Monday, August 9, 2010

Is Mark McGwire a serial killer?

Obviously not, but this police sketch sure does look like bad news for him:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fixing Google Reader's Recommendations feature


I love Google Reader, much to the near constant annoyance of friends, family and co-workers who I frequently zip posts to via the awesome "Email" feature in Google Reader.

A feature that Google Reader added many months ago is "Recommendations". The concept is great, Google Reader pays attention to what you read, what you Star, etc and then will periodically give you some new blogs/sites it thinks you might like.

Awesome, sign me up. Those Googling fellows sure do seem to have this "search" thing nailed, and they seem pretty good at putting ads up in searches and that makes them "da dolla billz." Except the Recommendations feature as currently implemented kind of sucks


What sucks?
  1. It keeps recommending the same sites to me, over and over. Maybe if I tell you I don't want to read it you should listen to me?
  2. It keeps recommending sites I already read. You know what I read, those blogs are the basis for your recommendations. So quite doubling down on me.
  3. There's no gradient in the "No thanks" choice for not wanting to subscribe to a feed. You need to give me something like "Not right now" and "Never again" so I can banish the really bad suggestions.
  4. If fact, let me give YOU some feedback on your suggestions. If your recommend something, let me click "This totally rocks, gimme more of this" or "I just threw up in my mouth, get this trash out of here Dikembe Mutombo style".

So there you have it Google, 4 good ways to make Recommendations suck less. Let's do it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A great look at Strasburg's mechanics for teaching kids to pitch

Two links, both from the same (great) website on the mechanics of Strasburg:

Excellent to read for the overall mechanical elements, but they can also be fairly approachable teaching tools for young boys because of the pictures and the basics of what they are discussing.

I won't steal any of the pictures from the links, but they are quite good. The second picture in the second link is possibly the best of them all.

You hear "keep your weight back" a lot when you are a hitter, and some as a pitcher. What I was never taught was that my body should be back and not rotated to home when my front foot hits. As the links point out, keeping your shoulders facing towards the respective baselines is critical for velocity.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What do college athletes need to learn about social media?

It is 2010, and Twitter and Facebook have hit recruiting and agent issues full on.

The commissioner of the ACC was forced to make public comments about this mess. Butch Davis, head coach of the UNC Tarheels football team is on video and widely quoted because of his players' involvement.

A player (who I like a lot) on a team that I love, recently made a half dozen Tweets about a recent "social engagement" of his. Sounds like he had a crazy Friday night. Well he didn't like that I posted his public (100% public) Tweets on a blog that follows this particular college (a great blog at that).

As is the right of that blog, they took down my post. I assume because the player got upset. So be it.

But in light of the potential recruiting violations, and increasing involvement of agents and their "runners", I think this player and his college program are actually lucky. Hopefully he and his teammates have learned that their PUBLIC, OPEN, and AVAILABLE comments are actually being READ by people. People who have expectations about conduct and behavior.

I don't care if this young man made some "youthful indiscretions". We've all been there, to some extent or another. But I just don't want his mistakes to hurt the program, or maybe even himself later on in life when he gets drafted and aims for a shoe/apparel deal. I didn't post his comments to that end, but maybe that's a lesson he learns.

So here is to hoping that everyone has learned a lesson, the player moves forward with some more insight into life in 2010, and his team goes on to win their conference (it'd be pretty easy to tell what team I'm talking about given my publicly viewable history of blog posts and Tweets; I'm a die-hard fan).

Lijit Ad Wijit