Archive for the 'My World' Category

Weekend in Tampa

Sep 25, 2007 in Baseball, My World, Red Sox, Sports

Becket WarmingLike so many others1, I ventured down to Tampa for the weekend to take see the Red Sox play at Tropicana Field. One of my old friends moved to the Tampa area a few months back and figured an end-of-year series was a good excuse to bring a bunch of friends down to Florida for a few days.

Game-wise, the trip went pretty well. We got to see the Sox victories on Friday and Saturday. Josh Beckett pitched well and Daisuke Matsuzaka seemed to pitch better than he has in the recent past. Were Javier Lopez actually an effective LOOGY, Daisuke would’ve come away with the victory. Of course, Lopez’ failure (giving up a 3-run homer to Carlos Pena) set up the Sox dramatic ninth-inning victory with homers from Jason Varitek and Julio Lugo.

Those homers, combined with the Royals knocking off the Tigers, clinched a playoff berth for Sox, making them the first team to clinch a spot. To be completely honest, I want the Sox to take the division. To be in first place since April and lose it in the last weekend of the season would basically suck. That said, winning the World Series is the main goal. I get why the Sox have been giving injured players extra time and I get why they’ve been trying to straighten out Eric Gagne, but it doesn’t make it any more bearable when they were dropping game to the Blue Jays last week. That said, winning the World Series is the most important thing. Just as winning the World Series as the wild card would wipe out any of the disappointment of losing the division, watching the Yankees win the World Series as the wild card would wipe out any appreciation of winning the division.

Post-Game CelebrationTropicana Field… Hmm… I’d watch another Red Sox game there. We’ll probably repeat this trip next September, or whenever the Sox make their final trip of the year to Tampa. I guess the best way to describe my impressions of watching a game there is this — I wouldn’t trade seats at Fenway to see the Sox play in Tampa, but I’d certainly go in addition to having seats at Fenway.

It’s not a great place to watch a ball game, but there’s other stuff to check out. I’m not usually the type of person to do these things during a ball game (I’d rather watch the game), but the whole Tampa experience has enough of a minor league feel that I somehow took the whole experience less seriously than I took the games I saw at Fenway and Camden Yards this year.

When I say “minor league,” I’m talking more about the stadium atmosphere than the actual Devil Rays. Many of the between-inning and concourse-level activities seemed more like something I’d see at a Sea Dogs game than at a Sox game.

Of all the ideas, College Nights on Friday didn’t work so well. $1 beer in the Party Deck might seem like a good idea when the stadium’s half-full, but it doesn’t work so well when the stadium’s near capacity. The guys sitting in the back of our section clearly had no interest in baseball and were only at the game to drink lots of cheap beer and try to start something with any Red Sox fan they could find. They must’ve mouthed off to every Sox fan within 5 rows of their seats. It wasn’t until the 8th inning that we saw the first sign of stadium security.

Guys, I know you don’t have a lot to do most nights, but you know you’re going to have near sell-outs for the 16-18 games when the Sox and Yankees are in town. A little show of force for those nights (particularly in the $1 beer section) might be a good idea.

Mike Greenwell at Ferg'sGames aside, the highlight of the trip might’ve been meeting Mike Greenwell and Sam Horn at Ferg’s on Saturday. Horn’s probably better known at this point, between the name connection with Sons of Sam Horn and his appearances on NESN, but meeting Greenwell was the big thing for our group of 20-something guys.

When you meet somebody you grew up watching, there’s always a possibility of a let-down. That definitely wasn’t the case with Greenwell. He hung around our table for about 10 minutes, had a drink, talked with fans, and signed autographs. He was a very down-to-earth guy. He surprised us, though, when he said that Saturday would be the first time he would see the Sox play in person since he retired after the 1996 season. He told us that Horn finally convinced him to make the 2 hour trip to Tampa to catch a game.

Later, we were discussing amongst ourselves where Greenwell was sitting. We figured he and Horn were probably in a luxury box or in high end seats. However, we could easily see Greenwell sitting out in the bleachers and talking NASCAR with anybody in the vicinity. He just seems like that kind of guy.

Grr… When I first posted this, I forgot to mention the one thing every Red Sox fan should make sure to check out while at Tropicana — the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame. When the Williams museum wasn’t able to sustain itself as a stand-alone entity, the Devil Rays made room for the museum within Tropicana Field. The museum features a huge collection of Williams memorabilia and displays for each of the hall’s inductees. I’ve always felt like this belonged at Fenway when the stand-alone museum was forced to close, but I appreciate the fact that the Devil Rays were willing to host the exhibits. Anybody who is a fan of baseball and baseball’s history should make the trip.

If you’ve made it this far, some photos from the trip are up at Flickr.

  1. Seriously, I think think this article is just a template; ie, insert home team name here, insert disgruntled player name here. I saw the same article when the Sox were in Baltimore. []

Might be Time for a New Laptop

Aug 10, 2007 in Gadgets, My World

Busted Laptop

See that piece sticking out the back of the hinge? That’s supposed to be connected to the screen casing. Yeah, not really happy with myself right now.

Thoughts on MBAs in the Tech World

Jun 13, 2007 in Business, My World

Fake Steve Jobs:

If you wonder why Microsoft can’t seem to get out of its own way these days, read this terrifying first-person essay by an MBA who now works at Microsoft, in which he admits he’s a “non-techie” and describes his goal as “unlocking value” from software, which he compares to chocolate chip cookies and running shoes. Now look. I love MBAs as much as the next guy. Actually I don’t. But whatever. The fact is, Microsoft was better off when its staff looked like this.

…and thus, Fake Steve Jobs points out the new Exhibit A as to why MBAs are often loathed in the tech industry.

Not that I’m saying he’s wrong, mind you. The MBA folks I’ve met who are interested in the tech sector tend to fit into two groups — those that think feature checklists are the be-all and end-all and those that think you need to truly understand what the customers want. Furthermore, party membership doesn’t seem particularly driven by level of technical skill. Some tech-savvy MBAs want solutions with every bell and whistle while others believe that their level of tech-savviness takes them outside of the main market segment.

I had a really good illustration of this fact during the last course in my MBA program, Technology Commercialization. It was a 4 day class where we crammed a lot of topics into a very short period of time. By the end of the course, you had a pretty good idea of where people would fall on various issues. Two of the most telling topics were a discussion of Apple’s success with the iPod and a proposal of an innovative new product. During the iPod discussion, there were a few people who were hung up on the fact that the iPod didn’t do everything that competing players offered and that the lack of feature X was a deal-breaker for them. I stopped just short of pulling out one of my favorite rebuttals from when I was at RPI: “But you’re not normal!” While we never reached any consensus in the Apple debate, a handful of folks in the class continued to push the fact that the market for the iPod is not the same as the traditional market for computers.

During the new product proposal phase, though, there was no such hope. The feature checklist mavens got rolling and there was no hope of pushing the discussion towards anything that seemed remotely possible of achieving mass market success. If this thing ever came to market, I think it might be outsold by the Palm Folio.

So, this is the environment I’m facing now that I’m trying to get back into the work force. Furthermore, I’m trying to get into the specific market segments where MBAs often have a bad name. And now, I’ve got Scott from Kellogg making MBAs in the tech world look like idiots, which I’m sure will help matters. Thanks, Scott!

A Memo to Delta

Feb 23, 2007 in My World

If the plane we’re supposed to take doesn’t arrive till 11:35, the odds are pretty good we’re not departing at 11:20.

Getting Things Done?

Oct 11, 2005 in My World

One of the things I wanted to do when I headed back to grad school was get a better handle on task management, along with my organizational skills in general. In general, I’m horrible about making a plan and sticking to it. This is a bit of a problem when you’ve got numerous deadlines coming up in rapid succession, not to mention ATPM articles, and new episodes of Lost.

In an effort to better myself, I picked up a copy of Getting Things Done before I moved to Virginia, figuring I’d find the time to read it and pick up a few pointers along the way.

Today, I realized I hadn’t read the book yet. In fact, I haven’t even found the book yet during my unpacking period (and I’m down to like 3 boxes of random junk). For some reason, I was amused by this realization.

Update: Woohoo! Found it! Now, to read it.

The New Apartment

Aug 13, 2005 in My World

I’ve now been in my new apartment for about a week and a half. Between my folks being in town for the first few days and my general dislike for the unpacking (it’s slightly better than packing, but only because unpacking has less of a deadline), I haven’t finished decking out the place. It’s certainly coming along, though.

For the most part, the apartment’s pretty nice. I’m pretty sure I’ve more space here than at my old place. Chris has been bugging me to both post pictures of my new place and resume regular blogging, so I’m combining the two activities.

The living and dining rooms run together, so I’m splitting the two with furniture. I don’t have a problem with the rooms running into one another, but I just don’t have enough space for my couch and chairs if I don’t do this 🙂

Living and Dining Rooms

Originally, I had my TV, stereo, Airport Express and laser printer on the wall next to the door, since the cable jack was also on this wall. During my first night at the apartment, though, I figured out that the electrical outlets on that wall were both controlled by the switch next to the door, so I ended up reversing the layout of the living room the next day.

Living Room

As you can see, there’s plenty of security on the door, what with three locks. Of course, none of them do a bit of good if you leave them all unlocked, as I did when I was watching a movie last night. This enabled a very confused older lady to wander into my living room. She didn’t respond to any of my queries — I’m not sure if she wasn’t well or if she simply didn’t speak English — but she quickly realized she was in the wrong place.

In retrospect, I probably should’ve called the police in case she was ill and simply wandering the complex, but the thought didn’t occur to me until this morning.

Whatever the case, I’m now going to keep the doorknob locked most of the time.

My bedroom’s spacious enough to setup my bed and desk and keep a chair at my desk at all times (although said chair was elsewhere when I took this photo). In my old apartment, I had to keep the chair at the far end of the room when I wasn’t using the desk, as keeping it at the desk blocked the path from the bed to the door.

Bedroom

The one room that doesn’t thrill me is the kitchen. It’s larger than my old kitchen, which was little more than nook with stove, sink, and dishwasher (I believe my old landlord called it a galley kitchen, but I don’t remember), but the old apartment had more usable counter and shelf space. In the old apartment, I could setup all my kitchen utilities (drying rack, microwave, can opener, toaster, etc) and still have room to do food prep. In my new kitchen, I barely have room to setup the drying rack, microwave, and can opener. It looks like I’ll either have to put stuff away to do food prep or move some of the work in the dining room.

Kitchen

Before moving in, I managed to convince myself that the model apartment I saw back in June had a dishwasher, but that wasn’t the case. Back to doing dishes by hand.

The only other irksome thing about the apartment is the electrical system. The kitchen and bedroom each have only one pair of three-pronged outlets. The living room has two pairs of such outlets, but one pair is the connected to the aforementioned switch. The dining room, where I’ll probably plug in the fewest devices, has two accessible pairs of three-pronged outlets plus a 5th three-pronged outlet that dedicated to the landlord supplied air conditioner (no central air, but the rent includes utilities). The remaining outlets are two-pronged and seem to be located in most of the places where I want to connect things with three-pronged plugs. I’ve already started to run extension cords to get around this shortcoming.

I’ve got most of the big stuff done. My lease requires me to place rugs in the living room, bedroom, and dining area, so I need to find some reasonably-priced options. Although the hardwood floors look nice, I’d probably get rugs even if they weren’t mandated — the floors are extremely slippery and collapsing onto my couch often has the effect of causing the couch to slide several inches. I also need to start hanging stuff on the walls, since they’re looking rather sparse.

T-Minus 2 Days…

Jul 13, 2005 in My World

…till unemployment kicks in…

In the past, I tried to refrain from blogging about my job in anything but the most basic of terms. Yes, I’m a programmer. Yes, I work on the Mac. Yes, I work in the Boston area. I might’ve mentioned one or two other things, but I don’t believe I’ve given away any real info. Keeping my employer out of my weblog seemed like a prudent thing to do — I’m less likely to write something that pisses off the people signing my paycheck and people won’t try to map what or when I post back to my employer.

However, when I walk out of the building on Friday, I’ll no longer be employed. So… for nearly the last three years, I’ve been a software engineer at Avid Technology, working on various video editing products and related tools. That doesn’t include to two stints I worked at Avid while I was at college.

For the most part, it’s been a good time. I’ve worked on some interesting projects and I’ve learned a lot about programming, business, the entertainment industry, and a variety of other topics. The people and the work environment are both top notch and I’ll miss both aspects of the job. If you’re looking for a development job in the Boston area, Avid’s hiring — there are even a handful a Mac-specific jobs.

Now that I’m done raving about the place, you might wonder why I’m leaving. Simply put, I need to get away from commercial development for a while. About a year ago, I got to the point where I wanted nothing to do with computers. This continued for 6-8 months (which coincides largely with most of my months of single-digit postings) before I started breaking out of my funk. I’ve started to enjoy work a bit more, but I’m also looking forward to getting away for a while.

What do I plan to do during my jobless period? Head back to school, of course! On August 1st, I move into my new apartment in Alexandria, VA. Two weeks later, I’ll start the orientation program for George Washington University‘s School of Business. Yup, it’s MBA time.

I’m currently undecided about what I’ll choose as my concentration. Originally, I was thinking Finance, but as I’ve emerged from my aforementioned “dark period,” I’ve been leaning towards either Entrepreneurship or Science, Technology and Innovation. In either case, I think I’d like to get back to the Technology industry when I’m done with school.

Well, that about sums my life update. Now, I’ve got two weeks to pack and clean my apartment, which are perhaps two of my least favorite activities in the world 🙂 Anybody want a 30-year old couch, cheap?

Happy Halloween

Nov 01, 2004 in My World

Here’s something a little festive for All Hallow’s Eve. My friends and I carved these two Saturday’s ago, around the start of the World Series.

All Three Red Sox Pumpkins

Two Three Red Sox Pumpkins

One Three Red Sox Pumpkins

The pumpkin featuring the pair of Sox was partly my handiwork (I admit that I deferred to one of more more artistically-talented friends for drawing on the pumpkin). I can’t remember the last time I tried to carve a pumpkin, so I was really psyched by how it came out.

Blind as a Bat

Oct 07, 2004 in My World

Fun day today. I had an appointment to find out about LASIK vision correction and whether or not I was a viable candidate for the procedure.

Technically, I’m eligible, but the list of likely side effects was pretty sobering: reduced night vision, high probability of needing corrective lenses in the near future, and absolutely no ability to to perform a followup procedure if my vision begins to worsen.

So yes, I really am that blind. 🙂

Aibo Picture

Aug 05, 2004 in My World

I’ve decided I’m going to take on Howard Stern for the title of King of All Media.

In addition to my potential appearance on the Fox25 Morning News, I was recently contacted about using one of my photos from ATPM in an upcoming children’s book entitled “Robots.”

It’s not exactly an enthralling picture — I’ve certainly taken some that I like better — but it’s still pretty cool.