Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sports - The Raiders

Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to sports I am first and foremost a Raiders fan.  To be completley frank, I enjoy all sports, but football is my one and only true love.  It's not just the hitting and ferocious nature of the sport.  But its' the strategy of it all.  In no other sport do you have 11 guys playing against 11 guys all at the same time.  And there is so much creativity to both sides of the ball.  You can line up in any formation on either side of the ball and make it into whatever you want.  That and the whole synergy of seeing 11 guys working together as one unit is only surpassed by an orchestra.  All other sports are about the one on one battles and this is truly about 11 guys trying to beat 11 guys.

So with my love for football comes my love of one of the great NFL organizations, the Raiders.  Sure they have been a joke for most of the past decade, but with that they are still one of the most storied franchises in history.  There are numerous hall of fame players and coaches, not to mention the GREAT  John Madden.  So with that, here comes my thoughts on the 2011 version of the team.

Coaching - Most people, both fans and observers, were very unhappy with the firing of Tom Cable.  I'm not going to sit here and tell you it was a great move, but at the same time I understand it.  Tom Cable, was and is, a great player coach.  He really knows how to motivate players and get them to buy into a system.  He definitely did a ton to turn around the feeling of hopelessness that existed in most players when he arrived.  Having said all that though, I do not believe the man had really great mind when it came to putting together an offensive playbook.  Under his tenure, the Raiders had one of the most vanilla offenses since Art Shell.  The players knew this, other teams knew this, and Al Davis knew this.  Because of this reason he brought in Hue Jackson to be our Offensive Coordinator last year, it was widely speculated that the whole OC thing was just a test drive after being burned on Kiffin. And the test drive went wonderfully last year.  We had an offense that was actually able to score points and something that we could rely upon to bring us back if the defense faltered.  So the reward for such improvement?  A head coaching gig!  And thus far in training camp he is brining intensity and a playbook that is far more advanced than anything in recent memory.  The players are responding, and from what I have read look spectacular.  Sure its just training camp, but even with that, the Raiders have not looked spectacular in training camp since Gannon left.  I think we have pretty good chances this year with Hue Jackson at head coach.

Quarterback - Here we go, is Jason Campbell good enough?  I don't have any earthly idea.  I know that when the running game is on he's a dangerous player.  I know we have a stacked backfield.  I know we have a rookie Wide Receiver who is blowing up camp (more on that later) but I don't know if Jason Campbell is the man.  I think he's probably good enough to get the job done, which to be honest is good enough for me. I've seen enough bad Raider quarterbacks to be happy with one who does just okay.  I loved Gradkowski, but I understand why he had to go.  He really got in Jason Campbell's head, and he was injury prone. So not a viable starter, and probably making your real starter uneasy.  We did bring in Trent Edwards, who still has a ton of tread on him and might be able to turn the corner with good coaching.  We'll see, that's all I can say about that.

Running Back - Wow, we are stacked.  When I say stacked, I mean stacked, like we have to cut someone.  Darren McFadden, nuff said right?  Right, except that he's put on 10lbs of solid muscle and he has higher goals than last year.  A motivated Darren McFadden??  Even better.  Michael Bush just res-signed and he is a starter on most other teams, great insurance policy.  And then there is the rookie, Taiwan Jones (Made in Taiwan? No idea).  This guy runs a 4.28 40, and has size to boot.  Being that he's just 3rd string (presumably) there is absolutely no pressure on this kid.  So they can just throw him out there for fun and see what he does.  I expect that he will score some pretty fun to watch touchdowns during this season.

Wide Receiver - Scary unit the past few years.  Chaz Schillens looked to be great a few years ago, but then 2 years if injuries have really knocked him off the map.  Jacoby Ford was great last year, and is looking great again, except he fractured his hand.  Receivers kinda need those...  Louis Murhpy has been looking good in camp, but he has really never put together a solid season.  Darrius Heyward-Bey, why is he still on the team?  You got me, Al Davis loves him for some reason, and that's about all that he brings.  There are others who  might shine but, there is a rookie who IS shining.  Denarius Moore.  Every single practice this kid has made highlight reel type plays.  Again, its only training camp, but if he can translate anything into a real game, well then I think that we might have a top 10 offense this year.  That would give us a 3 receiver set with Denarius playing human highlight reel, Jacoby Ford playing slot, and Louis Murphy providing automatic first downs.  Even the NY Jets with their loaded secondary would have difficulty with that.  Keep in mind that Darren McFadden is also an outstanding receiver and that we just signed Kevin Boss from the Giants.  The same Kevin Boss who has a super bowl ring with them and was good enough to replace head case Jeremy Shockey.  I think I like the setup we have, barring no injuries.

Ok I'm not going to cover all of the units.  That would be the most ridiculously long post ever and I'm sure I've already lost some of you.  Let me just say that I am so happy that the Raiders have gotten out of the Free Agent gamble that they played for so long.  Were developing players from the draft and getting high quality free agents at bargain prices.  Thank you so much Al Davis for not letting our franchise continue to be the joke that it once was!

That's all for now, hope you enjoyed!  GO RAIDERS!

- Chad

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Off Topic - The debt deal

Two blogs in one day you ask with surprised excitement?  Yes readers of my blog, if there are any, today you get two.  I figure with the long layoff I owe whoever is out there some payback.  And this one is not in my usual assortment of topics, but one I feel needs some ranting.  If there hasn't been enough of it already.  This afternoon I speak to you on the newly signed debt deal that President Obama calls one step towards this country living with in its means.  And its exactly this statement that I think deserves the recognition for the rant.

So to begin, I think its important that I speak to what exactly my position on "living within ones own means" really is.  My belief is that in order to live within ones own means they cannot allow their spending to exceed their income.  We saw a lot of this behavior in the last decade with people buying houses they could not afford and then using credit to supplement their losses.  The end result of this type of financial irresponsibility?  Well I'd say it was probaby one of the worst recessions our nation has ever seen, and one we have not fully recovered from.

Yet here is our Federal Government arguing over a budget and finally coming to agreement on one that ultimately is like applying to another credit card and then saying you'll fix your budget in a decade.  What's this about a decad you say?  Well the debt limit was raised by (I think) 1 Trillion dollars so that we as a country do not default on our loans.  But to make up for this (I'm guessing?) We have commited to reducing spending by 1 Trillion dollars over the course of the next decade. 

Now keep in mind that we are running over 1 Trillion dollars over our income with this current budget.  We have been running in a 1 Trillion dollar deficit or more for several years.  So with inflation over the next 10 years our government leaders have commited to reducing spending but not even to the point where we are breaking even.  How on earth is it acceptable for the leaders of our nation to behave in such a way with our tax dollars when it is unacceptable for the citizens of said nation to?

The complete lack of financial responsibility that we have seen in our Federal Government over the course of this past decade is absolutely appalling.  Don't even give me a "It's those damn democrats" either.  Bush is the one who started this whole roller coaster of spending too much.  Let us not forget that it was Clinton, of all people (That evil evil man...) who left the white house with an 800 Billion dollar SURPLUS for Mr Bush.

So what's the point?  The point is we need to shake these people up.  Personally I think that in the next few elections whoever the incumbant is needs to be voted out.  You say maybe this is drastic?  Maybe it's punishing some people who were doing the right thing?  Maybe so, but it takes an extreme action to wake up a group of individuals to the fact that we are the ones who hold the power here.  We are the ones who say you can serve this country or not.  And guess what, what you have been doing for a decade is not good enough.  So until you can collectively get the job done the way we say it should be, there will be drastic change.

Just my opinion, not that it matters.

And I now step down from my giant box of soap.
- Chad

Technology - Asus Transformer

Long time no blog.  Sorry for all of you who have have been waiting patiently for  my next post.  Actually I'm pretty sure that no one has really been waiting with bated breath, but here I am.  I am currently blogging to you from my new Asus Transformer TF-101.  This device is a Android Tablet which also has an optional keyboard dock.  It has relatively the same specs as all the other high end Android tablets and also has some Asus add ons which are actually pretty nice.  The reason that I went with this tablet is the fact that it has the physial keyboard dock which not only provides for a better input method but also has a built in secondary battery which is supposed to provide a whopping 16 hours of battery life.

For a few years now the only personal computer I've had has been a desktop.  Not there there is anything wrong with a desktop, but lets be honest, there is zero portability factor there.  This desire for portability led me to question whether or not I've actually used my portable devices in a portable manner before.  I've owned several laptops in my lifetime, but when it came down to it I don't think that I ever actually traveled anywhere with them.  Not on a regular basis anyway.  So the only reason for portability with those devices was to be able to move it from room to room in my own house.  Based on past experience I decided that a laptop was not the way to go for me.

This led me to looking at netbooks, which some consider to be a dead technology already.  But why are they a dead tech?  I think the idea of a netbook is awesome.  It's a small, lightweight laptop, with outstanding battery life.  Why wouldn't someone want something like that?  Well to achieve the battery life they tend to have low power processors such as the Intel Atom.  As for operating system, they tend to run Windows, which is a OS that is not very forgiving to low power.  In fact Windows sums up the American fanaticism with bigger, faster, and stronger.  So while you have a device that is ultimately very portable and has a long battery life, the device is very slow and over time not something you want to use.  Why own a device if you don't want to use it?

So what about the tablet?  This device is a tablet, the ipad is a tablet, they are very portable and run an OS that is fast.  They have long battery life and are really custom made to be consumer friendly.  But there is the whole problem with the input method.  All tablets use a touch interface, which is awesome for single click inputs such as opening an application, clicking a link, or playing a game.  But what about text entry?  Therin lies the problem, I hate typing more than a sentence or two on a full keyboard that you can essentialy only do a faster game of hunt and peck.  I tried using home row on this thing and I found it impossible to accurately type at a speed that I deem to be acceptable.

This leads me to the Transformer.  It is a tablet that turns INTO a netbook.  What a novel idea!  It runs Android, love it, and it has a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.  It boasts 8 hours of battery life as a stand alone tablet but wait, there's more!  If you dock it, the battery life... DOUBLES!  And the keyboard is  a godsend compared to typing on the touch screen.  And how much might a setup like this run you,  you might (should) be asking?  Well I had the fortune of getting a really good deal on my tablet thanks to my friend +Mike Syravong.  But if you pay full price you can get the 32GB tablet for 499.00 and the keyboard dock is going for 140.00 on Amazon.  You can also get the 16GB version of the tablet for 399.00, if you think that you'll never ever store stuff on your device.  But then again the tablet and the dock both have SD card inputs so you can always expand your memory later.  Alright the pitch is over, go out and buy this thing, but you better hurry, I hear they are selling out because Apple is buying them all up. That's a joke of course, Apple wouldn't want to feel bad about buying superior products to their own.  But the Transformer is selling out at a lot of places. 

That's it for now, hope you all enjoyed!