11.30.08

Minimizing the Problem

Posted in Tech at 10 pm

The issues with the ongoing miniaturization of electronic devices leads to a situation where if the device is to continue to evolve, it must make one of two leaps:

A) Integration: Integration is the path that we see the iPhone taking us down as many other tools are doing. You can’t hardly find a cell phone that is only a phone now. Your average digital camera has audio playback of MP3s. Your average MP3 player also plays videos. My phone is a combination address book, note pad, camera, photo album, movie player, music player, weather reporter, stock ticker, scoreboard, text messenger, pager, flashlight, and watch.

B) Wireless interfaces or control at a distance: voice-activated interfaces are the most common way of dealing with miniaturization or other situations that are hands free. Remember, operating hands free can be by choice, not dictated by the situation as with phones in automobiles. The advances in voice-activated dialing from cars has migrated to Bluetooth headsets. Once we get used to talking to our appliances, everything will be more easily controlled. Think of microwave ovens with an interface you can tell “cook this for 3 minutes” and you don’t have to figure out which particular combination of buttons that specific model uses.

Car keys are evolving into key fobs that simply unlock a car as you approach with the fob in your pocket or handbag. By why have a fob-sized device when you only need something large enough to hold a battery. Or take it a step further with an RFID-based sliver of silicon that uses radio wave itself to power the transmitter.

Every mainstream video game console today comes with wireless controllers. The next big leap in connecting home entertainment systems is wireless using W-USB or WiFi. Network Attached Storage like Apple’s TimeCapsule take the storage of digital information and put it in the back room, away from the physical interface elements entirely.

In my next post, I’ll run through some of the effects that these changes will have on some of our current devices and see what the future might bring to them as well as what additional devices may appear.

11.15.08

Observations on miniaturization

Posted in Tech at 10 pm

Most electronic devices shrink until they reach one of two minimum sizes. 1) The size of the removable medium they play or 2) the size of the necessary physical interface.

Example #1: the Mac mini from Apple. The dimensions of the physical box are largely the size of a cigar box, squared-off. The width and depth of the device are largely dictated by the minimum size necessary to contain a CD/DVD removable optical disc. The height seems to be the minimum necessary to stack all of the ports and connections on the face opposite the slot-loading drive. The Nintendo Wii also is hardly larger than optical disc drive.

Example #2: the Apple iPhone and its clones is largely a screen with a phone, web browser, music player stuck behind it. The physical dimensions are largely dictated by the size of the screen. There’s a bit of room at the top and the bottom that’s not screen that could be removed, but there’s no room left to right. The depth of the phone is seriously minimal, but even that could be reduced—as Apple recognized when they brought out the second generation model where the only physical dimension that was changed way the average depth of the device.

Example #3: Televisions are largely the size of the display area. Some of them add more for speakers and control buttons, but they are nothing like the old ‘console televisions’ that have been gone a long time now. The vast majority of the human interface for these devices has been transferred to the remote controls (which are like a plague of locusts in our living room).

Example #4: The portability of a medium has been a factor in terms of it’s length of adoption. This is mostly driven home by the movement of 12″ vinyl records and LaserDiscs out of the mainstream formats, replaced by the hand-sized optical disc. But going back even further we can look at hard drives (which started as 24-inch platters in the IBM 350) or floppy disks (starting at 8 inches). Even removable Flash RAM started out at at PCMCIA/PC Card size which is just larger than a credit card and are currently available as MicroSD cards the size of the fingernail on my pinkie finger. I don’t see a need for SD to get much smaller since after a certain point, it becomes too difficult to grasp onto, much less manipulate such a small piece of plastic into a slot.

William Gibson talked about ‘microsofts’ in his early fiction, which were essentially memory storage in the form factor of a toothpick. The smallest-volume item that is made for consumers that I can think of are Tic-Tacs. Can you think of something smaller?

For media, there is no minimum requirement for the size since the physical interaction is with the device that used the media, not the media itself.

So what does this tell us about upcoming electronics? What are the ways around this miniaturization limit? I’ll talk about that in my next entry.

11.02.08

Please Vote

Posted in Life, Media at 12 am

All I’m asking is that if you’re going to vote, don’t vote based on the amount of melanin a candidate has. That’s not a very good method of predicting leadership ability.

Please Vote. Please Vote based on issues.

08.30.08

Mini Money Management

Posted in Life at 11 am

Getting Smart Slowly: I’ve been following Get Rich Slowly by a guy who lives in the local Portland area, so I can relate to some of the places he goes and people he names. I’ve been enjoying reading his articles, and it’s made me more conscientious about the way I deal with money, plus I’ve been watching for ways to keep the money we have.

As part of that effort, we paid off one of our credit cards last year (Card A) and have kept it at or near a zero balance for a while now. So the Card A people sent us, on a monthly basis, these blank checks to use “for whatever you want” with minimal interest rates. Wow, how nice of them.

The Offers: The checks come in two flavors: 1) 0% interest for 12 months (after which it reverts to an unacceptable percentage rate over 20%) or 2) 3.99% for the duration of the balance. One of the fine print items was a 3% transaction fee that capped off at $200 I had to keep in mind.

I mostly ignored them for about a year, but they were certainly tempting. We had a nice credit limit and the idea of jetting us off on some spur of the moment getaway certainly crossed my mind… but I knew it was just putting off (and increasing!) the cost. I’ve looked at the offers each month. I just needed to find the right time to use them: a time when they would save us money rather than cost us.

The Summer Situation: This year had me flying solo to Montana for a death in the family ($700) and over the Fourth of July Amy and I went on a follow-up road trip to the same town with a side trip for a day in Salt Lake City. (Amy went to a small private liberal arts college there.) The vacation travel costs themselves were fine (lodging $300, gas $250) but we also made some major car repairs in preparation (exhaust system, tires $2,180) so the total came to about $3,400, which we had put on Card B.

In terms of using credit wisely, I think we did okay in this instance. We had very little warning about my flight so there was no time to save for it. We needed to get the car repairs done, but we had been holding off. The family reunion trip forced the issue since we had to get there on the Fourth of July with the rest of the family. We tapped into our embryonic emergency fund to pay for some of the car repairs and cover some of the travel costs, but the $3400 remained on Card B. We traded money for time.

Cunning Calculations: Now with things settled down a bit on the home front, I have had time to re-assess our accounts and look at how we could take advantage of those checks from Card A. I looked at a few of our debts: credit union car loan, credit union personal loan that we used for some debt consolidation last year, and Card B.

The first thing I did was use a generic loan calculator to figure out that with our normal monthly payment, the debt on Card B would have cost about $2,000 in interest and taken over 4.4 years to pay off.

Next I calculated the same monthly payment against the 3.99% rate plus the 3% transaction fee. The transferred debt would cost about $1,000 and take 3.3 years to pay off.

(Paying off the personal loan with the 3.99% checks + 3% transaction fee would have saved us $20. Paying off the consolidation loan would have saved a whopping $2. Neither of these seemed worth the effort.)

Amy and I are both distrustful of large banks and corporations, so I tried to be as cautious as possible. In the end we decided to go for it. All told, we’ll save $1,000 by using these checks.

Warning: Avalanche Zone: Obviously, if we could pay more on a monthly basis, we could knock down both the cost and the length for repayment. We’ve been using a combination of techniques to work down our debts and by next March both the car and consolidation loans will be retired at which point we’ll be able to pile on a bunch of money to wipe out the debt. I think we’ll be done with it by next summer. The Debt Snowball plus automatic withdrawals from paychecks have been a big help in making sure we get these all taken care of. (See the Debt Snowball article at GRS or read the wikipedia article. Amy actually thought up and started practicing the debt snowball style before she or I ever read about it. She’s the smart one in this house.)

…With a Cherry on Top: For those of paying close attention, you may be asking: But what about those 0% checks? Wouldn’t they be an even better deal? You’re right but that’s also a gamble. If for any reason we don’t get that debt paid off in 12 months, the interest rate sky rockets. This is flat out gambling that we won’t have any major financial hits in the next year. I’m not a total pessimist however.

We used the 0% checks to pay off $500 of the debt and paid the balance with the 3.99% offer. I’m willing to gamble that we will pay off $500 in the next 12 months, even if something major comes up. It saves us about $100 in interest, which is a nice bonus.

Other families have much larger amounts of debt to deal with. These 4 figure debts are peanuts compared to what others are facing. But Amy and I are getting our money house in order. These exercises with smaller amounts make me more confident about the larger amounts that we might see in the future. (House? new car?) If I’m not getting rich slowly, I hope I’m at least getting smarter.

08.24.08

The Future of Television

Posted in Media, Tech at 12 pm

A brief rambling of thoughts regarding television and video transmission as they will evolve in the coming decades:

1) The end goal? The Star Trek Holodeck: a 3-D representation of a scene that can be viewed from any angle. Putting aside the hokiness, this is what TV is heading towards: a reproduction of an environment in all physical dimensions.

2) In order for this to be feasible, flat 2-D capturing is useless. Video today is taking a series of bitmap images. The next gen of video will be just be stereo 2-D: 2 images of the same scene at the same time. Great, so we’ve replicated the depth of a scene, but we’re still stuck with the single perspective of the original pair of cameras.

3) If stereo images for ‘faux-3D’ isn’t enough, then what we need are more cameras, right? Well, then where does that end? Do you build a giant sphere of cameras, all pointed towards the center of the action? This might work okay for a movie like Cube but for, let’s say filming a climb of Mount Everest, this isn’t the way to go.

4) There are two basic ways of representing images in digital formats: Bitmaps or Vectors. Bitmaps are grids of pixels: perfect for paintings, documents and flat video. Bitmaps are great for when you have an image that you might want to make smaller, but they are useless for making bigger. If you take a 100 pixel by 100 pixel image and make it 1 mile by 1 mile, you’re going to get individual pixels that are 50 feet by 50 feet. However the same image made up of vectors could be made of very small 1 nanometer pixels and still be an accurate representation of the image.

5) If we want the ability to view a scene in all of it’s physical dimensions, we will need to capture the points in space (x,y,z coordinates/vectors) of as many elements as we need in order to re-create the scene. Take track events portrayed in a movie like Chariots of Fire. In order to truly capture the event, we’ll need to track the spacial locations of every significant element. I would guess these to be the track, the starting line, the finish line and the runners.

6) This should be subdivided down further however. Not just the runners, but the various body parts of the runners: legs, arms, heads. Maybe fingers? How about the starter’s gun? the trigger on the starter gun? the finish line tape?

7) We need to decide what’s truly important to capture: The runners, yes. The starting line and the finish line, yes. The crowd? Mmmm, maybe. Certainly films for decades have been using ‘standard crowd noise’ in place of recording actual crowds on the set of the film. Movies have been adding crowds to stadiums using mannequins, inflatables, or digital post-production. Maybe the specifics of the crowd are unnecessary for the scene.

8) We need to capture as much as possible, but we could extrapolate from a small set of points a number of the other points. Perhaps we know where the starter gun is, but instead of keeping track of the official that is pulling the trigger, we simple estimate the height of a person that would be holding a gun at a certain angle and height and make an approximation of the official. We know how the ribbon at the finish line would move and float given the motions of the players and the wind and the tautness of the tape. Do we need to know the exact location of a runner’s knee if we already know where their hips and toes are at? Maybe, but we probably don’t have to know where the ankle is at if we know where the heel and the knee are at.

9) Once we have those points in space, we can recreate the locations, but short of capturing the location of every thread of the clothing being worn or each lace of each shoe, we’re probably going to want to capture a ‘skin’ or a ‘texture map’ that would be used to wrap around the skeletons (vectors) of the runners. The skin could be captured ahead of time, or could be extrapolated from a video feed. We’ve already seen projects that take varied photographs and collects them into a multi-faceted view of a single object. In much the same way, a set of stills taken over time could create a texture map.

10) That same capture of the texture maps could be used to extrapolate the x/y/z of the original skeletons. Today’s motion capture techniques have relied on ping-pong balls taped to actors in green body suits and similar set ups. Those configurations are simply work-arounds that allow us to capture the models easily with today’s technology and are ultimately, unnecessary. Once we have the visual processing tools that are necessary, we can forgo the artificial set ups and special configurations and rely on the original video captures.

11) This sort of capturing and transmission becomes possible once we move from thinking of capturing a flat plane of pixels to capturing the coordinates and texture maps of a scene. The information that is captured can be still captured by a single video camera, given enough processing power. But when we add a second camera, we can collect better textures and more accurate coordinates. Add a third and the quality of the capture increases again. Add a dozen and you’re capturing every detail needed to analyze an event in everyday scenarios.

12) What does this all offer? Imagine watching Chariots of Fire from the actual point of view of one of the runners. Or from the officials. Or the finish line tape, or a shoe of the runners. Or directly overhead. The amount and number of perspectives is immense. Imagine changing the scene by adding a 100 mph wind to it. Or altering the track so it goes in a loop-de-loop.

13) And talk about scalability: If you want to transmit this scene to someone, you have the option of A) sending a fully-rendered image like you would to a current television, B) a pair of images to a stereoscopic video display (Yes, that’s by my employer), C) or a small set of the captured data to a cell phone/Personal media device for display of a low-res, animation style rendering, D) or a full feed of all the details to a computer-enabled display that could use a mouse or 3-d mouse that could be used to navigate around a scene.

14) Today we are capturing the equivalent of a single, low quality texture map. Soon we will be capturing higher quality single texture maps, but this is just a baby step forward. We need to build tools that will take those bitmaps and break them down into component parts: Vectors of skeletons, plus texture maps. We blend in approximations of the missing texture, enhance the scene with up-close photos, and extrapolate to fill in the additional x,y,z coordinate points we’re missing. None of these techniques are outside of our reach.

07.19.08

Recent Travels

Posted in General at 11 pm

From Oregon Geographic Names (McArthur, 1974):

“Rooster Rock, Multnomah Country. This is probably the rock mentioned by Lewis and Clark as their camping place on the night of Saturday, November 2, 1805. Wilkes, in US Exploring Expedition, volume XXIII, Hydrography, refers to it as the Obelisk, a name that has not persisted. The modern name is of phallic significance. A post office called Rooster Rock was established in May, 1876, with John Gilstrap first postmaster. The name was changed to Latourell Falls in August, 1887. There is nothing in the records to show that the office was always in the same place. In 1938 the OSHD acquired the immediate area as part of the right of way for the water level highway, and after World War II developed the beach and adjoining low ground. Rooster Rock State Park is now one of the popular bathing and boating spots near Portland.”

(Emphasis mine. Talk about burying the lede! It used to be called “Cock Rock” if you didn’t catch that.)

06.29.08

DTV Converters: Part II

Posted in Media at 10 am

Be sure to read the previous entry of the for the proper background.

I was thwarted in my attempts to get the Channel Master CM-7000 or the Philco. Instead I ended up with the Zenith DTT901. The ‘1’ means that it has the Analog Pass-Thru capability which is as simple as you can possibly imagine. From what I can tell, the only thing analog pass-thru does is add a physical wire so that when the box is turned off, the incoming RF signal is connected to the outgoing RF signal. If you’re getting an analog signal from the coaxial cable (whether from Over The Air or from the cable company) you’ll end up with the signal coming into your TV just like the converter box wasn’t there. But once you turn on the converter box, you need to change your TV back to channel 3 or 4 in order to see what signla might be coming through.

The real problem here is that the OTA digital signals are *NOT* available over the Cable TV connection as they are on the antenna connection, so I cannot get the system set up the way I would really like.

I was hoping for something a little slicker, where you’d be able to surf up and down the digital signals and the analog signals through a single run of channels, basically putting an analog tuner in along side the digital tuner. No such luck. I’ll now go back and re-number my preference ratings from the last entry, dropping the analog pass-thru feature to a 5 and giving the 15 other points to each of the S-Video, Tivo-controlability and the other minor features. Analog pass-thru could still be useful, but I’m far less sold on it now.

The funny thing is that the Zenith is functionally- (and nearly physically-) identical to the Insignia box that I already had. The remotes and the boxes themselves are clones except for the logos and the analog pass-thru option. Oddly, the manuals are quite different in layout and (some) text, but largely organized in the same way.

So with my new scoring weights, here’s where the two boxes shake out:

Insignia NS-DXA1:

  • Tivo (Series 2) compatibility: Unknown, but possible. (25 of 50 points)
  • S-Video connection: No (0 of 20)
  • Analog Pass-thru: No, older model (0 of 5)
  • Off-state power consumption: 0.01 amps; 0.06 amps while on. (3 of 3)
  • Auto-shut off: 1, 2, 3, 4 hours (3 of 3)
  • Shape of the remote: Number pad at bottom (yay!) Decent variety of button shapes (2 of 3)
  • Quality of menus/setup: Nice graphics, wrap-around menus, nice arrow movement (3 of 3)
  • Aesthetics of the form factor: Black. Logo can be covered, LED is a bit big. (2 of 3)
  • Total for the Insignia NS-DXA1: 38 of a possible 100 points. (Was 33)

Zenith DTT901:

  • Tivo (Series 2) compatibility: Unknown, but possible. (25 of 50 points)
  • S-Video connection: No (0 of 20)
  • Analog Pass-thru: Yes (5 of 5)
  • Off-state power consumption: 0.01 amps; 0.06 amps while on. (3 of 3)
  • Auto-shut off: 1, 2, 3, 4 hours (3 of 3)
  • Shape of the remote: Number pad at bottom (yay!) Decent variety of button shapes (2 of 3)
  • Quality of menus/setup: Nice graphics, wrap-around menus, nice arrow movement (3 of 3)
  • Aesthetics of the form factor: Black. Logo can be covered, LED is a bit big. (2 of 3)
  • Total for the Insignia NS-DXA1: 43 of a possible 100 points.

I’ve highlighted the only difference between these two in the scoring, the Analog Pass-Thru capability.

I may still try to get the CM-7000, but I might wait to see what reviews come out about the Apex DT250 and the DT1001. Either way I’ll probably try to offer up one of the two boxes I already have as a straight trade for the $40 coupon. My parents might take me up on it. The Apex models won’t be out for another few months, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see if a revised version of the CM-7000 comes out.

[EDIT: November 2009: As we’ve gotten full support of the Comcast DTA for basic digital cable and a bigger Motorola set-top box for extended channels, we haven’t actually needed to use an Over-The-Air converter box. However, TiVo does support some, including the two that we got: http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/310, the Insignia and the Channel Master. (I traded off my 2nd Insignia box to my parents when their coupons came in for a Channel Master.) ]

06.15.08

DTV Converter Box Plans

Posted in Media at 12 pm

My Digital Television Converter Box coupons are about to expire. I went ahead and bought the Insignia from Best Buy a couple weeks ago, and I’m reasonably happy with it. I wish I had done a bit more research to see what options are available and thought about what our needs are and will be.

1) Cleaner OTA DTV Signal / Analog Pass-thru— For our set up at home, we have analog cable from Comcast, feeding directly (via coax) into our Tivo DVRs (one in the living room and one in the bedroom). The coax cable I ran from the living room to the bedroom causes amazingly strong ghosting on the local “Over The Air” channels (KATU 2, KOIN 6, KGW 8, OPB 10, etc.) so I’d like to be able to get those with a Digital TV signal. At the same time I’d like the device to be able to handle our analog cable connection. I’m not sure if I’d truly be able to integrate the analog cable with the digital OTA signals, but this would give me a fighting chance or at least make it easier to switch manually.

2) Best quality connection— I’d also like to get the highest quality signal out of the box. 95% of the Coupon-Eligible Converter Boxes or “CECBs” have only a Composite Video output (the standard yellow RCA connector). Exactly three of the boxes have the higher quality S-Video output (the black, 4-pin ‘hooded’ connector, see the Wikipedia entry on S-Video) which would marginally increase the quality of the picture: The Channel Master CM7000 and two Apex models.

Digression: The CECB program specifically limits the types of connections that are possible for these devices. There are higher quality DTV converters that provide Component, DVI or even HDMI connections but these devices are not eligible for this program as they are trying to help the people who are going to be more impacted by the DTV conversion. I’ve had my eye on a Samsung model at Circuit City, but I’m not willing to lay down $200 for a device that I’m not sure I’ll keep around and is only useful for 4 or 5 channels.

3) Tivo in Control— The only way I can integrate these channels with the Tivo’s scheduled recording is to find a model that uses the IR remote codes that Tivo is aware of. At this time, our Tivo Series 2 boxes do NOT have the ability to tune anything other than the original ‘integer’ channels that we’re used to. However there have been mentions of an update this summer that Tivo will support some of these converter boxes, and there is this official announcement of planned support, but there hasn’t been a list of which boxes will be supported. I’m guessing the decision to support any particular model will partly depend on total sales of that unit. I’m hoping that the Insignia box will be a safe bet for support.

There’s a future consideration here too: Comcast will probably shut off the analog signal service at some point. It may not be for years, but when that happens, these or similar converter boxes will basically be mandatory for using the two Tivos we’ve got. (I wonder if I’ll need Clear QAM support…)

So with the list of issues above, I’ve boiled this down to three attributes that I want:

  1. Tivo (Series 2) compatibility (50 points)
  2. S-Video connection (20 points)
  3. Analog Pass-thru (20 points)

The Insignia (a basically a re-badged Zenith, aka LG) had good marks from ConsumerReports, so the quality of the device is there, but it doesn’t support two of the attributes (S-Video or Analog Pass-thru) and all I can do is hope that the Insignia will be supported later on. (There is some hope.)

Note: I got the NS-DXA1, not the newer NS-DXA1-APT which does support Analog Pass-thru. Grrrr…

If the Insignia has us covered for the Tivo, then the next option I’d like to look for is the S-Video connection. I have been leaning towards the Channel Master CM7000, which has the S-Video connection and I can probably pick up at Fry’s or at Wegner A/V. But there have been a couple of poor reviews that have me hesitating. However, I haven’t found any local retailer with the Apex DT1001 or the DT250, so I may be out of luck on the S-Video front. Add to this the lesser possibility of support from Tivo and I think I’ll skip this.

If S-Video is out of the picture then Analog Pass-thru is the last remaining issue. The Digital Stream boxes (available from RadioShack) have it, as do the Philco boxes. One of the Philco models also support a Smart Antenna which I’m unfamiliar with, but sounds intriguing. The Philco boxes are available in the Portland area at Standard TV and Appliance and at George Smith Warehouse Sales.

Other considerations in no particular order (2 points each):

  • Off-state power consumption (Thinking green)
  • Auto-shut off (More green thinking)
  • Shape of the remote (UX issues, pet peeves)
  • Quality of menus/setup (I’m a UI/UX snob when I can afford to be)
  • Aesthetics of the form factor (Prefer black to match other components)

Of all my review points, the Insignia box rates… (1-100)

  • Tivo (Series 2) compatibility: Unknown, but possible. (25 of 50 points)
  • S-Video connection: No (0 of 20)
  • Analog Pass-thru: No, older model (0 of 20)
  • Off-state power consumption: 0.01 amps; 0.06 amps while on. (2 of 2)
  • Auto-shut off: 1, 2, 3, 4 hours (2 of 2)
  • Shape of the remote: Number pad at bottom (yay!) Decent variety of button shapes (1 of 2)
  • Quality of menus/setup: Nice graphics, wrap-around menus, nice arrow movement (2 of 2)
  • Aesthetics of the form factor: Black. Logo can be covered, LED is a bit big. (1 of 2)

Total for the Insignia NS-DXA1: 33 of a possible 100 points. (The NS-DXA1-APT would score a 53.)

I’m going to check out a couple more stores: a Rite-aid downtown and Fry’s. At this point I’m leaning towards the Philco box, but I’m not 100% sold on it. 1) Hopefully it will get Tivo support; 2) no S-video; 3) will have analog pass-thru. That rates a 55 to the Insignia’s 25 on my 3 primary attributes, but the Insignia kicks some strong butt in the bonus round (8 of 10 points). The Channel Master would also start off on that 55 point mark, giving them both a real head start over the Insignia.

[EDIT: November 2009: As we’ve gotten full support of the Comcast DTA for basic digital cable and a bigger Motorola set-top box for extended channels, we haven’t actually needed to use an Over-The-Air converter box. However, TiVo does support some, including the two that we got: http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/310, the Insignia and the Channel Master.]

05.30.08

Bridges: reduce and reuse before recycle

Posted in Public Works, Transport at 12 pm

As noted on Portland Metblogs:

The Columbia River Crossing project needs input from the public, and the current feedback period is only open until July 1.

This is a really serious issue. They have absolutely no reason to take out the existing bridges. They are structurally sound, effective for ship passage, and recently repainted. Sure, they aren’t wide enough, but thats why we ADD to them.

Whatever solution is put together, I think it’s important that it look at reusing what already exists and make it easy to add onto it later (which the existing pair of bridges don’t do), remembering that this stage will only be one more step into the future use of this road/rail/path. We should not only use what’s available today, but also look to the future so that we can expand and be flexible with the changing tides of time.

(Hell, once we get the hovercars, we won’t need the bridges, right?)

05.03.08

The Timbernacci Sequence

Posted in Futbol at 9 am

Today I make a bold prediction. In the first three matches of the season, the Timbers have out-scored their opponents very consistently. Take a look at the results:

  1. 0:1 vs Puerto Rico Islanders
  2. 1:2 vs Minnesota Thunder
  3. 0:2 vs Seattle Sounders

Notice a pattern here? Yes, it seems that Gavin Wilkinson has inspired the boys in green to beat their opponents by a margin that follows the Fibonacci Sequence. The Fibonacci Sequence is pretty simple. You start with 1 and add 0, which gives you 1. Then you take that second 1 and add it to the first 1. That gives you 2. You add the previous number (1) to the current number (2) to get the next number (3). Repeat: You add the previous number (2) to the current number (3) to get the next number (5). Repeat: You add the previous number (3) to the current number (5) to get the next number (8). 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and so on.

I fully expect that when the Timbers face the Rochester Rhinos (at PGE Park) on May 8th, they will win by a goal differential of 3. Which leaves us in the perfect position of go ahead 5 goals over the Flounders on May 10th.

By the end of the season, at the final home game, we should beat the Charleston Battery by 514,229 goals.

The final regular season game for the Timbers will have a goal chasm of 832,040 against the Carolina Railhawks @ WakeMed Soccer Park.

As it is likely that by following this plan the Timbers will get a first round bye in the post-season, they will have 4 more matches at the end of the season, with the two-leg aggregate for the championship’s goal totals separated by 5,702,887.

Over the course of the season and the playoffs, the Timbers will score 9,227,464 times. Yep, Nine Million goals in 2008.

This is going to be a real team effort. By the 13th match (Vancouver Whitecaps @ Swangard Stadium) The Timbers will be scoring a over once per minute. I know Taka can handle that pretty easily himself. But by game 25 (Minnesota Thunder @ James Griffin Stadium), the Timbers will be scoring over once per second. I think we’ll need to stagger the goal scoring at that point, so I’m hoping Chris Brown can take up some of the slack. I figure if they alternate seconds, their cleats won’t burst into flames.

By that championship match, the Timbers are going to have to put their backs into it as they score 652 goals each second. I’m hoping that Ray Burse (Keeper) gets at least a few of those, but I expect our back line will help out quite a bit.

I’d like to congratulate head coach Gavin on this brilliant plan. We were pretty weak on offense last year, but now we’re on the right track.

“True supporters for-ev-er more!”

(Please note that my calculations could be off a bit. It may be that Gavin is only having them score the sequence at home games.)