NYRampage

Happiness. Short-term, stupid, self-interest.

SI.com – Writers – Adam Hofstetter: American’s don’t care about World Cup – Wednesday May 31, 2006 2:51PM

SI.com – Writers – Adam Hofstetter: American's don't care about World Cup – Wednesday May 31, 2006 2:51PM

Gee, thanks for lumping America into the "we hate the rest of the world; we are better than you" bucket. It's headlines like this that help make the rest of the world hate us, and I can't blame them.

Much of the rest of the world is fanatical about soccer, like we are about the NFL, baseball and college sports. But putting the words "don't care" in the title sets me off. It's the tone that is set. Most Americans care more about other sports, but please don't say we don't care. Besides, while the percentage may be small, there is a significant amount of American's who more than care.

"Show me a soccer mom who's watching the World Cup and I'll show you a ticked-off woman who thought Grey's Anatomy would be on." Um, would this be the same mom who was excited at first when she thought Monday Night Football was going away, only to be disappointed to find it just changed channels? Yeah it is.

Sure, soccer is one of the least popular sports American's watch, and hence it is not on TV because networks need to make money. I get that… I already blogged about it. "Judge Judy" would get better ratings because veiwers are sitting at home on the couch, not out playing soccer.

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May 31, 2006 Posted by | Sports | 2 Comments

Futbol – World Cup ’06

The FIFA World Cup 2006 is coming up starting June 9th so you can count on me trying to catch as much of it as possible. In case you don’t have a PVR, ESPN has the TV schedule all laid out.

SoccerI find people have made up their minds about soccer, either they get it and like it, or they don’t and they never will like it. I’m not complaining; it’s understandable. It probably has to do with what you were brought up with. I played and still do now. My father took me to Cosmos games at Giants Stadium. I’m still hooked.

I, of course, will be 100% behind the U.S. team. While they are certainly not the favorites, anything can happen. I worry about their injuries the most. Even if they get eliminated, I can watch any country against any other… I just can’t get enough of it.

Yahoo did a fantastic job and the official FIFA World Cup website looks great…. including schedules, calendar schedule, standings, video and even fantasy futbol.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Sports | Leave a comment

Personalized Beer

Welcome to MyBeer.Saranac.com – Personalized Beer

Beer

I see an Octoberfest 2006 beer in my future! (though $20 for labels is a bit steep)

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Food & Drink | 1 Comment

Mother of Education

As necessity is the mother of invention, life’s little troubles are the mother of education.

For example, to me, a water softener was a device that softens your water (removes calcium or magnesium) by passing your water supply through a filter. The filter needs to be cleaned, or recharged, every few days with a brine rinse; hence, the reason I have to keep the thing filled with salt. Even though I installed the system myself 6 years ago, I didn't realize how it really worked and the complexity of it… until it broke. (Thank goodness for the Internet)

I also, recently, have learned a lot about washing machines.

Such is the reason I know an awful lot about rotator cuff injuries which is the sports caster's term for tears, impingement, bursitis, & tendonitis in the shoulder. I’m suffering from one of those, though certainly not a full tear. An MRI would likely confirm subacromial impingement and identify if the bursa, tendons or both are being impinged upon by collar bone in my right shoulder. X-rays showed everything looked mostly normal. The treatment would be the same whether I have the MRI or not, so I’m off to physical therapy. Injecting steroids is another treatment, but it is not the best medical decision as there is risk of rupturing and therapy is considered the better, long term, fix.

The cause was likely volleyball, particularly a tournament 3 years ago. Repeated overhead arm movement causing inflammation, impingement, tears, and, well, pain. Since then lifting weights and spiking a volleyball can bring me to tears. 

So the M.D. is sending me off to physical therapy, as long as my wife approves, because he claims she’s a cutie. (He was right)

I also, recently, have learned a lot about moles; but that’s another story…

May 25, 2006 Posted by | Family, Home Improvement, Sports | 1 Comment

Something you may not know about me…

I decorate cakes. There. I said it and my manliness is still in tact.

When I stopped brewing beer and started making homemade icing, I don’t know… oh… yes I do… when I had kids.

My skill level is just a hair above novice, but the consistent kudos I get from my family keep me going. I like to make them feel special; they deserve it. (plus it’s yummy)

My wife is actually the baker, I just decorate. It’s usually just a mix, though sometimes we “bash” it like I recently did for my daughter's 9th birthday. I simply added crushed Oreos to the batter before baking and it came out great. We served it with Oreo Cookies and Cream ice cream, of course.

I call April-May cake season, as I make cakes for at least 4 birthdays, plus sometimes Easter, Mother’s day and extended family.

Some are easier than others. Some are fun, some are frustrating. Although I had to say no to my sons request for a “Darth Vader with a light saber while bowling” idea, I don't think I disappointed him. Here are some samples:

Barbie CakeTriple Chocolate CakeBowling CakePresent Cake

The Barbie cake was the first time I got adventurous. (my wife made me fill in the cleavage *roll eyes*). The triple chocolate cake I made my own ganache and tried flowers for the first time.

You can see hi-res versions and a bunch more on Flickr

Tips for the best tasting cake.

  • Use Duncan Hines
  • Freeze the cake after it cools a bit
  • Frost it frozen and keep it frozen until a few hours before eating

And now, I’m going to go make a black and tan and eat some beef jerky.

May 22, 2006 Posted by | Family | 4 Comments

PhysX

What does “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter”, “Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends”, and “City of Villians” have in common? They are the only games that currently support AGEIA’s new PhysX card, a physics accelerator.

Like what a 3D accelerated video card does for graphics, the PhysX card does for aiding in the calculating of game physics such as explosions, fallen bodies, fluids, and other object interaction. The intention is for the PPU (Physics Processing Unit) to take the math calculations off the CPU so it can spend more time on the game, while also adding more realistic effects and more interesting interaction. (to be drawn by the GPU… it’s like alphabet soup.)

Picutred here is BFG Tech’s box using AGEIA’s PhysX PPU.

BFG - AGEIA PhysX

So I know you’re wondering… aside from only having 3 games to play with that will take advantage of this $300 PCI card, what are some other good reasons not to run out and buy one?

Well, for one, it doesn’t work. Initial testing shows that while the additional objects that fly around the screen when your “Evil Pink Bunny” villain smashes a crate looks pretty cool, there is apparently some type of bottleneck between the PPU and the GPU that introduces latency, and therefore a significant, sharp, drop in the rate frames get drawn to the screen.

There is also the issue of support. (I can’t get a job without a resume; and I can’t write a resume without a job) The developers want to support su3DFX logoch a card, but not until a significant portion of consumers own one, and consumers don’t want to buy one until the developers are writing for it.  This scenario reminds me of my 3DFX Diamond Monster VooDoo 3D card. (I still have one in my attic, a.k.a. computer graveyard) It was a daughter graphics card that took over for running 3D games. There were only a handful of games written for it but the speed and beauty of it were quickly realized by everyone, and the rest is history. (“Whiplash” rocked)

What needs to happen…

History needs to repeat itself. What happened to 3DFX (consumed by nVidia) needs to happen to AGEIA. I’m not saying it needs to be integrated into the video card, though that may well be the best solution, specifically for the latency problem. I’m thinking more in terms of the API. Developers don’t write to nVidia, or ATI, or Matrox, etc, but rather to a common standard like Microsoft’s DirectX or OpenGL. (one of the things that makes standards so nice is that there are so many to choose from *rolls eyes*)

Then, the ability, or inability, of your computer to be able to handle the extra physics calculations can be handled just like video cards that may or may not be able to handle, say, anti-aliasing. It’s either there and you can experience it, or it’s not, and you don’t get the added experience. How this factors into multiplayer experience is another whole issue which I’ll save for some other time.

I’m looking forward to more, real, physics in games. Half-Life 2 showed that it can really affect the gaming experience.

May 19, 2006 Posted by | Gaming, Tech | 2 Comments