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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
Good questions. Here are some hopefully good answers:
Since the NHL All-Star Break has arrived, I figured that this would be the best time to ask some questions out loud and get your thoughts.
- When will New York Islanders’ goaltender Rick DiPietro ever be healthy?
Maybe never. and this is the worst case scenario for the Islanders and that contract, which makes sense AS LONG AS DiPIETRO IS HEALTHY. Which he’s not. And if DiPietro gets hurt badly enough he can’t play anymore, you can buy him out and get him off the cap and move on. but if he’s reliably unreliable, you can’t bring in a new goalie, because if he ever does get healthy, you got problems (and you need a goalie wiling to play with a ghost hovering behind his shoulder). He’s going to mess up the salary cap intermittently, and you certainly can’t trade him — and his salary is only under insurance for so many years (four per contract, I think), so the rest of it is Wang’s problem.
This is the probelm with long, guaranteed contracts; this is the problem the entire NHL has to come to grips with. DiPietro is an extreme case, but the trade off of locking up your “key guys” for a long time is “what happens if they can’t be the key guy?” and as New York is showing us, the answer to “What do we do now?” is “Now we die…”
Teams basically are going to have to learn to be more willing to lose a player to free agency to allow for flexibility and limits to the impact of cap space. Right now, the mentality is still one of trying to protect the investment made in developing a player, but the cost of trying to hard to protect that investment is starting to be understood, and that’s going to mean shorter contracts and more willingness to recognize taht sometimes, you simply can’t throw that many years at a player in a deal.
We saw a similar problem in the first year or so of the CBA with no-trade and no-movement clauses; teams saw that as a way to get players to accept less money, and then got pissed when players fought about waiving them because they became inconvenient to the team (hello, Toronto, this means you); I’m with the players there, and you’re seeing teams roll back on no-trades and no-movements as a way to make it easier to hit the cap number. Long contracts are following that same learning curve. Even, maybe, in Toronto.
- Will this finally be the year that the Columbus Blue Jackets make the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Yes. My gut says so. My heart hopes so. they deserve it.
- Why isn’t Alex Ovechkin a starter in the All-Star game?
Because that’s how it works out. Never have so many pundits and bloggers spent so much time and energy talking about how screwed up something that really doesn’t matter is. Instead of talking about how screwed up it is, why not consider why they’re putting so much energy into it when it’s really meaningless five minnutes into the game this weekend and forgotten two days later?
- With the strong play of New Jersey Devils’ netminder Scott Clemmenson, what happens to Kevin Weekes once Martin Brodeur is healthy?
Look for Weekes to be on eBay. We’ll see who punches the “Buy now” button first. There are certainly teams who need someone like him. But teh bigger question may be “how much longer for Martin”, because Brodeur is going to retire “soon”, do the Devils try to hold this grop together for that eventuality instead of working on a “plan B” when it happens?
- Can anyone else believe that Claude Lemieux is once again an NHLer?
OLD GUYS RULE.
- Who’s better: the San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings or Boston Bruins?
We’ll know in June. We won’t know before. right now, it’s too close to call.
- Could we see an original six matchup in the Stanley Cup Finals this spring between the big bad Bruins and the Wings?
Yes. Will we? Not if San Jose has a say in the matter.
- Will this finally be the year that New York Rangers’ star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist gets recognized as the league’s top goaltender by winning the Vezina Trophy?
Last year, Nabokov should have been, but got aced out by a goalie with a life achievement bonus. This year, it’s hard to argue against Lundqvist, but there’s this new puppy people keep talking about, someone named, um, Mason. It’s funny how the voters are some time….But then, these are the same people who vote but bitch about the all-star voters being stupid, so who knows?
- Will Sean Avery ever play in the NHL again?
Yes. For long? not so sure. For who? good question. Not San Jose, that’s for sure. Although Claude would kick his butt if he got out of line… Hmm.
- Will the press ever look at hockey in a positive light?
Maybe the beter question is “will people ever stop reading the idiots in the press who don’t understand hockey but insist on talking about it?” There’s lots of good hockey writing going on. Read it instead of the idiots.
These are just a few of the many questions that are on my mind right now but I wanted to gauge your thoughts. Leave your comments folks!
I’ve been doing a bunch of early year winter birding, trying to get the winter birds on my list before the wander off. It’s been a lot of fun (my first winter “rush”) and I’ve had some pretty good luck; so far, my year list is at 120 species, about six weeks ahead of last year, and I’ve added a couple of new life birds to the list as well (Red-breasted merganser and ring-necked duck). It almost feels like the birds are parading for me now; I went up to Redwood Shores where I knew a spotted sandpiper had hung out in the past, and in it flew and wandered around a bit (and for good measure, I’ve since seen them twice more, at Vasona and Alviso).
I went off to Sunnyvale Water Polution Control Plant on Monday since the weather was good. I haven’t been there in over a year since I whacked the knee, but now that I’m starting to build in some mileage again, I figured I’d try out to the radar dish and back.
As I got there, a couple of hunters were putting a boat into the channel right where the parking lot is. I figured they would probably scare up anything in the channel as they paddled out (which they did… more in a sec). Down where the pump station is and the channel heads north past the old landfill I had a nice red-tail on the power pole and a california towhee scratching in the leaf mould. Much to my amusement, just as I was thinking “I’ve seen green heron here before”, one flew in and landed. It flex back out towards the water plant when I tried to get a better angle on it, kvetching the whole way. That, of course, didn’t help, because the hunters flushed it twice more before it got really annoyed and flew north up that channel and away from all of us, loudly protesting.
Not much in the reeds — lots of crowned sparrows and some yellow-rumps (mostly heard). On the pond were coots, pied-billed grebes, a few ducks, two snowy egrets, and the occasional d-c cormorant flying by, as well as a single great blue near the landfill channel. Up the hill on the landfill area was a flock of about 25 canada geese.
After making the turn out towards the radar disk, I noticed a black-crowned night heron in the reeds in the channe between the two paths (looking out towards the salt pond to the south). Realizing the hunters were headed out into that area, I decided to stop and watch the show. Ever wonder how many herons hang out in that area? The answer is 35-40 (two were visible to me before the hunters showed up). They also flushed a 2nd green heron and annoyed the blackbirds and two marsh wrens.
After that, I headed back in because I had to deal with some email. I had two probable common yellowthroats, but not enough of a look at either to make them definitive to my tastes.
Oh, out in the field at disk drive trying to convince me they were burrowing owls were a small flock of marbled godwits. Out at state and spreckles I saw a spotted sandpiper, a few western sandpipers a couple of killdeer and the usual suspects (at least one mew gull, no glaucous among the gulls). Out at shoreline I mostly saw people fighting over parking places because it’s a holiday, so I didn’t stick around..
On Sunday, Laurie and I went out for our January trip to O’Neill Forebay and Merced National Wildlife Refuge, before the cranes and geese leave for the northern trip. It was a fun trip, the the drought we’re seeing in California was horribly obvious; the reservoir very empty, the hills already browning into the spring golden colors. Bird numbers at the forebay were light, and numbers at Merced were much lighter than normal. We saw few sandhill cranes at all until the sunset fly-in, and geese were in the thousands vs. the tens of thousands. Talked to a couple of other birders there who felt the same way.
As I write this, it’s actually raining. we really need it; here’s hoping it makes a dent.
My 2008 goals for birding were fairly straightforward; 220 species to the life list for the year, 200 species for the year list, and my long-term goal, which was to find a bird that was a notable addition to the birding group — it’s one thing to chase birds other people find and add them to the list, for me, the real goal is to start finding birds that other birders can then also find.
I missed the 200 for the year by three, partly because of weather and partyl because of holiday time issues; I could have made it but it seemed an artificial thing to do, so I focussed on other things. I’ve since covered the life list with birds that were available in 2008 where I found them, so I don’t feel bad about it.
And I finally found that “special” bird; a red-breasted sapsucker showed up in Redwood Shores and was first seen by me and later refound by others. Even nicer, the photos I got of the bird indicate it’s actually a likely hybrid — red-breasted sapsucker x red-naped sapsucker is the most likely candidate. That made my day, and turned into a really nice find. I’ve got photos on flickr for those interested.
When I went down to Vasona, I ran into a couple from the East Coast birding the lake, and we had a nice chat. One thing I like to do when I run into non-local birders is share what I know and help them better see the area — it’s a real joy to see birds we see here as common in fresh eyes. In Vasona, that was talking about snowy and great egrets, as well as showing off black phoebes, one of those birds you basically have to shoo off around here — but to someone from back east, they’re true joys to sit and watch as they chase bugs and flit around. It’s a fun way to step back and see the hobby from a different viewpoint.
My birding goals for 2009?
I’m not settting any hard goals right now. I want to continue improving my ID capabilities and see what I can accomplish. My current hope is to explore more of Santa Clara County (where I do about 60% of my birding) and San Mateo County (where I do about 30%) and visit a wider variety of habitats. Now that the knee and ankle are to the point I can start doing more walking (and I need to start building my mileage and conditioning again) it’ll open up more places to go walk and bird. I still want to do this mostly for enjoyment and the challenge, and not turn it into a chore.
One of the things I’m experimenting with is using Google Maps do document birding areas and sighting locations. Once I get that under control I’ll start posting those maps here; when I get enough content to make sense, I plan on relaunching siliconvalleybirders.org sometime this year (why the first one failed is a story I’ll write about one of these days, but the domain is currently parked waiting for V2). I think there are some nice capabilities for helping people bird the area, and we’ll see how it goes.
So 2009 has started out really well; the ability to show up and have species like Green Heron just pop up and say hello won’t continue — but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
And to think I could have stayed home and watched paint dry….
What can you say? Last game before the All-Star break, and a whole lotta “I don’t want to spend the break in a hot tub” broke out. Vancouver got a goal early on a really good shot on one of their few offensive chances in the first, and went into an 0-5 and tried to hold the lead for the rest of the game.
The Sharks played like they really didn’t care much one way or another. spent lots of time in the offensive zone, little time actually fighting for quality shots.
Yawn. The Sharks woke up late and decided to win it, Vancouver didn’t notice until it was too late, and then Henrik takes a stupid, lazy penalty in OT and that more or less hands the game to San Jose. Vancouver wins a point, San Jose gets two they really didn’t deserve, but neither did Vancouver.
In the “not sure what I expected” department: the arena all but gave Claude Lemieux a standing ovation just for coming over the boards and skating a shift. As I kept saying to people around me, “old guys rule”. I love the Sharks fans, they tend to get the game in ways not all fan bases do, and one thing I think they got here was just how hard Lemieux worked just to get to this point, and they recognized him for it. As do I. He looked in pretty damn good shape for at one point skating for the Vancouver Millionaires.
How’d he do? skated hard, hit bodies, drove to the net, took really, really short shifts, and got a few shots on net. Didn’t do anything that made me think he deserved a promotion off the fourth line, didn’t do anything to make me think he didn’t deserve to be there. Earned a second game in my book, and that’s good enough.
Hell, I noticed him on the ice more than I noticed Sundin. Honest. I mostly noticed Mats skating when he was gliding back to the bench ending a shift. He just didn’t do anything to make me see him taking shifts.
Hey, watching this game was great practice for watching the all-star game, right?
Imagine Rob Blake’s surprise Monday when he walked into the dressing room in San Jose and saw none other than Claude Lemieux.
Blake had not yet heard his team had called up the veteran winger, so that’s how he found out.
“It was nice to run into him,” Blake told ESPN.com. “It makes J.R. and I a little younger on our team.”
Blake and Jeremy Roenick are both 39 years old, puppies compared to the 43-year-old Lemieux, who also happens to be two and half years older than Sharks coach Todd McLellan.
“But he looks in great shape,” Blake said of Lemieux.
Before we continue, crow must be eaten. We promised to run through the press box naked at the Stanley Cup finals if Claude Lemieux’s NHL comeback bid came to fruition. Ahem, media colleagues, you’ve been forewarned. Please make sure to have eaten dinner before we make good on our promise next June.
“That’s why we called him up,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson, joking of course, told us Monday.
We weren’t the only ones to make fun of this comeback bid. The laughter was universal around the hockey world. And Lemieux took notice.
I never thought this would happen. Fortunately, unlike Lebrun, I won’t be running around naked any time soon. Civilization is safe.
I’ve gotten a couple of emails asking me why the Sharks are doing this. I mean, look at the record; they don’t need the help.
Well, that’s not Doug wilson’s style. He won’t be satisfied ujntil this team wins the Cup. There’s always some experimentation on how to make the team better. They’ve been auditioning kids all season, and except for Kaspar (who played his way off the team), they’ve all done pretty well, but none have played themselves onto a permanent spot on the team yet. Good, not great. they don’t make the team better. They do give the Sharks some sense of comfort that if they need the depth due to injuries, they have it, but none of them bought a permenent spot in San Jose.
So, plan B: Lemieux. try him now. The major risk is it doesn’t work, and there’s little damage done anywhere. Nice try, even if it doesn’t work. If it does? the sharks are better. If it sort of works? the Sharks have showcased a piece they can maybe trade at the deadline. Lots of upsides here, maybe small ones, but unless Lemieux runs over joe thornton in practice and tears joe’s ACL, no real downside. Attitude issues? Hell, the Sharks could stand being a little less “nice”, and those same questions showed up with roenick early on, and see how that worked out. you can bet Wilson (and McLellan) aren’t worried about chemistry or locker room issues; those were discussed and resolved before we got that far (earth to Brett Hull: your season was avoidable, if you’d only talked ot your team and your coach, and listened to them. Wilson did, bet on it)
I’m intrigued. I hated Lemieux’s hit on Draper; I loved watching him win the Conn Smythe. he’s going to be fun to watch, even if it’s only two games and back to Worcester.
Hey, maybe we should do signs for the Vancouver game that say “Old guys rule!”
Open source projects should be judged as much by their community as by their technological achievements. The code tells you what it’s good for, but the community tells you what its future is.
Communities need to be active to continue improving the project, deal with bugs and changes to their ecosystem. If no one is interested enough to talk about the project, none of that will happen. Newcomers need to meet experienced users to be sold on why to use the software, to get help as they learn their way around, to maybe be drawn into contributing to the project itself.
I nice view of the dynamics of communities by Peter Harkins. One of the aspects of this, I think, is that from the communities I’ve been involved in over the years, the smaller the set of people actively involved in the decision process, design and implementation, the more sensitive that project is to fading or falling apart if the life or motivation of a key member changes. For that reason alone, communities really need to foster new members into the project and ways to recognize and enable the most effective and capable into the “inner circle” where they’re ready and able to step up and move a project forward. If you don’t do this kind of “succesion planning” from the start, when you need it, it won’t be there.
Geeks tend to think you don’t need marketing, but they’re wrong. Marketing, even of an open source project, is key to enable adoption and convince people to evaluate it and join the project. projects really should consider community growth as a key metric in he success of a community, and communities really need to look at outreach, evangelism, and recruitment to be tasked out the same way bugs, features and documentation are, and those members should be part of the “core team” whether or not they actually code.
One reason it looks to me that Rails has taken off faster than django is simple: the rails guys did a lot of talking and promoting and evangelizing of rails, where the django folks have been quieter and less self-promoting of themselves and the technology.
A technology nobody knowss about may be great, but it won’t change the world.
okay, it’s official. THAT was a hell of a hockey game.
Mid January, rolling towards the all-star game break, just two teams looking forward to the break in a meaningless mid-season game.
well, not quite.
Sharks carried the game and momentum pretty well most of the game. Detroit fought hard, but really had trouble at times getting into the zone and setting up, and when they did, they rarely kept the pressure too long. Doesn’t matter, though, they proved quite capable of taking advantage of opportunities and could easily have won the game without domination. That kind of game.
It was a game in which secondary scorers (Errhoff, Cheechoo, Clowe). Errhoff and Semenov get solid notice for stepping up with Blake being out.
This was your classic heavyweight battle (“DOWN GOES FRAZIER! DOWN GOES FRAZIER”) and a true classic, both teams body punching each other for 60 minutes.
Not to me. Unless you want to make the statement that these are the two teams to beat if you want out of the west. It really felt like the first game of the Western final tonight. Neither team has beaten the other on the road; if one does, then maybe we can talk statement. But in reality, it’s going to be like this until one team or the other goes home for the summer, and I’d certainly bet that the other team will be the one sending it home. These are the teams to beat, and there won’t be a true statement made until it’s done in the playoffs. Two really, really good teams playing really good hockey. Eleven goals, and not a soft one in the bunch. Damn….
I like it! Especially after the Calgary game, which was also a hell of a hockey game, even though the Sharks lost. To me, one of the biggest reasons to chase the Presidents Cup this season (not something I’d normally worry about) is that if Calgary is the third seed, you don’t want to be the second seed.
Right now I’d call the West (1) San Jose, (1) Detroit, (3) Calgary, (4) Minnesota. Which means whoever comes out of the west has a hell of a challenge. And honestly, I’d rather face the Wild than the Flames, and I’m not dissing the Wild here.
Progress: Torrey Mitchell being sent to Worcester on a conditioning assignment | Working the Corners
Sharks are sending Torrey Mitchell to Worcester on a conditioning assignment. And, yes, that’s a good thing — it’s a sign that his leg is game ready and now it’s a question of making sure his fitness level is up to speed, too.
Mitchell has missed the entire season after breaking his leg on the second day of training camp. He’s been practicing with the team since Dec. 23 and this is the next phase of his return to the lineup in San Jose.
This is great news. It’s hard to forget, but the Sharks run has continued (with very few glitches) despite a series of injuries, including a couple of significant ones (Nabokov, for instance). And Mitchell, it’s easy to forget, was expected to be a key member of the third line, and the Sharks haven’t missed a step without him and his skating speed and hustle.
Nice that he’s getting closer to returning. It’ll just add to the depth of this team, like it needs more depth.
Because of a lease that makes it virtually impossible to move the team out of its publicly financed digs in Glendale, without entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and because the team seems doomed to lose huge amounts of money there in perpetuity, it is hard to imagine anyone buying the Coyotes while the team is tied to its current home. That means the league doesn’t have to worry about Jim Balsillie riding to the rescue and making things complicated, but it does have to wonder whether there’s anyone out there who is rich enough and irrational enough to buy the franchise and keep it in Arizona in the teeth of a deepening recession.
So there are no obvious Band-Aid solutions here.
Except I’ve seen and heard multiple sources say that the league is working with the Coyotes in discussion with the city on renegotiating the lease. If that renegotiation fails, then all bets are off, of course — if it fails, chapter 11 for the Coyotes is probably likely, and then all bets are off.
But the reality is the city of Glendale can’t afford to let the Coyotes fail and go Chapter 11, perhaps even more than the league really doesn’t want it to. So something will likely get done here. And when it does, folks like Brunt will likely find a way to spin it against Bettman anyway…
Funny how Steve Brunt neglected to mention the thought of the lease being renegotiated. Except, of course, it doesn’t fit the way he wants to spin the story, which is to be as negative as possible against the league and Bettman. Funny that.
What nobody seems to be asking is why the Coyotes signed a lease that — even with trivially simple information on the revenues and market involved — you can see it’s not financially possible to make money as it’s structured. Heck, even a sports reporter ought to be able to figure that out and ask questions, and frankly, very few sports reporters ought to talk about the business side of hockey, since they only look silly (same is true of hockey bloggers….)
But the Coyotes did; personally, as bad as the old arena in Phoenix was, the Glendale arena is better hockey, but much worse from a business standpoint. A good question would be why the league didn’t work harder with the Coyotes THEN to either get a good deal, or open the discussion of relocation, which might have forced a better deal on the Glendale arena authority. And if not, move them. That is, to me, where there might be criticism of Bettman here: a reluctance to relocate a team even in the face of an impossibly bad lease arrangement. Now that the lease is signed, there’s no way out except a renegotiation under threat of nuclear war, or pushing the button and blowing it up. The league really, IMHO, not let it get this far, but somehow, everyone convinced themselves they could grow the market and make the lease sustainable. In retrospect, even without the economic meltdown, that was a bad business decision.
I’m all for not moving teams out of markets — but if the only options are moving and sucking your owners dry, I’d choose on moving. And moving a team might make the next negotiation with another city a little easier…
The assumption has long been if the NHL ever gets to a point where it is serious about realigning the conferences, the first order of business will be to move Detroit into the Eastern Conference, which would set up some interesting rivalry possibilities with Toronto, Buffalo and Ottawa.
LeBrun: Scotty, I wouldn’t be so sure about moving Detroit. I think Chicago, among others, would have serious issues with that. While I agree it’s never made any sense to have the Wings in the Western Conference, the Original Six tie to the Blackhawks would be tough to break up.
Speaking as a Western Conference fan (and someone who lives on the West Coast), the thought that the NHL would take a FIFTH original six and stick it back in the west honestly pisses me off.
One of the consistent criticisms of the NHL is that it’s never broken out of it’s “traditional” markets in the US (this despite 99% ticket sales in San Jose, strong support in Dallas, Good attendance in Anaheim/LA (just not both at once), Stanley Cups in Colorado, etc…).
And yet then people pressure the league to “stack the good stuff” in the east. Put Detroit in the East. Let’s do an unbalanced schedule, so those poor eastern teams don’t have to travel so much. If it’s not Canada and the Northeast, well, let it fend for itself. Here in San Jose, we didn’t see the Maple leafs for something like six years because of the way the schedules were done, first to allow Canadian teams to play each other more often, then for the unbalanced schedule. At least now, those of us out west will see the original six every other year.
So what message would putting Detroit back in the east send to the western conference? Yeah, that the league really IS a parochial, regional league and only Canada and the Northeast region matters. Those of us who live elsewhere who are strong fans of the league love listening to the Toronto and New York media push that agenda, too.
If you really want to grow the league into a national presence, you don’t do it by retreating from your non-core markets. You do it by investing in them and nurturing them. If the western teams don’t get to see the major crowd-drawing teams more than every fifth year, how exactly are you supporting the growth of the league out west?
Forget online voting and Mike Komisarek in your starting lineup: Here are my 42 choices as the best players so far this season. Unlike the NHL’s list, I won’t make an effort to include all 30 NHL teams, so some top clubs have a lot of representation.
I agree with Mirtle almost to a person. That should scare James….
I would have placed Boyle instead of Vlasic; that’s not because I don’t think Vlasic isn’t worthy, it’s that I think the three big D on San Jose (Vlasic, Boyle, Blake) all deserve at least honorable mentions, and honestly, I think Boyle has been the most consistent and game-changing. Lost in all of this is Christian Erhoff, who’s having one hell of a year, but isn’t throwing the offensive numbers, and Doug Murray, who’s taken up the “none shall pass” role that allows the other D to activate. It’s a hell of a crew. But if I can only choose one to send to Montreal, I’d honestly send Boyle. But it’s a tough call.
It’d be nice to see Devin Setoguchi get some recognition, but it’ll come. Just not this year. But I can’t really argue with any of the choices James made, and the only one the NHL made that irritates me is Luongo; not because I think Nabokov deserves it instead (he doesn’t), but because Luongo just plain old doesn’t. oh well.
I’ve stayed out of the whining about the All-Star balloting and all of that — too many people taking it way too seriously, mostly, it seems, because they need something to fill time and space over ,and it’s no fun unless it noisy.
Every way of choosing teams like this is flawed, and people will argue about them. Is the All Star game about the fans? if so, shut up, even if they decide to nominate Rory Fitzpatrick, or what we used to do in the old days, the “50,000 votes for Andrei Nazarov” campaigns in San Jose.
Or is the All-Star game about the best players? Then get rid of fan voting and let the GMs and coaches decide.
Complaining about box stuffing by Montreal is silly; every team’s booster groups do this to a greater or lesser degree; I’ve seen fans grab entire cases of ballots and “vote” through use of a power drill to mark 6″ stacks of ballots in one operation. Going online is nothing new here.
Ultimately, I like the current setup. The fans choose the starters, the league fills in the reserves. Fans are given and excuse to get involved and excited (and if you listen to some of the “fans are stupid” group, that’s a BAD thing. Hello?) but the league gets to choose the rest of the roster, so when all is said and done, maybe one or two players a year might get left out.
Big deal. Me? I just can’t get up the urgency to whine about this; I think the right people and right decisions happen 95% of the time, and after all, the only reason the All Star game exists is so the fans and pundits have something to complain about with it’s bad play and lack of intensity.
Me? I’ll just sit down and watch it and enjoy it for what it is. Let the players have a bit of fun in the middle of the league’s grueling schedule, let the league party a bit and let its hair down, and stop thinking too hard or getting too anal about what really doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things.
Sources tell TSN the National Hockey League is expected to schedule a hearing today to determine discipline for Ottawa Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu following a biting incident Tuesday night in Buffalo.
Paul posted a better clip of the incident earlier, and there indeed may have been a bite,
The league is going to hold Ruutu in isolation for ten days for a rabies check, unless his current owners can show an up to date rabies vaccination.
Peters is probably going to end up taking a shot protecting against canine distemper, just in case.
I can’t think of a better posting on today’s keynote than this posting from Webomatica.’
<p><a href=”http://www.webomatica.com/wordpress/2009/01/06/2009-macworld-keynote-fails-to-meet-reduced-expectations/”>2009 MacWorld Keynote Fails To Meet Reduced Expectations » Webomatica – Technology and Entertainment Digest</a>: </p>
<p><i><blockquote>In the history of MacWorld keynotes, I’ve tried to be conservative when it came to expectations, dialing them back several levels to avoid disappointment.
Well, that strategy didn’t work this time.
I felt my list of predictions set the bar so low even a Dell executive could have walked over them. Still, Apple struggled to clear it:
1. New Mac Mini: Better processors, graphics card, new form factor. (no)
2. New iMacs: Better processors, graphics card, yada yada. (no)
3. 17 inch MacBook Pro: The non-removeable battery rumor makes sense based on other products, most obviously the MacBook Air. Expect a slide with some stats about how little users actually remove their laptop batteries. That said, I still think it’s a bad idea. (yes)
4. iLife 09: Addition of some online features. (yes)
5. New Apple TV: Apple’s overdue to do something with this product, with added pressure from Netflix and Boxee. There may be some tweaks to the rental window and the addition of new services – Hulu would be a no-brainer. At most ambitious, I could see combining the Mac Mini and Apple TV into one product, but I’ll put that prediction as unlikely. (no)
6. Snow Leopard: More details and demos of this OS with a big emphasis on speed. (no)
Items 3 and 4 were fulfilled. I thought 1, 2, and 6 were no brainers, and 5 really should have happened if only to keep ahead of the competition.
Now, I’m not picking on him — that’s a common expectation set for Apple. This is a perfect example, though, of why Apple has moved away from the Macworld Keynote as a marketing vehicle.
Think about that laundry list: and Jason notes he considers it a low bar to jump over! Stop and think for a second about the keynote if they’d actually announced all of that. Four hours? Five? Would anyone have been able to pay attention at the end?
Now, Apple has, in fact, pulled this kind of rabbit out of its hat in the past; it’s created this kind of expectation. On the other hand, we’re in a maturing technology reality — home runs are increasingly difficult to pull off. Mac OS X is mature; iLife is mature, iWork is maturing. The hardware continues to innovate, but Apple’s real innovation is in new product lines, not in new Macs. So the keynote of old is really almost impossible to pull off — and that’s assuming Apple could pull all of those products together at the same time.
What did Apple do?
Significantly upgraded iPhoto, to the degree that multiple pundits are saying that Google’s Picasa for the Mac had one day, and then was shot dead. That’s a rather strong statement to make, and if any other company had made such significant changes, people would probably be drooling — but for Apple, it’s “ho, hum, new iPhoto. next?”
Significantly upgraded iMovie that has movie geeks drooling a bit. Yet again, in the context of the keynote, it’s considered rather minor. Microsoft would kill to have ONE of these two products to push at CES. at Macworld, they’re almost afterthoughts.
Apple’s first serious foray into cloud interactions with iWork.com; and in case anyone hadn’t noticed, it’s really the first quiet step targeting iWork at the office environment, especially the SOHO and distributed team (web workers, anyone?) groups. Now, it’s just the first toe, but it’s a big toe, and it’s making a huge statement where Apple sees future growth and innovation. And it was almost an afterthought for Apple — and pretty much ignored by the crowd.
The new Macbook — bringing not just the unibody technology, but significantly upgraded video, display and processing. Oh, and oh, yeah — a complete re-invention of battery technology.
And this is considered a weak Macworld. In many ways — it is. And that’s the problem. And it’s the problem Apple is handling by ending the keynote; expectations run unrealistically high, and there’s no practical way to either meet those expectations, or ratchet them back to some rational level. Apple can’t win.
And that’s really my bottom line — if this set of announcements were done by any company BUT Apple, people would be ecstatic. But because this is Apple, and god help us, Apple at Macworld Expo in January, people are disappointed.
One final thought: when Schiller started the keynote, he made a comment that this was all about Macs; which is what it should be, given this is Macworld. That’s why talks about iPhones were silly, they don’t fit the event. Yes, Apple has ignored that and promoted non-Mac things at Macworld, but it’s tried to keep the focus over the years.
And I’m wondering if that explains why the Mac Mini and Apple TV weren’t here. Besides time — we really can’t do five hour keynotes, folks — what if those products aren’t Macs any more, but whatever is moving into this space is some new product line, the same way that the iPhone and iPods are? Chances are, whatever “living room server appliance thingie” Apple come sout with WON’T be a mac, even if a Mac is embedded inside. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see these things come out down the road, but marketed as consumer devices and not Macs. And in that case, I can see why Apple wouldn’t talk about them here.
We have to remember: when Apple started the Macworld keynotes, Apple WAS THE MAC. That was their product. Today, Apple has a number of product lines that aren’t Macs, and increasingly is about things other than computers (even if everything it does is tethered to one or has one embedded in it). Man fans have translated Macworld into “whatever Apple does”, but in reality, it should be, and needs to be, about the Mac. And so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Apple is moving away from an event that less and less matches what the company is and will be moving forward.
I thought Schiller did a decent job. Laurie’s remark was he needed the writers to script it for him and not for Steve, and I think she’s right. Perhaps the shift was a rather late decision. But overall, I have no complaints.
The worst complaint I can really come up with is that it wasn’t revolutionary (although the iPhoto and iMovie changes, and the battery technology, really are revolutionary improvements in those areas) — it’s just that when you’re Apple, merely being evolutionary is considered failure.
Be glad people don’t hold you up to the standard they hold Apple up to, folks.
One of the biggest complaints about Apple’s iPhone is that you cannot remove and replace the battery yourself. On the eve of its final Macworld Expo, it appears Apple is willing to live with that complaint for the newest version of its MacBook Pro line of computers as well.
And here’s why: this is a non-issue. Here’s why.
Way back in the days of ancient history, Apple came out with a computer called the Mac IIci – and people howled, because god help us, it only had three expansion slots, where previous computers like the Mac II and it’s brothers all had SIX. Horrors. Apple’s screwing its users, how will we ever live with just three slots? And — horrors — one is taken up by the video board! So it’s really only two! (and five, on the larger boxes)
Well, of course, the IIci went on to be one of the most successful, well-loved Macs ever. What the people complaining about the reduction in number of slots didn’t know, and woudn’t have listened to if they’d been told, is that Apple had a number of studies showing that only 3% of owners of those boxes used more than those three slots. 97% of Mac buyers were paying for capacity that they didn’t need and never used.
Now, if you ask me, THAT is the horror.
How many Mac Laptop owners ever swap a battery? How many own two batteries? I used to religiously carry a second laptop battery; I finally realized that I was using it maybe once a quarter (even though I also religiously swapped batteries every couple of weeks so they both stayed charged and fresh. do you? No, dind’t think so).
I’d be amazed if 10% of Apple Laptop owners own a second battery. I’d be amazed if half the users who own second batteries use both batteries more than occasionally.
Making a battery replacable has costs; it complicates the engineering, it adds components and connectors — things that can fail. It changes rigidity of the unit. All in all, it makes the device both more expensive and more prone to failures. How can those things be good things?
Answer: they can’t, especially when (pick a really conservative number!) 75% of the owners never use the feature and can’t benefit from it.
That’s why companies (not just Apple) move to non-replaceable batteries. Cheaper, more reliable, and for most devices, users don’t actually replace the batteries. It’s a big non-issue, except for the really loud and noisy minority — the power users.
And even for them, this is a solved problem. Just look at the iPhone. Or more correctly, look at these products from Kensington, Mophie, Richard Solo, to name just three. Battery charging systems exist — and really, have made the replaceable battery on an iPhone unnecessary. The technology has moved beyond swapping spares.
So, if Apple announces this Tuesday, the usual suspects will complain, and the usual companies will go to work and quickly announce options making this a non-issue.
Which is what it is.
Comments moved from the old blog –
Wow, the comments for the replaceable battery really are very narrow minded aren’t they?
I mean a battery that lasts for 5 years which is roughly the age of the laptop on average is a bad thing? Not particularly bright there people.
There’s no reason why someone couldn’t release a battery pack that plugs into the Magsafe either so it’s not all doom and gloom.
Also, what really is the likelihood that you’re going to be away from a power source for longer than 8 hours? Seriously. Sure you might be in a third world country but then so will your replacement battery so what is going to get that charged?
I have an extra battery because I use my Mac to record FM broadcasts over the day at some conferences I go to. However, that’s because I only get 4 hours to my battery. I wouldn’t worry so much with an 8 hour battery because that is more than enough for my needs.
Posted by: Loweded Wookie | January 11, 2009 at 04:54 PM
When I read about a 17″ macbook with a 7-8 hr battery life, I was impressed. Most of the comments I read around the internet are less than impressive. Why do people whine and complain all the time? especially mac users? They sound like little children. About any new product introduction… if it doesn’t fit for you, then don’t buy it. Some people will because it makes sense for them. And people who whine about price, give me a break. If it is too expensive for you, just don’t buy it. There is no reason anyone has to buy a mac after all, just get a vista notebook if price is such an issue. Or buy a macbook, they are affordably priced and still quite powerful. Pop in a 7200 RPM 320GB drive you buy at your local computer store, and you have a pretty decent computer. Attach a 24″ non-apple monitor if you need 1920×1200 resolution… and you have a pretty decent setup. You can even buy yourself some extra batteries if that’s your thing. Personally I’m excited at the prospect of getting a 17″ notebook with enough battery to last me for sufficient time if the power goes out. I could still use the laptop with 3G during a small blackout. Even though price is steep for me, especially since I just bought a macbook pro.
Posted by: mark | January 11, 2009 at 12:20 PM
OK, fine, it’s a non-issue for you. I have 400-500 Mac users and half of them travels the world regularly and they all have spare batteries. Every university wll have an issue here. Some people even carry two spares. For these people non-removable battery is a dealbreaker. This is another boneheded decision on Apple’s part, it’s simply to force people to pay Apple to service their battery. There is absolutely no other reason to have a non-removable battery.
Posted by: Adam | January 08, 2009 at 07:16 AM
I have a second battery mainly for travel, because of the limited life. I’ll happily trade the removable option for 8 hours of battery life
Posted by: koke | January 06, 2009 at 01:01 PM
IMHO this is bullshit. I didn’t pay for the convenience of swappable battery so that I can lug a replacement battery around. I paid for that feature so the day my battery died I could go to the nearest store that had Apple products and buy a new one. I don’t need that option for all parts of the machine, but I do want it for the one part that is guaranteed to fail within the useful lifespan of the product.
I expect high quality products from Apple, and I’m willing to pay a higher price for that. I certainly wouldn’t do that if I expected that, after just two or three years, I’d throw the machine away anyways. This would pretty much the opposite of the “environmentally friendly” spin Apple are trying to put on this issue.
Posted by: nex | January 06, 2009 at 12:06 PM
Okay, well… yesterday I said I’d be okay with this if the battery life was around eight hours… lo and behold, they’re claiming 7-8 hours depending on which graphic chip you’re using. I can live with that and will definitely be upgrading.
Posted by: Jeff | January 06, 2009 at 12:00 PM
The IIcx had the extra video card; the IIci had it built into the main logic board. At various jobs I used II, IIx, IIfx, IIcx, IIci. None of these had any other cards in them and even if you wanted them NuBus cards were scarce and very expensive. So yeah, I can totally see that argument.
Oh, and my old Powerbook G4 (aluminum 1.5GHz) battery still works fine. When I had an iBook G3 I bought an extra battery and I think I swapped them once while on the road. Otherwise I just rotated them every month or so.
Posted by: Forty2 | January 06, 2009 at 07:42 AM
I understand the arguments from both sides. Personally, I never saw the need of a replaceable iPhone battery.
But: A new notebook battery lasts 3 to 4 hours. That’s not very much time. And a battery gets worse with usage. A phone is typically replaced in 2 or 3 years, but notebooks, especially from Apple, last much longer (and are more expensive). My iBook is 6 years old and just fine (still using the first battery which lasts about 1.5 to 2 hours).
My PowerBook is just about 3 years old. Unfortunately, the THIRD battery is dead right now. I doesn’t even last for 10 minutes. This just sucks. I have to buy the FOURTH battery in 3 years now. And I am certainly not a power user and using the PowerBook as a desktop replacement for the last 1.5 years, not a mobile working environment.
If I had the big MacBook Pro and send it in once a year for about one or two weeks to Apple just to replace the battery, that would be very, very ugly.
Nevertheless, the big MacBook Pro is nothing I would call a “mobile” device. It is too big for me, a desktop replacement. So an integrated, non-removable battery might be okay.
What are peoples’ experiences with the MacBook Air battery?
Posted by: LK | January 06, 2009 at 06:56 AM
main problem is the hard boot. my old powerbook developed at one point the nasty habit of hanging itself everytime I inserted a DVD, as well as on some other occasions. at this point you cannot restart in any other way than to disconnect the power supply, remove the battery and put it back in. with a fixed battery, you need some other way to cut all power supply, like a pinhole button. if that is still possible, I see no problem with a fixed battery.
Posted by: mzungu | January 06, 2009 at 06:36 AM
Most complainer assume that the battery won’t be easily user replaceable. Isn’t the MacBookAir battery user replaceable?
Count me is yet another user who sticks to one battery. The one good point is the need to pull the battery to deal with a hosed computer — but I am yet to have to do such a thing with my unibody MacBookPro — maybe things have become more reliable.
Posted by: Ted T. | January 06, 2009 at 06:23 AM
I have a 15″ 2.2GHz MBP. When I used to play World of Warcraft on it, I’d have to remove the battery or else the system would get so unbelievably hot. Same thing when encoding long video clips.
With that said, I suspect any Mac laptop with a built-in battery would provide at least 10 hours of use. That’s something I think would cause people to overlook the battery issue.
Posted by: Dennis McLaughlin | January 06, 2009 at 06:21 AM
I wish more cell phones had internal batteries like the iPod. I’ve had several that had battery covers that either broke completely or were unreliable (cover could come off in your pocket) after a few months of use. There’s a big advantage in not having vital functionality (holding the battery in place) be performed by tiny little plastic clips.
Laptops, I’m not so sure about. It should be something that can be changed out either with a regular screwdriver or 30 minutes at any Apple authorized shop. It’s an errand you have to do, but not much different than going to the store to buy a new battery, and it’s not like the battery just fails instantly.
Posted by: Ben | January 06, 2009 at 06:20 AM
After less than 1 year my MacBook Pro battery now stores about 10min charge. I’m very glad it’s easily replaceable…
Posted by: John | January 06, 2009 at 04:24 AM
My Apple laptop batteries were dead more than one time. I had to replace them several times. Giving away my laptop to have the battery replaced is no option.
Posted by: foo | January 06, 2009 at 02:59 AM
I don’t have a spare battery, but I’ve had to eventually replace the battery (sometimes twice or three times) in pretty much every portable I’ve ever owned. Sending the thing in to Apple for a few weeks simply to get a new battery would be annoying (we don’t have Apple Stores over here in Europe, so we have to send the hardware to Apple every time there’s an issue).
Cell phone typically don’t survive for more than a year or two. Apple notebooks, on the other hand, often live five years, or more.
Posted by: LKM | January 06, 2009 at 01:24 AM
There is a power outlet almost everywhere you want to work. On the plane seems to be the biggest issue, but to be honest, who the hell can open the 17″ on a plane w/o hitting the person next to you? or without the person in front of you crushing it when they lean back? And if you’re in first class and have all that nice room, then you probably have a nice power outlet.
Extra batteries are becoming a thing of the past for laptops. If this rumor is true, Apple does need to ensure that proper replacement can be done within 24 hours (or less).
Posted by: John | January 05, 2009 at 09:28 PM
1. I have a spare battery, ordered it when I ordered my MPB originally.
2. There have been numerous times when I have had to hard reboot my PB, meaning disconnect the AC AND the battery to get the damn thing back from a black display or non-responsiveness. I’ve known others who have had to do the same thing. It’ll be hard to do this with a non-removable battery.
end of line
Posted by: mike | January 05, 2009 at 07:46 PM
1. I have a spare battery, ordered it when I ordered my MPB originally.
2. There have been numerous times when I have had to hard reboot my PB, meaning disconnect the AC AND the battery to get the damn thing back from a black display or non-responsiveness. I’ve known others who have had to do the same thing. It’ll be hard to do this with a non-removable battery.
end of line
Posted by: mike | January 05, 2009 at 07:45 PM
Unless this new battery has very impressive specs, I think it’s reasonable to be concerned. The “spare battery” isn’t the only use case.
Only a nit-wit would compare an iPhone to a MacBook.
Posted by: anon | January 05, 2009 at 06:55 PM
The one thing people suggesting external auxiliary batteries seem to forget is that the MagSafe power connector is proprietary. Unless Apple licenses the design, how will you connect such an accessory?
(And for the skeptics, I have seen many laptop batteries fail to hold a charge after one or two years, necessitating replacement.)
Posted by: Benjamin Wilkes | January 05, 2009 at 06:42 PM
The issue isn’t really whether people can carry around two batteries, it’s whether they can replace it when it fails.
Posted by: Simon | January 05, 2009 at 06:32 PM
From my experience it isn’t fair to compare iPod or iPhone batteries to the ones used in Macbooks:
So far I replaced 4 laptop batteries in my mac life: two macbook (non-pro) batteries for my girlfriend’s and my own machine that didn’t hold a charge any more after a year (of course right after the warranty expired) and two batteries for my ageing G4 Powerbook. Needles to say, I am very happy that I was able to replace the batteries myself without having to send the machines in and pay shipping + the technician. Pretty dismal experience here, especially with the Macbooks.
On the other hand, my iPhone battery still lasts just as long as the first day after a full charge, even after 1.5 years, and my girlfriend’s first gen iPod still works fine.
Conclusion: If the batteries lasts as long as iPod batteries do, and replacement doesn’t cost much more than buying the replacement part, and the swap can be done in the Apple store, I am game. Otherwise, I’ll complain.
Posted by: florian fangohr | January 05, 2009 at 06:24 PM
It will be interesting to see how they address memory/hard drive access, as these are things that I’ve upgraded on all 5 laptops that I’ve bought this decade. (I did not buy a battery, although did think about it–ended up buying a $2k replacement battery instead (entire computer))
Posted by: Matt | January 05, 2009 at 05:22 PM
I am not entirely opposed to an internal battery for a laptop. My concern is what to do when the battery dies. I am finding that my portable computers are lasting me a little longer with each generation. My wife and I are both on our third iBook, and never bought a second battery before this year.
This year we both got new batteries. We just have not yet gotten to the point that the upgrade is compelling, but the lack of power was beyond annoying.
As long as the battery is easily (and rapidly) replaceable and it isn’t going to cost me more than what a battery costs me now, I don’t have a problem with the concept.
The other argument I’d like to air is this: Just because people don’t use it does not mean it isn’t a selling point. Perhaps instead of asking how many people actually used the slots we should also consider how many people made a buying decision based upon their availability.
I think this is the same reason we keep hearing about a mini-tower mac. There seems to be a reasonable number of people who would pay for the expandability, even if they will never use it.
Posted by: BME | January 05, 2009 at 04:54 PM
Another point to add in is that 17″ laptops aren’t so much laptops as portable desktops? They’re pro machines after all. If you want something to surf the web on the couch or bring on business trips for word documents and presentations you buy something more portable! Like an Air (or a 15″ MBP if you need the screen size.)
So yes you *can* use these 17″ beasts without being plugged in but, really, i imagine most people that have one for the work they do is attached to the mains for at least 90% of the time.
Just something else to add to the mix….
Posted by: roj | January 05, 2009 at 04:27 PM
You´re so right. I don´t know ANYONE with an extra battery for their MB or MBP. And I know at least 40+ persons who has one..(MB or MBP that is…)
Posted by: Dev Singh | January 05, 2009 at 03:55 PM
EU discourages non-replacable batteries and with Apple going green these still will be removable. And what about HD replace? Alan is right.
Posted by: LMPogoda | January 05, 2009 at 03:44 PM
heh, when the Mac II was announced I started saving $$$ and two years later had the $3000 — enough for the down payment + $3000 loan (Apple’s Loan to Own) — for the IIcx.
The loss of 3 slots was SO not an issue and I don’t think ANYONE was complaining about saving the $1000 or so compared to the Mac IIx — which was still offered for sale BTW.
The IIci came out some months later (GRRR) but cost a bit more so over all the IIcx was the best choice even in retrospect. Used it on 3 continents from 1989 to 1996.
Posted by: Troy | January 05, 2009 at 03:30 PM
One more situation not mentioned so far:
If the internal battery is higher-capacity, it may be higher-enough capacity to approach two full batteries, which means you’re carrying a lot more capacity with you at all times with no need to swap anything.
Which means a fixed battery is actually something of a *convenience*.
I’d much rather not carry an extra battery, especially now that MacBooks require you to shut them down entirely when you swap batteries. You have to figure in the power required when you run through quitting apps, shutting down, rebooting the Mac, relaunching apps when swapping to that 2nd battery.
Posted by: GodOfBiscuits | January 05, 2009 at 03:24 PM
I think Apple’s thinking is that the 17″ MBP is often used as a desktop replacement, and hence will be sitting at a desk and plugged in to a powerpoint most of the time.
I’ll be curious whether they’ll move the 15″ MBP line to a non-removable battery as well.
There’s no doubt that a built-in battery has its advantages, but I wonder if it’s worth the trade off…
Posted by: Gerry Quach | January 05, 2009 at 03:04 PM
These claims of Lithium Ion batteries lasting less than a year, or a few months as one commenter claims, are simply ludicrous. What are you doing to your batteries to make them die like that? My iBook’s battery is going strong after about 4 years. I even have an ancient Powerbook whose battery still works.
Regardless of whether eliminating the removable battery is a good idea, you guys must be doing something very odd with your batteries. I use Lithium Ion/Polymer batteries for many different applications, and they are very reliable and long-lasting.
Posted by: Dave | January 05, 2009 at 02:59 PM
I’m on about my fifth “pro grade” Apple laptop since switching in 2001.
I am a hard-core power user working in IT security.
The laptop has always been my primary machine, and I travel a moderate amount for work.
I have never owned a spare battery. I would rather carry a power supply than a battery. Thinking about it: I frequently have multiple power supplies, which are far more useful that batteries.
Posted by: Richard Lane | January 05, 2009 at 02:45 PM
I see some people hinting at this, but I don’t see it clearly stated: There’s a large gap between “two tabs and it drops out” and “It’s soldered to the motherboard.”
The battery could be inside the machine, with very little housing beyond the cells, with screws (4? 8? 16? Lots) holding it in place against the chassis. It could even have a connector similar to the current one, or some other simple to detach non-solder connector.
Given the easy of disassembling the current unibody machines, I think that Apple could easily make a battery that was entirely user-replaceable, on a clean desk with a screwdriver.
I use a 17″ and I have a spare battery. I usually take it on airplanes, if I can remember where I put it. When I buy a new laptop, I expect the current battery will be incompatible. Instead of a second battery, I wouldn’t at all mind getting some sort of thin slab that goes underneath my machine.
Posted by: gopi | January 05, 2009 at 02:40 PM
The silent majority finally speaks out!
Batteries are really a non-issue for the majority of people.
Posted by: Rudiger | January 05, 2009 at 02:33 PM
Chuq: A couple of minor points from an old Mac II geek:
The IIcx was first – and yes, one of the three slots was reserved for a video card if you wanted to use the thing.
Apple DID respond to some of the complaints by putting in shared RAM on-board video for the IIci. Thus, the IIci was really a three-slot machine.
Sorry if it seems pedantic, but things seemed so much simpler then, so I wanted to make sure you got it right.
Posted by: Doug B | January 05, 2009 at 02:21 PM
I only have one battery for my 15-inch aluminum Powerbook. However, I work on lots of other people’s laptops of many makes, replacing keyboards, hard drives, DIMM’s. I always disconnect the AC adaptor and remove the battery before I do anything. If the battery is not removable, is there anyway to disconnect it from motherboard?
Posted by: crprod | January 05, 2009 at 02:09 PM
I understand that this post is from a business perspective, but even from that perspective I fail to see Apple’s logic.
First, any money and engineering toil Apple saves on by making the battery nonremoveable might very well be lost in their need to set up an efficient method of servicing every MacBook whose battery fails. That means more call center operators, more overnight shipping, more technicians. Why would Apple be so willing to create so much trouble for themselves?
Using the iPhone or iPod as a guide to how to manage without a battery simply doesn’t work for a computer. I’d love to see your design for a sleek, unobtrusive battery pack like those available for the iPhone for a 17-inch laptop.
But more importantly if we’re talking about business, the turnover rate and disposability of iPods and, to a lesser extent, iPhones is such that often one battery will last the device’s lifespan. I know many people who, on learning their iPod battery is dead, just decide to buy a new one. Why not? It’s maybe slightly more expensive and you get the new snazzy version to boot. Computers are entirely different. Nobody will throw out a computer just due to battery issues and a computer’s lifespan is much longer than an iPod.
Suffice to say, more users will be affected and it’s more trouble and exasperation for everybody involved.
I’ve never argued against the design of the iPhone or iPod batteries, but a laptop computer is a different situation entirely. Taking away the removable battery would not only be unpopular but would make much more trouble for Apple, too.
Posted by: Emmet | January 05, 2009 at 01:56 PM
I agree completely with the spirit of this piece. I expect that with a larger portable, like this 17″ model, there’s an opportunity to build the battery right into the unit in a way that enables a much larger battery. But that battery might comprise part of the portable in a way that would render it not-easily user-replaceable. So, that’s an opportunity for a third party to sell a charger unit that enables a spare battery for the smaller MacBooks to recharge the 17″-er. That spare battery does NOT go into the machine, but charges it externally. But so what? You’re hauling an extra battery around anyway!
If the internal battery actually does break down, you take the unit apart to get at it. More trouble than a smaller MacBook, where it’s on-the-go-swappable, but not like an iPod Nano where you have to throw the unit away, either.
So: Bigger, more capable battery, with better unit integrity, but more trouble to swap out. (Basically you only swap it out if it breaks down, not just because it’s out of juice.) It’s a very worthwhile – even desirable – tradeoff, and it makes all the sense in the world.
Posted by: walter | January 05, 2009 at 01:22 PM
I WANT to be able to EASILY replace my battery if the need arises. On iPods or MacBooks. PERIOD. I don’t ever plan on buying an iPod if i cannot replace my battery.
Posted by: walter | January 05, 2009 at 01:16 PM
Author, generally a valid point, although more valid for the consumer line of MacBooks than the most professional of laptops that Apple sells. In any event, people will whine and then adapt.
A few quibbles, although I generally agree that battery switching is probably only done by the very smallest percentage of users who don’t deserve to have the laptop crafted to their needs if it can lead to beneficial tradeoffs:
1) Battery packs like the Richard Solo aren’t *as* feasible when it comes to juicing a laptop, especially when you’re traveling with limited amounts of space.
2) As others have noted, part of the benefit of a replaceable battery is not the option of extending one particular laptop session, but also the ability to replace a worn-out battery. As others have noted, of course Apple will provide an option to have the battery replaced if you fork over your computer for a certain period of time. But this is a big pain in the ass that all of us would probably rather avoid.
In sum, if it happens, the loss of a replaceable battery won’t cause me to have a hissy fit, but I hope it comes with an upside, and something better than just a reduced risk of having a part fail.
Posted by: Scott | January 05, 2009 at 01:00 PM
Funny, I’ve never had a second battery for any of my laptops over the years.
(Hell, I’m still on the original battery on my 600mhz iBook!)
For those of you whom a user-replaceable (or rather, user-replaceable-without-breaking-the-warranty-or-unscrewing-anything) battery is a “hard requirement” – have fun not buying a new 17″ MacBook, then.
I agree completely with Chuqui’s belief that the cost/benefit may well not be there for Apple – and a minority of Power Users not liking it doesn’t change that.
(I’m inclined to agree with Mark that it needs to be replaceable by a user or company, but I’m not at all sure that it needs to be “pop two buttons and swap it” easy.
I’ve replaced my own hard drive and optical drive in a white plastic Core2 iMac, and if it’s easier than that it’ll suffice.
I also can’t imagine Apple making it less easy, if only to preserve sanity for their own techs.)
I’d be shocked if Apple sold a laptop that needed to be mailed in to get its battery replaced; I won’t be shocked at all if they make a laptop that needs to be taken apart with a torx driver to have its battery replaced.
That alone gets them 95-99% of the benefit of not having latches and case openings, while removing the “our company won’t buy Apple laptops because we’ll lose a week mailing them in every six months” factor.
Large benefit, low cost: no-brainer.
Posted by: Sigivald | January 05, 2009 at 12:58 PM
The 15″ MacBook Pro are the most popular and so will remain the most flexible.
17″: not so popular. Chief complaint: big, heavy. Solution: non-removable hard-drive . . . less weight and size, more sales (perhaps)
Posted by: bud | January 05, 2009 at 12:50 PM
I routinely use two batteries (and yes, I do swap them every couple of weeks even if I don’t drain the main one). When I fly cross country, I need the second about 2/3 of the way through the trip. I have found airplane power to be unreliable with the MacBook Pros (at least on American Airlines). First, not all seats have power and second, the power is not enough to keep the battery from draining slowly.
Posted by: makfan | January 05, 2009 at 12:43 PM
Maybe the people carrying a 2nd battery/swapping batteries out is 10% of the installed base or less.
But let me pose a different scenario:
The defective battery:
I have a 15″ 2007 MBP that, upon entering it’s 12th month of usage, started to exhibit a battery that wouldn’t hold a charge of more than 30-45 minutes. I had no choice but to buy a new battery because the one that came with it was 1) no longer under warranty, and 2) unusable in it’s current state.
If that battery was sealed in the case, I’d 1) had to pay the Service Tech fee for replacing it professionally, and 2) have to wait for the machine to be professionally serviced.
Now, I know that the MBA is a super dead easy replacement. Still, if I want to replace the battery, I have to drop it off at the Apple Store and wait for them to replace.
With the current MBP, all I need to do is buy another battery and stick it in.
Oh, and as a developer, at both WWDC’s I’ve attended, I’ve always carried a 2nd battery. Apple even recommends that you do so.
Call us whiners if you like. But if Apple can engineer the 2008 MB/MBP with a replaceable battery, there is no reason they can’t do the same with the 17″.
Posted by:| January 05, 2009 at 12:33 PM
1. About the only time I hit the “drop core” triggers (dropping the battery out of my MacBook Pro) is when it’s completely lost its mind and nothing else will force it to restart. Doesn’t happen often, but it’s happened a few times in the last two years, and the same had happened to the PowerBooks before it (actually, more often on the PowerBooks). Without the drop-core triggers, I’d have to just let the unresponsive brick sit there until the battery drains completely.
2. But, for the guy wondering about the flying tubes he calls “airplanes”: get a grip. If you’re taking a 17″ MacBook Pro on the airplane with you you are either (A) in first class, where there is a power connector provided for you, or (B) roundly hated by your neighbors (on whose legs your 17 inches are resting), the guy in front of you (who can not recline) and the guy in back of you (because you have to recline just to see the screen at the angle it can open to).
The 17″ MacBook Pro is not and never will be designed for air travel. It’s a non-issue.
Posted by: Tom Dibble | January 05, 2009 at 12:22 PM
I have an 1st Gen MacBook Pro. I am now on my third battery. This computer is NOT that old.
Posted by: Gregor | January 05, 2009 at 12:14 PM
A non replaceable battery does not mean a non serviceable battery.
They aren’t going to solder it to the motherboard and some company like OtherWorld will make a replacement that you can “upgrade” to in 3 easy steps.
Posted by: Rus | January 05, 2009 at 12:06 PM
This is absurd – a battery that can be swapped out quickly is a hard requirement for a laptop. Or maybe a seven-hour battery, but that’s not happening soon.
Ever heard of something called an “airplane?” They’re the tubes that go in the sky and move you from place to place quickly. They almost never have power. You have to carry spare batteries if you fly routes that are significantly more than the life of your battery.
A battery that requires a screwdriver to change out is far beyond idiocy. Fire the fools who think this is even a reasonable thing to suggest in a MBP, much less ship.
Posted by: James Moore | January 05, 2009 at 12:02 PM
I’ve never owned a second battery, but I’ve replaced loads. The whole point of a laptop is being able to use it away from a power source, which inevitably drains the battery’s capacity.
Posted by: Church | January 05, 2009 at 11:56 AM
Chuck – you are absolutely, 100% right from a business perspective, and I would understand Apple’s decision to do this if the rumor turns out to be true.
Yet, as one of that small percentage of people who do rely on this ability greatly, I hope this rumor turns out to be completely false. I live and die by my 17″ MacBook and travel extensively, so I’m often away from power outlets for hours on end.
I will probably upgrade my computer when the new 17″ models come out, so it will seriously impact me sad to be limited to one battery unless they’ve greatly increased the battery life (up to, say 8 hours or so).
Posted by: Jeff | January 05, 2009 at 11:50 AM
People love to complain and I think the comments on here about laptop batteries lasting less than a year are simply absurd. If you’re using the machine the way it’s suppose to be used, the battery should last you years, not months. I’ve owned 2 Powerbooks in the last 8 years and not once did I have to replace the batteries and they still work just fine.
If non-replaceable produce a better overall product then I’m all for it.
Posted by: Antonio | January 05, 2009 at 11:45 AM
I don’t believe this rumor, and here’s why: Apple did a great job redesigning the 15″ MBP so that the hard drive and memory could be easily accessible. It doesn’t make sense that they would throw this away in the 17″ model.
Posted by: Alan Gabrielli | January 05, 2009 at 11:28 AM
Oh come on, just because users don’t swap batteries doesn’t mean that they don’t need to replace them. Li-Ion batteries go bad in 2 years or less. I can’t see why it would be a good thing for users to have to send one’s laptop back to Apple to get a battery that holds a charge.
Posted by: odysseus | January 05, 2009 at 11:24 AM
I think the MacBook Air is an important example to mention: it has no user-replaceable battery (technically it’s possible, but not likely to be something even the average Power User will do) and yet it sells like hot cakes. It’s hugely successful _and popular_!
Similarly, if there’s an engineering solution that would omit the replaceable battery but still allow easy access to the memory banks (for RAM expansion) and the hard drive, I have no doubt that they’d do it sooner or later.
Posted by: Faruk Ates | January 05, 2009 at 11:20 AM
I don’t use two batteries myself, but I do hold on to my laptops for a long time, long enough that I have had to replace the batteries on more than half of the ones that I buy.
I don’t know how that might affect the stats, though (nor do I know how a resale market for older Apple laptops would, or if Apple would even consider the resale market in this light.)
Posted by: Dennis | January 05, 2009 at 11:17 AM
Wasn’t the IIcx before the IIci? I remember the IIci being only ~15% faster, but yes, both were well-loved
Posted by: Derek Pearcy | January 05, 2009 at 11:16 AM
Sorry. If Apple does this, it’ll just further the notion that buying Macs isn’t cost effective. Only about 20% of my users buy additional batteries, but better than 50% have to have those batteries replaced before the machine’s lifespan is out. In our situation, that means about a week out of commission while the machine goes back to the service depot. Not cool _at all_.
I don’t care about the iPhone’s battery. But making something like the MacBook Pro battery non-user-serviceable isn’t acceptable to this .edu institution.
Posted by: Brian Little | January 05, 2009 at 11:12 AM
Don’t need a removable battery. Never once changed out the battery on any of the five PowerBook/MacBooks I’ve owned. If it makes the machine lighter, stronger, and makes the built-in battery life longer (as it likely would), then go for it.
Posted by: GregM | January 05, 2009 at 11:07 AM
When a battery lasts a year before being unable to hold a charge, but a laptop can last up to five years (I’m still using a 12″ powerbook), a replaceable battery is a must. I’m on my fourth for the laptop, and it’s time for a new one.
Posted by: Chris | January 05, 2009 at 11:04 AM
In a company, replaceable batteries are a must. It’s impossible to justify keeping a large stack of spare macbook pros on-hand due to their huge cost. Without the ability to swap batteries, we will go back to PCs for our users. Users trash their batteries every 4-6 months. We do not throw out computers that fast.
Posted by: David Jones | January 05, 2009 at 10:10 AM
Just had to deal with t-mobile germany to get my gen1 iPhone repaired, i can tell you, that i am not looking forward to ever have to send my iPhone off again for a Battery replacement. Don’t even get me started to think ybout having to send my laptop in for Battery replacement (and yes, with i had to replace the battery of every laptop i ever owned at least once – starting with the PowerBook 100).
Heck, it’d scare the hell out of me to send off my MacBook with all my life’s Data on it. Hell no!
Posted by: Stefan Seiz | January 05, 2009 at 06:48 AM
I don’t know a single MacBook owner who wasn’t forced to get a new battery, either as part of the warranty or else. Currently the capacity of my MBP battery (despite being replaced only six months ago) is once again abysmal.
I also prefer not think about being without my iPhone when its battery gets the blues…
Posted by: Nils Kassube | January 05, 2009 at 03:21 AM
On my last three portable Macs, all batteries have miserably failed after about 12 months. The last one is already dead after only 9 months (on an early-2008 MBP, a large-scale defect recognized by Apple). So I’m not really convinced about Apple’s ability to provide a good experience in terms of battery, but I stand to be corrected. The key thing is, as others have pointed out, whatever the replacement method, it needs to be immediate.
Posted by: François Nonnenmacher | January 05, 2009 at 03:16 AM
It’s totally not fair to point out external battery solutions for iPhones/iPods and say “that means those will be available for a 17″ MBP”. Why?
The iPod dock connector is licensed to a wide variety of companies. So people CAN make things with that adapter on them.
MagSafe? As of today, still never been licensed to anyone. And Apple won’t create the product itself because doing so would be admitting a design flaw in their oh-so-perfect design.
I’ve got 4(!) batteries for my MBP, and when I go to conferences where the organizers are less-than-good at deploying power, those batteries come in handy. A 17″ has a battery life of about 2 hours, give or take, and spare batteries are key to being able to get through a long conference day without ready access to AC.
Posted by: Derek | January 05, 2009 at 02:49 AM
As I’m on my 5th MacBook battery, making them user-replaceable is key. What I want in a MacBook is an HD screen. Should be easy at 17″, but if they took the dpi of my iPod Nano and put that in a 12″ it would be HD
Posted by: Kevin Marks | January 05, 2009 at 01:11 AM
I would not mind non replaceble battery if there is some posibility to charge laptop on go.
But unlike iPhone there is no chance (except one company which has to modify your charger) how to charge notebook on go, because Apple doesn’t want to allow it.
Posted by: Radek | January 05, 2009 at 12:30 AM
Since ’96 I’ve owned a PowerBook 5300cs, an iBook (G3/600), and a 17″ MBP.
All three had to have the batteries replaced under warranty. The iBook – replaced twice. The MBP battery went from 1″ to 2″ in height when it swelled up badly. What happens if there’s a swollen internal battery issue with a unibody MBP?
Also, as previously commented by @Biappi, I could care less about non-replaceable, but user-serviceable is key. In Australia warranty replacements are on a 7-10 business day turnaround period. If you’re lucky.
So if I had to go without my laptop for 2 weeks or so because of a duff battery? Yeah – I wouldn’t be a happy camper. I’ve had mobo issues in the past as well – and it is a real pain.
It’s not just about the second battery issue – it’s about the reliability of the first one…if the whole machine needs to go in for service to fix a duff battery, well in my experience that’s just daft.
Posted by: Mark | January 05, 2009 at 12:23 AM
If it’s engineered in a MacBook Air like way, it’ll then be user-serviceable.
Indeed, changing the battery on the MacBook Air is not very hard, as you can see on iFixIt or similar website. It only require a screw driver and to know how to use a screw driver .
Posted by: iFrodo | January 05, 2009 at 12:10 AM
I definitely agree — to me the trade off, especially if it will in fact be a Silver-Zinc battery is an easy call. But yes, as I was noting as well, everyone will start complaining
Posted by: MG Siegler | January 04, 2009 at 11:30 PM
I do not mind whether the battery is non-replaceable, i mind if the battery is user-serviceable!
I own a macbook pro, this june my battery was really dying, as in only 5 minutes worth of charge, it was just two clicks of the clips and my laptop is basically new again.
Compare that with the hassle of replacing an hard drive, last month i’ve upgraded from 80gigs to 320: i had to bring the laptop to service, and wait a couple of days, if that part would be user-serviceable (like newer macs, or like the battery) i could be up and running in a couple of minutes.
So for me a non-swappable battery is OK, but make the user able to upgrade it, it’s a computer, not a phone, and little upgrades like that really boosts the longevity of the machine.
Posted by: Biappi | January 04, 2009 at 10:58 PM
Okay, now that my Guardian piece is up and the ensuing circus has subsided a bit, I have some time to reflect on the Winter Classic.
I loved it. I loved every single minute of it. It was a great event — and it was a really good hockey game. With a little help from some friends (you know who you are; I’ll be over to mow the lawn tomorrow!) we were able to get Laurie a ticket to the game, and she flew in on the 31st and home today — and she had a great time also.
Watching the show on NBC with an eye to how it would be received by non-fans, and whether those non-fans might find hockey interesting and checkin again later. After all, this isn’t JUST an outside game aimed at the existing fan base, this event is An Event, clearly aimed at showing off hockey to non-hockey fans and hopefully convincing them to check in again later.
I thought it succeeded at that — but a lot of the credit has to go to watching hockey on HD. Back in 2003 I interviewed Sharks President Greg Jamison and one of the things he felt strongly about was that HD was needed for hockey to really become a “TV sport”; heck, even back when Laurie and I worked with the Spiders, a lot of the talk in the stands during games among the staff was making hockey more TV friendly, and even back then, HD was seen as a real key to making this all happen.
(digression: the reality is — on normal TV, hockey is an abysmal sport for non-fans; fans know how to interpret the action; for the non-fan, it’s chaos. It’s no wonder hockey has always struggled on TV, and no marketing or network can solve a technical problem like not being able to see the object all of the players are fighting over. the NHL knew this, and as much as anything, focussed on being ready to push forward once HD mainstreamed. Which is finally has, and now the NHL is doing things like the Winter classic).
On HD, the winter classic looked awesome; the puck was easily visible and the player movement well managed on screen. I don’t know if they were using CBC cameramen for the NBC feed, but the angles and the way they followed the action were stellar, and I felt that the sport showed itself off very well to someone who wasn’t sure what they were going to be seeing. That we had a damn good hockey game didn’t hurt, either.
Bringing Costas in to do some of the announcing was a good touch; maybe not something some fans liked — but he did a fine job of humanizing the game and helping to put it into a context non-fans could appreciate. That’s the sort of thing the NHL needs to do here: explain and showcase, don’t just cater to the choir, and I thought that was well done, but not in the cloying way that NBC does the Olympics, which I find difficult to watch (fortunately, we also have Canadian TV here, so we’ve always switched over to CBC. But I digress).
It was too bad Mike Emrick couldn’t make the call — but Dave Strader filled admirably.
I loved the site placement and design aspects they threw in; the place absolutely sparkled on TV, and the plane and copter shots really set the stadium off. Making sure the entire field was covered with snow was a genius move, it made Wrigley look like a diamond in the city. The faux-brick on the boards was awesome. The printed fake-ivy and fake-brick (with ads) worked for me, too, at least in part because it was there, but kept carefully in the background, like it should be.
Frank Pellico on the organ. Tony Esposito and Stan Makita. I could go on and on. Pretty much everything worked; I teared up listening to the organ during the star spangled banner — seriously.
I was just blown away. A+, dear NHL, and thanks. In two years, you’ve turned this into a real event, the kind of event that over time can really draw people into taking a closer look at the NHL. Now, the trick will be to sustain this without making it boring or screwing it up. So far, I see every indication they can…
Negatives and nits:
I thought the flash card sequences in the stands was a neat, somewhat retro hack and worked well. Laurie noted that it wasn’t a good idea to ask a bunch of Blackhawk fans to hold up cards to make a Red Wing logo, and where she was, as soon as people realized what the image was, cards started going airborne in a serious way and much rude commentary ensued.
the only thing I didn’t think worked was the singing in the third period. Nice try, but it just didn’t work. Laurie noted that in the stands, they couldn’t hear what was being sung, as soon as the singing started, everyone went off and sang the regular lyrics. But on TV, I thought it was a nice try, but missed. I would have much rather they used a hockey song like Stompin’ Tom or the Zamboni song rather than weakly rewording take me out to the ball game. But — points for trying, and if that’s the worst I can come up with, nobody at the NHL offices should lose much sleep.
Lots of people are saying the next logical place to go is Fenway. I agree — but not next year. Here’s my worry. If you do two of these in successive years, Wrigley and Fenway, THEN WHAT? that’s setting a standard that once you get past those two stadiums will be really hard to sustain, much less top.
So my suggestion is to wait on Fenway. At some point down the road, Winter Classic may need a bit of a boost, once it settles into the habits of happening every year and people stop seeing it as new and special. I’d pencil in Fenway for the fifth anniversary event of Winter Classic — that’s something you could really market around.
Instead, I’d really like to see the NHL take this back to Canada next year, and use a Canadian venue every third year or so. Montreal in McGill stadium is an obvious one. My preference, though, would be –
It would be Winnipeg, in Blue Bomber Stadium. A game between the Coyotes and the Avalanche. That would create interesting stories on both sides of the border, and I think it’d be a hoot. Maybe I could scam a ticket to it for myself.
So year 3 in Winnipeg, year four in New york (new yankee stadium), year five in Boston (Fenway), year six in Montreal, and year 7 in Pennsylvania between Philly and the penguins.
wouldn’t it be fun to put ice back in Maple Leaf Gardens, just for one game? C’mon, NHL, think about it. And consider Camden yards in Baltimore. But thinking out more than a few years, so much can change, let’s just get through the next few years (Winnipeg, New York, Boston, Montreal) and then we’ll see. Honestly, that’s one hell of a lineup of venues, no?
I do think the NHL has a winner here, and not only that, a winner that they can build on and grow for a number of years before worrying about it getting stale.
Awesome event. Way to go, NHL! congrats.
Go ahead, accuse me of opportunism in the face of tragedy. I don’t care much. What I do care about is that a 21-year-old man has had his life snuffed out because of a meaningless hockey fight and there is so, so much wrong with that.
Don Sanderson is dead. If you believe this is not the time to have a meaningful debate on fighting’s place in hockey, then please stop reading and go back to blaming this incident on chinstraps and helmets.
ah, trust that ken campbell was the first to pull this rabbit out of the hat. What a surprise.
Don Sanderson’s death is tragic. Sad. Arguably avoidable. It’s lots of things, none of them positive.
It is also, unfortunately, a chance for people like Campbell to get on their soapboxes and whine about fighting in hockey.
Here’s the reality: it’s a single, isolated incident. Yes, it’s tragic, but we’ve had many more significant and life-threatening injuries from skate cuts JUST IN THE NHL than we’ve had deaths from fighting in all levels in hockey. Put this problem back in perspective, and realize this is just Campbell taking advantage of a tragic situation for his own personal agenda. That, frankly, insults me, and insults the memory of Don Sanderson. Why aren’t people like Campbell pushing to remove blades from skates, given that two people in the NHL have almost died from skate cuts in the last 20 years, and I can think of a half dozen other serious injuries from blades, the most recent being Teemu Selanne? Hell, we need to ban skates!
Do you realize we’ve had more problems with coaches getting head injuries while coaching without helmets? That’s a much more legitimate thing to argue over than this. Fortunately, that’s being worked on, and regulations for coaches are going into place.
In all honestyl, I consider being ambiguous about fighting in hockey. It is both outside the game and a key part of it. I say again (and again, and again) that injuries — including serious ones — are a part of the game, and if you react to every injury by saying you need to save the game from it, you end up with a game that’s no longer remotely hockey. I’m not interested in watching pro ringette, folks. You have to accept that things like this can and will happen — it’s a side effect of playing a hard, physical game. You can’t chase EVERY injury as a game-changing necessity. And compared to other issues the NHL and hockey have, this is a much smaller problem than both coaching without helmets and skate blade injuries.
Unless, of course, you’re anti-fighting and looking for excuses to argue about it.
Now, if I were to argue against fighting, there’s a single argument I could make. it is that the league really needs to get hits to the head under control, and there’s growing demand for maknig all hits to the head a penalty, much like high sticking is; if the league were to do this, I’d support it and frankly, I encourage it.
But how can a league resolve the basic conflict of “it is illegal to hit someone in the head — unless you take your gloves off first?”
I don’t see how the league can do that. And that is how I’d go after fighting in hockey, if I were to choose to do so. Not by taking the sad death of Don Sanderson and trying to turn it into yet another bully pulpit.