Stephen’s Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Software Developer in Portland, Oregon

Monday, May 30, 2005

Spurs vs. Sun, Game 4

The Spurs lost, but it was close. The good news is, we played horribly for streches of the game, the officiating was bad, and hurt us a bit disproportionately, and we still had a chance late in the game. So, here's looking for the Spurs to win in Phoenix for game 5.

New Job

I've been meaning to blog about this for a little bit. I've changed positions recently (started the new position on May 16th). Previously, I worked at the SJFHQ. I did system administration for Sharepoint Portal Server, provided portal expertise, and did some Java-based web development on the side.

The new job is with the same company, and still working for JFCOM. Now I work at Joint Experimentation, with the team responsible for the Iraqi Information Sharing Portal. So, now I'll be closer to doing full-time software development. I'll be working on an interesting project, with a larger team, with some experienced developers. I'm looking forward to the challenges, and the opportunity to learn and improve my skils, while helping a very worhtwhile project for the military.

Spurs Vs Suns, Games 1-3

I still really don't know what to say about the San Antonio Spurs impressive success against the Phoenix Suns in the first three games of the Western Conference Finals. While I thought we matched up well against the Suns, and am not suprised by their success, it hasn't gone quite how I expected.

The first two games, in Phoenix, the Spurs won both games both by playing almost perfect fourth-quarters. They shot something like 70% in the 4th quarter of both games, including over 50% from 3 pt. range in both games. Additionally, the defense wasn't very good, as both Stoudemire and Nash scored easily. But, still, the Spurs won on the road.

In game 3, the Spurs won more the way I expected. They held the Suns to just 10 points in the 2nd quarter. However, the Spurs had a large lead, and ended up letting the Suns get closer in the 4th quarter. But again, the Spurs won. The Spurs have played extremely well offensively, and while they haven't been able to blow-out the Suns, they do have a 3-0 series lead, which is even better. Hopefully they'll get the sweep on Monday, and give everyone plenty of rest before facing either Miami or Detroit in the finals.

IE 7 Tab Browsing Details

I'm a bit backlogged on topics I wanted to blog about. The first topic is the details on the implementation of tabbed browsing in IE 7. There are several things that indicate that the IE team may be doing a bit better of an implementation than Firefox:

We are working on balancing the default behavior for whether a window opened from script opens as in a new frame or a tab. Currently, windows that have been customized, such as hiding a toolbar or making the window non-resizable, will default to opening in their own standalone frame, whereas ordinary pop-up windows will open in a new foreground tab. CTRL-clicking and middle-clicking links will open those links in a background tab.

Currently, Firefox doesn't have an option to treat customized windows differently. I think that it makes sense as a default though, and would make tabbed browsing work better. Additionally, middle-clicking or ctrl-clicking in Firefox doesn't seem to work on javascript based links, whereas it sounds like it might in IE7.

Another implementation detail mentioned for IE7 sounds like it will be important, though that will depend on how it really works out in practice:

One design decision worth calling out is that our current implementation is fully multi-threaded. Each tab is on a separate thread, and the frame is also on its own thread. This has some impact on the overall footprint of IE, but we believe this will allow IE7 to feel faster and provide an overall better user experience. Internally this creates some additional complexity as we have to deal with a lot of cross-thread communication, but it also gives us a way to do things we wouldn't otherwise be able to do with a single-threaded approach.

Firefox seems pretty weak on being multi-threaded. Whenever I load up large pages in a tab (such as the Java API), I'm unable to switch tabs for some time until the page finishes loading. Also, sometimes when saving images or files to a networked drive, which is somewhat slow, Firefox freezes until the save is completed. Firefox needs to fix these problems to be more usable, and it sounds like IE7 is already looking to address some of the problems. Hopefully the competition from IE will help Firefox improve.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Gamers’ Manifesto

Go, read it, now! It's so right on, that I may just ask the authors their religion, so that I might achieve everlasting peace and happiness.

Actually...I think the XBox's music features are nice (customize the playlist within all games from your music collection), and look forward to perhaps being able to play basketball without listening to hip-hop. And I liked Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball, and so did my wife. In fact, since I don't own an XBox, I hope that the backwards compatibility of the XBox 360 will allow me to purchase DOA: Beach Volleyball to play on the 360...

But that's not the point. The point is that I agree with almost all of it!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Next Generation Video Game Systems

Well, there's been a lot of news about the next generation video game systems coming out frome the E3 event. Honestly, I'm having a hard time following it all. Nintendo obviously intends to wait and tell us more later. Nintendo creates 1st party games that appeal to me so much more than the stuff that gets published on PlayStation or XBox, so I'll almost certainly get a Nintendo Revolution when it comes out. I've owned a Super Nintendo and a Nintendo Gamecube, as well as a Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP. The only non-Nintendo system I've owned was a Sega Gamegear.

But, as I now have the financial resources to get more game systems, I'm very likely to branch out to another system. So, will it be the XBox 360, or the PlayStation 3? It's interesting, the buzz I hear seems to be more around the PlayStation, but what I've actually seen myself has me more excited about the XBox. Maybe it's just because the advantages of the XBox will likely complement the advantages of the Nintendo Revolution, while the PS3 benefits will overlap more. The integrated services concept of the XBox is very appealing.

Most importantly, Microsoft's XBox is doing a better job of advertising to me: by blogging. I can get detailed info straight from the source from Sure, when it comes to comparing with the PS3, it's bound to be biased. But I get to hear their side. Sony needs to do a better job of getting information to me if they want me to buy a PS3; right now I have to actively seek info on their console, and I still can't find information as easily as I can about the XBox.

Of course, there's plenty of time still for more information to come out. It'll be an interesting and exciting time for console gaming. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Classy II

I talked about the classiness of the Denver Nuggets fans last round. The Seattle Supersonics fans decided they needed to one-up them. They didn't just perform audible chants of "bull-shit" in every home game, multiple times per game. There was also a sizeable contigent that cheered when it appeared that Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs had injured his ankle, and then booed when he was able to get up and walk it off. Congratulations Sonics fans: you suck the most!

Similar sentiments, plus some wrap up commentary from the always insightful Matthew at the San Antonio Spurs Blog.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Flickr Pro

I still have a Flickr Pro account to give away. That's a $24.95 value. If anybody who reads this blog wants one, let me know. I'd prefer to give it away to someone I know, since I don't use e-mail, I figure this is the best way to announce it. If no such person turns up, I'd like to give it a current Flickr member with an interesting photo collection already on Flickr (sort of a worthy-cause kind-of-thing), so if you don't know me personally, at least send me the link to your Flickr photostream so I can take a look.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Spurs Vs Sonics, Game 2

The San Antonio Spurs won game 2 over the Sonics without much difficulty, taking a 2 game lead. The Spurs are doing well, and should win the series pretty easily. I shoudl be happy and calm, but I've got a couple complaints that are really bugging me.

The first is the refereeing. We're winning, so this isn't about being sore about the outcome. But the refs were horrible tonight anyway. Come on NBA, is this what you want, to encourage whining? Ray Allen drew several bogus calls on Bowen after complaining before the series and since game 1. It's a shame that yapping about how much you're fouled is an effective strategy, and I fear the amount of whining that other players will start doing if it remains such a good tactic.

My second complaint is about the announcers. Quit giving Jerome James the benefit of the doubt! He's not a good player. He had one good series against a team who's inside precense consisted entirely of an injured Brad Miller, who's never been a strong defender anyway. Now he's playing against Duncan, Mohammed, etc., and he looks as bad as he is. Stop pretending that he's suddenly going to "step-it-up" and be a factor. Don't suggest that Sonics try to get the ball inside to him more often! It makes you all look ignorant. He's a mediocre player. Please, please, comprehend this simple fact. He's averaging 5 points and 3 rebounds per game this year. Sheesh!

Monday, May 2, 2005

Spurs vs Nuggets, Game 4

The San Antonio Spurs win in overtime, despite what Charles Barkley called "One of the worst officiated games I've ever seen in my 20 years associated with the NBA." Duncan played well, but fouled out in overtime. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili picked up their games even further in overtime to seal the win. Spurs up 3-1, hopefully they'll close out at home so they don't give any rest-advantage to their 2nd round opponent.


Just wanted to post about this while I remembered: you gotta love the classiness of the Denver Nuggets fans. For the second game in a row they get an extremely audible chant of "bull-shit" going. I don't recall for sure if they had any cause in Game 3. However, in Game 4, they are completely wrong. It wasn't even close: Nene was clearly not in position to get a charge called.

Also, the refereeing at the end of the Dallas-Houston game was quite bad, in that they missed two very big calls. I've got no preference between these two teams, but Houston was hurt pretty bad by: the missed call with Finley getting the steal from out-of-bounds, and the phantom foul call when the Rockets were trying to trap at the end of the game. A shame to mar a tight game with officiating mistakes.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

NBA Whiners

"I'm going to put in on tape and show my son how to play basketball -- just put your head down and run into people," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I guess that's a new brand of basketball. It's not very pretty. He just goes in there and throws his arms up in the air and throws his elbows at us. He hits you as much as you hit him."

That's George Karl talking about Manu Ginobili after Game 3. Here's Ray Allen after a game earlier this season talking about Bruce Bowen:

"I don't compare him to anyone, because he's the only one I know that doesn't play basketball," Allen told the media after the game. "He's out there playing some other sport. I don't know what you call it."

These are the two most idiotic, whiny quotes about basketball that I have ever heard. Bruce Bowen plays pure, perfect defensive basketball. I guess one-on-one perimeter defense is such a lost art that Allen got confused and couldn't even recognize the sport it came from when it was played against him.

But to malign the game of Manu Ginobili is even more idiotic. George Karl should consider himself lucky that his team has had such a great turn-around since he took over. Otherwise, his job might be at stake for disparaging the game of a player who was the first-choice of the Denver managment during free-agency last summer.

Do coaches and players really think that they, the ones with all the reason to be frustrated about being beaten by these players, are more level-headed and accurate than the referees? That the refs are, for some reason, biased towards Bowen and Ginobili? Because, if they're during some wrong, unfair, something that's "not basketball", then it would be the refs fault for not stopping it, right?

Coach Karl: give it a break. Phil Jackson only got away with such rediculous statements because he won so many championships. You are not in the same position, so at least have some dignity and take the loss like a man.