Friday, March 14, 2008

OLPC = Awesome

Someone at work brought their OLPC to the helpdesk to try to get it online, so we all got a chance to look at and play with it. 




So awesome. I want one so bad right now. If I was in the market for a low-end laptop I would totally buy one. They're waterproof! 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Video Game Log: Call of Duty 4 (XBox 360)

I'm not even bothering to write a log for this game, just get it. It's awesome.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Walrus Mark, uh, Zero

The Romans never had a symbol for zero because they were that awesome.

I got some good work done on Walrus tonight (ok yeah, I had Baseball Mogul open in the background... and Comedy Central on the TV). Mostly a lot of groundwork for getting the One True List into the app. I now know how to load data from Excel files. I'm going to hardcode everything for Rotoworld for now (following the "hardcode first, hardcode second, generalize third" rule), but it should be easy to import any set. Hot.

A few more features I'd like to add:

  • Must-draft options: Add the ability for a user to set a draft round for a player that if the player drops to that round the user "must" draft him. The system would highlight the player somehow.
  • Notes: Both a text note and possibly a "+/-/=" rating (for gut feelings). I could have players with notes brought to the forefront (maybe use tooltips?).
  • Fantasy replacement level by postion: Set the replacement level for each position (that is, the point after which you either don't draft a player or pick only sleepers).

Fun times!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fantasy Baseball Draft App - Walrus!

I've been playing fantasy baseball for a few years, and as I've said before, the draft is my weakest link. I've tried giving myself a cheat sheet with a clear one-value system for evaluating players. I've also tried providing myself with tons of information. Yet I always fall too far to one side of the information-overload/lack of info problem.

Enter Fantasy Baseball Draft App, codenamed Walrus (I just made up that code name because I didn't want to call it "Fantasy Baseball Draft App" or "FBDA"). I've started writing a windows application (in C#.NET w/ VS 2005) to help me with my draft. Basically I want a way to display to me "The One True List" (whatever ranking list you have) but with all/any set of analysis that I want as needed. For example, I could provide information about position scarcity compared to all teams' rosters (let's say there are only four tier three shortstops left, but only three teams don't have a SS already; that's valuable information). Or I could show fantasy-team-average stats compared to what I (or my opponents) have already drafted (and how a given player would impact them). These are just a few of the things I want to do.

Here's a basic feature list:

  • Import projections/rankings from Excel files. This is tricky; first of all, importing from Excel is never straightforward. Secondly, what formats do I support? ESPN, Rotoworld, Rotowire, Baseball Prospectus? Likely I'll start with one format and go from there.
  • Format projections to match league settings. Depends on how I set league settings...
  • Set league settings. Yeah, I know.
  • Set stat goals. Obvious and simple.
  • Display "The One True List" with sorting and filter options. Easy.
  • Display my roster and other rosters. Pretty simple.
  • Allow a player to be drafted to my team or another team with a button click. This part requires some design decisions; do I have 1 or 2 buttons? How do I correct mistakes?
  • Input total roster count and draft order. Simple.
  • Provide a variety of calculations: ADP, position scarcity, etc. Depends on what I actually do.

That's just off the top of my head. I'll see how far I get with "Walrus Mark I".

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What Is Inside Should Be Outside

I'm a gamer and a geek. I stay up-to-date on technology news. I play plenty of video games. Yet my wardrobe doesn't reflect this. I wear business casual clothes to work (and I wore casual business clothes to my last job). I have a few geek T-shirts, but I almost never get a chance to wear them. 

Now I never really thought this was a problem until after a meeting with the reverend presiding over my wedding. He told us that we should try to get elements of things that are important incorporated into the wedding. He gave the example of a poker-playing groom who carried a royal flush in his jacket pocket. Even though no one saw it, it was a part of his special day. I said, "Hey, I could bring a little Master Chief chotchke in my jacket pocket," and chuckled. But then I got to thinking and realized that I should make my geekiness a part of every day.

My first thought was a geek-themed necklace; I was encouraged by this item blogged by Hawty McBloggy (yes that's the actual title): 

While this is awesome, it's a little too  flamboyant for my tastes (plus I never play the guitar in Rock Band, only drums or singing). Then I remembered this little item from SplitReason:

I could manage this, though the dog tag style isn't really me. I want something simple that fits beneath my clothes (making a necklace ideal). I really want to do something like this but I also don't want to look like a total tool. Any thoughts?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Just Jumping

We had our draft for our fantasy baseball work league this weekend. I wanted to try out a particular draft strategy of simply drafting the highest value player on the board. I did this for about 6 rounds before I had to abandon it, as my rankings told me to draft about 6 closers AFTER I'd already drafted J.J. Putz and Jonathan Papelbon. So I struggled for a few rounds until Jon gave me an idea... he was drafting only fat baseball players and suggested I get a gimmick.

So I looked at my roster and saw 11 players, four whose first names started with J. The next guy I was planning to draft was Jim Thome. So I decided to draft only players whose first name started with J. So I proceded to draft Jim Thome, James Loney, Joakim Soria, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jeff Francis, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Bonderman, Jack Cust, Joey Votto, Jason Bartlett, Jon Lester, John Buck,  and Jay Bruce. Combine that with Jimmy Rollins, J.J. Putz, Jonathan Papelbon, and Justin Verlander, I had 18 out of 25 roster spots filled with Js. 

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