Thursday, December 02, 2010

Picked the wrong sport again... Cycleball

Wired strikes again showing the alternative sports I should have picked (after missing out on Quidditch). This time it's cycleball...and it looks cool, yet crazy.

Hockey combined with bikes and soccer makes for some strange play. I've seen links to bicycle polo before and other bike like sports, but I'm all for cycleball. It's got a catchy name and makes me think of Tron like events. They just need some black lights and LEDs to get this game to take off.

Honestly though, I would have never played this sport. Ultimate still reigns supreme in my books. I'll watch cycleball over Ultimate...

Note, if any of you are in the Toronto area during holidays, you're a student, and you want to play ultimate, take a look at the Torontula invitational.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pomodoro Timer - Time Management Technique with Timer included

I saw an interesting time management technique - pomodoro technique, and I wanted to try it out, but didn't have a cute little pomodoro timer like this one:
Well, with my recent endeavors into crayons and the processing language, I had a plan. Why couldn't I build a web based pomodoro timer? No reason. So I built one that you are free to use and manipulate:


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Was Ultimate the Wrong Sport to Pick - Quidditch?

Harry Potter fever seems to be peeking again as we come closer to Christmas and the latest movie release. NPR this morning was talking about how people are using the pop-culture sensation to help convince people into community activism.

Well, that's not what I want to discuss. The real story is about the "Quidditch World Cup".

Many of you who might be familiar with my many years spent in the ranks of playing Ultimate. What shocks me (not really) is how fast Quidditch has climbed the casual sport ladder. Their link of sport with pop-culture means I won't be shocked when Quidditch surpasses Ultimate in terms of numbers, media coverage, and public acceptance. Take a look at how many teams are around and forming.

This all was capped by an article in Wired that appeared in in my media reads, and the sport is only in its 4th World Cup. Ultimate has never hit my casual reading radar unless I sought it out. Sure Ultimate can claim 2 or 3 appearances on ESPN for a total of 3 minutes. but it seems there's just no public appeal for the sport.

Just so you know, I didn't pick the wrong sport. Ultimate was and is awesome. It's just one of those things you have to be happy with living in anonymity. Keeps the participants cooler anyway.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quantitative Easing - What is it?

Man this is funny. I showed it in digital design class before the exam and we all laughed.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The fish look better

As an update on the fish populations. Based on various recommendations from some friends, I've updated the fish populations.

In particular, I've added:
  • More aesthetic micro display of the fish (using blur filters)
  • Sound in later versions when the microscope is turned on
  • The ability to click on a grown fish and make it into a super fish that just eats
More suggestions welcome...but time dependent


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fish Fun - Population Simulation for Fun and Profit

Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to the Processing language, and being a computer engineer I felt I had to explore more (or at least do something I was interested in as opposed to what I probably should be doing). Processing is a language built for artists so that they can learn programming without all the heavy details a language might force you to learn.

Pictured Above: A screen shot of one of the simulations.

The project, so far, is a success. I built a bunch of fish (virtual) and let them breed, die, and eat each other. This was inspired by a screensaver I saw when I was contracted out to Nortel in 1997. I watched this screensaver for well over 8 hours, and during this time I was hoping, predicting, and rooting for fish colors to destroy or be consumed by other populations.

I present the same joy to you. Suggestions welcome...

Warning, this simulation can take over your processor. Also, I've only tested it in Chrome and Firefox on PCs.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More sticks, less carrots or is it the other way

I had the chance to read Daniel Pink's "Drive" over the summer, and I thought the ideas were great. I've applied them as much as I can in my classes, and if I were coaching I would be analyzing the concepts in the same way. It's just difficult to imagine how to create intrinsic motivation for others even with the quality of the book.

Now, "Carrots and Sticks - Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done" by Ian Ayres has just been released, and my interest is peeked again. The reviews suggest that this is book two of the sequence in that it explains how to setup incentives. Maybe it will help further my skills in creating intrinsic motivation.

Nicely, this fits with my pushup routine. As I'm working to a lighter weight class (back to middleweight instead of light heavyweight), I've thought about using sticks/carrots along the lines of: In the end, I'll probably make a deal with Lexi.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

100 pushups, Canada Fitness, and my 1998 fifty pushup adventure

I remember back in 1997 or 1998 when I decided that I would get in shape. I had stopped playing basketball for about 3 years and hadn't found my next sport (Ultimate) yet. The undergrad days were impacting my health, so I came up with a few simple strategies.

The above picture was taken and the badges were designed by The Canadian Design Resource.

Ever since the days of Canada fitness (see picture above for the excellence badges), I've been challenged by push ups. I, probably, cheated back in the day of Canada fitness to get up to the excellence range. Regardless, I made the goal of being able to do 50 consecutive pushups.

The plan was relatively simple. Before I showered each morning, I would do as many pushups as I could. There's nothing like doing pushups in a basement, in the middle of January, in "cold" Ottawa, but after about 5 months, I got into the 50 push up range. This helped me in the following summer as I worked landscaping between my Bachelors and Masters degrees.

Once again I've decided to hit a push up goal. This time it's 100 consecutive push ups, but I won't be using my own strategy. Instead, I'm using some other bloggers plan: Onehundredpushups. In this program, I'm up to week 3 and I finished the 1st workout of the third week. I still remember how long it took to get to 50 pushups was, so I'm surprised that this plan intends to get you there in roughly 6 weeks. The sets definitely make more sense than just max out exercise. I'll keep you posted.


Friday, September 03, 2010

Tae Kwon Do - Yellow Belt

It, finally, happened this week. I received my yellow belt in TKD.

The best joke with such a belt (based on Important Things with Demetri Martin's sketches) is along the lines of...

[Situation lends itself to convincing another group]
"Don't worry guys, we'll get we want. I have a yellow belt."

- OR -

[In front of students in class, joke threaten that you'll kick out unruly behaviour]
"Seriously folks, I'll kick you out of class if I have to. I have a yellow belt."

In both situations and similar opportunities, you need to say this seriously to pull off the joke. Unfortunately, my graduation to yellow belt has diminished the joke since it was much funnier when using "white belt".


Friday, August 27, 2010

10,000 hours and small town life for Superstars

I grew up in a small town, and I always felt it was a disadvantage in sports compared to the competition one can find in big cities. Well, it turns out that I was partially wrong. This article in Wired discusses how the superstars in North American sports come from smaller urban centers.

Of course, they probably classify a town of 4000 as small and probably too small. Second, my choice of sport, basketball, is a horrible choice for small town Canada.

For those of you hoping your little ones will be superstars, I think the key message is let them explore a range of activities. Even better, let them find their own way and encourage them all along.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Prediction of 2010 College Football using Academic Rankings - No Bets Here

If you take the US news College Rankings and apply it to College football, how would your school finish?

ACC Standings

ATLANTIC Academic Rating
1 Wake Forest 25
2 Boston College 31
3 Maryland 56
4 Clemson 64
5 Florida State 104
6 North Carolina State 111

COASTAL Academic Rating
1 Duke 9
2 Virginia 25
3 North Carolina 30
4 Georgia Tech 35
5 Miami (FL) 47
6 Virginia Tech 69

Big 12 Standings

NORTH Academic Rating
1 Colorado 86
2 Iowa State 94
3 Missouri 94
4 Kansas 104
5 Nebraska 104
6 Kansas State 132

SOUTH Academic Rating
1 Texas 45
2 Texas A&M 63
3 Baylor 79
4 Oklahoma 111
5 Oklahoma State 132
6 Texas Tech 159

Big East Standings

TEAM Academic Rating
1 Syracuse 55
2 Pittsburgh 64
3 Rutgers 64
4 Connecticut 69
5 Cincinnati 156
6 Louisville 176
7 West Virginia 176
8 South Florida 183

Big Ten Standings

TEAM Academic Rating
1 Northwestern 12
2 Michigan 29
3 Wisconsin 45
4 Penn State 47
5 Illinois 47
6 Ohio State 56
7 Purdue 56
8 Minnesota 64
9 Iowa 72
10 Indiana 75
11 Michigan State 79

Mid-American Standings

EAST Academic Rating
1 Miami (OH) 79
2 Buffalo 120
3 Ohio 124
4 Temple 132
5 Bowling Green 170
6 Kent State 183
7 Akron Tier 2

WEST Academic Rating
1 Ball State 179
2 Western Michigan 179
3 Central Michigan Tier 2
4 Eastern Michigan Tier 2
5 Northern Illinois Tier 2
6 Toledo Tier 2

Mountain West Standings

TEAM Academic Rating
1 Brigham Young 75
2 TCU 99
3 Colorado State 124
4 Utah 129
5 Wyoming 153
6 San Diego State 183
7 New Mexico Tier 2
8 UNLV Tier 2
9 Air Force

Pacific-10 Standings

TEAM Academic Rating
1 Stanford 5
2 California 22
3 USC 23
4 UCLA 25
5 Washington 41
6 Oregon 111
7 Washington State 111
8 Arizona 120
9 Oregon State 139
10 Arizona State 143

SEC Standings

EAST Academic Rating
1 Vanderbilt 17
2 Florida 53
3 Georgia 56
4 Tennessee 104
5 South Carolina 111
6 Kentucky 129

WEST Academic Rating
1 Alabama 79
2 Auburn 85
3 LSU 124
4 Arkansas 132
5 Mississippi 143
6 Mississippi State 151

Miami University wins the MAC.

No more ultimate...just Cultimate

Well, I'm branching out, and that means not much Ultimate discussion. The Cultimate Opinion is going to include writing (if at all) about other things...