07-08 Week 6 NFL Pick Results

posted on 10/16/07 at 11:21:32 pm by Joel Ross

No numbers look good this week! I'm now down over $300 for the season - a horrible season thus far!

Last week, I picked Baltimore, Cincy, Jacksonville, and Seattle as my "lock solid" picks, which turned out to be, well, not quite so lock solid after all. I ended up 2-2, losing $14.67. Overall, I'm now 17-7, but down $12.12.

  • St. Louis* 3, Baltimore 22 (-9) (37 O/U) [P: $2.00, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($18.00)]
  • Washington 14, Green Bay 17 (-3) (40.5 O/U) [P: $5.26, S: $0.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: ($4.74)]: Is Green Bay for real? Or is the NFC that bad?
  • Cincinnati 20 (-3), Kansas City 27 (42 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]: I was considering trading Larry Johnson on my fantasy team. Now, I think I'll hold on to him - at least until his value is high enough,
  • Philadelphia 16 (-3), New York Jets 9 (42 O/U) [P: $5.88, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $24.97]
  • Tennessee 10, Tampa Bay 13 (-3) (37.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: $0.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: ($20.00)]
  • Miami 31, Cleveland 41 (-4.5) (44.5 O/U) [P: $4.35, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $4.35]
  • Houston* 17, Jacksonville 37 (-6.5) (37 O/U) [P: $3.33, S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: $2.42]
  • Minnesota 34, Chicago 31 (-5.5) (37.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]
  • Carolina 25, Arizona 10 (-4) (40.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]
  • New England 48 (-5), Dallas 27 (52.5 O/U) [P: $4.17, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $4.17]
  • Oakland* 14, San Diego 28 (-9.5) (44.5 O/U) [P: $1.82, S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: $0.91]
  • New Orleans 28, Seattle 17 (-6.5) (42.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]
  • New York Giants 31 (-3), Atlanta 10 (43.5 O/U) [P: $5.26, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $24.35]

Results Summary

  • Picks (this week): 8 - 5 (61.54%) - Winnings: ($17.93)
  • Picks (season): 55 - 34 (61.80%) - Winnings: ($75.19)
  • Spread (this week): 4 - 7 (36.36%) - Winnings: ($30.00)
  • Spread (season): 34 - 46 (42.50%) - Winnings: ($120.00)
  • Over/Under (this week): 6 - 7 (46.15%) - Winnings: ($15.45)
  • Over/Under (season): 39 - 47 (45.35%) - Winnings: ($115.45)
  • Total Weekly Winnings: ($63.38)
  • Total Overall Winnings: ($310.64)

On to next week, I guess!

Tags: | |

Categories: Football


Increasing Your Site's Usefulness With Search

posted on 10/15/07 at 11:30:14 pm by Joel Ross

I've been doing some traffic analysis lately, and I've come to realize that the web site itself is basically only used by new visitors - the majority coming from web searches. On any given month, about 90% of my web traffic is from new visitors. Almost 70% of my traffic comes from search engines, where 95% are new visitors. From a monetization standpoint, that's the traffic I want to make my money from. Subscribers are the dedicated ones I'm having a conversation with, and I'm not interested in making money from them - hence, no ads in my feeds. But web visitors who are visiting because they have a problem they are looking to solve - well, if I can make a little money there, I'm willing to give it a try. And when I say "little" I do mean little!

Anyway, now that we're past my money making philosophy, on to the real point here. I added Google's search capabilities to my blog in August of '05. For the longest time, it was on the side bar, sometimes below the fold, and sometimes above it - but always on the side. When I created a new header, I decided to move the search to the top right corner, where it would be 1.) more visible, and 2.) less in the way. That was back in March or April of this year. Before that, I had a fairly low number of searches per month. Since then, I've had more than double my previous high six of the seven months, and four of those months were more than four times that:


As you can see, moving search to the header has really increased the number of searches. Some of this can be attributed to increased traffic, but if you put this against my traffic stats, the searches have increased by a much higher rate than actual traffic.

Note that the increased search numbers hasn't translated into any extra money, but it does make the site more useful, and hopefully it will turn some of those 90% of new visitors per month into dedicated subscribers, which is what I would rather have.

Categories: Blogging


1,000 Posts

posted on 10/14/07 at 05:49:32 pm by Joel Ross

I've been counting down to 1,000 for a while now, trying to decide what, if anything, I should highlight in my 1,000th post. I already did a post about my posting habits over the past 3 1/2 years I've been blogging at RossCode.com, so that's not really needed again.

Instead, I'd just like thank everyone who reads or is subscribed to my blog. You all make it worth my time!

Categories: Blogging, Personal


Sometimes, the rhyming game can be dangerous!

posted on 10/14/07 at 05:48:31 pm by Joel Ross

The other night, I was giving The Girls a bath. Whenever I wash their hair, I usually tell them I'm going to poor water down "the back, Jack" - and then I poor water down the back of their head to rinse out the shampoo.

My oldest asked why I always call them Jack. I told her it was because back and Jack rhyme. She's been learning about rhyming in school, so she understood the concept.

And things would have been fine if I'd stopped there. Instead, I told her I was going to poor water down the front to rinse the rest of her head. She asked, "What rhymes with front?" I went along. "Punt, bunt, runt." By then, I was pretty much tapped out.

But not my daughter. You see, she's been learning the "C" sound at school, so she put the two ideas together and came up with a word you never want to hear out of the mouth of your child. And that's why we don't play the rhyming game anymore!

Categories: Personal


How To Break (And Fix) A Furnace

posted on 10/11/07 at 11:59:14 pm by Joel Ross

Over the weekend, we were using the air conditioning. By Tuesday, it'd cooled down, but no heating necessary - my favorite type of day. No heating. No cooling. Just fresh air.

Being from Michigan, I enjoy both of those days every year.

Anyway, by Wednesday, it was cool enough to kick in the heater, so that's what The Wife did. Except it didn't turn on. It didn't do anything!

When I got home, being the handyman that I am, I set about to fix the problem - which involved waiting for the neighbor to get home so I could beg him to take a look at it. He came over and we pulled the cover off and tried it again. The draft inducer motor would turn just a tad, then lock in place. For those that don't know (which included me until last night), the draft inducer motor pulls the exhaust out of the furnace and forces it up the exhaust pipe and out of the house. The furnace will not kick in unless there is enough airflow. Since the motor wasn't even turning, there wasn't enough airflow for it to kick in.

After applying liberal amounts of WD4D, we had the motor turning, but it was loud and the furnace still wouldn't kick in. It sounded like a bearing might be locked up somewhere in the motor. The neighbor left me with instructions to get a new motor the next day, and we'd install it that evening (tonight). I called around, and it turns out it's a $136 part, and a local dealer had one in stock. So I got it, and waited for the neighbor to come home.

Once he got home, he came over, and we pulled the old motor off:

 Furnace 001

Yes. That's a bird. In my furnace. It must have come down the exhaust on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning and gotten stuck, blocking airflow. We took the poor guy out back and buried him, cleaned up the part, reinstalled it, and we now have heat, and I saved $136!

Categories: Personal


XBox 360 And Windows Media Center On A Domain

posted on 10/11/07 at 10:40:38 pm by Joel Ross

I have Vista machine with Windows Media Center, and have had issues with connecting it to my 360 as an extender. I wondered what the issue was for a while, and could never really find any definitive answer. I never had an error in my event log on the windows machine, and the 360's error message was pretty generic. For the most part, I chalked it up to poor network performance (both are wireless on a 802.11g network). But in the back of my mind, I thought something else was up.

Here's what made me wonder: The first time the two are connected, it works just fine. As a matter of fact, it works just fine until the windows machine is taken off the network, connected to another network, and then reconnected to my home network - then the two won't talk anymore. Removing the extender and then immediately re-adding it works, and then I can get the two working again. I don't do too much with Media Center, so it's not a big deal - just a bit of a pain.

I've never really figured out what the issue is, but I did see a few things about extenders not working when the media center is on a domain - which mine is. The solution for those people in that situation? Remove the computer from the domain. Not really a solution!

I think my ultimate solution is going to be to upgrade one of my other machines to have some more RAM, a better video card, a TV tuner, and put Vista on that one. Then I can connect the two permanently - and it's on the wired network, so performance should be better anyway.

Still, it's kind of disappointing that it doesn't work the way it is - especially when it works when first connected, but not after that.

Categories: XBox, Software


A Visual Guide to Version Control

posted on 10/11/07 at 09:48:39 pm by Joel Ross

Ever tried to explain source control to someone? Would you rather do it with pictures? Well, BetterExplained has a cool little article that does just that!

Categories: Development


Twitter & Outlook - OutTwit

posted on 10/11/07 at 08:33:10 pm by Joel Ross

Last night, I installed OutTwit, a way to tweet directly from Outlook. It creates messages directly in Outlook for each incoming Tweet, so it fits in with my normal workflow - all communication goes through Outlook. It even has a box to write your own tweets:


Now I should be able to use Outlook's rules to organize my tweets. I've subscribed to what are essentially news feeds through Twitter and I've subscribed to individuals as well. Those really belong separated, so that's what I'm going to use rules for.

Tags: |

Categories: Software


07-08 Week 6 NFL Picks

posted on 10/10/07 at 11:09:41 pm by Joel Ross

Hopefully my picks get better as the season goes on - in theory, it should get easier to pick the winners as teams start to reveal how good they are going to be, but there's a reason games are played on the field and not on paper, right?

  • St. Louis* vs. Baltimore (-9) (37 O/U)
  • Washington vs. Green Bay (-3) (40.5 O/U)
  • Cincinnati (-3) vs. Kansas City (42 O/U): For all of you fantasy owners who have Larry Johnson (me included), when do you drop him? Does he have any trade value left?
  • Philadelphia (-3) vs. New York Jets (42 O/U)
  • Tennessee vs. Tampa Bay (-3) (37.5 O/U)
  • Miami vs. Cleveland (-4.5) (44.5 O/U)
  • Houston* vs. Jacksonville (-6.5) (37 O/U)
  • Minnesota vs. Chicago (-5.5) (37.5 O/U)
  • Carolina vs. Arizona (-4) (40.5 O/U)
  • New England (-5) vs. Dallas (52.5 O/U): This should be a great game, unless you like defensive struggles. Then you'll be disappointed.
  • Oakland* vs. San Diego (-9.5) (44.5 O/U): After the way San Diego has played this season, I'm surprised they are giving almost 10 points.
  • New Orleans vs. Seattle (-6.5) (42.5 O/U): I'm sure this looked like a good Sunday night match up this summer. Now?  Not so much.
  • New York Giants (-3) vs. Atlanta (43.5 O/U)

My "Lock Solid" picks for this week: Baltimore (-500), Cincinnati (-130), Jacksonville (-300), and Seattle (-300).

Be back next week with my results.

Tags: | |

Categories: Football


Introducing The Dungeon

posted on 10/10/07 at 12:15:28 am by Joel Ross

I work from home every now and then, and I've tweeted recently about being in "The Dungeon" - my office is in the basement, our house was built in 1899, and the basement shows that, so it's known as The Dungeon. I've been meaning to get a picture of my setup down there, and today I did.

Server Closet 018

The picture actually makes it look better than it is! From this view, you can see my laptop, my 19" wide screen monitor, and the Macbook, which is used for cross browser testing. The shelf above is a bit of a mess. Under the desk is a Compaq server that I haven't quite gotten up and running yet. On the left side of the desk is a monitor which I hook up to any computers that are brought over for me to work on - like when a family member's computer needs some work. In the lower left corner, you can see part of my three headless machines. Here's a better look:

Server Closet 004

The one on the left is our home desktop machine, but we haven't used it as that for a while now. It's hooked to the XBox 360 as a media server (not Media Center. It uses the Windows Media Connect method). In the middle is my file server, where all my back ups go. Two of the three external drives on top of the home computer (you can only see two) are hooked up to the file server. On the right is our development server for Tourney Logic. It houses our source control and it's our build server. On top of the middle machine is the cable modem and wireless router. In the background, you can see some of our painting supplies as well!

So now when I say I'm in The Dungeon, you know what I'm talking about.

Categories: Personal


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