Kevin->Write(thoughts, browser, time)

void Kevin::Write(char *thoughts, char *browser, int time) allows an object of the Kevin class to create printed english text. The function opens a blogger account (automatically associated with the particular Kevin object) using the web browser resouce identified by browser, and while time > 0 and interrupts are disabled, uses blogger to translate thoughts into text.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Advice From TradeTricks

Matt Baldwin, oft discussed internet superhero, runs Tricks of the Trade in addition to Defective Yeti. This is a neat site where experts share small, useful tricks that make their lives/jobs go easier. Here is one listed under Sales:

"Young people often think the secret to making a good first impressions is to talk about themselves. They couldn't be more wrong.

Remember to ask questions of new acquaintances. Ask follow-up questions to indicate you are listening. Avoid chiming in with your own "stories". The person will remember you as someone they know and like, even if you have shared nothing about yourself. Everyone appreciates a good listener."

Basically, the problem with the world is that very few people understand this. Not just young people.

Friday, May 19, 2006


More Sports Guy

"When do you think Dick Stockton will figure out how to announce Anderson Varejao's name correctly in the Cavs-Pistons series? Game 10? Game 11?"

A Prediction

"I think LeBron comes through tonight.

I think he finishes off Detroit. I think the crowd in Cleveland gets behind him and carries him to another place. I think this will be one of those rare games where you know something momentous is happening as you're watching, even though it's not finished happening yet. I think LeBron seizes the moment, embraces it, crushes it, makes it his own.

I think tonight becomes his version of MJ's 63-point game in the Boston Garden, Springsteen's "Born to Run" album, Ali's KO over Liston, Pacino's scene in Louis' Restaurant, Tiger's minus-18 in Augusta. I think the Pistons walk off the court in a fog, wondering what the hell just happened. I think LeBron stands on the scorer's table, pounds his chest a few times, soaks in the cheers of the crowd, nods a few times for good measure. I think the delirious crowd remains for 20-25 minutes after the game, celebrating, hugging, high-fiving, celebrating some more. I think nothing in the NBA will be the same for another 12-15 years.

I think I will be watching. Actually, I know it."

~Bill Simmons

Sunday, May 14, 2006


My Favorite 15 Albums

Back in the early days of this blog, I posted with this title. Here was the list:

A Hard Days Night, Beatles
Help!, Beatles
Purple, Stone Temple Pilots
Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds Five
Whatever and Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five
White Blood Cells, The White Stripes
The Joshua Tree, U2
Lateralus, Tool
Automatic For the People, REM
In Search Of…, N.E.R.D.
IV, Led Zeppelin
Quality Control, Jurassic 5
The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem
Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi
Bridging the Gap, Black Eyed Peas

This was off the cuff, with no analysis behind it. At the time, I was analyzing favorite songs by utilizing iTunes' Five Star rating system and a few simple comparison and randomizing techniques. Over the next few years, I've updated my rankings whenever the new, unranked music reached 10% of the total music. Using the most recent favorite song data, compiled last fall, I was able yesterday to generate a new list of my favorite albums. Eligable albums include any album with at least one top rated song. Here are the top 25 albums on that list, out of about 175 rated, by percentage of top-rated songs:

Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds Five. On Previous list.
Songs For Silverman, Ben Folds. Released Since Previous List.
Whatever and Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five. On Previous List.
Lateralus, Tool. On Previous List.
Greatest Hits, Aerosmith. This is a greatest hits album, which is good reason not to include it on the list.
Speed Graphic, Ben Folds. This is a 5 song EP, which is good reason not to include it on the list.
O, Damien Rice. Released Since Previous List.
Want One, Rufus Wainwright. Released Since Previous List.
Live Rust, Neil Young. This is a live album, which is good reason not to include it on the list.
Source Tags and Codes, ...And You Shall Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. This is the first album that indicates an actual change in musical preference, or an error in one or both lists.
Hard Day's Night, Beatles. On Previous List.
Revolver, Beatles.
Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi. On Previous List.
Harvest, Neil Young.
In Utero, Nirvana.
The Bens, The Bens. This is a 4 song EP, which is good reason not to include it on the list.
The Who's Greatest Hits, The Who. This is a greatest hits album, which is good reason not to include it on the list.
Help!, The Beatles. On Previous List.
10,000 Hz Legend, Air.
The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, Ben Folds Five.
Comfort Eagle, Cake.
Ten, Pearl Jam.
Gimmie Fiction, Spoon. Released Since Last List.
Essence, Lucinda Williams.

That's only six of the previous fifteen albums. Where are the rest? Two are at about 40:
...In Search Of, Nerd.
Purple, Stone Temple Pilots.

And a cluster at about 60:
Bridging the Gap, Black Eyed Peas.
The Joshua Tree, U2.
Quality Control, Jurassic 5
White Blood Cells, The White Stripes.

And three that I've completely changed my mind about:
The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem. I like about 100 albums better than this.
Automatic For The People, REM. I like about 150 albums better than this.
IV, Led Zeppelin. There is not one song off of this record which is among my current six hundred or so favorite songs.

So, here is a revised list of my fifteen most favorite albums, performed analytically, as of 5/06:

Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds Five.
Songs For Silverman, Ben Folds.
Whatever and Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five.
Lateralus, Tool.
O, Damien Rice.
Want One, Rufus Wainwright.
Source Tags and Codes, ...And You Shall Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.
Hard Day's Night, Beatles.
Revolver, Beatles.
Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi.
Harvest, Neil Young.
In Utero, Nirvana.
Help!, The Beatles.
10,000 Hz Legend, Air.

Notes: This is a reasonable list. One limitation of the study is that it uses favorite song data, where songs are considered seperately by the following criterion: Suppose this song came onto random play. How excited would I be to hear it? This hurts bands like Pink Floyd, who put out whole albums that I really enjoy considered as a whole but include songs that don't work by themselves. Hip Hop records tend to contain lots of filler songs; this explains why all the Hip Hop went away. This is a problem; I'm pretty sure that I still like Quality Control more than 10,000 Hz Legend, but no one wants to listen to the intros and the DJ mixes, so the album's score suffers. I'll have to think about ways to mitigate this problem for the next study, in about two years or so.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Eastern Conference Semifinals Preview(!)

Yes! Damon Freaking Jones! Balls of Steel! Jones' massive shot, in with seconds to go in overtime, on his first touch of the game (!), gave the LeBrons their first playoff series victory in six games over the Wizards, setting up the Cavaliers for a second round matchup with the best team in basketball, the Detroit Pistons. Let's Match-Em-Up!

Point Guard: Eric Snow vs. Chauncey Billups. Snow raised his game in the first round, making more jump shots, playing solid defense on Butler and Arenas, and even getting into the lane on occaison. Chauncey Billups was one of the top fifteen players in the League this year. He is an excellent defender and a sophisticated floor leader with an excellent jump shot and a solid first step. He is much quicker and stronger than Snow, and will take and make the big shots that Arenas missed consistently in the first round. Huge Edge: Pistons.

Shooting Guard: Larry Hughes vs. Rip Hamilton. Hughes was completely, unambiguously awful during the first round, to the point where we were screaming at LeBron not to pass him the ball, and then at Hughes not to shoot down the stretch of Game Six. He did not defend well, he did not shoot well, and was basically a complete nonfactor in any facet of the game. On the bright side, at least the Cavs only owe him $53 million over the next four years. Rip Hamilton is one of the top five shooting guards in basketball. He runs tirelessly off screens, possesses a deadly midrange game, defends very well, and will, like Billups, absolutely drop bombs on the Cavs at crunch time. Sad to say, but this is a Huge Edge: Pistons. Michael Redd, where are you?

Small Forward: LeBron James vs. Tayshaun Prince. LeBron carried the Cavs on his back in the first round. He is leading all players in playoff scoring, and tossed in a triple double and two game winning shots for good measure. He is unguardable, at age 21. My uncle Steve, an extremely knowledgable basketball fan who attended Game Six, told me this morning that he believes that barring injury, LeBron will become the greatest basketball player who ever lived. The Sports Guy said in his Friday column, "Just like Bo Jackson in the late '80s, he officially has no ceiling. If you stepped out of a time machine and told me that LeBron averages a 45-15-15 during the 2011 NBA Finals, I would absolutely believe you." Of course, we all remember what happened to Bo: a horrific knee injury left him out of sports by the time he turned thirty. Unfortunately for LeBron, Tayshaun Prince is a solid offensive player who will make LeBron guard his reliable jumper and sly first step going left, and is quick enough and long enough on defense to make LeBron work for his baskets. LeBron has about sixty pounds on him; he must take him into the post at every opportunity to force double teams and foul trouble, and the Cavs shooters must knock down the resulting open jump shots for the Cavs to have a chance in this series. Edge: Cavs.

Power Forward: Drew Gooden vs. Rasheed Wallace. Doc had an up and down first round, at times disappearing but carrying the team during game 3 when nothing else was working. Rasheed is taller, stronger, and a much better shooter and defender than Gooden, with a nasty, slit-your-throat-to-win streak to boot. Edge: Pistons.

Center: Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Ben Wallace. Big Z was a nonfactor during the first round. He never got going on offense, left his normally reliable fifteen foot jump shot back in Lithuania, and was constantly in foul trouble. Big Ben is a multiple NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner. He is huge, athletic, and an outstanding rebounder. Expect him to make LeBron's life very difficult and painful when he goes to the rim. He is completely awful on the offensive end, but that doesn't matter on this team. There is very little chance that Z will be able to get his offense going against him consistently during this series. Edge: Pistons.

Bench: Flip Murray, Donyell Marshall, Anderson Varejao vs. Antonio McDyess, Lindsey Hunter, Maurice Evans, Tony Delk. The bench came up big for the Cavs in Round 1. Flip was excellent, carrying the team offensively in particular during Game 5 when LeBron picked up foul trouble in the third quarter. Donyell played well during Games 1 and 6 and was a nonfactor between. That cannot happen against the Pistons. Varejao did what he does; he'll do it again, but it would be nice if he shot better than 50% at the line. McDyess is a solid power forward who could start for many teams, including the Cavs. Lindsey Hunter is a veteran who is a solid shooter and floor general. Evans and Delk are bodies. Edge: Even.

Coach: Mike Brown vs. Flip Saunders. Flip is an offensive mastermind who has this year taken an outstanding defensive team and taught them how to score points efficiently. Brown was again adequate in round 1. Edge: Pistons

Prognosis: The Cavs are completely outclassed. It's hard to even imagine a game plan that will have some success. As good as LeBron has been, he must be even better: he must cut down on turnovers, play consistent defense, and stay out of foul trouble. Hughes must get it all back, and play at his pre-hand injury level. Consistent offensive will be required from Marshall, Gooden, and Z. Even if all of these things happen, the Cavs just do not defend well enough to win this series: Billups and Hamilton will absolutely carve them up; if they are doubled, Wallace and Prince will be thrilled to cash out open threes all game long. At the other end, the Pistons play outstanding individual defense at every position, and defend very very well as a team. I imagine that they will run two or three massive, athletic players at LeBron during every possession, and dare the Cavs' inconsistent second, third, and fourth options to beat them. Hopefully, there will be some close games. Pick: Pistons in Five.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Why analytic philosophy is better than continental, in one sentence culled from a Metafilter thread on Paglia and the death of postmodernism

I read this entire thread thoroughly, and you all argued passionately and articulately. I also have absolutely no idea what the hell any of you are talking about.
posted by jonmc at 12:13 AM PST on April 30


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