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    Howdy. This is Bob. The Bob of Bob Blog. This blog contains about five minutes of my thoughts each day. A record. A history. And occasionally worth reading.

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    Bob Blog
     
    Thursday, September 29, 2005  
    NL West Championship
    The AP story is predictable. 79-79 Padres win the National League West. No MLB team has ever won a division with a losing record. They still celebrated. Blah blah blah.

    Of course they still celebrated. The rules state that the best team in each division goes to the playoffs. It wouldn't matter if the team lost all its games but one as long as it had a better record than the other teams in its division.

    And on Monday, the records of all the teams will be reset at 0-0. There will be eight teams left and the San Diego Padres will be one of them.


    I went to the game last night. The Padres started strong and didn't look back. There was very little doubt about the result. There was some pressure from the Giants in the 6th and 7th inning. The Padres had an amazing 7th though. 6 consecutive hits including 2 bunt singles. Jackson hit a linedrive that ended up being a double play to break the streak. Anyone know the record for most consecutive hits?


    No need to buy playoff tickets though as I'll be out of town. The schedule looks like: Tue/Thr (away), Sat/Sun (home), Mon (away).

    9:21 AM  0 comments

    Wednesday, September 28, 2005  
    Credit score
    Get your credit report. You can request your report for free once a year. Discover you past identity.

    TransUnion charges an extra $6 to see your credit score. It is crazy to see the amount of data collected. And a little crazier to realize how many accounts I have open.

    Experian has a very different layout than TransUnion. It includes the ability to make a personal statement. I thought about entering "Hi Mom" but that would have required sending an actual letter to them. I forgot to check how much they wanted for my scores.

    Equifax offers the credit scores for $7. Same information as the other three. "Why three?" is a good question.

    I feel a little vulnerable but it is good information to know.

    8:16 AM  0 comments

    Monday, September 26, 2005  
    Football Week 3
    Sophia is completely whipping me at picking games. Three weeks in a row she'll have outpicked me. Time to ask her about strategy.

    The pigskin picker algorithm did worse than me this week (7 vs 8 correct). I think I'm going to have to add a few more categories next year: strength of schedule, record at home, record away, ...

    The leading indicator after 3 weeks is the Foxsports Power Rating with 31 correct picks followed by the home team with 28. I only have 23 which matches the mascot rating picks which should be no better but potentially worse than random. And, I think I'm at exactly 50% which is random. It makes sense that the Power Ratings should be fairly good as some expert is analyzing the same data and lots more.

    The Chargers played more like the team everyone expected this week. The trouble for them is that the next four of the next five games are against really solid opponents and so I anticipate road losses at New England and Philadelphia and wins at home against the Steelers and Chiefs plus a win on the road in Oakland to put their first half record at 4-4. That sounds a lot better than 0-2 though. But if they get some unlucky bounces, they could be 2-6. Go Bolts!

    8:03 AM  0 comments

    Friday, September 23, 2005  
    Donate Blood
    One of the easier ways to give back to the world is to donate blood. I gave a pint today. And now that I'm no longer a risk due to travelling to India (malaria) I try to donate every 8 weeks. OK -- when it is really convenient or Sophia forces me because she set up a blood bus at her work.

    SOE brings a blood bus to us every couple of months. No excuse not to donate. I think this is time #5 for me. Go Bob! Remind me in early December to donate again.


    Hurricane Rita is coming ashore tonight. I hope there isn't any need for rescue operations and the like. It looks like it will make land near Beaumont Texas. That's were Tish used to live. And my mom used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." That's about Beaumont not Tish.

    I didn't really know much about the scheme for naming hurricanes before this year. They have a list of 21 names that start with a unique letter of the alphabet (q,u,x,y,z are skipped) and go in order. The names are reused every six years and are retired if the storm is memorable. And if I recall correctly, Bob was the first male hurricane in 1978. Go Bob!


    Part III? Nope. We got our bonus checks for hitting the expansion milestone today. I should be out drinking. But see item #1. I think the majority of it is going to go into the Sea Ranch Fund. I can see myself living along the northern California coast. My only issue right now is figuring out what I'll be doing to make money if we move.

    I hit a homerun today at work by finding the root cause of an issue we'd been having with the Asian language servers. Ends up, there was a configuration/distribution error since beta. I need to have more confidence that code isn't the problem if I can't reproduce a problem locally. Especially if it is something that is easy to reproduce on a live server.


    Finally, the Padres are potentially going to win the NL West this year. Perhaps with a losing record -- first time ever for that to happen. They won again tonight to stay 5 games ahead of San Francisco. Playoff tickets go on sale Oct 1st at 9am.

    The Rockies have been eliminated (sorry Dottie). The Dodgers will be eliminated tomorrow if the Friars win or LA loses. The Padres have 2 more games after tonight against the Diamondbacks, 4 against the Giants, and 3 against the Dodgers. Plenty of time to fall apart or start the momentum for the playoffs. Even if they just win 1 game in each of the series it will be awfully tough for the other teams to catch them.

    Maybe I'll try to catch a game this week?

    9:14 PM  0 comments

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005  
    TSA Watch List
    The first time we noticed was in Japan. I wasn't allowed to use the automatic machines for checkin and instead had to wait in line for a boarding pass. Extra time: 20 minutes.

    On my trip to Denver, the person at the desk -- and the only reason I was at the desk was because the online check in had "technical difficulties" -- said I was on the TSA Watch List. Total time in line and additional wait while my identity was verified: 20 minutes. Additional hassle: priceless.

    I'm hoping it is my common name. And in classical paranoid fashion, I suspect that talking about it here may add me permanently.



    So here are some links:

    TSA Indentity Verification Form

    ACLU information

    Albequerque Tribune Article

    Perhaps Robert Mitchell is the next David Nelson?


    11:11 AM  0 comments

     
    Thunder and Lightning
    There was thunder and lightning in the air this weekend. Well, actually Monday night.

    I went to Denver to visit my grandmother. The trip was a continuation of a tradition to go out there for the Charger-Bronco game every year with my grandfather. Since 2001 at Investco Stadium, the Chargers still haven't won. Same this year except at least the score was close. Dottie almost switched her loyalty to root for the Chargers when the score was 14-3. A quick interception after halftime gave the momentum back to Denver and the Chargers managed to find a way to lose. 0-2. Go team!

    The real thunder and lightning was our annual thunderstorm. We watched the storm light up the sky over the ocean. And then the storm laughed at us when it woke us up at 1am with car alarms and some rain. Boom!

    Next time to Denver, it might be fun to see a concert at Red Rocks.

    7:56 AM  0 comments

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005  
    Football Week 2
    So I think I'll have to listen to the results of my Pigskin Picker program instead of my football instincts. I had 6 games correct when using the home team, better record (and home team to break ties), and points scored, and points allowed, and the picker (which uses all the above) each had 11 of 16 correct. I didn't do any better than random. In fact, worse than projected by picking random teams.

    Hehe. Scratch that. I forgot to change the current week to "Two".

    I actually picked 9 of 16 this week! /cheers. Better than random and better than all the other predictors except "home team." The home team won 10 (or 11 if you included the NY Giants.) For fairness in disclosure, points scored also projected 9 winners.

    The computer is smarter than I am. But I should get better as the season progresses -- and unfortunately so should the computer's composite technique.

    In comparison, ESPN expert picks have a range of 6 to 11 winners this week and 14 to 19 for the season. I can't believe I'm better than some of the experts and find it impossible to believe that using the home team would out pace all the experts.

    No surprise but San Diego lost again (they haven't won in Denver at the new stadium (ever). Maybe next year...

    7:55 AM  0 comments

    Friday, September 16, 2005  
    300 posts
    I'm rapidly approaching 300 posts for this blog. The first post was on May 7th, 2002.

    300 posts over three years doesn't seem that many. Pitiful perhaps. But 300 posts is 300 posts. And in another year, I should be close to 500 (ideally.) My hope is that I'll reduce the number of really large gaps -- making them days or weeks instead of months.

    I don't think there are a lot of gems in the archive. But enough to make for interesting reading. Will anyone care in 5 or 10 years? Doubtful. But researchers in the future will have loads of material on us not so famous folks to ponder.

    Fed cat. programmed. blah blah blah.

    8:19 PM  0 comments

     
    Denver
    This weekend I continue the ritual of going to Denver for the San Diego Charger NFL game. It'll be the second time that I won't get to see my grandfather. Pappa passed away after his fight with cancer.

    He always hoped that the weather would be awful when I came. Snow. Blizzard preferred. The prediction at weather.com has the forecast for this week as being a gorgeous 80+ degrees with the lows in the mid-fifties. Sounds like San Diego!

    It never was about the football. And I'm so glad that my grandmother still wants me to come visit.

    9:36 AM  0 comments

     
    Long forgotten favorite
    Human clock Time to think about submitting a photo.

    Crazy to think that the site has been running since 2001. I think it would be wonderful if anything I ever did was as clever and long lasting. If you have ideas -- send them my way. Beware: I'm easily distractable and quite unlikely to finish almost any project. See the web links in the previous blog.

    8:07 AM  0 comments

    Thursday, September 15, 2005  
    Another title, and another, and another
    This week involved the release of my third major game title "EverQuest 2: Desert of Flames." I think the team did an amazing job with this expansion and I hope we get the chance to do a lot more.

    I don't like to write about work. Too many potential pitfalls and not much upside.

    One of the upsides happens to be getting fast cars. My office mate had to replace his 1985 Toyota this week. The Nissan 350Z will do very nicely. Not quite the days of the "Verant Racing Team" when everyone had a fast car and had money in their monthly budget for replacement tires but our team is starting to have its share of sports cars.

    I'm quite happy with my VW Cabrio and 1976 Bus. I'll leave the car envy for someone else. Computer envy on the other hand is perfectly acceptable. And even then, I can't really complain given the new laptop. OK, a really fast work machine would be nice.

    Macromedia Studio 8 (the new Flash, DreamWeaver, and Fireworks) bundle launched yesterday. I downloaded the free trial version and ordered the upgrade through Amazon. There will be lots to learn there. I hope to put these to use and hope I don't have to upgrade every year (every other?)

    Funny though. If I were the one making the application, I'd hope the people using it would upgrade every year. Another title and another. Another expansion and another. Us software engineers are expensive. So go buy a game, preferrably mine.

    10:39 PM  0 comments

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005  
    Dreamhost
    I've started something new. We've started something new.

    SiriGames.com and BobAndSophia.com

    Neither is working yet. Hopefully by December. /laugh

    The sites are hosted at Dreamhost. If you decide you need a shared host for some webpages, they seem to be pretty good. Well, except for yesterday when all of Los Angeles lost power. Apparently backups for backups failed. It happens. I can't imagine the fear of having your entire business powered down. Well, after seeing the images from New Orleans, I can imagine having my entire business underwater. Pretty much the same. They have a blog that is as amusing to read as it is informative.

    I heard the owners went to Harvey Mudd too. So they deserve your business. If you decide to use Dreamhost. Use "mountabbey" as your referal. It will put $97 into my pocket.

    10:00 PM  0 comments

    Tuesday, September 06, 2005  
    The Street Performer Protocol and Digital Copyrights
    The Street Performer Protocol offers an interesting method for indepenent developers to make money. One problem is that the solution doesn't really exist and would rely on more trust from the buyer. And with alternates without risk by the buyer, it would be hard to convince them.

    The Bedroom Coder's Business Model is another push for something similar.


    I think the current play free for a bit or a few levels has the feel of the carnival hawkers calling you to step inside to see more of the women with the beard.

    My current take is that the path I want to follow is one where I create fun simple games at home and work on complicated things at work. But the simple things should be accumulating into something bigger and better. Chapters to a book if you must.

    8:40 PM  0 comments

    Saturday, September 03, 2005  
    New Orleans
    There aren't too many life changing events that happen in a lifetime. I think the hurricane and flooding of New Orleans is going to be one of them for nearly everyone in the United States.

    Why not the tsunami last year? Too far away and remote.
    Why not the LA earthquake or the San Diego fires? Too small.
    One of the shuttle disasters? Memorable but not life changing

    Perhaps in five years, there won't be more than a few scars left to heal -- besides those for the people immediately involved.

    So what events are mine?
    * Parents deciding to move to Japan
    * meeting Blair Orfall
    * Going to Harvey Mudd College
    * Moving to San Diego and QUALCOMM
    * hiking across Oregon
    * Buying my first house
    * Leaving for Verant Interactive
    * Sophia Habl
    * New Orleans?

    By the look of the list, I doubt Katrina the hurricane will be in my top 10 when I'm 75 and looking back at my life. I also don't think you know what things will really change your life until they happen. So I'm too close to the event of purchasing a VW Bus and creating a Flash game portal to know if they will change my life yet.

    More options for life changing events?
    * learning to program in C
    * playing video games as a kid
    * choosing not to go to graduate school
    * Tender
    * giving up being a manager at Sony Online to work on Planetside
    * going to New Zealand
    * reading "The Second Self"
    * Rick Sperling
    * Bumble
    * Order of the Arrow
    * living in the Columbia River Gorge
    * Staying in San Diego instead of going to Paris

    That is a pretty good start on creating a list of things that are important to me.

    And now after thinking about the lists again, sometimes the big events are nearly inconsequential decisions that get made on the spur of the moment that alter everything. There is an incredible amount of things that go into making me who I've become. No worries though, plenty of time to pick a new path through life if I desire.

    9:53 PM  0 comments