January 11, 2012

Today's thoughts

OWNit365 NT+
My wife and I started this bible reading program last night, which we'll attempt to follow so as to bring some regularity to our bible reading.  It's got a neat app for both iPhone and Android.

NFL Playoff weekend
Let's take a look at the matchups coming up this weekend.

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers.  What impressed me a lot with the Saints last week was their ability to run the ball.  Pierre Thomas ran through tackles and Darren Sproles ran like he was 24.  It was impressive, but I've been to a Lions game before where I saw Michael Turner earn his nickname as the Burner.  They just aren't very good at stopping the run.  And the 49ers are, so that will change things for the Saints.  I don't know a lot about the 49ers passing defense but I know for a fact that they have stopped the run for the most part all season long; which is why I've always felt like their defense would have been better suited in the AFC.  All the powerhouse offenses in the NFC are aerial attacks: Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans.  While New England is the exception, Pittsburgh, Denver, Houston and Baltimore are all grind-it-out offenses that rely on the run.  So anyway, what I am saying?  I think the Saints take this one.

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots.  The Broncos surprised everyone, including me last week.  While I thought there was a potential for an upset, and though I actually predicted it, deep down I didn't really think it could happen.  John Fox outcoached Mike Tomlin, but I think it seemed more like an underestimation on his part.. like Tomlin was looking ahead, to the Patriots instead of looking at the hear and now.  Bill Belicheat won't do that.  He won't underestimate Tim Tebow, and he'll study hard and he won't get outsmarted by John Fox.  Plus he just hired the guy who drafted Tim Tebow.  I'm not going to say much about that the hiring of Josh McDaniels, except that it feels like something Phil Jackson would do.  Even if McDaniels provides no additional information they already have, already he's getting into the mind of John Fox.  And that's all he really needs.  My pick is the Patriots, in a blowout.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens.  Throughout his career, I've always felt like Joe Flacco has gotten by behind his superstar running back Ray Rice, and Baltimore's traditionally staunch defense.  I think in this matchup, for the first time in many years, Joe Flacco will be called upon to win this game.  If he performs, Baltimore moves on.  If not, Houston moves on.  Defensively both teams are strong in the same areas; stopping the run, getting to opposing QBs, capitalizing on turnovers, etc.  Offensively, they're both great at protecting their QB, and running the ball.  I think for the Texans to win, they need Arian Foster to hang onto the ball, and they need TJ Yates to outplay Joe Flacco.  I think it'll be close but the Texans have a pretty good chance so I'm picking them to take this one.

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers.  To me this is the marquee matchup of the weekend.  We all know about the Packers.  Their offense is nothing short of spectacular.  Aaron Rodgers is fearless.  They have almost no running game but they do have talented runners in Starks and Grant.  Their pass rush is passable but has not played to the same standards as last year.  The Giants have a good pass rush, good pass protection, their offense is hitting their stride and peaking at the right moment.  The talent has always been there, but their runningbacks are both healthy.  Defensively they are okay, not great.

This should be a great matchup.  The Packers barely beat the Giants over a month ago, but it was a very close game and this is a very different Giants team who had lost 3 straight going into that game.  Since then they've won 4 of 5.  The Giants will be able to keep Rodgers off the field.. in that last matchup the Packers had the ball for 8 minutes more than the Giants, so it's going to be a lot closer this time around.  I think the Packers take this one, but it'll be close and I would not be surprised to see the Giants keeping this one very close. 

Cool Firefox trick for images
I discovered this by accident today.  If you right-click and hold on an image in firefoxt, and then move the mouse wheel, you can resize any image.  Pretty useful.

January 09, 2012

Today's thoughts

Wildcard weekend
I got 3 out of 4 in my predictions and strangely enough it had nothing to do with Tebow.  I picked the Broncos to win and win they did.  What a finish!  Congratulations to the the Bronco's for the playoffs first upset win. 

The impression I had in the Broncos-Steelers game was that the Steelers' defense didn't prepare for any kind of passing offense for the Broncos.  They pretty much went with the "I dare you to throw" defense and they got burned for it time and time again.  As a co-worker pointed out, the safeties cheated throughout the game trying to cover the run so the Broncos dealt with one-on-one matchups, which were easily picked apart. 

A lot of focus will go on Tebow's performance but the reality is this game was won by great coaching.  Dare I say it -- Mike Tomlin was flat out out-coached by John Fox.. which is actually kind of sad.

The Saints are playing better than I could have imagined.  They went for it on 4th down over and over and converted them.  Their running game was dominant -- Detroit could not tackle their runners, I was particularly impressed with Pierre Thomas.  Their matchup with the Lions ended up being more of a blowout than a shootout.  The Lions played great in the beginning but the mistakes started to pile up and the Saints played perfect.  I suspect the Lions would be entirely different if they had a decent running game -- i.e: a healthy Jahvid Best.  It's remarkable that Matthew Stafford is only 23 -- Detroit has a bright future ahead of them.

The Falcons' coach Mike Smith watched the Saints game and mistakenly thought his team was just as good.  Twice they tried to convert 4th downs and were stopped cold.  There wasn't even any creativity in their 4th down tries.. one of them had Matt Ryan trying to back his way through the pile.  That's not going to work!  Look at the way Brees jumped the pile with his arms stretched forward -- that's how you do it!  Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my previous post, the Giants' rushing offense is far better than what everyone thought.  Bradshaw and Jacobs carved up the Falcons D and led the way, and Eli played solid mistake-less football.

The Bungles were the only team to disappoint me.  I really thought they could take down the injured Texans, but they didn't.  It was pretty boring game, I didn't really pay much attention to it.

January 06, 2012

My Review of Freestyle Netbook Messenger

Originally submitted at Timbuk2

Classic Messenger Bag with netbook, Kindle and iPad with Smart Cover protection.

Useful and practical bag

By ebrian from Toronto, ON on 1/6/2012


4out of 5

Pros: Comfortable Strap, Stylish, Rugged, Good Protection, Lots Of Pockets And Features

Cons: Not Weatherproof, Uncomfortable Strap, Velcro is noisy, No Handle

Best Uses: Commuting, Light Protection, Heavy Duty Protection

Describe Yourself: Stylish, Bargain Hunter, High-End Shopper, Practical

Primary use: Personal

I'm big on slingpack types of bags, but when you walk into a board room you look like a kid. So this bag suits me well for work purposes. It'd be good to have a handle at the top so I can carry it like a mini-briefcase.

In terms of size, it was smaller than I thought it would be, but there's enough volume to fit my lunch, a small drink box, and some fruit, as well as my Kindle and a notebook. There's a ton of pockets as well for your various knick knacks, although I'm sad there's no narrow pocket for a pen.

I wish the connector for the strap-to-bag wasn't so bulky. There's this tightening mechanism and a click connector which seems kind of redundant and take a fair bit of space. The main bag flap is a bit narrow compared to the width of the actual bag (there's maybe 1/2 inch open on each side, which means if it's pouring rain your stuff is going to get wet). But I'm just getting nitpicky at this point.. it's a good bag.


January 04, 2012

Today's thoughts

Revisiting my NFL Predictions
Pretty much the only scenario that can still happen is an NFC championship game between the Saints and Packers, as well as the AFC championship between the Patriots and Steelers.  Several months ago I thought the Saints could win it all, and I still think this is quite possible.

Predictions to actual matchups
Steelers at Broncos.  I'm going with the underdogs here, despite my early season projections.  I've underestimated Ben Roethlisberger in my fantasy leagues on several occasions this season, but considering that he is actually limping, and the fact that Rashard Mendenhall is out, leads me to believe there is a small chance here for an upset.  How great would it be if Tim Tebow can gut this one out in his first playoff game?

Bungles at Texans.  I can't think of any reason why the Bengals don't win this one.  They have a solid defense, and their offense is all healthy.  Houston is just getting Andre Johnson back but they've got TJ Yates as their QB and (I think) Arian Foster is hobbled, even if he does still play.  This one will come down to Houston's pass rush and pass protection.  I think the Bungles win.

Falcons at Giants.  I like the Giants in this matchup.  I think all the talk about the Giants being unable to run this year will be erased by the end of this game.  They still have healthy guys and a decent line to break holes, and Eli Manning has been playing well.  I think the Falcons are fully capable of the upset though, it'll be a close game.

Lions at Saints.  Since I have the Saints going to the Superbowl, they're obviously going to have to win this one.  I think they're just too good, and the fact that the Lions couldn't stop Matt Flynn last week says to me that despite the crazy amount of adjustments they'll make to react from last week's blowout, they won't be able to stop Brees, at all.  Although he's not as elusive as Rodgers, he's equally fearless and will get the job done.  Btw, I'm happy for the Lions finally making the playoffs.