Saturday, January 5, 2008

Blu-Ray wins (for now)

Over at our message board, there is a thread discussing that Blu-Ray has defeated HD-DVD. The techphiles are happy, but a fair number of us don't think there is going to be a large surge for Blu-Ray, until DVD starts getting phased out.

Here's what I had to say:
I'm disappointed Blu-Ray won because of the Sony component of it. It's not an anti-Playstation bias so much as the fact that every Sony electronic device I've owned has lasted shorter than other brands. In other words, Sony is consistently the worst product I buy; I've had better success with Korean shit.

As for the quality, I can tell the difference between VHS and DVD, and so I imagine I will be able to tell the difference between DVD and Blu-Ray. However, one advantage DVD has over VHS is the longer lasting format (VHS deteriorates each time you use it), the larger storage capacity, ease of use and access, and the bonus features. Blu-Ray might be BETTER, but it's not offering anything different, just better. Yeah, the bonus features might be more interactive, but interactivity isn't necessarily new.

VHS to DVD was a horizontal change, whereas DVD to Blu-Ray is a vertical change. An example would be the difference between the N64 to Gamecube (vertical) versus Gamecube to Wii (horizontal). DVD provided the kind of market disruption that made the Wii so successful. It was doing something totally new and different. Blu-Ray is just like the difference between PS3 and PS2. Nicer looking, better, slicker, prettier, etc., etc., but not, at heart, a fundamental change.
I'm not sure if I am 100% accurate, but based on my understanding of such matters, I think I'm pretty close.

Looking at the success of mp3s with music, I imagine (as do others) that digital distribution will be the most popular choice by, say, 2012. You already have On Demand by companies like Comcast, online movies provided by Netflix, and streaming episodes provided by television networks. Youtube is popular, as is Google Video.

I like to have DVDs on my bookshelf the same way I like to have CDs in my spinner rack, but really, I can see a ton of people preferring to have a little box (essentially a harddrive) with all of their movies and TV shows stored on it, in much the same way people use iPods. Truth be told, I have a lot of digital music these days, and it's not unusual for me to watch TV shows online rather than watching them on TV (this is especially true of BBC "programmes"). I love my DVR, too.

Blu-Ray is the immediate future, but I think the long term future is digital distribution. That's why the Writer's strike is so critical. The industry says there is no money in online content, but they're wrong; very soon, it's going to be a gold mine, a diamond mine, and a vagina mine, all rolled into one.

Finally, I am so happy I get to use my "disruption" tag again.

Ye Nat'l Football Lg Play-Offs Nought Eight

On Sunday, September 9th, 2007, the Philadelphia Inquirer published in Section S an article by Bob Ford entitled "Still the cream of the NFC East," with the byline "Try as they might, division rivals can't catch the Birds." Mr. Ford goes through and picks apart the other teams, then hits us with this:
While the Birds have their own issues - McNabb's health and mobility, the defense's occassional lack of cohesion - you wouldn't trade places with any other team in the East.

Guessing right now, you can start the Eagles with a 5-1 record against the division and let them play the rest of the schedule for playoff seeding.

* * *

A lot can still go wrong, but a lot can go wrong for the other teams, too. At the moment, though, the division is where it always seems to have been under the current administration - with the Eagles ahead and the others playing catch-up.
The Eagles were 2-4 against the NFC East this year. They finished last in the division at 8-8, behind Dallas at 13-3 (division winners and owners of home field advantage throughout the playoffs), New York at 10-6 (wild card) and Washington at 9-7 (also a wild card).

Don't get me wrong, I've been way wrong on predictions before (as we shall see with my playoff predictions), but I also don't make a living doing this. Ford was way off base, and a little digging may indicate that Eagles' fans and supporters are living a lie. Philadelphia did finish 10-6 in 2006 to win the division (but were 5-6 with McNabb), but they also finished 6-10 to finish last in 2005. In the past three seasons, the New York Giants have made the playoffs all three times, Dallas and Washington twice, and Philadelphia once. Cream of the NFC East? Sounds more like the worst team in the division.

Now, on to teams that actually made the playoffs (which includes every team in the NFC East except the Eagles).

11-5 Jaguars (3-2 last 5, 5-3 road) at 10-6 Steelers (2-3 last 5, 7-1 home)
10-6 Titans (4-1, 5-3) at 11-5 Chargers (5-0, 7-1)
10-6 Giants (3-2, 7-1) at 9-7 Bucs (2-3, 6-2)
9-7 Redskins (4-1, 4-4) at 10-6 Seahawks (3-2, 7-1)

The Steelers are without Willie Parker, but I think he's a little overrated. I wouldn't put him in the top ten RB in the league. Fred Taylor, meanwhile, has had a pretty decent season. You would expect that Ben Roethlesberger gets the edge at QB, but David Garrand in 12 games has 18 TDs and 3 INT. I think this will be a close game, but I'll pick Jacksonville. And just to make sure I can't be too accurate, I'll pick the score to be 24-21.

I'm picking the Chargers because of LaDainian Tomlinson. Toss in a healthy Antonio Gates at tight end and the fact Tennessee's #1 receiver Roydell Williams broke his ankle this week, and it's hard to see Vince Young leading the Titans over San Diego. Final score? Let's say 35-20.

Usually fans like to support their own team, but I know just how bad the Giants can be. However, Brandon Jacobs combined with Ahmad Bradshaw and Rueben Droughns provide a convincing ground attack, and the Giants defense can be very tough to get past. Tampa Bay has a good defense (I'm saying this without looking at any stats), and their receivers are definitely competent, but Jeff Garcia has been seriously banged up. He beat the Giants last year in round 1 with the Eagles, but I'm not sure he can repeat. As long as Eli Manning doesn't throw the ball at people's shins or into the chests of defenders, the Giants can win. Let's say 31-27.

The Redskins have made a pretty good run, but the Seahawks are tough at home. Shaun Alexander? Pretty good RB. Matt Hasselbeck? Not bad. Clinton Portis? Okay RB. Jason Campbell? Eh. Give it to Seattle, 17-10.

I can't wait to see how off my non-scientific picks were!

Addendum -
Brady is the first Patriot selected NFL MVP. He drew 49 of the 50 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the NFL. Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, the only three-time MVP, got the other vote.
Really? Favre over Brady?

Favre - 66.5% comp, 4,155 yds, 28 TD, 15 INT, 95.7 Rating
Brady - 68.9% comp, 4,806 yds, 50 TD, 8 INT, 117.2 Rating

I wonder if that one voter is in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Hall of Who Gives a Shit Anymore

Cooperstown, NY, is home to the Leatherstocking Golf Course, presumably a blue blood dominatrix emporium and country club, and the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I went there (Hall of Fame) when I was a young man, and by young man I mean small child. Not too much sticks out in my memory. For example, I don't remember if they had a woman's exhibit a la the one shown in A League of Their Own, but MLB doesn't allow women in baseball, so it wasn't important anyway. I do remember I got a t-shirt with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on it, as well as some postcards of the plaques of various players. Besides those items, I also took with me a sense that this was a place for elite players, where the best and most impressive of ballplayers were honored.

I do understand why Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pantsless Pete Rose are not in the Hall, even though they were outstanding performers on the field (especially Jackson - career 170 OPS+). There are moral arguments against them, blah blah blah, fine. They messed with the reputation of baseball, and paid the price.

What bothers me is the very stupid logic used by Hall of Fame voters. The Baseball Writers that have votes are so monumentally dense and analytically deficient that I can no longer consider the Hall of Fame as anything but a joke. No, friends, it's not steroid users that have ruined the Hall of Fame for me, but idiots who vote for Jack Morris over Bert Blyleven.