Ontario media that drives much of the whining about this) wants to consider it.
3. Houston, Texas – I know, I know, you traditional fans think little of having another NHL team in the southern USA, but Texas has shown itself to be a good market for hockey (especially at the lower minor league level) and Houston is full of rich yuppie types who have money to burn.
I find it interesting that you rule out Kansas City without studying the market, and then rule in Houston in the same way… DALLAS has proven itself a good market (although it’s starting a down cycle.. the bones are good there); I’m a lot more hesitant about sharing that joy with all of Texas — and minor league support doesn’t necessarily translate to NHL support. the price points are different. Kansas City is actually a better market, IMHO. Dallas is on my short list also, but whatever folks think might be bad about Kansas City goes for Dallas, too.
4. Seattle, Washington – Very few of you have ever thought of this city as an NHL destination, but there are a few reasons why I’d think Seattle would be a good market.
I have. Been there. Seen hockey there. The Key Arena is a pit.
no building. Key Arena is a lousy hockey building — it’s the same footprint used in the old Phoenix building (remember the early Roadrunner years?), the Oakland Coliseum (pre-upgrade) and Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas. It’s simply unacceptable for hockey, and besides, the upgrade the Sonics forced on it (with lots and lots of city money) about a decade ago ruined the building, which is why the Sonics are now demanding even more city money to replace it.
Lots of competition: Mariners, Seahawks. Expect the Sonics to figure out a way to stay. Adn Seattle is a community that does things, not watch things.
But the bottom line is — no building. No way the city is going to pay for one. There are some talks about buildings in other places (Bellevue), especially if Paul Allen gets involved, but since Allen got control of the Rose Garden back in Portland, that seems to have quieted down. There’s still some thought he might buy the Sonics and build a building in Bellevue, and then sell the Blazers and the Rose Garden. Doubt it. But there’s no place to play here, no way one’s going to get built, and buying a team AND building a building is economic suicide, so Seattle won’t happen.
So, Seattle, Hamilton, Los Vegas, and Houston would be my choices. I believe all four cities would get good support, attendance, and make a good profit for the league and team owners. Sorry, Kansas, but you are an overexposed market and would not be a good place to have an NHL club.
Well, first of all, if the league expands beyond 32 teams, it’s insane. Especially with the transfer agreements crumbling, you not only have to worry about dilution of talent, you have to worry about loss of talent we’re currently getting from Europe, much as we’re seeing defections to the Russian Super League and increasing trouble getting Russians over here. Double-banger on the quality of hockey if the league expands and doesn’t solve the transfer problems. Even then, 34 or 36 teams (34 teams is tough to build a rational schedule around!) dilutes talent more than I like.
But if the league does expand two teams, then Hamilton and Kansas City or Vegas would be the two. If they expand four, I hope they’d go to whichever of those two wasn’t chosen, and Halifax. Houston would be the next choice.
But before they expand, they need to solidify what they have. Can the league really support two teams in Florida? Atlanta? Columbus? Two teams in LA? Nahsville? I exppect the Predators have three years and then they’re off to Kansas City, given who’s gotten involved in the ownership there. If they succeed, even better — they have a legitimate shot. But I’m doubtful.
Moving the Kings to Vegas might not be a bad idea, in all honesty. Rather than grow more teams, take the teams that are struggling and get them into stronger markets. I’m just not ready for expansion yet. Of course, every time the “E” word comes up the league denies it; so far, it’s the media speculating about it and then bitching about it as if the league’s already decided…
Sometimes, you honestly wonder what’s going through a player’s brain when you see things like this.
Ultimately Jarkko Ruutu, the second-most annoying man in hockey, wasn’t hurt, but imagine the potential consequences of something like this? That alone is why we may not see Chris Simon playing all that much going forward,
Short answer: the player’s brain is basically offline when things like this happen. If you’ve ever been in a berserker rage, or around someone who is, it’s obvious that thinking is the last thing on their minds.
I’ve been one of the few who thought Simon got somewhat of a raw deal on his last suspension — it was clear he was concussed by the hit, and yet his retaliation was severely punished but the hit that caused his injury wasn’t. In this case, though, there’s no real middle ground to cut him any slack. It was pre-mediated, it was not during play, it was against a completely unaware and vulnerable player, and it was completely unnecessary.
I expect it’s going to push just about every one of Colin Campbell’s buttons — and it should. This goes up in a class of unacceptable behavior along with Bertuzzi (on Moore), Marty McSorley (on Brashear), Wayne Maki (on Ted Green) and Bobby Clarke (purposefully breaking that Russian’s ankle).
Also given Simon’s history as a repeat offender — almost completely deserved — I can’t seen Campbell showing much sympathy.
If you ask me — Simon is suspended for the rest of the season, and doing so would effectively end his career. Like McSorley, he’s close to the end as it is. An action like this should practically speaking usher him out the door.
Too bad, too. Chris Simon was always a player I respected (mostly) — he made the most of limited talent and turned himself not into a “real” hockey player, not just a bully. He also (not a small thing) made himself a role model of sorts for the First Nations people.
Unfortunately, where other, similar players (George Laraques and Donald Brashear come to mind) took this same path and made the transition to “real” hockey player by leveraging their aggression and working on their skills AND controlling their temper, Simon never quite had the temper under control, and ultimately going to push him out of this league early and leave him with a tainted legacy.
Jordin Tootoo should be paying close attention here, because he’s walking the same path as these players, and he shows signs of choosing to follow Simon down the path he followed.
I feel bad for Simon in a way, because he really could have closed his career and left people thinking well of him. Instead, I expect Campbell to throw the book at him (he should, and I hope he will), and so Simon will be remembered more for his mistakes than his play.
And that’s only Simon’s fault. Sigh.
Colin, send him home. This is the kind of action that the league needs to send a message over.
Update: 30 games. I guess I can live with that. I still would have preferred to see him go away for the season and have to ask for reinstatement, not just to make the point this can’t be allowed, but because he HAS a long record of problems.
And one report I read today (CBC, I think) noted he was entering the alcohol and substance abuse program. Sad, but not surprising. For now, I”ll leave it as hoping that Chris can figure this out and solve it — and if that allows him to play hockey again some day, even better, but now, it’s time for him to focus on himself.
Chris Simon was slapped with the longest suspension for an on-ice in NHL history Wednesday and will lose close to US$300,000 in wages.
And it could have been worse. An eighth career NHL suspension suggests that Simon may not have learned his lesson but the league decided that 30 games was sufficient.
“(NHL executive) Mike Murphy and I were talking about that fact – has he given up his right or his privilege to play in the National Hockey League?” league disciplinarian Colin Campbell said Wednesday.
But in the end, after much thought and deliberation, Campbell felt he had the right number, especially combined with the counselling Simon will seek out.
Update 2: just to make sure this is in the same place as my comment above….
On the Islanders Beat:
Asked about Simon’s agreement with Islanders owner Charles Wang to seek counseling in an effort to understand what made him snap for the second time in nine months after hitting the Rangers’ Ryan Hollweg with his stick in March, Campbell was recorded saying he hoped it would help Simon to meet with “the drug and alcohol, uh, uh, those doctors.” NHL spokesman Frank Brown quickly clarified that the doctors who deal with substance abuse under the NHL/NHLPA agreement also handle behavioral issues.
But the “stereotyping” horse was out of the barn.
So we shouldn’t assume that the problem is substance oriented. But of course, I did, and here’s the clarification
The tree is up and decorated, there’s only one dead string of lights on it now (artificial, a few years old, came pre-lit — and when we take it down, we’ll strip the lights and put new ones on next year….). Much to my amusement, I have finished my christmas shopping — everything will be in-house by Wednesday, everything that’s already here is wrapped and under the tree, and I’m not going to be in a panic this week.
I’ve also finished my shopping for the trip; going to Yosemite in December in a light “Bay area” jacket seemed insane, so I now own a proper winter coat, and added some clothing to replace a few pieces I decided needed retiring.
And I finished the tech review of Shelley’s book.
So I can finally relax a bit and enjoy the holiday; I still have stuff at work to do, but it’s in good shape right now (all the critical paths are elsewhere, temporarily), but I can finally start thinking about writing more and doing things on my list that are for me and less on finishing out committments to others (first stop: some revisions to www.siliconvalleybirder.org).
And I think the first thing I’m going to do now that I’m off of everyone’s critical path for now is — well, sleep. Blogging can wait.
But I did have to gloat about the christmas shopping a bit. I know a number of you out there are grinding your teeth right about now, freaking about getting it all done. We all take out quiet pleasures where we can get them.
I did give myself a little gift today. I was actually looking to see if iTunes had a copy of Christmas Story available for download (unfortunately, no; it’s a bit of a tradition here with myself and Laurie) — but I found that one of my favorite bad films of all time was there: Vincent Price in Theater of Blood. I’m definitely looking forward to wasting a couple of hours enjoying it.
It is in a way the ultimate Vincent Price — he plays a Shakespearean Actor (named Edward Lionheart — doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know about this film?) with a much higher self-view than the audiences and critics have of him. When he’s passed over for an award he’s convinced himself he deserves to wins, he goes a bit bonkers and throws himself off a building to his death.
Or — well, suddenly, the members of the critics guild start dying in weird and grisly ways, each one a variation of a classic death in a Shakespeare play. How — coincidental.
Price does his best at acting bad Shakespeare well. it’s easy to be a bad actor — it’s surprisingly tough to do a good job of acting badly, but here, he pulls it off.
Also found in this movie, when she’s not trying to find and burn the negatives, is Emma Peel. Oh, sorry, actress Diana Rigg as Price’s daughter. I think I just dated myself; guys of my age will get it. the rest of you will be hopelessly confused…
I think it’s hard to enjoy Shakespeare without learning to love Bad Shakespeare. Sometimes Bad Shakespeare is the best there is, in fact. And this movie tops the list of Bad Shakespeare done well
Olivier? well, not exactly. But such a fun way to waste a rainy evening…
Oh and if you like this sort of stuff, anotehr to check out is Vincent Price trying to sing his way through Ruddigore. It’s not on iTunes, but it is on Netflix. it was done by D’Oyly Carte, a group that actually does Gilbert and Sullivan well — but for some reason decided it needed to bring in some name stars for a series of productions for PBS back in the 80′s. Price in Ruddigore is fun, and not all that terrible, but god — William Conrad in Mikado? Also on Netflix, and priceless. Although as long as I’m pushing weird Gilbert and Sullivan (yes, in case you weren’t already convinced, I am a twisted and sick soul…), please, please check out Eric Idle’s 1987 version, set in the 1930′s on the British seaside in a resort. I swear to god, I kept waiting for Captain Spaulding to arrive for his song and dance…
Don’t count Apple TV out. While I decided not to get one, in favour of getting a Mac mini and putting together a custom system, for a lot of people it’s a perfectly good option.
I was thinking about this a bit more today, and Ian nailed a point I didn’t make, but wish I had.
One reason for the perception of the “failure” (or whatever) of the Apple TV is that there isn’t a lot of talk about it on the blogosphere. To some, that therefore means it’s not succeeding.
In fact, it’s a classic example of the echo chamber in action; the Apple TV is a consumer device, and the geeks go off and build their own alternatives; if you listen to them, those are the real successes.
Except, of course, the Apple TV is selling a lot of these, just that these units are going to people who simply plug them in and use them. Not geeks. Therefore, it falls outside the view of the echo chamber we all live in here.
That’s very different from the iPhone, where in reality, there IS no geek alternative, and the geeks are therefore screaming for the ability to geek the phone. Apple TV doesn’t have that noisy demand, because all of the folks who might have done that bought Mac Mini’s and built their own.
Me, I’m one of those that was blown away by the idea of the Apple TV, and then didn’t buy one (in large part because I left Apple in the meantime and got busy doing other things for a while); I still say it’s very likely I’ll own one within the next year. To me, the gating item right now is whether I’ll be able to replace Netflix with it. For me, that gating factor is how deep the backlist in the upcoming iTunes rental store is; contemporary movies are actually a small percentage of our NetFlix queue (we’re much more likely to have something like Have Gun Will Travel than, say, Knocked Up). If I were only doing current hits, I’d probably use DirecTV Pay Per view instead of paying a monthly fee — and my perfect world would be to be able to have the NetFlix back list AND a per-title rental fee instead of a monthly fee. Not sure even Apple can make something like that financially viable, but I can hope…
The trick, then, is to change the philosophy, and that’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Instead of another reinterpretation of the rulebook, it is now incumbent on the NHL’s stewards to look beyond their narrow self-interests and embrace a new model for the game.
Owners have to hire GMs who favour an attacking style of hockey. GMs have to hire coaches who’ll play that game. Organizations then have to commit to this new brand.
It’s easier, of course, to get a good goalie and stack five guys up in front of him. But look at the bright side.
I agree in theory, but it’s easier said than done. The league doesn’t reward style or entertainment. It rewards goals. So we can talk all we want about hiring GM’s and coaches that play attacking hockey — teams will continue to hire coaches and GMs that win, because winning is what this game is ultimately about. And soemtimes you can build a team that wins in an attacking style, and smetimes you stack your defenders like cordwood around the crease and dare someone to 9-iron a puck over the goalie’s shoulder like a mini-golf course….
There’s no visible economic incentive to play entertaining but losing hockey, so teams won’t hire guys who do that.
Which, ultimately, goes back to the old “change the rulebook” thing. You want to encourage an entertaining/attacking style of hockey, the rules of the game need to be structured so that this kind of hockey can win games. Then teams will adopt it.
Otherwise, this discussion has no more relevance in the real world than the “players must respect each other” lectures. They must — but until the rules are structured so that players who don’t are penalized and that penalizes their teams, it’s all talk.
(hat tip: Kukla)
I find myself flip-flopping on the whole Ron Wilson debate
If you look at their record, you’d think, “Hey, that’s not bad.” And if you look at Evgeni Nabokov’s play, it’s been the one consistent standout all season. And the defense? Well, we all thought it’d be a huge problem, but the team is paying attention to details for the most part, and players like Douglas Murray and Christian Ehrhoff are actually stepping up while Sandis Ozolinsh has been a nice surprise.
Ok, so now what? Ron Wilson points out that if he didn’t have the ear of the team, they’d be terrible defensively, and he’s probably got a point there. But is it possible for the offense to just be filled with bad luck from top to bottom, minus Joe Thornton?
For those people that say that Patrick Marleau’s done and should be jettisoned in whatever manner possible, those folks haven’t been watching the past few weeks. For whatever reason, Marleau’s shown a marked difference from mid-November on; he’s using his speed a lot more — and a lot smarter — and he’s generating his share of scoring chances. Now, for whatever reason, they’re just not going in. The same can’t be said for Jonathan Cheechoo, who can’t seem to get a shot off to save his life, though logically, if you think about coming off a double-sports hernia surgey (essentially ripping apart both your groins), it makes sense that his timing, speed, and strength are all off.
So, you have the best defensive team in the league and a bunch of underachieving superstars who are lucky to put up two or three goals per night. Are things really that bad? There’s a fine line between winning and losing, and if you can trust your defense and goaltending, most of the time, you’ll wind up on the better side of that. And if the offense wakes up, then you should be dominant in the league.
Ron Wilson — yay.
He’s not the problem. the problem? this is still a really young team. huge amounts of talent, but it’s still growing up.
I put in my two cents worth the other day; I still stick with it:
Two for Elbowing: On not writing enough….:
Marleau, who simply seems distracted at home (he’s a new dad, and either he’s not getting enough sleep, or he’s a little too “into being daddy” — either way, as he adjusts, I expect this’ll work itself out, and people who want him traded or removed as Captain should just sit back and be a bit patient. not that they will…)
Carle, who simply seems lost out there many nights. Wilson tried switching him to the other side one game to make him think his game through a bit more, and THAT was an unmitigated disaster. I’m still really high on Carle, but he’s having a rough season. He’s still a kid, this stuff happens.
Cheechoo, who’s not healthy. Serious double hernia surgery offseason — it’s not fully healed yet. Even if it was, I wouldn’t blame him for not being fully confident about it being healed. he doesn’t have the jump, he’s not using his upper body as much as he needs to, and the reality is, we need to understand that these kind of injuries take more time than just the time needed for the incisions to seal and the sutures to dissolve. He’ll be fine, you just can’t hurry these things (without risking more injury).
A coach that’s lost the team has a team that doesn’t care and doesn’t try. This team’s different — it’s playing really well on the road, and losing focus at home.
Let’s step back from JUST the home record for a second. The Sharks are third-best team in the west at 1.21 points per game (that makes them one of the five best teams in the league — Detroit at 1.5, St. Louis as 1.27, and a tie for third at 1.21 with San Jose, Vancouver, and the Devils). Right there, that should end the debate. This isn’t just a “sitting around .500 team”, this is STILL an elite team. It’s just not dominating every night, and it hasn’t put its game fully together at home.
The team is 6-2-2 in the last 10, 11-3-3 on the road, and “only” 4-6-2 at home. It’s in first place in the pacific, for god’s sake, at 34 points (tied with Dallas, but Dallas has played 2 more games).
This starts sounding a lot like “if you don’t go 82-0, you suck” zone. It’s not even a case of “if they can just hang on until they get it together”; this team’s doing really well — for a team that isn’t playing nearly to capability.
And yes, that’s true. this team could be a lot better. At some point, it will be, too. When do you want a team to struggle, in the first part of the season, or in March and April? If this team were digging itself a hole, I might feel differently. It’s not — it’s sitting at the top of the league; the grump is over it being a top-5 team instead of a top 2 or top 3 team. That’s just not a serious problem, folks.
The big problem seems to be this — the team isn’t focussed at home. Too many distractions — wives, girlfriends, babies, laundry, plumbers. The stuff that when you get away on the road melt away and let you focus. One aspect of growing into the game and being a veteran is you learn how to get through all of those distractions and focus at home, too. This team hasn’t quite done that yet.
That’s not Wilson’s fault. it’s simple maturity. This is, I believe, the 2nd youngest team in the league. Focus isn’t something a coach can teach, it’s something players learn for themselves. About all Ron Wilson could do — and maybe he should for a game or two — is have the team stay in a hotel in pleasanton the night before a game and stick guards on the floor to keep the girlfriends out, so the team can go through a road routine, including bussing them into the arena. It might actually get their attention…. although I’ll bet the wives wouldn’t be happy.
there are 20 teams in the NHL that would love to have the Sharks problems (and players) right now. think about it.
My photography, however, is another story and it rather scares the pants off me when I think about it too much. I have hundreds of gigabytes and tens of thousands of images on my hard drive, all of which represent precious memories and some of which are pretty good photographs in their own right. Pictures of my children’s births, their first birthdays, family holidays, great trips I’ve taken, places I’ve been and so on. Years of my life in visual form.
But all of that is locked into proprietary formats. All of it. Firstly, the RAW files are Canon CR2 files from an EOS 350D and a 30D. That’s the first thing that scares me. What happens when the 30D is a twenty-five-year-old camera? I’ll only be in my early 50s when that situation arises and hopefully still doing a lot of photography. What will the computers and operating systems look like in the year 2032? Is Apple really committing to build a RAW decoder for the 30D into every future version of Mac OS X, Mac OS XI and the new-for-2030 A.D. Mac OS XII? What if Apple ’starts over’ again with another OS once X has seen better days? Will they build RAW converters for prehistoric digital cameras?
So that’s just the RAW files themselves. I’m also locked into Aperture. I’m not locked in through metadata, but I am locked in through Aperture’s proprietary database of all the image adjustments I’ve made to each of my photos. This concern isn’t even one for the future. It’s one for right now. If I wanted to, how would I take all my RAW masters and move to Lightroom, preserving the edits I’ve made in Aperture and keeping all of those edits non-destructive? I simply don’t think this can be done today.
On the other hand, this just doesn’t bother me all that much — not nearly as much as data loss of the bits on disk does.
I’m not minimizing the issue, but I think people are looking at it the wrong way to a degree. There seems to be this thought that you should be able to move a post-processed image from one application to another, and on the other side, it’ll still be the same post-processed image. I frankly don’t think that’s a completely rational thing to expect even from one release of Aperture to another, much less from one app to another. There are so many variables here — including bugs and fixes to the Raw processor or the Aperture application itself — that even if you don’t change a thing, you might not get the same picture (heck, there are even going to be subtle changes in how jpegs get processed on export; it gets really ugly really fast if you let it get to you).
Now, this wasn’t necessarily very different in the wet-lab days — reproducibility of creating a print in a darkroom has similar problems. Depending on how particular you are, a favorite print could be seriously impacted by a change in the chemicals used for developing, or by a manufacturer discontinuing a favorite paper. At least in the digital world, you don’t need to worry about your original negative being the ONLY copy — backing up the RAW file means never having to say it’s missing. But everything from there down is up for grabs to some degree. But then, so was wet chemistry.
I”m not at all worried about losing access to the RAW files. I’m not particularly worried about losing Aperture (I am getting increasingly impatient waiting for Aperture 2.0, though, and I find myself thinking about how nice it’d be to have a workflow that has access to some of the REALLY NICE Photoshop filters (like some of the third party sharpening tools) without bouncing back and forth from Aperture to Photoshop. Gotta say if Aperture 2.0 doesn’t have capability to run Photoshop filters or a good plug-in interface to allow those developers to build for Aperture as well (and the evangelism to get them to DO IT), I’m going to have a tough call on my hands. But that’s a different discussion for a different time.
My view on this is that if I move my images from Aperture to some other processing environment, I am most likely going to want to reprocess them in the new workflow, not simply import what I did in Aperture and expect it to work right. My rationale for this is simple: I’m moving to this new environment. Heck, I expect to do that for whatever Apple’s “Raw processor 2.0″ or 1.2 or whatever it is when they update it. None of this is etched in stone, even within Aperture over time.
If this worries you, then you shouldn’t be thinking about moving the edits to a new environment. You should be thinking in terms of making sure that whatever future environment you have works with your “negative” (i.e., the RAW image), and if you want to guarantee an unchanged final image, you need to export it into an immutable format and not depend on Aperture or any other environment to not create changes down the road. To me, that means exporting the “final” image into uncompressed TIFF, and in all honesty, if/when I do move from Aperture to something else, I won’t do it by trying to preserve the Aperture edit metadata, I’ll do it by moving the RAW images into my new environment, and scripting an export of uncompressed TIFF of any processed image I want to guarantee to be preserved unchanged. That’s really the only way to do this — and then when I want to update an image, start from scratch in the new environment — and then save the final as uncompressed TIFF again.
I think the geek in us would love a world where everything interacts perfectly and you can move from application to application easily with reliability and no data loss; in the real world, that’s not going to happen. What can happen, though, is that you can guarantee easy access to the “negative” and the “final print”; the best way to do that isn’t by mucking with meta-data and Aperture internals, but by using standar formats we can feel comfortable will survive or be convertable from — and RAW formats qualify (when they go obsolete, there are enough images stored in them that there will be conversion tools when we need them), and TIFF files.
This is an important issue to think about; it’s not, however, an issue you should allow yourself to OVER think. the proper way to preserve your work here is to preserve the source and the result, not all of the pieces in the middle. Ultimately, they don’t matter — because if you decide you want to go in and rework an image, you’re going to rework it by starting over in the new (hopefully improved) environment. Those middle bits just don’t matter that much in that situation, so focus on making sure you keep copies of the result once you hit a form you consider “done”, and simply use the result until you think you can try again and do better….
Update: James Davidson chimes in, with a similar opinion to mine. And one of the best comments I’ve seen on the subject down in his comments: RAW is not an archival format. Very true.
So what is one to do if they perfectly tweak an image to their liking and want to keep it for posterity? At this point, the only sane thing to do is to bake—my pet term for export—a TIFF or PSD file, preferably in 16-bit format. This will ensure that you can keep your currently processed image no matter what happens in the future with your choice of tools. Of course, now you have another file to manage. And that becomes another problem.
Maybe DNG could help us out with this. It’s already possible to include multiple representations of RAW data in a DNG file. Maybe if the keepers of the DNG spec were to add an ability to include “snapshots” in TIFF or PSD format into a DNG, we could package our processed versions of a photograph together with its RAW data in such a way that could survive the test of time in one handy package. That way, even if you move from Lightroom to SuperDeluxRAWTool in the future, you can always access how your photos looked when you made your edits in late 2007.
This player has specific beefs: the fat layers of kneepads most NHL keepers are now using, and the thick flaps that stick out whenever they drop to their knees.
“It basically eliminates the five-hole,” he says. “There’s no reason they have to be that big.”
The novelty here is not the subject, it’s the person complaining.
He is Marty Turco. GOALIE.
Turco’s job is to keep pucks out. But he also cares deeply about the game, and believes the league needs more pucks going in. Unlike many keepers who shriek in terror at the thought of more equipment shrinkage, Turco is open to the idea…As long as it is in the right places. And for him, that means those darn kneepads and flaps.
“The problem is a lot of the guys wear a pad under their socks, and then another one over their socks. So when they go down, they are several inches higher. Then you have these flaps which are like putting a board in front of the five-hole.”
He told the NHL’s Competition Committee in the summer that all this extra knee “protection” was excessive. Nothing came of it.
Turco wears some of this padding himself, but keeps it much smaller so he can move around better. Just watch the highlights and compare the size of his stuff to, say, J.S Giguere, who still looks like a float in the Macy’s Parade.
This issue has been a continuing debate here between myself and Laurie (my resident retired goalie), after I broached the idea that maybe larger nets might not be a bad idea. I survived that discussion, but only barely. both of us agree in general, though, that the league has to take a close look at the equipment before even considering changing the net — if only because the goaltenders have shown a significant tendency toward adapting to changes, and I’m just not convinced at this point that a change to net size will have a significant AND LASTING effect on the game.
I do believe that if we can’t fix the balance between goalie and skater in the game any other way, though, that it has to be considered and experimented with.
One of the things I’ve been doing recently (thank you, NHL channel) is watching some of the classic games — Billy Smith, Bernie Parent, etc, with a specific look at how the game has changed in the last 30 years or so, and what that might mean to how we need to think about improving it today.
It is amazing just how different goaltending is today. I’m not criticizing goalies of earlier eras in any way here — but the position is just radically different than it was. Not just in terms of equipment, but in all aspects.
You can break those changes down into three key aspects:
The difference in player conditioning from 30 years ago is stunning, not just for goalies, but for all players. In our collection, we have a book published by Tommy Woodcock (see footnote 1) (then in St. Louis, later in San Jose), “Hockey from the Ice Up”, published in 1973. It was in its way a look at state of the art in player conditioning — and discussed not allowing players water on the bench or between periods. Instead, if they really need something, consider oranqe quarters. Goalie conditioning was at about the same level as player conditioning — good for its day, but lightyears behind what players today do. Goalies today are faster, stronger, taller, heavier and more flexible and mobile than their peers 30 years ago.
Goalie gear and technique go hand in hand (or glove in blocker); watch games from 30 years ago, and what do you see? Goalies that stand up instead of butterfly — but even more critical to me, goalies that are trying to block shots with their pads, not their bodies (and goalie masks were still in their infancy, the thought a goalie might actually use his head voluntarily would be insane. Today, insane goalies DO that. If you watch these classic games — and we’re talking about Cup Final series games here, supposedly the best of the best of the time — you don’t see goalies getting in front of a shot, you see goalies trying to get the shot on a blocker or a leg pad. the chest as a barrier just doesn’t seem to be a primary technique. What that means is that even ignoring equipment size and player size the “holes” were much larger, because goalies were primarily stopping pucks with their arms and legs, not their entire body.
The pads of 30 years ago were much heavier than today’s gear — 35 pounds or more, while at the same time smaller. Pads of those days also sucked up moisture, so it wouldn’t be at all unusual for them to weigh 10 pounds heavier at game end than game start. Those issues alone make a goalie of 30 years ago less mobile than one today; you try stopping a shot with a 6 or 7 pound blocker instead of a 3 pounder, especially after 50 minutes of play…
Wind the clock forward to today, what do you have? Well, goalies have adopted the butterfly, or a modified butterfly, in huge numbers. Goalies now have coaches (an innovation of the last ten years), and coaches have video; 30 years ago, when a goalie’s game went sideways, either he figured it out himself, or if he was lucky, the spare goalie or some coach might have some suggestions. Today, every shot, every rebound, every interaction is caught on video in numerous angles, and evaluated endlessly between games.
Throw in the improved gear — especially chest gear where a player can now take a Iafrate slap shot to the sternum and barely feel it — adn suddenly a player isn’t trying to get past a goalie’s leg pads, you have a goalie where the entire body’s become a wall of steel. (digression: the day I realized we had to fix goalie gear is easy for me to remember: I was listening to Bryan Hayward on XM being interviewed, and he was talking about a conversation he had with a current goalie about gear, and the goalie said “you can’t reduce the gear, I might get a bruise!”; we’ve come a LONG way from Jaques Plante and his half an inch of upholstery foam underneath his jersey, folks…).
So 30 years ago, a shot comes from the point, and Pete Peeters tries to kick it into the corner. He’s standing up, a good part of the goal is available for a well-placed shot, both along the ice and up high.
Today, J.S. Guiguiere drops to the ice and splays his legs out. His pads close out the five hole (when tony Esposito tried putting netting between his legs, the league slapped him. today, current pad technology makes that hack look — quaint. Patrick Roy was a master at building flaps into his gear that sat flat to meet league specs, but which magically stood out at attention in use to close off holes and turn him into a fortress; he was a hell of a goalie, but he was also a master of stretching the rules on gear…). Evgeny Nabokov and Marty Turco aren’t trying to stop a puck with their blocker, they stand square to the shooter and happily take it off the chest. They have coaches that get their positioning down to inches, and since they’re low to the ice, a shooter simply has NO place to put the puck, unless it’s a perfect shot and in the upper half of the net. There IS no hole for a low shot any more.
And, of course, goalies ARE bigger. So is their gear. And their gear is lighter, but beyond that, it’s not absorbent, so instead of 35 pounds of gear that’s 45 in the third period, it’s 20 pounds of gear that’s 20 pounds in the third. And the improved gear makes goalies fearless, even to the point of sometimes using their head to voluntarily stop pucks (which I still think is insane, but then, goalies are, right?)
And that’s given the goalies a huge advantage, and there’s really nothing a shooter can do today to even that out. If there’s no hole to shoot at, it doesn’t matter, and that’s where we’re headed in this game. The only way to score is by getting the goalie moving and forcing a hole open — the days of Mike Bossy or Bobby Orr picking a corner from the point are simply gone (and I haven’t even started with defensemen going whole hog into shot blocking — Craig Ludwig, what have you done? — it’s not a goalie you have to shoot through, it’s three, or four).
So, what to do? Larger nets is one option; frankly, I’m willing to consider it given how much more territory of the open net a goalie can cover today. but first, I want to see the league rethink goalie gear.
We aren’t going back to the days of goalies being the worst skater or smallest body on the team, team’s understand just how key goalies are to success now, you can’t legislate them to unlearn that. you can’t force goalies to not train, to not watch video, to not be coached, to not butterfly (even if you wanted to, which I don’t).
But you can make a decision that the pads are there to protect the goalie, and not to stop the puck; put the burden of stopping the puck BACK on the goalie and less on the goalie being something you hang these massive pads on.
The question is just how far and in what ways you can cut back the pads without risking injury (and while I tend to agree with Hayward on this “might get a bruise” thing, goalies shouldn’t have to worry about being hurt or injured — but not feeling the puck at all? it’s gone a bit too far, IMHO).
Obvious options: leg pads slimmed down to protect the leg, not turn the lower half of the net into a fortress. Get rid of any kind of hack that fills holes. I’d consider — seriously — making leg pads have a shape that matches the leg, rather than flat, so that the goalie has more trouble directing a rebound. A few weird bounces might make the game more fun (except for the goalie), and pads with a curved profile would do that.
Cut back the blocker in the same way. Cut back the glove to a size similar to what goalies wore 30 years ago, instead of today’s bushel baskets. Make sure that the shoulder pads only protect the shoulders (no Garth Snow lacrosse specials), and the same for all pads.
the idea is to try to create SOME of those holes that existed 30 years ago, put more of the onus of stopping the puck on the skill of the goalie, and not just the goalie’s ability to stand in front of the net and get hit by the puck. Give the shooter a CHANCE, which today, they basically don’t have. And do it without putting the goalie at risk — we have to remember, 30 years ago, we didn’t have a dozen guys shooting like Al Iafrate at chest or face height, either…
And if that happens, and doesn’t work, THEN make the nets bigger. I certainly don’t want to turn hockey into indoor soccer or arena football — but if the average game was about 4-3, I’d be happy (currently, we’re seeing 5.6 goals a game, I’d like to see that at 6.5-7. It’s not a huge change, actually, but it’d seem so because you’d have a few more multi-goal periods).
Unlike some, I don’t think this is a huge problem — not yet serious enough for a significant change like changing the size of the net, but now would be a good time to think hard about the purpose of a player’s gear — for both goalie and skater — and make a fundamental decision that the purpose of that gear is to protect the player, not (in the case of goalies) to turn into an inpenetrable wall, or (in the case of skaters) to be used as a weapon against other players, as hard-shelled elbow pads have become (in fact, if it were me, I’d outlaw hard-shell gear on players completely, except for shin pads and knee protection. but that’s a different post…)
(footnote 1: we actually found TWO copies of this book; one we got autographed by Tommy, which amused the hell out of him and the sharks in the locker room, because it got passed around before we got it back. The other we gave to Tommy, because it turned out he didn’t have a copy himself any more. We also found out that he played for New Haven for about 3 games in the 50′s, and found out we had a program with his name in it in the collection, so we gave that to him around the time he retired from the Sharks. But for some reason, he balked at autographing our copy of the book “I’ll always remember that night in Port Alberni….” — no idea why. But Woodcock, before he was a trainer, did some time in the minors, mostly in the old Eastern Hockey league. Great guy, too.)
Coincidentally, I have been battling spammers for over a month on another wiki I have, the Web 2.0 in the Enterprise wiki. In the interests of ensuring as much public and unfettered access as possible, this wiki required no registration for updating and spammers were hitting it with startling efficiency and replacing all of the content with links for fake Rolex watches.
Okay, we have 20 years of experience proving that any time you don’t put some kind of protection up on a writable computer, that the hackers and spammers will wander in and destroy it.
So why the hell are people still trying to set up public systems without any kind of authentication?
This isn’t just the same as going on vacation without locking the front door, this is going on vacation and taking the front door off the house before you leave. TV gone when you get back? Gee, what a surprise.
I thought we’d learned this lesson by now? Well, I guess not. Oh well.