ESPN Passport: The Games I Have Attended

Anyone who knows me knows that I love stats. One of the more underrated sports related stats website has to be ESPN Passport. It is an awesome service provided by ESPN that allows you to archive all the sports events you have been to (and even watched from home) and spews out stats about how the teams have done in those games. They show a win-loss record, active winning or losing streak and how the teams have done at home and on the road in the games you saw them play. Over time, they have added medals which you can earn if you attend events and the team goes on a winning or even a losing streak.

Full link to all the stats available here on Google Drive.

Here’s a look at some of the stats for my events: (Note: I only log the games that I have attended in person)

I am certain that I missed a couple of games that I attended in person but of the 38 games I have logged in so far, there are 10 teams that I have never seen lose (3 of them I have seen on more than one occasion):

New York Mets: 3-0, 2 games at Citi Field (vs. Yankees and Chicago White Sox) and one at Rogers Center
Seattle Mariners: 2-0 (both in the same stadium but once when it was SkyDome and one as Rogers Center)
West Virginia Mountaineers (CFB): 2-0 (both at High Point Solutions Stadium)

The following teams are 1-0: Houston Astros, Cincinnati Bearcats (CFB), Fresno State Bulldogs (CFB), Buffalo Sabers, San José Sharks, Miami Heat and Syracuse Orangeman (CBB).

The most frequent teams that I have seen are by far the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees:

Toronto Blue Jays: 6-9 record, 5-7 at home and 1-2 on the road (all road games at Yankee Stadium)
New York Yankees: 8-5 record, 5-3 at home and 3-2 on the road (all road games at Rogers Center)

List of Arenas with record of home team in brackets:
SkyDome/Rogers Center (5-7)
Old/New Yankee Stadium (5-3)
High Point Solutions Stadium (3-4)
Citi Field (2-0)
Izod Center (2-1)
Madison Square Garden (1-1)
Air Canada Center (0-1)
Rutgers Athletic Center (0-1)
TD Garden (0-1)
Citizens Bank Ballpark (0-1)

Stats by Sport:
Major League Baseball: 23 games
NCAA DI Football: 7 games
National Hockey League: 4 games
National Basketball Association: 3 games
NCAA DI Basketball: 1 game

Finishing off with the medals page, I have six in total which include easy ones like checking into your first event, posting comments and attending a game on a holiday. However two cool ones that I have is “Zero Hero” which is attending a game with a shutout (I just got at the Mets/White Sox game) and “Doubleheader” which is attending two games in one day. I got that one on October 27, 2007 by watching a college football game between Rutgers Scarlet Knights and West Virginia playing a game at noon and then heading over to Madison Square Garden to see the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers play at 7pm.


Which Companies Protect Your Data?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation took a look at several companies and rated them based on how they fared regarding user privacy against unreasonable requests from the government. I included their criteria and results below but on a quick summary, the one company that surprised me in doing really well? Dropbox. One that I was really disappointed in? Foursquare.

The companies were evaluated based on the following criteria:

1. A public commitment to inform users when their data is sought by the government. To earn a star in this category, Internet companies must promise to tell users when their data is being sought by the government unless prohibited by law. This gives users a chance to defend themselves against overreaching government demands for their data.

2. Transparency about when and how often companies hand data to the government. This category has two parts. Companies earn a half-star in this category if they publish statistics on how often they provide user data to governments worldwide. Companies also earn a half-star if they make public any policies they have about sharing data with the government, such as guides for law enforcement. (If a company doesn’t have law enforcement guidelines at all, though, we don’t hold that against them). Companies that publish both statistics and law enforcement guidelines receive a full star.

3. Fight for users’ privacy rights in the courts. To earn recognition in this category, companies must have a public record of resisting overbroad government demands for access to user content in court. Not all companies will be put in the position of having to defend their users before a judge, but those who do deserve special recognition.

4. Fight for users’ privacy in Congress. Internet companies earn a star in this category if they support efforts to modernize electronic privacy laws to defend users in the digital age by joining the Digital Due Process coalition.


Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

New iPhone Feature — Humans Are Doomed

For an Apple event, it was pretty dull. Nothing terribly new and I wasn’t impressed with the new iPhone but the following just blew my mind but technology has certainly come a long way and it is certainly a bit freaky.

The following is from New York Times’ live blog of the Apple event earlier today discussing the new feature on the iPhone called Siri — a personal voice-control assistant that Apple purchased last year. I will try to find a video of it if I can, otherwise the text is plenty enough.

“We left one thing out,” says Mr. Schiller. “It’s about our voice.” This is the fruit of Apple’s acquisition of Siri, a startup that has been working on voice-control features. Siri is now a feature on the iPhone. “It’s an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done, just by asking.”

“Probably the craziest thing you can do is do a voice-recognition demo on stage, live,” says Mr. Schiller. “But we’re going to do it anyway.”

Scott Forstall, Apple’s iOS chief, is back on stage. He asks the phone, “What is the weather today?” The phone replies, “Here is the weather for today,” and displays the weather screen.

Mr. Forstall asks, “Do I need a raincoat today?” The phone replies, “It sure looks like rain today,” and shows the weather screen again.

“What time is it in Paris?” he asks. The phone replies with the time in Paris and shows a clock. “Wake me up at 6 a.m.,” says Mr. Forstall. “O.K., I’ve set an alarm for 6 a.m. tomorrow,” the phone replies. This is amazing. And freaky.

Apple’s set up a partnership with Yelp as well. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto.” The phone says: “I’ve located 14 Greek restaurants. Five are in Palo Alto. I’ve sorted them by rating.”

You can ask Siri for directions. It can read text messages to you. You can reply or ask it to read them again.

Mr. Forstall: “Do I have any meetings this Friday at noon?” Phone: “You don’t have any meetings on Friday at noon.”

Siri can schedule events in your calendar, read messages, take dictation, all by voice. You can create a reminder by voice. “Remind me to call my wife when I leave work,” says Mr. Forstall. Siri, based on previous conversations, knows who your wife is and uses geolocation to remind you when you leave a location. You can search Wikipedia by voice.

Apple has also linked up with Wolfram Alpha to provide data and definitions for Siri to access. “Define mitosis,” says Mr. Forstall. Siri generates and reads back a definition.

We are clearly headed to Terminator/HAL territory here. Humans are doomed. Deal with it.

Mr Forstall asks Siri, “Who are you?” Siri replies, “I am a humble personal assistant.”

That’s just chilling.

Jenna Wortham adds: Will this kind of personal assistant technology turn into the latest battleground between Apple and Google? Android has already baked several voice-recognition features into its software, including transcribing voice messages to text and letting users browse the Web using verbal commands. But Siri could help nudge the technology into the mainstream.

More voice recognition: Anywhere a keyboard appears on the phone’s screen, there will be a microphone button, so you can dictate anything. Siri will initially support English, French and German. It will be released in a beta version, with more languages and features added in time.



Technology 1, Me 0.

Every now and again, there is a strong lesson taught my man-made technologies that we still don’t completely understand their potential or destructive nature and that our severe reliance of them, for all its benefits, does come at a cost. Regarding these technologies, there are times when no matter what you try to fix a problem (technical or not), it will not resolve itself in any understandable manner. You can spend as much time on it as you wish and then when all hope seems lost, a solution appears out of something where you did not think possible.

That was my situation for an excruciating 90 minutes yesterday afternoon. I had gone to my khala’s house for a good part of the day since my family has been over visiting and it was a long weekend here in Ontario for Civic Holiday. It’s really a holiday that is as made up as it comes simply because there aren’t any statutory holidays between Independence Day (July 1st) and Labour Day in the first week of September.

Even before arriving, I had heard from an uncle that she required some ‘simple’ computer assistance and that’s always okay with me as long as it doesn’t become a weekly or monthly chore. All I had to do was change the default browser from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox and check the computer for a few minor setting changes. It seemed simple enough. What took place next was one of the most stressful 90 minutes of my life. First I ran a quick scan just to see if there were any bugs or ‘virus’ existent on the computer as they had claimed. Everything seemed okay, so I proceeded with the business of downloading Firefox, installing it and imported the favorites through the regular option. That’s it, I was done.

Now my uncle said, that there was some error that comes up every time he reboots so I restarted. Now a little background on this PC, it is a little bit on the older side with RAM well under 1GB and the processor a notch under 2 GHz. It was understandable that the computer was taking its sweet time rebooting.

First thing that went wrong was an error in DOS saying “Hard Disk Error”. I have no idea where that even came from and there was no where to proceed with my dad and uncle watching me perform a ‘simple’ fix on the computer. Quickly, I did a Ctrl+Alt+Delete hoping that it was some random glitch that would be fixed on a restart but that failed me yesterday. I went into BIOS to review the settings and in the CMOS settings, the SATA Hard Drive would be present but in the Boot Devices, it was no where to be found – I could either boot to a CD/DVD drive or a Floppy Disk. I played around with a couple of settings, even loading the ‘optimal’ default settings in hope that the hard drive would show up in the boot devices but nothing worked.

Next, I went in search for a Windows XP CD that I could just pop in, run a Repair on the OS and it should be back but even that was full of trouble. The complete installation would not load stating that some file was corrupted and that the “Error Code is 7”. A quick Google search on that will tell you a whole range of solutions from either reseating your RAM to your Hard Drive being set a Slave instead of a Master. I had no idea how to proceed now and I think my dad picked up on that, getting my uncle to go downstairs with him to watch the “news” and buy me some extra time – mucho kudos for that move in the clutch.

I decided to give a cousin of mine in New York a call but he’s at work and didn’t pick up. Next on speed dial was my old suitemate Mr. Feraudo who I discussed several options with without arriving to any solutions. Now usually if Brian can’t solve a computer-related problem, it is either ridiculously rare or it can’t be resolved. A couple of the options were to reseat the RAM and check the cables/jumper settings inside the computer but that was so unlikely as everything was working fine just an hour ago.

This is when a little panic mode sets in because a simple Firefox fix has led to a Hard Drive error and nothing loading and I even began preparing on what to say when I went downstairs to explain that their computer was no longer functional. As I turned the computer completely off for the first time since the ordeal began and sat there, I thought about turning it back on again to give one change of some miracle by the grace of God working. It turns out, that was the solution – Windows loaded up normally without any errors, everything on the desktop was as we last left it meaning no hard disk error. I did recommend to them that maybe the Hard Drive is starting to fail and backing up important documents and files is highly recommended as well as upgrading their computer relatively soon.

The entire time (or so it seems), all I had to do was a hard reset. I continuously did a soft reset and never actually turned the system off. Maybe those of you out there who are more technologically-able than me can explain the reasoning for that solution on why forcing it to shutdown and then starting it up again would work instead of what I was doing. Either way, I felt like an idiot for well over an hour and a half and when I was completely put to shame, a solution appears out of nowhere and all is well again – for now.