07-08 NFL Super Bowl Pick

posted on 02/01/08 at 11:31:20 pm by Joel Ross

So this is what it's all come down to - one game to determine who the best team in the NFL is this season. And, if New England wins, potentially the best NFL team of all time.

  • New York Giants vs. New England (-11.5) (53.5 O/U): New England is just too strong this year. They are on a mission, and while the Giants gave them a great game to end the season, remember, that game ultimately meant nothing. This one actually has meaning, and New England should be able to roll.

I can't believe this season is almost over! Oh, and I'm extremely excited to watch my first Super Bowl in HD!

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Categories: Football


Interesting Use for myPlayoffs.com

posted on 01/24/08 at 10:35:45 pm by Joel Ross

myPlayoffsDotCom_LogoOne of the best parts of putting out a piece of software is seeing the different ways people use it - especially the unintended uses. That's part of the reason I have a search feed for most of the domains we launch. myPlayoffs.com is one of those searches, and recently, I came across a forum post about your favorite movie. They're using myPlayoffs.com to track the results, which isn't at all how we pictured the site to be used.

Of course, that's just fine with us. It's great to see people using it and it definitely gives us some ideas of how we can improve the system - we could build in the voting mechanisms right into the site!

Personally, my money's on The Hunt For Red October.


Categories: Develomatic


07-08 NFL Conference Championship Picks

posted on 01/17/08 at 11:14:09 pm by Joel Ross

Only three games left this year! And they should be some great games!

  • San Diego vs. New England (-14) (46.5 O/U): Do you think the weather in Boston will be anything like what the Chargers are leaving in San Diego? San Diego beat Indy in perfect conditions (in the dome), but this won't be ideal conditions. The high for Sunday is 25 degrees. FYI, it's supposed to be in the 60's in San Diego. I haven't seen yet. Is Rivers playing? If he doesn't (or isn't 100% ready to go), it could be a long day for L.T. with no one else for the defense to focus on but the NFL's leading rusher.
  • New York Giants vs. Green Bay (-7) (40 O/U): The Frozen Tundra will be in full effect on Sunday. The high is 6 degrees. Oh, and flurries. I think I remember a few flurries this past weekend as well! How will Eli Manning cope with the cold? He's not exactly living in the Caribbean, but his passer rating historically has dropped with the temperature. Not so for Mr. Favre. I just feel sorry for his receivers. Imagine catching one of Favre's rockets in 6 degree weather. That's got to sting just a bit.

I'll take Green Bay (-310) for my "Lock Solid" pick this week. Lambeau Field has a reputation for a reason!

I'll be watching these games this weekend - every minute in all it's HD glory. Check back next week to see how I did with my picks.

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Categories: Football


07-08 NFL Divisional Playoff Pick Results

posted on 01/16/08 at 10:37:44 pm by Joel Ross

I only got to watch the second half of the Green Bay game, the very end of New England's game, and the second half of the Giants game. Not quite like the weekend before where I saw every minute of every game, but it was a decent amount of football. It's kind of disappointing to know that there are less games left in the season than were played this past weekend, though.

I made one "Lock Solid" pick - Indy over San Diego, and we know how that turned out.

Once again, the (supposedly better and rested) home team was 2-2. Apparently betting on these games isn't quite the sure thing that it was once considered to be.

  • Jacksonville* 20, New England 31 (-11.5) (48.5 O/U) [P: $1.52, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $1.52]: New England is just too good right now. They've been able to adjust to everything teams have thrown at them and come out on top. Now that Indy is gone and San Diego is banged up, they should be able to cruise into the Super Bowl. Wouldn't it be ironic if New England was tripped up by a Manning - just not the one everyone thought it would be?
  • San Diego* 28, Indianapolis 24 (-10) (47 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $9.09]: How on earth does a team like Indy lose to San Diego while the number one running back in the league, their opponent's best receiver and starting quarterback are on the bench? Billy Volek is the reason Peyton is watching his brother at home? Wow.
  • New York Giants 21, Dallas 17 (-7.5) (47 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]: I think there has to be a Manning in the Conference Championship, and since Peyton got knocked out, Eli had to win, right? And who expected to see the emotion coming from T.O. about Romo? Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb had no comment.
  • Seattle* 20, Green Bay 42 (-8) (40.5 O/U) [P: $2.63, S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: $1.72]: I was shocked when I turned this one on - not by the score, but by the snow. Then to see that there was no snow at the beginning of the game! By the time I turned it on, Green Bay was just about to take the lead, so I didn't even know they were down early on two Grant fumbles! So who wants to bet against Favre and the Packers at Lambeau Field this weekend?

Results Summary

  • Picks (this week): 2 - 2 (50.00%) - Winnings: ($15.85)
  • Picks (season): 171 - 93 (64.77%) - Winnings: ($143.11)
  • Spread (this week): 2 - 2 (50.00%) - Winnings: $0.00
  • Spread (season): 130 - 120 (52.00%) - Winnings: $100.00
  • Over/Under (this week): 3 - 1 (75.00%) - Winnings: $17.27
  • Over/Under (season): 125 - 132 (48.64%) - Winnings: ($183.64)
  • Total Weekly Winnings: $1.42
  • Total Overall Winnings: ($226.74)

Check back for my conference final picks later this week.

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Categories: Football


West Michigan .NET User Group Materials

posted on 01/16/08 at 12:52:05 am by Joel Ross

This evening, I gave my presentation on continuous integration, and as promised, I'm posting my materials for anyone who wants them.

CI - What, Why & How (zip)

For those who were at the presentation, this is the contents of my C:\Build folder (the one that would be on the build server). I've removed all of the .svn folders, as well as the bin folders from the compiled code. I've left all of the tools' binaries in there, though.

Here's a few bonus links to a few of the tools I talked about, as well as the ones on the last slide:

Note that not all of these tools are free. NCover requires a license, and Simian is only free for free or open source software.

For everyone who attended, thanks for allowing me to present on something I am passionate about, and hopefully there's something that will benefit you on your future projects.

Tags: Continuous Integration | CruiseControl.NET | NUnit | NAnt | NCover

Categories: Personal, Software


Miss CodeMash? Check Out the Podcasts

posted on 01/16/08 at 12:42:45 am by Joel Ross

codemash2008logoI was unable to attend CodeMash v2.0.0.8, which was disappointing. I followed some of the action on Twitter and I've read some of the blog posts about it, but it's still not quite the same. I've been looking for more info, and one of those sources is coming from a co-worker - Chris Woodruff is posting a series of podcasts from some of the attendees and speakers. So far, he's got three up and I've listened to them all - Sara Ford, Dustin Campbell, and Michael Rozlog. By the way, Sara Ford has been doing a "Did you know..." series on Visual Studio and is the program manager for CodePlex, where we're hosting the NuSoft Framework.

Frankly, I wish it would have worked out for me to go this year. There were a ton of great people there - Michael Eaton, Scott Hanselman, Keith Elder, Dustin Campbell, Jim Holmes and many, many others. I'm definitely going to be making it a priority to go next year.

UPDATE: Before posting, I saw that Chris has one up from Keith Elder that I haven't listened to yet, and has promised four more tomorrow.

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Categories: Development, Podcasting


Continuous Integration at the West Michigan .NET User Group

posted on 01/14/08 at 09:09:19 pm by Joel Ross

A couple of weeks ago, Chris Woodruff called for someone to fill in tomorrow at the West Michigan .NET User Group meeting. After (finally) confirming I could do it, it was scheduled, so tomorrow night, that's where I'll be.

If you're in the Grand Rapids area, stop by the Watermark Country Club. It should be a good time.

Categories: Personal


07-08 NFL Divisional Playoff Picks

posted on 01/11/08 at 10:55:34 pm by Joel Ross

After spending last weekend watching every single snap, I doubt I'll get to do that this weekend - as much as I would like to! By the way, it's said that this weekend is the best weekend to bet on games because they're easy to pick - just pick the rested team (who happens to at home and a better team). Seems simple enough, right? Now, they aren't saying by spread - just the winner. So how does that stand up? Last year, you'd have been 2-2, and (assuming you bet $10 per game), you would have lost over $13 of your $40 bet. In '05-'06, you'd have been 2-2 as well, but only losing a little over $11. '03-'04 was also 2-2. Only in '04-'05 would you have gone 4-0. So, I guess conventional wisdom doesn't quite work - in the 4 years I've been tracking, the home team is 10-6.

  • Jacksonville* vs. New England (-11.5) (48.5 O/U): There are some huge spreads this weekend - and all home teams are favorites, which seems obvious. New England's seems a bit large to me, but they should pull it out.
  • San Diego* vs. Indianapolis (-10) (47 O/U): Same applies for Indy here. 10 points between two playoff teams is a lot of points.
  • New York Giants vs. Dallas (-7.5) (47 O/U): This'll be a grudge match. It should come down to Romo vs. Manning. Who can prove they are playoff ready? Was Manning's (private) goal to just get a win, or does he want to go farther? If he plays like he did in the first half of the New England game and last week, they have the potential to roll through Dallas. On the other hand, Dallas is a strong team. If T.O. plays, they should be able to get past New York.
  • Seattle* vs. Green Bay (-8) (40.5 O/U): Saturday in Green Bay: High of 31 with snow. The Frozen Tundra will be in full effect. It used to be that Green Bay was unbeatable in January in Wisconsin. That hasn't been the case, but Favre looks more like the quarterback he was in the '90s than in the past couple of years. Look out Seattle!

My "Lock Solid" pick for this week is Indianapolis (-440). San Diego is good. Just not that good this year.

Should be a good weekend of football. I'm excited! Check back next week for results.

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Categories: Football


07-08 NFL Wild Card Weekend Pick Results

posted on 01/08/08 at 11:31:41 pm by Joel Ross

How do you define a great weekend? How about being able to watch 4 playoff football games and two hockey games - and the 4 football games were all in HD! Yeah, it was a good weekend!

I made one "Lock Solid" pick - and I was write. San Diego took down Tennessee, although not nearly as convincingly as I thought they might, even though they did cover.

  • Jacksonville 31 (-2), Pittsburgh 29 (39 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: $0.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: ($20.00)]: Pittsburgh had every opportunity to pull this one off. I remember sitting here when it was 28-10 thinking, "It's not over. I suppose the Steelers could come back. It's not likely, but it could happen." Well, it did. Unfortunately for them, they did it too quick, leaving enough time for Jacksonville to convert a 4th & 2 (like you haven't seen that shown on Sports Center 10 times already!) on their way to a game winning field goal.
  • Tennessee 6, San Diego 17 (-9) (40.5 O/U) [P: $2.22, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $2.22]: This was the only game of the weekend that I just couldn't get excited about. I ended up fast forwarding through a lot of the middle of the game, just watching them run around really fast. Maybe it would have been more exciting if some of them could run that fast!
  • Washington 14, Seattle 35 (-3) (40 O/U) [P: $5.26, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $5.26]: This should have been the game I got bored by - it was a blowout, really, but I just got HD this past week, so I found myself just staring at how brilliant it looked. I can't remember a single play of this game, but it looked great!
  • New York Giants 24, Tampa Bay 14 (-3) (39.5 O/U) [P: $13.00, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $13.00]: What is it with the Manning's and monkeys? Apparently Eli got his off his back because he finally won a playoff game after losing hundreds of playoff games. Oh wait. No. he got a win after losing two games. No wonder it was so easy to shake that monkey off. Apparently announcers sometimes just have to say something even if that something doesn't really mean anything. Kind of like my writing.

Results Summary

  • Picks (this week): 3 - 1 (75.00%) - Winnings: $10.49
  • Picks (season): 169 - 91 (65.00%) - Winnings: ($127.25)
  • Spread (this week): 3 - 0 (100.00%) - Winnings: $30.00
  • Spread (season): 128 - 118 (52.03%) - Winnings: $100.00
  • Over/Under (this week): 0 - 4 (0.00%) - Winnings: ($40.00)
  • Over/Under (season): 122 - 131 (48.22%) - Winnings: ($200.91)
  • Total Weekly Winnings: $0.49
  • Total Overall Winnings: ($228.16)

I missed every single over/under pick. That's just as hard to do as to pick every one correct, right? Anyway, I would have been 4-0 picking games if just the Steelers could have held on! But I guess that's why Jacksonville was the favorite. You have to know that game would have been different if Willy Parker was playing.

Any way, check back in a few days for my divisional picks.

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Categories: Football


2008 Tourneytopia Updates

posted on 01/03/08 at 09:00:07 pm by Joel Ross

TTLogoWe've just finished deploying Tourneytopia so we can be ready for the 2008 NCAA tournament, and with it come a few nice new features.

Every year, we try to add at least one really, really cool feature that will get people excited. Last year, we had a new look and feel, as well as email notifications, something that went over very well. The year before that we added, well, Tourneytopia. It was the first year we formally announced that we would provide the hosting for pools, but we also added a few features that year as well - a bunch of custom content areas that could be managed by admins, better scoring options, and a few other, smaller features.

This year's no different. There's three main features we've settled on - some bigger than others.

Entry Permalinks

First up, a simple one. Last year, if you wanted to link someone to your entry (for example, entry #7974 - my picks from last year), you would send them to http://www.tourneytopia.com/marchmadness/ncaa/pool/EntryPicks.aspx?EntryId=9749. That's a pretty big URL, and definitely tough to remember. This year, you'll be able to go to http://www.tourneytopia.com/Entry/9749 and get to your picks. That's much simpler to remember, and was inspired by Dave Winer's post about every site providing tinyurl functionality.

Content Editor Improvements

The second new feature I wanted to highlight is another improvement to our content editing. We have a bunch of placeholders scattered throughout the site and a section in the admin area where you can edit them all - but no real correlation between what you're editing and where it's going to show up. It's intuitive to us, and I'm sure users figure it out through trial and error, but things can be done better. So this year, we've formalized it into a "Content Editor" that any admin can open and manage the content. We show what content shows on each page. Here's a shot of our pools' home page with the content editor open.


You can click on any of the content items, edit it right there, and update it. If the content is on that page, you'll see it updated right away. That's much more intuitive than before!

Private Pools

Probably our biggest addition this year is a feature I'm pretty excited about - private pools. For some of our bigger customers, this allows them to have an overall contest, while allowing groups of people to compete with each other. Every pool has the ability to allow private pools to be created, so anyone (not just large customers) can take advantage of this feature!

I'll go into more details as March gets closer. But for now, we got it deployed and ready to go. We'll probably tweak it a bit over the next month or so, but it's done, and it feels good!

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Categories: Develomatic


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