Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wanna stay competitive in today's cell phone market? – Then buy 24 million iPhones

Earlier this morning, mobile phone carrier Sprint released its 10-K filing with the SEC for the fiscal year ending in December. In the filing, it revealed that it had made a commitment with Apple to purchase a minimum number of iPhones from Apple amounting to $15.5B in outlay.

Horace Dediu of Asymco makes a good case that Sprint’s commitment is somewhere around 23.8 million iPhones.

Sprint previously said that it needed to buy some 30.5 million iPhones over the next few years in order to stay competitive with rival carriers.

T-Mobile even attributed its recent financial troubles directly to it not carrying the device.

via The Next Web

Wanna stay competitive in today’s cell phone market? – Then buy 24 million iPhones

Earlier this morning, mobile phone carrier Sprint released its 10-K filing with the SEC for the fiscal year ending in December. In the filing, it revealed that it had made a commitment with Apple to purchase a minimum number of iPhones from Apple amounting to $15.5B in outlay.

Horace Dediu of Asymco makes a good case that Sprint’s commitment is somewhere around 23.8 million iPhones.

Sprint previously said that it needed to buy some 30.5 million iPhones over the next few years in order to stay competitive with rival carriers.

T-Mobile even attributed its recent financial troubles directly to it not carrying the device.

via The Next Web

Happy Leap Day! – Here’s some little-known facts about leap years

You probably know that 2012 is a leap year. And that means that this year we get an extra day on February 29th.

Well, leaplings (people born on Leap Year Day of a previous year) finally get to celebrate their actual birthday.

Epipheo shows you how, based on astronomy, the Gregorian Calendar uses leap year to keep us in tune with the sun, the stars, and the universe.

A documentary on the next big thing in gaming – Independent developers of 2-3 people

Great things are continuing to come out of Kickstarter, especially their huge jump in funding and million dollar projects.

Here is another one: Indie Game: The Movie

A behind the scenes look at the tiny, passionate teams of imaginative programmers and level designers who spend years and thousands of dollars slaving away towards realizing lifelong dreams of sharing their creative vision.

The documentary follows two different game developers building games for the X-Box Live Arcade. One is called Super Meat Boy, the other is called Fez.

Now these aren’t the thousands strong teams that bring us games like Call of Duty or Fallout 3, these are young dudes who have a passion for gaming. Both teams consist of 2-3 people doing all the coding, designing, business end stuff, organizing, beta testing and distributing of their work.

The Super Meat Boy guys (Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes) are the upstarts, bright-eyed young men bound and determined to wow the world with their concept

The makers of Fez are more the rock stars (Phil Fish) who made a big splash at a gaming con when they announced the game. They won awards, garnered huge praise from the gaming press and then disappeared.

They also give us a brief history of indie gaming, underlining the huge boom thanks to X-Box Live Arcade, tablets and smart phones.

via Ain’t It Cool News

 

It’s a brilliant movie and well worth watching. It will be at SXSW 2012 and several screenings around the country. There is also an option for an HBO fiction series.

Twitter: @IndieGameMovie

Facebook: IndieGameTheMovie

Advanced Moneyball statistics for the 2012 Baseball season – WAR, FIP, and OPS

Moneyball (the movie) introduced the basic concept of advanced statistical analysis to a mainstream audience. Now that we’re talking about advanced stats (short-handed as sabermetrics, thanks to Bill James of the Society for American Baseball Research) and great sites like Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs, let’s take a closer look.

 

OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging)

This is an easy-to-understand offensive metric that provides a huge advance beyond the “basic” stats of RBIs, batting average and home runs. OPS is simply on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (total bases divided by at-bats). It’s essentially a way to look at how a player contributes both in terms of getting on base and hitting for power.

2011 major league OPS leaders: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (1.056); Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (1.033); NL MVP Ryan Braun, Brewers (.994); Matt Kemp, Dodgers (.986).

 

WAR: Wins Above Replacement

WAR, wins above replacement, is about as close to a “What does this player really mean to my team?” catchall valuation as we’re going to get. Its definition is straightforward: How many more wins does a player add above a replacement-level player?

Baseball-Reference’s key to WAR: 8+ WAR is an MVP candidate, 5+ WAR is All-Star Level, 2+ WAR is a solid starter, 0-2 WAR is a bench player (a 24th/25th man on the roster), while anything below 0 is replacement level.

According to FanGraphs, Jacoby Ellsbury led the majors with an otherworldly WAR of 9.4 in 2011. Kemp followed at 8.7, with Bautista behind him at 8.3 and Braun at 7.8. On the other end of the spectrum, Raul Ibanez registered a minus-1.3 WAR (probably one reason why he’s looking for work right now). On the mound, Halladay led all pitchers with an 8.2 WAR. Verlander had an impressive 7.0 WAR and NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw was 6.8.

 

FIP: Fielding Independent Pitching

We’re all comfortable with ERA as a basic pitching statistic. But ERA gives us only the average of earned runs per nine innings. It’s simple and straightforward. Low ERA is good. Simple. But what if there was a way to factor out all the things that the pitcher can’t control?

Turns out some really smart guys devised FIP, a formula that includes the things pitchers can control — home runs, walks, hit by pitch and strikeouts — and eliminates everything else (hits, errors, quality of fielders, etc.). FIP does what it says: It looks at pitching independent of fielding and other variables that impact a pitcher’s performance.

FIP is an excellent way to predict a pitcher’s future performance.

Let’s take a look at some notable pitchers to see how their ERA and FIP looked in 2011: Roy Halladay (Phillies): 2.35 ERA, 2.20 FIP; Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): 2.28 ERA, 2.47 FIP; Justin Verlander (Tigers): 2.40 ERA, 2.99 FIP.

All three had great years, but you’ll see that except for Halladay, all of them had higher FIP than ERA. Does that mean that a regression is in order?

You should look for pitchers with a higher FIP/ERA differential because that’s where the pitching values can be found. An example would be Toronto starter Brandon Morrow. His ERA was a not-great 4.72 but his FIP was a respectable 3.64. The 1.08 ranked as the third-highest FIP/ERA differential in the majors.

via ESPN Women – contains four more saberstats: wOBA, VORP, BABIP, UZR.

Google challenges any hacker to take down Chrome – "I am the king of the world!"

Google Will Offer $1 Million In Rewards For Hacking Chrome

For the last three years, Google’s Chrome browser has left the world’s premiere hacking competition unscathed, even as Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari have all been taken down.

Google announced Monday evening that it’s offering up to a million dollars in rewards at the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest, which takes place next week at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver. Hackers don’t necessarily need to target Chrome to win a chunk of that money: Google is paying $20,000 to any participant who can exploit hackable bugs in Windows, Flash, or a device driver, security problems that would affect users of all browsers. But for hacks that include flaws specific to Chrome, Google will pay $40,000 each, and for those that exploit only bugs in Chrome, the company will shell out $60,000, up to its million dollar limit.

Since Chrome first appeared as a target in the Pwn2Own contest in 2009, participating hackers haven’t even tried to exploit the browser…that’s a sign that none of the researchers could find a chink in Chrome’s armor.

Even when Google offered an extra $20,000 to anyone who could hack its browsers last year, no one took up the challenge.

via Forbes

Google challenges any hacker to take down Chrome – “I am the king of the world!”

Google Will Offer $1 Million In Rewards For Hacking Chrome

For the last three years, Google’s Chrome browser has left the world’s premiere hacking competition unscathed, even as Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari have all been taken down.

Google announced Monday evening that it’s offering up to a million dollars in rewards at the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest, which takes place next week at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver. Hackers don’t necessarily need to target Chrome to win a chunk of that money: Google is paying $20,000 to any participant who can exploit hackable bugs in Windows, Flash, or a device driver, security problems that would affect users of all browsers. But for hacks that include flaws specific to Chrome, Google will pay $40,000 each, and for those that exploit only bugs in Chrome, the company will shell out $60,000, up to its million dollar limit.

Since Chrome first appeared as a target in the Pwn2Own contest in 2009, participating hackers haven’t even tried to exploit the browser…that’s a sign that none of the researchers could find a chink in Chrome’s armor.

Even when Google offered an extra $20,000 to anyone who could hack its browsers last year, no one took up the challenge.

via Forbes

Have you heard of the California Delta? – A summary of the issues and politics

86% of Southern Californians are unaware of the Delta

Nearly four out of five Californians do not know what the Delta is, despite the fact that the estuary of 1,000 square miles provides drinking water for cities from San Jose to San Diego.

Asked in a new statewide poll to share what, if anything, they know about the Delta, 585 of the 750 people surveyed in late January said they hadn’t heard about it or didn’t know about it.

That’s 78 percent.

“I have not heard about it,” one respondent said. “If it is the bill about weapons control, it is (expletive). Every person in the world should have the right to keep and bear arms.”

Said another: “It is the oil line from Canada to the United States,” likely a reference to the Keystone pipeline in the news lately.

Yet another respondent thought the surveyor was talking about a political candidate.

In Southern California, eighty-six percent of southlanders pleaded ignorance when asked about the Delta.

via California’s best kept secret?

 

23 million Californians rely on its drinking water

The California Delta is the largest estuary in the western United States, surpassed nationally only by the Mississippi River Delta. It borders the cities of Stockton and Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. Over 23 million Californians rely on the delta watershed for drinking water, and it’s water diversions sustain the largest agricultural industry in the nation.

Today’s delta faces such challenges as wildlife-habitat restoration, water rights, housing development, and politics. Complicating these issues, aging levees throughout the low-lying region threaten a disaster of national proportions—and with that prospect, the very future of the California Delta.

via California Delta Chamber & Visitors Bureau

 

This November, 2012, voters face a billion dollar ballot for the California Delta

Water, in California, is a fighting word. This week, the war drums are beating louder as regulators rush to present a flurry of water plans to the public.

The cascade of decisions dictating how the state replumbs its water-distribution system, including possible construction of a canal or tunnel to move water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, moves to a new stage Wednesday (Feb 29, 2012). That’s when state officials will unveil thousands of pages of documents on the studied effects of such a canal on the delta ecosystem, on water quality for humans, for fish and farmers (which are all different).

The goal is to balance the needs of the cities, farms and fish and meet legal requirements of five state and federal agencies and the Endangered Species Act.

There is money in the $11.1 billion water bond on the November California ballot for delta restoration, but none for construction of an estimated $23 billion to $54 billion “conveyance.”

The governor’s plan is to have the users of the south-of-the delta exported water – Southern California, as well as some Santa Clara and Alameda counties water agencies, cover the cost. Southern California water agencies are already grumbling that the project envisioned ignores what ratepayers are willing to pay for a reliable water source.

via California Delta water plan requires transparency

 

The U.S. Congress is getting involved as well

The California water wars go to a new battlefield this week (Feb 27, 2012) – the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, the House is scheduled to vote on a bill authored by Tulare Republican congressman Devin Nunes.

H.R. 1837 would relax water pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But the Delta groups says the restrictions have been the last line of defense for protecting water quality for Delta farming and urban users.

A coalition of 190 environmental, environmental justice, tribal and fishing organizations from around the state also sent comments in opposition to H.R. 1837 to Mr. Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

via Delta groups urge defeat of water rights revamp

Space shot of eastern coast of United States at night

Eastern Coast of United States at Night

Feb 6, 2012 — One of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station took this nighttime photograph of much of the eastern (Atlantic) coast of the United States. Large metropolitan areas and other easily recognizable sites from the Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. area spanning almost to Rhode Island are visible in the scene. Boston is just out of frame at right. Long Island and the Greater Metropolitan area of New York City are visible in the lower right quadrant. Large cities in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) are near center. Parts of two Russian vehicles parked at the orbital outpost are seen in left foreground.

Download the original

Our natural sleeping pattern is two four hours periods, with 1-2 hours of leisure in-between

In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.

It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.

In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.

His book unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern…(which) describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.

“It’s not just the number of references – it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge,” Ekirch says.

Read on – The Myth of the 8-hour Sleep

 

“Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning.” – Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)