Archive for August, 2011

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Why I Switched Away From Netfirms

God, I’ve been on the internet for a long time. I was hosted by Netfirms, the formerly Canadian owned web host, for approximately five years. They’ve not been the most reliable host on the planet, though. They were not quick to keep up with changes in the industry, and they frequently had issues with uptime. But they were cheap.

Recently Netfirms was bought out by a competitor, and a supposedly wonderful transition was in store for everyone to a new and updated platform. I endured the switch for about a month. Service on the new system was terrible, intermittent, and they downgraded some of the features I had enjoyed previously for ‘security’ reasons.

I really wasn’t the only one with issues after the buy out and switch over. Just about everywhere I looked their customers were complaining.

I couldn’t take the place any longer, so I decided to make the switch on Tuesday to Media Temple, the ever popular web host, and I am currently in the process of migrating all of my web sites over. So far, it’s been painless and quick. Sure, I pay a little more, but I get a host that is actually fairly stable and reliable.

Win/win for me and the new host.

Could It Get Any Worse?

Despair, pessimism, and hopelessness. All classic signs of depression, though, I am not depressed; I am, however, looking at the conditions around me and without fail I feel some mix of these emotions. It’s tough to imagine something more than our current conditions allow–a failing of evolution, perhaps–but seeing our leaders fail to make the decisions that will create a more harmonious budget and debt burden, whether left or right, Democrat or Republican, is a little tough to handle.

Yes. It can get worse. The DJIA went from close to 13k to a little above 10k in a few short weeks.

Our economic outlook hasn’t been particularly positive for over three years. Our political system is failing to live up to its own lofty standards, and I’m getting tired of this sense of uselessness I feel. I have only so much control over my future, and the rest is at the feet of politicians pretending to know what is best for my life–how they think I should live, what they think my needs and desires should be.

Perhaps things will turn around and our futures will get brighter. But that can’t happen until our national, and personal, budgets are in order. The debate surrounding the national debt is likely to continue for some time–the debate concerning entitlements needs to happen soon and with earnest if the national debt is to ever be retired.

But we can’t do anything about it if citizens are unwilling to sacrifice in the form of increased taxes and heavily reduced benefits. And before that happens, politicians need to sacrifice their careers in order to nudge people in that direction. The more people receive, the harder it is to ween them from it, and the harder it is to get a politician to vote to reduce it.

Whereas goods labeled “Made in China” make up 2.7% of U.S. consumer spending, only 1.2% actually reflects the cost of the imported goods. Thus, on average, of every dollar spent on an item labeled “Made in China,” 55 cents go for services produced in the United States. In other words, the U.S. content of “Made in China” is about 55%.

Galina Hale and Bart Hobijn

Option Offenses

I am supremely fascinated by one particular variation of the QB ISO Michigan ran with Denard Robinson last year. One of the first times I saw this play, or at least recognized it, was during the Notre Dame game in 2010.

Michigan had gone through I think one or two drives that stalled pretty badly–in spite of some minor successes, they couldn’t get first downs. Notre Dame had scored by this time, but the starting quarterback went out of the game after diving in for the touchdown. Michigan’s (HISTORICALLY AWFUL DEFENSE!) had intercepted the backup quarterback’s pass and Michigan was at the Notre Dame 31 yard line. Michigan lines up in a shotgun trips left, with a tight end, and h back to the strong side.

This is a formation used pretty often in the offense in 2010. Not to scale, or perfectly drawn up.

At the snap, the play starts to develop into a QB off tackle run, one which is wildly successful later in the game, with the half back lead blocking for Robinson. The safety screams towards the line of scrimmage to meet the play, and the (nickle back?) cheats in towards the back field and leaves the slot receiver alone, as it was already well established that Robinson could run the football. At this point the strong safety and corner back are giving the remaining two receivers a lot of space on the outside, and it looks as if the screen pass is going to be open for a good gain.

Some one is cheating their way into the backfield on this one.

As Denard heads towards the line of scrimmage it becomes obvious that the nickle back and safety aren’t even remotely interested in covering the slot man, leaving him absolutely wide open for an easy throw. Because the nickle back is out of position, having assumed the safety would be there to cover his man, there’s no one to defend against the throw or catch Roundtree as he races into the end zone.

Coach isn’t going to happy.

Easy looking touchdown.

So why do I talk about option offenses in the title when this looks like a pass play? Because the option, like this play, is designed to catch a defender out of position, leaving one of the possible options open for a nice gain. In this instance the option is a run, a throw to the slot receiver, or what looks like a possible screen pass.

The threat of Denard running leaves the defense in a position to either cover everybody and let him run free as he’s done most of the season, or to cheat up and meet him at the point of attack, leaving a guy wide open.

This is why I liked the Rodriguez offense last year, in spite of the team’s struggles. This is one hell of a play, helped by Notre Dame defenders being wildly out of position.