Friday, October 29, 2010

The New Yorker's Cartoon Kit Judging on "Hiatus"

If you've been reading my posts labeled "Humour" you know I've been creating cartoons over at The New Yorker Magazine Online - in their Cartoon Kit widget - and publishing screen shots of my entries here.

Tal Almog, another contributor at The New Yorker Cartoon Kit series, and a commenter here, gave me the heads up on this "Ask The Author" webcast with The New Yorker's cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff that happened on October 27th 2010. Below is a screen shot of the top of the webcast where Tal Almog is first up, and asks The Question we've been asking around here for a couple of months...

Tal Almog
"Are the entries to the cartoon kit still being judged?"

Robert Mankoff:
"We have a temporary hiatus on the cartoon kit so for now they are not being judged. I feel there were some flaws in it that led to a lot random fooling around with the images which often got people into incongruity cul de sacs they couldn't get out of."

So for now... no judging. But the Cartoon Kit continues!

Looking through the online pages of The New Yorker today I see a New Cartoon Kit is highlighted in a promo on the photocontests/cartoonkit page! (The link to the new Cartoon Kit isn't up yet, but I assume it will be soon.)

Social Media is a leading edge idea still. The Cartoon Kit, and this blog for that matter, are a part of a great experiment that will determine what the future will look like in media. 'Doers' at times like these create reality - create law, and convention - more often now than at few other times in history.

As such, I was thinking that a group of us might choose the Cartoon Kits submissions we liked and publish them via screen shots anywhere we saw fit - with links back to the original submissions. Secondly, by linking all these places where we published, we would automatically create a group of 'finalists' - simply by the act of choosing, publishing and linking cartoons we felt were good. The idea is based on the 'echelons' in a wiki, like Wikipedia. The 'doers', the people who submit, discuss, edit, over time are eventually 'trusted' by a small but growing embryo in a higher echelon of the wiki; who then give more responsibility to newer 'doers' - because there so much work to do!

The hub of all this would have to be The New Yorker, where Cartoon Kit submitters who wished, would click on a "Be Judged by your Peers" button, that would provide the 'doers' with a customized link to include at the top of every cartoon re-published. Through a search engine those links would then be turned into the 'finalists' list, and then published by The New Yorker.

Then I could see The New Yorker's cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff being asked to judge from this much smaller group of 'finalists' towards a "Winners slide show" in The New Yorker Online.

Sound like win, win, win to me.

What do you think? Should we usurp the power? Seize the means of Cartoon Production and re-publish towards the people's good humour?


Monday, October 25, 2010

2011 Scorecard: Bigger! Better!

(This piece was originally published at Michael Holloway's BaseballBlogs)

Blogger code to widen your Blog, and code for the new easier to use 2011 Scorecard

Below in the scroll box is code for the brand new 2011 Internet Baseball Scorecard.

You can see an example of the new scorecard at The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog. Also, I've kept score of all the games of both the NLCS and the ALCS with the new scorecard. A page I've created has all those games, and the division series scorecards, linked in an easy to read "Play Down Tree": Road to the World Series - in Scorecards.

The code for the new scorecard has been Validated at W3C as a "HTML 4.01 Transitional" document. I've published it in a Google document at this link, where you can read it in a full page format, and below in the scrolling window from which you can copy and paste it into a notepad - or take it over to W3C and put it to the test.

As a result of the changes I've made, the scorecard is now almost 4800 pixels wide (Blogger default is 660px) - you may need to adjust your "View" settings. Firefox's zoom in or out feature: hold down 'Ctrl' and press '+' or '-'. Another browser? Your on your own. :)

I've made the Batter Line-up boxes and the "At-bat Boxes" 8 lines high and much wider, room for 26 lower case inputs. The pitch boxes beside each AB box can hold 32 key strokes of pitching notation. As well the "Batter Totals" boxes to the right of the AB rows can now accommodate at-bat data for 8 substitutions. This provides enough room for all the data - in it's proper placement - with-in the "Project Scoresheet Standards", outlined in Baseball Hacks by Joseph Adler (Google Books)

The next step in this project is to develop a method to "scrape" play-by-play data out of these score sheets - and transversely - create a way to digitally "lay in" data from any game that there is data for - according to the standard created by - and available there at their "Play-by-Play Data Files" page. So far Retrosheet has play-by-play data files dating back to 1950. Play-by-play data of Major League games are available from MLB Advanced Media in real time.

I'd like to build a way to populate the Internet Baseball Scorecard automatically with data from any game, from any date. For example I think it would be interesting to produce all the scorecards of every one of the 56 consecutive games in 1941 that Joe DiMaggio hit safely in. I expect that in the time it will take me to learn all that I need to know to make this functionality happen, Retrosheet and the rest of the "Sabermetricians" will have compiled data back to the war years - if it's possible.

Blogger Code to make your Blog Wider

Cut and Paste the code - from the scrolling box above or at this link - into your blog at the "Design" window in the "edit HTML" tab. This slightly edited blogger code makes the blogger window wide enough to handle the width of the score card. I've changed the sizes in "Blog Title Font" and the "Blog Description Font" and under 'posts' the h3 setting to 200% (that's the Post Title size, separate to the blogs font size).

I've also set everything that by default was set 'float: center;' to, 'float: left;'.

In the "Header" section I've imported a photo that I a re-sized for the Blogs Title Header Image and changed the header wrapper parameters to 1632 pixels (that wraps around the new pic).

You might want to adjust the following to create your blog's unique aesthetic: in "Variable definitions" section you can change "Blog Title Color" and "Blog Description Color".

Make your scorecard refresh automatically

You'll notice in the Google Document I've high-lighted some code - about 4/5ths of the way down. It's a "Refresh" feature for 'Live Blogging'. It can be set to any refresh rate you wish, currently it is set to refresh every thirty seconds (30000), so as I publish after each at-bat, the page people are viewing will up-date automatically. You can re-set the rate, for example '60000' is one minute. It is in the OFF position as it is.

To make your blog refresh, move the "-->" tag from the bottom of the highlighted code and paste it just after where it says STOP REFRESH . To turn OFF the refresh feature, just highlight and cut the "-->" tag and paste it back down at the bottom of the highlighted code (memorize where the tag was before you turn it ON!).

The Scorecard Code

Expand the scorecard for Extra innings

The code in the scrolling box at the top of this post produces a "Box Score" table along the top of the scorecard; a nine batter scorecard, 9 innings wide with "Batters Totals" boxes at the end of each batter's row, an "Innings Totals" row, and a "Pitcher Totals" table. (See an Entire two team scorecard here.)

All of these elements can be expanded for extra innings play though a simple copy and paste technique:

Add extra batters boxes

In Compose mode, high light an AB box and it's associated pitch notation box (four boxes - one on top of the other to the left of the AB box), left click and copy - then point with your cursor right beside the last batters box in the lead off batters row of AB boxes, and click. A prompt line should appear about have way down the box, right beside the box - with no space in-between - then just right click your mouse, and paste. A 10th inning batters box should appear in the lead off batters row. The extra inning AB box code is still in your mouse, so now continue down the column as before, clicking right next to the box, and paste for all 18 batter's rows. To complete the new inning add a number lable at the top of each teams scorecard. In the same place the '9' appears relative to the column of other AB boxes, type in the new inning number. Now your ready to score the next inning.

Add innings to the Box Score

To add boxes to the Box score table at the top, just under the Title of your post, or to the "Innings Totals" boxes along the bottom of each score card, use the same technique.

Add another pitcher

The same goes for the Pitchers Line table, just high-light one row, copy, and then point your cursor on the far left, just under the box with the last pitchers name in it click, a prompt will appear, outside of the last box - and paste.

Note: if you have a feeling the games going to go on, and on, and on, you can copy as many elements as you wish (as long as you copy horizontally) and paste them as before. The blog parameters are designed to accommodate an 18 inning scorecard. You can add nine innings to a batters row with one click of your mouse if you like. Just keep a copy of the scorecard in draft at your blog, go copy 9 batters boxes onto your mouse and Voila! 18 inning rows.

Trouble shooting the Scorecard

After you've pasted the scorecard table into your New Post window - twice, once for home team, once for visitors - then just switch over to "Compose" mode and start importing data.

Cut and Paste gremlins

Some boxes don't like cut and paste. Some of them decide to disappear when you try to cut and paste a players name into them! If this happens - Don't Worry - just stop what your doing and click 'edit' at the top of your browser window, then click 'undo' - the box will reappear. Then type the player name in - or - what I do is type three letters into the box, highlight them, then paste in the player's name. The same goes when cut and pasting team names, pitcher names, stats etc..

Another 'out' or 'fail safe' is to right click on the Firefox back button and choose and earlier "Edit Post" or "Publish Status" window. Amazingly, (to me) all your edits are saved in your browser for as long as the browser tab remains open.

Happy scorecarding. Any questions, suggestions, feel free in comments or email (top-sidebar).


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jonathan Goldstein makes me want to write

On: "Negatron"

I write about what Jonathan Goldstein does. In that way that makes me an artist... or a blogger.

Mining what other people do has a long history, and in that way it is art, but not like blogging.

So it peaked my interest when I saw that this year Wiretap episodes would only be available at the Wiretap site for a limited time, and then thereafter iTunes would be selling the episodes. Of coarse not all is what it appears to be, the site graciously has iTune sequestered episodes up in a widget in the side bar of the site.

This episode might be there when you go and look; and maybe not.


Jonathan Goldstein makes me want to write

On: "The Bat and the Weasels"

That our identity is defined by our connection to the community we live in. That our constructs of what is reality are full of rationalizations that relate back to our standings in our communities, and the power relationships there-in. And that where the words we use in the niceties of civilization we use actually to disguise the true meanings behind them.

Whether we are the diner or the dinner, in any given moment, we are one. I don't eat you, and you don't eat me; metaphorically at any rate.


Found this neat portal for all Aesop's Fables:


Jonathan Goldstein makes me want to write

On: Live in the Now... NOW!

Understanding the creative process I guess is the reason I keep listening to Jonathan Goldstein's Wiretap. It's like the way I watch the story telling process over and over and over on TV knowing that one day I will learn how it keeps my attention. And then I won't need to watch that show any more.

But I 'like' those shows; but what does that mean?

Does it mean that I like it because I don't understand it... like some sort of entertaining Stockholm Syndrome? In fact I think I'll leave out the link to the show in this post, just to show that this is about that I do understand, that I'm not a victim - not a neurotic insane person who pretends to be entertained by things they don't really understand... wait a minute... Click


Jonathan Goldstein makes me want to write

On "Pick a Path"

Jonathan Goldstein make me want to write. When ever I listen to his show Wiretap I end up writing something instead of listening to it.

This is an example.

What is it about good writing that creates such things?



Sunday, October 17, 2010

You can't do that in Football !!!

Just like everyone else I used to play English football when I was a kid. I was really good at high school soccer because when I wasn't playing soccer I was running long distance; and if there's anything better suited for soccer than runner forever, I don't know what that is.

I scored one goal in my career as a striker on the high school team, a rebound came to me on the goal line, I almost missed kicking the bloody ball! But in it went.

Anyways, here's something you can't do with a soccer ball, at least I didn't think you could.

From 49 yards 18 inches away...

You can't do that!!

Oh, I guess you can.

Reminds me of the time I saw a kid in junior hockey do that dip and scoop thing where you pick the puck up with the blade of your stick. A star player was behind the other teams net, in Gretsky's office as they say, looking for a passing lane with time winding down in a tie game. The defense were doing a great job marking their man - so he dipped and scooped, onto the blade of his stick went the puck, and in one smooth motion, before the goalie knew what was happening, he reached around the side of the goal and threw it in the net! The goal counted and the team won the game!

Couldn't find a picture or a story on it... here's the best I could do, from a message board... HFBoards

"There was a clip floating around here a year or so ago from juniors. Kid was behind the net with the puck, picked it up on the end of his stick and reached around putting it into the net. A lot of people thought it was a dirty or questionable play, but a goal is a goal."

Video via MacLeod Cartoons.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Today in the Garbage I found...

I've always appointed my home with stuff I find in the garbage.

In these days of the growth economy more good stuff is thrown out for garbage than at any time in history. The false economy of the ever expanding economy clicks nicely with the neurosis of consumerism, where many people who are existentially burdened find temporary solace in an addiction to buying the new new. As such, the stuff being thrown out is getting newer and newer. And, at the end of a long period of a relatively enlightened economy, where things were built to last, the garbage being thrown out up until about right now, is of excellent quality.

Don't get me wrong, I'm rich; richer than you can imagine - and I don't re-use old beds or bedding, shoes or underwear... but that about all I don't.

Since losing everything I owned in a robbery last year I have since appointed my new home with:

  • 3 fast, gigantic computers
  • An LED flat screen monitor
  • 2 computer keyboards
  • 2 sets of amplified computer speakers
  • A cute black goose-neck lamp
  • 2 televisions (the first one had distortion in the top 1/5 of the screen, I found a better one, a fake 'flat screen' model, with remote!)
  • A beautiful solid maple three drawer bureau - hand made!
  • 2 area rugs
  • A classic 1950's chrome toaster with automatic pop-up
  • A set of 1/8 inch jack headphones
  • An AM/FM dual cassette CD amplifier 'boom box'
  • A cute dark blue and white flies-head shaped portable CD Cassette player with AM/FM radio
  • Books, lots of books
  • A round three leg coffee table
  • A solid Oak hide-away sewing table (sans sewing machine)
  • A classic 1960's navel bed-side lamp with an ocean explorers map stylized shade
  • A baseball that looks like it went through a World Series game circa 1949 (it sits on a pedestal on my writing desk - an essential prop)

And finally, today, in the garbage I found...

  • A laundry basket (was looking for a wicker model, but this plastic one will do until it presents itself)