RossCode Picks - NFL Style - Week I

posted on 2005-09-08 at 16:57:25 by Joel Ross

It's that time of year again! I'm back with my first set of picks, and even though Tuesday night I said I wasn't going to pick the over/under, I'm going to (my pick is in bold). Anyway, I'm ready to watch some football - I've been looking forward to it for six months now! So let's get on with the picks!

  • Oakland* vs. New England (-7.5) (50 O/U): I think New England will win this one, but not by more than a touchdown. With the Raiders adding Randy Moss, it should help their offense quite a bit - not just receiving, but also the run game. LaMont Jordan should have a decent year. Here's a stat. While Randy Moss is playing, every running back he's ever played with has averaged more than 5 yards a carry. See? He provides relief for the rest of the offense. And indirectly, this will help the defense, if for no other reason than the offense will be on the field more. Now, they won't have what it takes to beat the Patriots - they are just too good again this year.
  • Chicago vs. Washington (-6) (33 O/U):?Chicago is in a bad situation this year. Their quarterback of the future has gone down with a serious injury for the second time in two years - not what the Bears were hoping for. This was supposed to be the year for Chicago to develop Rex Grossman, but that's not going to happen. They added Muhammad, but that's not going to work out as well as hoped. Cedric Benson is too new to have an impact, and no one knows how Thomas Jones will play. All this adds up to a loss to the Redskins this week, regardless of what's going on in Washington.
  • Cincinnati (-4) vs. Cleveland?(44 O/U): I haven't followed either of these teams during the offseason really, so this is?a pure guess on my part. I'm taking Cincy because Palmer will only get better.
  • Denver (-4.5) vs. Miami (38.5 O/U): Will Nick Saban be one of only a few coaches who can transition from college football to the pros? He was a great coach in college (we had him at MSU for a while and he was turning that program around when he bailed), but that doesn't translate into success in the pros, unless you have a young team. Veterans don't need (or want) the same type of coaching college kids (or rookies) need. And let's not forget that Miami wasn't very good last year. Quarterback struggles have been common place there recently, and Ricky Williams is out for a few weeks. Denver, on the other hand, looks pretty solid.
  • Houston vs. Buffalo (-5.5) (38.5 O/U): Houston is just about to lose their expansion team protection shell. That means it's time for them to step up, but I don't think they're quite ready. They've had some bad luck with draft picks, and they have problems protecting their quarterback. The fact that David Carr hasn't had a significant injury yet is miraculous. Buffalo, on the other hand, seems to be pulling things together, and should have a decent season. With Willis McGahee showing lots of promise at the end of last year, he'll have some expectations to live up to. Their quarterback situation is questionable, but having McGahee should help there too.
  • New York Jets vs. Kansas City (-3) (47.5 O/U): This is a great match up to start the season with. Will Priest Holmes be the same back he was before his injury? How will Larry Johnson affect Holmes' playing time? Can Chad Pennington come out of his funk? Can Curtis Martin continue where he left off last year, when he lead the league in rushing yards? Can Kansas City's defense stop anyone? This should be a high scoring game, but I think we'll see an upset here, although I think it's a minor upset.
  • New Orleans vs. Carolina (-7) (45 O/U): New Orleans may have their mind on other things this week. And Carolina is focused - their defense is awesome, and Jake Delhomme is a good quarterback. Yes, he lost Muhsin, but he's basically replacing him with Steve Smith, who missed most of last season. Combine their tough defense with a decent offense, and I think they'll have a good season this year.
  • Seattle vs. Jacksonville (-3) (39.5 O/U): Seattle just doesn't seem to have what it takes. Their offense is getting better, with Hasselback playing well in the past couple of seasons, and Shaun Alexander is always a rock. The receiving core is less than spectacular, but not horrible either. So why am I down on them? They always have promise, but never live up to expectations. I'd say it was Mike Holmgren's fault for demanding to have GM control as well as coaching control, which he's since seen the errors of his ways. But the problems existed before Holmgren arrived. I think Mike can turn it around, but it's a longer term proposition. Oh yeah. Jacksonville can be pretty good this year too.
  • Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota (-6) (43 O/U): Tampa Bay had one good year under Jon Gruden, and they won the Super Bowl. But remember what they gave up. Four top draft picks. That's a lot to make up for. Yes, they got the Super Bowl, but what have they done since? Not a lot. Minnesota, on the other hand, is anxious to prove that Randy Moss was not the only reason they were good. There's two opposing schools of thoughts on their offense this year. One says they won't be as good without Moss, who (as previously mentioned) made every running back he played with better, as well as boosting the passing offense. The other says they will be better now that they don't have to revolve the offense around Moss. Culpepper is hot to prove that he can succeed without Moss, and this will be a chance to show that.
  • Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh (-7) (40 O/U): Pittsburgh was right there contending for the Super Bowl last year, and if not for the poor late season and playoff performance of Rothlisberger, they maybe could have made it. This year, their running game is suspect, with both The Bus and Staley injured. Word is that Willie Parker could be good, but inconsistent. Tennessee, however, is on a downward slide. Remember, it was just two years ago that Steve McNair shared MVP honors with Payton Manning, and the teams fought for the division title. Now, Tennessee is trying to rebuild.
  • Arizona vs. New York Giants (-2.5) (37.5 O/U): Word around the league is that Arizona has a chance to be decent now that Dennis Green has had a year to adjust the team and Kurt Warner has joined the team. Which Warner will we see though? The recent Warner, who can't tell the difference between his teams' and the other teams' jerseys, or the Warner from '99 who took the league by storm? He's got two young dynamic receivers in Anquin Boldin and Larry Fitgerald. Their running game is half way decent too. They could be a surprise this year. For New York, it's the official start of the Eli Manning era. Maybe. He's hurt, but who knows. He's going to be expected to play - remember, he was ushered in on a red carpet, not to mention he chose to go there with his antics last year. Now, we'll see how he handles pressure! He has a great receiving core in Burress and Toomer, and Barber is a very good running back to take pressure off of him. The Giants should be ok this year.
  • Dallas vs. San Diego (-4.5) (40.5 O/U): Talk about a turn around. During the '90s, Dallas was a premeire team in the league, and San Diego was the bottom feeders. Now, San Diego has one of the best young tandems in L.T. and Drew Brees - assuming Brees continues where he left off last year, which isn't a given at all. It'll be interesting to see if Antonio Gates has any ill side affects from his hold out - remember, he's young, and training camp is much more important to the younger players than it is to the vets. Dallas is rebuilding, and even bringing in Drew Bledsoe isn't going to help. He was horrible last year with Buffalo, but maybe Tuna can bring out the best in him. Their running back situation is promising, and their receiving core is made up of rejects - Terry Glenn, Keyshaun Johnson, and Peerless Price. According to Tuesday Morning Quarterback, that translates into wins. Maybe, but not this week.
  • Green Bay vs. Detroit (-3) (46 O/U): Ok. Who came up with Detroit as a favorite? Yes, they have an awesome WR core, but Harrington isn't convincing yet. Kevin Jones could be awesome, but then again, so was Barry Sanders, and that didn't translate into a lot of wins. Yes, they have potential, and Harrington looked good in the first two pre-season games, but he hasn't looked sharp in the last two. Green Bay, well, they still have Favre. And he looks to me to be better than he was last year - he's in better shape at least. I think the past couple of seasons we've seen Favre get tired towards the end of the season - we won't see that this year.
  • St. Louis (-6) vs. San Francisco (46.5 O/U): Barring two come back wins over Arizona (that they probably should have lost), the 49ers would have been 0-16 last year. They got Alex Smith, yes, but quarterbacks typically take 2-3 years to develop, and only in rare situations do they develop into great quarterbacks when thrown into the lineup early. Expect Rattay to continue to start, but here's the problem. Most QBs develop because they are watching veterans do it right. Smith can watch the other team, but that will only get you so far. St. Louis still has a great receiving core and a solid running game, and should have a pretty good year again.
  • Indianapolis (-3) vs. Baltimore (46.5 O/U): Can Manning have as good of a year as he had last year? I doubt it. Those kinds of seasons only come around every so often. Now, having said that, he's still going to be the top quarterback in the league this year. They have a solid running game, and their receivers are top notch. Their defense is questionable again, but that's why Dungy is coaching - to make the defense better than it really is. Baltimore doesn't have a great quarterback, but their defense is great. Remember, Trent Dilfer "lead" this team to a Super Bowl, and then didn't start the next season, so they don't need a good quarterback (or offense) to?be good. If Jamal Lewis can stay out of jail, then they'll at least have a running game too.
  • Philadelphia (-1) vs. Atlanta (41.5 O/U): Philly has some big questions to answer - all involving two initials: T.O. Can Owens and McNabb be professional enough to get along? Everyone compares them to Shaq and Kobe, but no one mentions which Shaq/Kobe combo. Will it be the tandem that won 3 titles, or the pair that got blown away by Detroit in 2004, which eventually brought down the mini-dyansty? For Atlanta, this'll be?a big year for Vick. He needs to show that he's more than a running quarterback - he needs to prove he can pass too. The problem is that he doesn't have great receivers. He has good running backs, but you can only throw the screen so many times before the defense catches on. Philly's defense will let Vick get yards, but not enough to get the win.

I'm glad this is out of the way. I'll try to post picks every Thursday, and then review them the following Tuesday. With my new way to publish this, it should be easier to get them out in a timely fashion too.

Andrew, can you top this?

Categories: Football


CodeKeep Goes Multilingual

posted on 2005-09-08 at 01:08:51 by Joel Ross

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of CodeKeep. I'm subscribed to a few of the feeds to see the new snippets come across, and today this one did. It's in Spanish, which is cool, but I have no idea what it does!

Still, it's cool to see it being used. This really does have some potential.

Categories: General


RossCode Picks - NFL Season Predictions

posted on 2005-09-08 at 00:05:01 by Joel Ross

Andrew contacted me and asked if I was going to post my pre-season predictions. After some initial confusion (My thoughts: Isn't the preseason done?), I finally figured out what he was talking about. So, let's take a look at each team, and pick the O/U on wins for the season. Then, at the end of the year, we'll revisit this, and see how I did. This should be interesting - I've never done anything like this before.

But first, before we go over team by team, I'll pick the division winners and wildcards, then predict conference finals, and then the Super Bowl. We'll revisit these periodically to see how I'm doing, and whether I've changed my mind at all. Anyway, let's get to the division winners (seed in parenthesis):

  • AFC East: New England Patriots (2). It's hard to pick against a team that's won three Super Bowls in the past four years.
  • AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers (3). They were right there last year, and one more year of experience for Rothlisberger will only make them better.
  • AFC South: Indianapolis Colts (1). Another obvious pick to me. Manning and his offense is just too good.
  • AFC West: San Diego Chargers (4). This was the hardest choice for me. I think this will be the closest division - the Chiefs and Broncos could be right there too. And the Raiders have potential too.
  • Wild Card: Baltimore Ravens (6). I have no idea why I'm picking them to be honest. It just feels right!
  • Wild Card: New York Jets (5). Not really going out on a limb here too much, huh? From last years actual results, I swapped the Ravens for the Broncos. And that's it.

With the above teams, you'll see the Chargers and Steelers win in the first round, and then the Steelers and Colts prevailing in the second round, leaving Indianapolis to play the Steelers for the AFC Championship - at home. Indy will prevail, gaining a trip to the Super Bowl.

So what about the NFC?

  • NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles (1). The only choice really.
  • NFC North: Minnesota Vikings (2). Daunte wants to win without Moss. He will.
  • NFC South: Carolina Panthers (4). This should be a close division, with Atlanta right there with Carolina.
  • NFC West: St. Louis Rams (3). Again, a close division, with Seattle being right there.
  • Wild Card: Seattle Seahwaks (6). A reversal of last year, with St. Louis getting the wild card and Seattle winning the division.
  • Wild Card:?Atlanta Falcons (5). Mike Vick wills the team into the playoffs.

Winners of the first round: Seattle and Atlanta - yes, both wild card teams pulling off the upsets! Conference finals: Philadelphia versus Atlanta (again), with Philadelphia winning and going back to the Super Bowl.

Now the Super Bowl? It's in Detroit - indoors. That gives the edge to Indy, and that's my pick. Indianapolis Colts will win the Super Bowl in 2006.

Ok. That's out of the way. Now, let's go over the O/U for each team. Below, each team is listed with a number. That is the expected number of wins, and I'll pick either over or under based on whether they will hit that number or not. I'll include the money line for completeness, and at the end of the year, we'll look back and see how I would have made out based on a $100 per team bet. For a definition of how the money line works, take a look here.?Heres an explanation of the below lines. If you see?this:

  • Spring Lake Lakers?-?6.5 (O?-145 / U +135)

Then this means that the O/U for wins?is 6.5. You can tell which way the safe bet is based on the?money lines?for the over and under.?In the example, the safe bet is over, since it is negative. As a review of the money line, this means that to win $100, you'd have to bet $145 that the Spring Lake Lakers woud get more than 6.5 wins. On the other hand, if you're confident that the Lakers won't win more than 6.5 games, you would win $135 with a $100 bet. My pick will be bold, so in the above situation, I would have picked Spring Lake to win?six games or less. I'll provide some comments where I feel like it.?

  • Arizona Cardinals - 7.5 (O -137 / U +125): I'm not sold on Dennis Green being the answer, and definitely not sold on Warner as the quarterback.
  • Atlanta Falcons - 9.5 (O +114 / U -125): I think teams are starting to pick up on Vick's game. Yes, he'll still run all over the place and that will win games for them.?But until he can pass consistently, they'll be a middle of the road team.
  • Baltimore Ravens - 9.5 (O -135 / U +123):
  • Buffalo Bills - 8.5 (O + 138 / U -150): This is a safe bet,?which is reflected by the money line. At best, I think this is a .500 team, and with a fresh quarterback, they'll likely be less than a .500 team.
  • Carolina Panthers - 9.5 (O +106 / U -116):
  • Chicago Bears?- 6.5 (O -108 / U -102): I this is an interesting case. No matter which way you bet, you won't double your money. Anyway, Chicago has major issues, and 6 wins will be a stretch for them.
  • Cincinnati Bengals - 7.5 (O -197 / U +179): With a money line of -197, this is almost a given, right? I think so. This brings up an interesting point though. I may feel that Cincinnati will get 8 wins, but it may be a better bet to say they won't. Why? The payoff for less wins is much higher - think of a $100 bet. If you bet over and are right, you'll end up with about $150. But if you bet under, and win, you'll end up with $279. Almost double. It might be worth it to bet what you don't feel, just because of the better payday. Betting is interesting!
  • Cleveland Browns - 4.5 (O -120 / U +110): I don't think Cleveland will get more than 4 wins this year.
  • Dallas Cowboys - 8.5 (O -117 / U +107): Eight wins is about tops for Dallas this year, I think. New running backs, an aging quarterback, and rejected receivers: Not a recipe for success!
  • Denver Broncos - 8.5 (O -132 / U +120): I'm not high on Denver this year. I'm probably off here, as they surprise me every year. I've never been convinced that Jake Plummer is a good quarterback.
  • Detroit Lions - 8.5 (O +135 / U -147): The Lions are perenial under achievers. I hope I'm wrong here, as they are my team, but I just have a feeling things won't go as good as planned. Obviously I'm not the only one, as the money line pretty heavily favors them not getting the 9 wins needed.
  • Green Bay Packers - 7.5 (O -107 / U -103): I'm taking over. Not by much, but I think?a .500 season for the Packers is within reach.
  • Houston Texans - 7.5 (O +128 / U -139): The Texans are going to start feeling some heat - they're losing that newness protection that expansion teams get.
  • Indianapolis Colts - 11.5 (O -128 / U +128): It's hard to say over when this means winning 12 games, but the Colts are the team to beat in my book.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars - 8.5 (O -107 / U -103):
  • Kansas City Chiefs - 8.5 (O -177 / U +164): They couldn't get it done last year, and this year there could be a running back controversy (although, both Holmes and Johnson say it's good for the team).
  • Miami Dolfins - 5.5 (O -145 / U +133): I think they're going to be bad this year. They don't have a solid quarterback, and their running game is up in the air.
  • Minnesota Vikings - 9.5 (O -121 / U +110): I think they're going to be better than expected. Culpepper is on a mission, and their running game is getting better (i.e., more than just Culpepper). Their defense is getting better too.
  • New England Patriots - 10.5 (O -128 / U +117): The Patriots will be right up there with the Colts this year. I'm guessing they'll get 13 or 14 wins.
  • New Orlean Saints - 7.5 (O -135/ U +125): I know this is a tough pick, but I'm saying under because they're losing their home. Home field advantage is a big deal (57% of home teams win), and if they start playing either on the road (like Monday night) or even at an alternate stadium, that's going to cause stress for them.
  • New York Giants - 6.5 (O -160 / U +140): Will Eli Manning live up to the hype piled on him by the draft last year? Will adding a receiver like Burress (a fellow MSU alum) give him the targets he needs? Can Tiki Barber hold on to the ball this season? He's an interesting one - he's got soft hands when it comes to catching the ball, but he fumbles a bit too much for me. There's questions here, but I think they'll get at least 7 wins.
  • New York Jets - 9.5 (O +153 / U -165): I think we'll see a few close games lost this year because of a poor kicking game. Remember, they cut their kicker after he missed two field goals in the playoffs, and the Jets lost by 3. But was it the kicker's fault? Both of the field goals were from 40+ yards, in a stadium where no 50 yarders have ever been made. He was consistent through the season, but missed those two. Is that cause to lose your job, especially considering who he was replaced with?- he hasn't been sharp in the pre-season.
  • Oakland Raiders - 7.5 (O -136 / U +125): The Raiders have the tools to be a good team, but can Collins get the ball to Moss like Daunte could? No. Now, the real bet here would be the over/under on how soon Moss gets in trouble.
  • Philadelphia Eagles - 11.5 (O +135 / U -146): The Eagles have no competition in the NFC. Well, it's not none, but it's practically none! That'll help the ol' wins.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers - 9.5 (O -126 / U +116): I'm a big fan of the Steelers, and I don't even have a reason for it. They'll struggle until someone establishes themselves as the starting running back. Once that happens, though, they'll be a tough team to beat.
  • St. Louis Rams - 8.5 (O -136 / U +124): The Rams a have all the tools on offense and a decent defense. That'll get them 10 wins or so.
  • San Diego Chargers - 8 (O -154 / U +142): The Chargers are a good team. Brees (I don't think) is a one hit wonder. L.T. is absolutely dominant. They'll do OK this year!
  • San Francisco 49ers - 4.5 (O +118 / U -130): They had two wins last year, and look worse?to me. Not to mention that the Cards aren't the pushover of a year ago, which is where the 49ers got their wins from. Could we see an 0-16 team?
  • Seattle Seahawks - 8.5 (O -143 / U +130): Mike Holmgren could finally have things under control. I think Shaun Alexander helps too.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6.5 (O -199 / U +185): This is another one. I think it's a given that the Bucs will get 7 wins, but the payoff is huge if they don't, and relatively small if they do. You'd come out with $150 on a $100 bet if you take the over, but $285 on a $100 bet if you take the under. Tempting!
  • Tennessee Titans - 6.5 (O +113 / U -125): The Titans have fallen far. McNair is injury-prone now, and they look to be rebuilding to me. Rebulding = few wins = high draft pick. At least there's an upside!
  • Washington Redskins - 7.5 (O +125 / U -137):? This is a pure guess. I haven't really followed much about them, so it's a guess.

So that's it. I've decided to also choose the over/under every week, so we'll see how that goes! Look for my first weekly pick tomorrow. I've updated my spreadsheet again to handle over/under and account for betting the line for both picks and o/u. The HTML generation has been updated too, and you'll see it tomorrow!

UPDATE (09.10.2005): It was brought to my attention that I missed the Giants and the Saints, so they've been added.

Categories: Football


RossCode Picks - NFL Style

posted on 2005-09-07 at 01:17:11 by Joel Ross

Welcome to the 2nd Annual RossCode Picks! For the past two years, I've posted my NFL picks every week (although, not necessarily on this blog - this one isn't two years old yet!), and this year won't be any different.

Since this is an introduction, I should probably go over how I've done in the past. Please note as the season goes on,?these picks are purely speculation and I've never actually put any money on these picks. And honestly, I don't think I ever would. If you do, and you lose your house, well, I warned you. On the other hand, if you do, and you can buy a house afterwards, I'll take "thank you" tips!

Anyway, I got a little cocky after my first season. I was 135-122 (52.5%) against the spread, and 176-91 (65.9%)?just picking winners. 52.5% is better than house odds on most games in Vegas, and much better than player odds on any game in Vegas. Using?a base bet of $10.00 per game, I would have netted $130.00 for the season (again - no money!).

Then came last season. I finished 127-130 (49.4%) against the spread, and 162-105 (60.7%) picking winners. That would have been a net loss of $30.00 for the season. Those are more like Vegas odds!

So this year will be a?deciding year for me. After the first year, I thought "this is too easy" and after last year, I thought "this is hard!" And it ultimately is!

Picks will be posted usually Thursday or Friday. Thursday for sure if there's a Thursday night game.?Here's what a pick will look like:

  • Detroit* vs. Green Bay (-4): Some blurb about both teams goes here.

So what does this mean. It means Detroit is playing at Green Bay. Green Bay is favored by 4 points, and my pick is Detroit to cover the spread. The * indicates that I think Detroit will cover but not win. By the way, those are the hardest to pick right. How can you predict that (for example) Detroit will come within 4 points, but still lose? That's pretty good if you can do it.

Results are posted Monday (late) or Tuesday, depending on whether I stay up for the MNF game.

  • Detroit* 27, Green Bay 31 (-4): Some blurb about the game.

I put the score in, and my pick. The bold team is who?I picked, as well as still signifying that I chose Detroit to lose, but cover. I haven't come up with a good way to signify right or wrong, so you'll just have to take the spread and figure it out - or I'll usually state it in the description. That reminds me. Let's talk about the definition of the spread and how that works. I'll do it by example.?If?Green Bay?is -4, it means that Green Bay is giving up 4 points to Detroit. To cover, they have to win by more than 4 points. If Detroit either wins or loses by less than 4 points, they are said to cover. I'm pretty sure that in Vegas, if the game ended up with Green Bay winning 31-27, then neither team covers, and bettors on both sides lose. But I'm going to toss those out mainly because I don't know for sure how it should be handled. For definition completeness, the over/under is the expected number of points that will be scored between the two teams. So if the O/U is 43, and you bet over, you'd be betting that the total of two team's scores will be over 43, which is correct in this example. I don't do anything with the O/U. It's tough too!

Lastly, there's something called the money line that you can bet on. I've just started looking at this, but here's what I see. It involves picking the winner straight up - no spread. It's based on a $100 bet, and the favorite will have a negative number, such as -200. This means you have to put $200 down to get $100 back. Or, if you only put $100 down, your return will only be $50. The dog will have a positive number, such as +170. This means that if you put down $100, you'll get back $170 if they pull off the upset. This is a way to bet on winners regardless of spread - but obviously, the spread is taken into account when the money lines are set. I didn't take into account money lines last year, but I think I will this year when I look at how I did picking winners. Even though I don't use real money, I usually base my numbers off of a $10.00 bet per game.

Now, lastly, how do the lines get set? The first line is called the opening line, and the way it's set is pretty complicated. Each oddsmaker will make a list of the league's power rankings. The odds are based on the power rankings, taking into account injuries, recent games, recent games against that opponent, and how local papers report each team's mindset going into the next game. They also take into account public opinion, since their goal is to have even betting on each side of the line. For example, if the oddsmaker determined the line above to be -3.5, and everyone seems to be betting on Green Bay in past weeks, then they may adjust the line to -4. Then, each oddsmaker does a gut check, and they get together and decide the opening line, giving oddsmakers with a better reputation more weight.?With the complicated process to make the lines, you'd think that would be it, but they vary as the game gets closer. It follows the laws of supply and demand. If you set the line at -3, and everyone is betting on Green Bay, the line will adjust to -3.5 or -4 to even out the bets. Also, weather or late injuries could affect the lines. Though they vary, for my picks, I take a snapshot in time and use those lines, unless one is unavailable, which happens when a team has a star player who is questionable - the line usually won't get set until some sort of decision is made. In that case, I'll post my picks, and later update the rest?once lines become available.

So, it turned into a longer post, but that's a description of what the RossCode Picks are, and how the spread works. I still have a few rules that I follow when I make picks, but we'll get to those as they come up. But for now, let's play some football!

Categories: Football


New Features Of VS 2005 Web Projects

posted on 2005-09-06 at 23:22:27 by Joel Ross

Scott Guthrie has a series of greats post about Web Projects in VS 2005, including a lot of details about how much better it is than VS 2003 offers. I'd expand more on it, but Scott does an awesome job by himself, so just go read them for yourself.

These are posts that Scott aluded to a while ago, and his follow ups are very informative, and relieve (I think) a lot of the fears that are out there about the new project-less web projects in .NET 2.0.

Warning: These posts are long! If you don't have time?to get through them, then save them for later. They are definitely worth the time to read them fully.

Categories: ASP.NET


RossCode Fantasy League Draft Results

posted on 2005-09-05 at 23:30:03 by Joel Ross

Well, as reported earlier, the draft took place over night, and the results are in.

I'm not thrilled with some of the options that Fox Sports allows you to set. It looks like two people (at least) set their draft to take the best available regardless of position, and based on rankings, two teams ended up with multiple defenses, including one team ending up drafting 4 team defenses in rounds?three through six. I'm pretty sure that wasn't intended to happen!

Also, because of a snafu on my part (and a misunderstanding), we ended up with a starting lineup of three wide receivers,?one tight end, and one flex (WR/TE). This was not intended. I wanted three WRs and one WR/TE. Apparently that's not supported, so I had to have a dedicated TE. But the outcome was a total of (basically) 5 receivers. This will weigh heavily on strategy now - having a deep receiving core will win games over a great RB tandem. That wasn't intended either.

Hopefully this won't spoil everyone's participation. It should still be fun, and who knows what will happen throughout the season. All it takes is a major injury in the first week (it always happens!) and the dynamic of the league will change. Believe me, I've been on the receiving end of this, so I know what it's like.

Anyway, I'm excited about the start of the season, and my team. I have no idea how it stacks up, but I ended up with this starting lineup:

QB: Daunte Culpepper: Two years in a row now. I don't think losing Moss will affect him much.
RB: Curtis Martin: I had him last year too, but didn't start him until week 8. I won't make that mistake again.
RB: Tatem Bell: Let's hope that Denver can turn him into a 1,500 yard rusher, and keep Bell's play will keep Mike Anderson off the field.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald
WR: Chris Chambers
WR: Mike Williams
TE: Erik Johnson
TE/WR: Michael Clayton
K: John Carney
Def: Minnesota

Overall, I'm pretty happy. I have some holes on my bench, but those can be filled as it becomes obvious who a good pick up is.

Anyway, I'm sorry for the draft issues and the roster snafu, but it should still be a good year. Let the games begin!

Categories: Football


Tagging Explanation

posted on 2005-09-05 at 23:10:16 by Joel Ross

Can someone explain to me tagging? I understand the idea behind it, but I'm more looking for a way to implement it on a blog. I know that Technorati allows you to tag using a rel="tag" in your links, and the end of the URL is the tag, and Technorati will use post categories as tags, and that seems fine - if you want to lock into Technorati. has pages that you can link to for each tag, but it doesn't actually tag a post.

So what's the best way to tag blog posts? I'm considering using a plug-in approach - make an ITagExtension interface that looks like this:

public interface ITagExtension {
??? public string GetTags(string [] tags)

I think that is basically all I'd need. This way, you enter a collection of tags, and the software just passes those into whatever plugin is set to handle tagging. This way, I could write a plugin for Technorati for now, and if there was ever a better way, I could just go ahead and write another plugin to support that.

Are there any better ideas than this?

Categories: Blogging


Updating My Blogging Tool

posted on 2005-09-05 at 23:08:09 by Joel Ross

Over the past few weeks, I've been struggling with a few small issues I have with my home-grown blogging client, dubbed the Rosscode Blogger (creative, huh?). It still did it's main job, but it wasn't fitting into my new blogging habits.

First, what is it, for those who've never read any of my posts about it. When I blog, I sometimes publish to more than one blog at a time. Every post ends up on Technical posts end up on GeeksWithBlogs, work related content goes to my NuSoft blog, and tourney related content heads over to my Tourney Logic blog. But doing that creates a problem for me. I don't want to go to each admin section and publish it that way. And most publishing tools don't let you post to multiple blogs at the same time. And, because of b2evolution, I needed to be able to create valid XHTML. And I wanted a good WYSIWYG editor.

So I created my initial cut. It was a windows application that?had a nice HTML editor that provided visual editing. I used the SGMLReader to convert HTML into XHTML. And I used a plug-in architecture to post to multiple blogs. On the right side is a list of all plug-ins that support the IBlogExtension interface, which means any tool listed here will work with the Rosscode Blogger, or you can write your own - which I did, to support b2evo.

It worked great for a while. I've been using it since last November to post, so it's helped me create over 400 posts. But lately, I've started to cheat a little bit. I used OneNote to create posts, and then just copied them over to the Rosscode Blogger when I was ready to post. This allowed me to create posts but not finish them, and work on them for a few days before posting them. There were downsides though. First, I couldn't easily add custom HTML to OneNote - it's HTML editing is less than ideal. So I would have to create the post, copy it over, and then add the HTML I wanted. Also, to get rid of the formatting by OneNote, I had to paste it into Notepad, and then copy it over, and that caused issues too.

So I started thinking about what I could do about it. There were a few features I wanted: be able to edit multiple posts at the same time. I didn't want to worry about saving each post individually - it should save automatically. And I didn't want to lose any functionality I already had.

So I looked at the TabControl available in windows. Now, keep in mind that I've never built a professional windows application - ever! So, while I got it working, it's implementation is probably less than ideal.

Anyway, here's what I have so far. I can easily add new tabs to write new posts in, and the old tabs are unaffected. There's a section to select which plugins to poist to, and?a way to configure those plugins. And any content written is saved under any of the following conditions: You explicitly save it, you close the application, or 1 minute passes - it's saved automatically every minute. The rest of the functionality is pretty basic uses of the HTML editor, or adding short cuts to common functions, such as inserting a link, posting, or creating a new tab. Here's a quick screen shot while writing this post.

RossCode Blogger

You can click it to see a larger image. It's nothing fancy, but it works. You can even see what I'm working on right now.

I'm contimplating a few changes already. I want to work on some tagging integration (more on that later), and I need some refactoring to make it more flexible to changes. I also need to get a little better at windows UI design - to make the whole thing flexible to resizing.

Anyway, that's how I blog now!

Categories: Blogging


Infragistics Is Blogging

posted on 2005-09-05 at 21:35:07 by Joel Ross

If you don't know who Infragistics is, you should definitely check them out. I've used a few of their products in the past, and the hierarchical datagrid is awesome!

Anyway, it looks like some of their developers are now blogging.

Categories: Blogging


RossCode Weekly #016

posted on 2005-09-05 at 00:36:36 by Joel Ross

It was a busy week for me - I got a lot done, and I'm now back in Michigan after flying all night Thursday. I don't sleep well in planes, and Friday was basically spent recovering. Either way, I still made time to find all that's new this week.

Before I get into the content of this week's RCW, I want to point out a few things. First, I've swapped out a few ads to point to the Red Cross. I would encourage you to donate anything you can to the victims of Katrina. The devastation down there is unreal. I never thought we'd see something like this in the United States. I'm not going to get into politics and the blame game - what's happened has already happened, and now it's up to us to support them in any way possible. So, if you haven't donated already, click one of the Red Cross links and give. Or give to International Aid. Or anyone who's helping victims.

Now that you've helped, here's a couple of technology-related items around Katrina. First, the owner of, who's owned the domain for years before the hurricane, has taken this occasion to help, rather than accept the offers she's gotten from probable scammers who want the domain. Instead of cashing in, she's turned her site into an organized listing of useful information and links for victims and those who want to help. Katrina (the person), is?doing her part!

One?last bit before we get into the heart of RCW. Google has updated satellite imagery of New Orleans from Wednesday, August 31st. It definitely shows the devestation that's hit the land, but from a technology standpoint, it's amazing that this kind of information can be put together that fast.

A?promise from Tech Ed 2005 was fulfilled with the release of Skelta CMS Accelerator. This is a great new product for Microsoft's Content Management Server that allows for a much more flexible workflow that posts can go through. It's got some limits, but most CMS installs I've seen probably won't run into those limits anytime soon, and if they do, well, they're usually in a position to afford the higher end solution. Now, what happens when workflow is built into the next CMS framework?

Feedback from the blogosphere works. Yeah, we all know it's true. This time it's with the Podsafe Music Network, who took a little fire over the past few weeks for their Terms Of Service. Well, they took the feedback to heart, and have revised those terms.

So, just because the new file system that was supposed to be in Longhorn, or Windows Vista, won't be in the final release doesn't mean it's still not alive and well in the Microsoft Machine. That's right, WinFS has been re-born in the form of a beta released this week. It seems that a lot of people assumed that because it wasn't going to be in Vista, it wasn't going to be making a showing anytime soon. In fact, there was very little buzz around this before hand, but quite a bit afterwards. And the verdict is...that it's still out.

Let's stick with Microsof?for a bit here. They had quite a busy week. Let's stay with Microsoft proper though. They bought Teleo, a VoIP company, and it sounds like they plan to integrate those features into MSN Messenger, and bring it up to speed with what Skype offers. With AOL adding VoIP support, Google Talk, and now Microsoft buying Teleo, the market for Skype is dwindling. The more the major players in the online communication market consolidate, the less likely there's going to be a buyer for Skype, which means they better be prepared to stand on thier own.

Speaking of Skype (and diverting from Microsoft, I know!), they've released version 1.4 to beta. They proclaim to have the best voice quality ever, which is saying something, considering how good it already was. I'm still waiting for a nice stable version for my Axim X5, and I know a few people who would like a lower bandwidth option to use on thier smartphone (voice enabled - not just IM). You know, let me elaborate on my comments above. I'm not sure where Skype's funds come from, but if they're a VC funded company, which is my guess, the VC's are most likely hoping for a large sale after 4 or 5 years or an IPO. If I remember correctly, Skype is hitting the 3 year mark. If less and less big boys need a VoIP solution, Skype won't sell. That leaves an IPO, which could raise some good money. I'm not saying Skype can't survive on thier own - they've done a good job so far. I'm just saying that with more and more consolidation, the chance of sale becomes more and more unlikely.

Ok. Back to Microsoft. Well, MSN this time.?Dare is reporting that they have three new ways to search. First, you can search for feeds. Or, you can find pages that have feeds, and the last way is to search a site by folder. The last one is cool. When you search a site, you usually search the whole site (think of a big one, like CNN). Well, what if you only want to search?a section of the site - like world news. Now you can specify a particular folder to search in.

A few quick Microsoft hits: There's a "Blog This" button on MSNBC. This is older, but just being noticed by a few. SyncToy has hit 1.0. That was a very fast beta. Then, you have something from Microsoft Research. It's called GroupBar, and it allows you to group tasks and perform actions on those groups quickly and easily. I don't totally understand it all, but go give it a look for yourself.

No more /1 or /2 or /3 (/myw3b). Now it's just! It's still not an officially supported product, but it's looking better and better. And they've committed to make every feature work in both IE and FireFox. I'm still not sold on an online aggregator, but this is a pretty good one. No API that I've seen, but I bet that's coming down the pipeline.

Here's?a forecast into next week. It looks like the Firefox team will release the 1.5 beta. Hopefully, the extension developers will follow suit shortly and get them up to speed. My favorite new feature? Drag and Drop tab reordering - something Maxthon already has. Which is why I'll probably still stick with Maxthon.

Gotta have podcasting news, right? Two short items. First, AOL has a page dedicated to podcasting. I listen to the?top podcast in each column - This Week in Tech, and Sports Bloggers Live. I'd recommend both. Next, apparently CNet has been podcasting for a while now. I just found out, but I'll have to subscribe.

Google wasn't completely silent this week (although, almost). They've added three new features to their mobile search - local movies, local weather, and stock prices. And thier blog is still a press room.

This isn't Google news, but it is speculation about their plans for Google Talk. Om Malik speculates this could just be another way to generate ad revenue. And not the normal type of ads - contextual ads inserted into Talk conversations. No - voice ads. Advertisers will pay more for calls than clicks, and if you make it easy for someone to call, then you get more ad revenue.?Could Voice Activated Ads allow Google to add "Skype Out" calling features without charging consumers?

Technorati added a blog finding feature this week. It's a good idea, but there appear to be holes in the system. First, it relies on users to tell Technorati what their blog is about. With all the Slogs (spam blogs) out there, do you really want users telling you how they want to appear in search results? Would Google allow you to call them, and say you wanted to be included in every search for a certain term? No?- you need to actually provide content about that keyword to be included. I searched earlier today for blogs about ".NET" and didn't find any. This is another problem. The system doesn't seem to "figure out" what you're blogging about - it (again) relies on you to tell it. It's a good start, but it could use some work. Overall, though, it's a sound idea.

If you're a Linux fan, then why are you reading this? Just kidding. But maybe you just want to play around with a distribution? Well, Linspire is free for a couple more days (September 6th). This is your chance to write some hard core C in a *NIX environment. Ahh, the good ole days! (And yes, those are my roots - C on UNIX).

WinZip has released version 10 in beta. They now have two versions - standard and professional. Now without the nagging screen. Personally, I uninstalled WinZip as soon as I realized that it was built into Windows XP. I don't need the extra features it provides, although I did have a problem extracting a zip with a 2.7 GB file in it that WinZip handled just fine.

Two followups from last week. First, JetEye. I tried making a few JetPacks for this week's RCW, but what I found is that the index is too small. I couldn't find the pages I wanted to find - I searched on Monday night for WinFS beta, and only found a handful of results, where as Google had quite?a set. So I decided not to pursue it farther. Maybe as it gets a little more mature, I'll revisit it. The other followup is about Mambo. It is being taken forward by the open source development team, and being rebranded as Joomla. If you're running Mambo, it's probably time to migrate.

That's it for this week. Next week will probably be slow with the holiday, but we'll see. Either way, I'll be back with everything I find! And, don't forget to donate!?

If you see something that should be included in next week's RCW, send an email to weekly?at?rosscode?dot com.

Categories: RossCode Weekly


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