Tuesday, November 23, 2010

HTC EVO the first month

I have had my HTC EVO for over a month now. The experience has been good so far.

I have a couple of nitpicks. The message indicator light should flash while the device is connected to a charger or USB. SMS messages and mail messages should have the option of repeating the notification tone until responded to (like a pager).

Battery life is poor but what can anyone expect. Does anyone really believe they will be watching HD video over 4G without sucking that wafer-thin battery dry in less than an hour? If I rarely use the device the battery will be around 53 percent charged by the end of the day; with no Wi-Fi, 4G, Bluetooth or GPS services active. The wife uses Pandora all day at work so she leaves the phone attached via USB all day. Anyone texting, talking and Facebarfing and Twitching all day will likely not have a charge at the end of the day.

The 4G service is now available around my house out in the middle of nowhere but does not appear to be available in downtown Columbus where I work (strange). When I ran speed tests using 4G I was getting very mixed results depending upon where I was and what destination I was hitting. The down speed was comparable with Wi-Fi but the up-speed was much faster about half the time. The whole 4G experience is going to need a year or two before it is widely usable and stable and firmware for phones with that service is stable.

I have also paid my first bill. The initial shock took a few beers to get through.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bye to Schelotto, Hejduk, more

It is definitely a sad day for the Crew organization but in the long run it is just a day. We all knew that good guys like Oughton and Hejduk that have put a face on this team would no longer be able to contribute toward the common goal of the organization and most fans; hardware. Legends like Schelotto that brought class and talent would eventually either move on or be pushed out. Even Padula, the pirate at left back, who just a season or two ago was considered the key component of the Crew championship run, would fade away.

I think what makes today really hard to deal with is the sudden harshness of the events. Our season was over in an instant with a missed penalty and most of the heart, soul and leadership is likely gone just as abruptly. As the shock of the playoff loss set in maybe only a handful of people realized that would be the last time they would see those four players in a Crew uniform; it sure did not for me.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I was hoping Schelotto was going to be retained one more season to help teach and shape the attacking midfield and his successor. That is what he should have been doing this 2010 season; getting his replacement ready and perhaps even using his last season as a rallying point to will the rest of the team back into the finals. Instead it is an abrupt end that will leave a bitter taste.

It is easy to feel like twice shat feces about this but it is now up to the Crew organization to deliver. They want to go young, fine. Fans have survived youth movements with each coach before Bob. 

The most important priority now is to get that skilled player and face for the Crew. My wife knows little about soccer but she knew who Schelotto and Hejduk (the surfer dude with the long hair, no!) were and more importantly what they brought to the team: he was their best player and he was one of the favorite players (big fan favorite, remember the pictures of him in the north end). 

We still need a finisher up top. I like Renteria but seriously, it is about time we invested a little more at the position beyond what we have done before.

I also am willing to hold off on judgment until we get some results. It will be months and a couple of drafts before the Crew will know where they need to throw their money. That is going to be a long, suck-ass couple of months, too. We were fortunate to have Schelotto and Hejduk while they were here and should be thankful for it. It is now up to the Crew to find the next group of players for us to be thankful for.

Also, just read on the forums: Barley's Christmas Ale Guest Tapper: Columbus Crew captain Frankie Hejduk

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Custom EVO wallpapers

There appears to be a lot of confusion and mixed information on the best way to do wallpapers for the HTC EVO mobile device. There are about four resolutions and a couple of techniques in various forums. I did some of my own research and this is what I found. I assume you are using a stock device and have not removed the base UI.

The EVO screen is 480 x 800 (pixels; all numbers are in pixels).

There are seven homes per scene; the middle and three to the left and to the right.

The best resolution for incoming images is 960 x 800.

When choosing wallpaper, expand the green boundary box to use the entire image. This results in the least amount of distortion of the final image displayed on the EVO homes.

The top 38 pixels will never be seen; they are covered by the status bar. If you have an embarrassing zit on your forehead or do not want to folks to know you are a NASCAR fan then make sure your acne and logos are in the top 38 pixels of the wallpaper.

The leftmost and rightmost 48 pixels will never be seen. On the left side, pixels 1-48 are hidden, 49-59 can be seen momentarily when swiping right when on the leftmost home, and pixel 60 bleeds onto the leftmost home. On the right side it is the same just in reverse; but the last pixel does not bleed into the rightmost home.

The bottom 56 to 70 pixels are usually hidden by the lock/menu bar except when you pinch and then select a home and when the device is locked. So food stains on your shirt, nipples and muffin tops would go in that area.

The extended homes do not have their own separate wallpaper. The center home is in the middle 480 x 800 pixels of your wallpaper. When you swipe in a direction to get to one of the extended homes the wallpaper is shifted 60 pixels in that direction (240 pixels on each extended side, 60 of those are not visible). 

So start with a 840 x 762 image assuming that the bottom 60 or so pixels will be seen when the device is locked but usually will be hidden. Add borders (solid black is fine) to the top, left and right to make the image 960 x 800. Send it to your device using whatever method you choose and then enjoy.

Of course, someone from HTC will come along and probably debunk all of this but it works for me.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Columbus Crew 2010, summary

I find myself in a similar situation. Last year on this day I wrote about the premature Columbus Crew exit from the MLS playoffs Thursday to Real Salt Lake. This season the same thing has happened, just at the hands of the Colorado Rapids. So when I look back at that 2009 season post what has changed and what has stayed the same?

I still hate the MLS playoff system and feel it gives the advantage to the lesser record team because the lesser team is likely to use the home field advantage to get more goals in the first game then play a quote boring defensive system assuming the top seeded team must score win by one more goal than the deficit.

There were positive spots to the 2010 season. The Crew made it to the playoffs (falling to Colorado on a missed penalty kick), to the finals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (falling to Seattle), and are still in the CONCACAF Champions Cup/Champions League.

Sagging attendance would probably lead the negative points when the league and cup results are removed. The Crew did not find a replacement for Schelotto (that we know of). Some players that should have been relegated to the bench this season are still signed through next season.

I also think it still boils down to one word: inconsistency. First there was the inconsistent lineup due to injuries to key players like Rogers, O'Rourke, Hesmer and Renteria. Second, inconsistent performances from Rogers, Hejduk, Hesmer, Padula, and Schelotto in some ways. Forwards would be hot one game, go cold, go to the bench for another forward, that forward would be hot, etc. Third, inconsistent coaching. Robert Warzycha seemed to get out-coached near the end of the season (again) and many have questioned his line-up choices.

So (again) where does the Crew go from here?

Warzycha is not the immediate problem. If Kreis and Nowak can coach and get results then Warzycha can. The Crew organization as a whole is degrading before our eyes from the top down. The Crew need a shot in the arm from somewhere whether it be an exciting new player or some new feature of the team or something marketable.

I will probably get laughed at for this but I think we should find some way to get Jon Busch back as backup keeper. Jon is one of those franchise players you would like to always have on your team in some way shape or form. Bring him back to where he started. Gruenebaum would probably go.

In the defense we need to find a replacement for Hejduk in a starting role. Francis can start for Padula if we keep him. I am guessing Iro or Brunner will go to expansion leaving O'Rourke in the mix with Marshall.

Gaven and Carroll are the only midfield players I would keep. Moffat had sub-adequate performances (again, inconsistency). Ekpo and Burns are good players. Rogers is a huge question mark but I would love to see him get a solid season with Schelotto. Oughton and can be kept with the team as long as it is feasible to do so. Schelotto should be retained for one more season but the Crew need to find his replacement this season.

The forward spots need overhauled. Garey will likely go to expansion. Renteria should start and if Mendoza can put in a consistent performance like the one at the home playoff match then he should be in the mix as well. Lenhart is a bench player. We could still use a quality striker but I do not see us getting one, ever (pessimistic but realistic).

If I were asked to name the priorities for the 2011 season they would be: retain Schelotto for one more season as a player, acquire Schelotto's replacement so he can work alongside Guillermo and develop to lead the team. The next thing the Crew needs is a forward capable of playing with Schelotto (and his successor) and scoring a bucket load of goals. Warzycha should be retained as coach unless an obvious and adequate replacement is both available and feasible for the organization. Last, the Crew need a shot in the arm in the form of something exciting in the organization or a charismatic player to get some buzz generated about the team.