Friday, November 16, 2012

My 2012 Election Predictions: Results

So how did I do on my 2012 election predictions?  Let's just say that nobody is going to hire me to high-salaried prognostication job anytime soon.

Uberly-General, Stupidly Obvious Predictions

I correctly predicted that President Obama would win the election and the popular vote, that the Democrats would win the senate, the Republicans would win the house and that the color red would still be red.

One word - "Duh!" - so let's move on.

The Juicy Bits

It took me a while to get this post our thanks to all the undecided house races, but I'm now comfortable enough with the reported election results to make calls on all my predictions.

1. President Obama will be declared the victor by the majority of the press at precisely 11:00 PM Eastern time (MOE: 1 minute)

WRONG.  I was off by 13 minutes.  This prediction was based on my belief that Ohio would be called before 11:00 eastern and that Oregon would be called the minute the polls closed.

2. President Obama will win 50.7% of the popular vote (MOE: 0.2%)

BINGO!  Barack Obama received 50.6% of the vote.  I managed to get this one right even though I forgot to factor in the 1.6% that voted for 'other'.  I got lucky.

3. The House of Representatives will be split 242(R), 193(D) (MOE: 5 seats)

WRONG (most likely). Results to date: 234(R), 195(D), 6(undecided).  Based on these numbers you'd think I'd still be in the running, but the 6 undecided races are all leaning Democrat.  The odds are that at least half will land in the (D) column putting the results outside the margin of error.

4. The Senate will be split 51(D), 47(R), 2(I) (MOE: 0)

WRONG.  Results: 53(D), 45(R), 2(1).

The Tally

Only one right - 25% - 1/4 - that's pretty bad.

The one thing that really surprised me was how my predictions broke.  My expectation was that, if anything, the GOP might throw a wrench in my predictions and do a better then expected.  Instead, it was the Dems who messed me up.

Two more years until the next major election.  I'll make my predictions again .  Perhaps I can be even more wrong.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My 2012 Election Predictions

American politics is like sports - you root for your team and watch the numbers trying to figure out who is going to win.  In that spirit, here are a few of my predictions of how this year's race is going to pan out:
  1. President Obama will win the election.
  2. President Obama will win the popular vote.
  3. The House of Representatives will have a Republican majority.
  4. The Senate will have a Democratic majority.
  5. The color red will remain red.
Can you say, "Super obvious?"  I certainly did, so lets make this much more interesting and get specific - with margins of error to boot:
  1. President Obama will be declared the victor by the majority of the press at precisely 11:00 PM Eastern time (MOE: 1 minute)
  2. President Obama will win 50.7% of the popular vote (MOE: 0.2%)
  3. The House of Representatives will be split 242(R), 193(D) (MOE: 5 seats)
  4. The Senate will be split 51(D), 47(R), 2(I) (MOE: 0)
Do you have some predictions to share?  Post them here or on my Facebook page so you can be properly mocked.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Playing with Templates

Apologies in advance to my readers (however few they are).  Over the next week I'll be using this blog to test out Blogger/Blogspot templates for my other blog, so things may get a bit ugly around here.

I'll at least try to put the site back into a readable state while I'm not actively working on it.

Johnny Came Back

On the night Conan O'Brien broadcast his first episode of the Tonight Show, it was no more than 20 minutes into the show that I turned to my wife and said, "Johnny's back." The shtick, the silliness, the set, the sidekick and most of all the sincerity - all of it was back anew.

I remember the first time I watched the Tonight Show. It was 1978 and Johnny was at the top of his game. His monologue was tight, he has me in giggling with Carnac the Magnificent and his guest Don Rickles brought me to the floor. This is the type of thing NBC really wants. A host that's edgy, fresh and able to build a cult following over time.

Although Conan's ratings haven't been very good so far for numerous reasons, the audience cross section he appeals to is the same as the one that Carson had early in his show. As Carson's audience matured, so did his comedy and after 30 years on the air Johnny know it was time for a hard reset. To achieve this, it was his desire to hand off the show to David Letterman but NBC had other ideas and gave the show to Jay Leno instead. When NBC made the announcement in 1991, the New York Times reported:
[...] NBC executives expressed concern this year about the age of the audience that is watching Mr. Carson and emphasized that Mr. Leno has been able to attract younger viewers.

The age of the viewers is a concern because a late-night syndicated show starring the comedian Arsenio Hall has made significant inroads into the "Tonight" ratings, especially with younger viewers, though in the last year Mr. Hall's show has faded somewhat. Television advertisers most often favor younger viewers.
In the same article, Jay Leno expressed clearly that he has no intention of making significant changes:
[Leno] said he expected the "Tonight" show to change very little when he takes over. "We may have a new set, new music, things like that," Mr. Leno said.
So much for the hard reset. Along came 17 years of drab, predictable humor.

Now don't get me wrong. I like Leno as a person, but it's like he went on autopilot shortly after he took over the show. He used to be that edgy, fresh comedian with the great disposition but that, along with his passion for comedy, all seemed to disappear. Oswald Patton made similar comments on the matter recently as well:

This spring when Conan took over the show, the hard reset finally happened and as expected, the ratings took a hit. That's what happens when you start building a new audience, but the long term payoff is immense. NBC made the right decision to give the show to Conan.

After 17 years on hiatus the spirit of Johnny Carson has, for a season, come back to life. Let's hope NBC makes the right decision and doesn't vanquish it from their house.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Embedding in Blogger with Jump Breaks (Update 2)

Blogger has an annoying bug where it strips out embed tags in the shortened version of an article when you add a jump break. Everything works fine when you hit the "read more" link and view the entire post, but what if you want to embed something before the jump break? I found a few solutions.


I was trying to embed a clip from Entertonement. Here's an example of their standard embed tag which won't be visible unless you hit the 'read more' link at the bottom of the article.

While looking for a way to make it work, I found that they have a method of embedding via JavaScript, although it wasn't obvious at first. On their embed page, there is a description on how to embed in BBCode. If you go to the page and click on one of the 'show' links in the 'Custom BBCode Values' section (sorry - no direct way to link to it), you can see the JavaScript used to do it. Here's a clip embedded via Javascript:

Update 2: Entertonement deprecated this call.  Code removed.

Still, things weren't showing up exactly the way I wanted. The player wouldn't show up in Google Reader and in certain preview modes while I was editing the posts. That's when I came across this post talking about how the embed tag is rather non-standard and we all should be using the object tag instead, so I took one more shot at it to see what I could do:


Update: It turns out the best way to cover all bases is not just to use the object tag, but to also include the embed tag as well.

If you look below the fold, you can see which parameters I converted to make it work. You can experiment for yourself (on your own blog) to see which parameters are really necessary for your purposes.


So the next thing was to make it work for YouTube videos. Here's their normal embed that's messing things up:

The nice thing about YouTube is that the embed is already wrapped in an object tag, so conversion is much easier. Here's the result:

Update: The YouTube code also works best with the merged object/embed method as well.

Code samples below.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Don't Blog Drunk

I have a rule. Don't blog drunk. Except tonight. Morren and Wareen Blukausli are in town and silliness ensues. Or is that the Blutauskies? Platouskies? Tim, we miss you.

We are celebrating Festivus. There is much airing of grievances. Next year I think we'll celebrate Kwanzaa or perhaps Hanukkah. Perhaps Kwanukka. 12 days of home made gifts. The Bro or Manziere is a good gift.

Apparently they want to sell my gently used Swedish furniture. The is a Borgensctupher for sale. Anyone want it? This is not to be confused with a Borgenstoofer which they make Morren's feet itch.

That's all for tonight. More tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fixing the Apple Remote in Snow Leopard

I've seen many complaints about the behavior of the Apple Remote since the Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6), so without getting technical on the cause of the problem, here's a way to work around the problem.


  • Pressing the 'Menu' button on the Apple Remote launches Front Row.
  • Pressing the 'Play/Pause' launches iTunes.
  • Button events go to both iTunes/Front Row as well as the application you're REALLY wanting to control (like VLC, Hulu, etc.)

Part 1: Stop Front Row from Launching

As root, edit /System/Library/LaunchAgents/ and replace the contents of the file with this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

Part 2: Stop iTunes from Playing Songs

Open iTunes. Create an empty playlist (call it 'Empty' - makes sense). Minimize iTunes.


So you want to put things back to normal. Well, here's the original
contents of /System/Library/LaunchAgents/
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">
<string>/System/Library/CoreServices/Front Row</string>
Put that file back to normal and reboot. Happiness ensues.