Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Baseball Hacks

For those who are baseball nuts, and good at math, I'd recommend looking at O'Reilly press's Baseball Hacks. The venerable all-things-geek publisher has released another entry in their popular Hacks series. For the record, O'Reilly puts out really the only computer books that I'll read.

The bulk of the book is devoted to the study of baseball statistics, and how you can use free, open software to analyze the numbers like the big boys. Every baseball fan knows the beauty of a boxscore. The game, more than any other sport, can be understood with numbers thanks to the discrete tallying of balls and strikes, hits and errors. Of course, if you don't have the time to do it yourself, you can get the predigested numbers over at Baseball Prospectus.

I'd recommend that anybody looking to get into the game learn how to do a scorecard. There are a million different ways to keep a card, and every fan has their own system. Many times these are handed down like heirlooms in the family. So, grab a baseball fan, and have them teach you to keep a book. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to, and you'll learn alot about the game, how it progresses, and what to watch for during the game.

For those who already know how to keep score, go check out the Project Scorecard system. It's the most comprehensive system I've ever seen. It was designed years ago when Major League Baseball wouldn't release their official statistics to the public. Much like those pioneering OSS geeks, they decided to do it themselves. This, Project Scorecard was born. That however is not the case now, and I'm not sure if the Project is still actively run and maintained.

If you don't have time to thumb through the 28 page how-to manual, just take a look at the reference card and how they have the field divided to accurately record the location of hits. Wow.

Johnny Rotten's still punk

I know some readers of this blog aren't big fans of the Sex Pistols and doubt whether they were ever the real thing. Well, that's bollocks. They always were, and still are. Go check out John Lydon's webpage for his official response to their induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

Thanks to Julie Maxwell for sending that along to me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

You sure this is a free country?

Why not throw another log on the crazy fire?

The Washington Post is running a story about Homeland Security officers trying to prevent people from viewing porn in a library in Maryland. Thankfully the good guys won the day, but this really scares the hell out of me.

God bless Librarians, and God bless the Bill of Rights.

Exposing hypocracy

The World Intellectual Property Organization is meeting at the United Nations this week, attempting to carve up the developing world so that rich countries (us) can get even richer. If you're at all familiar with the WTO or the World Bank, then you know what I'm talking about. I now, you're thinking it's tinfoil hat time, but I just can't be bothered to go into details about that, and I'm sure I wouldn't do it justice. Go read some Noam Chomsky or Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

This time around however, there's an interesting monkey wrench being thrown into the problem. Public interest groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation Europe are there taking notes, and publishing them twice a day on their respective websites. The EFF has them posted here. What makes this so subversive is that traditionally notes from these meetings are published six months after the meetings take place, and only after the participants are allowed to edit the notes to their liking. Not this time around however, and the picture they paint is pretty fascinating. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but if you're interested in this kind of thing, it's worth your time. Developing nations want and push for copyright and intellectual property laws that help the common good and promote the public domain, while western countries balk at and dismiss their proposals to shield their greed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Link!

Twenty years ago today, Legend of Zelda was released to gamers in Japan on the 8-bit NES console. It became an instant classic that changed gaming forever. Blah, blah blah, yes, the standard accolades and laurels apply. This is one of my all time favorite games, one that I still play occasionally when the mood hits. It's the first game I can recall ever beating completely. I'll remember that world map and all of its hidden secrets 'til the day I die.

Go check out this little retrospective, then fire up your NES emulator and go kick Gannon's ass.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Attn: Linux Geeks!

Call me old school, but I've always preferred tunneling my X connection via ssh, rather than running a virtual desktop program. But, tunneling X progs over ssh through that too damned tiny broadband up pipe can just take too long.

The solution: NoMachine. It will allow you to run X progs through an ssh connection and all the encryption therein, but uses client side caching to alleviate a lot of the traffic overheard, making it perfect for low bandwidth connections. You can use it either to just run a specific app, or with a full fledged desktop. And it can use the desktop manager of your choice, so XFCE fans such as myself, don't have to get stuck with Gnome or KDE.

Setup and install was a breeze on Gentoo, with one exception. NoMachine uses it's own set of pubkey's for authentication, so you have to make sure you get the right keys copied to the right places. The one thing I did, which wasn't in any HOWTO was to copy /usr/NX/home/nx/.ssh/client.id_dsa.key from my server to /usr/NX/share/ on my client. That got it working with no problems.

Thanks go to Bobby Busch for showing NoMachine to me.

Mike Davis: He gone!

Hoosiers can rejoice! Mike Davis will be officially announcing his resignation today.

While a lot of fans gave him some gruff when he first started after that other guy's departure, I tried to give him a fair shake. Fact is though, he's just a bad coach, all hyperbole and conjecture about race and the NBA aside. To watch 5 talented teams start strong and then self-destruct has tested the faith of even the most die-hard of fans. For an IU team to not make the NCAA tournament once is bad enough, twice is inexcusable.

Abu Ghraib: new photos

Salon has an exclusive detailing a newly released batch of photos and documents dealing with prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Not a pleasant experience certainly, but of definite value to those who want to see the truth, no matter how ugly it may be.

Pitchers and catchers report!

YES! The four most beautiful words in the English language. Well, my White Sox don't report until tomorrow actually, but what the hell, this is a party! Another month or so and we get baseball, baseball, and more baseball.

FYI: White Sox single seat tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday 2/17, and 10 AM CST.

Monday, February 13, 2006

House of Flying Daggers

Good movie. Had a real thoughtful post about it, but I think I'll self censor. Caught enough hell for that silly ass sex post a month of so past.

"Shotgun" Dick Cheney rides again

Well, Dick, do you believe in karma? (I'm sure it believes in you though, Dick.) How about horrifibly poignant irony at the very least? Well if a shotgun blast to your 78 year old buddy's face doesn't convince you, I don't know what will.

Also of note is how the White House tried to cover up this little boner.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Godzilla vs. Kurt Angle

What happens if you take pro wrestling and cross it with Japanese monster movie fight scenes? Answer: kaiju.com

I've just found this and have only just started looking around the site, but do check out the latest video. It features highlights from a recent show in West Virginia (of all places). As a big fan of both genres, I must say I laughed pretty hard at this. Just brilliant.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sugar Bush Squirrel

Okay, if I didn't have an affinity for squirrels, this would probably make me vomit. It's Sugar Bush Squirrel, the World's Most Photographed Squirrel(TM). It's worth a look, if just for the freakshow shock of it all. Some of the insanity to look out for:
  • The didn't-see-that-coming dressed as soldier in the desert, looking for the evil Osama bin Laden photos
  • The oh, so tasteful, tsunami disaster photos
  • The bio and photos of the woman responsible for these crimes against nature
EDIT: Credit where credit is due, Sugar Bush Squirrel was brought to my attention by the esteemed Julie Maxwell.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Songbird: the open source iTunes alternative

For those looking for an alternative to iTunes, why not try Songbird? Check out this Boing Boing post for the full details.

Get forked


If Stephen Hawking is English, then why does his chair talk with an American accent?

I rule

Bask in the awesome power that is Chico.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Storytime, kids!

You kids wanna hear a story? Sure you do, but the school's budget's been slashed, so I only have a few pages to read to you...

The Recs - Direction

WARNING: Shamelessly biased plug ahead.

You all need to go check out my cousin's band, The Recs. Will their first album, Direction, shatter every belief and truth you hold dear, leaving you whimpering in the bathroom, sobbing with the loss of your innocence and naivete? YES!

No, not really. But it is a good album, from a group of guys who are only getting better. They played a small show up in Chicago this weekend, and sounded better than the band that followed them. Not bad for a bunch of guys who're still seniors in high school. Self-recorded and published, it's all original material (no covers here). You're guaranteed good old fashioned culture, served DIY style. Trust me, it'll make you pine for small, sober shows at a Legion hall.


Courtesy Ms. Heather Goss, Overheard in New York.

It's happened to you before; you overhear a bit of somebody conversation, then bite your lip trying not to laugh. Now you can share the pain with everyone via this site. And if there's one thing I'm about, I'm about sharing the pain.

Know thine enemy?

Bob just sent me a link to a newscast called Mosiac, hosted/archived at archive.org. It's a collection of Middle Eastern news shows translated into English. Check out the latest show, from February 3, for the Muslim point of view over the political cartoons published in Denmark that have caused such a uproar in the Muslim world.

Best. Mod. Ever.

The WhiskeyPC. Damn, I could make a whole helluva a lot of those. I can just see it, a big beer-amid of whiskey bottles all clustered with OpenMosix. Sweet.

Notice he's running Windows XP on it. I guess I should have expected it from somebody drinking Ballantine's, whatever the hell that's supposed to be...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Olbermann bitchslaps O'Reilly

It's refreshing to see someone in the mainstream media call Bill O'Reilly out on his bullshit. Keith Olbermann gives it to him good in this segment capped and hosted on crooksandliars.com. Now MSNBC is still home to those awful, ignorant shills Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews, but I might just have to stop by for Olbermann's program, The Countdown, and see if I can finally recommend a network news show to friends and family. The Countdown airs each night at 8PM EST on MSNBC.

(Edit: Is "bitchslap" one or two words?) :)

The real threat of global warming

The worst part of global warming? It's threatening bourbon production in the U.S. In order for bourbon to age and take on the flavors of the barrel it's stored in, it needs to expand into and contract from the barrel itself. This expansion and contraction is a function of the ambient temperature in which the barrels are stored. So sensitive is this temperature variation that barrels are moved from the bottom racks to upper racks during the aging process. As such, if global warming continues to make winters warmer in Kentucky, it will adversely affect the whole aging process.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New Albums up on Ampache

New albums up on Ampache:

Belle & Sebastian - [2006] The Life Pursuit
David Cross - [2004] It's Not Funny