Pygmy Reviews #56 – iOS Apps

Due ($4.99)

One Line Description: A reminder app that won’t let you forget.

The long overdue (no pun intended) update to Due.app finally hit the wild earlier this year. Although the app received a mild facelift after iOS 7 came out in 2013, it was missing support for a lot of key functionality, including most important background syncing. Without this using Due on multiple devices was a headache most of the time, since the app always had to be opened everywhere to sync alerts. Besides background syncing it got a MAJOR facelift this time, which is great, but the plethora of buttons on some of the screens can be confusing at times.

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But the interface for adding new reminders is much improved. In addition to the the four configurable preset times, there are also settings to easy increment/decrement by some reasonable durations. This for the most part removes the need to ever use the complete timepicker. The auto snooze feature remains the best part of Due. It’s ability to nag you with alerts until you take action is something missing from most other tools. It’s too easy for a reminder to pop up and either miss it because my phone is across the room, or ignore it for the moment and the forget about it. Due specifically tries to keep that from happening, and that alone makes it worth the money.

Clips (Free)

One Line Description: A clipboard manager for iOS

The idea of clipboard managers is not new. They are a ton of them on desktop software and there was even a few on iOS (Pastebot (RIP) for example). But until better extensions came around they were mostly useless. The idea here is that you can easily copy multiple pieces of text from one place and be able to access them later. Perhaps you have like a confirmation number and maybe an address you want to save after making a hotel reservation. Clips allows you to save both of those pieces of data without having to leave Safari or copying everything in between the two pieces of data. It is also great for those people that blog and want to capture the title of a page, the URL and some of the body text. I use this all the time when writing blog posts on iOS. The free version only keeps five “clips” and won’t sync between devices, but for anyone that copies and pastes a lot of text on iOS they will find either version worth it.

OneShot (Free)

One Line Description: Take screenshots of article snippets and post them to Twitter

The idea of “textshots” has gained some traction in the last few months, but it seems like a fad that isn’t quite as popular as it was a while back. Basically the idea is that you take a screenshot of some text and then use the image in a tweet to share the quote from an article. This way the portion of the tweet used in the quote is just the length of the image URL. OneShot is an app that does the heavy lifting for you. You provide a screenshot of some text. It then allows you to crop the portion you want, and even highlight a specific part of that portion. It then uses magicOCR to actually use the text in the image to find the original URL of the article for you.

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Then using the built-in Twitter or Facebook tie-ins with iOS it posts it to a social media account. It is very simple, very fast and pretty accurate in finding the current URL (I estimate about an 80% success rate in my own testing). If only it had a way to delete the screenshot for you after you post it, it would be perfect. But still very good for what it does.

Cite (Free)

One Line Description: (Another) textshot app to take quotes from articles and post them to Twitter as images.

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Much like OneShot, Cite is used to take quotes from articles and post them to Twitter. Cite works a little bit different though. Rather than taking a screenshot of the article and then highlighting a portion, Cite instead asks for a URL itself. Then it shows the exact website and has the user highlights the part of the article they want to quote. Then Cite creates an image and posts that image along with the URL (and any custom text) to Twitter. Cite requires less steps (paste URL, select text, set tweet, post) vs. OneShot (take screenshot, select screenshot, crop screenshot, select text within screen shot, pick URL from suggestions, set tweet, post). It isn’t as useful for largest clips or articles though. I have found myself using Cite when there is just one, relatively short, money quote, and OneShot when I want to share a bigger chunk. They are a good tandem though.

Finding a Way to Expand MLB Rosters

There seems to be a mildly growing concern about roster size in MLB. With so many specialized relief pitchers many teams are carrying 12, or even 13 man pitching staffs at this point. AL teams in particular almost all go 12, with four backup bench players. Because they don’t have to worry about pinch hitting for pitchers late in games they can afford to do this without much worry about it coming back to hurt them later. But with the seemingly growing list of teams who had had to use position players as relievers in blowouts, or really long games, the time has come for baseball to adjust.

The simplest, and most common suggestion is just to increase the active roster from 25 players. It could be 26 or 27, or it could be as many as 30. Because of the bizarre where that MLB’s system works, every team has a 40-man roster of players who are on Major League contracts (which includes all 25 guys on the active roster). They don’t have to have exactly 40 guys, and most teams probably keep just under 40. There are a lot of rules and procedures behind the 40-man roster that are not worth digging into at the moment. The key factor is simply that anyone on this roster at any given time has the same contract as the 25 guys on the active roster. This essentially means that from a financial standpoint the addition of a couple of more players to the active roster won’t be Earth shattering. Teams already can expand their active roster to 40 players on September 1st each season, and even though most teams don’t call up 15 guys, they usually call up a few. In other words, the logistics of having a couple of extra guys around on a given day would not really be a big deal.

So financially and logistically there is basically no impact to adding more players. What about from a competitive/strategic standpoint? Like is the case with many other aspects of the game, teams in bigger markets with more money at their disposal would surely have a bit of an advantage here. These teams would be able to pay their 26th and 27th guys more than the small market teams. Maybe it wouldn’t matter a ton because the difference between 6th and 7th reliever on most teams is negligible, but that possibility at least exists.

Having two or three more relief pitchers could surely increase the length of games since it would give an opportunity for not only an extra pitching change or two, but at least one extra mound visit per pitcher.

So what is the solution? How about a more complicated version of the NHL/NBA system of having inactive players on a given day? Rosters could be expanded to 27 or 28 players, and two or three of them would be inactive each day. Unfortunately it’s a little more complicated than just that though. The problem baseball has that basketball and hockey don’t is the starting pitcher. Excluding the playoffs, no starting pitcher is EVER going to pitch 1 or 2 days after a previous start (which is one of the reasons position players get thrown out there in the 19th inning sometimes). In other words, it would be easy for a manager to just make the last two or three starting pitchers inactive every game. This pretty much defeats the purpose of even having active/inactive players since those guys would not have played anyway.

The added wrinkle would be to make five rotation spots locked at any given time, and have only certain circumstances that this can change. So on any given game day a manager would have a starting rotation of 5 players, plus 20 players out of a remaining pool of 22–24 to chose from. In order to modify the five locked positions a move of some sort would have to be made. If a player is put on the disabled list or sent to the minors obviously he could be replaced in the rotation locked spot. The predicament comes with replacing poor performers. There are times now where a player is sent to the bullpen but not sent to the minors, how would that affect that locked in mechanism? Perhaps there could be some sort of rule that if a pitcher has started a game in the last two weeks they can’t be made inactive. Then the locked in spots wouldn’t have to be selected, they would just happen automatically. And once a pitcher has gone two weeks without a start they can be made inactive for any given game.

This seems complicated, and maybe it is too complicated, but whatever solution there is can’t make games too much longer, and shouldn’t weaken the quality of the game any more than having 12 pitchers already has. Most teams 7th reliever is not very good as is. Sure they are better than having a position player pitch, but the difference is probably not all that great. These guys tend to be guys who are used for extended appearances in blowouts anyway. Adding two or more guys to the back end of bullpens means that even crappier players are filling these spots. At least by using the inactive spots teams are forced to use some sort of strategy and not just change pitchers twice an inning.

Regardless of what you think the system will be, it’s definitely going to change in the next few years.

First Week with  Watch

It’s been seven days since I received my 42mm  Watch Sport with the black band. Plenty of other people have shared their impressions, but I still thought I would share mine after just one week. I thought I would keep it more bullet point style though. One general comment I will make, what the  Watch does, it does well, but there is a lot it doesn’t do that might turn people off. Let’s start with the bad

Bad

  • Siri can’t speak. This means that it can’t ready back text messages to send, which makes it not an “eyes free” solution in the car the I thought it would be.
  • The only way to respond to texts is with Siri or the pre-canned responses. I realize that it would be difficult to have a keyboard on the phone (although multiple people have suggested a T9 like system), it would still be nice to have the option for a few rare instances.
  • The “Now Playing” Glance only shows the track time in count up format. I have never understood why audio players default to counting up instead of down. 99% of the time people want to know how much time is left, not how long they have been listening.
  • The watch face selection is much smaller than I expected, and even with watchOS 2 it isn’t going to improve much. I can’t imagine ever using anything but Modular and at the moment it is pretty limited in what it can display.
  • Most of the third party apps so far are pretty useless. For example, the CBS Sports app only loads scores five at a time. There is no further detail provided and you have click “Load More” to find other games. The DirecTV app is paired with whichever receiver your phone is paired with, so if it’s the wrong one you still have to go on your phone first.
  • Because the face goes on and off depending on where your wrist is, sometimes it doesn’t turn on when you want it to. This can be annoying sometimes, but it’s not the end of the world.

Good

  • The fitness tracker is really cool. The reminders to stand up every hour if you haven’t yet are nice. The color wheel to show progress is also very cool. It is unclear how accurate it is, the reviews have been mixed, but it’s still one of the gems of the  Watch.
  • The ability to locate your iPhone if the  Watch is paired to it is quite nice. It seems to have no problem staying paired throughout my entire house so for anyone that misplaces their iPhone this is a nice feature.
  • Even though the Now Playing screen counts up instead of down, it’s still a great feature. It works with third party apps so I can listen to podcasts while I mow the lawn and change tracks/volume without taking my phone out of my pocket (if I had Bluetooth headphones I could probably just leave my phone in the garage even).
  • The weather app works just fine and is designed well and is easy to use.
  • The maps app works in conjunction with your iPhone, and if you have turn-by-turn directions going on your phone they also happen on the watch. Plus when you are approaching a turn the phone vibrates giving you an extra indication something is coming.
  • Notification forwarding is pretty sweet. I don’t miss notifications at home anymore when my phone is across the room, and I don’t take my phone out of my pocket unless I have to respond from there because I already know what the notification is.
  • The battery life has been great. Only once has it really gotten below 20% in a full day of use. I have been charging it every night and most days it doesn’t come close to dying out.

Final Thoughts

The Fitbit Surge is the “superwatch” of the Fitbit line. It does a ton of things including displaying text messages on it’s screen. It costs $250 on Amazon. The $400  Watch Sport does a whole lot more, provided you have an iPhone already. As someone who hasn’t worn a watch in years I was worried about wearing this thing all the time. But it is surprsingly comfortable, and I don’t mind wearing it 95% of the time. People who are watch wearers might want to spring for a nicer model/band, but I am content with the rubbery Sport band for now. I have worn it while playing tennis and working out and it is just fine. Overall I am satisfied with it and anxious to see what improvements happen between now and the end of the year.

Is Bruce Bochy a Hall of Fame Manager?

I recently had a discussion about how rarely someone points out that Ken “Hawk” Harrelson ran Tony LaRussa out of Chicago. LaRussa of course has won more games than all but two managers ever, and is one of just 10 managers to win three World Series. I pointed out that he, along with Joe Torre and Bobby Cox were easily the three best managers of the last 30 years or so. But I definitely overlooked how good Bruce Bochy has been.

Bochy managed the Padres in the 1990s and even took them to the World Series in 1998. Of course he has had much greater success with the Giants in this century. Bochy has 1652 career wins as of this post. That leaves him 17th all time There are only four guys ahead of him with more regular season wins who aren’t in the Hall of Fame.

One of those guys is Gene Mauch, who managed four different teams over five different stints. He also finished 135 games under .500, made the playoffs just twice in 26 seasons and never won a pennant. Lou Pinella is not yet eligible and has less than 200 wins more than Bochy, in two more seasons managed. Pinella made the playoffs seven times, with one trip and win in the World Series. He has a good chance, but is no slam dunk. His winning percentage is better than another not yet eligible guy, Jim Leyland. Leyland won three pennants though, and had a much better playoff winning percentage. Dusty Baker has less than 20 wins more than Bochy, so he probably isn’t even relevant by the end of the season, but having never won a World Series, he seems unlikely.

Back to Bochy. His current .503 winning percentage is not great. Only three guys have more regular season wins than him and worse winning percentages. But his playoff winning percentage of .583 is better than all but four of the guys with more regular season wins than him. He has won four pennants, something only twenty-three managers ever have done, and lest not forget that at one point teams won the pennant without playing a playoff game. The big number of course is the three World Series championships he has won. He is one of just ten managers to have ever won three. Unsurprisingly all nine of the other guys are in the Hall of Fame. In fact there are only 7 guys who have won two World Series an aren’t in the Hall of Fame. Of those guys, one is still managing (Terry Francona), two managed less than 10 seasons (Jim Mutrie and Bill Carrigan). Tom Kelly had losing record in the regular season and only made the playoffs the two years they won the World Series. Cito Gaston only managed 12 seasons and very few guys with that few of seasons got in without a stellar playing career as well.

That leaves two guys with two World Series who aren’t in the Hall of Fame. One of Ralph Hauk, who joined the famous 1961 Yankees as manager and promptly won two straight World Series, got swept in a third straight and then fired. Take away those first three seasons and he went just 1310–1355 or a .491 winning percentage. Danny Murtaugh coached the Pirates four different times between 1957 and 1976. Thanks to a few partial seasons he only had 1115 career wins, currently 50th all time (fewer than Art Howe and Mike Hargrove even). That is likely what hurts him.

So if two World Series all but ensures enshrinement, three should seal it up, and so far he is in good shape. His borderline winning percentage is potentially a small problem, but as long as he keeps it over .500 he should be fine. He should crack the top 15 in wins by the end of next season. And it’s conceivable that by the end of 2017 he could have the most wins of anyone to manage after 1995 not named Torre, LaRussa or Cox. That should be more than enough. Certainly if he finds a way to win another World Series joining the elite 5 guys with at least four World Series, then his ticket is punched regardless.

Awesomeness of 2010 MLB Draft

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports took a look back at the 2010 MLB draft and ranked the players by career WAR to this point:

  1. LHP Chris Sale, White Sox (1/13) – 24.5 WAR – There were plenty of questions about Sale at the time of the draft not only because his delivery is so funky, but also because his slider was just okay at Florida Gulf Coast University. Sale was in MLB two months after being drafted and has developed into a capital-A Ace, in part because that slider has improved immensely as a pro.

That is right. Chris Sale. But that is not really the only reason I brought this up. As a White Sox fan it was nice to see Adam Eaton at #8, and Jake Petricka just outside the the top 15, but the only non-top 15 guy with 3.0+ career WAR. That is pretty impressive from a reliever who hasn’t spent all that much time in the Majors. This bodes well for the White Sox.

Overall this draft is pretty sick though.

  • Bryce Harper was the first overall pick and is currently third in WAR, but that will quickly change. He looks like the real deal.
  • Andrelton Simmons is #2 in WAR right now. Manny Machado is #4. Both of these are mostly based on defense.
  • In addition to Sale, up and coming aces at #7 and #9, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom.
  • Marlins rising star #12 Christian Yelich is on here as well, and even Astros masher Evan Gattis at #15.

It doesn’t end there though. Joc Pederson has been hitting bombs this season and is just getting going, and there are bunch of other guys in the top 15 who have a lot more potential to live up to.

This is truly a sick draft class in the making, and it really could be an all-timer five years from now.

Pygmy Reviews #55 – Movies

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

One Line Description: A tongue in cheek western about a sheep farmer who falls for a girl married to an outlaw.

  • Westerns tend to be pretty hit or miss for me. I really enjoy the 3:10 to Yuma remake, but did not enjoy Open Range. This movie is completely different, as it’s a comedy, and at times a parody of western movies. Seth MacFarlane wrote, directed and stars in the movie as a down on his luck sheep farmer who loses his girlfriend and then gets mixed up with the wife of an outlaw. There is a decent amount of MacFarlane-esque humor, but it didn’t seem as x-rated as Ted did. The supporting cast is very recognizable (Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Amanda Seyfried and Neil Patrick Harris), and all of them do just fine. The story is pretty standard, especially for a western, and the laughs are scattered about just enough to keep things interesting. It’s far from a great movie, but it isn’t bad either. My guess is that anyone who enjoys MacFarlane’s brand of humor will enjoy this, but if you hate that type of stuff you probably won’t find much here.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

One Line Description: Wolverine goes back in time to prevent a murder than changed Earth for the bad.

I was never into comic books as a kid, but loved the X-Men cartoon. I recall a couple of episodes that focused on this plotline of going back to change the past, but I don’t remember all the details of it. This was really well done though, and these last two X-Men movies using the younger cast have been great. The story here is that these robots, Sentinels, have taken over the world and are killing the remaining mutants (and humans?). In a very Back to the Future 2 kind of way, Professor X and his remaining cast of friends decide the only way to survive is to go back in time and stop the Sentinel program from getting approved by preventing their creator from being assassinated, which triggered the anti-mutant movement. Wolverine is either selected because his healing abilities allow him to survive longer in the past, or because he is played by Hugh Jackman.

Once he reaches the past he meets up with a lot of the characters/actors from X-Men: First Class, and the mission begins. It’s a really nice mix of action and drama and didn’t feel like it had too many overextended action sequences like tends to the norm in these comic movies lately. There were a few things that seemed like they glossed over quickly near the climax that forced me to have to try and process a lot all at once, but it didn’t take away from the quality of the film. I really enjoyed this, maybe even more than First Class, and I think that these latest X-Men films continue to be very good.

Sex Tape (2014)

One Line Description: A married couple tries to stop a bunch of people they know from seeing their sex tape.

Speaking of very good, this movie is not. I stumbled upon it one night while I was writing code and wanted something that wasn’t too distracting. Unfortunately it was also not good at all. While I knew the premise was that a couple made a sex tape and it got out, I had no idea it was the result of having given out a bunch of used iPads (major plot whole here, as why would a company let their employee just give them away?) which for some reason still had his login info on them (again, company iPads that don’t get wiped before being distributed? Weak). I guess I missed the fact that the film then turns into a wild caper where Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz run around trying to get all the iPads back. One particularly crazy, and overly long, sequence involves Diaz distracting her prospective boss, played by Rob Lowe, while Segel searches Lowe’s house while battling his dog. Lowe is one of the high points of the film, and his Disney obsession is one of the few amusing parts of the movie. By the time Jack Black mades an uncredited cameo near the end, the movie has reached full eyeroll.

Although I have missed some of Jason Segel’s starring roles, he continues to look like someone that can’t really carry a movie as a leading man. Much like his Apatowian friend Seth Rogen, he is great in short doses, but not as good as the main attraction. I have never been a huge Cameron Diaz fan, but even I have to admit that she might look better in her 40s than she ever has. She puts up a very typical Diaz performance. This movie didn’t get very good reviews, and it’s easy to see why. There isn’t much here. Definitely not worth wasting your time on.

The Longest Day (1962)

One Line Description: The story of the Normandy invasion shown from both sides, and may different characters points of view.

This famous movie about the D-Day landings at Normandy is very time appropriate, as I watched it on the 71st anniversary of the D-Day invasion. It’s got a ridiculous cast including John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Sean Connery, Red Buttons and many other famous faces of the era. Obviously a movie from the early 1960s is going to look and feel significantly different than something like Saving Private Ryan, but it still holds up pretty well. I joked that it should be called “The Longest Movie” because it’s over three hours long, but it goes by surprisingly quick. I imagine it’s at least reasonably historically accurate, although they really seem to make the Germans look like imbeciles. I couldn’t tell if this was just Hollywood embellishment, true to life or just the hatred for the enemy that still would have existed in 1962. Early in the film there are lower thirds provided to identify characters, but the uniforms and black and white color make it hard to remember who most people are. The Germans all speak German, with English subtitles, which is a nice touch.

It would probably be tough to make this movie now because it doesn’t focus on any specific characters for the most part, and there isn’t someone to get specifically invested in. Hollywood doesn’t seem interested in that kind of ensemble piece anymore, but it’s a shame because this is a great kind of movie. Obviously the special effects and the sets look dated, but there is plenty to like here. This is a good to great movie that lives up to the hype, something that a lot of movies from this era fail to do these days.

Product Reviews Are Unavoidably Biased

Jason Snell writing again at Macworld, talking about product reviews:

But the truth is that product reviews have always been personal, biased, and idiosyncratic. Scoring systems are made by people with their own opinions about what aspects of a product are more or less important. Reviewers bring their own usage history to the party. In those days, we cloaked all of that behind a veil of utter impartiality, but of course all our biases were baked in.

Nothing truer has ever been said. Thankfully the proliferation of online reviews, and people’s increased ability to seek them out on their own has help cut down on the number of people asking me “which phone/computer/gadget” should I buy, for the most part. When people would ask me why iOS was better than Android, I would always say the same thing, “it’s better for me, but it might not be for you.”

I can’t see myself switching to Android anytime soon, but not because I think it’s inferior. The truth is that I have a very limited amount of usage with it and couldn’t draw that conclusion. But as someone who exclusively uses Apple computers, and has invested a significant amount of money into both OS X and iOS apps, there is no good reason for me to switch.

Reviews try hard to cover all bases, but they will always focus on certain things and gloss over others. And something that is a deal breaker to one person might be irrelevant to someone else. Take some generic product like a vacuum cleaner. A reviewer points out that this model cleans carpet better than any vacuum he has ever used. But when he tried it on tile or hardwood it literally picked up nothing. At the end of the review he recommends it, because his site’s review format is either recommend or don’t recommend. And for someone who has a almost completely carpeted home, this might be a no brainer. But someone that has a mostly uncarpeted house would never want this vacuum.

Now of course the hope is that someone would read this and get that detail out of the review, but the point is that people’s opinions of this vacuum could greatly differ. And circumstances come into play (obviously in this case how much of a person’s home is carpeted). With gadgets, it’s the same thing. Everyone has different priorities. Some people need all-day battery life because they are constantly on the go. Others prefer more computing power because they are mostly at a desk all day with access to outlets.

The best reviewers do their best to point these kinds of things out, but at the end of the day everyone is still affected by their own personal preferences. The only real way to combat this is to get opinions from multiple sources. But even then it’s still an art, not a science.

Is Uber Going to Let Us Down?

A long, but excellent piece by Emily Guendelsberger on being an Uber driver:

And after 100 rides, I felt like I had enough to work with. Over that duration, during which I maintained a 4.83 adjusted rating, high enough to qualify me for Uber’s VIP program, Uber would say I “earned” $17 an hour in gross fares. But subtract the 28 percent that went to Uber and the 19 percent that went to expenses, and I actually made **$9.34 an hour ** (plus a grand total of $16 in tips, $10 of which were for meeting up with a guy who left his Porsche keys in my backseat).

Uber continues to be all the rage amongst everyone I know in major cities. No one takes cabs anymore, mostly because Uber is cheaper. And for a while it also presented a better riding experience than typical taxi cabs. But the latter is starting to dwindle a bit, and surge pricing (NSFW language) can sometimes ruin all the savings over time as well.

More and more riders are finding themselves with drivers who don’t know where they are going. Sure GPS devices help solve this some, but it is still frustrating to find people who don’t know where basic things are. And the prices are still better than cabs most of the time, but surge pricing can leave surprise bills well after the fact, and it’s clear than many people don’t understand how bad the surge pricing can be until it’s too late, at which point they have likely lost all the money they have ever saved by taking Uber.

Then there is the regulatory problem, which at some point will come to a head. Uber continues to fight cab companies and municpalities who want stiffer rules and/or a cut of the business. It is pretty amazing they have avoided more regulation, and yet have gained so much trust amongst riders. The idea of random strangers picking you up in their own car and driving you somewhere would have been unfathomable five years ago. Thankfully there have been minimal incidents, and from what I have heard no deadly crashes, yet. But this is where the conclusion of the article linked at the top comes in to play. As more and more people discover driving for Uber is not financially feasible over the long term, the quality of cars and drivers is going to decrease. And when that happens, the demand for the service will also likely drop a bit, as the savings might not be worth the service. That tipping point might draw people back to cabs, or whatever the next fad is.

Like so many tech startups before it, the idea is good, and it makes sense on a small scale. But eventually things stabilize and a more clear picture becomes evident. And in the case of Uber, it might just be that this isn’t going to revolutionize transportation like we thought it was.

More MLB Pace of Play Nonsense

Barry Petchesky of Deadspin talking shorter MLB games:

  • The time between a third out of one half-inning and the first pitch of the next has gone down, from 3:30 to 3:18. That’s the first decrease in a decade, and comes not from cutting commercials, but from batters and pitchers being urge to be ready as soon as ad breaks are over.

  • The time between pitches is down one second from last season, which is the function of new emphasis on hitters remaining in the batter’s box for the duration of an at-bat.

Here we go again. MLB must be ecstatic that the media is pushing this spin on improved game length. But the problem is that this doesn’t really address the pace of the actual gameplay. The time shortened is almost exclusively time where the game was already stopped.

Let’s say you are running laps on a track. You run each lap in a casual 2 minutes. Then you take a 1 minute break in between laps. If that break is shortened to 55 seconds, it means the whole exercise will take less time, but it doesn’t mean that the actual running of laps is faster. There is a difference.

Shaving one second off each pitch is not noticeable. If this is all MLB was trying to accomplish, they did not succeed. Instead of quoting a bunch of statistics, they should be talking to fans. The games don’t feel faster, or shorter. All of the time in between pitches, and batters is still a major drag on the game.

Check out Mark Buehrle’s starts this year, most of his games are around 2:30, minus some that had a large number of runs scored (none of those even were more than a hair over three hours). And in most of these games he only pitched 5 or 6 innings. That leaves some relievers, and the other team’s pitcher as well. This is all proof that baseball games could be around two hours, and that is really the sweet spot. Under 2:30 is a minimum. This “10 minutes” shorter nonsense has to end. The media needs to stop relaying this garbage message and start pushing for actual pace improvements.

The Massive Impact of Self-Driving Cars

Chris Urmson goes deep into the state of self-driving cars:

About 33,000 people die on America’s roads every year. That’s why so much of the enthusiasm for self-driving cars has focused on their potential to reduce accident rates. As we continue to work toward our vision of fully self-driving vehicles that can take anyone from point A to point B at the push of a button, we’re thinking a lot about how to measure our progress and our impact on road safety.

Self-driving cars are going to be the next mainstream technological revelation. There are definitely things in science and medicine that will likely provide more societal value, but think of the way that the internet changed the world, self-driving cars will too.

Reduced accidents is just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who has driven a car, particularly in rush hour traffic, knows the experience of a light turning green but not actually moving until the light has already turned red because it takes so long for the traffic in front of you to start moving. A large part of this is because of the “human” factor. It takes people time to react and start accelerating, especially at a safe rate. Self-driving cars would not have this problem. They would be able to anticipate the car in front of them moving and react accordingly. It’s not just that though.

Traffic should be significantly reduced, if not eliminated. So much of traffic is caused my human error, or poor reaction time or a lot of other things that computers can calculate a million times faster than a human brains. Speaking of human brains, people can suddenly use travel time for more useful things. Heck it’s possible that commutes could just become part of people’s work days and give people ever more time at home.

Then of course there is the aspect of using self-driving vehicles as delivery mechanisms. You could order a pizza, someone could load it on a car, it could drive to your house, you could take it out of the car yourself.

The same way computers evolved into the internet which evolved into powerful devices we carry with us at all times. Self-driving cars might change that even more.