Today in complete amateur meteorology, 3.5 inches of snow

This morning has many criticizing the local meteorologists for the lack of snow that fell in the Philadelphia area. It always amazes me how some will react to this. Weather is hard to predict, and the science to do so tends to be more accurate that it can be given credit for. Those who wish to blast the weather experts for the lack of a snow storm are probably misguided, because the same experts have been telling us in the days leading up to this latest snow event there were multiple tracks the storm could take, each with a varying amount of snow attached to it. It just so happened we got the best-case scenario other than a complete miss.

I broke out the trusty ruler to see just how much snow we received in the past 48 hours, and my total reads about 3.5 inches. Considering we could have had a foot or more dumped on us, I will take it and move on.

A photo posted by Kevin McGuire (@kevinmcguire) on

The Seahawks are better at football than Twitter

For the second straight season the Seattle Seahawks are representing the NFC in the Super Bowl, this time looking to defend their Super Bowl championship reign against a team with a handful of Vince Lombardi Trophies on display already, the New England Patriots. As a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles you can imagine how frustrating this can be, with my team still looking for its first Super Bowl ring. Sure, the Eagles have a couple of world championships on the record books, but the football championship drought in Philadelphia was able to buy a beer before I was born, so it doesn’t really count.

It’s a good thing the Seahawks are good at football though, because they are not exactly on top of their Twitter game*. Prior to hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, this tweet caught my eye, with Chris Pratt shown getting ready to watch the game in person.

This attempt to make a Guardians of the Galaxy reference fell a bit off the mark, as Pratt played Peter Quill, or Star-Lord as he would prefer to be called. It was Vin Diesel who was the voice of Groot. But hey, whatever. Small potatoes compared to this unfortunate and misguided tweet on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day…

Yes, the Seahawks pulled together a thrilling victory when most fo the football world counted them out (myself not included), but there are some pretty simple rules to follow on days like this. Never ever try to compare a sporting event’s result to the civil rights movement. It just doesn’t play well and never works out in a positive manner. I actually understand the message the Seahawks were trying to relay, but it is a tough one to share without receiving some backlash, especially on Monday.

The Seahawks did apologize after quickly removing the questionable tweet…

As my old friend Joe Toto might say, “Yeah, OK, sure.”

For the record, I am rooting for Seattle in the Super Bowl though.

* The Seahawks are actually pretty good with Twitter, but these were just two mishaps. you can do that when you win a Super Bowl.

Shippensburg was better than Ohio State in 2014

ShipFootball

Ohio State may be the national champions of college football, but Shippensburg was the better team. At least according to the trusty website, MyTeamIsBetterThanYourTeam.com.

It takes 24 rounds of head-to-head transitive property, but here is how it all comes together.

  • Division 2 Shippensburg beat Kutztown, 37-32.
  • Kutztown beat IUP, 44-7.
  • IUP beat St. Augustine’s, 41-19.
  • St. Augustine’s beat Livingstone, 31-30.
  • Livingstone beat Bowie State, 36-33.
  • Bowie State beat Virginia Union, 20-17.
  • Virginia Union beat NAIA school Siena Heights, 12-0.
  • Siena Heights beat Robert Morris (Illinois), 31-14.
  • Robert Morris beat Marian (Indiana), 20-7.
  • Marian beat Grandview, 31-18.
  • Grandview beat FCS school Drake, 45-22.
  • Drake beat Dayton, 34-30.
  • Dayton beat Georgetown, 23-14.
  • Georgetown beat Holy Cross, 21-16.
  • Holy Cross beat Morgan State, 29-26.
  • Morgan State beat Hampton, 38-35.
  • Hampton beat Bethune-Cookman, 40-35.
  • Bethune-Cookman beat FBS Florida International, 14-12.
  • Florida International beat Florida Atlantic, 38-10.
  • Florida Atlantic beat UT-San Antonio, 41-37.
  • UTSA beat Houston, 27-7.
  • Houston beat Pittsburgh, 35-34.
  • Pittsburgh beat Virginia Tech, 21-16.
  • Virginia Tech beat Ohio State, 35-21.

And there you have it. By the transitive property of college football, Shippensburg was a better team than Ohio State in 2014.

For the record, there is a much shorter path to prove Ohio State is better than Shippensburg, but we do not need to discuss that.

Super Mario World music as performed by floppy drives

When the Super Nintendo was first announced, I started saving my allowance, birthday money and Christmas money like you would not believe. I did not spend the money stored in my tin can on anything until the Super Nintendo hit store shelves. My parents surprised me by picking it up one day, at which point I emptied the tin can and forked over the $200 I had saved and was expecting to spend that weekend. I immediately started to hook the system up alongside its predecessor, the Nintendo Entertainment System and got to playing Super Mario World as quickly as possible. I was so excited and was so happy to see Mario in glorious 16 bits, but the music was also captivating and catchy. Still to this day I have a tune from the game pop in my head at random.

Over the years I have seen or heard music from the game performed by brass ensembles and string quartets and so on. Until today, I had never heard it performed by a handful of old floppy drives. So here it is, in its full floppy drive glory, one of the main themes from Super Mario World;

It is good to see those old floppy drives still getting used for something. Previously on the blog I shared a video of 15 floppy drives playing the more common Super Mario Brothers theme. And do not forget the videos of a dot matrix printer “singing” Eye of the Tiger or The Imperial March.

UPDATE: I just found this Zelda assortment by the same YouTube user, MrSolidSnake745. Not bad.

via Mashable

It’s a mashup about nothing, not that there’s anything wrong with that

I was never a huge Evanescence fan, but there was only that one song that I got a kick out of. You know which one I’m talking about. It starts out with the female lead opening things up by herself with a piano and  yada, yada, yada I’m all fired up to kick some butt.

That song is “Bring Me To Life,” and it’s not too shabby and you can listen to it now on Spotify. But if have you ever listened to the song and thought “It needs something here,” then perhaps this is the mash-up you’ve been waiting for. It might just have you shouting out “Yo Yo Ma!” The key changes are a thing of beauty as well.This is real gold, Jerry.

This is real gold, Jerry.

via The Verge

Creighton has won at the Wells Fargo Center more recently than the Sixers

I had fun tracking the number of teams to win in Lincoln Financial Field between home victories by the Philadelphia Eagles. I assure you I will not be going to that extreme with the current home losing streak by the Philadelphia 76ers, although I did dig up a couple of quick nuggets related to college basketball.

The Utah Jazz won a road game at Philadelphia yesterday, 104-92. This extended the losing streak for the Sixers to 16 straight games. The Sixers have given up 100 points or more in 15 of those losses. The last time the Sixers won a home game was January 15, against the Charlotte Bobcats. That was a long time ago.

Villanova’s basketball team has been more successful at the Wells Fargo Center though. The Wildcats won their third game in the arena yesterday by blowing away Georgetown Saturday afternoon, 77-59, before the Sixers and Jazz played on the same court hours later. All three Villanova wins in the Wells Fargo Center, not including an exhibition win against West Chester, have come since January 20. Villanova has won three times (St. John’s, Marquette and Georgetown) at the Wells Fargo Center since the last home Sixers win. The lone loss Villanova experienced in the Wells Fargo Center came on January 20, against Creighton.

How many floppy drives does it take to play the Super Mario Bros theme?

Mario Teaches Typing

I recently learned how to play some old DOS games on my MacBook Pro (See: DOSBox). This has be itching to dig out some old floppy disks, hook up my USB floppy drive (because my laptop has no such thing included) and load up some old school Sim City 2000. I think I also have a couple of old demo disks of games that I acquired from some various computer shows that would show up at the Exton Square Mall. I know for sure I picked up a Pac-Man clone called CD Man and a demo for something called Bart’s Law (which was a total scam I will get in to some other time). I probably have those disks somewhere nearby.

One program I know I will not be revisiting at any point is Mario Teaches Typing. Don’t get me wrong, it served a decent purpose for me at a younger age to get me to try and improve my typiing skills, but ultimately it was a chore. This was the first time I really came to the idea that just because Mario is slapped in a title, game or program, it does not necessarily make it a worthwhile title. At this time I had come to expect a certain standard when it came to Mario graphics and sound, and DOS hardware and software struggled to meet those expectactions at a time when Super Mario Brothers 3 was the gold standard (Mario Taches Typing was released a year after Super Mario Brothers 3).

All of this leads me to this video. There are videos on YouTube showing off old technology being set up to perform musical arrangements of any number of different songs. Most recently I shared a video of a dot matrix printer printing to the tune of Eye of the Tiger. A while back I came across this video of a couple of floppy drives playing The Imperial March from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Now, to build off of that idea, here are 15 floppy drives performing the classic theme from the original Super Mario Brothers.

Unofficial snow total: 0.001 inches

Sometimes the weather forecast has to be adjusted on the fly. Such seems to be the case for today’s snow that moved through the region. While areas south of me probably got the expected snowfall they had been expecting for a few days now, the hyped 6-12 inches they were calling for around the Allentown area never developed. Now that the snow has come to an end where I am, I decided to show just how far off the initial snow predictions were for where I live.

The weather forecasts this winter have been mostly accurate, and sometimes the weather does change as it is moving. To be fair, the meteorologists seem to have been adjusting their predictions accordingly, but let this be a reminder that in the end they are all just guessing.

Things I learned during the 2014 Winter Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics have come to a close. The Americans fell flat in some of the events they were expected to be medal contenders and favorites in, but that did not diminish my level of enthusiasm for the winter games. I can’t help being an Olympic geek every four (or two I suppose) years. I admit to only paying attention to a number of the sports held every four years and I am not about to start following many of them on a more regular basis, but I like to think I know enough to enjoy all of the sports in the Olympics, with a few exceptions. I also try to make sure I learn something new every time the Olympics come around.

With that, here are some of the things I learned while watching the 2014 Winter Olympics, in no particular order.

The Netherlands is pretty good at this speed skating thing. The Dutch claimed a total of 23 medals in speed skating events, which is just ridiculous. Eight gold medals, seven silver and eight bronze medals. To put that in to perspective, Poland was the next biggest medal winner in speed skating events with a total of three medals.

The Americans were awful at this speed skating thing. Team USA is generally pretty good at speed skating, but you wouldn’t know it if you tuned in to speed skating for the first time in 2014. The Americans were shut out of the podium during each event, and the new Under Armour uniforms may not be the culprit. Our nation did not fare as well as they usually do on the short track either, finishing sixth in the medal count in the first Olympics without Apollo Ohno.

The Russians took advantage of Olympic free agency for medals. I get why some athletes would take advantage of the citizenship and ancestor rules allowing them to compete for a different nation during the games, and I don’t really have much a problem with that. But it is sort of a different game when a nation pretty much offers an athlete citizenship so they can compete under their flag. Such was the case for Russia and short track skater Victor Ahn, formerly of South Korea. I love the Victor Ahn redemption story and was happy to see him stick it to the South Korean short track team, but Russia knew he would help boost their medal count in a sport they traditionally have not been a factor in. Russia added five medals in short track and Ahn joined Ohno as the sport’s all-time record holder for total medals with six.

USA hockey is good, but Canada is just better. The US women lost a heartbreaker to Canada in the gold medal game in one of the biggest choke jobs I have seen since the Boston Bruins lost a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals a few years ago, and the Bruins let a Stanley Cup Final game slip away from them against the Chicago Blackhawks. But enough picking on Boston. The US women are really good, but even against the best team in the world you cannot let a two-goal lead slip away in the final minutes with a gold medal on the line. The men also came up short against Canada with a spot in the gold medal game on the line. This was not as much of a sting because few expected the men to medal in the first place. Through the round robin tournament though Team USA looked like a gold medal favorite, but Canada stepped things up after some less-than-superior play this tournament and they shut down the Americans in a 1-0 victory to advance to the gold medal game against Sweden. The only explanation I have for the blowout loss to Finland is Team USA was ready to go home after the Canada game, but Finland is pretty darn good too.

At least Team USA is better than Russia. Russia thought they had a gold medal team but for the third straight Olympics the Russians failed to even win a medal. Perhaps this is what happens when the hockey team has so much influence from the president of the country. Who does Vladimir Putin think he is anyway, Jerry Jones?

Spock and Scotty may have encountered a temporal vortex. Not sure how many times I saw the Xfinity commercial with Spock and Scotty, but you would think two Starfleet members of the United Federation of  Planets would be less than impressed with the technology the Xfinity folks are showing off to them.

Time for Shaun White to pass the torch. One fo the biggest disappointments early on in the winter Olympics was the performances of Team USA in men’s halfpipe. Shaun White, the icon, pulled out of the new snowboarding event in order to focus on the halfpipe, just weeks after pulling out of the XGames to prepare for Sochi. Nobody pulled down the high score White did in the qualification runs, but when it came time to put it all on the line White wiped out. In fact, all of the Americans struggled on the halfpipe, keeping the men halfpipers off the podium. Team USA still led the overall medal count in snowboarding events, but the halfpipe is the signature event. If White is not going to lead the charge in 2018, who will?

I should say I have been a fan of Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov for a while now so I was not terribly upset by the halfpipe outcome.

Jimmy Kimmel is a master of the viral pranks. Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel pulled another fast one on everybody with his wolf video prank. With a little help of American luger Kate Hansen in Sochi. This is not the first time Kimmel has caught everyone by surprise, and it will only be a matter of time before he does it again.

Trouble in Russia? Overblown. All we heard about heading in ot the Olympics was how safe would athletes, fans (and most importantly) the media be in Sochi. Terror alerts and questions about security were everywhere in the media, cautioning traveling fans to be alert and prepared for anything. Unless anything happens during the closing ceremonies, it looks like the biggest problem faced during the Olympics came with the arrest and incident with the band Pussy Riot. Russia may be despicable when it comes to human rights, but if that is the biggest problem we have read about, then this year’s Olympics have been a success.

The summer Olympics are still more entertaining. I really do enjoy many of the events during the winter Olympics, but they just do not compare top to bottom with the summer games. I would take the Olympic hockey over the Olympic basketball, because the pro talent on the ice seems more spread out compared to the distribution on the court and that offers a more competitive and entertaining tournament. The summer games just seem to offer more that I can get in to like the track and field and swimming events. The ice skating events are a huge draw during the winter games, but it does nothing but drag down my enthusiasm watching the games. I am by far a huge gymnastics fan, but even that seems more entertaining to me than the ice skating events.

Two more years until Rio de Janeiro, and that should be a ton of fun.

Video: Dot matrix printer performing Eye of the Tiger

I hated using a dot matrix printer in my early computer days. The ribbons faded quickly with the amount of stuff I printed out from Print Shop Deluxe, Kid Pix and Prodigy. Still, all these years later it seems as though they still have some life in them and some tricks to show off.

Take this printer for instance, which prints to the tune of Eye of the Tiger

Now if we could just get this printer to get together with these old floppy drives performing The Imperial March, we could have something brewing…

←Older