It’s Festivus – Time to Air Grievances

It’s that time of year and as Frank Costanza famously said… “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people…”

This years list is a large one so bear with me.

Google Chrome and every other company that decided to release their own web browser – I love you, but you’ve added yet another browser to test web applications against. You should therefore be required to all contribute to an agreed upon suite of tests (ACID is fun, but isn’t real in the least) and test harnesses that web developers can run to validate their applications look identically pristine in all browsers.  I also hate  you because you remind me how much I despise the market share IE6 still enjoys and the 35% development tax that must be paid to support it.


 Social Media Experts that grow on trees. You people are as useful as the so-called SEO experts you all used to be and the talking heads on 24 hour cable news channels.  I’m glad I’m not on any of these lists.  You can game social media just like SEO, but the crimes are going to catch up to the poor companies who bought your advice. 

The immutable laws are now that the web is social & that people will go where-ever the best conversations and content lives.  If you don’t have something worth talking about and good content to seed discussions with then it doesn’t matter what else you do. This goes for your companies intranet as well. Twitter has a spam problem it’s ignoring. I’m sure a social media expert has a strategy bullet for it, but I call it thread hopping.  Just about every post I make earns me a public reply with someone offering their services, asking me to try out schmap-it-a-ma-gass, or (not kidding) buy an official festivus poll from their site.  Don’t create an inbox you want people to check if you aren’t going to prevent spam from getting to that inbox.  Don’t get me started about the # of spam followers I have that get to send messages directly to my real inbox.



I’m sorry that, like the underpant gnomes, you haven’t figured out what step 2 is on your 3-step plan for profiteering and world domination.  That does not, however, excuse you from continuing to dupe users into making their content public so you can serve more pages.  I suspect a lot of them starting using your service because they believed (wrongly) that it was more private than posting everything to flickr and public blogs. 

The message I received logging into facebook one day was “We think you may have set your privacy settings incorrectly…” because I had locked down a lot of content.  Trust me, if a user found their way to your security panel… the action was very intentional and they do not want to open up their lives.  I accept that if I post something online there is no place that’s really private but I don’t accept the assumption that your users were dumb and really meant to do something else.


People that don’t realize they can change the channel. These are the app developers that complain about the App Store approval process and the lack of one for Facebook apps.  The solution is simple… don’t play.  Write a mobile web app or go build an opensocial widget instead. 


image The SQL Express management console installation process. Have you done this lately?  There is nothing “express” about it.  It’s easier to install the operating system. At least it asked less questions.  Yes, this made the list because I did it today.


Anyone that confuses Excel with Infopath or a documentation tool. Excel is awesome for spreadsheets, graphs, calculations, etc.  Word is awesome at word processing.  Excel is a terrible word processor and Word is a terrible spreadsheet.  Lets all agree to use the right tool for the job.  How the heck to you enter a line break in Excel anyway?  Bullets?  Sometimes I think the worst thing Microsoft did was make the office products work so well together that people think you only need one of them.  Yes, I had to do this today too. 


Fairy tales sold as business books. I may agree with your concepts and will implement any good advice I receive regardless of the source.  But I want you to come back to me when you have case studies, hard data, and real success stories.  Until then you should have stop your analogy at the level of a long blog post.  It would have been just as insightful. (Perhaps even more so as a manifesto)  But there is no need to stretch out a storyline in a non-fiction book.


image Major League Baseball is broken.  I don’t know how you are going to fix it, but when one team can command a payroll of 5 other teams combined and 6 umpires can blow a foul ball call by 1 foot there is not competitive balance. And I’m not just a whiney Red Sox fan.  They enjoy the same unfair advantage that the Yankees have in terms of relative payroll… the Yankees just did a better job exploit
ing the system this year. Every other sport seems to have solved this problem and now it’s your turn. 

If you’ve read this far I hope you can see this post for the humor it was intended to be.  I really do love Baseball, Chrome, Facebook, Twitter, etc… but there will always be a list of grievances. And it’s no fun to complain about things you really do hate.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wow, that’s harsh

It’s the end of “Manny being Manny” in Boston. Apparently the whole team agreed…

Theo’s initial comments – Extra Bases – Red Sox blog

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is addressing the media concerning yesterday’s trade of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.

“I think it puts us in a good position going forward from a baseball standpoint, and also from the position of standing for something as an organization,” said Epstein. The Red Sox GM said that the team held a meeting with the 25 players on the roster before trading Ramirez, and that the Red Sox now “feel like a team for the first time in a while.”

“There was an environment that was not conducive to winning surrounding this club,” said Epstein. “We wanted to change that if we could. We also wanted to make a good baseball trade.”

A Great Sell, Sox Opening Letter to Schilling in 2003

It’s pretty cool to have someone as outspoken and transparent as Curt Schilling blogging about his baseball accomplishments. For me his blog has been inspirational and educational when it comes to my hobby of playing baseball. 

The post I’m linking to here is a repost of the letter the Sox sent to him in 2003 to open the negotiations that landed him in Boston… and therefore landed the Red Sox a world series victory. 

What’s impressive here is what a great sales job they did. The letter remained classy while at the same time tugging on all the right buttons I’d imagine to get someone like him to come to your team.  If nothing else it paints a great picture of a well run organization.

…It is clear that the Schillings and the Diamondbacks have formed a partnership. From afar, we have admired Curt’s accomplishments in an Arizona uniform and the incredible impact the whole family has had in the Phoenix community. We have the utmost respect for your roots here, and also for the full no-trade clause you negotiated into your current contract. In short, we know you don’t have to do this.

Why, then, did we leave our own families behind and fly here today? Well, we think that the Schillings and the Red Sox might just be another great fit – a perfect marriage – and we hope that we can demonstrate why…

2003 Sox opening letter. « 38 Pitches

Slow Start to Cascade Diablo Season

We lost on opening day and split our next two games.  In these three games I've had some observations.

  • After finishing 2nd last season the opposing teams have more respect for us. Last year we got off to a quick start by facing 3rd or 4th string pitchers.  This year every team told us they had their "ace" against us. 
  • We haven't hit the ball yet.  Most of our runs have come from timely hitting the capitalized on the errors made by our opponents. Because of that I've changed the line-up for today's game and gone from batting 10 down to 9 players.
  • I haven't seen a real intensity from our team yet. We're playing a little too loose in my opinion.  That's something I want to see change today.
  • Managing 17 players in the PSSBL is harder than managing 5 people at Microsoft. So far we've had nearly full attendance and despite being in a "competitive" division you can't sit people forever. You have to see what new people can offer and give everyone some time, especially early in the season incase you get injuries down the stretch.  But there is a balance where the good performers start to say "hey, why aren't we playing all 9 if we really want to win".  Well, I'll have to do a better job of managing growth. 
  • The lesson's of good management do translate, being transparent with people, letting them know where they stand, making sure everyone feels like they are put in positions where they can succeed, listening to concerns and adjusting to the feedback,  changing styles to suit the player, etc. 
  • I was almost ejected for the first time from a game by an umpire for arguing a BS call.  We were down 7-1 in the last game and a batter on our team was hit by a curve ball.  Because the ball started behind him he moved forward in the box. It looked like he was trying to get hit when he was really trying to avoid the ball that broke into him. The umpire called him back for that reason.  It was a bad call and it was pretty cheap considering we were down 7-1 at the time.  It's the type of rule that's in the books and tends to get called more by bad umpires that are looking to demonstrate their knowledge of the game.  After my 3rd demonstration of why our hitter moved forward he turned his back to me and gave me a glaring look.  I got the point and walked away.

Four Innings in a Scrimage

The Diablo Nation held our annual Rocky V Cascade scrimage yesterday in Seattle.  It's the first time I've felt like I've seen consistent play from both teams on offense and defense.  Still a lot to learn over the course of the season for both teams, but I feel ready for opening weekend next week.

Because of the quick start to the season (four games in the first week) I've been forced to extend pitchers more than I'd like this early in the season. Last year we had the luxory of sending people out for 2-3 innings max with week long breaks between games.  No such luck this year.  So I threw 4 innings yesterday and feel like I could probably throw 5 next weekend. 

I didn't feel like I had much arm strength and didn't have the fastball I'd like but the offspeed stuff was coming around and I had good movement.  It was only my second time against live hitters this year so the control was just a bit off, but I was mostly missing outside of the strike zone rather than over the plate.  I also got out of a self inflicted bases loaded jam with 2 k's right when I needed them. 

This one should have everything

Today's game is iether going to be a classic or a big let down.  Doesn't look to be building up as anything in between. Dice-K versus Ichiro AND Dice-K versus the phenom Felix AND the first home start for Boston's 103 million dollar man.  I'd tape the game and watch it when I get home, but I don't think I'll be able to avoid it at Diablo batting practice tonight that's held in the SODO district with every M's game blaring.