Archives / 2005 / October
  • Book review: "Murach's Java Servlets and JSP"

     The one quality that makes "Murach's Java Servlets and JSP" (buy from Amazon) a clear winner is the quality of the content and clarity of author Andrea Steelman and Joel Murach's writing. They use a friendly, humorous voice that eases the normal tension accompanying such a complex topic as programming Java servlets and designing JavaServer Pages. I'm a C# developer, so this was most appreciated by someone like me. You'll also be thankful for this tone as the book takes you through some very challenging scenarios in developing winning browser-based apps.

    The book is the rare breed of tech manual that stays relevant to the neophyte reader and the experienced developer alike. It's outstanding as a college-level classroom reference, with oversized dimensions (it's a large book, height- and width-wise) are loaded with rich illustrations and healthy amounts of code with thorough explanations of the concepts behind then. Physically the book is ready to sustain the harsh conditions of the learning programmer. Its rigid design will survive a reader's rampant paging through chapters to find that one code sample and stretching the book's spine, in the classroom as well as the web shop.

    The book presents the reader with the holistic JSP experience, and the organization of the chapters is very logical. I particularly enjoyed the chapters dealing with JavaMail programming, working in SSL environments, database access with JDBC and MySQL, working in the HTTP pipeline, custom JSP tags and use of XML. Also featured are basic discussions of incorporating componentization in your projects through JavaBeans. I also liked wrapping up my reading with the capstone project: designing, coding and deploying a very practical Music Store web app.

    The accompanying CD-ROM is outstanding, including the Java 2 SDK for Windows, Tomcat 4.0, MySQL, and trial versions of HomeSite and TextPad.

    In criticism, I felt the book to be ironically a little light on servlets themselves. I would have liked to see more on servlets and beans programming discussed, and perhaps highlight a bit more some of the key classes in the Java 2 API. The book also I feel neglects the object-oriented programming concepts that are so critical to modern-day development. Maybe such topics are out of this book's range, but simple class design would have been nice. However, the best-practices approach to development - use of patterns, proper system organization and implementing MVC architecture greatly offset the book's very minor shortcomings.

    I fully recommend this book to anyone looking to get into beginning to intermediate JavaServer Pages programming. It's essential to becoming a well-versed Java programmer.

  • iTunes Music Store should adopt subscription for TV programming

    I suggested when pontificating over the merits of the iTunes Music Store's for-purchase method of ABC network television programming a permanent subscription format. This can easily be done by applying the proven opt-in concept of RSS, perfectly marrying the tried-and-true media concepts of print's paid, inncentive-based subscription with TV's traditional syndication.

    How cool would it be if Apple/ABC/other sources collaborated on a permanent subscription model for network TV content? A consumer would pay a set fee for a certain number of episodes, which would be a certain percentage cheaper than if you bought an entire season's shows individually and got automatic delivery of the content. It's retooling information by applying new media applications to proven concepts, taking a page right out of Sports Illustrated (pun intended), and from blogging/podcasting.

    Think about it: assign users a secure account in the iTunes Music Store. They agree to pay $25.37 for a 15-episode season of "Grey's Anatomy" (15% off the cover price of $1.99 per episode). Add an incentive - subscribers exclusively get an extra bonus video of cast interviews, outtakes, etc. - and programmatically subscribe the user's local version of iTunes 6 to an authenticated RSaS feed that delivers their shows according to a set schedule (an additional subscriber-only incentive might be they get the video a few hours earlier than its released in the ITMS).

    For the consumer this would mean cost-effectiveness, guaranteed delivery, convenience and reliable viewership. And the networks get more money up front, regardless of the quality of their programming, the ratings of their stuff, or whether the end-user actually watches their stuff, or not. It's the perfect application of RSS to paid content.

    Operators are standing by, cancel anytime.

  • The new marketing tagline for movies from this point on

    I'm still coming down from my Apple sugar rush from yesterday, so one more post on the impacts of the multimedia-rich "One More Thing..." announcement Steve Jobs gave.

    Imagine the new mandated tagline movie compaines, TV networks and content multimedia producers are going to have to start using in commercials -

    "[ SOME MEDIA PRODUCT NAME HERE] , coming soon on October 12 for DVD, PSP, and in the iTunes Music Store"

  • I'm moving...

    I finally setup JASONSALAS.COM, so I'll be replicating/archiving some of my blog posts over the next day or so as I transition content to my new domain.  I've not used Blogger as a publishing tool before, so setting up some of the feed and archive directories is a new thing.  I've really enjoyed .TEXT, but it's time to try something new.

  • 4 things wrong with college football today

    I used the following topics for part of my "5-in-5" segment of my sports show where I debate the hottest topics in national sports. This is my favorite time of year, when America's new pastime is in its full glory. Forget baseball - football's been the national game for years, and everyone knows it. The most menial play in a gridiron highlight reel is typically more awe-inspiring than what would be considered phenomenal feats of athleticism on the diamond.

  • Still learning ins and outs of Google Reader

    I'm realizing that while I'm remaining less forthright in flaming Google for the perceived inadequacies of Google Reader, the one thing that is getting on my nerves is a lack of help links or tutorial documentation.  I stumbled across the fact that the program can read and more importantly play podcasts yesterday, and apparently I'm not the only one.  Today I jjust figured out that I'm supposed to be reading feeds from the "Home" link, not the "Read Items".

  • Flag-planting in Ann Arbor...ouch

    There was much ado about the Spartans after they planted the Michigan State flag in South bend after dethroning the then-undefeated Fightin' Irish.  Here's a painful shot of Minnesota's Laurence Maroney doing the same at midfield in the Big House after taking out the Wolverines.

    ESPN guys were panning the practice, but I say let it go.  This really hurt a UM fan like me to see, but the players certainly earn it.  People are worried about injury?  How about potentially thousands of kids ripping down a goal post?

    Whiel I'm at it, the NCAA really needs to re-think the "excessive celebration" rule, without doubt the dumbest penalty ever created in sports.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of banning the practice of crotch-grabbing and throat slashing, but let players celebrate achievement.

  • Farewell, Little Brown Jug...

    My Michigan Wolverines lost to the Golden Gophers of Minnesota 23-20 on a last-second field goal to give up possession of The Little Brown Jug for the first time since 1986 (see this excellent Flickr photostream by Boston Fan in Michigan).  Geez. 

    With 3 losses and a 3-3 record (2-2 Big Ten), the hopes of locking-down the conference title are bleak (although Ohio State did drop a game to a very impressive Penn State squad, and Northwestern shocked Wisconsin), and it's probably safe to say the Rose Bowl's out of the picture, too.  The best we can hope for now is to win out the remaining 5 games...including the Buckeyes at the Big House for the season finale.

    Go Blue.

  • The undesirable social impacts of a Web 2.0 world

    An image instantly popped into my head as I reviewed the impressive list of the major participants of this year's Web 2.0 Conference - their polar opposites. I saw in my mind the generation of Dot-Com busts.  One of the collateral things that I hope doesn't arise when Web 2.0 really starts to take off with the masses is the insane rush by any and every would-be entrepreneur to get involved with it, as was evident with the web gold rush of the late 1990's (I'm referring to the legion of failures, not those listed in the Conference).  

    The one quality that made the e-commerce industry such a great thing - limitless opportunity - I believe also caused, in part,  its downfall. 

    Remember how things were in those days?  Everyone who claimed to be "a FrontPage expert" or passed the MCSE exams or knew at least three IT acronyms, regardless of formal education, proper training or business savvy, and whether they really "got" what being on the web meant, wanted to start their own company and instantly appoint themselves CEO.  Each one of these people wanted to turn their communities into the next Silicon Valley, and were quick to let you know that (there were tons of guys like this in Guam...stress the "were").  Or, barely with a year of college under their belt, they wanted to work for a company on the verge of going public and worship at the altar of the almighty IPO and retire by 30.  As a result, we've got a generation of misinformed wannabes who are still to this day still struggling to make it, now too proud to humble themselves and work for someone else at entry level; a result of their own lack of focus, lack of vision and lack of effort.

    The biggest business hurdle in the Web 1.0 world was translation - understanding how to express logistical models in a purely online environment.  If you could bullshit your way around this to a customer or venture capitalist, you'd be a part of something special.  Today and going into the future concepts and models that are much more complex are the governing dynamics.  Things like public APIs, syndication, open source models, social networking, harnessing the true power of data, loose coupling, The Long Tail, and distributing software as services aren't for the faint of heart and won't tolerate being managed by the ill-advised or improperly motivated.  Hopefully, this complexity will produce a de facto shakedown enough to only allow the truly worthy in the club.  At least initially.

    The Web 2.0 economy is going to be way too intricate for such foolishness, and even in a capitalist macroeconomy we can't afford to permit the same mistakes.  I'm hoping for a self-policing structure that mandates the right people get in on the action first, lest we be inundated with a community of semi-learned fools mucking it all up. 

  • Accessing Word documents programmatically with an ASP.NET web form

    I'm trying to incorporate a new feature into my company's CMS that doesn't require population of form fields in a web page.  Basically, the system will read a DOC/RTF file from a directory and programmatically extract data to be inserted into a database, based on a predefined structure within the document (title, author, body).  Sounds like the perfect candidate for BizTalk Server, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, I'm not that lucky.  So, I'm attempting to do so by hand.

    It's simple enough to do, but examples don't exactly abound on the Web, so I'm doing some testing of some new concepts I've developed about reading/extracting the contents of such a binary file and using it via an ASP.NET web form.  This is going to further automate an already-speedy proces for getting news from our newsroom management system to our CMS to the public World Wide Web.

    Pretty geeky way to spend a Sunday night, eh?

  • Finding your voice: recording tips for mic-shy podcasters

    A friend that I got interested in the podcasting revolution wrote me and gave giving recording time-shifted digital audio a try.  Not surprisingly he was sheepish and self-critical not only about the finished product, but of the voicing process in general.  Take it from me, because I do it all - recording for the first time, or the 1,000th time, can be a daunting experience if you're not comfortable with yourself. 

  • Little orange nightmare: Microsoft's new state-mindful RSS iconography

    Microsoft announced a series of icons under consideration to represent various states of an RSS feed in IE7, perhaps in addition to using the proposed "Pod" graphic.  I've got to say I like this idea in theory...although it's certainly subject to mass overuse/misuse.  I hope they not go overboard with too many states (see the second option below...exactly what is "movement around a feed"?).

    Quoting from MSDN:

    We took a look at the prevalent icons used today but none of them fit our principles.  The Firefox icon is close, but it lacks the rectangular dimension (principle #2).  Here are some of the ideas that we’ve been playing around with:

        1 – We use a variation of the gleam to convey that feeds are updatable.

        2 – The ring illustrates movement around a feed.

        3 – This is a spark to show new information being broadcasted.

        4 – We use waves to show broadcasting of content.

        5 – This is the Beta 1 icon with our new requirements.

  • Chicago podcasters sought for on-demand network sports shows

    The Chicago Sportscast Network is soliciting new podcasters to become frequent audio-on-demand contributors to sports programming for the Bears, Blackhawks, White Sox and Bulls.  The intent would be to give podcasters a break in the mainstream broadcasting market, production support from the network (meaning interviews, attending press conferences, media credentials, etc.), while retaining total creative control of their show. 

    Curiously, nothing mentioned about covering the Cubs...could this be a southside-only thing?

  • Google Reader fallout (aka, "The Day After")

    I was one of several hundred people who blogged their first-run reactions to Google Reader, the company's new RSS aggregator.  Proving the marketing concept that the vast majority of people satisfied with a product will remain apathetic towards it while people wishing to complain will do so in great numbers, the blogosphere was flooded with comments from people voicing their stark opposition to the aesthetics, program design, features, instructions (or lack thereof), performance, and all sorts of things about Google Reader.

    One of the the things I picked up on from reading analysis of the service was that, "Reader also employs algorithms that learn your content preferences and prioritizes content accordingly."  This is something we'd naturally have to pickup on over time as the program adapted to our personal usage styles and patterns, so the jury for the moment is out on how this will play with the community, but it's a neat gimmick in theory.  That's something neither Litefeeds nor RSS Bandit do for me at the moment. 

    I also wondered about the "relevance" sort option, thinking that this would be more grouping by feed than by actual correlation between the often disparate content in my feeds.  And I still maintain that we should be able to mark items as unread en masse, not being forced to page through them or read them to get them out of our unread list.  I also think the ability to tag someone else's feed is neat - allowing you to add a new layer of metadata to that which may already have it.

    I've taken the time to learn how to use the program a bit better, and while it's still a bit of a shift in how I'm used to getting blogs, podcasts and Flickr photostreams.  It may be momentarily awkward, but change ususally is.

    The community has brought to painful light the single glaring flaw: Google Reader's one hiccup seems to be inordinate waiting times while the program imports an OPML list.  But that'll hopefully be fixed.  I've also discovered several features since then, like being able to preview a feed before permanently subscribing to it, and  pretty neat support for podcasts - being able to listen to a file within an embedded player (as a streamed MP3/Flash audio) or download its source MP3 directly.

    Having suffered through the first criticism salvo, let's now let cooler heads prevail and curb the subjectivisim with which we present our feedback.  If you absolutely loathe the service and are willing to compose multiple paragraphs to express it, write at least one other to offer remediation strategies.  Show how good of a user/developer you are by recommmending a fix.  One of the things that's common when people react to a product is to be overly negative, just to prove they can, without suggesting a strategy to get better.  Complaints are still valued in product development, but pure bitch-fests lose their weight over time.

  • Initial reactions to Google Reader

    The server went down for a little bit today during the 2.5 hours I've been playing with Google Reader since 5am Guam time (EST +17), and friends in the mainland said it's been like that on occasion throughout the day since it went live.  I'm not sure if this is due to surge from its premiere post-Web 2.0 Conference, or just ultra-demand from the blogosphere/podosphere/Flickrsphere. 

    Ben's harped a little bit about the service in his photostream, but my big thing is not being able to mark an entire feed or several items within a feed as read.  Shouldn't the "Read Items" button say "Unread" as Pip mentions, meaning only the itesm not already selected can be displayed?  Maybe I'm used to other programs and thus ignorant, but this confused me.

    Having said that, I do like the fact that feeds aren't cached (it would seems) for an inconvinient amount of time, such that I'm a few hours behind everyone else.  This is cool.  I also of course, dig the roaming ability of the RSS aggregator being integrated to my GMail account, which I previously mentioned was a big win for me.  I've also blogged about wanting to export subscribed RSS feeds from my Google portal page either directly into Google Reader or as an OPML file.

  • Suggestion for Google's/Microsoft's portal start pages

    One thing I think would be cool for Google's personalized homepage and Microsoft's, the merits of which I pontificated about previously, would be to have an option that would read through the web parts content areas displayed on a customized page, and export them as a single OPML file (or alternatively in Google's case, imported directly into Google Reader) .  OPML would be more universal a solution for use in other apps and situations, but either way, it'd be neat to not only import content en masse into a portal, but also to have a portal export subscribed content for other uses, integrated or not.

  • My big project: Guam's first broadband channel

    A rumor's been making its way around the island lately about the possibility that I might be working on plans to develop Guam's first broadband channel.  Why hide it...yep, 'tis true!  I'm developing the architecutre, infrastructure, revenue model and delivery format(s) for a new KUAM collection of multimedia content, accessible over a variety of digital devices and platforms (desktop, web browser, MP3 players, PSP, wireless/mobile/PDA).  It'll feature rich, high-quality, archived/live video, audio, podcasts, downloads and more through a really slick interface. 

    That's all for now!

  • Barry Diller and I see eye-to-eye...sort of

    Billionaire Barry Diller of IAC evidently ruffled some feathers at the Web 2.0 Conference, saying:

    "...Diller made some comments disparaging those who create content on the Web that only a handful of people will ever see. "When you get into forms of entertainment, talent always wins out. There isn't that much talent in the world. An audience of 8 to 12 people might be interested in someone's individual expression, but the process of people with talent and expertise making entertainment products won't be displaced by 18-year-olds making videos, except maybe on 'Funniest Home Videos.' "

    It's summarizing the sole reason of my hatred of reality TV.  Don't get me wrong, despite my role in mainstream media, I'm a huge new media advocate...many have told me one of the few MSM'ers to endorse, much less acknowledge new apps.  I constantly encourage people to get involved with cutting-edge communications like podcasting, blogging, v-logging, wikis, mash-ups, etc.  But, this still doesn't mean the majority of it won't be as good as that generated by those schooled in the art of formal communications (I'm not, I slid into my job as a news anchor, sports producer, radio show host, columnist, blogger and podcaster while being a sofwtare developer).

    The point is that if you're going to get involved with something in new media, do it well.  Shatter the stigma of DIY contributions being of DIY quality.  Write well, speak clearly, and program intuitively.  MSM diehards are counting on new media apps to fade due to the fact that audiences will see the lack of organization, training and poor preparation and realize the error of their ways, and return to big stuff.  Do great work and continue to blur the line between what's known as mainstream and what's not.  There's no more segregation between "the media" and everyone else on the planet.  Everyone is part of the game now, although there does still exist a segmentation between mainstream- and the community-generated content. 

    Progress the platform.

  • Google's new web-based RSS reader is cool

    Despite being painfully slow at the moment, I like Google's new RSS reader, naturally web-based so I can roam (I had previous concerns about in this regard).  The scrolling cursor to move within a feed is really neat. 

    I'd eventually like it to be able to import both OPML and RSS feeds I've already plugged into my personalized Google homepage, only the latter of which is supported at the time of this writing.  That would be full-on sweet and totally portable.  I uploaded an OPML file from my Litefeeds subcription list, and it took several minutes to import only about 40 RSS feeds, but did work.

  • I'm (finally) getting my own domain

    I've been meaning to secure JASONSALAS.COM for awhile now, but haven't gotten around to it - hence my weekend project (that and mess with the Win32 libraries for Python).  I'm getting the domain (please someone, don't be a dick and park or cybersquat it while you read this), so I can setup ASP.NET 2.0 space and run my own blog.  I'm deciding between MovableType, TypePad, Blogger, DABU, WordPress or my own C#-based blogging app I wrote a few months ago, for which I just added a custom trackback handler in ASP.NET 1.x.

    Scoble's having similar choice conflicts deciding on a platform for his new domain space.  Any suggestions on a good blogging app for a web host that supports a Microsoft web platform (IIS, SQL Server, ASP.NET 1.x/2.0) and under my own domain?

  • My (virtual) college football season blog

    In addition to all of the sportswriting I'm normally doing for the real-life college football action, I'm going to blog about my virtual college football season - in a video game.  Passing through Blockbuster tonight my eye caught a copy of EA Sports' NCAA 06 Football, which I haven't got yet - available for the clearance price of $16.99.  Done.

    I've owned or have heavily played most of the EA Sports college football titles since the days when Tommie Frazier and Nebraska's option-laden offense ruled.  Tradionally there have been the constants (1) I play the whole season out, (2) I always play as Michigan, (3) I embarrass what is otherwise a dominant football program.  The team's 2005 schedule has us at home for the first two games (the second against Notre Dame, which IRL they lost), and the on the road against 'Sconsin and Michigan State, and then some other Big Ten games...until the season capper in the Big House against Ohio State. 

    I've yet to play, but if the game holds true to the pre-season rankings, UM should be around #5, with OSU around #7.  I'm going to play frantically this weekend to catch-up to the real world Week 6 schedule, and the keep pace. 

    I'll blog about it as I go along...Go Blue!

  • Hey, console game developers: we need more indoor volleyball titles!

    One thing that's bummed me out about console gaming has been the total lack of indoor volleyball titles in the PS2/XBox reign.  Beach vball titles will continues to thrive, especially now that we're able to integrate what's essentially softcore porn into the gameplay.  But I'm a purist...I gots to have my complex offensive plays. 


      We had a few with the old Sega Genesis (6 players that air-humped), the original 16-bit Nintendo had Kings of the Beach, Super NES rocked a couple like the excellent Power Spikes Beach Volleyball, and GameBoy had a beach game that was nice.  But rhe best game ever was Dig & Spike Volleyball by Hudson Soft, which featured loose translations of the teams that competed in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, including the infamous "volleybald" Team USA with middle blockr Bob Samuelson.  The crowd even cheered "Nippon...Nippon!" every time Japan had the serve.  The gameplay was accurate, simple, and amazing.  There hasn't been a title since that captured the essence and excitement of the indoor game since.  The funny thing is that title also featured a sweet-ass training mode to perfect timing for quick sets, combinations and shoot sets to the outside, and 2-on-2 beach competition, the latter of which I never played.  The indoor action was too hot.

    I realize that it's not the most popular or profitable sport, but with NFL, NBA, golf, fishing, and ehll, even bowling titles in perpetuity, someone do my beloved sport some justice and put one out.  Please???

  • The personal portal battle: Google's personalized homepage vs.

    I've been objectively playing with and testing the personalizable portal concepts from Google and Microsoft a lot over the last week, and I'm not alone (Ben Askins, Eric Hammersley, and Adrian Sutton have a few of the better blogged tests).  I've been a big fan of the web parts portal framework concept ever since I saw it in early bits for ASP.NET 2.0, and I'm glad to see some production-quality apps finally available for public consumption.  Trying to use the "Remember the Digital Dashboard?" or "Think of Rainbow, it's kinda like that…" or "Why you should really consider Windows SharePoint Server" examples to a neophyte audience was getting nowhere.  

    (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, thanks for proving my point.)

    Both Google's personalized homepage and Microsoft's initiative exhibit slick DHTML powering animation and drag-and-drop features that are very cool, and both ship with a ton of pre-configured content (weather, stocks, national news), in addition to supporting subscriptions to external RSS feeds.  Each gets a slight nod over the other for certain aspects of its shipped content ( supports more global locales for weather, Google's movie service is more localized; Google makes it way easier to add content to a page, while's preview pane is a really neat way to get an abstract of a feed without leaving the page, etc.).  

    Surprisingly, Google's portal naively allows a user to subscribe to the same RSS feed multiple times - whether inadvertently or deliberately - while detects the presence of a specific pre-existing feed and intuitively only permits a single subscription. also supports the importation of OPML files for auto-subscription to existing lists, which Google doesn't at the moment do.

    As far as speed goes and in lieu of any formal and scientific testing,, it would appear, would be the better performing service.  It just seems to execute more efficiently, carrying out operations and rendering content to a page faster.  Maybe this implies a superiority of the ASP.NET 2.0 engine over Java/Python.

    That having been said, accessibility is the determining factor that puts some real competitive distance between the two for me, and the reason I personally prefer Google.  I really dig the fact that being a true membership-oriented web app, Google's homepage enables roaming and can be accessed with your customized profile from any PC (and hopefully sometime, any device).  I normally jump around on at least 8 computers of varying OS and browser at work, so it's nice to be able to get at my GMail account, search history and RSS feeds wherever I am without any additional configuration or setup, other than a one-time login. evidently uses a per-machine server-side cookie to persist customized content, so a personalized portal using Microsoft's offering at the moment can't be accessed if you use a PC adjacent to you, in another building, or on the other side of the world.

    Further, because the cookie is resident only on the web browser that first set it, a customized portal can't even be accessed on a different browser on the same machine without setting it all up again from scratch.  The concept of network usability is lost.  This means if I setup some content areas different from the default load, add some RSS feeds, and change some program parameters in MSIE, I can't see the same page in Firefox and have to repeat the actions.  And continue doing so for cross-browser maintenance over time.  This is a big letdown, in my opinion.  

    But the main thing that brings down for me also delivers an implied benefit I think is cool.  I realize not everyone has multiple PCs and workstations at their disposal, and most users are content relying on a single browser.  So it's nice that supports configuration without membership via anonymous personalization, and people can setup customized experiences without having to signup for anything.  This is good, and I initially predicted unavoidable, as programmatic anonymous personalization was one of the first things I tried to achieve with the early preview bits of ASP.NET 2.0.

    With both being in beta, there's still work to be done.  And while increasing customer feedback and incorporation/integration into existing products lines for both with MSN and Microsoft tools and Google's page with…well, Google, the more the products begin to differentiate from one another the more they'll become even more similar.

  • Controlling the Heat in Miami this NBA season

    The Miami Heat's practices should be better this upcoming season than many other team's regular season games.  Several off-season acquisitions, specifically from the Celtics and Grizzlies, make the Heat scary good in the East.  Stan Van Gundy has a huge task ahead of him in being tasked to architect a starting lineup with a deep bench, and how to effectively corral all that talent into a cohesive, productive unit.

    Even after the loss of the Joneses (veteran Eddie and rising star Damon) this is the most impressive hardcourt assembly on paper since the 2004 Lakers.  Guys so good even non-fans know them by their nicknames:  Diesel.  Zo.  White Chocolate.  'Twoine.  The Glove.  D-Wade.  

    If the team that was one game away from the NBA Finals this past April has any roster concerns, it would be the backcourt.  The Heat is loaded with size with the bench being chock full of quality forwards.  But the Miami guards, outside of Dwayne Wade, whose durability should allow him to set a career high for minutes played, aren't complimented by a pure shooter.  The loss of Damon Jones really sacrifices a deep shooting threat

    Here's my projection:

    C - Shaquille O'Neal
    SG - Dwayne Wade
    PG - Jason Williams
    SF - Antoine Walker
    PF- Udonis Haslem

    PG - Gary Payton
    C/F - Alonzo Mourning
    F - Wayne Simien
    F/G - James Posey
    F/G - Shandon Anderson

  • Get out of telemarketing calls

    Even here in the Pacific, we get tons of telemarketer calls.  They're getting more common this time of year, and more troublesome.  I normally get out of them by telling the person I'm also in market research.  Bingo!  Automatic exclusion from the target audience.

  • Microsoft using new little orange "Pod" graphic for podcasts

    Well, when Microsoft said it wanted to refer to RSS-packaged content as "web feeds", they weren't kidding.  MarketWatch reports that Microsoft is now starting to offer podcasts, referring to them as such, but using a new little orange graphic to vsiaully indicate the presence of a feed.

    I'm glad to see they're promoting use of both desktop and mobile podcatcher clients (referred to as "podcast readers").  This'll be a nice way to move Windows Mobile 5.0-powered Treo 670s.

  • Joel really likes NewsGator

    One consistent theme you'll undoubtedly pick up on from Joel Ross in his blog and podcast is how much he digs NewsGator.  Past convos revealed that he's big on the ability to subscribe to integrate all things RSS with Outlook, and that he consumes a voracious load of more than 700 feeds.  Good Lord.

    I one time jokingly asked for a copy of his OPML file, mainly because I've never seen one that big.

  • My new sportstalk TV show premiered

    There's truly no business like show business.  I spent the latter part of last weekend feverishly researching & writing the new weekly 30-minute sportstalk TV show that I developed and I'm producing and co-hosting with Brant McCreadie.  We were taping through the weekend, with final editing today before it debuted this evening on my station's NBC affiliate channel.  It's really a heckuva lot of tedious work, what with booking guests and developing content, but tons of fun, and it's about sports, so it's not really that laborious.  We've got a really cool eclectic sporty set that looks like the inside of a locker room with a ton of props.  ESPN it's not, but it serves it's purpose.  God, I love my job.

    The format is basically/intentionally a lethargic jock and a lanky geek sitting around talking local and national sports (I'll let you figure out who is who).  The personality contrast adds to the hilarity.  The show is half scripted, half improvised, and in a segment based on the latter I made a mistake, referring to Jim Leyland, the former Florida manager who won the Marlins' first World Series, as Jim Lampley, who as well all know is an HBO boxing analyst.  Oops.  I also erred by first referring to my fantasy football tips segment "Fantasy Focus" (which it is) as "Fantasy Factor". Damn.

    The show is basically a TV port of the sportstalk radio show I've been doing for more than a year, with several new segments taking advantage of the visual medium of TV, and a few new interactive features with banter between Brant and I.  You can watch it every Monday @ 5:30pm on KUAM-TV8 in Guam, catch the stream in our archives, or check it our as a podcast.  I'll put up streaming video of the show on my site and on Google Video and as a PSPCast in a few hours (I'm pretty stoked about that).  I'm also working on a wireless content distribution format for mobile phones.

  • The necessity of "groupie" blogging

    On any given night, during the course of anchoring an hour-long newscast I'll read between 35-40 stories.  The variation of the types of reports is noteworthy - most being rehashed press releases, teases of upcoming community events, follow-ups on past reports.  Maybe three or four times during the broadcast we'll present a longer investigative piece and perhaps offer but a single editorial.  This is how I'm used to presenting diverse information over mainstream media.

    One of the things that amazes me isn't the exponential growth rate of the blogging community - it's the way people blog.  As a writer and member of the news corps my blog contained long-form, article-style compositions.  Months ago I was targeted by one of Steve Rubel's flaming arrows, justifiably questioned about a theory I presented in one such piece in which I predicted the inevitable death of newspapers due to participatory journalism and citizen reporting powered by new media applications.  Checking out his post, at the time I thought Steve apparently chronologically listed one- and two-sentence postings linking to other people's work, only offering scant insight.  Where's the journalism in that?

    I used to loathe on principle these "groupie blogs", a moniker I attached to the segment of the blogosphere where they authors don't really develop any thoughts or theories of their own, merely replicating material based around one or more central themes.  No creation, just regurgitation.  And the same certainly exists for a certain portion of podcasters, v-loggers, digital photogs, et al.

    Already knowing Steve's reputation as a public relations guru (but ignorant to his new media advocacy), I perused his blog more thoroughly I noted that the guy's work is pretty eclectic - relevant, timely, topical, insightful, useful and interesting.  I've since been a permanent subscriber and fan of his work.

    And then it hit me: to judge a user's blogging style and behavioral posting patterns by traditional writing standards is unjust.  Today's world is all about the quality and timeliness of content, therein laying the true value: this is new age reporting at its best, making for the perfect aggregation of focused content.

    So I've since developed a fancy for the shorter-post crowd, dropping the assumedly derogatory "groupie" label and embracing their contributions as an integral part of new media and of the way I receive sensory input.  I actually now prefer their quick approach to disseminating information, not being longwinded rants (like the one you're reading now).  Theirs are a way to get a quick glance at what happened in the world without saturated opinion or heavy rhetoric.  Just an abstract rundown of a topic and a URL - the perfect snapshot for a short-attention span generation.  I've even adopted such tactics into my own blogging. 

    Many of my colleagues haven't been so quick to jump on the bandwagon.  Most in mainstream media naively rip and rail on new platforms, refusing to see podcasting and the like as "legitimate forms of communication", whatever the hell that still means.  So to legitimize this for MSM hard cases, consider an example: an typical "diversified" groupie blog would contain as many as, say 10, daily posts ranging from quick notes referencing other (perma)links of interest, maybe an opinion-based rant or two, and a couple of brief notes about things happening within peer groups, and perhaps a quick editorial on the state of the world.

    Sounds like a pretty decent newscast to me.

  • Wow...Blogniscient listened & added RSS feeds!

    Behold the power of active blogging.  I'm  beyond stoked to see that Blogniscient added RSS feeds to their main content pages for tech news (RSS feed here), politics (RSS feed here), and sports (RSS feed here).  This came only a few scant hours after I posted about how cool the service is, but how bummed I was about the lack of RSS feeds.  Evidently, this struck a chord with someone on the dev team and they got right on it.

  • Bummed to not see RSS feeds in Blogniscient

    I discovered the blog roundup service Blogniscient today, and was impressed at the frequency of crawls, the divser categories (more than just tech and politics) breadth of content in the tech space.  However, my endorphin river dried up when I couldn't find an RSS feed to plug into my reader app, either on the page or in the source code.  This keeps it behind Memeorandum and Digg for the top aggregation sites.

  • Paul Mooney gets Web 2.0

    Ask 10 people in the know what Web 2.0 is, and you'll likely get 8 different definitions, with the remaining 2 being variations on a similar theme.  Blogger Paul Mooney (not the comedian from Chapelle's Show) writes "Web 1.0 was about presence, Web 2.0 is about participation".  That's the best plainclothes definition I've heard yet.  Good job, Paul.

    I've personally developed the theory that Web 2.0 is the marketing community's collective embrace of and attempt to commodify the web services model.  Geez, that only took 5 years.  :-(

  • Working with RSS-based PSPCasting

    I've been looking into PSPCasting - publishing feeds with podcast-like <ENCLOSURE> tags containing references to video files to which PlayStation Portables can subscribe - as a means of distributing news video and imagery.  I'm trying to give people the option of downloading news & entertainment footage my station produces wirelessly over the Internet directly onto a PSP by way of an RSS feed and BitTorrent.  The key element is having people register/subscribe their device once and then receive automatic and/or scheduled content updates.