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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: January 2009
In the comments of a previous post, Marion asked:
How do your geotag them? Is it by dragging them to the map in Flickr or do you have a more automatic or precise way to do it? I’ve thought of using waypoints on my GPS and manually entering them but i’m wondering if I am making it too hard.
Frankly, most of the time I use Flickr Organizr and drag things onto the map. I’m trying to break that habit, because interface between flickr and my Mac is one-way; it’s an uploading system, not a syncing system, so changes made on the flickr side aren’t brought back to the photo library on my mac. I wish, but what the heck.
There is a nice mac tool called Geotagger, which interfaces to Google Earth. You install Google Earth, download Geotagger, and you’re ready to go. To add Geotag info to photos, fire up Google Earth and center the map on the location you want to tag with, then take the photos and drop them on Geotagger. To make it easy, I just leave Geotagger in the dock — it doesn’t have a GUI, it’s all drag and drop.
It can take a little practice to center things to your satisfaction, and I found Geotagger 1.2 a bit slow on large sets of photos, but 2.0 is out and performance was a major focus from the release notes. As far as your workflow, Geotagging is something you need to do early in the process to the RAW fiels, and then if you don’t strip EXIF it’ll carry into any follow-up files you create such as a JPEG for flickr.
Works nicely and reliably. I’d be happier if it was more tightly integrated into Bridge. there is a third party plug-in for Lightroom that does Geotagging, but I haven’t used Lightroom so Ic an’t tell you how well it works.is a plug-in for Aperture Geotagging, but since I don’t use Aperture any more, I haven’t tried it. Bridge users seem to be out of luck, a good hint to upgrade my workflow to Lightroom (the whole Lightroom vs. Aperture debate is for later…).
What about the hardware GPS beasts? Derrick Story’s been looking at these devices over at Digital Story. My feeling? I don’t need that much accuracy that often, and it’s one more gadget to worry about, one more set of processes for the workflow, and it just seems to be more hassle than I care for. Not to mention needing to be careful about keeping the camera clock accurate. For me, adding that data in later is good enough for me, and there are times (such as detailed geotag info to my house or my mom’s house or to friend’s house) that I’d jsut as soon not have leak because I forgot to not include it…
So if you’re on a mac, try Geotagger. It works for me, and it’s convenient enough that I’ve started getting in the habit of using it instead of doing it on flickr (although I haven’t completely made it a habit yet).
I’ve been going through my library looking for things I’ve wanted to talk about, so here are a few of my favorite photography books.
There are lots of books out there on digital photography and dealing with the workflow and post processing. I currently use CS3 on the Mac with a number of tools like Nik Software’s Viveza and DFine, with Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw doing the heavy lifting on image management. Many books do a decent job of helping you come up with a basic workflow and explaining what the knobs are and how to twaek them, but the books that actually show you how to go beyond the basics and what techniques work for making an image better (or saving a marginal image) are a lot harder to find.
That’s why I think if someone’s looking for a single “iPhoto isn’t cutting it any more, how do I take the next step?” book, I would tell them to grab Scott Kelby’s 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3 (Voices). It’s very focussed on showing you a few key habits to get into on every photo and how to get comfortable with them and adjust them to maximize the impact on the image.
As the Amazon description says –
You’re not going to just learn one technique for fixing shadows, and another technique for adjusting color (every Photoshop book pretty much does that, right?). Instead, you’re going start off at square one, from scratch, as each chapter is just one photo—one project—one challenging lifeless image (you’ll follow along using his the same images), and you’re going to unleash these seven tools, in a very specific way, and you’re going to do it again, and again, and again, in order on different photos, in different situations, until they are absolutely second nature. You’re finally going to do the FULL fix—from beginning to end—with nothing left out, and once you learn these seven very specific techniques, and apply them in order, there won’t be a an image that appears on your screen that you won’t be able to enhance, fix, edit, and finish yourself!
and it’s right. This is a fairly rare book in that I’ve gone back to it and re-read it multiple times, and each time found new nuances that I’ve integrated into my photography workflow. I also like that he stays tight and on topic; there are so many features in Camera Raw and Photoshop that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and a bit lost. Here, Kelby creates a simple processing workflow that you can understand and get comfortable with quickly that is still flexible enough that you can adapt and expand as your skills improve.
This book’s for CS3, but would be fine for CS4 as well if you’ve upgraded. Highly recommended.
Also from Kelby a couple of books I like, especially to be given to new users, is his Digital Photography Book series (The Digital Photography Book and The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2). These are small, inexpensive books of tips. For more seasoned photographers, many of them may seem familiar or “simple”, but I doubt there are many out there that wouldn’t go “oh, interesting!” at least a few times in each book. Primary audience would be the newer photographer, maybe someone just stepping up to a DSLR and looking for ways to move from the “vacation snap” type photography into working towards better quality images.
If you’re looking for books to help you with creating or improving your workflow and the nuts and bolts of what you need to do from snapping the shutter to printing it out, there are two books I like.
Photoshop CS3 for Nature Photographers: A Workshop in a Book (Tim Grey Guides) (also updated for CS4 Photoshop CS4 for Nature Photographers: A Workshop in a Book) is by Elon Anon and Tim Grey. It has a Nature Photography slant, but the guts of the book are about the digital workflow and using Bridge, CS3 (or CS4) and Camera Raw. Their coverage of Camera Raw is solid, but what I really like about the book is how it helps you map out the way you manage a photo through the process. It doesn’t hurt that they have a lot of really good tips on becoming a better nature photographer, but really, much of this book would be relevant to any photographer.
Adobe Camera Raw is the real guts of any digital workflow that uses Photoshop or Lightroom. There are a lot of perfectly okay books that talk about how to use ACR, but I’ve only run into one that really dives deep and and takes you inside the tool and really help you understand the non-intuitive ways to use it. That book is Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS3 (also updated for CS4 Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS4) by Bruce Fraser and Jeff Schewe. Fraser was one of the best known geeks with Camera Raw and worked closely with Adobe on improving it, and Schewe has carried his work forward with care. This is the book for people looking to really get deep and dirty with Camera Raw and go beyond pushing sliders and seeing what happens. I’d say this is not a book for people new to the tool or for people trying understand how to use photoshop — but it should be a key reference for those photographers working to take that step from really good amateur into the ranks of the pros.
One last geeky book. As I got serious about my photography again, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what kind of photographer I was and what I wanted my photography to be. I kept coming back to two things — Nature photography and having that photography displayed on walls; fine art photography. Printing your photographs becomes an art form in itself, which probably has something to do with cutting my teeth in high school in a wet lab darkroom and then being innoculated by Ctein somewhere along the way (seriously: check out his gallery). I ended up getting an HP B9180 printer, which I’m pretty happy with (although my next high-end printer will probably be an Epson), but once you step out of the world of “we’ll take care of it for you” printers on standard glossy paper, it gets really complicated and ugly really fast.
Fortunately, I ran into the book Fine Art Printing for Photographers: Exhibition Quality Prints with Inkjet Printers from Rocky Nook. I’ve been pretty impressed with the quality of Rocky Nook books in general, but this book did a great job of helping me through the learning curve of understanding how to control the printer and adjust the image to the paper — and what kinds of paper to experiment with and take advantage of to show off a print to best effect (for what it’s worth, I really like Hahnemule papers, but that’s a different posting). This book has paid for itself a couple of times merely from reduced frustration — but it’s also saved me a lot of time and money in reducing how many tests I make on a print, saving lots on ink and paper wastage. If this is the direction you’re thinking of going, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Finally, a couple of nice content-oriented books.
Joe McNally’s The Moment It Clicks is in many ways an episodic memoir of his photography (if you’re not reading his blog, you should). He talks about many of his photographs, including some that I’m sure will make you go “Oh, HE took that!”, and about why he did what he did and the underlying philosophy. It’s a great book for getting inside the head of a photographer and seeing how he sees an image and then goes out and creates it. It’s not too geeky in the gory details, but if you work through the tutorials and content on Strobist, you’ll be able to understand what McNally is doing and translate it into your own work. One thing that attracts me to this is that McNally’s strengths are very different than the kinds of photography I do, and because of that, I’ve found it helped me see how to work in those new areas and extend my own range and capabilities. A book I really, really enjoyed reading.
Finally, I first ran into photographer Harold Davis via his blog Photoblog 2.0, and the technical quality and imagery vision he showed blew me away. He’s not only an accomplished nature photographer but does some stunning studio work. His book Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers is a great work if you’re trying to learn the techniques that will grow your skill from “that’s a good shot” to “this is the best possible shot”; if you’re someone who’s shifting from trusting the camera’s program mode to telling the camera what you want, Davis does a good job of discussing things like using Aperture or Shutter mode (and why you want to), adjusting exposure and white balance, taking advantage (or minimizing the damage from) existing light conditions, and using (and sometimes abusing) exposure adjustments to create specific effect. He’s a master at using studio lighting and exposure modifications to create interesting effects with flowers, and he’s also a master at near-zero-light long-exposure work, so he pushes the envelope in all directions, and this book is a nice glimpse into how he constructs those images and full of tips that’ll help you adapt his techniques into your work.
And, make no mistake, our fair-haired boys were the victims of a horrible call tonight by Don “Have another donut, you fat pig” Koharski.
Okay, how many years ago was this? And how many years has Koharski reffed since then? And yet Dater pulls this out and tosses it around like the cheap shot it was? Sorry, Adrian, you’re a better writer than this. You really want folks to remind you of something you did 20 years ago every time you get a name wrong in a column?
This is, frankly, pretty lame, and something I’d expect from someone like Al Strachan, not a real journalist.
San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov shut out the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 on Thursday night and in the process set a new Sharks regular season shutout record of 170:10. The streak began before the NHL’s All-Star break in the first period against Vancouver on January 20.
It clearly wasn’t San Jose vs. Detroit — an enjoyable game, good energy, but definitely more trench warefare. I went to the game with a friend, and we talked about it on the way and I said that Phoenix was the kind of team who’s work ethic can give teams fits — and they did. The Sharks had the best of the play, but serious trouble penetrating for good scoring chances, and Bryzgalov was quite good.
Nabby, however, was better — he’s on a real roll right now, and hwne he does that, watch out. One aspect is that no matter what, there’s a Shark there grabbing and clearing rebounds, so Nabby can focus on taht first save and not have to think about being in position for a second. That allows Nabby to take more chances on the first — and it’s working. He’s had some just shutdown saves, ones that just leave the other team deflated and wondering.
It seems that the Sharks are a bit bored with merely winning everything at home and almost everything on the road. They seem to be gearing up the 2nd have planning to simply not allow anyone to score. Let’s see how far they can take it. Saturday should be fun!
One Shark I think deserves some recognition right now is Alexei Semenov. He was a marginal player last season, but worked his butt off in the offseason to improve his game. I’ve been told by folks in the locker room he put on 20 pounds and dropped his body fat — if you see him close up, it’s hard to dispute those numbers, even given everyone’s propensity in the league to lie about height, weight and how much they can bench press. He’s RIPPED. and what I find amazing is that he did that knowing he was slotted in as the 7th D and a part time player.
What he’s done is earn his way to a regular spot and significant minutes. And he’s still basically a depth player, so that kind of committment just isn’t noticed by most fans, but I’ve been watching him the last few games, and he’s really turned his game around. The early season decision by McLellan to show confidence in him and skate him at forward has done wonders. The coaches trust him, he believes in himself, and the team trusts him, too. He’s being more aggressive offensively, more physical defensively, and he’s been a non-trivial part of why, despite injuries to the defense, the Sharks haven’t missed a beat.
Derek Joslin, the new kid, is improving every game. He’s solid, and starting to show he’s feeling more comfortable.
And finally, the Claude Lemieux watch. He’s still playing limited minutes, he’s still doing nothing to suggest he SHOULDN’T be here on a fourth line, and that alone impresses me. I didn’t notice him much against Phoenix, but that’s not a criticsm. A lot of his job is to not be noticed, because when the fourht line is noticed, a lot of the time it’s because someone’s fishing the puck out of their own net. That’s not happening.
The Sharks seem to be getting back on a roll. If this was their slump, watch out.
using tissue from retired NFL athletes culled posthumously, the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) is shedding light on what concussions look like in the brain. The findings are stunning. Far from innocuous, invisible injuries, concussions confer tremendous brain damage. That damage has a name: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE has thus far been found in the brains of five out of five former NFL players. On Tuesday afternoon, researchers at the CSTE will release study results from the sixth NFL player exhibiting the same kind of damage.
CNN American Morning
Watch more on concussions and the brain Wednesday
6 a.m. – 9 a.m.
CNN American Morning »
“What’s been surprising is that it’s so extensive,” said Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, and co-director of the CSTE. “It’s throughout the brain, not just on the superficial aspects of the brain, but it’s deep inside.”
CSTE studies reveal brown tangles flecked throughout the brain tissue of former NFL players who died young — some as early as their 30s or 40s.
McKee, who also studies Alzheimer’s disease, says the tangles closely resemble what might be found in the brain of an 80-year-old with dementia.
“I knew what traumatic brain disease looked like in the very end stages, in the most severe cases,” said McKee. “To see the kind of changes we’re seeing in 45-year-olds is basically unheard of.”
Okay, we’re getting proof this is pretty serious crap. Can we PLEASE get beyond the “heh heh, bell rung. shake it off and get out there” mentality and do something? Bluntly, if there’s an argument against fighting in hockey, THIS is it. As I’ve said before, I really want to see the league get serious about attacks to the head — but it’s hard to rationalize that position with fighting in the league. You can’t hit someone in the head, unless you take your gloves off first?
At the same time, it has to be done in a way that preserves the physicality of the sport. And the tradeoffs there are tough ones, it’s not as simple as outlawing hits to the head or trying to do away with fighting.
But because it’s tough doesn’t imply it shouldn’t be tackled. Just that the answers aren’t as simple as many fans and media types want to portray it to be.
I’m listening to XM radio, and they just led in with Paul kelly opening his press conference where they announced they weren’t re-opening the CBA (good move!). With him were six players, including Joe Thornton and Vincent Lecevallier. Also with him were some other NHLPA officials including Glen Healy.
And listening to it, I suddenly realized there was a big name missing.
Where’s Eric Lindros, NHLPA Ombudsman? There were rumors of friction between Kelly and Lindros a couple of months ago, but they quieted down, and since then, not much.
But — now that I think about it — I can’t think of any reference or sighting of Lindros at the All-Star Weekend. Anyone know if he was there?
Because it sure looks, given that he wasn’t included in a very important set of meetings at THE in-season get-together for the NHL and the NHLPA, that he’s been purged or exiled.
Anyone seen Eric Lindros recently?
The only reference I can find of him is his speaking at the Concussion symposium. Lindros simply isn’t talking about it. Kelly is merely saying “Lindros continues to work for the NHLPA”. But clearly, something is going on here, because Lindros really should have been at that press conference, and not only wasn’t, doesn’t seem to have been mentioned.
From the robot chicken folks. Enjoy!
(hat tip: Brian Fies)
updated to point to the copy at Adult Swim….
There. I said it. I know that’s an unpopular opinion in some places, where it seems it’s better to say nothing at all than actually compliment the National Hockey League, but what the hell.
I have gotten really, really tired of the hyper-serious criticism of the All-Star game. It’s far from perfect, but from listening to some of the pundits, it needs to be taken as seriously as the Cup Final, and the fact that it isn’t is some kind of felony that folks should go to jail over. Or something.
Honestly, here’s how these folks sound to me: It’s just a meaningless exhibition, but if the NHL doesn’t fix it and make it relevant and force players to treat it like a real NHL game then they all suck and the league should just fail and be done with it. And this game is really for the fans, but the fans are too stupid to be trusted with the voting; god forbid, tehy’re actually voting for who they want in the game and not the players we, the media, say should be there. So we need to prevent the fans from actually getting involved in this.
Yeah, right. Really, a lot of the media griping about the game and the action surrounding it are both taking this stuff WAY too seriously, and taking themselves way too seriously as well. I suggest the best way to improve the All-Star game is for a bunch of these people to just chill out. Not that they will.
I think it’s important to put the game in its proper context. What IS the All-Star game, or what is it supposed to be? Here’s what I think the key aspects of the game are:
- It is a chance to give most of the players in the league a much needed break and some rest in the middle of a six-month grueling marathon.
- It is a chance for the league to throw one hell of a party, celebrating itself and throwing a party for the fans and for the people involved with the league: media and sponsors especially. They are the people who paid a good chunk of the bills, so if nothing else, creating a place to bring them in and let them have a good time once a year is a good thing to do.
- It is a chance to humanize and promote the players, and to show off aspects of the league you don’t necessarily see on a daily basis in games — it’s a real showcase for the skill within the game and the people who make the game special.
- It is a chance for a city and a team to promote itself and bring a fun and exciting event to its fans.
- It is a chance for some of the players to get together in a non-competitive situation and get to know each other and have some fun — and learn from each other and share the experience of the game away from the “must win” competitive pressures.
It is a chance to showcase the game to non-fans, both within the host city, and secondarily to the rest of the continent.
Notice that “showcase to non-fans” comes WAY down my list of priorities here; dead last, in fact. Having fun is part of the intent of the game on many levels, for the players (especially), for the sponsors and media that are involved in marketing and covering it, for the fans, especially fans in the hosting city. Montreal packed 21,000 screaming, happy fans in that arena two nights in a row, and the number of fans involved in various activities for the weekend was well over 100,000 — and they seemed to be loving it. The building both night seems buzzing with energy. The players were having a lot of fun, and a good time was had by most. Most excluding, from what I can tell, mostly media types who were taking this all so seriously and seem unable to allow folks to have a good time.
That’s the big hint here: this is a freaking party. And that’s how much of this criticism strikes me — we’re at a beach at the party, and some folks pull out a net and a volleyball and get a game going, and everyone has a good time. Except for the two guys standing on the side complaining that, like, these players aren’t even TRYING to spike the ball or block a shot, and that sucks.
It’s not the party or the game that’s the problem, it’s those two guys who have a problem. They’re taking it way too seriously. Unfortunately, those two guys have a newspaper column or a TV spot, and so people don’t hear about all the fun everyone’s having there, they mostly hear the whining about things. Put it back in perspective, folks.
Now, that doesn’t mean the All-star weekend can’t be improved. Anything can be improved. Except maybe my writing, which is of course prefect. Given that, what would I do?
One of the big gripes about the All-Star is the voting. Personally, I don’t see a problem, if this came is truly “about the fans”, with the fans getting excited and involved in choosing players. it seems silly to say “we want the people in the game that the fans want to see” and then complain about who they choose, but what the heck. I’ve been hearing and reading people trying to “fix” this problem coming up with “solutions” that so complicate things you need a lawyer and an actuary to sort out the answers, but they all boil down to letting fans vote without really counting those votes. Yeah, that’s a great solution.
I think we can defuse this with a couple of simple changes:
- First, change the voting slightly. Instead of voting for the starters in the East and West, have them vote for one forward, one defenseman, and one goalie in both the east and the west. Call them the fan favorites or something, and they are sent to the All-Star game. After that, the coaches, GMs, league officials and players get together and choose the rest of the rosters. Fans can go crazy voting, but they send fewer players to the game and those players aren’t necessarily starters. I doubt the fans will mind — I KNOW they’ll mind a lot less than some of these suggestions where fan voting is diluted and only counted 40% and whatever other convolutions we get in the way.
- Second, change the skills competition. Right now, the skills competition is populated by players who are also All-Stars. I want to see the fastest skaters there, not the skaters who are the fastest All-stars. So as part of the selection process, include players who may not play in an All-Star game, but deserve to be there to compete in the competitions.
- Third, include the requirement that all teams be represented, but that this representation is spread out across all events on the weekend — Skills competitions, Young Stars, and the All-Star game. By the time we’re done, we’ll be roughly doubling the size of the rosters, and between that and reducing the number of players chosen by fans to start the All-Star game, it shouldn’t be hard to get the worthy players into the games and the best competitors for the different events and have all of the teams have representatives to root for.
Those changes will increase participation and remove most of the points people complain about in putting together All-Star rosters, without creating new complications or exclusions. All fans have team members to root for during the weekend, the fan choices cna be there, and wee can still make sure the best players and the players that most deserve the recognition get to the weekend and get that recognition.
As to the format, I wouldn’t change it too much. I like the two day, multi-event format. I do miss the Legends game, which has been replaced by the Young Stars. I like the Young Stars, also, so here’s my suggestion:
- Day 1: Skills Competitions and Young Stars. This year’s format for day one seemed pretty good, so I wouldn’t change it.
- Day 2: start the day with a return to the Legends game in some form: say, two 15 minutes periods. I also think you could have some fun and do a 15 minute period between the media and the coaches — there are enough ex-NHLers in both camps to make it interesting to fans, and I, for one, would love to see the reaction of the crowd when a coach skates down Pierre McGuire and puts an elbow into him in the corner. Just for fun, you know.Just think of it, we could have Glen Healy and Darren Pang as starting goalies, with Kelly Hrudey and Wayne Thomas cleaning up. If they want, they can sit in chairs and wave their sticks at stuff — I won’t mind.
End result: four events, two each days, two events showcasing today, one each showcasing the future and honoring the past. A good time will be had by all, except, as usual, the goalies. And even Luongo seemed to enjoy getting his jock repeatedly stolen tonight, so perhaps the goalies are figuring it out, too.
Do you really feel this game should “mean something”? Even though it’s an exhibition and a party? Cool. For each event, the league and the players association put up $50,000 each, to be donated to the charities chosen by the winning team members. That’s $400,000 going to charity based on how well the teams play. That’s more than enough to get the players motivated to win, but not something that will make them do things that might get them hurt or piss off their coaches when they get back home after this. And the charities win, and the league and PA win because they’re contributing to help people in need. The good PR and goodwill this could generate would be huge, yet it still keeps the game in perspective for what it is: part of a big party where the league is celebrating itself and doing away with the competitive pressures and stress of the long season for a few days.
Everyone wins. Everyone has a good time. Nobody gets hurt. And then the players go back to work and start trying to kick each other’s butts for another few months. But for a few days, everyone lets their hair down, forgets the stress and grind, and has a good time.
Well, except for those two guys whining that the players aren’t even TRYING, and that SUCKs.
Of course they aren’t. That’s the point. What part of having fun don’t these guys understand? And why does everything in the universe have to have some reason to it, or some “winner”, or some purpose? Isn’t having fun enough?
To me, it is. Hell, I was sitting five rows up, right on the goal line when Owen Nolan pointed. You think I’m ever going to forget that?
And do you think Nolan would have done that if the game had really mattered? Of course not. And that’s the point. The most important thing we can do to “fix” the All-Star game isn’t fixing the All-Star game, it’s for us to stop paying so much attention to the people who can’t see the All-Star game for what it is (a fun party) and insist on trying to turn it into something serious, something that “counts” or “matters”. Hell with that, toss me that volleyball and get me a beer, ya know? If you don’t know how to have fun, don’t come to the party and try to ruin it for the rest of us.
The reason why the NHL and its players are resisting a simple ban on all hits to the head is this: Bodychecking is part of hockey, and it isn’t just for show or intimidation. Defending in hockey depends on playing the body. Playing the puck is too risky, because skilled players can move it around and leave you chasing air. You defend by stopping the puck-carrier with body contact as far from your net as possible.
To successfully do this, you must keep yourself positioned between the attacker and your net. This requires a specific angle of approach and perfect timing or the player will get past you. So what happens if his head is in front of his body in your line of approach? There is no way to avoid hitting it. Or what if he falls at the last second? There is no time to stop or change your trajectory.
However, I believe there are ways to eliminate the problem of hits to the head. Here is my proposal, fully explained:
1. Create a rule banning “high hits” the way we ban high sticks. A high hit could be defined as:
a) Any time a player leaves his feet to make a check;
b) Any part of the checker’s arm being extended above his own shoulder prior to or at the moment of impact;
c) All contact with another player’s head by anything other than a shoulder.
There are some really good ideas on dealing with the problems of hits to the head here, from a former player who ended his career with a concussion.
I’ve been thinking down similar lines, but I think you can define it in simpler terms — Extend the ban on high sticking to include the arm from the hand to the elbow. Any hit to the head by a hand, forearm or elbow is a penalty. (personally, I’d love to see this penalty, and high sticking, upgraded to be a minimum double-minor, with five minutes for blood drawn or injury, and match for intent to injure, but that’s a secondary argument).
Force players to learn to keep their arms down, the way high sticking forces them to keep their sticks down. encourage hitting, but make it clear hits are done body to body using the shoulder. By outlawing the”forearm shivver” and the guys who lead with high elbows, you’ll solve the worst of the injury-causing hits. That these hits are generally seen as dirty, and I doubt anyone wants to argue that an elbow to the jaw is a “hockey play”, makes this a reasonable path to pursue, without markedly changing the game or reducing the physical aspects.
In many ways it IS simply an extension of high sticking; the forearm and elbox are as dangerous as sticks, and really have no purpose being in that position for a hit, other than a guy trying to hurt or injure a player.
I also like his idea of tightening up late hits by making it clear what the parameters are. In hockey terms, one second is a long time, more than enough to recognize the puck has left and pull up on the hit. I’m all for it.
I’ve been adding more sites to the Links page (well worth a browse if you haven’t, and which I’m going to continue to add to for a while as I remember what I forgot).
I’m getting around to cleaning up some of the loose ends to when I shut down siliconvalleybirders.org (for now). I do plan on relaunching the site in 2009, and hopefully, version 2 won’t suck (why it did and why I parked it is its own “learning experience” which I’ll talk about down the road).
For those of you looking to do birdwatching in the Santa Clara County area, the best places to get started are:
- South Bay Birders Unlimited: Birding in Santa Clara County.
- There’s also the Santa Clara Valley Audubon web site for local birders
- if you’re a photographer, don’t forget the Bay Area Bird Photographers group that meets monthly in Palo Alto.
- Finally, a key resource is the South Bay Birds mailing list, now hosted on Yahoo, which is where the sighting reports happen. If you bird in this area, you really should keep an eye on that list for the interesting birds showing up.
With the bay access in the county, the wetlands are a huge part of the county birding environment. Much of the bay edges were converted over the years into a series of salt ponds for harvesting salt; this is slowly being reversed over time, fortunately. There is a web site with information on the restoration project and maps of the areas being restored
We’ve had maps of the salt ponds available, but when I fired up my site, I did some experimenting of re-doing the maps in Google Maps. My Google Map version of the Salt Ponds is available here.
Ashok Khosla, who’s a board member with SCV Audubon, did a version of the maps that’s really pretty neat in Google Earth. It’s a free download from Google, and if you have Google Earth installed, you can download this file and load it into Google Earth and fly through the area and see how the ponds are laid out.
This is a neat hack, if you ask me. I’ve been experimenting with some of the Google Maps I did and trying to figure out how to improve them and make them more useful and start building an updated listing of the common birding spots here in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, where I do about 95% of my birding. Until I relaunch the birders site, I’m going to post that information here and make it available, because I think for now, it’s better to focus on the content and then migrate it to a site when it’s complete than build a site and then fight to populate it with content.
Ultimately, I hope to have things set up so that all my photos are geotagged with a latitude/longitude so the location can be found, and that Santa Clara and San Mateo counties have tagged maps that can be used as birding guides for those counties, at least in Google Maps, but hopefully in Google Earth as well. I have some other interesting ideas I want to explore, including seeing if we can interface to eBird in various ways and mapping out notable birds and rarities into some kind of automated map. Lots of ways we can take advantage of today’s online environment to make birding more fun and make birders better informed. All it takes is time and energy…
So what to do about the NHL All-Star Game, which started as a nice idea (as a fund-raiser for the injured Ace Bailey in February, 1934) and once upon a time, actually bore a reasonable facsimile to the way the game of hockey is played: With passion, intensity and in a hard-edged physical manner.
Now of course it’s an entirely different animal – a game of glorified shinny that some players choose to skip if at all possible. It’s seen by them as one more obligation in a season that stretches endlessly for the very best teams – from the September start up to the June celebrations, if you’re lucky enough to be the last team standing.
via globeandmail.com (like removed, no longer available): A game of glorified shinny.
the NHL network, which is the background noise here in my office when I’m working at the computer and there’s nothing else on, has been showing the 1980 All-Star game from Detroit this evening. That’s the one that was Howe’s last and Wayne’s first, with Phil and Tony Esposito, Larry Robinson, Marcel Dionne (my guy!) and Bossy and Gainey and Shoenfeld and a bunch of others, most of whom you’ve probably heard of and many of whom are significant players in today’s hockey management on various teams.
Funny thing is, watching this game, what do I see? A bunch of players skating at 3/4 speed, maybe stick-checking, effectively no physical play, no body checks, no significant forechecking, and lackluster defense.
Sound familiar? Yeah, it sounds a lot like the modern-day All-Star games everyone is whining about and complaining that they aren’t like they used to be in the old days. The only difference I see is the score: there is, in fact, a bit more of an attempt at defending the slot — but mostly what I see different about that game from recent All-Star games is that modern All-Stars are a lot faster skaters, and when you’re skating at 3/4 speed, it’s a lot easier for a faster skater to go around you, so there’s more undefended high-percentage shots. No wonder there’s more scoring now.
But it sure doesn’t look to me like the players then were playing anything close to a “real” NHL game, and it sure isn’t the kind of physical fest you’d expect with guys like Bill Barber in the game. it looks like — gasp — an All-Star game.
you don’t suppose that, just maybe, the problem is over time people have come to remember the All-Star games as better than they really were? The big difference I’m seeing is that players then played at 3/4 speed on both offense and defense, while today’s players are ramping it up on offense in the game — and honestly, unless you want Craig Ludwig to come out of retirement, is there any player in Montreal that’s going to go down in front of a shot to block it this weekend?
It really looks to me taht the only significant difference between this year and 30 years ago is that the players today are faster and better shooters, not that the players in the earlier games cared more or worked harder…
Gary Bettman has put a black eye onto the All Star Weekend. Friday afternoon, he announced that players chosen to the All Star Game who are chosen to play in the All Star Game and cite an injury as a reason to not play in the All Star Game must either attend the non-game schmooze fest part of the weekend or miss at least one game either before or after the All Star break. Effectively, this suspends players for the first game after the break who decided not to attend the event.
There are several reasons why these suspensions are unfair. The first is that they apply only to players chosen to the All Star roster and not the Young Stars roster.
Second, there is significant precedent for players opting out of the All Star Game. It has been happening for years. Some fans and the league complained, but nothing had been done to punish those players.
This is all problematic because it is an example of Gary Bettman trying to expand the power of the commissioner. There is no precedent for suspending players who miss a league event.
The only problem with this commentary is that it’s not true.
The rule isn’t new. It is, in fact, a clause in the standard player contract, which means it was part of the negotiation of the CBA with the Player’s Association. Paul Kelly confirmed that in Montreal today, in fact. And this wasn’t exactly a surprise, Gary Bettman noted today that GMs were warned before the season started that the league was tired of players taking advantage of the league cutting them slack and that they were looking at clamping down on this. So the teams really have no excuse to be surprised. Some of the players that have taken advantage of not going to the All-Star game (Brodeur, for instance) did, in fact, not play in the first game after the break, although it wasn’t portrayed as a suspension. I’m not sure if Luongo did the same without doing the research.
This is a rule that’s been in existance for a number of years. The league has shown some discretion in enforcing it — and as a result, more and more players abused the situation, and now the league is cracking down. This is Gary Bettman’s problem how? oh, right. all problems are caused by Gary Bettman.
And in fact, Bettman also said today that the current rules don’t include the young stars in the requirement to attend, and that he will discuss this with the board of governors and that will likely change for next season. So the reason Mason and some of the Young Stars aren’t in Montreal is because Bettman wasn’t being arbitrary about the rules and wouldn’t change them without going through the formal processes — exactly the opposite of what he’s being accused of here. Gee. A little research does wonders some days…
The players want a partnership with the teams in working together to make the league better and more successful (and richer?). Well, you can’t cherry pick WHEN you want to be partners. And part of marketing the game is, well, marketing the game, and that includes showing up at the All Star weekend and doing the press thing and the sponsor thing and making the fans happy. Because isn’t that what both sides are supposed to be about?
Well, I guess not when it’s inconvenient.
By the way, there’s a more subtle, secondary issue here: replacing one of the Red Wings was San Jose’s Patrick Marleau, who went willingly and happily (and last-minute-ly. oh, never mind..) as a replacement. With San Jose and Detroit in a tight, really tight battle for the Presidents Cup and first seed in the west, one could make an argument that the Wings are impacting the Cup race by holding back their players without a good reason and instead causing a Shark to go in the place of one of them — thereby resting their player, and causing a Shark to miss out on his days off.
So what if Marleau pulls a groin two weeks from now? What if the Wings end up winning the President’s Cup by a cople of points? An argument could be made — these two teams are THAT closely matched — that if the Wings had held to their obligation and Marleau had stayed home and rested as originally decided, maybe it would have been different.
So it may seem like a trivial issue, but the fact is these players are in violation of their contracts — AND it has some interesting wrinkles in the way it could potentially impact how the teams finish down the stretch. Of course, people who write about hockey don’t need to worry about those kinds of details — but Gary Bettman does.
I can’t take credit for this idea, but I dig it and I’m going to tell you all about it anyway. I read this suggestion somewhere yesterday as I was browsing the various blogs where Wing haters were sobbing about this and this. I’ll try to track down who mentioned it yesterday and give credit where it’s due. Also, it’s been done before…back when hockey was hockey and Gary wasn’t in the picture.
Here’s the idea: Next year, when the Wings are defending their twelfth Stanley Cup title? Select an All Star team who will play the Cup Champs.
I have a couple of problems with this.
First, yes, the league did this before. Yes, All-star games back then were more intensely played games. The problem I have is that nobody can actually show that going back to this old format will actually bring back the old intensity. It just seems there’s this big “and magically, everything is fixed” box in the flowchart here. I don’t buy it, I don’t believe it. We shouldn’t make changes just because.
More important to me, though, is how a change like this can and will affect the real games. What was one of the major speculation points going into this season? Yes — how the Detroit Red Wings would cope with and overcome the “Stanely Cup Hangover” and how most of the recent teams have struggled with it (look at Pittsburgh this year; that hangover is at least part of their problem).
So what’s the plan here? Take the team what’s played the most hockey, the hardest hockey, and when the entire league gets a few days off to rest and get ready for the 2nd half of the season, make the entire team play a hockey game against the league all-stars. Of course, even though it’s an exhibition, we’re expecting them to play hard and physical, make it a “real” game, even though it’s an exhibition, because that’s the point of this change.
In other words, take the team likely most in need of rest across the break, and instead of having a couple of their players (well, this year, NONE, but I don’t blame the Wings for pulling that stunt) involved, have the entire team involved.
How is this good for the game of hockey? How is this remotely good for the team involved? Why do we even want to consider making it HARDER for a champion to repeat a second time — and that’s exactly what this idea would do. Heck, we get back to back cup winners so often, let’s throw another obstacle in their way.
This is simply a bad idea. It’s a “I remember the good parts of the 70′s, if we just do that, everything will be great” concept. The problem is, when you start looking at what the idea means in the larger context of the game today, it has a lot of negatives, and it’s a bad deal for the team and for the league. Fixing an exhibition by messing up the real season seems like a bad tradeoff to me. The players need this time off to rest up and heal; taking a player or two from each team to play in the All-Star is one thing. Taking the entire team and throwing away their downtime? I can’t see any team seriously going with that idea without a fight.
Especially since there’s no real reason to believe that it’d fix the problem people seem to be trying to fix, which is that this is an exhibition, and the players play like it is. Just swapping the players around won’t change that basic reality — just as moving to the North America vs. the World format didn’t a few years back. Honestly, does this really need fixing in the first place?
One source among the NHL governors says he and some of his peers are not happy that clubs can buy tickets to hit revenue-sharing targets. They are also not pleased that some low-revenue clubs have started offering larger discounts and more incentives such as merchandise and free trips to people buying single-game or season tickets.
It is all done with an eye to raising enough revenue to land a full share of revenue sharing, which comes out of the pockets of other clubs.
With all due respect to Dirk Hoag, a Preds blogger and fan who I’ve got a great deal of time and respect for, this is a joke. There’s no problem with some of the NHL’s more well-heeled clubs paying out some cash to keep things a bit more equal, but when ticket sales are being distorted and ownership groups are forking out good money for unused tickets in order to beget cash from other franchises?
I’ve got no qualms with the ownership “doing everything they can to make the NHL a long-term success” in Nashville, as Hoag puts it, but not at the expense of other clubs. If Freeman and company want to legitimately prop up their team, their money should be better spent on either marketing the team or improving its chances on the ice.
I’ll take the opposite view here.
It’s not against the rule; if the team spends a million dollars in investing in its own tickets to get back $10 million in revenue sharing money, that’s a great investment; probably even better because they can likely donate the tickets to charity, get people/kids in the seats and get a tax break, too.
Is it a loophole in the rules? Sure. Should the league close the loophole? Probably. But until they do — hey, whatever it takes. Should the owners have been smart enough to forsee this loophole and close it before ever allowing it to happen? Well, that’s why you hire lawyers and accountants. Don’t blame Nashville for being smarter about this than the rest of the league…
Heck, this is a time honored tradition in the NFL, a league often used as a “the NHL needs to be more like them” comparison. A not-very-secret secret is that one reason the NFL stadiums all play to 99.7% of capacity (except for Oakland) is that the NFL blacks out TV in the local market if the stadium isn’t sold out 72 hours before game time — and so teams, and in many cases, the TV station with the rights to the game, suck up all of the unsold tickets to “guarantee” that sellout, just like Nashville now is. And either eat them, or send them to charities.
This starts sounding a lot like one of those “against the code” arguments, like the ones used against teams that sign restricted free agents to offer sheets — legal, but ‘we don’t do that’ (at least whenever it’s done TO a team, instead of BY a team). Of course, the whole ‘we don’t do that’ with restricted free agents was modelled after Major League Baseball, another league the NHL is held up against. Only in baseball, it’s called Collusion, and they’ve paid hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties over it to the union. Fortunately, the GMs in the NHL have more or less gotten over it, much to Brian Burke’s dismay.
Heck, it’s really simple: if it’s not against the rules, don’t complain. Fix the rules. Until you do, don’t complain that Nashville was simply smarter about this than the teams now complaining. That’s no different than any other trade in which one team fleeces another — except in this case, the fleece is money, not players.
I think it’s a great hack, myself. And it brings the NHL one step closer to NFL, which people keep saying is a good thing, by showing that increasingly the league is getting away from things like “code” and “tradition” and realizing that it’s money and winning that matters.. Right? Except, of course, in Oakland…
The ”big story” here should be that attendance has risen significantly in Nashville despite the economic situation and a team that is sputtering of late. They’ve added new corporate sponsorships in the last few months and appear likely to hit the targets required for revenue sharing. Good News, unfortunately, just doesn’t make a catchy headline like the negative stuff.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the “if necessary” part of the story got dropped in the hurry by some pundits to play the “the league is doomed (move them all back to canada where they belong)” game some more. Funny how when Nashville has problems, the press is all over it, but when things go well in Nashville, the press either ignores it — or decides to spin it into a problem anyway.
Something to remember as you read some of these “experts”. More on that later.