Thursday, March 31, 2005

Orb, Take 2

After mentioning my problems with Orb in my last post, I received a couple of comments from Ted at Orb directing me to their support guy.

That's awesome customer service. There are obviously some folks at Orb monitoring Feedster and Technorati searches for Orb to see what the blogosphere is saying. That is definitely a good sign for a company when they grok the power of the blogosphere like that -- because most likely anyone they win over with good customer service is going to continue to try out the product and talk about it.

Like I'm doing.

So stay tuned to see if I can get Orb working.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Orb seems like a pretty nifty idea. Install a streaming server-type application on your home PC and use a web interface to stream music, video, pictures to yourself at work, at a friend's house, to your laptop at Panera with their free wi-fi, wherever.

Awesome. I'm a dork. I've got tons of music, video, and pictures on my home PC. I spent hours setting up a way for me to stream TV from my computer at home to work so I could watch the NCAA tourney. Orb should be right up my alley.

And it is free! That's exactly my price. How could this love affair possibly go wrong?

It didn't work. Tried to install it two or three times. Same error each time - a very non-helpful error about the application not starting and to uninstall and try again. Ok, so maybe the web site will offer some advice. Nope.

I don't think there's anything particularly odd about my setup. I can run Half-Life 2, I should be able to run this, right?

I gave up. I'll live without this for now. Maybe someday they'll have better error messages or legitimate help on their website. Bleh. I guess you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

TiVo Reaches Agreement with Comcast

As I mentioned in my post from January, I thought TiVo was dying because they walked away from a deal with Comcast.

Turns out, it looks like TiVo figured out the same thing the rest of us did. They need the Comcast/Motorola platform as the hardware platform for the superior TiVo software.

Sure, mid-2006 is a long way away. But this deal ensures that TiVo stays in business. It also means I can get myself the Comcast HD-DVR and then turn it into a TiVo-based one in about a year. No worries about CableCard or huge expensive boxes to buy. For $5 bucks a month (or so), I'll be able to record shows in HD on a TiVo-based DVR.

Sometimes management does realize they made a mistake and takes steps to rectify it. It'd be nice to see more companies do that.

Monday, March 14, 2005

On the technology adoption curve, I'd generally consider myself a "technology enthusiast" or early adopter type. Especially with web stuff. I'm a dork, I know it, and I love fooling around with web technologies.

But I have to admit, I completely missed the boat on I just couldn't quite grok its usefulness. I got what it did, but never really why it was useful.

Thankfully, we have Jon Udell. He's simply one of the best commentators around when it comes to actually communicating the usefulness and usage of new tools. He released a screencast of how to use today and the light bulb finally clicked on in my brain. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. A moving picture can be worth even more.

So, if you want to check out what I'm tagging on, you can always find my bookmarks.

Friday, March 11, 2005

My Arizona Diamondbacks preview is up

My preview of the atrociously bad Arizona Diamondbacks is up over at The House That Dewey Built. In summary, I think they suck.

Whatever warmth I had in my heart for the Diamonbacks after the 2001 World Series has been slowly drained away by watching them make consistently bad baseball decisions. Any team that signs Russ Ortiz to the sort of deal they did deserves my scorn.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Baseball Defensive Statistics ... Graphically

David Pinto of Baseball Musings is one of the better baseball bloggers out there. He's a smart guy with access to a ton of data (something not all of us are privvy to).

Over the offseason, he's been running a bunch of tables that show what he calls the Probablisitic Model of Range. Basically, he's got the direction and type of hit of every play in baseball in 2004 and runs it through a model to come up with the number of expected plays by each player versus the number of plays they actually made. Very cool stuff and also very similar to the UZR stat that MGL of the St. Louis Cardinals by way of Baseball Think Factory.

It's not a perfect stat -- there's some weirdness with certain positions seemingly being manned only by below average players and some only by above average players, but it's a worthwhile number to look at when looking at defense.

That's just it. Before today, it was just a number.

Today David broke that barrier. He's graphically represented the defensive capabilities of players. If you're a baseball fan/stathead, this is amazing stuff. He graphed both David "People Love Me Because I'm Scrappy and Suck" Eckstein and Cristian "You Want to Pay Me *How* Much, Mr. Bowden?" Guzman.

The graphs show it all. Eckstein isn't great moving to either side, but he makes the routine plays. He's awful catching foul pops on the 3rd base side. He's bad on liners. Basically, he's a pretty poor defensive SS (and this doesn't even address his arm). Guzman's graphs show a player who's pretty average on grounders to SS, but pretty great at snagging anything in the air, whether a pop or a liner.

Just awesome, awesome stuff. I'm slowly getting ready for baseball season. In fact, you should go read my analysis of the Milwaukee Brewers over at The House that Dewey Built. And check again later this week when I tear the Arizona Diamondbacks a new one.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Woo hoo ... baseball!

Baseball is here.

If you want to get a snapshot of every team, head over to The House that Dewey Built, which is a great site for baseball-commentary (mostly Red Sox-centric). I'm writing some of the capsules for the guys there, starting with the Milwaukee Brewers which should be up on Thursday.

So, go read it and then comment on it and let me know that I rule. Or don't rule.