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Articles: 2011 October

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Page 1

College Football Recap: Week 9
Monday, 2011 October 31 - 11:48 pm
Michigan rolls over Purdue; N.C. State gets shutout by Florida State.

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Posted by Ken in: sports

College Football Week 9 Games to Watch
Saturday, 2011 October 29 - 11:56 am
Michigan plays Purdue; N.C. State plays Florida State.

Games to Watch on Saturday

#18 Michigan plays Purdue at noon on ESPN2. But even we Michigan fans will be keeping an eye on this week's Game of the Week, #11 Michigan State against #14 Nebraska on ESPN. Meanwhile N.C. State plays Florida State on ESPNU... looks like I'll have a lot of split-screening going on to watch all these games.

At 3:30 we get #9 Oklahoma against #8 Kansas State on ESPN. That would have been Game of the Week if I cared more about the Big 12. Meanwhile there's Illinois vs. #19 Penn State on ABC/ESPN2. The game formerly known as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, Florida vs. #22 Georgia, is on CBS. This game still has relevance even if both teams are slightly down this year. Navy plays Notre Dame on NBC; we'll see if Navy still has ND's number. Wake Forest against UNC on ESPNU might be a good game too.

Your primetime slate has #5 Clemson vs. Georgia Tech or #6 Stanford vs. USC (regional coverage, sigh), as well as #15 Wisconsin against Ohio State. All of these should be fun to watch.

Michigan Game Prediction: Michigan 38, Purdue 28. Purdue's defense looked good against Illinois but I'm hoping Michigan figures out that they need to run away from Purdue's talented nose tackle Kawaan Short and instead attacks the edge against Gerald Gooden, a 235-pound defensive end, or Ryan Russell, a redshirt freshman playing at the other DE spot. Meanwhile on defense I think Michigan's defensive line may struggle a bit, but Mattison will stack the box against the run and force Purdue to try to pass. There'll be a breakdown or two and Purdue will score some points, but I think Michigan maintains a lead for most of the game.

N.C. State Game Prediction: N.C. State 31, Florida State 34. Ugh. It's hard to pick against the Wolfpack in this one because N.C. State has been improving and Florida State isn't as formidable as people thought they'd be. But N.C. State has struggled to defend the pass and that's FSU's strength. With FSU playing at home, I think NCSU falls just short. Hopefully this will be a jinx though.

I'm 13-1 in predictions, by the way, with my only miss being the Michigan-MSU game.
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Posted by Ken in: sports

What Has America Become?
Thursday, 2011 October 27 - 9:30 pm
There's a letter that appeared in a newspaper about a year ago, and it's been making the rounds on Facebook and the Internets again lately. It's attributed to someone named Ken Huber, and I'm going to post it in its entirety. I'm posting it not because I agree with it in the least; I'm posting it to expose it for the right-wing whiny bullshit that it is.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Steve Jobs: I Finally Cracked It
Monday, 2011 October 24 - 11:45 pm
Much is being made of a cryptic quote from Steve Jobs in the biography written by Walter Isaacson being released tomorrow:

"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," [Steve Jobs] told me. "It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud." No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. "It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

Taking on the cable and satellite companies would be Apple's biggest undertaking since taking on the music industry with iTunes. (Look how that turned out, eh?) The three major hurdles for Apple:
  • The cable companies are entrenched, with long-term deals with content providers and a presence in almost every living room in the country.
  • Cable companies also provide broadband internet access for a lot of their subscribers, and they could make it tough for customers to unbundle the two services.
  • Content providers will be leery of handing control over to Apple after seeing how much control Apple gained over the music industry.
But then, look at what Apple has going for it:
  • Both content providers and customers, by and large, hate cable and satellite companies. With the never-ending rate hikes, shoddy hardware products, abysmal software interfaces, and poor customer service, customers are fed-up. Meanwhile content providers are sick of being held hostage whenever contracts are up for re-negotiation, and might prefer selling content directly to the customers.
  • Apple has a track record of making complex and poorly-designed products simpler and more appealing to consumers, and customers generally trust and like Apple products.
  • There is already a trend towards cord-cutting and Internet-available content, and it just needs a spark and a cohesive strategy to pull it together. Apple is exactly the kind of company that can provide those things.

The fact that cable companies control Internet access... that's a tough one; unless, Apple has an answer for that too, in the form of ubiquitous WiFi, a nationwide LTE network, or a partnership with a company who can provide that. Here's a super-crazy theory... what if Apple partnered with their biggest current rival to make that happen? A rival whose interests in this area perfectly align with Apple's? A rival who has been active in blanketing cities with Internet access?

What if Apple teamed up with Google to take down the cable industry?

Maybe that's a stretch. But it would be utterly breathtaking. I would love to see the look on the faces of Time Warner executives on the day something like that was announced.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Apple Speed-Bumps Macbook Pros
Monday, 2011 October 24 - 11:03 pm
Apple introduced "new" Macbook Pro models today, though the changes are so minor you might wonder why they bothered. Essentially all the models got a slight speed and storage bump but otherwise the specs are unchanged. I wonder what's next for the Mac line as a whole; Apple seems to be treating the product category as mature and not in need of major improvements. Given the post-PC era they're clearly promoting, maybe we've already seen the last of splashy new Mac models.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

College Football Recap: Week 8
Monday, 2011 October 24 - 10:59 pm
Michigan was idle; N.C. State gets a solid ACC win; several big upsets among top teams.

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Posted by Ken in: sports

College Football Week 8 Games to Watch
Saturday, 2011 October 22 - 11:02 am
Sorry, I know I'm late with this week's installment. Michigan is idle this week; N.C. State plays Virginia.

Games to Watch on Saturday

At noon, your best bet looks to be UNC vs. #7 Clemson on ESPN. #23 Illinois plays Purdue on ESPN2, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see an upset here. The rest of the early games are kind of yawners.

At 3:30 PM, the N.C. State game against Virginia is on ESPNU. #1 LSU plays #20 Auburn in a big SEC game on CBS, though Auburn is struggling a bit and LSU has looked dominant. #22 Georgia Tech plays Miami (FL) on ESPN.

At 7:00, #21 Penn State plays Northwestern on BTN in an intriguing matchup... Penn State's defense has looked very good but the offense has looked terrible, and with NWU it's largely the other way around. At 7:30 USC plays Notre Dame on NBC; that game is always entertaining.

At 8:00 this week's Game of the Week is on ESPN with #6 Wisconsin taking on #16 Unnecessary Roughness University... er, Michigan State, that is. MSU's defensive end William Gholston is suspended for this game due to his dirty play against Michigan, so Wisconsin benefits from Michigan's misfortune, whee. #25 Washington is having a surprisingly good year; they play #8 Stanford on ABC.

N.C. State Game Prediction: Virginia's a hard team to figure out; they've squeaked by with narrow wins against awful teams (overtime against 1-6 Idaho? WTF?) but then last week they found a way to beat Georgia Tech. They've racked up plenty of yards on opponents only to squander the scoring opportunities. Will those mistakes continue against N.C. State? Signs point to yes. I like the Wolfpack in a mild upset and a high-scoring game: N.C. State 42, Virginia 37.
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Posted by Ken in: sports

College Football Recap: Week 7
Monday, 2011 October 17 - 11:14 pm
Michigan State wins dirty over Michigan; N.C. State was idle.

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Posted by Ken in: sports

College Football Week 7 Games to Watch
Saturday, 2011 October 15 - 3:21 am
Michigan has a big game against Michigan State; N.C. State is idle.

Games to Watch on Saturday

At noon, obviously the UM-MSU game is the game to watch, and this week's Game of the Week; it's on ESPN. #11 Michigan is 6-0 and #23 Michigan State is 4-1; this game is crucial in the Big Ten Legends division, and it's the last chance for Michigan's seniors to get a win against the Spartans. Oh sure, you could watch #20 Baylor play #21 Texas A&M on FX, but you won't unless you live in Texas. There are several other games involving teams who have something to prove: Penn State playing Purdue on BTN, North Carolina playing Miami FL on (WRAL locally), and #15 South Carolina playing Mississippi State on the SEC Network (WNCN's alternate feed, if you get it). Oh, ESPN2 has Indiana against Wisconsin; the only question in that game is whether Wisconsin will score more than 70.

At 3:00 Florida State plays Duke on Heather Dinich at ESPN called this one an upset win for Duke, but I doubt it. At 3:30, your best bet is probably #6 Oklahoma State against #22 Texas on ABC/ESPN, an important Big 12 game. #1 LSU plays Tennessee on CBS, but Tennessee football just isn't very exciting these days. Ohio State plays #16 Illinois on ABC/ESPN; Ohio State is suffering badly lately but this one might be stay pretty close, as I'm sure Ron Zook will find a way to screw things up.

6:30 brings us Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest on This should be an interesting game; I think Wake Forest is for real this year, and VT is vulnerable. Florida plays #24 Auburn on ESPN at 7:00; Northwestern plays Iowa on BTN.

ABC is choosing to air NASCAR instead of football in primetime, so the evening matchups are not spectacular. If you wait until 10:15, you can watch #9 Oregon playing #18 Arizona State on ESPN in a key Pac-12 game.

Michigan Game Prediction: Michigan 24, Michigan State 17. This game is extremely hard to predict, but this game always comes down to rushing, and Michigan has the edge in that department this year. I think Denard Robinson will be careful to avoid interceptions, that MSU will have trouble establishing a running game, and the Michigan defense will get two sacks and two interceptions. I also think Kirk Cousins will pass for over 250 yards, with over 100 going to B.J. Cunningham. But in the end, barring major mistakes, Michigan should be able to churn out a victory. Some may point to MSU's highly-rated defense, but that defense has racked up statistics against inferior competition to date. MSU may be the best defense Michigan has faced, but Michigan is the best offense MSU has faced too. It'll be a great matchup.
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Posted by Ken in: sports

Dennis Ritchie
Thursday, 2011 October 13 - 12:02 am
class dennis_ritchie {
dennis_ritchie() { create_c_language(); create_unix(); }
~dennis_ritchie() { rest_in_peace(); }
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

College Football Recap: Week 6
Monday, 2011 October 10 - 11:49 pm
Michigan rallies to beat Northwestern; N.C. State holds off Central Michigan.

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Posted by Ken in: sports

College Football Week 6 Games to Watch
Friday, 2011 October 7 - 10:16 pm
Michigan plays another night game; N.C. State tries to regain its footing against Central Michigan.

Games to watch on Saturday

At noon, we start right off with this week's Game of the Week, as #3 Oklahoma takes on #11 Texas on ABC. I'm not sold on Texas yet, but maybe they'll keep this one close for a while. At least I hope so, because there aren't many other compelling matchups at noon... the Minnesota-Purdue kitten fight on ESPN? Florida State vs. Wake Forest on Eh.

At 3:30 N.C. State plays Central Michigan on We get #17 Florida against #1 LSU on CBS... this game doesn't quite have the luster it once had. Miami FL takes on #21 Virginia Tech in the race to avoid going 0-2 in the ACC; that's on ABC/ESPN. Iowa plays Penn State on ABC/ESPN; that might be one to keep an eye on as both teams are struggling to prove their legitimacy.

At 7:00 #12 Michigan travels to Northwestern; that game is on BTN. #10 Arkansas plays #15 Auburn on ESPN; I feel like I should care about that game but I kinda don't.

At 8:00 Ohio State plays #14 Nebraska on ABC. A few months ago most probably thought this would be the game of the year; now we'll see if Ohio State's pathetic offense can score any points at all against Nebraska's recently-exposed defense. Nebraska, it would not hurt my feelings if you stomped Ohio State into the dirt. Just sayin'.

Michigan Game Prediction: Michigan 44, Northwestern 27. I think Northwestern gets a few big plays but they don't have the horses to keep Michigan's running game in check.

N.C. State Game Prediction: N.C. State 27, Central Michigan 10. This game features the #101 rushing offense vs. the #103 rushing offense, but I think State's defense picks up a score off a turnover. I'm not confident at all about this prediction, what with State's inconsistency, but Central Michigan is a pretty terrible team too.
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Posted by Ken in: sports

Restaurant Review: Chuck's
Tuesday, 2011 October 4 - 11:26 pm
Chuck's is one of the newest ventures from acclaimed local chef Ashely Christensen. It features a variety of novel high-end burgers, like "The High and the Valley" with crushed avocado, bacon-onion jam, and blistered red peppers. As a burger aficionado, I was looking forward to the experience.

The restaurant is pretty; it has a retro diner feel to it, with bright red chairs and black tables. You order at the counter and someone brings your food out to you. Unfortunately the initial impression I got from the order-takers was not positive: there was no welcome greeting, only a haughty stare as they waited for me to pick what I wanted. And when I did give my order, there was no acknowledgement or follow-up. I'd expect some basic prompts like "which dipping sauce would you like for your fries?" or "what would you like to drink with your lunch today?", but no, it was just click on the register and then a bunch of glaring. It was off-putting.

As for the food itself, I was severely disappointed. The burger is very finely ground, not quite to paté consistency but certainly more meatloaf-like than burger-like. It had been pressed into a round mold instead of hand-formed. And then the burger came out with no char or sear, as if it had been cooked at far too low a temperature. It seemed almost steamed instead of grilled. And it was severely under-seasoned to boot.

I've heard of others who have had a better experience with the burger quality, but when you're paying $9 for a burger (without fries), it had better be awesome every time. I've also heard of horrific customer service experiences, like diners getting charged for poorly-cooked burgers that they tried to send back. And it is too much to ask to get a properly-sized glass of water, instead of these little four-ounce thimbles that they grudgingly allow you to serve yourself? (Oh, and the sodas are outrageously priced eight-ounce bottles.)

I'm a big fan of Ashley Christensen and the things she's trying to bring to Raleigh. But I can easily think of a dozen places around here that have better burgers and better service at a lower price, including national chains like Ruby Tuesday, Chili's and Applebee's. And that should be embarrassing to a good chef.

I'm hoping they can chalk up the problems to inexperienced staff rather than design, but I'll have to hear a lot of good things about the place before I go back again.

Rating: 1.5 / 5.0
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Posted by Ken in: food

Apple Introduces the iPhone 4S
Tuesday, 2011 October 4 - 11:02 pm
Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage along to introduce the newest iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 4S". The important new specs: a significantly faster A5 dual-core processor; an 8 megapixel camera with improved sensor and optics (f2.4 aperture!); HD video recording; Siri voice-recognition assistant; dual-mode CDMA and GSM radio; and availability on Sprint as well as AT&T and Verizon.

There seems to be widespread disappointment that Apple didn't announce a radically new iPhone 5. I'm not sure I understand this. Perhaps if Apple had called it an iPhone 5 and given it a new case design, people would have been happier?

I mean honestly, exactly what features do people believe are missing? I guess some people were hoping for a bigger screen, but the cost of that would have been lower pixel density, application compatibility issues, increased power consumption, poorer display quality, or some combination of those factors. LTE? I'd rather not sacrifice the battery life for a network with limited coverage and availability. I personally would have liked to have seen a near-field radio chip, but I can see that the infrastructure isn't there to support it yet. So really, what's missing?

It's an incremental improvement on an already-great phone. It has a best-in-class camera, display, processor, graphics chip, operating system, and application ecosystem. Oh, and there's Siri, which looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie. And still people complain.

The most ridiculous complaints come from people who own the iPhone 4, saying "it's not worth the upgrade". Well you know, most iPhone 4 owners aren't eligible for the carrier-subsidized price yet anyway. No, the 4S is mainly targeted at people like me, who have the 3GS and have been waiting for this upgrade opportunity, or for first-time iPhone buyers who would have bought the 4 this summer if not for the pending upgrade. There's a big pent-up demand, and the iPhone 4S is just what we were waiting for.

I'll be pre-ordering two on Friday.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

College Football Recap: Week 5
Sunday, 2011 October 2 - 9:48 pm
Michigan stomps Minnesota 58-0; N.C. State struggles against Georgia Tech, but makes the score respectable with some garbage-time touchdowns.

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Posted by Ken in: sports

College Football Week 5 Games to Watch
Saturday, 2011 October 1 - 12:25 am
Games to watch on Saturday

#19 Michigan takes on Minnesota at noon on BTN to open its Big Ten season. Minnesota is having a disastrous season so this might get ugly for them quickly. A more intriguing game is #24 Illinois vs. Northwestern on ESPN2. Dan Persa is set to return at quarterback for Northwestern, and Illinois might have a battle on its hands. #14 Texas A&M also plays #18 Arkansas in a game which will have some regional interest; that's on ESPN.

The games get more interesting at 3:30. Ohio State plays Michigan State on ABC/ESPN, in the game of "which offense can implode first". The alternate regional game on ABC/ESPN is N.C. State against Georgia Tech... of course there'll be plenty of people around here watching that one. Auburn plays #10 South Carolina on CBS; Arizona plays USC but I don't know where that'll be televised.

At 6:00 there'll be a very important ACC game as #11 Virginia Tech plays #13 Clemson, on ESPN2.

The prime time games include #3 Alabama vs #12 Florida on CBS. And this week's Game of the Week is #7 Wisconsin against #8 Nebraska on ABC, which features Russell Wilson having a dazzling season vs. the Nebraska defense, which is largely healthy for the first time this season.

Michigan Game Prediction: Michigan 48, Minnesota 10. Some are predicting that Minnesota's defense can keep this game competitive, but I'm not buying it. Michigan might rush for 500 yards and never have to put up a pass against Minnesota's woeful front seven.

N.C. State Game Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, N.C. State 20. I think Tech's defense is too much for N.C. State; meanwhile N.C. State's patchwork defense will have trouble keeping Tech out of the end zone.
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Posted by Ken in: sports

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