Ohio State Football, Sports

Ohio State/Minnesota Preview

09.26.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Ohio State/Minnesota Preview
Minnesota’s RB Pinnix
Minnesota RB Pinnix

This Saturday, September 29nd, the mighty Buckeyes travel to the Metrodome to battle the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Kickoff is scheduled for 8pm EDT and the game will be televised on ESPN2. A detailed technical preview of the game with data, records, statistics, lineups, etc is available at Bucknuts.

This is the first of three night, away games for the Buckeyes (Purdue follows next week and Penn State is later in the season.) If there’s one reason to worry about this game, it’s that it’s at night, away. In the last four night, away games, Ohio State is 2-2, with a two game win streak. If there’s a minor reason to worry about this game, it’s that the Gophers have an offense averaging 487 yards and 35 points per game. They have a strong running game, the strongest the Bucks have seen so far this year. On the flip side, the Ohio State defense is holding opponents to 178 yards and 7 points per game this season, obviously, something has to give.

If there’s a reason for optimism, it’s that Minnesota’s defense has been, shall we say, somewhat porous, allowing 543 yards and 38 points a game. In contrast, the Buckeye offense is averaging 414 yards and 37 points per game…this points to a high probability of the Buckeyes scoring at least 38 points. That is, if there are no turnovers, special teams gaffs, or other mental errors that kill drives and give life to the Gophers. If we subscribe to the notion that Ohio State will score 38, how many will Minnesota score? The numbers would suggest to expect 21 points. Watching this defense thus far this year, would point to fewer points. But, I don’t believe they’ve been tested sufficiently up the gut with a good running game, and we’ll see that from Minnesota this week.

So, what will happen, barring bizarre turnovers and mental errors, I would expect to see 21-28 points from Ohio State in the first half and 14-21 points in the second. From a Minnesota perspective, I would expect 14-21 points in the first half and up to 10 points in the second half. I think Minnesota will score in this game. Wait, I’ve got it: Ohio State 41 Minnesota 24. Given that there is a 23.5 point spread, I don’t think the Bucks cover this week. As always, we’ll check back on Saturday to see just how wrong this prediction was. Go Bucks!


DIY Electric Motor

09.26.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on DIY Electric Motor

What an interesting and cool little experiment. I know what I’m going to do with my daugther this evening, she loves projects! Tip of the hat: Hacked Gadgets


Blogrush Update, Update

09.26.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Blogrush Update, Update

Guess I should have waited a day before posting the Blogrush update. In the mail this morning, I received a missive from the Blogrush team. I’ll post excerpts below with some commentary.

The BlogRush team has been hard at work making major improvements
for you and we won’t rest until BlogRush is running 100% smoothly and
sending you tons of targeted traffic! This is OUR MISSION. Please
know that our entire team is working around-the-clock to make
improvements and fix any problems AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

Given that this has been released a little over a week, I’d say they’re pretty darned responsive thus far.

We’ve encountered some problems since our historic launch just over a
week ago, and we fully recognize that we’ve made some real ‘goofs’
with the system for our Public Beta release…

For example, our data center provider (one of the largest in the
world) had a short, temporary outage (they had to replace a network
switch) two days after our launch. We had no control over this
outage but want to SINCERELY APOLOGIZE to those that saw this
message on their blogs (where the widget should have been):

“We are currently experiencing some technical issues and the site
will be back online shortly. Please come back in a few minutes.”

This is a problem. I saw the message and was irritated by it. Glad to know it’s now fixed.

We also realize that we completely underestimated the number of
unethical people that would sign up and proceed to CHEAT and try to
‘game’ the BlogRush system. These cheaters ruined the click-rates of
many of our members (and burned through a lot of their credits using
automated ‘exploit’ methods) and hurt BlogRush’s ability to send
maximum traffic to our honest members’ blogs.

It was very clear to me from the outset that the very first thing people would do is try to game the system. It’s human nature on the interenet (unfortunately.) Since there was no money changing hands, I was comfortable with the risk of early adoption. The worst outcome that could happen is that traffic wouldn’t be referred and crappy links would show up in the widget. Unfortunately, thus far that’s what we’ve seen. But, it’s early days yet.


Our team is going to be manually reviewing every single new blog that
registers to participate in the BlogRush Network.

Our members, like YOU, made it LOUD AND CLEAR to us… BlogRush
needs to only have members that have quality blog content — not blogs
filled primarily with ads and other spammy looking JUNK.

Glad you realize this Blogrush, the service will fail if it’s content light. Real bloggers who write real content that people read can actually use your service. When the signal to noise ratio is low, no one will ever click a link from the widget. 100% manual review sounds very expensive though, I hope you can maintain throughput whilst making the human touch.



The current Dashboard stats are being under-reported for all users
right now. This is the reason that users show discrepancies when
looking at Google Analytics data (or other stats packages). We’re
currently sending more traffic to our users than we’re reporting in
the Dashboard because we are giving all users bonus credits
everyday. We’ll soon be reporting all bonus credit activity so all
the numbers will be accurate.


A few of our users have noticed that they’re building up credits
faster than the system is using them.


You can go login to your account, click the “Settings” tab and then
select “Flavors.”

You can choose from (13) different widget colors. You no longer have
to only use our original “black” widget design that many users
thought was ugly! (Hey, just don’t let our lead designer hear
that… he thought his black design was “really cool.”)


Under the “Settings” tab you’ll also find a new option called, “My
Post Control.” Here’s what this awesome new feature does…

You can create POST FILTERS for your blog posts…

For example, you can add a keyword or phrase and create a new post
filter. If you ever create a post on your blog (while you have that
filter active — and you can add/delete them at anytime) that
contains one of those keywords in the TITLE of your blog post, that

These are all needed improvements to help the experience along. Thus far, while disappointed with the performance of the Blogrush service, I am impressed with the commitment and speed of the improvements. There’s a long way to go, but this tool just might prove to be as useful as I thought when deciding to give it a whirl…We’ll see how all this shakes out and I’ll write another update in a couple of weeks with my experience to date. Blogrush, I salute your vigor and enthusiasm!

Energy, Politics

Decision Time: Energy Investments

09.26.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Decision Time: Energy Investments

Originally published at Montara Energy Ventures.

Recently, one of our partners brought an interesting situation to light. AMP-Ohio, a US electricity generation company, is working to build a new $2.7B, 1,000MW “clean coal” generation facility on the Ohio River. As part of the planning for this plant, the company is visiting the municipalities it serves and asking each for a 50 year commitment in the form of a power purchase agreement to aid in lining up the financing for the project. None of this is news, it’s happening every day across the country for every type of project.

The interesting bits of this story revolve around the tactics being employed by AMP to secure the commitments from the municipalities and ultimately, the choice these municipalities have in determining our energy future and policies.

A municipality involved in this is Yellow Springs, Ohio. A village of some 4,000 people located in southwestern Ohio. Historically, the village has been an independent where electricity is concerned, opting out of the large investor-owned utility Dayton Power and Light (now a subsidiary of DPLInc.) to maintain control over power production and distribution. AMP has created a sense of urgency around the project asking the municipalities to commit within a six month time frame or risk losing their AMP electrical supply when the current power purchase agreements expire in a few years. The leaders of the community are not experts on electricity generation and distribution (though there is expertise in the village staff and advisors) and are feeling the heat. In addition to the AMP proposal, the village is also struggling with issues around electricity distribution, but this is a separate issue from power supply.

As this topic heats up, there are editorials appearing and offers from groups like the National Resources Defense Council to come work with the village to understand its choices. This scene must be playing out in hundreds, if not thousands, of communities across the country. It comes down to a very real choice about how to proceed in the future: Why should communities invest in new fossil fuel projects with known negative impacts? Why not explore, and ultimately invest in, more reasonable and sustainable approaches? At $2.7M per megawatt of generation capacity in the proposed plant, why not look at resources like geothermal with the same baseload characteristics of a coal plant, and virtually none of the emissions? Averaged development cost per megawatt? $3M.

In a note written to the our partner who happens to reside in this village yesterday, some questions were posed that the village leadership should be considering:

  • Has the village characterized its resource requirements/load? Has this been projected into the future?
  • What is the net present value of the village’s aggregate power purchasing over a 50 year horizon?
  • What conservation programs have been contemplated to affect the load over the longterm?
  • What local renewable resources have been reviewed for feasibility of serving the electrical load?

Armed with this information, a community dialogue can then begin around the available choices and informed decisions based on information can be made. From a personal perspective, the simple act of installing compact fluorescent lamps in 87% of a home’s light fixtures has reduced electricity demand by 25%. That’s hard data, a story about it is available here. Small choices like this made across a community can have a large impact.

Regardless of where one stands on the environmental issues like global warming, green house gases, particulate air pollution, acid rain, etc. it is the country’s economic interest to not direct one more dollar toward development of new fossil fuel electricity generation. Now is the time, with each of these sorts of decisions at the local level, to assert our desire to responsibly and reasonably harvest renewable resources for our future power needs. This should be coupled with demand management and simple and effective conservation mechanisms that require minimal impact on end consumers. In this way, we can shape a better future for our families and minimize our negative impact on our environment.

Where does your community get electrical power? Are there decisions being taken by your local government? Now would be a good time to find out and make your voice heard. If people don’t speak out on these issues, the situation will not change.


Blogrush Update

09.25.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Blogrush Update

It’s been a few days since I started to experiment with Blogrush, the viral traffic generation tool. Since the initial entry on this, the Dashboard seems to be active, though the reporting is still not available. A new “feature” Blogrush “flavors” is being introduced, but is not yet available. Also, Blogrush has changed to a manual review process for people signing up to reduce the potential for fraud, a painful but necessary decision for them I think. I’ve had one person join my widget world (I’m assuming this is you Doug, from In the Bike Lane – one of the blogs I keep in my RSS reader.)

The impressions tracked on the dashboard match neither my server statistics nor my Google Analytics numbers (I should mention, those two sources never match either.) They’re within 50% though of the generally accepted (averaged number between server stats and GA), they’re low. No surprise there. The click-through rate has been very low, there are likely many reasons for this among them: bad widget placement, bad headlines on my part, and mistargeted audiences due to broad categories. Of the 6,411 impressions served, I’ve seen 3 click-throughs in my stats for a 0.0004679% CTR. No terribly promising performance. Also, today in particular, I’ve noticed that the widget is loading slowly (which I expected would happen eventually.)

From here, I’m planning to change categories and attempt to write some tighter headlines to see if the CTR can be increased. In the meantime, I’ll monitor widget loading performance and keep with it unless the performance gets too slow. I’ll report back with new information as it becomes available.

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