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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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Yearly Archives: 2007
Dori says that she thinks the Amazon Kindle is a bomb, and she thinks that it will flop. Her argument is based mainly on its DRM. I think that it will succeed, become a big business segment for them, and will be the first of a new line. Neither of us has seen or touched one yet.
I straddle the middle line.
First, DRM only matters to the general consumer when it gets in the way of what they want to do. You’ll notice that the DRM on DVD discs or the iPod/iTunes simply doesn’t register with consumers as a problem, because the restrictions aren’t things that affect them in a day to day, practical way; the people bitching about DRM on those platforms tend to be the uber-geeks and the anti-DRM extremists who are off on the edge of the bell curve. 39 trillions songs downloaded from iTunes tells you what “real people” think about iTunes DRM, once you get outside the uber-geek echo chambers.
On the other hand, look at all of those places where DRM has been used to try to force consumers into behaviors they don’t like — like, oh, the old DIVX platform, or music subscription services that don’t let you put your music on MP3 players and carry it around, or when MLB changed its DRM vendor and tried to tell everyone with video under the old DRM “well, sorry. buy it again”. oops.
DRM on the Kindle? We’ll see. If it stays in the background and lets typical users do what they want? It won’t be an issue. My initial thought is that Amazon isn’t stupid, and they understand the consumer, and their DRM restrictions seem to be pretty well thought out for the most part. We’ll see what consumers think.
But does that mean the Kindle will succeed? I’m still unconvinced that people are all that interested in spending that kind of money to carry books around; it’s at best a niche market — me, personally, I have Google Reader on my phone, and while it’s nice owning a hundred books I can carry in my backpack, in practice, I’m only reading one at a time, and a paperback is even more convenient, and I can buy a lot of paperbacks for the cost of the Kindle.
So I don’t think this product is “it”. the streaming content and EVDO make it an interesting device, but I think it’ll fall into a few niches: early adopter geeks who love new gadgets, and people who need to carry a reference library around with them (think O’Reilly safari in a neat little package). that presumes those libraries and books become available for the Kindle, not a guarantee.
But I still think it’s going to miss the mark; it’s not going to convince people like me to replace carrying a paperback, I’m not convinced the online stuff is “enough better” — but I am convinced this kind of product will succeed at some point, and I think Kindle is the first ebook device in years to move this product design forwards towards the product that will ultimately succeed.
Kindle is, for me, the product that for the first time shows how this kind of product WILL succeed. Kindle isn’t, I think, the breakthrough product, though, just the first one that shows some potential on how to build something like this that will break through. They’ve done many things right, including aggressive pricing of books (but not quite down to paperback price) — but I just don’t think we’re ready for this, yet.
But we finally have a serious contender for a “good, commercial, practical” ebook reader. Congrats to Amazon for figuring it out — and frankly, I’m not suprised it was them, but notice it’s not coming from a “high tech” company? Because this is a product driven by consumers, not technology, for however much it depends on technology to be viable. Something high tech companies ought to be thinking about, because they need to get out of their echo chambers — if Apple didn’t prove that, this should.
But I expect Kindle to be at best a moderate success. But I also think that Kindle will be remembered as the product that led to the succcess of this market, where frankly, no previous ebook reader attempt came close. So at that level, it’s already succeeded.
The Washington Capitals have relieved Glen Hanlon of his coaching duties and named Bruce Boudreau the team’s interim head coach, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
Congrats to Boudreau! In the word of hockey trivia you didn’t know you didn’t know, Boudreau is another of the San Francisco Spiders alumni to actually have a career after working with the team. He was originally hired as an assistant coach under Jean “that’s now how we do it in the NHL” Perron. There was some kind of falling out early, and he was “re-assigned” into a role as a roving scout. What that entailed I was never sure of, other than it seemed to require that he never actually be in the same city as the team for the entire season.
Lucky him, he missed most of the fun watching the team implode…
Yes, the coach of the Spiders for its one year of existence was Jean Perron, former coach of the Montreal Canadiens, and as far as I can tell, the only coach of an NHL hockey team to win a Stanley Cup and get fired before the next season started. His favorite phrase around the Spiders offices seemed to be “that’s now how we do it in the NHL”; to which the general response was “Jean, you’re not in the freaking NHL, or hadn’t you noticed?”
Actually, it was mostly said behind his back. He was a bit…. touchy… to work around based on our discussions with everyone who were in the offices all of the time.
Seeing Boudreau pop up into the NHL again got me thinking about the Spiders and some of the people involved with the team. I found the roster here on hockeydb.com.
The roster is this fascinating mixture of ex-sharks (trying to capitalize on the fans name recognition), career IHLers looking for one last shot, a few youngsters seeing this as a way to push their careers and some projects from the Montreal Canadiens organization that Perron convinced them to let him have.
Link Gaetz (mentioned the other day) was well on his way past his ability to play hockey at a high level, he only suited up for three games. His fight with alcohol in his life is well-known, unfortunately, alcohol kept winning. When he was with the Sharks, he as almost a prototype of the kind of player you now see in the league with Brashear or Laraque — big, bruising, tough and could actually play some pretty decent hockey. When the knuckles weren’t swollen and bleeding, he had pretty decent hands, and could have had a pretty good career. Unfortunately, off-ice he was pretty much a basket case, and when he had the car accident, that pretty much defined his life and ended any serious NHL career change; it happened around 10AM when the car he was in exited the freeway at way too high a speed and lost control. Gaetz was ejected (no seatbelt) and tried to pulp his brain on the asphalt — and almost succeeded. The accident was alcohol-related (yes, that early in the morning), but the alcohol may also have helped Gaetz survive by keeping him limp during the ejection and landing. He was passenger, not driver, by the way. There were questions at the time, given the severity of the brain damage, whether he’d walk again. He did, but his skating was never the same; by the time he was with the Spiders, he simply didn’t have the mobility any more, he was basically a “stand up and swing” type of guy like Dave Brown.
I normally don’t link to fight videos but this one *is* the Linkster; a classic bout between him and Probert at the Cow Palace. Look very closely as Link exits the arena at the end of the clip, and you’ll see Laurie and myself — our seats were right next to the team tunnel.
The stories about Link in San Jose are legion — no other player was such a fan favorite in the early days, or so legendary, and while much of what you hear through the fan grapevine on most players is bullshit, with the Linkster, you could see it happening. It’s not unusual for some players to get a rep for howling at the moon a bit, but Link had the reputation for climbing trees to try to beat the moon up because it was staring at him… The only other player with the Sharks that had that kind of “did you hear what he did this time?” rep among the fan rumor mill was Brent Myhres…
Linkster only played 3 games for the Spiders — and had 38 PIM. That pretty much sums it up.
Sandis Ozolinsh also played for the Spiders; it was the year after the lockout that the Spiders came into existence, and Sandis was holding out for a new contract. He played two games for the team, and scored the first goal in franchise history — then signed a contract with the Sharks, drove south 90 minutes, and suited up in teal again, and scored the Sharks first goal of that season. That’s probably a record that won’t be matched soon…
Other ex-sharks? Dale Craigwell, who was a really promising center for the team early on, until he broke his ankle badly; his major asset was speed, it never fully recovered, and he ended up with the Spiders and played admirably, but he’s another player that injuries hurt a promising career.
Also on the team — Robin Bawa, who also played for the Ducks, and was one of my favorite early Sharks. Not the most talented guy, but was willing to do whatever it took, including fight, although he wasn’t particularly good at it. The kind of lunchbox/character guy teams need. David Maley, who played for the team primarily because he was trying to start up a hockey business in San Jose and wanted the publicity. He’s now a Shark part-time broadcaster when Jamie Baker isn’t in town, and his Rollin’ Ice is doing just fine.
Ed Courtenay was most notable for his lack of speed. One of the most infamous calls in hockey was by Dennis Hull (who did color for the Sharks early on…) when a puck kicked free and Randy Hahn called out “It’s a breakaway!” and Hull responded “No, it’s Courtenay!” — and he was right. He got caught. But Courtenay had a good minor league career, and was closing it out with the Spiders.
Mike Lalor was another guy who wandered through San Jose for a bit, then came back with the Spiders until the Dallas Stars took him on. And Jeff Madill was a Sharks cup of coffee and minor leaguer who came and played for the Spiders. He was one of the team’s clothes-hounds (along with Ian Boyce), and would have given Drew a run for “best dressed” most of the time. He was also the one player who not only was very aware of the photographers around the rink, but would smooth the wrinkles out of his jersey before a faceoff if he thought someone was going to take photos. Seriously. Martha Jenkins (SF Chronicle, SF Giants) was the official team photographer (and hockey seriously scared the crap out of her, I’m not sure she ever got comfortable being inside the glass shooting — don’t blame her, either), but Laurie and I had full press passes, and she did a lot of photography as well — so she got very familiar with Madill’s ability to get in a picture and get out the wrinkles…
Madill finally retired, and last we heard, was selling cars somewhere in the midwest. Good, solid minor league hockey player, and I’ll bet his suits still have no wrinkles….
And that’s probably enough for now, but since I mentioned Laurie’s photography, it means I probably need to write about how she ended up scouting goalies for Ian Boyce, and the night Dan Shank tried to pick her up — while the game was going on.
Ah, the joys of minor league hockey…
I took a photo of the guy crushed under the train but it was pretty gruesome. I’m not sure why I took a photo of the incident other than it was just sort of a gut reaction to shoot anything that possibly could be citizen journalism with my camera.
I was pretty freaked out seeing the guy under the train. Afterwards I thought about publishing the photograph but questioned the journalistic integrity of that. Surely this guy must have family right? And why add to the ugliness in the world by publishing something so terrible. I contacted my friend John Curley who was an editor at the Chronicle for many years and now teaches at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism to ask his opinion. John got back with me and said that the Chronicle would not print such a photograph and so that confirmed what I was feeling and I chose not to publish the photo.
And here’s one of those times when the right thing happened…
John Curley is right here. Way back in the ancient days, when my dad owned the newspaper, he wasn’t just owner, editor and publisher, but one of the photographers. He’d get the late night calls at times and go out to places where things had happened. Sometimes I’d tag along. A few times, when they were out, I’d get out there myself (an interesting situation, showing up at a fatal car crash at 10PM with a camera and press pass — at age 8, with a driver).
In these situations, sensitivity is paramount. You can (and need to) get the story over, but you need to be sensitive to the victim and family, but you ALSO need to be sensitive to your audience. In the case I noted above, it was a car hitting a pedestrian fatality. Not exactly a place for an 8 year old, normally. The photo that ran — was of the damage to the windshield of the car.
You don’t need to get graphic to tell the story. And you can tell the story and still be sensitive to those that the story affects, if you keep in mind the people involved, and not just think about getting the photo.
Sometimes, there are bigger issues than getting the shot.
It takes guts to take a photo of someone when they are pushing themselves on you and stepping all over your rights, but I’m glad Jeremy took the photo above. It helps to get the message out and make the guy above look like an ass. I’m not sure where this is but if I see the same store in my travels out walking I’ll be sure and stop by to shoot a bit there myself.
People like the guy above need to learn that they can’t hassle photographers for doing what is their right to do. And they don’t learn this lesson because 95% of the time people just acquiesce and give into authority that they assume but don’t actually hold.
Here’s a place where I disagree with Thomas Hawk, and I feel he’s doing photography a disservice.
it’s not that he doesn’t have a right to take a photograph; it’s that the subject he’s photographing also has rights here, too, and this is one of those classic cases where rights are in conflict and some judgement needs to be taken to balance those rights.
When Thomas goes up against some corporate dweeb telling him not to take a picture of a building? I’m fully behind him. I think that kind of corporate control is stupid and out of line. But taking a picture of someone who doesn’t want their picture taken? What about his rights to not be hassled, to some privacy, to having some choice here?
Where does this stop? The person in question isn’t part of a news story, so there’s no journalistic “inform the public”. There’s no way any legitimate publishing concern would accept the photo without a model release — and there won’t be one, obviously. It’s not a public figure, so you can’t even make the claims of the paparrazi that the person is in the public interest. This is just, well, because someone wanted to. Even though that person said no.
So, if you can take a picture of someone against their will, where do we draw the line? if Thomas leaves his blinds up, is it okay to take a picture of him through his window while he’s in the shower? Can I start taking pictures of children in the park, even if their parents don’t want me to? How about hidden cameras in store dressing rooms? If the person’s right to privacy doesn’t matter, and if their permission (or revocation of permission) is meaningless, just how far are you willing to go before you start thinking that maybe the subject SHOULD be able to say no?
Frankly, Thomas’ position here is why there are arguments for more restriction, because he’s so focussed on what he CAN do that he’s forgotten the rest of it: whether he should. And they’re very different things. He’s merely thinking of the legalities and what he wants — given there are multiple people involved, waht the OTHER person wants needs to come into play, too.
And since there’s no reason to take this picture (other than “because I can and you can’t stop me”) — no public figure aspect, no journalistic aspect to the picture — there’s no reason to take this picture without the subject’s permission other than ego. And that’s a lousy reason to take it.
Can he take this shot? Sure (and his subject can try to make him eat his camera, too). but should he?
If you ask me, no. A person has a right to NOT be turned into a public event, to not have his picture taken. And I have trouble when people get into a mode of “you can’t keep me from my rights, but I’m going to ignore yours”. Winning in life is doing what is right, not legal, and about finding the appropriate compromises between conflicting sets of rights, not simply demanding your own and denying others.
So in these cases, by demanding their rights, thomas and those like him are doing wrong, for the wrong reasons.
Coming out of our ‘smtp is dead, long live smtp’ brainstorming session I am thinking that we need to be talking about messaging, not email.
Email is a subset of a much larger messaging market. What we’ve seen over the past 10 years is that internet messaging (primarily text but let’s not make that distinction) has evolved from predominantly email to a host of other systems
We seem to be having yet another round of “email is dead” going on.
Nope. But Fred Wilson has the gist of it here. Email is a protocol, a specific way to communicate. Good communication transcends a protocol (or should), because there are many different needs and priorities to communication.
The reason email is so endemic is because — for about 20 years — it was basically all we had. And so it was made to fit all of those needs, even when it wasn’t really good at doing it. That’s why email on most mobile devices up until the last year or so really sucks — emails a bad model for most of that, and so comes the rise of SMS. On the other side, using email for group discussions REALLY sucks, because the typical email-based mailing list gets way too chatty and email is inherently an interruptive protocol (it comes when IT wants, and you get interrupted and you have to go and decide whether the incoming message warranted being interrupted for; by the time you figure out it’s not, it’s too late). The technologies invented for limiting those interruptions, from digest-formatted mailing lists to mail filters, are all band-aids on the larger problem. That’s why web forums have really supplanted lists, and RSS and other pull technologies are increasingly key in distributing these messages.
And that’s one reason why blogging has succeeded. Can you really imagine being subscribed to, say, 300-400 mailing lists where every time a blogger posts it ends up in your email? Of course not, you’d go crazy. you might want 5 or so KEY blogs in your email, and the rest out of the way until you decide to go visit them.
Which is the key. Email is still a core communications technology. Will be forever, I think. It just won’t be the ONLY one, and “death of email” is a misinterpretation of the fact that communications that aren’t well suited to email are finally moving to other services better designed to distribute them appropriately.
(I’ve talked about this stuff more than once; here are some previous rants: 2003 when RSS was replacing email (hah!) (also here), and 2006 on revamping Yahoogroups)
Update: Mathew Ingram chimed in:
Email may not be dead, but it certainly isn’t looking too healthy, and hasn’t for years. As Zoli points out, the best approach is not to replace email with other things like IM or Facebook messages — which have their own flaws — but to make use of as many different methods as possible, depending on the situation. In some cases a wiki makes more sense, or a Google document, or a live chat, or (God forbid) even a phone call.
That may seem so, but in reality, email isn’t any more challenged than any other tool on the internet, except for the ones so small or so niche that the spammers and crackers don’t bother. The problems with email aren’t email’s problems, but simply the way email makes visible the problem that the internet has in general.
On the road to ubiquitous sports coverage and super-serving the sports fan, there certainly seems to be a few fumbles, interceptions and technical fouls… the NFL has limited its “out of market” package exclusively to one channel (DirectTV) and it’s damn near impossible to watch a Thursday night game on the NFL Network. After years of having no problem watching my alma mater, Michigan, play football on television in NYC, I now have to scramble to find bars that carry the Big Ten Network. What happened to that “any place, any time, anyway…power to the consumer” chant that media executives used to throw around like it was the next verse of “Take Me Out To the Ballgame”?
We need to remember: we aren’t really the customer here. Our eyeballs are what the networks are selling to their advertisers, and the programming is what they use to attach those eyeballs to the advertising. That in some cases they can convince us to PAY a fee to have our eyeballs sold to the advertisers is a bonus.
What the sports networks have found out, not surprisingly, is that it is posssible to saturate the market and we now have so much choice, so many options, that this is putting the squeeze on things. There’s only so much advertising inventory willing to be bought, and so many eyeballs willing to be attached to that programming to sell to the advertisers. Sports fans are only willing (or able) to watch so many games over a period of time, and there are now more options for those eyeballs than eyeballs. Ratings slip, and advertising rates go down (partly because ratings are down, partly because there are more advertising slots being sold than advertisers want to buy, so it’s a buyer’s market, unless it’s a special event of some sort)
So if you’re producing sports and selling advertising, how do you keep your income up? By doing what you can to make sure eyeballs are attached to your program instead of someone else’s program. And one way of doing that is by creating restrictions preventing people from seeing other programming.
Not good for the fans, who want maximum options and maximum flexibility, but then, these people aren’t interested in what you want, really. they are interested in what makes their advertisers happier and gets them more advertising revenue. And so restricting access to other programming to encourage you to watch their programming instead makes sense — to them.
“Goalies have to get smaller or the nets have to get larger,” Regier said. “That goalie has to get significantly smaller for the likelihood of an outside shot to go in. If we can’t make the goalies smaller, then I don’t know what other options we have but to consider making the nets larger.”
He added that if the nets get bigger, it must be a significant increase. He argued that just a small bump would put teams into a bigger defensive shell. That’s the leading cause of the scoring dip. Coaches have begun crowding their five skaters near the net, which rids the shooters of their open lanes.
You know, I’d be a lot more sympathetic to this comment if it wasn’t coming from the GM of a team that was really good last year, lost a couple of key players in the off-season, and suddenly finds itself in the lower third of the standings this year. Is the problem really because the league is screwed up and needs bigger nets? Or because the Sabres botched building their team in the offseason? Hmm.
Now, having said that? I think the league is still too defensive, and goaltenders have too much of an advantage — the balance is lost here. Heck, you’re hearing complaints among some San jose fans about Nabokov — and he has three shutouts and a GAA right around 2 (hint to the sharks whiners: it’s NOT THE FREAKING GOALIE that’s the problem)
I’d love to see the league find a way to raise average scoring by about a goal a game; I just don’t want to see it turn into indoor soccer or the old RHI.
I don’t think bigger nets are needed — yet. I’d rather see the league focus on goaltending equipment. I was listening to XM a couple of weeks back and they were talking to Brian Hayward, and he made an interesting comment; talking to one of the young goalies about goalie gear, the goalie said he didn’t want to see equipment reduced because he might get bruised. That made Hayward laugh — in his day as goalie, bruises were the norm.
And THAT is part of the problem I think we can solve. I’m not suggesting we go back to goalies with no helmet and half an inch of foam under the jersey; but goalie equipment has been grown to huge size and with the specific intent of stopping pucks. You want to bring some offense back to the game? Let’s look at what size and protection we need to protect a goalie — and then have the goalie stop the puck. That means figuring out how to shrink leg pads, blockers, shoulder pads and the glove to whatever the smallest size we can make them while still keeping the goalie safe. Well, the occassional bruise is okay, but we don’t want a goalie injured. But if the gear has gotten so big and good that goalies no longer feel the puck, then you might as well stuff a blow up doll in goal with the gear on it, because the gear is doing much of the puck stopping.
you’re not going back to the days of goalies being 5’8″ and out of shape, but you CAN reshape goalie gear so that it’s job is to keep the goalie safe, not to keep the puck out. And I think we should seriously consider that option before growing the net.
globeandmail.com: Speed kills:
A nice thought too, on the surface – technologies making hockey better and better, or until you thought it through a little longer. At the highest level, the NHL, do they really need more speed in the game?
Think of it this way: Every week, it seems, there is talk about a new issue causing trouble for the NHL — hits to the head, hits from behind, a fall-off in post-lockout scoring. Everybody tut-tuts about the problem for a time, without coming to a definitive solution – and then the discussion eventually grinds to a halt, when a new cause celebre slips into the headlines.
But what if all these issues were merely symptoms of a larger problem and the root cause was simply too much speed in the game.
Or to put it another way: Maybe it’s time to frame the discussion about what’s going on by asking the question: Is the game of hockey, played at the NHL level, too fast for its own good?
Interesting question, but my answer is “hell, no”. I think the day you start “downgrading” the players through equipment limitations or in other ways is the day you start REALLY killing this sport. This needs to be dealt with in other ways. Larger ice surfaces would be a nice option, but not practical for most teams now.
I do so wish the NHL had been forward-looking when they started the last expansion and the round of building replacements. If they’d allowed teams to build larger ice surfaces while building those new buildings; one of the big things we’ve lost in the last 15 years are these unique buildings and the ability to tailor a team to it — whether it was the old Boston Garden, the old Chicago Stadium, or even, god help us, the Cow Palace of the Sharks first two years (our motto: it’s a pit, but it’s OUR pit!).
Now? everyone’s playing the same game the same way. Major league baseball figured it out, just look at Camden Park or whatever it is we’re calling it in San Francisco, or even the new park down in Houston, where they decided if a little uniqueness was good, lots of uniqueness was better, so doing every possible unique thing had to be best, right? well, no..). Imagine teams being able to build a rink at some size at least the current size, and up to an international surface. Allow them to customize the corners a bit, flat and shallow, or deep and sharp. Not HUGE differences, but things that teams can use to their advantage, while still having to build a team competitive in other arenas, too. That was part of what made the old Boston and Blackhawks teams so tough — but now, it’s a bit late to bring that back, but if the league would plan for it now, over time, we could bring it back. and should.
For now? to me, the answer isn’t slowing players down. It’s better safety gear for better protection, which means the NHLPA needs to get on board big time. And less tolerance for stupid and dirty play (the whole “respect” thing, but that’s a different rant I’ll do later).
And honestly? I think Duhatschek is headed in the right direction, but choosing the wrong solution. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about moving hockey to four on four — there’s precedent for reducing the number of skaters in the past as speed and skill increased (hockey once had six skaters and a goalie). as someone who remembers Roller Hockey International, I think 4on4 is ALSO a mixed blessing, but where we see it in the NHL game today, it does open up the ice and speed things up and give players room to play, so while I’m not saying we should do it, I AM saying the league and players and fans need to talk about it and think it through.
But I doubt it’s going to happen any time soon. but I sure prefer it to slowing the players down, or mandating that goalies have to be fat and slow, or that skaters need to wear suits that look like those damn sumo suits teams use to embarass fans during intermission….
You’d think there’d be an easy solution to this by now. I haven’t found it. There must be thousands of us with terabyte-sized storage woes. The latest effort is turning into another debacle.
I hired CreativeTechs to advise me on a storage solution. I don’t have the resources to spring for their first choice (an Apple Xserve RAID ($8 to 12K), so I settled on their pick of a RAID box, a Sans Digital 5 bay. I had the Seattle Mac store install an eSata card when I bought the MacPro, so I was good to go.
Nothing in storage, or anything complex with Macs, is ever good to go. First
I have to disagree here. Part of the trick is to not over-think the problem.
One reason I haven’t been blogging much recently is that I’ve been working to solve this personally. here’s my solution:
I’ve just finished upgrading the laptop with a 250Gb drive, because I was tired of carrying along a 2nd bus-powered firewire drive to carry my “other” files. Now, everything fits on the laptop again. I
I’ve set up the bus-powered drive to carry files I don’t need on a regular basis: old email archives, secondary master images (more on how I have reorganized Aperture later… that was ALSO part of all of this) — things I don’t need regularly. I use a bus-powered firewire drive so when I’m on the road I don’t need power cords. Very nice.
For my bus-powered drives, I use OtherWorld Computing’s “on the go” drives, and have been quite happy with them.
For offfsite backups (in case of extreme emergency), I have another Firewire 400 drive that I copy the main backup to once a month and store somewhere “away”.
I have also started sending key files (image masters, my itunes library, documents, etc) to Amazon S3, using Transmit. That’s going to take a while to fully fill out, but once it does, I’ll have my key data in a safe place and independently managed. (I experimented with JungleDisk, but when Transmit came out with S3 support, I decided it was a better option).
This implies that every bit of my data will exist in AT LEAST three places: on my laptop drive, and on each of the two RAID 1 drives. For serious emergencies, I’ll have an offsite backup that’s no more than a month old, and once I get S3 synced up, I’ll be able to store key files for recovery nightly, saving me from some kind of catastrophic issue like the house burning down.
The one thing I still plan to add: one more bus-powered drive w/ 240gb. I’ll use SuperDuper to clone the laptop drive to that. That will give me a bootable backup that I can carry and use on the road, and if the laptop or laptop drive fails, I’m still able to work with minimal data losses — and I can simply plug it into any Mac and boot my disk. I’ll ahve that up and running by next weekend — until then, I’m doing superduper to a free firewire drive, but not a portable/bus-powered one. That’ll mean my “core” data (aka, what lives on the laptop) will live in four places at once (plus the up-to-a-month-old fifth copy offsite), and crucial files will end up on S3 as well for a fifth (possibly sixth) copy. That seems — sufficient, and 90% of the process is automated already, and I’ll likely be able to automate all but the offsite copy of the RAID drive.
My total disk usage right now? about 100G on the laptop, another 80gig on the “2ndary disk”. Of that, 21 gigs is iTunes (16 active, 5 archived), and my Aperture library is 14 giges, my primary set of master images is 56 gigs, and my secondary/archived master images is another 37 gigs.
As someone who remembers when Macs booted off floppies, having 180 gigs of “must have this” data kinda floors me. How far we’ve come.
None of this is rocket science. Firewire simplifies this a lot, but then, I don’t see speed as a primary need for backups over simplicity and reliability.
Honestly, I looked at other options — network servers, RAID systems with removable bays, etc, etc, ad nauseum, and I kept coming back to buying good quality firewire drives and keeping it simple. Laurie’s systems are backed up via superduper, but now that mine are done, moving her to a 240Gb internal laptop drive and Leopard will start, and she’ll end up with essentially the same setup, including S3.
It’s a variation of what I’ve been using for a couple of years now — with Leopard, mostly I’ve swapped out Superduper backups to RAID 1 on a server for Time Machine on a locally attached RAID 1 drive; and I’ve found it pretty reliable. When I’ve needed to fix something, I can. Time Machine improves this, because it gives me incremental backups, where SuperDuper is a clone, so fi you have automated backups that overwrite something that you dn’t realize you need for a few days, you can be screwed. In practice, that’s not a huge problem, but even so, Time Machine fixes that for the most part.
Tom Benjamin’s NHL Weblog: Never the Fan’s Fault:
Bunk. Whatever the Leaf problems – and I don’t think they are as bad as the Toronto media makes out – none of them can be laid at the feet of the fan. The fan can’t do anything about the fact that corporations will buy all the tickets win or lose, and the fan can’t force the league to put another team in southern Ontario.
Furthermore, while the Leafs may make a ton of money with a mediocre team, they would make much more with a Stanley Cup Champion. Even if that was not the case, the hockey people hired want to win just as much as the hockey people in every other city. Perhaps more, simply because the pressure in that market is so unrelenting. Finally, I don’t think anyone can accuse the Leafs of being unwilling to invest. If anything they have been too willing to spend money over the years. They haven’t necessarily spent wisely, but they have spent.
I almost want to agree with Tom here, but there are a couple of problems with his assumptions here.
First problem: corporations may well buy most of the seats, but someone inside that corporation is making the decision to buy them and is allocating the money to pay for them. And that person is very likely a FAN, or they would be spending the money somewhere else. Corporate spending starts with a fan who decides to do the spending, because it’s a lot more fun to get their company to pay for the tickets than paying for them directly.
Second problem: there have been studies in baseball (I’ll try to find references, I don’t have them handy) that show that the MOST PROFITABLE teams tend to be teams with really strong fan bases who play .500ish baseball but never spend the money to go out and Win The Big One. Two words: Chicago Cubs.
And the Chicago Cubs are a great analogy for the Leafs, because of the real core of the second problem with what Tom says: it’s true that the hockey people hired want desperately to win — but the people that hire them want to make money. In Chicago, it’s the Tribune, in Toronto, it’s the Teacher’s Pension plan. And if you look at both organizations, the “Hockey people” and “baseball people” in management tend to turn over fairly frequently, because they come in thinking they can fix the organization, and they quickly learn that their bosses don’t really want them to, because it’d cost money….
I think you’re seeing similar problems with Sather in Edmonton — After years of buying in expensive free agents who didn’t perform well enough, he finally started to restructure the team towards home-built youth and good drafting, and you saw that team really improve. And this year? Way overpaid for some free agents and they’re struggling again. Back to the Good Old (or Bad Old) Rangers. Not because Sather went senile again, but, I think, because his uber-bosses told him they wanted “names” to market around, and that was more important than actually winning hockey games. New York is, after all, a Marquee city, and when you have a Marquee, you need Marquee names.
So I wouldn’t be suprised if Sather left New York fairly soon. He tried to fix the team, and then something made him go off and start buying expensive free agents again. I don’t think that was Sather’s idea, either, although he won’t say so.
“There’s always talk about a lack of respect [among NHL players],” Ference added, “but the biggest question is if guys understand how much trust is involved in playing hockey – trust between you and your opponent.
If you ask me, the “Players Need to Take Responsibility” mantra is bogus. The history of the league is full of players who’s career was based on not having respect for other players. Stop to think that of the old-timers who talk about “respect” and the “good old days” you have Bobby Clarke, the guy who once broke an opponent’s ankle on purpose, and Phil Esposito, who when he’s not talking about players needing to respect each other on XM radio, is telling stories of fondly remembered players from the old days who’s specialties included enthusiastic stickwork (especially to opponent’s groin area or head) and guys who used their elbows as weapons of mass destruction.
Now, having said that, respect between players is an important aspect of the game, but the reality is, there have always been a subset of players who’s job is was to “stir it up”, or disrupt the game — or simply didn’t care what happened to someone on the other team.
After all, esposito loves to talk about the Good Old Days when players on different teams didn’t talk to each other — and some who carry the grudge forward to today. And teams that has to take turns in the dining cars on the trains to avoid the inevitable fights.
When was the last time you heard about two NHL players fighting outside of a game environment, anyway? Yet for some reason, the old days had a higher level of respect than today does. Hmm. Selective memory, perhaps? Perhaps.
the problem isn’t respect, although that’s the word people are using. The problem is that there are (and always have been) players who’s job depended on them being willing to stretch (or ignore) the rules — and beyond that, we have to remember that the teams are judged based on winning, and players are giving jobs based on their willingness and ability to make teams win, and frankly a player that isn’t willing to do “whatever is necessary” to win is a player looking for a job. A player that puts “respect” above helping his team win is likely an ex-player.
That’s why the league gives out the Lady Byng with an embarassed smile every year. Because Sportsmanship is a nice concept, but winning games is what counts. And Sportsmanship often gets in the way of winning.
Now, I’m all for the NHLPA getting involved with teaching players to be more respectful (or more correctly, more AWARE) of the implications of the kinds of dirty hits going on — but until that kind of play hurts a team’s ability to win, this is all nudge-wink land. Players will talk the talk, teams will talk the talk, the league will talk the talk, and when the whistle blows and the game starts, players of marginal talent will go out and push the envelope (and yes, I’m talking about you, Jordin Tootoo) and if someone gets hurt, well, that’s someone else’s problem, because the alternative is Tootoo not having a job in the NHL (and an NHL paycheck).
So you can talk about players learning to respect each other — maybe Bobby Clarke can give a few lectures here — but until the league structures the rules and penalties so that it’s in the team’s best interest to “encourage” it’s players to cut it out, it’s simple: they won’t.
For the record: the Downie suspension is a great start. The league needs to keep it up. I’d also like to see the league suspend that roster spot, too. That would DEFINITELY get the team’s interest in a way simply suspending the player won’t. Once you do that, you can bet Coaches will get involved in “teaching respect” and GMs will be more careful to sign “respectful” players. Until then — it’s all talk, because if it helps your team win, then that’s what REALLY matters.
(and that’s frankly how it SHOULD be; which is why the rules and enforcement need to be structured so that the best way to win is to win with respect. If it’s not within the rules, it ain’t gonna happen)
In short, when a hockey player expresses a personal opinion that offends anybody at all, there’s an attitude that it should be kept behind closed doors; that he’s undermining the team somehow.
That’s because — well — it does. Or at least, can.
This subject really deserves a longer, deeper discussion, but I tend to think that people who don’t “get” this sort of thing didn’t spend much time in a locker room in a competitive league.
For a team to function to its potential, the members of that team have to buy into the idea of “what’s best for the team”. Think about some of the catch phrases you hear out of athletes and coaches all of the time: “I have my role”, “we have to follow the system”, “do what’s best for the team” etc.
That’s not just cliche (but it IS cliche, as well!) — it’s what makes a team work. Players have to commit to the best interests of the team OVER their own personal best interest. As a simple example, do you honestly think any sane player PREFERs laying down and blocking shots when they could be scoring goals? You really think fighters prefer playing six minutes a night and fighting?
So when a player then “breaks rank” (notice the military symbolism here — the dynamics of a sporting team and a military organization are quite similar here; both are structured so encourage individuals to bond with their team and work to the team’s ultimate benefit over personal benefit, on the assumption that the individuals gain benefit from the success of the team, for some larger good), what message is that sending? That this player isn’t part of the team, is above the team, hasn’t committed to the team.
Well, heck, that does kinda sound like Kovalev his entire career, no? Oh, never mind.
But speaking out can cause problems. If you think about it, even a noted loose cannon like Brett Hull tended to include himself is in commentary on the team (“we suck! Oh god, do we suck!”), but more so, he tended to speak at league issues and maintain the players vs. teams dynamic. And yes, Hull did get himself in deep, too, and not all of the teams he was on functioned well as a team. the question that would need to be asked was whether his public outbursts were because the team wasn’t committed to itself, or whether it caused that, and what might have been said privately before he chose to take it public.
When a player joins a team, he gives up part of his individual by committing it to the team. this is no different than what we do when we join a company and go to work for them, or share a life with a partner and family. There are things that you do within that group that you don’t splash over the pages of a newspaper or a blog. Ditto a hockey team. Or a football team. Or any team.
Kovalev shot his lip here, and screwed up. What he really did, and why he’s being criticized by his team, is show he’s not really committed to the team. This IS the kind of thing that gets hashed out in the locker room, not blabbed to a reporter — unless it’s one of the “spokesman” members doing so for a purpose, and Kovalev is definitely not someone the team has defined as “speaking for the team”.
But then, is anyone surprised that Kovalev isn’t on the same page as his teammates? Has he ever been?
But this isn’t about being a “puppet to the man” and toeing the league’s happy-happy line. It’s about committing to the team and your teammates. A functioning team is in many ways its own individual with its own personality, and members OF that team have to give up some of their own individuality to make the team function. And when they don’t, you have a room of individuals, not a team, and it’s a rare team that succeeds without that commitment.
Thanks again to Richard Lawson at the Nashville Post, we have word that Jim Balsillie is still working hard to purchase the Nashville Predators, this time by sending a note to the Nashville Sports Authority that claims that if he owned the team, “the existing arena operating agreements will require no changes whatsoever unless they benefit the Authority and the residents of Nashville.”
Is this an effort to undermine the current Freeman/Nashville negotiations, or indeed a genuine change of heart on Balsillie’s part? His representative also wrote in that note,
Okay, anyone who thinks the Balsillie offer is on the up and up, please raise your hand. I have a bridge for sale. Cheap. One owner. Only drove it to church on sunday.
This offer is perfect for Balsillie’s long-term goal of getting this team to Hamilton. It’s designed to screw up the local ownership’s push for fixes to the deal by giving the local politicos an easy out for avoiding looking like they’re subsidizing the team to people who don’t want to invest in it. After all, Balsillie will take it without changes or subsidies.
Of course he will. it leaves him with a lease trivially easy to break in a year or so, after the “white knight” comes to the realization it’s not going to work. His protestations to try to make it work notwithstanding, he doesn’t have to screw this stuff up to make the lease breakable, he can do it merely by doing a good faith effort, suck up the losses for a couple of years, and then break the lease.
Given this second round in is something like $25m less in the price for the franchise? that’s a nice chunk of change he can invest in letting the team lose money, no? And in the end, the money he pputs in is about the same, but he has a free pass out of town.
His offer to bring in local owners? Sure — they’re just as easy to buy out again later. It’s nice eye candy, but it doesn’t mean anything.
And that assumes a few things.
First, it assumes that once he gets them to nuke the deal with the locals, he doesn’t come in and start negotiating. And what leverage do you have once the other owners get told to stuff it and leave?
Second, it presumes he’s actually going to follow through on his offers. What if he doesn’t? Or if he does them badly?
Third, it assumes the NHL will approve him as an owner. Given you can pretty much bet that Balsillie as an owner will someday lead to a lawsuit over moving the team to Hamilton, I think it’s far from given the NHL will let him join the club at this point.
We aren’t even talking about whether moving a team to Hamilton is good for the league. that’s an entirely different argument…
If Nashville falls for this gambit by Balsillie, they WILL lose the Predators. Maybe not for a couple of years, but they will. And they’ll deserve to. Now, with the other ownership group, will the Predators be saved? Maybe. Maybe not. But with Balsillie in the house, you KNOW you have no chance.
There are two parts to most discussions about this lens: its fast aperture and the fact that it is a prime lens. Now, don’t get me wrong, I adore my prime lens kit of the 50mm f/1.8, the 85mm f/1.8 and the 100mm f/2.8 Macro. I’m not anti-prime lens in any way at all. That’s not the point. The point I want to explore is why people believe and assert that a prime lens will make you a ‘better’ photographer, for some value of ‘better’.
Firstly, lets define “better”. What does it mean to become a better photographer? I’ll develop a positive definition in a moment, but first think about what the difference between the good photographer and the great photographer is not: in the age of autofocus, TTL metering and the various common exposure modes, the difference is not found in a photographer’s deep understanding of which setting to use.
What sets great photography apart from good photography is not the technical at all, it is nothing more or less than the impact of the photograph on the viewer. Technical mastery of the camera merely separates the acceptable from the unacceptable, and could even be argued to be orthogonal to the impact of the photograph.
That said, why advocate prime lenses for beginning photographers?
Where I differ from some photographic commentators is the noble notion that whatever was good enough for Robert Capa or Cartier-Bresson should be good enough for you and I. I strongly disagree with any claim along the line that prime lenses are somehow a purer expression of photography than zoom lenses. Yes, we all love elegant equipment and, heaven knows, the Leica M8 is burning a hole in my heart right now. However, the existence of historically important photographs taken with prime lenses only serves to disprove the counter-claim that zoom lenses are a necessary precondition to good photographs. It doesn’t prove anything much about the virtues of prime lenses.
My own opinion is that learning to handle an ultra-wide-angle lens in the 10-25mm range is an even better photographic education than a prime lens, but that’s another post for another time.
I personally believe that prime lenses are still advocated because it used to be the quality difference was significant. Today’s modern zooms — not so.
But it’s traditional. You still see people who argue that UV filters degrade image quality, too, although I’ve yet to see evidence of someone who has been given a dozen photos taken half with and half without filters — and been able to flag the ones with degraded quality. But you still hear this old wive’s tale, also. (I have, of course, seen a number of attempts for people to do this fail miserably — and yes, you need to use quality filters. As always…)
I think the prime lens is even less interesting in a digital environment where your post-shoot workflow probably involves some kind of crop anyway. I think it’s important that photographers develop the eye that lets them see what makes a photograph interesting via the viewfinder, for the same reason photographers need to get technique down and stop trying to fix bad exposure, soft focus or bad contrast in post-processing; you can improve a photo and make it the best photo you can, but you can’t save a bad photo, even with photoshop — and that goes for framing as much as exposure.
I own one prime lens today — 300mm F4 IS, which I usually shoot with a tele on a tripod because I’m just not going to get that 800MM F5.6 any time soon (or the 500MM or 600MM lenses, either). My workhorse is still the 100-400 F5.6IS, and my wide angle is also a zoom, because I prefer to do my framing on camera. There are a couple of situations I’d consider another prime: a good, kick-ass, fast and clean macro lens, a similar super-wide (although I’ll probably think long and hard about a super-wide zoom, if I find one I like). Especially when you move into fish-eye, I tend to think you’ll want to stay with a prime.
the last place: certain specialty shooting. For instance, if I was shooting hockey seriously, I’d want to do it with two lenses: my 100-400 on one body, and a 200mm F2.8 class prime on a second.
I agree with Frasier, by the way — you want to force someone to become a better photographer? Give them a 15mm super-wide and send them off to take photos. It is so easy to back fricking bad photos with the thing, and it forces you to think your way through how to generate interest in a scene. I still find that I throw out too many of my wide angle shots on review as “freaking boring”; it’s something I need to work on…
Tim O’Reilly has a great post up on O’Reilly Radar, in which he talks about what might be called (although he doesn’t use the term) the “stupidity of crowds.” Using the meltdown in quantitative hedge funds, Facebook apps and Techmeme.com as examples, he talks about how too many people chasing the same idea causes a decline in the value of that idea. As he puts it:
“When a group of seemingly independent actors are making decisions based on the same limited pool of information, they become more highly correlated, and thus “stupider.”
Or as I like to put it –
The first thing an echo chamber does is convince itself it’s not an echo chamber
The group attracts people with the same attitudes and opinions. At some point, diversity is squeezed out because opinions that don’t fit the “common mindset” get piled on and buried — just ask anyone who’s tried to comment on slashdot that microsoft is not evil incarnate, or that Linux isn’t perfect — and people learn fast to fit in or get bitchslapped.
And then once everyone “fits in”, they convince themselves that because everyone around them thinks like this, everyone obviously thinks like this. Which is false, but the group looks around and only sees nodding heads, and therefore discounts that they might be wrong. Ultimate Yes Men (soon coming to Xbox 360).
Classic cases of this are the iPhone and the Apple TV. Both are products that are built for consumers, and while they have strong geek attraction, they aren’t built and designed for geeks. Geeks complain about things these products don’t do. Apple ignores them. Geeks try to spin them into failures because they don’t cater to geeks. the product sells zillions of units anyway. The geeks brains hurt.
(for instance, best as I can find, the new generation Tivo sold 30,000 units in the first few months. Apple TV? 250,000 units. Yet you look around the geek echo chamber, and they declare the Apple TV a failed product, while drooling over Tivos. Of course, if you read Sean Avery’s NY Times article this week, you’ll see he calls out his Apple TV as a toy he loves. It’s a great product. Just not a geek product. But since all products ought to be geek products — that makes it a failure inside the geek echo chamber.
Ditto the iPhone and openness and ddevelopment kits and applications and hacking and etc. Piper Jaffray estimated that 10% of iPhones are being unlocked. I think that’s too high, because they seemed to do their survey in New York (where I’d expect the overseas unlockers would flock, because of easy access) and then extrapolated those numbers country wide. In reality, I’d expect unlocking to be more like 5% than 10%, but that’s just me.
Still not a small number: 5% of a million iPhones is 50,000 iPhones; a great little cottage industry, but it’s still ONLY 5%. And for all of the geeks who want the iPhone to fail because it doesn’t do all the things THEY want, and obviously, everyone wants those things.
Except, of course, Apple’s selling hundreds of thousands of iPhones. Why? because if you get outside the geek echo chamber, most people don’t CARE about what the geeks care about. They want the iPhone.
And that’s something I see among the geek echo chamber these days: an undercurrent of “it’s time for Apple to go sour”; not because Apple shows any signs of doing so, except within the mind of the echo chamber, but because Apple insists on catering to the consumer instead of the geek, and geeks don’t like the products without all those geeky-friendly features — and yet those products succeed very well despite the geeks declaring them lame. And since that doesn’t fit what the geeks have convinced themselves to be true, it causes their brains to hurt. Or they simply edit reality to fit the echo chamber reality (“apple TV is a failure, having sold 7X our joyous Tivo”).
Reality is, the geekdom and the geek echo chamber is a niche market. But try telling the geeks that… And when evidence shows up to prove it — they just edit their reality around the evidence to protect the safety of the echo chamber…