Archive for From the Web Desk
A quick round-up as another weekend comes to an end:
-First, the “Observation of the Week” (coincidentally, also the “Animated Holiday TV Special of the Week,” because it’s August, we should start thinking about Christmas already!) goes to the co-worker who compared Colts back-up QB Curtis Painter to Hermey, the elf who wanted to be a dentist in the Rudolph special. Well done.
-Sticking with meaningless football games, NBC play-by-play guy Al Michaels made a curious comment at the end of tonight’s SF-Minnesota game. As the 49ers scored a safety on the game’s final play, changing the final score to 15-10, he laughed heartily and mentioned the final point differential moving from three to five points, and that “some people are not going to be happy with that, while others are going to be very happy” (paraphrased).
Obviously, he was talking about the betting line, which, sure enough, ranged from 2.5 to 3 points, favoring the Niners. First off, anyone who is betting preseason football games deserves to be kicked in the gut by a last-second safety.
But more importantly, how did Al Michaels know the betting line of a preseason game off the top of his head like that? Hmmm….
-In related news, I didn’t investigate the story too deeply, but I thought I heard that Pete Rose, who fought for 20 years to be allowed back around the game of baseball, then was finally given that right (in limited capacity), he says he can’t make a ceremony honoring him at a Reds game because of a prior commitment – at a casino.
Maybe he’ll run into Al Michaels.
-Week One of iPhone-ness has been a success. Possibly the biggest plus is the WiFi capabilities of the iPhone4, which means work at home is free and, occasionally, a signal pops up at work, making usage in the newsroom free as well. I still think I’ll come in on the high side of AT&T’s 200MB level, but it could be interesting if I can save $10 along the way.
I’m still working on making use of the phone as a work tool as much as an expensive toy, but the play side of it has been amazing so far. It came in especially handy this evening as a run through the Taco Bell drive-thru turned into a 10 minute wait in the parking lot.
Any tips you have to help me catch up to the technology are always appreciated in the comments.
On to Monday!
After several years of feet dragging, I’ve taken a bite of the poison Apple and bought an iPhone. Although I’m still not sure which side of the “work vs. expensive toy” fence it will fall on, it should help out in several areas of my personal and professional life.
Of course to do that, I have to know how to use it and thus far, all it has done is tease me from afar. After closing my eyes on the AT&T web site Friday afternoon and clicking “Complete Purchase” (or whatever the button said), I expected – because I was told by AT&T and Apple it could be 5-10 business days until they shipped it – to have a wait ahead of me.
And I was cool with that.
That coolness went away when the e-mail came announcing the shipping of the phone. “It will get here someday” was quickly replaced by a neurotic rotation back to the AT&T web site to check the status of my order. By mid-day Saturday, my new toy was sitting in a warehouse in Indianapolis and there was nothing I could do but wait. Seriously, I drive past a FedEx warehouse every day, probably the same one holding my phone hostage, and there was nothing I could do about it for two whole days.
Finally, today arrived and the phone was marked “out for delivery” and the race was on. The delivery estimate was for 3 p.m. and I had to leave for work at 3:30. By 2 o’clock and no phone, I checked the FedEx site again. “Incorrect Address.” Panic. Calm. Phone calls.
To FedEx’s credit, they were very cool on the phone, called back twice to double check our address and at 3:20, the doorbell rang. I’d have better off if they had missed me by 10 minutes.
I had enough time to open the box, look at the parts, plug it in and leave. In the meantime, my wife ordered a new BlackBerry at the same time, it was delivered in the mail this morning and she has been busy playing and configuring all day. Such a tease.
All I know now is this better live up to the hype, because the last two days have felt like 200. (Okay, a little exaggeration there.)
This meandering story of an idiot waiting for his new phone was really a call for help. What do I do now that I actually have the phone? How does a 36-year-old web guy go about best using a shiny new iPhone 4? A call out on Facebook has yielded two parts sarcastic ridicule and 1 part help, but I have access to Indianapolis, and darn it, I’m going to use it!
Apps, cases, gadgets, whatever, help me out Indy! What are your favorite parts about the iPhone and why? What can’t you live without?
With all the social media in the world, how do you use it all?
I’ve at least tried to poke my toes in the water of most social media “phenomena” that come along (anyone remember Orkut?) and some stick, others are forgotten in the mass of password reminder e-mails buried deep in various inboxes. It’s obvious that not all social media platforms are equal, but do you use them equally?
This question popped up in a recent flurry of LinkedIn invites hitting my mailbox. I forget when I first signed on over there, but I’m pretty sure only about a third of my profile information is relevant anymore. I’ve Facebooked for, I think, at least five years (back when it was a college-based invite system, yet my alumni e-mail address got me in the door) and have Tweeted for pushing two. I’m far more immersed in Facebook, personally, and have gotten a lot more mileage out of Twitter from work than from home.
But where does LinkedIn fit in?
I’m pretty open to who I invite/accept into my Facebook world, with a few exceptions, family, friends, long lost faces from a high school yearbook, whatever. But LinkedIn seems different. It’s probably the layout, but it seems to me that it’s more of a professional environment. Yet a lot of folks seem to be seeking me out lately that would serve me no apparent professional gain.
Am I crazy?
Maybe I’m missing a chance to broaden my social opportunities, but I think LinkedIn should be people that you would be able to recommend for a job, right?
I’m really curious to see where everyone else draws the lines of their social media boundaries. Are you an “everything goes” type person? Or do you pick and choose your online acquaintances as strictly as I do?
With a couple clicks and a push in the right direction, the SkyTrak Weather Team has become the SkyTrak Facebook Team! While several members of the Eyewitness News team you see on air everyday has begun a takeover of the social media “airwaves,” the weather folks have taken off!
Now, in addition to getting your forecast and weather information on Channel 13, you can get it in your Facebook news feed, too!
Check out the fan pages:
If you prefer your Twitter over Facebook, don’t miss Nicole there, too!
And just kidding about the Farmville thing. If I so much as see a lost cow anywhere around Jude Redfield, we’re shipping him off to MySpace!
The 17th Brickyard 400 is underway and it hasn’t been pretty.
Indianapolis Colts’ tight end Dallas Clark dropped the green flag to get things going and it hasn’t been very pleasant since. Seven cars were involved in an incident in Turn 2 and cars are still feeling the effects. Not only have several of the cars involved been in and out of the pits, but so have most of the other cars in the field for everything from tires to tweaks to capping off the fuel tank. Numerous cars have had overheating problems and Max Papis even had his car catch fire and end his day early.
Speaking of rough, this crowd is pretty sparse, even considering the expectations of a small crowd. Economy, heat or whatever might cause it, there is still a ton of bare metal in the stands this afternoon.
Though that didn’t seem to take anything from the pre-race atmosphere, and in fact, may have enhanced things a little, giving a bit more room for fans (and media types like me) to move around and experience IMS.
Back to the race, we’re now 37 laps in and have found a flow and Montoya is off and running again. And with that, he pits to check a handling issue. Keep it to 55, Juan.
Lap 69: Things aren’t so hot for two-time defending champ Jimmie Johnson coming off a caution flag for debris, he’ll start 22nd. Greg Biffle, who had run down Montoya for the lead heading into the caution, won the race off pit road and held onto the lead as the race nears the halfway point.
Lap 81: We’ve got an official race. Or at least I’d figure we do by Indy 500 standards. Either way, we’re past the halfway point. The new tires have helped Montoya from being demolished by Biffle, but the 16 car is still slowly opening up his lead. Montoya’s Ganassi teammate Jamie McMurray is in third.
Lap 100: Another round of pit stops and Montoya, who pitted first, has regained the lead, but Biffle is back on his heels, within a half-second. Jamie McMurray is third, ahead of Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.
Lap 121: History will have to wait for Jimmie Johnson. Starting from the outside of Row 1 a little over two hours ago, Johnson’s crew got caught in a long repair during a caution and went a lap down. Prior to the yellow, Johnson was the last car on the lead lap.
Through it all, Montoya held onto his lead, then battled Biffle for the lead on the restart, with McMurray sneaking into second.
Lap 132: Another driver has had his attempt at history deflated. Jeff Gordon blew a tire late in the race and was forced to pit under green, dropping him a lap off the lead. Meanwhile, Montoya’s lead is up to almost 3 seconds over McMurray and Biffle, who are battling for second.
Lap 138: Another caution for debris - for the second time, it involves a large piece of metal, apparently – will tighten up and shuffle the field. The top six drivers reportedly put on just two new tires for the final 22 laps. Montoya might have come out on the short end, taking four tires and lining up in seventh coming out of the pits.
Tony Stewart continued his climb to the top, getting out of the pits in second spot, behind McMurray and ahead of Kevin Harvick, Martin and Kurt Busch.
Lap 149: Montoya’s day at Indy has ended prematurely again. After leading the most laps for the second straight year, the #42 car got loose in Turn 4 and hit the wall, then was struck by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at the entrance of pit road.
Kevin Harvick took the green flag as the leader, but was passed by McMurray headed into the final 10 laps of the race.
Jamie McMurray holds on for the historic win at Indianapolis.
Despite clouds and even some rain showers for the (EARLY!) morning commute, the sun is shining bright and promising to wreak havoc on IMS today. It’s going to be a(nother) steamy one!
After hanging around last night to make sure a line of storms didn’t do too much damage to central Indiana, the alarm came awfully early for this web guy to get back to the corner of 10th & Meridian for the ride to the Brickyard. It’s a quick turnaround and an early day, but if you’re going to cover a race at IMS, the three hours between caravans from the station can mean a lot of missed opportunities.
So here I am.
I feel a little more out of my element covering the Brickyard 400 than the Indy 500, probably part by being more of an open wheel guy, but also even an abbreviated May schedule gives you a chance to get more familiar with the names and faces in the cars, even at the back of the field.
Speaking of the back of the field, the field for this year’s (This Space For Rent) 400 at the Brickyard is bookended by former Indy 500 winners. Juan Pablo Montoya will start from the pole and, by all signs over the last 52 weeks at this track, have as good a shot as any at winning. In the last spot is 1995 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve, a late entry and an even later qualifier.
You want predictions? No clue. Montoya *should* win, Jimmie Johnson probably *will* win, the hunch says a breakthrough for the old fella Mark Martin (ran very well last year and qualified solidly this year), which means someone else will likely end up with the win.
Stay tuned to this blog throughout the day as I document the day at IMS. And don’t forget the Eyewitness News team on Twitter, as well!
In a flurry of yellow cards and a well-placed 116th minute volley, the World Cup is over. As an at least casual soccer fan, I’m a little saddened, but I think I’ll get by, and by next week, not even realize that soccer is still being played, which seems like a horrible thing, considering the decade and change I spent playing the game spring, summer and fall in my youth.
I enjoy the game, can pick out the parts of an otherwise snooze-fest to make it exciting, but I still just don’t “get” it, at least not in the way soccer fans…ahem…”fútbol fans” want me to. As the tournament neared an end and I paid more attention to each game (really, who needs to watch Paraguay and the Ivory Coast in a round robin game?), the more I got annoyed with the announcers. And not the British gents they had leading the broadcasts. In fact, they can make even the worst pass in the first minute of the game sound sexier than Cindy Crawford in 1986.
It’s those darn Americans.
To hear John Harkes insist on using terms that only die hards would understand at first listen (admittedly, the die hards made up 95% of the viewing audience) just made me cringe. At one point, he called a shot on goal, “the final delivery.” Really? I’ll give you “pitch” (field) and even maybe “booking” (red/yellow card), but “the final delivery”?
C’mon John. Your ancestors (or somebody’s ancestors) fought the British off twice so we wouldn’t have to use those words. In fact, by the time we pulled them through the second World War, we should have insisted that they Americanize their soccer lingo.
“Oh, silly Winston. We don’t need need your money for putting the Germans in their place. But could you PLEASE just call it a ‘field’?”
Not that changing a little vernacular will make more people watch a Columbus-Salt Lake MLS game in mid-April, but it would make one month every four years just that much more enjoyable. In fact, unless the United States wins the World Cup, then holds all its players hostage on MLS teams and decides to use its defending champion powers to hold a World Cup every six months with $1 hot dogs and domestic drafts at every game, I don’t think it will ever get the audience the fans clamor for.
And I’m not holding my breath that a World Cup win is coming anytime soon.
Every year since the U.S. hosted the Cup in 1994, we’ve heard about how “they’re bringing a team that could make noise.” And every year, it’s tails between the legs and back home. Even this year was an exercise in “Whew!” England handed the U.S. a tie…errr…”draw” and, while there was plenty of questionable officiating that kept lesser opponents in the next two games, they were still that – lesser opponents – and one of them had to be beaten by, we’re told, the greatest thing since Mike Eruzione invented sliced bread.
It’s just not flying, America. But keep on reaching for those stars.
Negativity aside, I still enjoy the World Cup and hope America can at least get through to the quarterfinals in 2014.
Also, this year’s World Cup gave me one of the most memorable experiences in my life. A couple weeks ago, I went to Japan for a little more than a week. In that time, the Japanese national team had two games scheduled in the World Cup. I thought that it was a “cool” enough experience to watch their first game with the family we stayed with, I had no idea what the second game would hold.
With a 12-hour flight looming at 3 p.m. on a Friday, my wife surprised me by agreeing that watching Japan play Denmark at 3:30 Friday morning would be something we just couldn’t pass up. The half day on a plane only sealed the decision.
So, after a 7 a.m. to midnight whirlwind around Tokyo, our third day in that magnificent city, we got packed up for the trip home, refreshed and hailed a cab at 2:45 am. While the hotel-recommended bar turned out to be a dud, a man unloading a truck on the street proved to be our savior. (As I’ll probably write in a future blog post, as nice as anyone may tell you the Japanese people are, triple it.) He pointed us to the area of Tokyo called Roppongi, just a bit up the road (though another automatic $7 cab ride) and a place where we had gotten a taste of nightlife our first day in town. We knew we were in the right place when the cabs started backing up behind pedestrians making their way across the street to any number of bars.
We hopped out, figuring the growing crowd at Legends Sports Bar (how’s that for feeling at home?) would complete our experience. We had bought Japanese soccer shirts earlier in the day, so we couldn’t be mistaken for Denmark fans and we were welcomed with open arms into the “family.” (Remember: Triple it.)
The time difference is what did the trick. I don’t know that I could have committed to going to a bar in the States for a U.S. game at 2:30 in the afternoon, but at 3 a.m. in a foreign country, it felt perfect. That is, until my wife turned to me midway through the first half and said “Um, it’s daylight.” Looking back at our pictures from the night, it really is a bit bizarre how much brighter the post game photos are from the start of the…ahem… “match.” (Damn you, Winston Churchill!)
Anyway, Japan won fairly easily, 3-1 and advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time in two World Cups and the second time ever. You’d have thought they won the whole thing. While I have my own videos of the celebration, someone from across the same bar posted video of the final seconds of the win on YouTube.
As if that wasn’t enough, a trip to find breakfast got even wilder. Really, they just won the right to lose the next game (in heartbreaking, penalty kick fashion, mind you) but these fans weren’t going to let the moment get away. The intersection becomes a mosh pit when the crosswalk turns green, then breaks up in a nice, orderly fashion when the “don’t walk” sign pops up. The same person also posted video of that craziness.
Moral of the story? If you’re ever in a foreign country when their team is playing in the World Cup…GO! Do not hesitate. Even if you’re not a soccer fan or even a sports fan, trust me, it’s worth it. Even my wife, who thought it would be cool to go just as an experience, ended up with her face painted and chanting every time Japan touched the ball.
No, really. It was awesome.
And I slept the whole flight home. Mission accomplished.