Sunday, December 18, 2005

More Planarity

Semi-mindless fun with Planarity this evening. Made it through Level 15 without skipping any levels and piled up 5,641 points.

The last couple levels have taken about 15 minutes each. I think I better stop before my addiction goes to far...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Milton Bradley an Athletic - MLB- Dodgers trade Bradley to A's

"The Dodgers have traded outfielder Milton Bradley to the A's for one of Oakland's top minor-league prospects..."

My questions about the deal: (1) How much will the A's pay Bradley? (2) Is there any cash in the deal? (3) Who did the A's give up? (4) Does Milton have his head screwed on straigh?

Sounds like Kotsay in CF, Bradley in RF, Payton in LF, Johnson/Swisher at first and Kielty/Swisher/Johnson at DH... Or some such combination. Looking at that mix, I'm not sure how Frank Thomas fits in to the mix. It would definitely be nice to have a right-handed slugger (can we even call Frank a slugger anymore?), but we've already got so many OF/1B/DH types that are somewhat versatile. We'd have a hard time finding playing time for everyone with the Big Hurt stuck at DH. That depth is nice, but I suppose I'd like to see someone spun off for more pitching depth -- assuming Thomas is still in play.

(And yes, I realize you need a lot of positional depth if you're planning on Frank Thomas being a part of your team.)

UPDATE: A's give up Andre Ethier. I'm starting to feel optimistic about the deal. So is Blez: "I like getting Bradley. But I still think The Big Hurt's power would also be a welcome addition. And then with the rotation and Bradley and Thomas in the mix, look out American League."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Retrosheet for Football? is a great resource for historical baseball knowledge. Why isn't there something like that for the NFL?

Our VP of Technology here at (my favorite employment resource for executive jobs) and I are trying to figure out the record for the most field goals in a game (by both teams) without a touchdown. And there just isn't a resource out there that can help us. If you know the answer to the question *or* you're working on retrosheet for the NFL, email me: andrew at theladders

There's gotta be someone at Elias that can answer this question - throw us a bone here.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Too Much Hype About The Bears?

I listen to sports radio (Mike & Mike) as I get ready for work in the morning. I read the Sports Guy whenever he writes something. And I feel like there's a lot of talk about the Bears defense - how this year’s Bears are the new "Monsters of the Midway" and how the team is just like the 1985 team. I don't get it. Didn't everyone say that about the 2001 Bears? Check out the history of the Chicago Bears. And take a look at these defensive numbers:

1985 Bears
198 Points allowed
43% fewer than average
25% fewer than next-best

1986 Bears
187 Points allowed
43% fewer than average
21% fewer than next-best

1988 Bears
215 Points allowed
34% fewer than average
8% fewer than next-best

2001 Bears
203 Points allowed
37% fewer than average
2% fewer than next-best

2005 Bears (pace through 12 games)
170 Points allowed
49% fewer than average
22% fewer than next-best

So, I guess some of these defensive comparisons are justified. This defense has a chance to be something special - allowing only 170 points would be spectacular. But the Bears have had good defense a couple times since 1985 - let’s stop saying that this is the best Bear’s defense since 1985 until they finish the year.

And don’t forget – those ’85 Bears were also 2nd in the league in scoring offense.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Game Theory and Splitting Cab Fares - The Numbers Guy

"Three economists get into a cab. They're each getting off at different places along the route. How should they split the bill?"

I find this kind of thing way too interesting... And brings to mind a question I've had for a while about minizing walking in the NYC subway system: If you enter a station at the end of the platform and are travelling to an unfamiliar destination where the exit could be at either end of the platform or in the middle of the platform, where should you wait for your train so as to minimize the distnace you'll have to walk?

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Scott Barker, Local Celebrity

The White Rhino Report - Acknowledging Good Customer Service – The Ladders and Scott Barker

I just wanted to offer my view on the effectiveness of The Ladders. I tried an experiment over the course of the last month. I posted a job for a Sales Executive in the Software/Market Research space - and I did parallel postings on The Ladders and on Career Builder. The difference in response was dramatic - higher yield and more qualified candidates from The Ladders than from Career Builder.

In addition, I have had numerous conversations with Scott Barker, who is the consummate professional and representative and is a delight to work with. I will be using them much more extensively in the future.

Monday, November 14, 2005


I'm in quite a pickle over here. What do you do when your CEO calls you out for not playing addictive internet games enough?

On Stone, Marc compels me to "Beat that, Kocher!" - referring to his 2,646 score on gridgame.

What to do... what to do...?

UPDATE 11:10 am -- 2934!! Right back at you Marc!

Friday, November 11, 2005

For My Sister, the Lawyer-To-Be

Great post on Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground

(Thanks to Crank for the link)

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Amazing Flight Patterns

Flight Pattern Visualizations

Frigging fantastic.

Google Maps, but Better?

Yahoo released their answer to Google maps today: the new Yahoo Maps Beta. Doesn't have the satellite imagery that Google Maps has, but otherwise seems as good if not better. Perhaps the best part is the integration to my Yahoo profile. It knows my saved locations and recently used locations to make my life easier.

Only downside right now is that it seems a little sluggish. Hopefully that'll improve as it comes out of Beta.

AP story here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Grid Game - Surprising Time Sink

This game is super-simple, yet surprisingly addictive: Grid Game

My high score is 1437. UPDATE: 1755


(Thanks to GMSV for the link in yesterday's newsletter.)

Update: DAMN YOU GMSV. I can't stop!

Hawk for Frick? God, no!

Frick Nominee Bio - Ken "Hawk" Harrelson

KEN HARRELSON: 29 years overall (Red Sox, 1975-81; White Sox, 1982-85, 90 - ; Yankees, 1987-88), the last 16 with the White Sox…The 2000 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year…Finished fourth campaign with color man Darrin Jackson after teaming with Tom Paciorek for 10 seasons from 1990-99…The Hawk's exuberant "YES" call and colorful nicknames have become familiar to Sox fans…Worked in the broadcast booth for the Sox from 1982-85, leaving to become executive vice president for baseball operations…After serving as the club's general manager for one season, he resigned to resume his broadcasting career…In NY, teamed with Spencer Ross in 1987 and Bobby Murcer in 1988…Also served as a broadcaster on The Baseball Network in 1994-95…Played major league baseball for nine seasons, helping lead the Red Sox to the American League pennant in 1967…Appeared in 900 major-league games, batting .239 with 131 home runs and 421 RBI…Credited with bringing the batting glove to baseball, he played golf professionally for a time before entering broadcasting.

What's not on that resume but should be: the Hawk won the non-ESPN bracket of "The Road from Bristol" - a contest to crown the "most loathsome national sports broadcaster not on ESPN." Hawk's victory was especially remarkable because outside of Chicago only a few baseball enthusiasts even know who he is - and not even all of them have heard him call a game. Even more amazing was that the Hawk beat heavy "favorite" Tim McCarver during the baseball postseason, when McCarver's at his most-annoying.

Anyway, vote for Bill King but DO NOT vote for the Hawk.

Presidential Grace

Buckle your seatbelt and get ready for entertainment. Andy Dick, Arianna Huffington and George W. If that's not a comedy match made in heaven, well then... uh, I don't know what is.

It's funny: just watch

(Thanks to Mom for sharing the link!)

Monday, October 31, 2005

A Little Hometown Love

Olson's heroics thrill Piedmont crowd

UCLA quarterback Drew Olson is creating quite a stir in the quiet, affluent East Bay city of Piedmont.

As an slightly older Piedmonter, I can say that Drew's been creating a stir in Pidemont for a long, long time. Even before his older brother, Eric, played quarterback for then-archrival Bishop O'Dowd in the fall of 1993, Drew Olson was a name that people in Piedmont knew. And if he's 22(?) now, he was a 10-year-old in 1993. Either Piedmont was a small town, or Drew was a tremendous talent even then - I think it's probably a little bit of both.

Anyway, best of luck to Drew at UCLA and beyond.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


BeyondVC: Web 2.0 Bubble

Frankly I do not care if you are Web 2.0, Web 1.0, etc. All I care about is what your service or product does, why it is valuable to the end user, why it is uniquely different from the competition, what the barriers to entry are, and how you plan on reaching your customers and how you will ultimately make money.

Well said.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sad Day for the A's

A's announcer Bill King passes away

...after 25 seasons of broadcasting A's games-beginning with the "Billy Ball" teams of the early 80's, continuing with the "Bash Brothers" era that saw the A's make three consecutive World Series appearances from 1988-90 and transitioning to the talented A's teams of present day, King took his place alongside the game's great announcers, both past and present.

Bill King was fantastic. He will be missed dearly by A's fans everywhere.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Meet the Life Hackers - New York Times

The researchers took 15 volunteers, sat each one in front of a regular-size 15-inch monitor and had them complete a variety of tasks designed to challenge their powers of concentration - like a Web search, some cutting and pasting and memorizing a seven-digit phone number. Then the volunteers repeated these same tasks, this time using a computer with a massive 42-inch screen, as big as a plasma TV.

The results? On the bigger screen, people completed the tasks at least 10 percent more quickly - and some as much as 44 percent more quickly. They were also more likely to remember the seven-digit number, which showed that the multitasking was clearly less taxing on their brains.

Everyone here at TheLadders has two screens, except for the designers who have Macs. They just have one massive screen each. I'm now so spoiled by having a decent amount of screen real estate -- I can barely get anything done when I use my laptop at home.

I'd like to think that the amount of work we're able to accomplish with our multiple screens has helped us build a better job search engine and will keep people coming back to TheLadders the next time they need a Job.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New College Football Ranking System

[physics/0505169] A network-based ranking system for American college football

American college football faces a conflict created by the desire to stage national championship games between the best teams of a season when there is no conventional playoff system to decide which those teams are. Instead, ranking of teams is based on their record of wins and losses during the season, but each team plays only a small fraction of eligible opponents, making the system underdetermined or contradictory or both. It is an interesting challenge to create a ranking system that at once is mathematically well-founded, gives results in general accord with received wisdom concerning the relative strengths of the teams, and is based upon intuitive principles, allowing it to be accepted readily by fans and experts alike. Here we introduce a one-parameter ranking method that satisfies all of these requirements and is based on a network representation of college football schedules.

This is fantastic stuff. Now, how about we use these rankings to determine the 16 teams to play in a 4-round playoff...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cool Mappings

Radical Cartography has some pretty cool maps:

Place-Name Etymology

Area Codes, over time

Interesting stuff...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Founders, a Perspective from a VC

A VC: Founders

Founders contribute something to companies that is very special. It's the core DNA of most companies. Many founders step aside at some point from the CEO role. Many times that happens at the urging of the VCs. Many times they do it on their own, recognizing that they don't enjoy actually running a company.

But the tricky part is keeping the founders engaged and involved once they'd stepped down from the CEO role.


But how do you get someone of the caliber of Jerry Yang or David Filo to stick around and keep working on moving the company forward.

I saw this at HotJobs (CEO/Founder Richard Johnson left the company and quickly disengaged) and I co-founded a start-up myself, so these questions feel particularly relevant. I agree wholeheartedly with Fred - the importance of the CEO/Founder's vision and enthusiasm cannot be underestimated. Marc is unlikely to toot his own horn on this one, so let me do so here: Toot! to the CEO of the worlds best $100k+ job search engine.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Farewell Macha - MLB - Beane bounces Macha as A's manager

"Oakland Athletics manager Ken Macha was out of a job Wednesday after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract, general manager Billy Beane said."

I never felt too strongly about Macha one way or the other, but I know plenty of folks did. Here's hoping the next Oakland manager can be more successful...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Picture of the Day

Thanks to Dagny for sending this priceless Bush pic over...


Original image on Yahoo!, with the following caption:
U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005.

My favorite part is the question mark, like he's not sure if he has to go to the bathroom or not.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Vin Scully and Sandy Koufax

"29,000 people and a million butterflies"

On the scoreboard in right field it is 9:46 p.m. in the City of the Angels, Los Angeles, California. And a crowd of 29,139 just sitting in to see the only pitcher in baseball history to hurl four no-hit, no-run games. He has done it four straight years, and now he caps it: On his fourth no-hitter he made it a perfect game. And Sandy Koufax, whose name will always remind you of strikeouts, did it with a flurry. He struck out the last six consecutive batters. So when he wrote his name in capital letters in the record books, that "K" stands out even more than the O-U-F-A-X.

Thanks to Rich Lederer for the link from his post, It Was Forty Years Ago Today... which also includes his father's original article about Koufax's perfect game from the Long Beach Independent, Press-Telegram.

So much great stuff in there - Koufax's pitching, Scully's call and two generations of quality Lederer writing. Though the game is well before my time, I can listen to Scully's call in my head as I read it -- and it's fantastic!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Scooped by Stone?

stone: Baseball price-performance

Marc points us towards a "nice graphic on how teams are performing relative to their payroll." It is a nice graphic, but it's certainly not perfect. What would be more interesting to me is a graph showing marginal payroll vs. marginal wins for 2005.

... a major league team could probably win 40 games by only spending around $7.5 million (25 roster spots times $300,000). Dividing the numbers, this would only cost about $187,000 a win ... How much did major league teams pay for each win above replacement-level wins? About $1.5 million each.
-Dave Studeman

So, here are the six AL playoff contenders, ranked by cost per marginal win.

Cleveland -- $650,766
Oakland -- $946,600
ChiSox -- $1,142,177
Anaheim -- $1,743,072
Boston -- $2,103,034
Yankees -- $3,916,836

The Indians, A's and White Sox are all outperforming the $1.5M cost per marginal win while the Angels, Red Sox and Yankees are all spending too much. (Big surprise there!) I wonder if anyone in the history of baseball has ever overpaid for wins as eggregiously as the Yankees.. Does anyone know?

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Oh No!

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Athletics place SS Crosby on DL with fractured ankle

"The Oakland Athletics will have to win the American League West Division without shortstop Bobby Crosby."

The A's really struggled when Crosby missed the first two months of the season. I hope they're able to stay hot without him this time.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Back from a Month of Nothingness

I just realized that it's been a month since I last posted here. I spent a week in Ireland (which was fantastic) and went to two weddings, but otherwise I've just been pounding away at work. Busy times here.

In my silence, the A's went on their (mostly) annual wild winning streak and then came back to earth a bit, and now appear (we hope) as if they might have more life in them yet. So are the A's as bad as they were early in the year or as good as they were in their hot streak? My answer, not surprisingly, is that they're probably somewhere in between -- but closer to the "Good A's" we saw at the beginning of August than that "Fantastically Awful A's" we saw back in April and May.

Here are my brief thoughts from back on March 11 and the pre-season AL West ESWL Projection from Baseball Crank. I'd say the A's are better off right now than the "maybe-if-everything-breaks-right longshot" that Crank suggested, and as A's fans we really ought to be happy with how things have played out so far.

If I told you back in March - or even at the end of May - that the A's would be tied for the Wildcard lead on August 25th, you (A's Fans) would have signed up for that in a second. All things considered, you have to be happy about the A's performance this year and cautiously optimistic about this last month-plus of baseball.

Just sit back and enjoy the ride -- don't let the anxiety and second guessing ruin all the fun of the race.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Good Question from Sumser

John Sumser's take on the WorkZoo-Jobster merger/acquisition:

If networking for referrals was the promised land, why in the world would additional job content be required? Certainly, scraped job content is the exact opposite of what Jobster was peddling just a couple of months ago.

(If that link is dead or no longer showing the right article, try this one)

A Monster Punch in the Gut

Bad news for Monster's Government Solutions' QuickHire: DHS Scraps Web Hiring Vendor

However, in the formal "termination for cause" notification, Elizabeth C. Heitz, a contracting officer for Customs and Border Protection, said Monster had failed to correct problems: "The system failed repeatedly. Specifically, employees accessing the system were involuntarily exited from the system or were unable to access the system at all. . . . During the failures, the system 'froze' and then displayed an error message."

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More on Omniture

More in-depth thoughts about the Omniture deal from Daniel Primack on Private Equity Week in his weekly update, It's A Big Deal.

Company CEO Josh James says that the issue is one of flexibility. An IPO, he argues, could stifle Omniture’s ability to invest in sales, marketing, R&D, etc. To James, public=profitability pressure, and he doesn’t believe that he can build a market leader while always being concerned about moving from red to black (the company was once profitable, but currently is not due to the aforementioned growth initiative).

(Thanks to Chris Selland for the link)

Search Rankings - Tricky Business

From MSN Search's WebLog - New Operators Explained:

"We shipped 1.0 with the Link: keyword, which allows you to find pages that link to a single page, ala"

When you actually perform that search to see who links to MSN Search, the very first listing is for Viagra (or is that an ad? I can't even tell). And down at seventh is It's nice that they've introduced the "link" operator, but for now, Google and Yahoo are better at it.

The same search on Google actually returns a list of sites that make sense. Yahoo's search is pretty darn good too: "link:".

Nice to see the competition on the search front, but it feels like MSN's got a ways to go.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Yahoo's SMS Search

Just noticed the recently-launched text-message search feature on Yahoo.

You send a text message to 92466 ('yahoo') with a phrase or "quote yhoo", and you get search results delivered to your phone. It's a really great features, but Google's had this for a long time: Google SMS.

No word yet on how effective Yahoo's SMS search is in comparison to Google's.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

'Nother Deal

A's acquire Kennedy, Witasick

In the team's second trade of the day, the Oakland A's announced the club has acquired pitchers Joe Kennedy and Jay Witasick from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for outfielder Eric Byrnes, minor league infielder Omar Quintanilla and cash considerations.

I'm spent - Check out AthleticsNation for coherent thoughts. I agree with Blez -- These two deals today feel like a 'win now' kind of approach. I'm optimistic about the new guys joining the team and wish a fond farewell to the guys headed out.

Watching Byrnes' and Bradford's distinctive styles over the last couple of years has been fun, and I wish them the best of luck.

One Hour of My Life: Gone


Made it to Level 12 - 199,263

That is one tremendous time sink! I'd hate to see it get loose in the office...

UPDATE: Great tips in the comments here. (Don't peak until you've given it a shot.)

Investing in Web Analytics

Utah firm gets $40M boost

Investing in Omniture is almost like acquiring interest in an e-commerce index fund, O'Driscoll said. "Online retailers, banks and even media companies need Web analytical services to understand their customers. They just cannot run well without it."

Interesting take. All us internet folk sure do like getting our hands on as much data as possible -- And it's a pretty safe bet that our appetite for data will only increase.


Red Sox get pen help, acquire Bradford for Payton

The Boston Red Sox tried to bolster their struggling bullpen Wednesday, acquiring right-hander Chad Bradford from the Oakland Athletics in a trade for outfielder Jay Payton and cash considerations.

Notes from AthleticsNation and Catfish Stew. I think we're all waiting to see what happens next. As I (and plenty others) said a few days ago, "you're looking at 8 players fighting for playing time at only 5 spots (OF, DH, 1B)." There absolutely has to be another deal in the works, or we'll all be a wee bit disappointed.

As always, in Billy we trust.

Addictive Online Games

This morning, Marc posted this game -- and "kiss your morning goodbye!"

Oddly enough, an email from Shaft this afternoon pointed me back to another great one: Escape!

Kiss your evening goodbye!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dream Jobs

"...your idea of a dream job changes over time." -Tom Colicchio, in a Fast Company piece on Dream Jobs

It's an interesting collection of thoughts from four people living their dream jobs.

Jobster buys Workzoo

Jobster buys Workzoo

With the WorkZoo acquisition, Jobster is the first company to integrate vertical search and social networking into a purposeful employment service.

Eh... I'm not so sure about that. Despite today's article in the WSJ that mentions companies using Jobster, the whole idea seems somewhat flawed. Marc's got a much more complete thought in his post, WorkZoo acquisition: not a good sign for Jobster

Amen, brother.

HotJobs' Official Announcement | 07/12/2005 | Yahoo to `copy' jobs to beef up its listings

Yahoo's online job division, HotJobs, plans to announce today that it has taken the bold but controversial step of finding more job listings for its users by copying them off the Web sites of employers.

This new service first got attention last week, with a smattering of mixed reviews.

Joel Cheeseman says, "The job board model as we know it today doesn't work." Dave McClure, Director of Marketing at SimplyHired, also likes the direction of the new Yahoo!Hotjobs offering, but in the comments to Joel's post, he disagrees that this is the death knell for the big Job Board business, "I don't believe that Monster or CareerBuilder are going away anytime soon."

My own boss, Marc Cenedella (president of -- the definitive source for executive jobs) weighed in with a couple posts:

-> "It is all well-meaning, but mostly misses the mark. This is not the death of job search engines, but is the death of HotJobs business if taken to its logical conclusion."

-> "Isn't it colossally difficult to get people to pay for the exact same something you're now giving them for free?"

-> "I feel bad for the HotJobs salesforce because it won't take long for recruiters to wonder 'why the heck am I paying for listings when I can them for free?'"

And be sure to check the comments section on this post from John Battelle's SearchBlog. With posts from Cheeseman, Cenedella, McClure and Paul Forster (co-founder of, it's a can't miss who's-who of job search gurus. The key comment there is from McClure, "great search is about RELEVANCE."

Overall, I'm not quite sure I like the new HotJobs offering. The relevance is lacking (thousands of paid listings appear before more relevant web results in many cases), and the threat to the core business must have the sales folks squirming in their seats. Tough to run a business if the heart and soul of the company isn't behind it.

Has anyone heard from the HJ sales force? How are they taking the news? Are any of the stars even there anymore, or have they read the writing on the wall?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Nifty Little Project

Joel on Software - Project Aardvark Midterm Report

In a nutshell, you go to and get an invitation code. You tell your uncle to go to and type in that same invitation code. You each get a little program to download and run. When you run the program, your uncle's computer screen shows up in a window. When you move your mouse, his mouse moves. When you type something, it appears on his computer. Etc. And now you fix the problem and log off, and peace is restored...

Neat, simple-sounding product that might be useful for helping your uncle troubleshoot his computer, but might also have applications for Customer Service folks trying to reproduce user-reported problems. Instead of asking back and forth questions over a series of emails ("Tell me what version of IE you're using"), a CS agent could simply connect to the user's computer, find all the answers they need and duplicate the problem easily. Or perhaps show the user how to avoid future problems.

Even more intriguing is that the product is being built head-to-toe by four summer interns. Fascinating stuff.

Learn more this coming Thursday if you're in NY and like wine, cheese and interns:
If you're in New York, come to the Project Aardvark Open House! You'll get free wine and cheese and you can pepper the interns with questions about sockets programming in person. The open house is Thursday, July 14, 2005, from 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM, at Fog Creek Software, 535 8th Ave., 18th Floor, New York.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

A's Logjam?

A'S REPORT / Trade reported with Boston swaps Bradford for Payton

Assistant general manager David Forst refused to confirm reports in Boston that the A's have completed a deal with the Red Sox that would send reliever Chad Bradford to Boston in exchange for outfielder Jay Payton.

If this deal does indeed go through, the A's would have Kotsay, Kielty, Byrnes, Swisher and Payton in the outfield. And then consider that the A's have Hatteberg, Dan Johnson and an almost-healthy Durazo for first base, and all of a sudden, you're looking at 8 players fighting for playing time at only 5 spots (OF, DH, 1B)

I have to think that one or more of those guys would ended up getting traded, maybe for some left-handed help in the bullpen? Or more pitching prospects?

Great News for the A's - MLB - Kotsay signs extension through 2008 with Athletics

Mark Kotsay agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Oakland Athletics on Saturday, keeping the reliable center fielder with the club through the 2008 season.

Great news for the A's. Kotsay is a good, solid player - and he's fun to watch to boot. Congrats to Beane for re-signing him.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

The Elevator

Thanks to Jimbo for passing this one along.

An Amish father and son went into a large department store and were astonished by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and then slide back together again.

The boy asked, "What is this, Father?"

The father (never having seen an elevator) responded, "Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don't know what it is."
While the boy and his father were watching with amazement, a fat, old lady went up to the moving walls and pressed a button.

The walls opened and the lady went inside between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched the small circular numbers above the walls light up sequentially. They continued to watch until it reached the last number and then the numbers began to light in the reverse order.

Finally the walls opened up again and a gorgeous 20-year-old blonde stepped out.

The father said quietly to his son... "Go get your mother."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Whoops! - Report: Putin pockets Patriots owner's Super Bowl ring - Jun 29, 2005

"Russian President Vladimir Putin walked off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring, but was it a generous gift or a very expensive international misunderstanding?"

Thursday, June 23, 2005

FANTASTIC Puzzle (Time Sink)

"Everybody has to cross the river"

Click on link, then click on blue circle (lower-right corner).

The rules are:

1 - Only 2 persons on the raft at a time.
2 - The father can not stay with any of the daughters without their mother's presence.
3 - The mother can not stay with any of the sons without their father's presence.
4 - The thief (striped shirt) can not stay with any family member if the Policeman is not there.
5 - Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft.

To move the people click on them. To move the raft click on the pole next to the raft.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Triumph does Jacko

IFILM - Viral Videos: Triumph vs the Michael Jackson Supporters

"Triumph the Insult Comic Dog paid a visit to the Michael Jackson trial and talked with some of Jacko's supporters. You can probably guess what happened."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Chief People Yahoo!

Catching up with Libby Sartain

"There are a lot of companies that do what [Yahoo does]. In every product we have, we have direct competitors who would love to steal our people because they're really good. And of course we want to hold onto those people plus find more people like that. So that's the war for talent for us."

Interesting take. I was someone who walked away from Yahoo back in early '04. Not sure if they lost the battle or didn't even know the fight was going on. Probably the latter.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

What it's all about

Baseball Toaster : Catfish Stew : Blog the Dawgs

"My family vacation to San Diego coincided with a Padres road trip, so we missed Petco Park. But no matter. We went out Saturday evening and checked out some Surf Dawgs, instead."

Great post from Ken Arneson. I really have nothing to add. Just read his post...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Contender Finale Recap

ESPN's Bill Simmons has a tremendous running diary from the Contendor finale: Knocking out 'The Contender'

"For the past few months, my favorite show has been "The Contender," which has been on the ropes (I know, bad boxing pun) with NBC for weeks..."

As I was watching the finale, I was already looking forward to Simmons' take on Sly Stallone's monosyllabic color commentary -- and his article doesn't disappoint. If you followed the Contender at all, it's a must read.

And if you didn't follow the Contender, shame on you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

De-Animator High Score

Two weeks ago, I posted a note about De-Animator. My high score at the time was right around 100.

The day after that post, my office-mate Adam started playing -- his high score is about 230. Convinced he was the greatest of all time, he emailed the creator of the game...
-----Original Message-----
From: Adam
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 9:29 AM
To: Andrew
Subject: FW: de-animator

Maybe I'm a little crazy. I emailed the creator of De-Animator to see what the high score is. Looks like I've got a lot of work to do...

-----Original Message-----
From: Bum
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 8:31 PM
To: adam
Subject: Re: de-animator

Stage 28, 534 zombies by a guy from Spain

--On Monday, May 23, 2005 1:41 PM -0400 Adam wrote:

> Bum,
> your game has become a cult favorite in my office. wondering what the
> highest score you've heard of is?

Monday, May 16, 2005

At Last

A's finally win one after eight straight losses. Thank goodness, and Matt Watson, too.

Recap Here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Great Time Sink


UPDATE: My personal best is 94.

UPDATE: After a few *cough* minutes, my new high is 99.

Monday, May 2, 2005

Steroid Suspension for Rincon

"Minnesota Twins pitcher Juan Rincon was suspended for 10 days Monday, making him the fifth player disciplined under Major League Baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs."
-Twins pitcher suspended for violating baseball's drug policy

That one comes as a surprise. He's the first major league pitcher to be suspended, and the Most Valuable Outted Steroid User to date. His 12 Win Shares in 2004 are almost double the combined Win Shares of the four previously suspended players.

Alex Sanchez - 5
Jorge Piedra - 2
Agustin Montero - 0
Jamal Strong - 0

His brief departure is not likely to affect the AL Central race in any substantive way, but it's certainly worthy of an eyebrow raising.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Catfish Stew

Baseball Toaster : Catfish Stew : May Day!

"I am grateful the A's finished April with a 12-12 record and only one game out of first despite the injustice of Those Who Play Dice With The Universe." - Ken Arneson

I finally figured out how to get the RSS feeds from Baseball Toaster, and thank god. Ken's post today reminds us how badly the A's offense has underperformed so far in '05. Considering the meager offense and the craptastic performance from Zito (other than today and tax day), we really are lucky to be 12-12.

Dr. Barry Zizmor

If you're a New Yorker, you've probably seen this guy's ads on the subway. Whenever I see his ads, I think of Barry Zito, and whenever I see Zito pitch, I think of Dr Zizmor. Consequently, I now think of Barry as Dr. Barry Zizmor, Board Certified Dermatologist. And, interestingly enough, he's pitching about as well as the dermatologist might, if insterted into the A's rotation.

Zito's given up 22 earned runs in only 30 innings - that's an ERA of 6.60. But overall, the A's have only allowed 81 earned runs total, meaning that Zito's given up 27% of the A's total earned runs so far this year. Is that a lot? I had no idea, so I looked at all pitchers with over 22 IP to determine the percent of their team's earned runs allowed.

Turns out, Zito's number 1, or uh, dead f-ing last. Here are the pitchers that have allowed the highest percent of their team's ER:

Barry Zito - 27%
Jake Westbrook - 24%
Jeff Weaver - 23%
Brad Radke - 23%
Mark Buehrle - 22%

And the five lowest:

Rich Harden - 7%
Joe Blanton - 6%
Roger Clemens - 5%
Brett Myers - 4%
John Patterson - 3%

I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but as an A's fan, I certainly don't like seeing our supposed ace allowing 27% of the team's earned runs. The good news here, if you can stretch far enough, is that the team is 12-12 after April without any real meaningful contribution from their no. 1 starter. If Zito pitches even a little better, The A's have to be able to play better than .500 ball, right?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Google History

How long until Yahoo copies this? Google's My Search History

Friday, April 15, 2005

An Investigation of Area 51

Thanks to GMSV for this: So tonight I spied on Area 51

Mildly amusing.

Friday, April 8, 2005

Snail Mail

Yahoo! News - Postal Service Seeks 2-Cent Stamp Increase

"The Postal Service filed a request Friday seeking higher rates. The agency wants a 2-cent increase in first-class mail, and similar increases for other types of mail, to take effect early next year. It would increase the rate for regular mail to 39 cents from 37 cents."

I can't remember the last time I even put a stamp on something. I think this has the potential to cost me about $0.10 over its first 12 months.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

More Good News - MLB - Rich man: A's give Harden four-year deal

"The Oakland Athletics signed Harden to a four-year contract with a club option for 2009 on Saturday."

Happy to have Harden around for the next few years - He's going to be our ace very soon, if not this year.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Hip Hip Hooray!

New Regime in Oakland Is Counting on Beane

"The A's are expected to announce today that Beane has agreed to a contract extension through 2012 and has been granted a share of ownership, a distinction without recent precedent among major league general managers."

That is just FABULOUS news for A's fans. I couldn't be more ecstatic.

But "Bill Shaikin, Times Staff Writer" misunderstands - "...might fans not prefer that popular players finish their careers with the team, not just the general manager?"

I'd rather have Billy Beane assembling my team than have just one player. If the choice was between Tejada or Beane, I'll take Beane. Giambi or Beane - I'll take Beane. There is no single player that's more valuable than a General Manager that can assemble the entire 25-man roster better than anyone else.

(Thanks to Blez for the link.)

Thursday, March 31, 2005




North Dakota?

North Dakota Senate backs restoring Roger Maris' home run record

"The North Dakota Senate unanimously approved a resolution Thursday asking baseball commissioner Bud Selig to reinstate Roger Maris' 61 home runs in 1961 as the major league record."


"Sen. Heitkamp said he has gotten several messages wondering why the North Dakota Legislature was wasting its time on baseball."

I think it's fairly obvious that there's nothing going on in North Dakota. Thus, they're not wasting time so much as keeping busy. North Dakotans, this is your tax dollars at work.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My Favorite Ongoing Celebrity Legal Situation

Here's the latest in the C-Murder Criminal Proceedings: C-Murder Loses Murder Conviction Appeal

"C-Murder, who lost in his latest bid to get his second-degree murder conviction thrown out, is hopeful Louisiana's Supreme Court will be more favorable to his appeal than the lower courts have been..." Blah, blah, blah.

Here's the gem of the article: "He recently angered the local sheriff by recording parts of his latest music video and album [The Truest Sh** I Ever Said] behind bars."

You absolutely have to love the irony of a rapper named C-Murder in prison for (pause) murder, recording his latest album and videos from behind bars.

(Of course, you cannot love the fact that a sixteen-year-old *or anyone* was killed in the story.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More from Blez

Athletics Nation Spring Training Report: Part II

As I finish with Zito, I realize that I've lived a dream for many A's fans. Make no mistake, I am and always will be a fan of this team, first and foremost ... I feel so very fortunate that my passion can be shared with this unbelievably astute audience and I'm humbled by the opportunities you've afforded me. If it wasn't for you [readers], I would've never been given this access to our team. So, thank you, thank you, thank you, AN, for giving me the glorious opportunity to be your vessel and carry your message of support to the team...
I think we're all both very happy that Blez is sharing these experiences and VERY jealous that we're not actually there with him.

On a different note, it's interesting to watch a sports blog straddle the line between journalist and fan. There's been talk around the blogosphere about the difference between blogs and media - expecially, why don't political blogs get the same kind of respect, etc? Well, Blez and AthleticsNation are a great example of a blog that's doing it well - creating a forum for (mostly) rational discussion about the A's while also bringing more articles, interviews, etc to the table.

Should Blez temper his enthusiasm about the A's in order to be more of a traditional, impartial, "professional" journalist? I say, "Absolutely not!" As I said yesterday, the enthusiasm about the team, the players and the personalities makes it a much more interesting read than much of what I find elsewhere. So, Blez, keep up the good work!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Kudos, Blez, Kudos

Athletics Nation :: AN Spring Training Report: Part I

It's a must read for insight into the A's spring training experience, unprecedented access for a blogger and the sheer enthusiasm of it all. Blez has done a tremendous job of building AthleticsNation and covering the A's - here's hoping for more and more great things from (and for) Blez.

Now, off to order my official AN shirt...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Barry Bonds - Done?

Bonds says he may be out until next season following knee surgery

Right now I'm just going to try to rehab myself to get back to, I don't know, hopefully next season, hopefully the middle of the season. I don't know. Right now I'm just going to take things slow. -Barry Bonds, earlier today
Barry's not going to catch Hank Aaron. I wonder if the Godfather got to him and told him to shut it down for the good of the game. Or maybe, he's just 40 years old and wearing out. Who knows...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ken Macha, Nice Guy?

Recap - Athletics 17, Giants 3

On the bus ride back from Tucson on Saturday, A's manager Ken Macha had the driver pull into a Dairy Queen, where he paid for the team's treats. ``We all went in uniform and people looked at us like maybe we were a softball team,'' Macha said. ``I went to the counter and said 'I'm the coach of this team, please total everything up and give me the bill.' It was a little over $50. When I was 8, cones were 10 cents, so for 13 players it was $1.30.'' OF Nick Swisher said he ordered ``the biggest Blizzard I could get, with chocolate chip cookie dough.''

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Amen, Brother

Concerned (But Powerless): The Decline and Fall of

Once upon a time, was the very first site I would visit after popping open my web browser. Though depressingly corporate, the site nonetheless offered a cavalcade of interesting and/or entertaining columnists, and provided a wealth of useful information. Over the past few years, however,'s most glaring faults -- endemic commercialism, East Coast bias, ignorance of groundbreaking new methods of baseball analysis, and increasingly irritating columnists -- have rendered the site virtually worthless.
Thanks to Beaneball for the link.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Friday, March 11, 2005

Baseball Crank on the AL West

Baseball Crank: BASEBALL: 2005 AL West EWSL Report

My gut tells me the A's will be a force to be reckoned with this season. But EWSL is much more sober about the rebuilding job the team needs to suffer through before the A's can be considered a bankable contender rather than a maybe-if-everything-breaks-right longshot.

BaseballCrank's EWSL projection has the A's finishing 4 games behind the Angels, 8 wins ahead of the Mariners and 11 games ahead of the Rangers. And that's assuming 9 total Win Shares out of Dan Haren, Joe Blanton and Dan Meyer. I'd like to think that those projections are more likely to be too low than too high, but the track record for rookie/unproven starters ain't great.

Well, here's hoping we get an extra 16 win shares from somewhere and scrap our way past the Angels into the post-season, where (as we A's fans all know) it's a total crapshoot.

Read the whole AL West piece on Crank, make your way over to the 2005 AL East EWSL Report and keep your eyes peeled for the remaining four division reports. It's great stuff.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Rick Ankiel's Premature (?) Obituary

And let’s face it, after Ankiel hangs up his cleats for good, he’ll follow a career path not unlike countless Americans before him. I mean, very few of us get paid to follow our dreams. By the time we reach age 25, most of us have already set aside our ball gloves or our guitars or our paintbrushes and we’ve started looking for more practical ways to settle down, pay the rent, make do. In a very real sense, then, when we mourn for Rick Ankiel we may as well be mourning ourselves. - Brian Gunn Rick Ankiel, Ex-Pitcher

Great little article about Ankiel and what looks like the end of his once-promising baseball career.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

High Paying Executive Jobs

Over at the Ladders, we just posted an archive of all the jobs we posted in 2004. Flip through some of the titles - it's interesting stuff.

Executive Jobs

And, while you're there, check out the latest jobs through our job search engine.

Monday, March 7, 2005

CBGB Closing?

"Rosenblatt could be immediately reached for comment." -Yahoo! News - NY Punk Venue CBGB Faces Closure Over Unpaid Rent

Interesting... Rosenblatt could be immediately reached for comment, but Reuters didn't bother to publish those comments? Perhaps there's a slight error in there, eh?

About CBGB, I've only been once, in the summer of 2000 to see Yitzhak Perlman's son. He was in a punk rock group that wasn't too bad, but the rest of the groups there were painfully awful. I can't say that the closing of CBGB is going to affect my New York experience in any way.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Ranting, Raving and oh yeah, Baseball

Offseason Rankings: Part One -- The Hardball Times

"The Orioles were 10th in the AL last year with a 5.05 ERA from their starting pitchers. Want to guess how many starters they added this offseason to try to rectify the situation? That's right, none. Unless you count James Baldwin (you shouldn't)." - Ben Jacobs

Just a phenomenal, bitter series of comments on the 15 worst offseasons. Ben Jacobs is clearly not trying to make friends in any front offices or locker rooms. Good times.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Another Great Time Sink

Helicopter game - an oldie-but-goody.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Barry Larkin - Hall of Famer (to be)

"[Barry] Larkin should be a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame."
- Aaron Gleeman, Larkin for the Hall? -- The Hardball Times

Gleeman does a great job of making Larkin's case based on OPS vs. his positional contemporaries, Runs Created vs. same and all-time shortstop Win Shares. I think it's a compelling case. But what does our Genetic Algorithm-based rule say?

MetricRequired CriteriaBarry LarkinMatch?

With 16 matches out of 19 possibilities, Larkin is a definite Hall of Famer, according to our rule. Remember, we require 14 matches, so Larkin's well past the barrier.

The problem, as Gleeman says is that "in addition to the overall increase in offense that Larkin missed out on in his younger years, the end of his career coincides with the emergence of several outstanding offensive shortstops." Larkin may be facing an uphill battle for election, but I think he will eventually be (deservingly) enshrined.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Genetic Algorithms and the Baseball Hall of Fame

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. Late this summer, we interviewed a recent college grad to work in the Marketing department here at my company, (the place to go for your $100k+ job search). As I was chatting with him, he mentioned that he's into baseball a little bit. Naturally, I prodded, and he forked over his research paper.

Modeling Election to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame through the use of Genetic Algorithms (PDF) by David Cohen

Here's the abstract:
This paper will use an alternate methodology for modeling called Genetic Algorithms. Using that method, several logical, rather than mathematical, rules for election to the baseball Hall of Fame will be found and examined. Predictions about future election, as well as past elections will be made. Ultimately, one rule will be picked as best, and examined in more depth than the others.

And the ultimate conclusion - For position players, you must meet at least 14 of the following criteria.


Read the full paper - it's fascinating. And to my knowledge, matching fourteen of the nineteen criteria above does indeed lead to Hall of Fame election. There are no eligible position players that both (a) meet the criteria and (b) are not enshrined in Cooperstown.

So, who is currently playing or recently retired that will be elected to the HOF according to these rules? Who's just missing the cut? These are the kinds of questions I wanted to answer before I posted the article, but I simply haven't found the time. Now, I'm hoping that you can help. Run recent players through these rules and post your results somewhere - or email me at andrew AT andrewkoch DOT com and I'll post 'em for you.

And by the way, Dave Cohen is doing a great job in our Marketing dept...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Gmail Goes Public

From Google:
Hi there,

Thanks for signing up to be updated on the latest Gmail happenings. We hope it's been worth the wait, because we're excited to finally offer you an invitation to open a free Gmail account! Just click on this link to create your new account:

[link removed]

Since last April, we've been working hard to create the best email service possible. It already comes with 1,000 megabytes of free storage, powerful Google search technology to find any message you want instantly, and a new way of organizing email that saves you time and helps you make sense of all the information in your inbox.

And here are just some of the things that we've added in the last few months:

- Free POP access: Take your messages with you. Download them, read them offline, access them using Outlook, your Blackberry or any other device that supports POP

- Gmail Notifier: Get new mail notifications and see the messages and their senders without having to open a browser

- Better contacts management: Import your contacts from Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, Outlook, and others to Gmail in just a few clicks. Add phone numbers, notes and more. Even use search to keep better track of it all.

We also wanted to thank you. For showing us your support and for being so patient. And to those who have already signed up for Gmail, thank you for giving it a try and for helping us make it better. Our users are what have made this product great. So whether you're just signing up for your account or you've been with us since the beginning, keep letting us know how we can build you the best email service around.

That's it for now. We hope you like Gmail and will share it with your friends. We've got lots of cool new stuff planned and we can't wait for you to see our work in your Gmail accounts! Stay tuned...

The Gmail Team
I guess they're not keeping it so private anymore...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The History of Baseball Trades

"We're lousy with ideas." - Mike Carminati

I think he's trying to say that he and Studes have lots of ideas - specifcially about trade analysis.

Studes' The Best and Worst Teams of the Trade and Mike's I’ll Take Manhattan: Baseball’s Most Lopsided Trades are the first in what promises to be an intriguing series of articles analyzing trades over the history of baseball.

Looks like a great little pre-spring training appetizer.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

It's Been Awhile

In his post, Tom Petty Was Right, Mike Carminati asks, "What is the current longest wait for a sports city?" Where a sports city is a metro area with a team in each of the four major sports.

I was a little surprised to find that the SF Bay Area is #3 on his list with a no-championship drought of 10 years. Only Philadelpha (21 years) and Minneapolis (13 years) have been waiting for a championship longer than the Bay Area.

You know, Bill Simmons has talked at length about a grace period:
After your team wins a championship, they immediately get a five-year grace period: You can't complain about anything that happens (trades, draft picks, salary-cap cuts, coaching moves) for five years. There are no exceptions.

...And the Bay Area has had it's share of Championships. So, when did our grace period end? If you stand our grace periods end-on-end, when did they expire? Are they still going?

A list, then, of Bay Area Champions:
-A's, 1972
-A's, 1973
-A's, 1974
-Warriors, 1975
-Raiders, 1976
-Raiders, 1980 (The '83 Raiders were in LA)
-49ers, 1981
-49ers, 1984
-49ers, 1988
-A's, 1989
-49ers, 1989
-49ers, 1994

That's twelve championships, and 60 total years of "grace period" starting in 1972. That would mean we're still in our grace period all the way out to 2032, assuming we don't win another championship. But that just doesn't feel right. The first game of any kind that I remember watching was the '84 Super Bowl, so I shouldn't get a grace period for those championships I've only read about.

That leaves five "personal" championships starting in 1984. In that case, my own personal grace period should expire in 2009.

And it's a little different if you look at it on a team-by-team basis. I don't really care for the Raiders, Giants or Warriors, so I'll ignore them. But for the A's, we've been out of the grace period now for ten years - If you're only an A's fan, you can complain about damn near anything (and we do).

As for the 49ers, their five championships starting in 1981 will carry you through two more seasons to 2006 - my own personal grace period with the niners (excluding the '81 victory), however, expired at the end of the 2004 season.

So, I'll consider myself in a 20% grace period. I can certainly complain about either my A's or my 49ers without incurring the wrath of the sports gods, but I have been lucky enough to experience five championships. So, I suppose I shouldn't be too bitter about it. After all, they're just games, right?

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Google Maps

As I'm sure has been said elsewhere, Google Maps look great. I like the flexibility of the search, the intuitive display and (particularly) the turn-by-turn display on driving directions. Very cool.

Jacksonville, Tourist Destination?

But although Jacksonville's time at the center of the sports universe is over, city leaders hope the impression the city made while hosting football's biggest game will result in more visitors and commerce.

"We did nothing but improve our chances with our performance as a community," said Michael Kelly, chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee. "We showed we cared about it."

-Yahoo! News - Fla. Looks to Capitalize on Super Bowl

Oh really? The Sports Guy disagrees, "Here's a quick breakdown of Super Bowl Week in Jacksonville.... The positives: The locals have been extremely nice. The negatives: Everything else."

He goes on: "...if you're having the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, it's probably going to be a bigger disaster than "Alexander" and the Chyna/X-Pac sex video combined."

Now, I haven't seen Alexander and I don't know the first thing about the Chyna/X-Pac sex video, but I'm pretty sure that failing to meet their standard is NOT a good thing. Nice try, Jacksonville.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Daily Puzzle

Thanks to my sister for this link: Set® Puzzle

I finished today's puzzle in 2:07, but the sister did it in 1:33. She's quite the smart A's fan.