74 thoughts on “February 20, 2017: Ping-Pong”

    1. Hoo boy, that trade is something. I read Cousins' pending free agency might have suppressed demand, but really...no other team offered up a better package?

      1. Rumor has it that a team did offer a better package. The Pistons are said to have offered Andre Drummond. Who is the same age as Buddy Hield. And it was the Kings that turned them down!

          1. Yes, they would also lose the 1st their getting from the Pelicans if it is top-3. So they need to tank and hope the lottery isn't hilariously cruel to them.

            1. So rather than possibly play the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, the Kings will look to add more young players. They have not reached the playoffs since 2006.

              Sacramento stands to lose its first-round pick to Chicago if it’s outside of the top 10 from a 2011 trade for J.J. Hickson. A Kings team without Cousins and Rudy Gay, out for the season because of a torn Achilles’ tendon, figures to plummet in the standings.

              Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article133786869.html#storylink=cpy

              You know who I really miss? JJ Hickson.

              also, a small reminder: Hassan Whiteside was a 2nd-round pick of the Kings back in 2010. He played in 19 games over 2 seasons, including missing time after surgery for a torn patellar tendon, then was stuck in the D-League, went to China and Lebanon, discovered a game, and now is a star.

          1. Just saw that Vivek apparently thinks Buddy has Steph Curry potential. Hield could just have easily missed a bunch of half-court shots on Saturday night too, so I guess in some way's he's right.

            Maybe they're planning to have Buddy play as the designated cherry picker in Ranadive's innovative 4-on-5 formation.

    2. trading a star big for a moderately-ceilinged 2-guard? What could possibly go wrong?

      also, Tyreke again? Ugh.

        1. I am guessing that Ranadive is pretty quickly wearing out his welcome with the locals.

          And Vlade doesn't seem able to corral him. Either that, or he's complicit.

        2. I'm sure that Dave Joerger is thrilled. At least he has a strong history of working with D-League talent.

  1. So yeah, to the beginner curlers out there, take solace in knowing that, even seven years down the road, you can give up an 8-ender as I did last night.

    1. We lost 16-1 last night. We're regressing. I have today off so I might go to the curling center for an hour. I'm embarrassed to say I actually had trouble falling asleep last night while thinking about it!

  2. My athletic outlet used to be tennis, but I ran out of people to play with. Anyone here play tennis?

    1. Back when I was still in California I really enjoyed playing racquetball. The court on our camp at Pendleton was almost never occupied.

        1. I loved (but was terrible at) racquetball in college and law school. Haven't played for 10 years. Wish there were a place and an opponent for me somewhere around here.

          Played some tennis when we lived in Mankato. Wish there were someone to play against around here too. I might look into that...

          True Racquetball Story:
          Here's how bad I am: In college, was playing against a roommate. First game, I scored maybe two or three times. Second game, the same. Third game, I scored like 10.
          "Hey, I'm getting better!" I said.
          "Uh, Matt..." he said, switching his racket from his left hand to his right...

          1. I played a lot in h.s., particularly with a friend who was a very good tennis player (on the girl's team). I thought I was a pretty decent player. Then I got to college and hurt my knee. No lateral quickness at all. I played once with a buddy on the football team (who definitely was better than I'd ever been) and I don't think I scored a point. I apologized profusely to him for not giving him any competition, and never played again (eventually selling or giving away my racquet).

  3. Does anyone have recommendations for computer speakers? I'm not a gamer or anything. Just listen to music while working on the computer.

    1. I just have the standard minis that came with my HP Pavilion (no subwoofer). They sound just fine to me, even if they are the 2 Broke Girls of speakers.

    2. I have a set of Bose speakers that I got from target for less than a hundred bucks. Decent sound, but I'm not audiophile, so your mileage etc.

    3. Audiophile here! Audioengine A2+ are excellent for music and I think around $250 a pair. They have a sub output if you wanted to add a subwoofer down the road.

      For something that's less money and still good all around, the Logitech Z series is good. I'm not as up on computer speakers but I think it's the 623 model that I'm thinking of.

      1. Do you do A2 with a sub or without? Still undecided on spending that much but I have to admit to myself that that is where I do a majority of my listening.

        1. Without is still very strong. I've experienced the A2s with and without subs, and for many, I think without is probably enough. My own experience at home is to use AirPlay or simple Bluetooth to send to the speaker system, but if the computer were my "home base" I'd use the A2s without a sub if it wasn't a huge space. If you have a larger space for your listening area, I'd add the sub.

        2. For me, I tend to want a subwoofer for movie viewing instead of music listening. Most music today is compressed anyways and doesn't have that wide of range. We got a soundbar and subwoofer for our PS3 and cable box along with optical and digital cables, respectively, and you can really feel the special effects.

          1. Most music today is compressed anyways and doesn't have that wide of range.

            This is very, very wrong. Music is no more compressed now than it was in the past, and is less so, so long as you know where to look. A subwoofer is as critical for music as it is for cinema as long as you have a system that will make use of it. This should be obvious, but we aren't automatically compressing music for the hell of it at this point. It's compressed because we're using terrible sources like Bluetooth.

            1. my understanding is that AAC/MP4 and MP3 are pretty lossy compression standards. Doesn't iTunes use MP3 format as the default?

              1. AAC is default at this point, I thought. It's lossy to some degree, yes. Apple's never been about best quality - they err on the side of ease of use. You can get decent quality if you use AirPlay, though. I use my iPad to control my Marantz receiver, which is capable of much better audio quality than the iPad or any phones we have here. The iPad then becomes naught more than a remote control while the receiver plays my source (in my case, Tidal, though you can use Spotify or Pandora) and very little loss is introduced.

                It should be mentioned that I have eleventy beers in me and this took forever to type, so we'll see how it looks in the light of day.

              2. MP3 isn't great, but because it's so popular people have spent a lot of time improving the encoders such that even 128 kbps is okay for a lot of things. MP4 is a container, so it doesn't count. AAC is better regarded than MP3 but it's close these days.

                Almost all audio and video codecs are lossy. There is so much "wasted" information in lossless formats (e.g. FLAC) that knowledge about how humans hear allows you to toss over half of the information in the music and no one will notice. Because of that, lossy formats reign because of their smaller size and still high quality range.

                1. FLAC is still important for recording raw audio data or making the best quality transfer to another format. Neil Young's Pono is a bit ridiculous, but if I had a bunch of high quality concert bootlegs recorded in analog format (not that I have those...), I'd keep the FLAC around for futureproofing purposes.

                  Same with shooting RAW over JPG if your camera allows it, except there you actually can perceive the difference in file quality.

                  1. If you have the means (e.g. space), absolutely digitize things in a lossless format and then transcode to the format of choice for convenience. MP3 and AAC dominate now but I am skeptical it will last forever. Opus might eventually overtake them.

                    RAW vs JPEG is similar but a bit different still. Most RAW photos are straight dumps from the sensors so you have all of the information possible. Many of them are 10-bit photos instead of JPEG's 8-bit plus they haven't been color or exposure corrected. That means you usually can work with the exposure about a stop above or below. For audio, I think the equivalent would be having access to the masters themselves instead of the compressed version on CD.

            2. Compression in dynamic range or compression in how the music is stored? The latter has always happened but the former is more prevalent than before. Not that I think you're unaware of it, but pointing out that "compression" isn't a precise term.

    4. I've had a pair of Logitech speakers going on 13 or 14 years now, since college. Simple 2.1 system. Couldn't have cost me more than $40 at the time.

      1. Same. I accidentally left them out in the rain one night (I use them while brewing, so not sober) and they still work great. Even the sub,somehow.

      1. I'm going to be there for a couple days at the end of March so I could actually make that work.

        1. I mounted the system under my desk and streamed audio from my PC to it; used the center speaker and two side speakers and subwoofer, and didn't even unpack the rear speakers. I ended up changing things out when looking for a different form factor.

  4. My athletic outlet is bowling. I'm nothing great, but it's the only sport at which I'm at least half-way decent.

  5. I golf. I'm not good at it and never have any aspirations of being good at it (although I am a decent chipper and can sink some putts). I just like going out on a nice day and spraying the ball around the course and taking in the sunshine

  6. I had a ping-pong table at my house when I was a teenager and went to college thinking I was pretty good. I got humbled for a while but spent much of my first 2 years getting to the point where I could at least by competitive with the best players on campus, although I could never beat them when it truly mattered. I also had a foosball table as a teenager but didn't spend as much time on that in college because I didn't like the rules they came up with (my goalie touched the ball as it went by, so that goal doesn't count). Since college, I've never had access to both a table and someone that really knows how to play.

  7. I love George Saunders so much.

    How do you organize your books?

    I like to leave them lying around half read, go to another city, buy a new copy, leave that somewhere, come home, be unable to relocate that first copy, then buy a third copy, which I then spill some coffee on.

    What genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?

    I love reading anything about gigantic animate blobs of molten iron who secretly long to be concert pianists. It’s not a particularly well-populated genre, but in particular I’d mention, “Grog, Who Loved Chopin,” as well as the somewhat derivative “Clom, Big Fan of Mozart.”

  8. Last night, Miss SBG called me and was crying because she had a Preliminary Moves in the Field USFS test today and only one of her six moves were considered passing quality by her coach yesterday. She talked like she didn't want to test and that she was going to half-ass it.

    Naturally, when the rubber hit the road, she skated her best ever (according to her coach) and passed.

    Practice? We talking 'bout Practice! Not a game. Prac. Tice.

      1. I guess. I thought she was in the worst possible frame of mind. And she woke up this morning in the best frame of mind, went out and nailed it. Rather have her nervous the night before than the day of, I guess.

        To top it off, some girl crashed into her (multiple girls are on the ice testing at the same time), knocking her down!!!!! Totally uncool, my daughter was skating backwards, she was going forwards and is much older. An unforgiveable breach of protocol. She got up and finished. What a trooper.

        1. so, she did not look like this after being knocked down?

          kudos to her. Gotta feel pretty awesome for mom and dad too.

    1. That's awesome. Way to go, Miss SBG.

      This is why I really encourage my sons to be in sports and/or music or other types of performance. The experience you get from it can help you so much later on in life especially as education moves away from competition in grading. How do you respond to constructive criticism? How do you take instruction and improve yourself? How far can you push yourself to be better? When odds are against you, do you push yourself to better heights or do you give up? In team sports, how do you work together with others toward a mutual goal despite personality conflicts? In any sport or performance, when the chips are down, do you respond with your best effort?

      Junior is even more introverted than I am, and I've always worried about him socially. His academics have always been very good and he never gets into trouble at school, largely because he is very quiet in public, especially when he's not around his close friends. When he was in Little League, he was always an outfielder/bench player/ bottom of the order bat. He pitched a few times with limited success. He made the junior high team as a sixth grader, but was again on the bench and would rarely play except in a blowout. In 7th grade, he started to blossom and earned a starting spot and would bat closer to the middle of the order. At the end of the year, he was given the award for Most Improved Player. Last year in 8th grade, he was given a chance to pitch and became the team's best pitcher as they improved to a winning record and just barely missed the playoffs. Over the last 2 years, I've really seen his personality come out more in public and he's become more confident in himself and I think baseball has had a lot to do with that.

      As for Trey, he's the extrovert. He's friends with everybody and is often a leader on his team. However, last year he made the Majors in Little League as a 10-year-old. Most of the team was 12 years old and it had 3 All-Star 12-year-old pitchers. Trey had always played the infield and pitched in Little League. His coach basically said that he didn't allow 10-year-olds to play in the infield or pitch, so Trey was forced to play the outfield and split time with the other 10-year-old batting 9th in the order. Batting has always been the weakest part of his game as he's struggled to get over The Fear at the plate, and that got worse in the Majors as he was facing much harder throwers and he was trying to avoid strikeouts instead of just having good at-bats. And it didn't help that most games he only had 1 or 2 at-bats. So for the first time in his life, he really struggled in a sport. Despite this, he never complained and only worked harder to improve himself. And he played at his best at the end of the season in the playoffs. This year, he made the junior high team and started in the infield in every game as the team made the playoffs and lost in the second round. Now he recently made the basketball team (instead of going back to Little League) and will be attempting a sport that he loved to play with friends at recess in elementary school but has never played with an organized team. So he will definitely be challenged once again.

  9. So I came in to work today to catch up on festering piles of stuff I am behind on (state holiday).

    We are a Citrix office. I try to log in -- SSL error, can't access the Citrix server. Reach out to our IT guy, who says "reboot," which I've already done. Says he's gonna have to reinstall the client software.


    I have to leave by mid-afternoon to be home to talk with a contractor on our Failing House (Bigly! Sad!). So, basically, I wasted almost an hour round-trip and will get next to nothing done today. Heading home to try to work there. w00t.

  10. Been shopping for a stand-up desk option for my home office. I've waffled through a lot of options, and an currently mulling the S2S Sit-stand workstation and the Mount-it! Sit stand workstation for dual monitors. One of my monitors is not VESA but I see lots of adapter options for that. I'm going to have to see if I have enough overhang on my desk for a c-clamp mount, and also check the desk dimensions so I'm confident the keyboard platform can lower below desktop height when seated. I'm fairly confident that whatever I choose will have problems, so I"m leaning towards the less expensive option. If I have much of my tax return left (once I complete it and see what it is) I'll concern myself with a new chair.

    1. The new office will have sit-stand desks for everyone. Previously we had the option of using a device that would raise the monitors and keyboard, but it doesn't go high enough for me, forcing my wrists to be at an awkward angle. I'm hoping the new desks will go higher so I can experiment with it for a month.

      1. That's my concern: the keyboard has to be low enough at sitting level, and the monitors have to be high enough at standing level. I'm committed to giving standing a shot, but I don't want to half-@ss it, as there is certainly neck/shoulder pain in the future if I do, even if the rest of my body benefits from it.

        1. a sit/stand workstation with about bar-stool height would be awesome. Not happening any time soon in my office. We are required to purchase all of our furniture via Prison Industries. Exorbitant prices for substandard crap.

    1. Whoboy good or bad? I've heard both extremes.

      Went to Hidden Figures with the family. As expected.

  11. So, I still dream about playing softball, including last night, coincidentally. Not sure it's a good idea to play anymore because new hardware. I'd really love to play sand volleyball again, but not sure where/how that'll ever happen. I don't see why the hips won't be fine with bowling though. The bowling shoes in my closet are getting a bit dusty; might have to give it a whirl someday. In the meantime, I'm content to continue working on getting into running jogging shape, in spite of what I'm supposed to limit myself to. Most documentation frowns on jogging but is okay with light tennis.

  12. So, I've got an old 36" Sony Trinitron HD (CRT, a real beast) that we don't use anymore. I've also got a Thinkpad T61 with the advanced docking station that takes a PCIe video card and a modular drive. I'm going to load Windows XP 64-bit and max out the RAM on the T61 (8GB), put an HD video card and big hard drive in the docking station, and install all of my old WinXP PC games that are gathering dust. I can use the old Sony as my monitor, it should be a sweet gaming rig.

  13. Derrick Rose to the Wolves (for presumably Ricky Rubio with other parts involved) is so laughable I can't even take that rumor seriously. Im guessing someone in New York (either Phil Jackson or agents) are pushing this story.

    1. I think I would quit if that trade happened. I trust Thibs and Layden so far, but that would make me think there's something in the water in Minnesota.

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