Fantasy Football Freaks

I think that the explosion of interest in fantasy football has created some high profile openings for some very mediocre analysts. Here’s some of the “insight” being offered by CNN/SI’s vaunted fantasy gurus:

Bob Harris suggests staying away from: the Chicago Bears offense, Cleveland Browns QB, Miami QB, New York Jets QB and Philadelpha WRs. He also recommends not contracting the Ebola virus, not sticking your head in the microwave and not driving your car into a brick wall at 60 miles per hour. Thanks, Bob!

Meanwhile, Dr. Football thinks that Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper and Steve McNair are good starts. Are you sure, doctor? Do you really think the three starting QBs with the three highest QB ratings in the league are good starts? Manning is going against the second-worst defense in the league this week, but until I read your brilliant insight, I was planning to sit him and start Kordell Stewart. Dr. Football also just discovered that Joey Harrington, currently leading the 1-5 Detroit Lions into oblivion, is “starting to fade”. Starting? I ditched him as a backup after Week 2, when it became clear that my mother could throw for two TDs against Arizona, and probably rush for a third

Who are these jokers? Look, the kind of questions that we need answered are things like: in what order would you rank Onterrio Smith, Michael Bennet and Moe Williams for the rest of the season? Do you start Domanick Davis against Indy, or should you sit him since he’s getting vultured at the goal line by Stacy Mack? Does LaDainian’s 200 last week help or hurt David Boston against Miami?

Please try to keep this in mind, gentlemen. If you’re only going to predict the sure thing, you are as useless as calling a QB draw for Vinnie Testaverde.

Another paper I won’t be reading

Not long after the St. Paul Pioneer Press abandoned its register-to-read policy, the paper across the river, the Star Tribune, has initiated one. I won’t bother providing a link, since you can’t read it anyhow. As I am opposed to all corporate tracking measures that compromise Internet anonymity, I refuse to register for any online newspaper, which is why I no longer read:

1) The New York Times

2) The Washington Post

3) The Star Tribune

I don’t read them online, anyhow. There’s still nothing to keep me from picking up the office copy of the Star Tribune in the meantime, not until they manage to produce newsprint that bursts into flames and consumes the entire paper should it be touched by a non-registered biometric pattern.

True, I will probably be a little late to the next NYT-manufactured non-story, such as the massive Master’s protests that swept the nation – who could ever forget the rage – but I’ll survive and thrive nevertheless. I also predict that the Star Tribune will open up its content within six months as its Internet readership drops off a cliff. I’m not saying that they don’t have a perfect right to close off their web site to anonymous visitors, I just don’t think that culling one’s readership is a particularly smart move in this day of media saturation. I quit reading the Nando Times, an early web favorite, when they began to require registration, and it doesn’t look as if I was the only one to do so.

Registration is akin to a cable news show declaring: “you can watch us, but only if you first tell us who you are.” Yeah, good luck with that.

See, that’s why I advised Red Hat

Okay, that’s not true. I recommended Red Hat because I’m using Redhat 8 and I know it works. However, I suspect that the many folks who recommended Mandrake 9.2 were doing so on the basis of its 9.1 release, not because they have used it themselves. Mandrake 9.2 is not looking so great at the moment, at least not for those with LG Electronics CD-Rom drives, which apparently are widely used in Dell machines. However, the statement from LG Electronics seemed to imply that the problem is a Linux incompatibility, not a Mandrake one, so clearly more information is needed before we can conclude either:

a) another distro would be a better option for beginners

b) Dell users can’t migrate to Linux

Now, (b) can’t be entirely true, as I’m typing this on a Dell Latitude CPx running Redhat 8. However, it’s pretty obvious that before you install Mandrake 9.2, and quite possibly any other flavor of Linux, you’ve got to make sure you don’t have an LG Electronics CD-Rom drive.

They just don’t learn

Neal Stephenson, technoprophet and quite possibly the finest writer of my generation, voiced prescient doubts that Microsoft would be able to wean itself from dependency on its operating systems in his excellent In The Beginning was the Command Line. He saw them as following in Apple’s footsteps, missing the opportunity to make a necessary self-transformation in a futile attempt to protect the increasingly less valuable crown jewels.

Microsoft’s latest move demonstrates that the dependency is stronger than ever, as after acquiring Virtual PC from Connectix – a means of running multiple operating systems on a single machine – they removed mention of Linux and a few other operating systems from the setup wizard. Jury is still out on whether the Microsoft “improvements” have altogether crippled the product. This is not only short-sighted, if one accepts Stephenson’s point of view, but borders on downright stupid considering that Microsoft has repeatedly denied that it buys other companies simply to shut them down and avoid competition. Not that Microsoft has a whole lot of credibility anymore. (Reader DZ points out that this isn’t the first time, either.)

One is reminded of Lenin’s famous quote about capitalists selling the rope that will be used one day to hang them.