Here’s an NFL rule change I’d support

So for some reason, the NFL made a rule change that applied only the playoffs this past season. In other words, something that worked one way for the whole season suddenly changed when teams hit the playoffs. Seems an odd time to change the rules doesn’t it? If it’s such a great rule, why wasn’t it the rule during the regular season too? You’d think players, teams and coaches would want some consistency, especially when heading into the playoffs.

Then again, there’s that other version of football that keeps everything the same until their big competition except for one fundamental thing: the ball. Also very silly.

But never mind that: let’s talk NFL. I would like to see the NFL adopt a rugby-style rule for the Point After Touchdown (PAT). Today, in (American) football, if you get the ball into the end zone, it’s a touchdown, and you get a chance to score an extra point (or two) by placing the ball on the middle of the 2-yard line. At that point, most teams snap the ball for a kick for 1 point, but occasionally you see a play from the 2-yard line for 2 points.

Kicker Olindo Mare connects on an extra point. [Photo by Corky Trewin,]

Yawn. 2-point conversion tries are fun to watch, but they rarely happen because the 1-point kick is such a high-percentage play. So how could you change it? Simple, go the rugby route.

Here’s the rule for a rugby extra point (from Wikipedia): “The kick is taken at any point on the field of play in line with the point that the ball was grounded for the try, and parallel to the touch-lines.”

In other words, if you ran in for a touchdown, but you only made it to the outside corner of the end zone, your extra try attempt has to come from the edge of the field. Only if you convert a touchdown by running into the end zone in the middle of the field do you get to kick the PAT from the middle of the field.

Imagine how this would change the game. For starters, people would know to try and get more central in the field when they score touchdowns, knowing that PAT’s are easier from the middle of the field – but sometimes, when you can only make it in in the corner, well, that’s what you do.

It would make the PAT meaningful. Which right now, it’s not.

How about it, NFL? That’s a rule worth changing (and be sure to change it early, not “just for the playoffs”).

Posted in Sports, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I really wanted to like the Windows 7 phone…

I like a lot of things about the WP7 phone… the way it integrates the things I care about into one home screen instead of making me dig through a half-dozen apps individually is a big step up from the iPhone.

Never mind that Microsoft is (as usual) so late to the party that people have already invested $$$ in their iPhone apps (it will be hard to walk away from my turn-by-turn GPS app that I bought a few months ago), no, the real problem is that the WP7 doesn’t integrate with other Microsoft technologies very well.

The real killer: there’s no direct Outlook support for WP7. Can you believe it? I have Microsoft’s premier Office utility app and their premier device, and they don’t talk to each other.

I know, you can sync contacts with email accounts, but guess what? I have several email accounts (who doesn’t?) and most of the contacts in those accounts are folks that I don’t need on my phone.

What I really want is to be able to tell my WP7 device that that special list of contacts that I’ve put so much time over the years in keeping up-to-date, that list right there in Outlook, that’s the one I want as my contacts in my WP7. Not my entire Facebook directory. Not every random email user whom I’ve ever interacted with.

Unfortunately, WP7 doesn’t support that. Not even close. So, believe it or not, I’m keeping my iPhone for now. Because iTunes, bless their little heart, despite all its faults, does. And believe it or not, for that one reason alone, I can’t use my Windows Phone.

I see that there’s a WP7 update coming out soon. I see no mention of Outlook integration. I see myself keeping my iPhone for a while. I see my WP7 phone collecting dust on my desk.

Maybe next time, Microsoft?

Posted in Computers and Internet | 2 Comments

Bravo, Mr. Gervais!

<quick note – yeah I migrated my blog from Spaces to WordPress. Woot. Catch me here now>

I don’t know if you saw the Golden Globes this year, or the uproar caused by Ricky Gervais’ “sinister” hosting of the awards (the quote is from Robert Downey Jr.).

I thought he was great. Here’s something I posted on one of the TV message boards that I’m a member of:

“Oh, those poor multi-millionaires! To be teased by the bad man in the fancy suit like that! So what if some of them have actually spent time at the Betty Ford clinic and/or local jail. They are special! They deserve praise and love!
Mr. Gervais, I can’t believe you would do that.
Personally, Ricky Gervais was the only thing I didn’t skip during the ceremony. I thought he was hilarious. His entire schtick revolves around awkward situations (ever see “The Office” or “Extras?”). He did was he’s great at. I thought it was awesome. Bravo Mr. Gervais.
Everyone who was upset at how those celebrities were treated, you should get in touch with their agents and see if you can make a donation to their Hurt Feelings Fund.”

He provided excellent entertainment, and anyone who disagrees can stick it.

For reference, here are a few articles that have gone around lately that discuss his job handling the awards show:

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Ok well that answers that…

Looks like I was right. Spaces are going away. I’ll decide where to move this blog in the next few months.
Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment

Spaces still exist! But barely…

I was a little worried that when the latest Windows Live wave rolled out that Spaces would go away.
It appears that they haven’t – my Hotmail was upgraded and I can still get here, although they’ve really started to bury the link to these spaces blogs. Bummer, I actually used it (although, admittedly, not as much as I probably should).
Anyway, glad to see I can still post here, but I suppose eventually MSFT will pull the plug on Spaces entirely, and we’ll have to move…
In the meantime, if you’ve moved, let me know.
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World Cup 2010 is getting underway

Last World Cup I predicted Brazil v Germany in the finals. Oops.
I’m going to enjoy the group stage, which starts this Friday, and make my predictions once we’re into the knockout stages. In the meantime, go USA. Here’s hoping we have a strong showing this time around (I predict we’ll advance, but barely).
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Music collection – the upgrade continues

Back in October I blogged about how I was migrating my music collection from WMA to MP3. In the past 8 months since then, I’ve continued to move my collection forward… and man is it taking some time.
It’s sad to see that in some cases I’ve lost the original sources for my music too – like when I opened my original Moby "Play" CD or Goldfrapp’s "Supernature" CD only to discover that the actual CD is gone.
In October, I reported that "my music collection consists of 1723 MP3s (taking up 14.5GB) and 4683 WMAs (taking up 19GB)." Here, 8 months later, I’m up to 3372 MP3s (taking up 23.7GB) and I’m down to only 2559 WMAs (taking up 10.4GB). So that’s ~2500 files migrated over 8 months. I’ll note that my total collection size dropped from ~6400 files in October to ~5900 now, meaning I’ve culled well over 500 songs out of my collection. Most the songs I removed represent the tracks I found myself always skipping when they came up on my Zune or iPod, or some of the really low-quality tracks that I found no need to replace. I don’t have any way to track how many new songs or bands or albums I’ve added, and I know there’ve been several. One recent addition that I’m not embarrassed to admit that I like, for example, is Lily Allen’s It’s no me, it’s you CD. She was never part of my WMA collection before, so adding her album masks some of the other tracks I’ve deleted. Some of the other artists I know are new to my collection include Pink and Brandi Carlisle, evidence of my wife’s influence on my musical tastes.
Let me do some back-of-the-envelope math here: if it’s taken me 8 months to switch ~2500 songs, that’s about ~300 songs/month. With ~2600 WMAs left, that’s… ugh, that’s 8 more months. I guess if I’m lucky and push the pace, I’ll be done replacing all my WMAs by Christmas this year.
Finally, all this re-encoding has mean I’ve gotten to revisit some of my old vinyl collection, which I’ve used as an opportunity to update Wikipedia when its information is lacking. See, for example, my contributions to the following articles (as ’87Fan’):
These are just a few of the articles I’ve been updating in my spare time – there will be more edits to come in the future I’m sure!
Posted in Music | 1 Comment