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Let's Play Two (or Web Analytics for Fun and Profit)

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Back in October it occurred to me that it had been 5 years since the White Sox beat the Astros to win the World Series. As I result of that realization, I dug into my video collection and quickly put together and posted this video:

To say that this video is the most popular video I've posted on YouTube thus far is an understatement. What's more interesting, for those of us who work the medium of the web, is the traffic statistics of those who have viewed the video in the past 5 months:

konerko_vid_stats.jpegSo what do these stats tell us? Well to some extent it tells us a few things we might have already "known", such as that most baseball fans (or at least White Sox fans) are mature males residing in the United States.

What I find interesting is when people were viewing this little video. Obviously some people viewed it right when I posted it last Oct, during the 2010 World Series. Then, as expected, things go quite for the most part. Then, as Spring Training builds to today's Opening Day, so does the traffic.

But wait, you might be wondering, what about the spike of traffic in December?[1] What could possibly have driven the largest one-time surge in traffic for a handful of days? Perhaps I engaged in a little social marketing? Or maybe the video got popular on a sports site?

Well as it happened it did get posted on a local sports site, but that doesn't completely explain the surge, or why said site was posting a baseball video in December.

Why did it get popular so quickly (and fade so quickly) in December? Because, on December 8, 2010, Paul Konerko, the hero of the video, resigned with the Chicago White Sox for 3 more years.

Interesting, No?

[1] Well if you really are a White Sox fan, you might not be wondering, but don' spoil the ending please?

College Humor: Five Sci-Fi Children's Books

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Not something I usually post here, but this was too good to pass up for the holidays...from College Humor (and via the Wife) Five Sci-Fi Children's Books


2005 White Sox Win

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Tonight the 106th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, the World Series, gets underway and I have a minor stake in the game, having once been a resident of San Francisco.

But my major stake in the World Series happen five years ago when the Chicago White Sox took on, and beat, the Houston Astros. I was lucky enough to attend Game 2 of the ALCS and Game 2 of the World Series, thanks to my mother.

Besides keeping score of the game, I also shot some video. But these days, nothing beats a mashup on YouTube, so here's my mashup/retrospective; home video of Paul Konerko's Grand Slam in Game 2 of 2005 World Series combined with Joe Buck's call for the national broadcast on Fox.


Idealized Americanism

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I will next be in Cooperstown, NY in four years, or shortly there after, to witness Frank Thomas' induction in the the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Of all the will he or won't he arguments I've heard on Thomas' behalf, the most direct is this: In 2000 Thomas was runner up in voting as the American League's Most Valuable Player. He lost to Jason Giambi of the Oakland Athletics. Of course Giambi's name is now synonymous with baseball's Steroids Era. As the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America come to terms with giving the MVP to Giambi ten years ago and had Thomas, who could be considered an "early" advocate of drug testing of professional baseball players, won, he would have a total of 3 MVPs to his name. Of all the players who have won three or more MVP awards - notwithstanding Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez (who have also been connect to steroid usage) or Albert Pujols (who is still an active player) - each and everyone of them is enshrined in the hall of fame.

As it happens, the last time I was in Cooperstown, ten years ago this July. While living and working in Oakland and looking toward a possible Chicago/Oakland post-season, my brother and I undertook a road-trip from Chicago to Boston and Cooperstown to watch a childhood hero, Carlton Fisk, get inducted. I wrote and posted the following shortly after that trip. It is by far not the best piece of writing about baseball or Americana. But it is a first hand account of a short, memorable trip that I'm glad I took.

July 13-25 2000
I think my head is fried from reading On The Road off and on for the past month. My head wants to make this road trip a surreal experience of driving east to New York. Yet, this trip isn't some Kerouac inspired thought. The simple fact is that I've done parts of this trip before, granted not with this level of independence, but none the less, not a coming of age trip it will be. Then there's the fact that I feel like an old hand at this trip, despite the fact that I've only done it twice before and both times I was a passive traveler, once with my parents and bother, once with only my father. There must be something about travel, seeing a place for the first time makes it unique, traveling there again makes it familiar, after that it's as comfortable as home. The start of my 25th year I'll be pointed at Boston where I haven't been for some 10 years or so. This time the history lesson won't be on the beginning of American, but on her National Pastime, baseball.

My flight out of SFO was a bit of a pain. I got the shuttle bus to the airport with plenty of time to check in and sit about by the gate playing online with C2's laptop and my cell phone. Then we boarded the plane and things went down hill from there. As soon as everyone was settled Air Traffic Control put a slow down on flights in-bound to O'Hare, which seem to make everyone go nuts. I just dragged out my cell phone, called Tom to tell him I'd be late and not to hang around O'Hare more than necessary and went back online checking some more email. After about an hour and half of the two hour delay we started back up and off we went. Tom and I had plans to eat out for a birthday dinner, but since I didn't get in till around 9:30 I had to settle for Portillo's (no major lost, if you ask me). I chatted with Katie after I got settled in at home and then watched a bit of TV. Tuesday morning we got our things and off we went. The drive itself was pretty much a non event. While I can bitch and moan about Dad's Lexus (being 6' 3'' has it's downsides not matter what people think..."oh, it must be so nice to be tall", "play basketball do you?" and never being able to fit in a car smaller then an SUV covers the top three). I do have to say that one, the gas mileage is great and two, a 6 disc CD changer makes all the different in the world. So we cruised on listening to Perl Jam, Tom Petty, Miles Davis (the best quote of the whole trip is when checking into a Red Roof the clerk looked at Tom's T-shirt, asked if it was Miles Davis, Tom said it was and the clerk said "Bit young to know who Miles Davis is aren't you?" You can bet if it's good music at least one of us has heard it...Tom gets better odds then I, but that's beside the point), Buddy Guy, Rolling Stones, et al. passing more road construction then I've seen in a long time (last time being all those trips downstate Illinois on I-55 to Bloomington/Normal and Springfield). Of course being able to sign online while Tom's driving helps kill the time too.

South Bend we stopped for lunch, then reached Cleveland just as an Indians/Astros games was about to start. So, we ditched the car picked up two scalped tickets and just missed Houston pick up their first run of the game in the top half of the first. Jacobs Field and the area around the ballpark is a nice little place. The stadium itself looks a bit more modern then say Pac Bell Park, since Cleveland had a lot of land to play with, they have 3 levels of skyboxes and restaurant/bar such as Comiskey, but Jacobs Filed has a less sterile feel. The Indians of course won, but the Sox won their game against the Brew crew to stay 9.5 games ahead. After the game we finished off our driving for the day in Eire, PA. Then after what seemed to be a 5 minute nap, back on the road we went on, after breakfast of course.

We made Boston by evening and after getting all of our stuff into our room we head out to find dinner, which ended up being at a local Irish pub next to the Boston University campus. Thursday morning the first thing we did was to take a tour of Fenway Park. I do have to sat that the organization has done a nice job of not only taking care of the aging park, but of also updating it to offer fans some of the amenities of the newer parks. We continued on and walked over the Boston's Museum of Fine Art to view a Van Gogh exhibit that was on display. Afterward, we moved on to downtown Boston to see some of the other sights and take in the town. We dined at the Governor's Alley for an exquisite seafood supper. Then back to our room to call it a day.

Friday we just hung around resting, reading and other whatnots till the Red Sox/White Sox game. Our seats where in center field, about a dead center as you can get for Fenway (and as far from home plate too). The White Sox stayed close to Boston and won the game in the end. It's truly interesting how for example Jacobs field, while open, clean and friendly has an all most Disney-esqe Main Street/Epco feel to it where Fenway while serving the same functions for fans keeps a more home-grown if a bit rough and dirty, atmosphere that I hadn't realized I missed from old Comiskey, till now. Saturday it was back on the road to Cooperstown, we'll Utica to be exact, to pitch our tent, at a local Red Roof, for we where off and running to Cooperstown the next morning.

Twice now I've been to an Induction Ceremony and I can't quite put together a description of the day. The event is simple enough everyone gathers to watch each inductee be announced, to which of course they get to speak about what makes the award special. I don't want to say it's devoid of emotions, for that's what makes the day so special, but overall I guess it's a matter of what brings a person or people to the event that really makes the event, but that of course varies from person to person, such that the overall feel is hard to describe. After hours and hours standing (forgot the lawn chairs) in the sun Tom and I had a good part of our arms and face burned (forgot that suntan lotion, too), we stop at a local Italian restaurant for dinner before heading into the Hall itself. Most of the exhibits haven't changed much, all that really has happened is an update to include that past few seasons of ball that have come and gone since last I walked the Hall. Then of course the real event came, the plaques depicting each of the new members where placed on the wall to be included with the other stars of the game. With that all was done, home we went.

Why do this trip? It's nothing as altruistic as seeing America first hand or learning about the game of baseball. Nothing any of the stars said couldn't have been heard from some "motivational specialist" or read from any listing of stats about a player. But what was gained is that from now until the end of time I can call on that place and say not only did I watch that baseball player play the game, one who is considered to be among the best, but I also stood here to see him added to this gallery of people for the way he played. In otherwords, I stopped and smelled a few roses.

Atlas V Launch of Intelsat 14

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I captured the following video of a nighttime Atlas V rocket launch I witnessed, along side my father, while in Central Florida on Thanksgiving vacation with my family.

Note that I've modified the audio a bit to try an enhance the interesting bits while muting distracting background noises. That is, I've boosted up the countdown from a nearby radio scanner while muting the sound of cars passing by on the highway. Given the distance between the pad and the viewing location, the sound of the rocket boosters are not noticeable until about 1:35 mark.

The launch occurred at 1:55 am EST on November 23rd, 2009 from pad SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral. The video was shot just north of Florida Highway 528, about 13 miles south of the launch complex.

Red Marker denotes Launchpad 41, Green Marker denotes Viewing Location

The Atlas V rocket launch was preformed by United Launch Alliance and contained an international telecommunications satellite, Intelsat 14, which is slated to replace the Intelsat 1R satellite currently in operation. Intelsat 14 was successfully launched into a transfer orbit that will eventually place it into a circular geostationary orbit over the equator at 45 degrees west longitude.

In addition to bridging commercial intercontinental telecommunications, Intelsat 14 contains experimental equipment on behalf of the Department of Defense designed by Cisco known as Internet Routing in Space (IRIS). The "space router" is designed to test routing IP traffic in orbit, eliminating the need to send data to and from additional ground stations for network routing and in turn promises to allow U.S. military, allied forces and possible future commercial operators to quickly communicate using the Internet protocol for voice, video and data relay to remote locations all over the world.

Vacation Message

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Thanks for stopping by.

I am out on vacation in Florida until November 28th. During this time I will have little access to the Internet and will not be adding new entries until my return.

If you require immediate satisfaction, relax and enjoy this little slideshow from my last trip to Central Florida.

Rocket Garden STS-108 Astronaut Memorial Epcot Center Everyone Loves a Toy Story Quote Katie Koi

Thank you for your understanding. This is an automated posting.

My Social Graphs

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One of the cheap thrills of social networking is the ability to map out a social graph of one's own friends and family. I recently came across this overview on Mashable of a couple of nice visualization apps and well, I couldn't resist.....

facebook_nexus.pngMy Facebook Network via Nexus, Click Image to View Fullsize.

This first graph is via Nexus. The static image doesn't quite do the complete app justice, since it not just maps out the graph, but labels individuals and provides functions for traversing the network interactively to identify individual and group relationships.

For example, in the case of my social network as managed on Facebook, one of the largest group of individuals, bottom-half-right of the graph, are friends from the Obama campaign. Unsurprising this group is tightly interconnected with relationships between various individuals who all worked together on the campaign.

Related to this group, bottom-half-left, are friends from the Inaugural Committee. Naturally the two groups have many people in common.

The second largest group, upper-half, are friends and family starting with my wife, Katie. Again not too surprising, after nine years of living together, we share a number of friends and family in common. Nor is it as surprising that these relationships are not as tightly integrated as between those who worked on the campaign.

But what is interesting is something we discovered a while back, that besides me, there are a few other individuals that connected our loose group of friends and family with the tight grouping of former campaign staffers.

facebook_friend_wheel.gifMy Facebook Network via Friend Wheel, Click Image to View Fullsize.

Friend Wheel provides the same social graph, but as a radial graph. Nexus can do the same thing, but Friend Wheel can also do the same thing for Twitter:

twitter_twitter.gifMy Twitter Network via Friend Wheel, Click Image to View Fullsize.

Of course with Twitter one doesn't have to approve a relationship for the connection to exist, which helps one reach outside of one's social network. So this isn't so much a graph of shared social connections as it is a graph of shared social interests.

So, unsurprisingly there is some sort of relationship/shared interests between NASA, The White House, the U.S. HSF Committee.

Oddly, there doesn't seem to be any shared connection/interest between "Barack Obama" and Ozzie Guillen, Jr. Go figure!?! And yes, I do have an odd little assortment of people I'm following on Twitter at the moment, thanks for noticing..

Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition or The Inquisition, Let's Begin, The Inquisition, Look Out Sin

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I know given the last great post it has been at little silent on this blog. Well it's hard to top something as random as SciFi poetry and frankly it is not always fun and games here at Zoomshare. I mean we've been quite busy rolling out a new set of features for our photo album tool and addressing user feedback.

Given that, I want to take a moment to seriously reflect a bit on what's been going on since my last post.

To best reflect I offer samples of two conversations from the past two weeks involving myself and a few others touching a bit on the deeper meanings of life:

sare: back now
pdw: hey I'm back too
peenworm: this is great, everyone's back
pdw: alright!
peenworm: not that i went far, just to the kitchen, and Dexter is inventing traps for ghosts
sare: i am not sure i was ever truly "here" till i joined irc chat.
sare: "do i exist outside of irc channel?", is my existential question of the day...
pdw: Do I exist inside of irc? Or is this some digital bit of a whole me?
pdw: Or, if an IRCbot crashes and no one is around, does it make a sound?
sare: woah. i'm afraid my brain is too mushy to even try to fathom that level of depth.

Or if you're looking for morality in the physical world instead of souls in the virtual one:

Brandon: Oh okay. I was just wondering. Hey if you were in a 7-11 and there was a fire, do you think it would be a dishonest act to take a slice of pizza and eat it?
Me: depends, am I in the 7-11 on July 11th?
Brandon: Ha! Yes.
Me: well then no, its a sign from the Gods of Kobal, and I'd take the pizza and run
Brandon: That's what I would do. It is going to burn up anyways, yet my parents think it would be stealing when I asked them.

Discuss amongst yourselves...

And Now For Something Completely Different

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I have this love/hate relationship with the Sci Fi channel, I love to hate their commercials. Nothing drives me crazy more than watching Battlestar Galatica or Dr. Who - which given its BBC origin isn't even filmed for commercial breaks - to be force to watch the 100th ad in the last hour for the monster movie of the week staring Kevin Sorbo.

In these tough conditions one has to keep their wits about them and find any value - entertainment or otherwise - whenever possible. Luckily for me, I'm not the only one who finds the Sci FI network's commercial breaks so grating. My two partners in crime, my wife Katie and my best friend Brandon have teamed up to create the Sci Fi Poem Project featuring haikus and other stylings using the titles from various monster of the week movies.

Without further ado, I give you the first - of maybe a series:

A lone "Dragon Fighter", From a "Dragon Dynasty" with his "Dragon Sword" in a "Dragon Storm"


This "Man-thing" leader of "Interceptor Force" shall "Encrypt" this "abominable" "absolon" "Aztec Rex"

Or this variation

"They Are Among Us"
this "Deadly Swarm" of "Man with the Screaming Brain"
Shouting "Do or Die"at thy "Fire Serpant", "Infected" with "Harpies"
These "Fallen Ones" believed the "Sabertooth" from "Beyond Loch Ness"
Soon after battle, "Pumpkin head vs. Demonic Toys" in which this "Savage Planet" was changed
A new "Epoch Evolution" begun as "Skeleton Man" and "Painkiller Jane" begat "SS DoomTrooper"
This "Headless Horseman" on "Raptor Island" in peace, no more the "Pumpkinhead: Blood Fued"

Now you know you want to

feb 28 07

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The more things change, the more they stay the same, as they say. This year is the wedding year. So keep an eye on as the details come together.

About the Author

Paul is a technologist and all around nice guy for technology oriented organizations and parties. Besides maintaining this blog and website you can follow Paul's particular pontifications on the Life Universe and Everything on Twitter.


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