Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Swimming & Michael Phelps

I am so sick of hearing about Michael Phelps [1]. The world is watching and assuming that he's going to set a world record of the number of gold medals won in a single Olympics. Or at least, the media thinks we are. But I don't care, in fact it angers me everytime I hear about it. Michael is a fine athlete, and I look up to and respect him. But the only reason he's up for 8 medals is because we have SO many pointless swimming events. The process for choosing which events are in a particular Olympics may as well be arbitrary in my opinion.

Let's think about it. Baseball isn't an Olympic sport (Edit: Baseball _IS_ an olympic sport, but won't be in the future, apparently, it's too regional. I apologize for the incorrect information). Cricket isn't an Olympic sport. But they're some of the biggest sports in the world. But swimming has 2 distances: 100m and 200m, AND there are individual medals for the Butterfly, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Freestyle and Medley. !? Why are each of these in the Olympics? Running is similar, but not quite as bad. But if running were like swimming, then we'd have the 100m backwards run, the 100m frog-jump race, and the 100m crawl and the 400m medley (where you do 100 m of each). But we don't. Why? Because these events are about SPEED. They're about being the fastest. Everyone KNOWs that crawling, running backwards and frog jumping aren't as fast as running normally. So we don't contest those sports. On the other hand, if one runner came around and could frog-jump the 100m race faster than everyone else, we wouldn't stop them from frog jumping during the race? No.

Why not reduce the running and and swimming to JUST the various distances, and let the runners and swimmers achieve that distance however they'd like. We know the butterfly stroke and the backstroke are slower than the freestyle, so forget making them speed events. Then, if we _still_ want the other strokes, make them judged events on style, not speed events. It could be like figure skating - you get 2 minutes in the pool and are expected to perform each style and get rewarded based on how beautiful they are.

Then include some of the other, unique sports in the world in the olympics and open the door to allow more people to win medals, not just cater to one guy. I watched him win one race, so I'm done. I could care less what else he does.

[1] -

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dell M1330, Defective GFX cards, and Laptops

I've been planning to buy a new laptop for a few months now. What I want:
  • a small laptop, please note that this does not necessarily mean thin - it means easy to open and use reasonably comfortably on an air plane,
  • light-weight (sub 4lbs)
  • A hardware accelerated graphics card with dedicated memory
  • An SSD option.
  • Reasonable battery life. No, an upper limit of 3-hours isn't reasonable. I'd like something that can last for a long plane ride.
  • Resolution is important to me, I can't work in a 1024x768 or something similar. I currently have 1680x1050 and I wouldn't want to lose much in the terms of screen real estate. (I know this conflicts with my want of a light laptop, but a guy can dream, can't he?)
8 months ago, someone introduced me to the Dell XPS m1210 [1]. And it quickly became the top competitor on my list of laptops that I was considering. I couldn't afford it at the time, so I kept my eye on it. Soon, dell replaced this model with the XPS M1330 [2] which was even more appealing. But recently I've found out that the nvidia g84 and g86 are defective [3]. The Dell m1330 is one of the laptops with this card [4]. So that got me to thinking of not ordering the m1330 with the nvidia card. I mean, if portability is my ultimate goal, the graphics card conflicts with that. I could order it with the integrated Intel card, but there are a number of laptops out there with this card which are more portable.

So I got to looking around and I ran across the as of yet unreleased Sony Vaio Z Series [5]. Wow, what a sweet laptop. It actually satisifies ALL of my requirements and more. It's a high powered, very light machine with a great screen, dual SSD drives (w/ raid) and great battery life (or so they claim). Too bad it's $4k. Any other suggestions?

[1] -
[2] -
[3] -
[4] -
[5] -