Monday, June 9, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Three teams will require a victory on the road, on top of securing their own court, in order to move into the conference finals. The Spurs, who tonight play host to New Orleans, have been getting smeared in New Orleans, and will need to play with the same tenacity they play with in the first half on the road and their Spurs showing in San Antonio. Utah, who only lost one game on the road in the opening round against Houston, will need a game 7 win in LA, which never happens. Cleveland should be able to beat Boston at the Garden, as much as a flop they have been on the road, that should transition to a game 7 loss for Boston in Boston. Detroit won on the road, slamming the door to Orlando's bid to tie the series 2-2, and finished the job at home to win 4-1.
The Spurs are in the greatest trouble of being tossed. Their play has been shaky, and even with a big game 4 win in San Antonio, they will need double that to win in game 6 tonight against a Hornets team looking to let everyone know they are legit, too legit, for that matter, to quit.
But let's get real:
Hornets in 7
Lakers in 7
Cavaliers in 7
Remembering what LeBron did to Detroit last year, I can't see him not doing it again when it counted. Lakers will get edged in Utah, but will deliver their ever so mighty knock-out punch in game 7, barring any further injury to Kobe.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
And Justin Henin retires from tennis, as the number one player in the world, at the age of 25. Tomorrow, Eli Manning will call it a career. You heard it here first.
With the setting of trends in the cell phone, I was curious to see where the trends started that have made today's phones multi-capable devices.
Back in 1992, there was this little device called Simon, developed by none other than IBM. It was not only the world's first "smartphone" but it also featured a touch screen, email, world clock, calculator, address book, notepad, and games, with included functionality of a pager, fax machine, PDA, and of course cell phone. Every smartphone today has these features, most have more, with video sharing, MMS, GPS, etc. Heck, most cell phones, not smartphones, have all of these features. Your simple $20 go phone has all or most of those features, save the touch screen. Although this was a little out of hand, in price, $899, and availability, release in 1994 in only in 190 U.S. cities in 15 states, this set the standard for what a smartphone should be - loaded with everything but the kitchen sink.
The Nokia Communicator line was the next huge step in smartphone, offering a QWERY keyboard, which is hidden behind t
he face of the phone, which flipped vertically along the phone to offer a screen and keyboard, while still preserving the generic numeric pad on the front of the phone, with usual call/drop buttons, menu and navigation buttons, with a small screen on the front as well. There are plenty of cell phones using the Communicator's design to this day, including the later versions of the Communicator, the LG enV, and U740 from Samsung, which offered a dual-flipping phone (pictured below):
The enV from LG
The U740 from Samsung
Cellphones usually take one of three forms: candybar, clamshell, or slider. There have been a few who have tried to integrate a new style such as the "swivel", pictured below with the popular T-Mobile Sidekick 3, or a more proprietary form, such as the Nokia pictured below, which rotates.
T-Mobile Sidekick 3
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Current Record: 22 Wins, 17 Losses (1.5 games back in division; 0.5 games back in wild card)
Leading Hitter: Lance Berkman - .393 (2nd in NL and MLB); 13 HR (T-1st in NL and MLB); 38 RBI (1st in NL, 2nd in MLB)
Leading Pitcher: Roy Oswalt - 4 Wins, 3 Losses; 48 K, 15 BB, 5.05 ERA, 12 HR (T-Most in NL)
Key Series Wins: Florida (April 11-13); San Diego & Cincinnati (sweeps: April 21-24); Milwaukee (sweep: May 2-4); Los Angeles (sweep: May 9-11)
Streaks: Won 5 straight between May 2 and 7 - won 5 of 7 series after losing first 5 of 6 of season. 9-1 in May. 16-5 since April 20.
If I were chairman of the development of the Wii, I would pose these options to my development team as challenges to overcome before the holiday season:
a. Allow the Wii's internal storage to be expanded to the SD storage. By simply adding a cheap 512 SD card (under $10), the storage is doubled. As a programmer, not a hardware designer, I understand there could be some difficulties, but the software development of Nintendo can surely make this a reality.
b. This would in turn allow the Wii to load and save data directly to the expanded storage. I would love the option of being able to take game saves from one Wii to another, which is an option that has been a part of video gaming since the PlayStation in 1996 - why is this not an option now?
a. Sell VC games preloaded on SD cards that can be sold in stores or bundled with Wii games. If loading a game save directly from the SD, loading a VC game should be as well.
b. Develop an adapter that will allow SD cards to work as GameCube memory cards. Since Nintendo does not offer first party cards, they should at least have a way to give customers a premium product that can be easily manufactured and sold.
c. Find a manufacturer to handle the GameCube controller manufacturing - again, since Nintendo doesn't have their first party controllers, and the few controllers left over are surplus and not manufactured in the past year or more. Get behind a wireless development of controller that will work seamlessly with the GameCube library. Many would want to use the classic controller with the GC games, which means the GC would have to get input from a Bluetooth signal, which would require the Wii to emulate the controls from the classic to the game, and would require more hardware. If Nintendo cannot offer a quality controller for the GC or support with the current controls, then I would be hard pressed to see why allowing GC playback would be necessary.
My main concern will continue to be the storage. Every week, I get an email stating the VC releases. If there will be more VC games added in the future, as well as additional Wii Ware applications, it would be a priority for my development team to find an answer for more storage.
Here is a current list of games I either own, rented, or played, along with a brief review:
Wii Play - *** out of 5
Only about four of the games are any fun to play, and two of those could be played on a regular basis. Good deal for the Wiimote!
Zelda: TP - ***** out of 5
One of the best games I have played in recent memory. I love the surplus of rupees! Just so hard to get a big enough wallet.
Madden 08 - ***1/2 out of 5
A good attempt using the motion controls, but definitely needs work with the online mode.
Mario Strikers Charged - **** out of 5
Only played the original once, but I love the idea. The level of difficulty is immense in the single player cup mode - online even more brutal. Nintendo does decent job with WFC online mode.
Super Mario Galaxy - ****1/2 out of 5
A beautiful Mario game! Graphics are amazing, "worlds" are neatly designed and crafted. It gets very repetitive after you actually defeat Bowser the final time, in search of all the stars.
Super Smash Brothers: Brawl - ***** out of 5
The best of the series by a mile. Characters are vast and well detailed, overall graphics not totally great, but good enough for sure. Stages are decent, love the option for Melee stages and build-a-stage.
Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles - *** out of 5
Not exactly what I expected from RE, although this was more of a shooting gallery game which had worlds from past RE games. Gorgeous graphics, but just a point-and-shooter.
The Bigs - ***1/2 out of 5
I love baseball games, and although this one is watered down, it has enough big catches, hits, collisions, and strike outs to last me for a while. Still can't run over the catcher though.
Mario Party 8 - **** out of 5
Not the best MP game of the series, but this is definitely fun. More board interactions, very intriguing game play aside from the mini-games give it more depth, but still has the pick-up and play attributes.
My Wish List:
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Mario Kart Wii
Alone in the Dark
Thursday, April 17, 2008
3 - Orlando
6 - Toronto
Toronto could have and should have taken great strides to contend for the Easter Conference crown, but they finished .500, which is more than enough for the East. Orlando has looked impressive in wins against Detroit and Boston all year, but the losses they suffer against the likes of New York, Memphis, and Charlotte are questionable, although the Magic rarely got outscored (+5.5 margin was 5th best in NBA). However, their biggest loss of the season came against Toronto (17 points), where Bosh dropped 40 points on Dwight Howard and Jose Calderon dished out 13 dimes. Dwight Howard? Oh nothing ... 37 and 15. Although that was the only loss of the season against Toronto out of three meetings, Van Gundy will have to press Howard into keeping Bosh out of the scoring lane and out-rebound Toronto, just as they did all season. If Orlando has Turkoglu, Nelson, Lewis and Howard putting up their averages, they would have 90-96 points each game, 40 boards and 20 assists. That is hard for an opposing offense to match. But Orlando has played very tight all season, although having some big wins, only winning or losing games by a few points. They allow 41.7 boards a game, while grabbing 42. They allow 99 points, and score 105. They allow more steals and assists per game as well. With Calderon and Park in the back court, the Raptors can get 7 steals a game. If Orlando gives them up, that is a potential 14 point turnaround, which the Magic cannot afford by the way they play close. Unless they can grind out with Bosh and win, they have to play fast and uptempo, get Dwight Howard in the 30's with at least 12 boards, and Rashard Lewis has to contribute, else the Magic will not have enough to keep up with Toronto. Magic should take this in 6, but we could see 7 depending on Lewis's and Bosh's perfomance.
4 - Cleveland
5 - Washington
It took quite a few tries for Chicago to get out of the first round, but they had brute strength against Miami's gimped up 5, they were able to sweep the defending champions in 2007. Washington has faced Cleveland in three straight years, and lost three straight series. Washington is in prime position to take their first playoff series win since the Cleveland curse. This season, Arenas was not the hibachi, sitting out with injury, and Caron Butler was out nearly as much as Arenas. That left the load on Antawn Jamison and a young team that managed their way through the East with a 5 seed. With Butler and Arenas back in time for the playoffs, we could see the Wizards take a fast lane pass against Cleveland for the first time. The main concerns, however, are the Cavs best player - a kid named LeBron James. The MVP-candidate has carried this team quite well, but LeBron will have to get some production from their other scorers.
The Western Conference is so evenly spread, the team who proves they can stand the test of the playoffs will either be strong enough to take down Detroit or Boston, or too fatigued. The West also has a player who has been to the playoffs every year he has played in the NBA - Robert Horry (92-08). And a player who has started in every playoff game he's played in for 14 straight years - Shaquille O'Neal (198 from 94-08). And... they play one another in the first round, as part of the Spurs v Suns matchup, also being the most intriguing. This could easily be the Suns winning, since there was just a single game between the two in the standings. There are no givens in the West, so I will have to take a brief look at the both.
1 - Los Angeles
8 - Denver Nuggets
2 - New Orleans
7 - Dallas
Chris Paul is the MVP - hands down. He has better numbers than either of Steve Nash's two MVP seasons, and has completely flipped the Hornets from a last-out 9 or 10 finisher to a legitimate championship team, and having the 2 seed in the West is testament. The Hornets, however, are inexperienced as a team. Peja is the playoff veteran, but with only two seasons in New Orleans, it will be hard to have him established as the leader, as he is not that type of player. Also, he hasn't had the best perfomances in the playoffs as of late, only getting 11 in his last appearance in Indiana. He has 20+ point playoff runs with Sacramento, but is known to miss big shots, i.e. game 7 of the Conference Finals in 2002. Dallas, however, has been an entire team meltdown in the past three playoff seasons, failing to win in Dallas after beating Phoenix in game 2 in the desert, eventually losing the series 4-2, giving up 4 consecutive wins to the Heat in the Finals of 06 and getting waxed in Oakland in 07 against the Warriors. Now, after two seasons as the top of the Western standings, they are unable to get anything higher than 7. Although New Orleans is a tough matchup, Dallas could pull the series win off, but another disappointing end is sure to appear. New Orleans in 5.
4 - Utah
5 - Houston
Rematch of last years first round matchup. Oh, and Utah was 4 and Houston was 5 then too. And Houston has home-court too. That proved to be a let-down, as they could not beat Utah at Salt Lake City. And considering Utah's league best 37-4 home record, don't count on winning in Utah. So, if Houston takes it back to Houston tied 3-3, they would be in the same position as they were last year - this year without Yao. Houston has a resurgence, thanks to a 22-game win-streak, second-longest in the history. Houston will need all the elements from that win streak - solid play from the PG position, T-mac putting up solid numbers on a consistent basis, and great defense from Landry, Battier, and Mutombo. Utah plays too consistent to let Houston win, but I see this at least going 6, Utah winning.
3 - San Antonio
6 - Phoenix
Phoenix is in trouble with this San Antonio squad. The Suns have the mindset they are the better team, and they are favored. The Spurs are defending NBA champions, and even with Shaquille O'Neal, I still don't see the Suns winning this series, which requires a road win in San Antonio, where the Spurs rarely lose. Short and sweet write-up, just like the series: Spurs in 5.
*Since the Comback Player and Coach were already announced before publication, I will simply declare the MVP and Defensive Player honors.
MVP: Chris Paul
Steve Nash averaged 15 pts/11 asts and 18/10 in his two MVP seasons. Scoring over 20 a game, over 4 for assist:turnover ratio, and leading league in assists with over 11 is my MVP vote-worthy. Kobe could get it though, the whole best player best team rationale. To me, there are a lot of writers, owners, whoever votes, that wants Kobe to win one at least. Paul will have his chances, but this is my vote.
DPY: Josh Smith
I would be voting for Camby here, since he was the block leader this season, but after seeing the interesting stat on the four letter network: "Most Blocks Before 22 Years of Age" - Josh Smith, which eclipses Shaq and Dwight Howard. He also averages 18 points and just under 9 rebounds a game. There will be a lot of votes for Camby, and he will probably win, but Smith is a beast, and after watching him against Boston in Game 4 and seeing his stats as a young man on a young team, I'd be hard pressed to vote against him.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
- Days after Texas Tech suffered their worst loss in program history against bitter rival Texas A&M, the Red Raiders came back home and showed up the fifth-ranked, other bitter rival, Texas Longhorns, 83-80.
- After a full day of free agency in the NFL, some signings weren't really signings at all. Sean Rodgers of the Detroit Lions was reported to be signing with Cincinatti, but that turned out to be false, and he ended up across state in Cleveland. After failing to resign record-breaking WR Randy Moss to a new contract, Moss attracted the front offices of a few teams, leaving "Patriot Nation" to wonder if Moss is looking for money or a ring.
- After being bounced in their first game ever as the top-ranked basketball team in the nation, the men Volunteers of Tennessee move within one win of wrapping up the regular season conference championship with a big win against the Wildcats of Kentucky.
- "Vegas is calling!" Carl Edwards owns the Pacific Time Zone this season, winning his second race in row with a win in Las Vegas following a short week, which he won on Monday afternoon in Fontana, CA. However, post-race inspection confirmed Edwards did not have his lid on the oil resevoir, which could result in a hefty points penalty.
- The Suns dropped their second straight game, this time against sub-.500 Philadelphia - at home - 119-114, leaving the desert wondering when exactly the Shaq trade would pay off.
- After a MVP-worthy season with the beer makers of Milwaukee, Prince Fielder is shown a lovely raise ... of $670,000. The second runner-up of the 2007 NL MVP honors, Fielder is quote "not happy about it at all." After all, he does have kids to feed!
- After a weekend of free agency, the Pats wrap up Randy Moss to a 3 year/$27 million deal. Not getting a deal, however, is Falcons RB Warrick Dunn, who was cut Monday after five seasons with Atlanta. This came a day after the Falcons made a deal for Chargers RB Michael Turner, signing him up for a six-year deal.
- Atlanta also lost leading receiver-er ... tight-end Alge Crumpler to Tennessee, while Big Ben inked a fat check Monday with the Steelers; 8 years/$102 million, with $36 million guartanteed, more than Brady, Manning, Palmer, and Romo got up front in their deals.
- Texas Tech again makes the news in their third consecutive game, but this also not good, with the Red Raiders again rasing the mark of worst defeat in the program history after Kansas dropped 109, winning by 58. Coach Knight said "I feel like someone put a meat necklace around my neck and threw me into a lion's den," abou the loss.
- The biggest news thus far: Brett Favre retires after 16 seasons in Green Bay, where he broke and recording nearly every passing record in the book.
With March Madness starting up ... well in March, its only proper to give a run-down of teams that are John McCain, teams that are Hilary and Obama, and teams that are Mit Romney in this year's bracket:
McCain (definite locks):
Tennesse, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Memphis, Texas, Purdue, Duke, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Butler, Xavier, Cornell (clinched with conference championship), Stanford, Mississippi State, Louisville, Conneticutt, Butler, Notre Dame, Clemson, Drake, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Indiana, Arkansas, UAB, Saint Mary's, Gonzaga
Hilary/Obama (could go either way):
USC, Kentucky, Kansas State, Texas A&M, VCU, WV, Mississippi, Davidson, UMass, Southern Illinois, Creighton, Syracuse, Ohio State, Florida, Villanova, Texas Tech, Maryland, Oregon
Romney (pack it up and go home):
Florida State, Oklahoma State, Cincinatti, Wake Forest, Arizona State, Georgia Tech
The NBA on the other hand has quite a bit of playing left before any teams can be penciled in. Considering how much the West has shifted in the past several weeks (New Orleans and Phoenix were at the top before the All-Star break, now its San Antonio and Los Angeles), there is definitely no guarantee. But, I like to be bold. Here are my seedings 70% into the season:
- New Jersey
- Los Angeles
- San Antonio
- New Orleans
- Golden State