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Month: October 2011 (page 1 of 2)

Collapse 2011: Prelude

Before 2004, being a Red Sox meant expecting the worst possible outcome for your team. And even when you were expecting, the manner of the outcome still managed to exceed what’s in the darkest recesses of your mind and annihilate your spirit. The Bucky Dent home run. Game 6 of the 86 worlds series.  Grady Little in 2003.

1978 one game playoff - Bucky Dent

Then Dave Roberts stole a base in the ninth inning of game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.  And that was the moment when everything flipped.  Immediately, bounces stared going our way. Umpires reversed calls in our favor.  The 2004 Boston Red Sox never lost a game after Dave Roberts steals that base.  It was the beginning of an amazing era in Red Sox history and being a Red Sox fan.

Dave Roberts steals second

Suddenly, the team was an annual winner.  Organizationally, they did things you always hoped for.  Like develop young players.  They spent tons of money and outbid other teams for free agents you wanted.  Fenway Park was turned into this perfect cathedral of baseball.  Packed every night with overjoyed people.  They had lots of likable players.  They had a likable manager.  We had a general manager who hung out with Pearl Jam.  A second championship came in 2007.  It was a time of bliss for fans of the Boston Red Sox.

The 2011 team was absolutely stacked. There was no reason to think that competing for another world series championship was realistic. I started telling anyone who would listen that the team was so complete that it would not only win 100 games, but the Sox would also challenge the single season record for most wins.  They got off to a horrible 2-10 start.  But even then, I never worried.  I figured it was just a matter of time before they figured things out and started winning.  And I was right.  After that 2-10 start they were the best team in baseball.

Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez

Until September came.

I’m not exactly when the Red Sox ship reversed course.  It seems like it was Hurricane Irene.  When September came, they were no longer that stacked team that would win the whole thing.  They were something else.  What they were didn’t reveal itself right away.  Instead, it was reveal slowly over a month of disastrous baseball.  They were the worst team in baseball in September.  They became the worst team I’ve ever watch play the game.

And on the 28th day of September, they played game 162.

David Ortiz in the dugout after game 162

 

The Collapse of the 2011 Boston Red Sox


It’s going to take me a few days to write a post about the #redsox game 162 and the 2011 collapse. Lots of thoughts to pull together.Thu Sep 29 20:51:39 via TweetDeck

 

That’s what I tweeted on September 29, 2011.  The day after the Red Sox lost game 162 in Baltimore and eliminated themselves from this year’s playoffs.  It’s actually taken me longer than I thought because the collapse with my beloved Sox wasn’t just on the field, it was throughout the organization. And the fallout keeps coming.  First, the manager quits1Then the GM walks away.

It’s a lot to take in. And everyday, us Sox fans learn a little bit more. None of it good.

All of this has been filling my mind with thoughts.  I want to rant.  I want to analyze.  I want to cleanse.

And it’s going to take some time.  What I first thought was a lengthy post is now probably a 3 or 4 parter.  There’s THAT much ground to cover .


  1. Or gets fired, depending on who  you ask 

Gruber Gets Us

An by “us”, I’m referring to my family.  In writing about the recent iPhone 4S announcement by Apple, John Gruber writes:

As for the argument that Apple has failed because the iPhone 4S, however nice an improvement overall, is not enough to entice iPhone 4 users to upgrade — so what? Normal people don’t buy brand-new $700 smartphones each and every year. In the U.S. they buy them on two-year contracts, and they don’t shop for new ones until their old contracts are over. So the iPhone that the 4S needs to present a compelling upgrade for is the 3GS, not the 4. And the iPhone 4S absolutely smokes the 3GS. It’s crazy better than the 3GS. 2009 3GS buyers who skipped the iPhone 4 — which I’m guessing are most of them — ought to be delighted by the iPhone 4S.

We saw the same criticism with the iPad 2 — that it wasn’t a compelling upgrade for existing iPad owners. In a way, those critics are right — the iPad 2 is not a compelling upgrade. But it wasn’t supposed to be — Apple expected iPad 1 owners to keep using the iPads they already own. Normal people don’t replace $600 gadgets annually — and they rightfully expect their $600 gadgets to remain useful and relevant for more than 12 months.

I read that and pretty much saw how my mind (and wallet) think when considering new Apple products.  I really don’t want to be an annual iPhone upgrade cycle.  So the iPhone 4S really should be compared to the iPhone 3GS in my purchasing decision making.

Similarly, there’s no way I’m dropping $499 every year on the latest iPad.  That’s just insane.  I can only hope that the next iPad product line iteration smokes the first generation iPad.  I still haven’t decided what the cycle should be for upgrading the family iPad.  My current thinking is $499 every two years seems a bit steep for what is not a critical piece of computing hardware within the household.  I imagine as Mason and Jude get older, the importance of the iPad will rise within our family.  In fact I expect them to have their own iPads as their primary computing device for school well before they have laptops or desktops.  Even when they get to the point of having to write reports and research papers, I’m thinking they’ll be more inclined to use another computer they have access to, such as at a library, instead of having their own tradition laptop or desktop.

Lastly, another great thought from Gruber is his comparison of the iPhone 4 design to the Porsche 911 design.  I think it’s spot on.

Apple pursues timeless style, not fleeting trendiness. This iPhone design might be like that of the Porsche 911 — a distinctive, iconic, timeless, instantly-recognizable representation of the product’s brand itself.

Steve Jobs Tributes

There’s been a abundance of excellent web pages published giving tribute to the life and legacy of Steve Jobs in addition to the many excellent articles and blog posts.  Here’s a collection of some of the ones I’ve appreciated the most.

Apple homepage

Apple1

Apple2

 

 

Read more

On the passing of Steve Jobs

And just like that, Steve Jobs was gone.

(Note: I rarely cross post the same piece to multiple blogs.  But in a tribute to Steve Jobs, I’m going to do so with this post.  Steve liked to say that he worked where technology met the liberal arts. His work crossed a lot of boundaries.  In that spirit, I’m going to share this on the many blogs I contribute to where the subject cross various boundaries.) 

I have always found it interesting to assess how I react to the passing of people whom I never got a chance to meet.  But despite that, they’re still people that have played a significant role in my life by inspiring me, adding joy, and impacting my life in so many positive ways.  It always takes me a while to collect my thoughts and find that proper clarity.  Clarity that helps me determine the proper perspective and context of the significance of the person the world has just lost.  As clarity emerged for me late last night, too late for me to start writing anything, I realized that the last time I felt this deep sense of loss (for someone who I had never met) was when Jerry Garcia died

Like Jerry Garcia, Steve Jobs infused a lot of joy into my life. Jerry did it with the sounds of his guitar, the songs he played, and the festive parties1 we both participated in.  Steve jobs impacted my life with technology.  Life changing technology.  As Steve would put it, it was (and is) technology infused with the  liberal arts.

I did not grow up an Apple user.  I do not have a story that involves my first Apple II. In fact, I learned computing on TRS-80s, Commodore 64s, and IBM PCs.  On those systems, I learned how to write programs in BASIC, how to operate MS-DOS, and how to launch computer games via the DOS prompt. 

Back in the 80s, my mother was involved with desktop publishing and, as you might expect, involved with evaluating Apple products and desktop publishing software.  My first exposure to Apple and the genius of Steve Jobs was the Macintosh she brought home to evaluate  The Macintosh – a personal computer with a graphical user interface that made a fun, somehow appealing deep tone announcing its presence whenever you turned it on.  Mom may have brought that home to evaluate for work, but I was the one really evaluating it.2 This only child found an instant playmate.  MacPaint.  Solitaire.  Just moving the mouse around and seeing the cursor move with you was a thrill.  It felt like…the future.

You would think that such an experience would create an Apple fanboy for life.  But it didn’t happen that way.  The main computer in the house remained an IBM PC.  That’s what got me through high school papers and college applications.  Attending the University of Vermont meant having a PC as well.  And so it went for me.  Developing early computing proficiencies that do this day have me primarily working primarily on a windows machine.  Nevertheless, the windows machines were life changing and would not be the same without Steve’s innovations with the graphical user interface.  I use computers every day.  Personally and professionally.  I can manipulate, absorb, and produce information in countless ways.  Ways I never would have imagined as a 13 year old boy.  If Steve doesn’t evolve personal computing with the GUI, I’m probably not writing this blog post right now. Or working in the job I have right now.  Or living in the house I am right now. Thank you, Steve

No, Steve Jobs didn’t start impacting my life with his own life altering inventions until the iPod came out. That was the first Apple product I ever owned. When I got one, my music collection was already spinning out control.  Having to select 10 CDs to take with me in the car or to work was not only hard to do due to having to think ahead about what I might want to listen to 4 hours from now, but also time consuming.  The iPod changed everything.  I could put the bulk of my music and have it at my fingertips for any moment. And it was the size of my wallet.  So small that it was easy to misplace. I once wrote that if my house was on fire, I would first make sure my family was safe then see if I could run back inside and grab the iPod. It was a device that infused my life with a constant soundtrack.  Thank you, Steve.

And Apple and I went from there.  The iPod was a gateway drug device. The iPhone. I can’t even tell you how much the iPhone has changed my life and so many others.  All this information from every corner of the globe.  In my pocket.  Thank you, Steve.

The evolutionary device of the iPhone, the iPad has once again shown me the future.  All I need to do is watch my kids with an iPad.  It’s just like when my Mom brought that Macintosh home.  I  have given my kids zero instruction with an iPad. They are three and five years old and they can both find a movie on Netflix, browse maps, play Angry Birds, and launch apps to help them learn spelling, math, and music.  It is the future.  My kids thank you, Steve.

They also thank you for Pixar. And the most impressive family friendly animated films the world has ever seen. 

The inventions of Steve Jobs continue to infuse the life of this family.  A family slowly morphing into an Apple household.  My wife now has a Macbook Air.  A machine so impressive that I myself have thought of ditching the windows laptop and purchasing one. 

It is perfectly natural, that I learned about Steve Jobs on his invention.  An iPhone.  I then used the same device to connect with friends on Twitter and Facebook.  And then used an iPad to read news stories and coverage of his death. His legacy and impact will be felt for generations to come.  It is hard to sound full of hyperbole with Steve Jobs.  He was the Einstein and Henry Ford of our times. He will be missed and there will never be another.


  1. aka Grateful Dead concerts 

  2. Looking back, maybe that was Mom’s plan all along.  To see how a 13 year old boy can grasp the Mac with zero instruction and guidance. 

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