Sports and Recreation



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Baseball-Reference.com

Data, a collection of organized numbers and labels, comes in many shapes and sizes.  Ever made a gut decision only to regret it later?  Well, note to self, your gut is not located anywhere near your decision making center.   And decisions made on data are educated and analytical.  Wait a sec, I thought this was Techlife?

Having accurate information, helps make informed decisions.  I could talk about how your business would be wise to look at the numbers, but we’ll instead use baseball.  Let’s face it, it’s a lot of fun to use a sport that has heaps of data.  Sean Forman over at Baseball-Reference.com has compiled the statistics universe of baseball.  He has organized baseball stats for teams, players, eras, and more.

Will having better data help you in Yeti Baseball? Not likely.  Will it help you in betting on baseball? Quite possibly.  Alright, skip the explanation already, let’s get to it, you’re losing me.

Flamethrowers

As of June 30, 2009, pitching phenom Tim Lincecum of the San Franciso Giants had pitched in 74 career games.  He had 15 games with at least 10 strikeouts, placing him 6th all time. Other fireballers who started hot careers ahead of Lincecum were Dwight Gooden, Herb Score, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Hideo Nomo who ranged from 27 games to 16 games respectively with 10 plus punch outs.

Baseball-Reference.com Blog and Stat of the Day writer Andy Kamholz, also ran the data on flamethrowers in their first 74 career games with at least 8 strikeouts, and Linceum is number 1 with 39.   Followed again by Gooden, Wood, Score, Prior and Nomo who ranged from 38-33.

Homeruns

Babe Ruth hit a lot of homeruns; 714 to be exact.  Baseball-Reference.com has a log of every homerun he ever hit.  But they provide even more data about each homerun.  They document play by play:

  • HRs in order they were hit
  • What number HR it was of the season it was hit
  • What number HR it was in the game
  • Date
  • Matchup (teams)
  • Pitcher
  • Inning it was hit
  • RBI from that HR

and comprehensive data of Number of HRs:

  • Against by Opponent
  • Against Left/Right Handed Pitchers
  • Against Pitcher (by name and count)
  • By Ballpark
  • Inside the Park

Award Winning

Baseball likes awards.  From Cy Young for pitching, MVPs, Triple Crowns, Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers to managers and rookies of the year, most of these are decided by numbers.  Which lead players to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown, where Baseball’s Hall of Fame stands as the ultimate achievement based on statistics.  Baseball-Reference.com has broken down the awards winners by stats, years, teams, and streaks.  Slicing data to make the game more enjoyable and understandable.

Final Thought

A simple design, easy access to information and tools for the casual to the stat freak allow Baseball-Reference.com to shine in data display.  As you imagine how a data rich environment with insight and analysis would help your company or organization, keep in mind this site took 10 years to get to the point you see today.  Working with a professional can help you understand your data, interpret it and come out hitting  homeruns.  Stop making calls from your gut, save that for peanuts and cracker jacks.


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The Dojo's Cubed Addict - Multiplayer Real Time game for Android, Mac, PC and Linux.

The Dojo's Cubed Addict - Multiplayer Real Time game for Android, Mac, PC and Linux.

As we meet with client’s the hardest thing for them to wrap their arms around is that on the web, your business is instantly global.  “Awesome, bring it on.”  “Yeah, so, no big deal.”  These are some of the common answers we hear from client’s.  It is then we sit them down and using their enthusiasm or lack thereof, we coach them on doing business in a global economy.  It’s not always easy with i18n (shorthand for internationalization) and l10n (shorthand for localization) and social networking and web 2.0 and e-commerce.

Now imagine adding mobile customers to the mix.  That is exactly the challenge David Kainer of The Dojo experienced.  Provide his customers a gaming platform globally that easily works for all mobile devices and Linux, Mac and Windows computers (<=computer download link, start playing today) based customers.  He also added in multi-player real-time , and to top it all off…it is all FREE.

Techlife sat down with David, who from his Sydney office, works with the London office to learn about The Dojo.  How?  Why? How hard?  It’s all in there, and we even cover why he chose Google’s Android first over Apple’s iPhone. 

Techlife: What is The Dojo?

David Kainer: The Dojo is a global platform for uniting game players in interactive gaming, irrespective of platform. It’s aim is to provide great multi-player experiences on mobile and online and really begin to blur the boundaries between the two. Best of all – it’s free.

T: How did you come with the idea for The Dojo?  Was it based on something?

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nuart 3 by Slinkachu

In Techlife’s day job we advise clients to, “Get a fresh perspective, take a unique look at things.” Most of the time clients ask us for help in this effort. After all, it isn’t easy to achieve a fresh perspective, but when you do, LOOK OUT! because the effect can be startling and eye-opening.

nuart 7 by Slinkachu

We love that feeling. When the world turns over on itself. It is exciting to realize things can be different with just a shift in perspective.

Dear Son 1 by Slinkachu

For a few years, an artist in London, known as Slinkachu has been providing a fresh perspective on life, by placing his art all over the city without permission and then photographing it. Interesting you say, but how does that provide a fresh perspective? View the following pieces and then keep reading and see how your perspective changes.

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Animator vs. Animation II

Techlife readers are really amazing. You send in some of the best things on the web. Once again loyal reader Dan found a gem, with Alan Becker‘s Animator vs. Animation movie. It follows the story of a small Flash animated stick figure as he wreaks havoc on the flash desktop of his maker.

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Watch Animator vs. Animation on Techlife TV

Being the inquisitive bunch we did a bit more research and found that this gem is really part of of a larger collection of work by the talented Mr. Becker. After the success of Animator vs. Animation, Alan built Animator vs Animation II. In this story, the animator does the unthinkable and risks his entire computer to a stick figure’s wrath.

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Watch Animator vs. Animation II on Techlife TV

Alan’s wild success was recognized by the world,  and he teamed with Charles Yeh and Atom Films to create Animator vs. Animation: The Game, which is a blast. (pun intended). And then the duo modded it a bit and created Animator vs. Animation: The Game SE (Special Edition).

Animator vs. Animation Animator vs. AnimationThere are a lot of small touches Alan added to these animations, be sure to keep your eyes on areas like the backgrounds and text labels to catch all the attention to detail. I enjoyed Animator vs. Animation, as you can see the care and effort Alan put into his first masterpiece in the genre. Animator vs. Animation II is great second effort with some out of the box thinking and a real ending. I hope Alan is plotting Animator vs. Animation III, I’ll be watching.

Animator vs. Animation IIAlan’s inspiration likely comes from the original Stick Art films. Stick art animations have been around for a long time, and are often violent and a bit comedic. What’s your favorite? Post the link below.


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CentSports - Bet on sports

People everywhere are excited for MLB’s Opening Day. It is a day when everyone has a clean slate. Everyone has an even shot (at least the media gives that impression.)

We all know the owners and players are in this to get paid. Well once again, loyal reader Dan writes in with an Opening Day gem to give Techlife readers their shot at a payday. (Pete Rose, this one’s for you!) I was a bit skeptical at first, but it’s free money and fun too. Nearly as good as fun at the old ballpark.

CentSports is a new kind of social gaming site where you risk nothing but can win real money. First off the site gifts you $.10 to bet on sports. Lose that and get another gift of $.10 and so on. (Yep, they are unlimited in their generosity.) Start winning and you can cash out as soon as you reach $10. Sound to good to be true? Sounds more like spam you might get, right? Trust Techlife it isn’t. It is actually a lot of fun

Do you like hardwoods, frozen ponds or field of dreams? CentSports has NCAA, the NCAA Tournament, the NIT Tourney plus the full slate of NBA games. They also have NHL hockey and starting today they have baseball’s MLB all ready for Opening Day action. They are planning on adding soccer and bringing back boxing and tennis. (Apparently those pesky tennis players will retire mid-match which screws up the betting a little.)

As a person with little knowledge of sports betting it is a lot of fun to learn on someone else’s dime (pun intended). They have all the standard bets including point spread, money line, over/under and let you parlay or combine these bets to get higher payouts.

The best part is the social aspect of the site. You can see what others bet, invite friends, publicly chat about each bet made and send private notes too.

How can CentSports fund the payouts? Advertising. They have a unique feature after placing a bet you will get the chance to see an ad which can give you bonus cash if you win. (Hint: Always hold out for near the top tier of the bonus.) There are other ads scattered around the site as well.

Overall: If you like sports and are too chicken to try using your own money, you can’t lose. Literally! CentSports is sports gambling for the rest of us. No skill required.

I hope you try it out and see if you can beat me, I was up to nearly $2. Let us know in the comments what your user name is and we can add you to our friend list on the site.


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Line RiderA winter wind whips a lone rider on his trusty sled. With only a small hat and a candy cane scarf his entire existence is to ride the line. Can he keep it up? Will he make it? Only you will determine it. Only you can make the flight of the Line Rider.

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It’s been a while since Techlife has brought us another in the series of Friends of Line Rider. Can you tell we missed the little guy? Today we find ourselves enjoying Line Rider Zada v1.3.

A modded Line Rider version with everything that is missing in the first Line Rider. Use the eraser, speedups and zoom for a better Line Rider experience.that is Zada!

Line Rider Zada is really quite the fun afternoon and perfect for adults and kids alike.

Line Rider Zada v1.3


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Nintendo WiiTechlife was talking to Nintendo support (new site design) yesterday and picked up a great little nugget. As many people know there are all sorts of old console games in the Wii’s Virtual Console. One thing they all lack is “save game” ablity.

If you click on the blue house button while playing a Virtual Console game, and then from that screen click on Wii Menu, the Virtual Console game is paused and you can play other games, disc or Virtual Console games and then come back to your “pause game”. It’s a pretty hidden trick.

The rep I spoke with had not heard of it this hack or trick until after they started working with Nintendo. Seems like a great idea. Thanks Nintendo Support Guy Matt!

Also of note, with the tens of thousands of Wii’s being sold a month, the support rep said they are lucky if they field a thousand calls a month, the Wii is pretty easy to use and pretty durable. I thought that was a pretty interesting comment.


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Ballistick - new features include, custom spinners, pets, a store, a map maker and editor

Techlife has just learned that XGen Studios is now a developer for the WiiWare program.  Might Stick Arena or Stick Arena Ballistick be released for the Wii one day? We were pretty shocked too. Nintendo has a developer program with the Wii, known as WiiWare for smaller developers to build content for the platform. Combined with all we know about Stick Arena‘s long awaited title, it appears a multi-platform release might be in the works at some point. While we can’t confirm this, a recent press release from XGen says:

XGen Studios is developing an original title for Nintendo’s upcoming WiiWareâ„¢ service…

It goes on to say:

…inspired by an existing cult classic from the studio, and will allow up to 4 simultaneous players while leveraging the unique capabilities of the Wii Remoteâ„¢…

and

…classic game play enjoyed by Millions is coming to your living room in the form of a new title with compelling additions…

and finally

…jump-in, jump-out casual style appeals to a broad audience for both quick and extended play sessions…

Reading between the lines it would appear that we are in a for a treat. The real question is will the 6.3 million Wii owners be able to interact with the PC gamers, I would think they won’t. But your username might port between the two, allowing a character to travel with you. Imagine playing Stick Arena Ballistick on your Wii online and on your PC online.  Once we all are playing Ballistick on the PC, imagine having a party and Grandma slices Uncle Charlie, only to find herself on the end of a barrage of gunfire.  Brings a whole new meaning to “The war at home.”
Ballistick with new weapons - Chainsaw, Gattling Gun, Lightsaber, and that red triangle item??

And in other Stick Arena Ballistick News…there is an impatient group of loyal Techlife readers who have logged over 700 comments about how excited they are for Ballistick. For all of them, I want to give them a heads up, an exciting announcement is coming shortly. We are targetting next week on Techlife and TechlifeTV the news. As a teaser, we have confirmed that there are 6 new weapons for Ballistick. For a bit of fun, we are going to release their initials…

  • CG
  • LS
  • TH
  • FT
  • CS
  • RG

Got any guesses? Let the comments begin!

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Muhammad Ali from the book GOAT by Jeff Koons

What do you do with all the Amazon Gift Cards you got for the holidays?

Amazon has long offered some treasures, one treasure that’s been out for a while is GOAT, a mammoth book about boxing legend, Muhammad Ali. Ali’s nickname GOAT, (Greatest of All Time) is among his many nicknames. And the tale of the tape is this 800 pages measures at 20 inches by 20 inches and weighs in at more than 75 lbs. Of course the Champion Edition is the one to have, setting you back slightly at $11,250, but hey, it’s on sale right now saving you $1,250.

GOAT from GOAT book by Jeff Koons
The regular hardcover GOAT book is on sale for a steal at $3,600, a $400 savings off the list price. There were a total of 10,000 printed and the first 1,000 are the Champion Edition. All of them are signed by Ali and Jeff Koons the author, with the Champion Edition additionally coming with silver gelatin prints.

As always Ali is a trend maker. The NFL followed by creating Super Bowl XL Opus MVP Edition (Leather Bound) a special limited run item available for just $40,000. Of course the limited MVP Edition has a signed page by every living Superbowl MVP, and only 400 were made. Of the 20,000 Opus run, it too measures 20 inches by 20 inches with 850 pages it weighs more than 80 lbs. Both the MVP Edition and the Super Bowl XL Opus Limited Edition contain embedded microchips to ensure authenticity. Oh yeah, that limited edition is available without the signed MVP’s for just $3,000, but seriously who wants that?

Super Bowl XL Opus MVP Edition

And while your gift certificates might leave you a little short, the next time you give a gift, tell the person they should apply your gift card to either book. It will at least get a laugh. Let us know how many of these books you will be buying in the comments.

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The Almost-Impossible Rock and Roll Quiz

In a twist of great writing and marketing the folks at Rolling Stone Magazine have done a blogger friendly job with their recent feature. Simply titled:

The Almost-Impossible Rock and Roll Quiz

58 questions.

4 decades.

It is like playing Guitar Hero 3, fun with rock and roll, but you likely won’t walk away thinking you are a master after the first time.

1960s sample question – How many songs on Abbey Road are credited to George Harrison?

1970s sample question – Which 1974 film inspired the title of Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way”?

1980s sample question – According to a 1986 El DeBarge single, who’s Johnny?

1990s sample question – What was the last officially released Guns n’ Roses single?

Surprisingly to me I scored a 29 = to “Whiz!” How did you do? Let us know in the comments.


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Yeti goes Yard - Penguin Flash GameOur readers are really the best. Where else would we get Penguin Baseball? A reader sent in this flash game gem, where you take batting practice, except replace Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez or Prince Fielder with your favorite abominable snowman, the Yeti. Cute lovable penguins jump from a cliff (pitch themselves) and you take aim.

From what I can see there are two types of power hits. The moon shot gets you at most 490. The more line drive takes the svelte penguin aerodynamics and really can increase your score. Our reader said, “It took awhile and I think I am still missing something, but beat 593!” My best was 587. What can you do?

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Vote 2 by Steve WoodsEveryday you use many websites. But which of them are everyday websites?

Everyday websites are defined as sites you visit nearly everyday, often multiple times. Useful, fun, informative but most importantly not because someone sent you a link. Techlife is interested in the sites you choose to visit. (online applications count too.)
Google? Yahoo? MSN? Sure these are the most common. NYTimes? ESPN? Wikipedia? These are popular, too. But I am looking for the deeper, more interesting sites and the reasons.

I will post mine here:

  • Google Docs has become a regular for word processing and spreadsheets. I am constantly using it for collaboration with others.
  • FeedCrier to help me pick the best things to read via RSS. Lifehacker, Engadget and Gizmodo pop up pretty frequently.
  • I have been playing too much of Casual Collective’s Multi-Player Desktop Tower Defense. A lot of Techlife readers have joined me with a free invite.
  • I use SmartMoney’s portfolio tracking tools and sometimes Yahoo’s Finance tools to watch and learn about the economy and stock market.
  • I use Tmobile’s Sidekick Desktop Interface to manage my mobile Sidekick device’s online calendar, address book and notes applications. (no link available for general public, subscription only)
  • I watch and edit Techlife TV on Chime.tv. I often just browse other channels and watch for a while, like regular television.

I really want to know what sites everybody else uses and why. Post them in the comments.

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Google Spreadsheets now with charts and graphs - Pie, Bar, Scatter and more

This year I happen to be a in few fantasy football leagues (not into fantasy sports, these same tools are used by my company everyday too, so keep reading.) These days most fantasy football leagues are managed online with any number of large and small websites doing the player tracking and record keeping. It makes drafting, managing and setting your lineup each week pretty easy. Last year my team won our league, no small thanks to LaDanian Tomlinson, as he smashed NFL records. Thanks LT.

Last year and again this year we used another often talked about tool, Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Most people in fantasy football prepare for the draft using a spreadsheet application like Excel. It helps sort their rankings of players based on their league’s specific scoring system, but doing it online has a few added benefits. All of which helped the 2006 Fantasy Football Champions prepare in their championship season and in this year’s title defense.

  • Auto-saving – While a seemingly small feature, since the document is saved every few seconds remotely, even when we lost power (which happened) we didn’t lose a single minute when power was restored as our data was safe and up-to-date
  • Revisions – A few times we realized in our prep that we had made a mistake copying and pasting a formula or row of formulas. Google Docs offers the chance to go back in time to review different saved versions of the documents along the way. This makes it easy to find the place the error was made and correct it.
  • Collaboration – No longer did we have to email big files and have a check in/out process. We just both started working even on the same sheet at the same time. This made all the difference when we had conference calls and needed to show different scenarios live to each other.

Will you win your fantasy league if you use Google Docs? No. Will it help? Yes. During the course of working another added benefit was when I was out of town, I was able to access my spreadsheets with ease. Fantasy Football is constantly changing and becoming more and more competitive with more players, more time is spent working on your “lists”. Make it easier on yourself, give Google Docs a try.

Do you have a winning story about using Google Docs and Spreadsheets? Share it with us.

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DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!

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For those unfamiliar with Desktop Tower Defense, it is a simple concept stop the circles from traversing across the playing field. As with most great games, its simplicity is compelling while its mastery is more than a challenge.

Since version 1.5 has been released, as seen on the Prepare to meet your next challenge in casual multi-player gaming, Multi-Player Desktop Tower Defense (MDTD) from Casual Collective. Casual Collective Logo

I have just taken a break finished playing one of the most addictive multi-player Flash games since Stick Arena in order to write about the new, invite only beta trial.

The game is a bunch of mini-races that culminate in an overall winner based on score. The new angle is now your “Defense” is not just against circles but also against your live opponents who can in one game mode use Super Powers, special powers including Lights Out (blacks out your board for a few seconds) or Gold-lock (which stops the spending of gold for a few seconds.) I played in arcade mode which speeds up the gameplay and leaves little time for in-game chat or taunting.

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Raise your hand if Stick Arena or Line Rider are were your favorite time wasters? A new game has taken center stage, Desktop Tower Defense.

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It’s quite simple, yet grows in complexity. You are defending against invading circles each with special powers such as speed, morphing and spawning. The circles goal is to cross the desktop. Your goal: Stop them! The best thing about this game are all the variations and how easily no two games could be alike. In addition the author Paul Preece has added many various types of levels and challenges to the game. The game is often talked about online with bloggers providing strategy and even covering Desktop Tower Defense’s advertising partners. Get practicing now.

Desktop Tower Defense Gameboard by Paul Preece

Why the rush? Paul has teamed with Dave to create Casual Collective and they have something new up their sleeve. Just announced is their goal to have multi-player Desktop Tower Defense and other multi-player gaming. Register your username now.

Desktop Tower Defense Group ScoresDid you get the hang of the game? Join the Techlife readers in posting your score to our group scoreboard. Got a great strategy? Share it here. Link to your map and let us see how you arranged things.

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