Saturday, May 23, 2009

Update: ESPN iPhone Apps

Update on the ESPN iPhone apps situation from an anonymous source:

"There are two apps coming very soon.

One will be to basically review sports scores with a minimum amount of detail.

The second is a full app with a HUGE amount of features like player details, play-by-plays, stadium details, etc (don't want to give away too much."

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Three ESPN iPhone Apps Coming Soon?

Sources close too XXL BBQ have reported that ESPN will launch three true iPhone apps as early as June 1. So far, ESPN's iPhone presence has consisted mostly of the iPhone-friendly ESPN Mobile Web where users can follow scores, gamecasts, news, and their fantasy teams (ESPN leagues only). ESPN did launch an actual iPhone app (three versions) which is simply a Photo-Hunt-style game called ESPN Cameraman where players try to identify the differences between two sports-related photographs.

Despite the solid design and usability of the ESPN Mobile Web site, it is simply not as robust an experience as could easily be provided with a locally-running application and many have been wondering why the "worldwide leader in sports" does not yet have an official app for scores and stats. It now appears that this is because the agreement to provide ESPNMVP for Verizon users includes an exclusivity clause which prevents ESPN from creating mobile applications for use with other carriers. It also appears that this exclusivity agreement is about to expire, possibly as early as May 31.

The three applications in development/set for launch were described as follows:

Scoreboard app -- Customizable scoreboard allowing you to follow a specific set of teams/games.
Fantasy app -- Track your fantasy teams.
Fan Locator app -- Find and connect with nearby fans of your team.

Sounds like the apps will be free upon release and although the core stuff like scores, stats and gamecasts is already part of ESPN Mobile Web, I'm sure there will be some bells and whistles not possible with the current mobile site. Also, the ability to locate and avoid Ohio State fans is a service for which we will all be forever grateful.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TweetDeck's-Eye-View of the End of the World

RT @ThrillerJesus Once upon a time if a giant asteroid hit Japan I'd have just been incinerated without first being alerted via text message

My computer screen tonight if the world ends:

Twitter End

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wolfram|Alpha Update

My previous post about Wolfram|Alpha was pretty sloppy and if you didn't understand it, you are not alone. To clarify, W|A is kinda like a search engine, but it returns actual answers rather than a list of results. Rudy Rucker, who got to see a demo as he interviewed Stephen Wolfram, writes:

"Let me give three random examples. If you enter the query, '3/26/2009 + 90 days' you’ll get a page that gives a date ninety days later than the first date. If you enter 'mt. everest height length of golden gate' you’ll get a page expressing the height of Mount Everest as a multiple of the length of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you enter 'temperature in los gatos,' you’ll get something like the current temperature, a graph of the temperatures over the last week with projections for the next few days, and a graph of the temperatures over the last year.

Wolfram|Alpha can pop out an answer to pretty much any kind of factual question that you might pose to a scientist, economist, banker, or other kind of expert. The exciting part is that you’re not just looking up pages on the web, you’re getting new information that’s generated by computations working from the known data. Wolfram says the response can be so speedy because, 'We’ve found that, of all the things science can compute, most take a second or less.'"

The theory and underlying structure of W|A are rooted in Wolfram's work in science, philosophy and mathematics (see Mathematica and A New Kind of Science). For more information, check the rest of Rucker's article and/or the condensed (one hour) version of the interview.

Says Wolfram, "Just as running Google is like having a reference librarian to help you, running Wolfram|Alpha will be like having a house scientist to consult for you."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meme Watch: "Steelers to Lose Super Bowl Trophies"

A satirical piece featuring a proposal from President Obama to redistribute Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl trophies to less successful teams has been making the rounds. This arrived in my inbox today (credit: Mike), traveling via forwarded email, as all right-leaning humor does. Mid-March is the earliest iteration I can find and it's been posted all over the place (you can read it for yourself here).

Anyway, it's basically an attempt at an Onion-style lampooning of Obama based on the premise that his obsession with redistribution knows no bounds. That's fine, whatever. The part that bothered me was I could imagine all these people reading it and thinking, Ha! Socialism in the NFL! Can you imagine? Obama's takin' us all to hell on a hand truck!

For the record, I absolutely do not support the reallocation of Super Bowl trophies. The Pittsburgh Steelers earned theirs fair and square and I don't see how any other teams would get any enjoyment out of them. Real resources like cash and talent are another story entirely. I enjoy NFL football as it exists today and I therefore hope it maintains its "socialist" philosophy which promotes parity in a healthy, 32-team economy. After all, these are policies which have made it the most profitable sports league ever to exist on planet Earth. Policies like:

• a draft : unsuccessful teams are awarded top draft positions for performing poorly

• a salary cap/minimum wage : no player is allowed to be paid too much or too little as agreed upon in negotiations between team owners and the players' union

• revenue sharing : transfer of money from rich teams to not-so-rich teams

The article even has a photo of a Steeler gripping a Super Bowl trophy with a caption that reads, "Steelers must now share their wealth and fruits of their success and hard work." Yes. Yes, that's exactly what they're going to do. That's exactly what every successful NFL team has done since revenue sharing began in 1960.

This is not to say socialism is an inherently good thing. Parity comes at a price. That price, of course, is freedom. The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have to fork over a bunch of their revenue and even after that, they can't just go hiring anyone and paying players anything they want. They are regulated in a variety of ways and some may feel that regulation goes too far. Perhaps they'd feel more comfortable with Major League Baseball.

Carrying the metaphor to the US economy, it is this decision about the proper balance between socioeconomic parity and individual freedom that has everyone clenching their glutes so tightly all the time. Personally, I'm a fan of heavily taxing the ultra-rich (may require additional tax brackets) and redistributing it to lower class high school grads to prepare them for the workforce (vocational skills training required in tandem with the study of your choice!) because we know what poor, young people who have few opportunities end up doing.

In the end, however, choosing the "correct" amount of redistribution depends on what you think the goal of society is and even then, it's a shot in the dark because all we've been able to prove definitively is that there is no economic system that can help Detroit.

We've also proven that I'll go a long way to tear down a shitty piece of satire. Or practice writing or whatever the hell it is I'm doing with this blog. I don't know, it's late.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Big Buck Hunter in South Florida

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Had to move back to South Florida from NYC about five months ago and in that time I have only been able to find six Big Buck Hunter locations in the Dade/ Broward/Palm Beach area. This is a serious step down from the lifestyle available in NYC and is a situation that must be dealt with. Please consider this a formal request for all the Big Buck Hunter locations that you know of in Florida. I have heard tell from my brother of a Big Buck Hunter II machine at the Daisy Duke's at Pines and Palm, but Sega CD-calibur graphics are not my thing. We're looking for Big Buck Hunter Pro and Big Buck Safari here.

If you know of any locations in Florida, comment below or click through and comment on the Google map and I'll add them. Here are the six machines that I know of near Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach:

McSorley's : Big Buck Hunter Pro
This is probably my favorite bar in South Florida at this point (ocean air rolling in, shuffleboard table, jukebox) and for that reason I hereby declare it the center of all SoFla BBH activity. See you there.

Parrot Lounge : Big Buck Hunter Pro
The orange gun at Parrot is jacked up, not sure about the green one. This is an alright place I guess, but it's like 150 feet from McSorley's so what are you doing there?

Flanigan's : Big Buck Safari
I've got nothing against Flanigan's, but I probably wouldn't ever go there if it weren't for this, the only Safari machine I can find within 200 miles.

Outdoor World / Bass Pro Shops : big-screen Big Buck Hunter Pro
I know the phrase "big-screen Buck Hunter" sounds real good, but this thing was an enormous disappointment. I believe they do this at some other locations, too, including the Bass Pro Shops in Las Vegas, but anyway what they did was hook the game up to a projector and then convert the guns to Ruger rifles. The problem is they are auto-reload and have laser sites. The reload is slow and there's like a big light in your eyes the whole time. The projector's dim. It's all wrong.

AMC Aventura 24 : Big Buck Hunter Pro
Haven't seen it for myself, but Mickey says it's there and I, for one, believe him.

Unidentified Post Office : Big Buck Hunter Pro
I called the vending company who provided Flanigan's Safari machine and the guy there said he had only one other Buck Hunter machine and it was at a post office, but was only available to the employees. That's right. Postal workers. Perfecting pump-action and aim during their breaks.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Wolfram Alpha

The phrase "the next Google" gets thrown around a lot, especially by one of my friends whose favorite pastime is crying victim while on the other hand implying that I, out of sheer dumb luck, will stumble into creating the next big thing on the internet. He may be right, but it will probably have to be the next next big thing.

Remember that time a Jude Law sexbot took Haley Joel Osment to find out how to become a real boy and they sought counsel from a virtual reality Albert Einstein played by Robin Williams? And then Dr. Know told HJ he should hit up Coney Island for 3,000 years even though it's underwater. Well, anyway, we are one step closer to having our own Dr. Know. Like two months close. Enter Wolfram Alpha.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ThruYOU: Kutiman mixes YouTube

"What you are about to see is a mix of unrelated YouTube videos/clips edited together to create ThruYou. In other words - what you see is what you hear."

This is fantastic:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hummer rear ends Ranger rear ends XXL BBQ.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fantasy Football Alert!

Matt Schaub, on pace for 12,000 yards.