Archive: July 6, 2014

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World Cup: and then there were four

Sunday,  07/06/14  02:53 PM

So the World Cup quarterfinals are in the books, and we had four completely different games.  Germany outlasted France, 1-0, not an exciting game but a study in precision football.  Hard not to pick the Germans to go all the way.  This game proved my theory about soccer only becoming interesting after one team scores; it was 1-0 after fifteen minutes, and it was pretty entertaining the rest of the way.

Next Brazil outflopped Columbia, 2-1, scoring a first goal seven minutes in, and then the teams traded goals in the second half.  This was a bit disappointing because neither team played their best; it felt like the referee let things get out of control, and the play suffered.  We're still waiting to see a brilliant Brazilian side show up, and they'll have to against Germany.

And then Argentina outplayed Belgium 1-0, again the only goal being scored early, but this time it led to a bunch of marching up and down the field with no real spark.  So so glad my Tivo has a fast forward button.  Not even Messi could liven up a dull game, and while the Belgians can play elegant soccer when they want, they didn't.

In the final quarter Netherlands defeated Costa Rica 0-0, 4-3, in a game that could serve as a counterexample against my "give one team a goal" dictum.  The football was fun and the Dutch certainly controlled the ball and squandered many chances, but in the end it came down to penalty kicks and that was that.  If you weren't rooting for anyone you'd have to pick the winner of this team, based on sheer fun, so Go Oranje!  I think the Netherlands - Argentina game is going to be quite entertaining.

All my picks made it through and I'm stick with my picks for the next round: Germany vs Netherlands in the final.


Le Tour 2014, stage 2: tough day in the hills of Yorkshire; Nibali wins late against GC rivals

Sunday,  07/06/14  03:12 PM

Excellent stage today in Le Tour; six solid hours of racing up and down, with nine categorized climbs and several others too, narrow roads, massive crowds, and great riding.  It was capped by the GC contenders battling on a 25% hill three miles from the finish, with Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, and Rui Costa all in the mix, together with the all-around amazing Peter Sagan, but they all watched Vincenzo Nibali attack with 1 mile to go and couldn't bring him back.  He only took two seconds in the end but it was a great victory for him and puts him in yellow.

In addition to the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, the star of today's stage were the people; I've been watching bike racing for many years but have never seen such crowds.  Even the small hills in the middle of nowhere had thousands of cheering fans crowding the road.  Excellent.

Stage 3 is a flat and crispy parade into London, which should culminate in a bunch sprint; too bad Mark Cavendish' crash yesterday forced him to abandon.  I guess it will be Kittel vs Greipel and everyone else can rest up.  Onward!

[ Le Tour 2014: all posts | index ]


my new $500 laptop

Sunday,  07/06/14  04:26 PM

A week ago I swapped my four-year-old laptop for a brand new one.  It only cost $500 and I now have the fastest, coolest laptop on the planet, basically it’s a rocket ship.  How was this possible?

I replaced the hard drive in my four-year-old laptop with a solid state drive.  1TB for $500.  And now it flies.

This was amazing but actually not surprising, since Windows Paging is so crummy.  Now that physical memory once again exceeds logical memory, you can run lots of stuff but you can't do it without paging.  The best solution is a really fast disk.  And eliminating seek time and rotational latency altogether means faster is blazingly faster.

So if you have an old laptop which could use a little speed boost, consider an SSD.  Try it, you'll like it :)

PS for you Mac people, OS X is better at paging than Windows but the speedup will still be dramatic


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