Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Random Bits

A few random things I came across while eating my lunch today.

First, there's this hilarious video about a guy and his struggles with his Mac.

As a former Mac user, I knew exactly what this guy was talking about. I'd still say that OSX crashes less often than XP (though still more often than Linux,) but definitely hangs just as often if not more. I definitely did a "Force Quit" on my old G5 on a regular basis. It definitely seemed to have extended (greater than 5 seconds) hangs that it would recover from as well. I often mused that the reason Apple pushed multi-CPU machines was because it was easier than fixing pre-emptive scheduling in OSX.

Next, there's this little nugget from Cato. It's not surprising to me to see that public schools spend more per student than private ones. Government run businesses are notoriously inefficient. Can a government run business ever be efficient? The USSR never seemed to have any luck, and our school system seems to be striking out as well. Of course there's more to the story than Cato or the Goldwater Institute would like to admit. Public schools include lots of "special need" students that may not be as common in private schools (maybe even non-existent?) It seems likely that per-student spending on such kids is much higher than on other kids. In general, having to support diverse groups of children is going to cause a lot of inefficiencies. Of course you can argue that's just more proof that public schools should be discarded.

Finally, Monday night I watched the MNF game, Chicago at Arizona. A lot of people were blown away by how Arizona "found a way" to lose a game where they had a big lead. That wasn't the most memorable thing to me though. I came away from that game thinking "ESPN has to get rid of Tony Kornheiser."

Now a lot of people have really liked him on MNF. This was easily the mos interesting game of the year so far on MNF, and it showed the problems with a guy like Kornheiser. He is obvious and unoriginal. He does not have insights, and simply looks to contradict the other commentators.

For example, there were a couple of times late in the second quarter where Chicago made bad turnovers. Arizona had chances to really build their lead. It could have been 35-0, but instead it was 20-0. That's a big difference. Theismann and the visiting Charles Barkley tried to raise the possibility of this being a potential turning point in the game. Arizona did not have the killer instinct to put away Chicago, and this was going to lead to a Chicago comeback. You can argue if that was insightful of them or not, but all Kornheiser could say was "Hey look at the scoreboard! Arizona is up by 20! There is no turning point!"

Later, Theismann first wanted Arizona to let Matt Leinart throw the ball more, since that was the only way they had success. Then after some incomplete passes, Theismann warned about how incomplete passes were stopping the clock and leaving Chicago with time to make a comeback. Of course Kornheiser had to point out the contradiction by Theismann, but that's all he did. He had nothing more insightful like "Just run the ball, even if you get 0 yards and go three-and-out" or "Don't worry about stopping the clock just stay aggressive, and have confidence in your defense." Theismann wanting to have it both ways is annoying, but Kornheiser just being "hey you screwed up, nyah nyah" is much worse.

Kornheiser is like the guy you watch an action movie with who is always pointing out how such and such stunt is impossible. Eventually you stop inviting that guy to watch movies with you. ESPN probably can't make that call, yet, but they will have to. He's OK in games that are blow-outs, where ragging on the team being blown out is one of the only wayts to keep it interesting. He just doesn't work in a game where the game itself is interesting. His negativity is just annoying.

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