20141024

Whither the iPad

Just trying to do a little catching up on my RSS reading (couple weeks behind, sadly).  Caught this Stretechery article on the iPad, and think there's at least one facet he isn't catching.

Specifically, he calls out Apple for not doing enough to get developers to work on the iPad.  I'm not saying he's wrong there (I really don't know, and certainly see it as possible), but he's certainly overlooking one factor, which is that Apple is pushing developers away from device-specific solutions with auto-layout and moving away from pixel-perfect design.

Is that going to help the iPad?  I don't know (but wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't), but it does mean that there are fewer iPad-specific apps, going forward.  It has basically become indistinguishable, going forward.

20141023

Thoughts on iPad Air 2

I don't have a whole lot to say about this, but saw this review of the new, full-sized iPad, and wonder what the author was looking for.  They can't revolutionize the device every year.  Heck, look at the difference between the Retina Mini and the Mini 3.

Anyway, I received my Air 2 yesterday.  One oddity: the box only says iPad Air, not "iPad Air 2".  Only indication that I had the right model was that the color was listed as "Space Gray".

I don't have a whole lot to say about the upgrade, except that I'm thrilled with it.  It does everything the old one does, a LOT better.  I don't yet have anything that really takes advantage of the speed, yet, but hope will get some things soon.

Regardless, I'm very happy with the purchase.

20141020

Follow-up on retina iMac

Just a minor correction to my discussion of the iMac from the other day.  The memory is user-replaceable (thanks, ifixit), so it isn't quite as expensive as I was thinking.  Getting 16GB RAM to start (especially since they've provisioning it as 2x8, rather than 4x4), and later upgrading to 32GB will work fine.

So my odds of getting one went up a bit.

Escaping the cat

The one thing I didn't understand, going into the Caps game against the Panthers, Saturday night, was why Holtby got the night off.  There was a night off on either side, so it didn't seem necessary.  Peters was fine, and I don't think it hurt them, but I was surprised.

I wrote that I was worried about a mental let-down facing Florida the other night.  Well, they managed to avoid that fate; they heavily dominated possession for the first two periods.  They only got one goal to show for it, but they forced a number of very good (or very lucky, in a couple cases) saves out of Montoya.  And that's really the best you can ask; sometimes you just don't get the bounces.

And I should also mention that that was with the Cats holding a 127-7 advantage in seconds of power play time.  So really nothing to complain about over that span.

Oh, and I should point out the goal itself; the Chimmer-Ward line doesn't tend to get pretty goals, but this one was.  Ward worked the puck around the boards, behind the net, over to Fehr in the corner.  The entire defense collapsed on that side, and Fehr found Chimmer just at the far side of the net, all alone.  He had a perfect set-up for a one-timer, but faked it and brought it back to the other side for a completely open backhand.  I joke about Chimmer being "Stonehands" from time to time, but that was really nice work.

And I should also point out that that line was on fire, all night, getting a lot of good chances.  It might not've worked out, beyond that one tally, but that wasn't the fault of effort.  Just excellent goaltending and a little bad luck.

In the third period, with Florida lengthening its lead in power play time, the game was tied up.  It was a largely uneventful period, shot-wise, but on the power play, Boyes found the rebound of a Bergenheim shot, and slotted it home.  Pretty sure Peters didn't know where the puck was, with all the bodies around him.

Anyway, that was enough to send the game into overtime, where both teams got some chances, but nobody was able to tally.

Which sent us back to the shootout again; I'm already getting tired of that.  Twenty-five percent last season was quite enough; we don't need to "improve" on that, this year.

On the plus side, the results were much better, this time around.  Kuzya, Backis, and OV all tallied, which Huberdeau getting the lone score for Florida.  So, the result was good, even if the method of getting there was a little less than ideal.

Oh, and Backstrom failed to record a point in his 500th career game; disappointed for him, in that respect.

20141017

Caps bedevil New Jersey

Last night's game was another with big between-period transitions.  So big, that I wonder if mid-game transitions might be one of Trotz's strengths, as a coach.

The game started out really well, with a nice Brouwer rush down the right side, and OV cleaning up his rebound in pretty fashion, resulting in a goal only thirty-six seconds into the game.  But the rest of the period was basically all New Jersey.

The only exception was a nice rush, again down the right side, by Chris Brown, but he capped it himself with a laser of a shot to the roof of the net.  Quite unexpected from him (for me, at least).

The rest of the period, though, was New Jersey just attacking in waves.  Tons of zone time, a lot of shots, and a couple of power plays.  Plus two goals, both on point shots from rookie Severson.

Aside from those two shots (both heavily screened by OV as he attempted blocks), Holtby was unbelievably good.  Seriously, he had at least three "I can't believe he got that" stops (two on Cammalleri, and one on Jagr from point-blank.  The latter was at the tail-end of a gorgeous run of four straight one-touch passes across the zone by the Devils).

So, almost completely undeserved, the Caps took a tie into the intermission.

The second period was actually even more unbalanced than the first, but in the opposite direction, ending with the Caps leading in shots on goal.  There was much less scoring, however, as only MarJo was able to find the netting.  Good on him for firing the shot; last year he probably wouldn't have.

The third period also went the Caps way, although not by as much, shot-wise.  But less than a minute in, Backstrom extended the lead by deflecting a Niskanen point shot to the near side of the net (it was headed across), and that was pretty much the end of the game seeming competitive.

Ward got on the scoreboard a couple minutes later, and his shot off the back boards, off the back of Schneider's skate, sent Corey to the bench.  Clemmenson finished it respectably, although he was beaten by a seeing-eye wrister from Burakovsky five and a half minutes later.

That was it for the scoring, and I think the Caps were the only ones to threaten, thereafter, despite the Devils getting the only remaining power play.

The top line definitely deserves mention for kudos, as they were the three top shooters in the game, with thirteen shots between them.

The team, as a whole, deserves praise for keeping the shots against down (after the abysmal first period, especially).  The team hasn't allowed more than thirty shots in a game yet, which is impressive.  Maybe that investment in D is paying off.

The PK improved a little bit.  I don't think they've yet managed to kill a penalty without allowing a shot, but they did drop below two shots per PK for the night.  That's still not great, but it's definitely improvement.

The power play continues to look lethal, even when OV's getting a breather.  That latter is especially impressive.  The Devils actually kept OV from getting any great shots off, but the Caps responded to the pressure there by feeding the interior.  They didn't get any goals off those attempts, but they did get a number of good chances.  I feel good about it.

And Burakovsky continues to play beyond his years.  He took Nick's spot on the power play for a bit, and looked very calm and controlled in doing it.  Again, I was skeptical, but he's making a believer out of me (of course, a point a game will do that).  The big question remaining with him is how he'll respond when things go less well.  If he doesn't get discouraged, then he should stay at that position for the rest of the season.

Laich moved up to Bura's wing, with Fehr dropping back to center Ward and Chimmer.  Those moves both worked well, with Laich getting a pair of assists, and the third line doing yeoman's work against the Devils top line.

Basically, there was nothing not to like about last night's game.  And nothing really to dislike about how the season's gone, so far.  The Caps opponents, so far, are 12-6-1 (10-4-1 in non-Caps games), so the Caps are getting it done against some pretty stiff competition.

The book on the Caps, though, for the entire OV era, is that they play to the level of their competition.  So we'll have to see how they respond to Florida coming to town on Saturday (with the Panthers putting Montoya in goal, according to a reporter on Twitter).  If they play hard, we'll know that Trotz has really instilled a new mentality in the team.  If not... well, we'll try not to dwell on it.

Another Apple note

One other item of note was the new iMac Retina.  Man, I'm excited about that display.  I really wanted to get a Mac Pro for my next computer, but now I'm reconsidering.

Marco had a nice summary of the state of the art, mentioning CPU/GPU power comparisons between the iMac and Mac Pro as well as interconnects, now and for the foreseeable future, and it's got me thinking about that iMac pretty seriously.

At 14.7 Megapixels, I could get most of a D4 RAW image on screen, at full resolution.  That just blows me away, honestly.  Plus, USB3, Thunderbolt, and Bluetooth LE.  Faster photo import, greater expansion capabilities, and continuity.  Those things will make a difference for me.  To say nothing of what the higher resolution will do for photos.  Even though the CPU will be a significant upgrade, and the GPU probably an even bigger one, it's that improve I/O that will make the most difference for me.

It's expensive (not being able to get aftermarket RAM, due to lack of upgradability, especially hurts), but would help me a lot.

Glad i didn't...

stay up late last night to order the new iPad.  I was thinking about it, especially when I finished watching the Caps game just after 2300.  So I thought it'd only be another hour.

But I checked after my bike ride (0645 or so), and it was still unavailable for order.

And I've checked several times since then, and still unavailable.

I'm looking forward to it, but they're not making it easy.

And as a side-note, I didn't mention it here (only on twitter), I looked at the new iPad, and my reaction was that there was nothing unpredictable.  They made it thinner, and a bit faster, and brought over a bunch of features from the iPhone (at least one of which helped them to make it thinner), and that's it.

Nothing individually exciting, but I'm still excited at the prospect.  Of course, part of that is that my current iPad is an iPad 2 (ordered within a day or two of initial release) whose battery is slowly dying.  And that has started blue-screening (well, rainbow-screening) under iOS8.

20141015

A truer wheel

One side note I forgot about with my accident.  A week or so before the accident, I'd noticed that my rear wheel was a bit out of true, and debated what to do about it.  I ended up getting a Wheel Truing Stand that hooks into my repair stand (made me glad I paid the extra for the PCS-10 instead of the PCS-9; I debated that for quite a while.  The wheel stand doesn't mount on the -9).

I was a little annoyed that the "race quality" Mavic Ksyrium Equipe S wheels went out of true in less than 1k miles, but it didn't seem like a big deal to correct.

I also, of course, needed a spoke wrench for the task.

The tools arrived Friday, I think, and Saturday night I decided to give it a go.  I'm sure it took me considerably longer than it would take someone with experience, but it was pretty simple to get it very true.

And then, of course, it was Sunday morning that the wheel got tacoed.  Ugh.

I won't say it was enough for me to feel up to doing my own wheel assembly, but I did feel quite good about the truing.

Couple more Caps notes

A few things I forgot, earlier, on looking at early returns on the Caps.

One is that the defensemen are charging in a lot, even Alzner and Orpik, and that's worked well for them.

Two is that Schmidt looks very good.  I'm not sure about playing him over Orlov, when he's healthy, but I'd play him over anyone else currently injured.  And I'd certainly have to think about it vs Orlov.  Quiet, but effective.

Three is that Orpik looks quite good, so far.  I still think his contract is an impending disaster, but at least it isn't starting out as a disaster.  It's still too much, and for WAY too much term, but he's looked good so far.  His open-ice hits have definitely had incoming forwards thinking.  We'll just have to hope they find a way out from under the back-end.  Maybe Florida will want him so they can reach the floor.