Sony Releases Dash. Bored?

Yesterday Engadget reported Sony had released their Chumby-powered Dash, a 7-inch touch screen widget box. The Dash is a photo, radio, and Internet streaming device that can make a great kitchen, alarm clock, or table computer, if you only want access to a few widgets in that room. At $199 I guess it’s better than a standalone photo frame, but an old laptop or netbook wold be almost as functional, if a little more clumsy.

More to the point, Sony’s name got me thinking: “Dash” is clearly short for dashboard, which Apple has used as a term for their widget overlay in OS X. And these widgets and other similar applications are named for the terminal holding the speedometer (and more!) in your car. But where did that come from? Certainly not from a gadget/widget perspective, right? 

Thankfully the Online Etymology Dictionary (my own paper-bound Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology was lacking the term) was able to offer up a useful origin:

1846, from dash + board; “board in front of a carriage to stop mud from being splashed (“dashed”) into the vehicle by the horse’s hoofs.” Of motor vehicles, from 1904.

And now we know.

Chris Davis Shelton and the Smoak Monster

In 2008 Chris Davis came up from Triple A  for 317 plate appearance with the Texas Rangers.  In that time he hit .285/.331/.549 with a K:BB of 88:20.  Davis was hitting home runs at an average of once every 18 at bats in the bigs and was positioned for a huge breakout year in 2009.  Baseball Prospectus listed his comparables as Justin Morneau, Lee Stevens, James Loney, and David Ortiz in their 2010 annual publication.  This is not bad company.

But in 2009 and the start of 2010 Davis hasn’t hit at all for the big league team.  A .238/.284/.442 line in 2009 is buoyed by his .308/.338/.496 compilation after the slugger returned from a minor league vacation. Again, a strong finish, yet his 2010 season has been a month of sorrow: .188/.264/.292. And back to the minors he goes.

Justin Smoak meanwhile was mashing Double A to the tune of .328/.449/.481 before cooling down after a Triple A promotion (.244/.363/.360).  Being described as “a switch-hitting version of Justin Morneau with better defense” by Baseball Prospectus’s team of experts means Chris Davis could face a long minor league exile if Smoak adjusts to the big leagues faster than his predecessor.

If he’s available in your fantasy league, grab him now.  If you have Davis already, even better.

The Nets Gowalla Slam Dunk

Vaynermedia, the social media consulting brainchild of Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk, brokered a partnership between geolocation startup Gowalla and the New Jersey Nets to prove the benefits geolocation services can provide to live events.  The result: without any traditional advertising, Vaynermedia gave away 500 tickets (250 pairs) to a game featuring the worst team in the NBA and brought 76 lucky winners into the arena that night.  15.2% of the winners went to the game, usually with a friend using the other ticket.  This isn’t bad considering the team, their record and solely promoting the contest on Gowalla.

For the Nets, the partnership with Gowalla put “butts in seats” that otherwise would have been empty.  They sold concessions, gave away prize packs, and introduced new fans to basketball and the team.  A man who found the tickets and brought his son has probably given the Nets a fan for life.

But the real secret sauce: those Gowalla winners talked up the contest, their experience and the friends they made on Twitter.  By using Gowalla, the winners were already a step or two ahead of most people in technology adoption and the spillover was additional buzz for the partnership.  Those people had such a great time finding the tickets and going to the game as (nearly) VIPs that they wanted to spread the word. 

A few years ago I drove to Cincinnati with some friends to see the Reds play the visiting Red Sox.  As Sox fans we couldn’t buy tickets just for those première games, we had to buy a slate including three additional dates later in the year.  Clearly, we weren’t driving back from Boston to see the Reds play the Pirates in September.  StubHub?  Nope.  There is no secondary market for Reds tickets.  We couldn’t give them away, and most of the people there were visiting Red Sox fans like ourselves.  If I could have turned them into a virtual item and left the tickets in a Cincinnatti pizza shop, I’m confident that it would have made someone’s day.  Just like the Nets.

For the case study itself, head on over to Vaynermedia.  It won’t take long to read but it will make you think how can my business/event/school PCC take advantage of geolocation.  A local version of The Amazing Race? Sign me up!

Red Sox Slump

Terrible start to the year. Everything has gone wrong: pitching, defense, and offense as well as health (Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron). With Cameron heading to the DL, this is what I’d like to see:

  • Keep Jeremy Hermida in left and put Josh Reddick in center
  • When Ellsbury returns, he takes over left field and Hermida slides into the DH role.

This lets the Red Sox take their time with Ortiz/Lowell DH “platoon” and gives Reddick an extended look in the majors.  Maybe he boosts his trade value or, if Cameron can’t make it back quickly, he forces himself into the lineup and lets the Sox part with Ortiz/Lowell without worrying about losing what could be dead money.

The pitching will improve.  The defense hasn’t been that bad outside of the running game (23 of 24 base stealers have succeeded) and the offense could take care of itself if Hermida can live up to his potential.

Google Chrome Retires “http://”

The Next Web did a quick piece on Google Chrome no longer displaying the vaunted “http://” in the address bar. While this text will still accompany the rest of the web address (such as when copied from the address bar) it has been removed from the normal view that users see.  Why? Simplicity.  It looks cleaner and is easier for users to work with. Necessarily better? Maybe, maybe not. Chrome will continue to show FTP and HTTPS so the address bar won’t always be so clean looking.

Coincidentally xkcd took on a similar subject just recently and I’m sure this issue will be partially cleaned up through the changes in Chrome.  

 

“If you live to be one hundred, you’ve got it made. Very few people die past that age.”

George Burns is a bit before my time, I only remember him as being super old and that once he played god in a move I saw parts of when I was really young. 

I realize, for instance, that I have spent nearly my entire life in organized school, with three years between college graduation and law school beginning the only time out of school since I was five. And even then I took a class during the spring semester of 2007.

A number of scientists believe huge advancements in life extension are just over the horizon. Unlocking the secrets of red wine for instance. Some of it is hype, but any advancement would qualify as a breakthrough. We know our cells replace themselves for decades and that over time they replace themselves with less good copies and we age. While I do not expect a magic anti-aging pill, I expect my generation wil be as disappointed in the lack of progress in life extending technology as the generation of my parents is concerning flying cars.

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This isn’t AdSense. It’s more like AdNonSense.

To be fair, Google is usually pretty on point with their ads.  I have also seen one for a Red Sox checking account.  Still…I’m worried about what could be in my email that is registering me as a Yankees fan in some dark corner of the Google algorithm.

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communication is undefeated!

(via gary)

It’s a pretty good point. With tools like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, SMS, and e-mail it’s hard to find a situation where communication cannot get through. And while The Simpsons had some fun with the communications major, the point remains that those who can communicate effectively will always have the advantage.