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Archive for July, 2007

Moto Q

Moto QMotorola’s Moto Q smart phone supports the axiom that good things come in small packages. The ultra-slim phone has a full QWERTY keyboard and a crisp LCD. Mine is currently running Windows Mobile 5 which is good enough for me. I don’t expect much from the mobile OS as I only use a web calendar and email and thus have no desire to integrate or sync it. By simply paying $15/month I can browse the Internet unlimitedly.
I’ve had Sprint PCS for 10 years and the call quality on the Moto Q is the best I’ve experienced on any phone, even when on speaker. I’ve taken a few photographs and the flash capability is popular, but I still don’t have the need to snap pictures at a moment’s notice. Although I was beginning to change my mind when I was riding MARTA last week and I saw a double come-over. What I bought the phone for and what has pleased me is its: sleekness, clear call quality, fast Internet navigation and decent battery life.

The Merit of Text Messaging

About a year ago my brother and I were discussing the merits of text messaging. He said it is good to use to send a message to someone you need to send a message to but don’t necessarily want to talk to. I agreed a little too enthusiastically in the presence of my wife who said “Hey, you text me all the time!”. At the time, she was a doubter but has since been converted. Text messaging or texting is way more than avoiding conversations: texting is far superior to placing conventional phone calls. That statement is so self-evident that I would not think it needs further explanation. After visiting with some friends this weekend, I discovered that the merits of texting are not as universally accepted or realized as I believed.

About 85% of phone calls I receive could be replaced with texts. I am not an important person, but I do a lot and I do not like to be interrupted. I do, however, like to keep in touch with friends and family and I like to take part in spur-of-the-moment activities. Call my mobile phone and many times I don’t answer because I’m doing something that can’t be interrupted by a phone call. Email me and I may not get your message for a few minutes. Send me a text and I can see what you’ve got to say and quickly respond with a much smaller interruption to what I’m doing without the idle chat and platitudes required by phone conversations. I can respond while sitting in a meeting or class, during a changeover in tennis or nearly any time when I have my phone and a signal. Simply put, texting is more efficient.

US U20 World Cup: Onto the Round of 16

 Group play matches: US 1 S Korea 1; US 6 Poland 1; US 2 Brazil 1

Last week the US began the U20 World Cup against S Korea with a stinker.  I was terribly disappointed because I had high hopes for this group of mostly young professionals.  S Korea had more energy, showed more commitment and was generally the better side.  The US was fortunate to escape their first match with a 1-1 tie on the strength of a Danny Szetela diving header.

The U20s followed up their stinker with a blinder.  Front-to-back, side-to-side, the US was awesome against Poland in a 6-1 thrashing.  Captain Freddy Adu scored a hat-trick and Szetela added two more goals in a thrilling display of attacking vigor.  My man of the match was Michael Bradley who did all the dirty work that freed Adu, Szetela and outside midfielders Sal Zizzo and Robbie Rogers to run rampant over Poland.  With its tournament fate in its own hands and facing the always rated Brazil, the US surprised everyone but themselves by winning 2-1 on the strength of two Jozy Altidore goals.  Adu was instrumental on both goals and was the best player on the field for long stretches of the match.

A wonderful run of three games is a good start.  Next up for the young Americans is Uruguay on Wednesday.

US 1 Paraguay 3, Copa America 2007

I don’t remember watching a team play so well, create so many chances and lose. Perhaps it was Paraguay’s prerogative to sit back and absorb pressure knowing that the US would miss two(!) headers from inside the six and then gift the winning goal by a poor decision and lack of communication. For my money the US was the better, more exciting and more enterprising team. The US players came out inspired, showing no ill effects from the Argentina match.

On the first goal, our young midfield showed a lack of sophistication and let Paraguay traipse through and then Keller was slow coming off his line and we were punished. The US responded well though and deservedly drew even on a wonderful build-up and strike from Rico Clark.

The game was back and forth but the US created the best opportunities. The best opportunities fell to Sacha Kljestan, Drew Moor, Taylor Twellman and Justin Mapp. If just one of the opportunities which seemed more difficult to miss than make were converted, the game and tournament outlook would be completely different.

If the purpose of taking this team to Copa America is to learn, I think we’re learning some hard lessons.

US 1 Argentina 4, Copa America 2007

I have delayed writing this post in hopes that I would make time to watch the match a second time because it is often difficult to synthesize observations made in tense situations. Yes, watching a game does qualify as a tense situation. 4-1 is an unflattering scoreline. 3-1 would have been fair. The US competed for 60 minutes. Argentina was definitely the better team, but we knew that going in. Argentina brought a full-strength squad whereas the US gave two players (Wynne & Gomez) their first caps and many of the players Bradley played are still finding their legs in the international game (Feilhaber, Bornstein, Twellman, Mapp, Demerit, Clark). Argentina is thirsty to end their 14-year cup drought; the US is giving its young players experience after capturing the Gold Cup one week ago.

Only Bornstein, Feilhaber and Olsen had good games. The game changed when Olsen was subbed around the 60th minute. Wynne looked much better when he had Olsen covering him. He looked like he was in over his head once Gaven came in and floundered. Any time a player is new to the international stage you hear about the adjustment to the speed of play that is required. Interestingly, the players introduced are known for their pace but it is not sheer pace that takes adjusting to. The Argentina players don’t necessarily run faster, but they play faster and think faster than any players the US has faced this year. What impressed me about the three players I mentioned is that they seemed to be playing at that same pace. Playing the top teams in the world is only going to make the US program stronger. It is disappointing to see a solid 60 minutes spoiled by 3 goals in 30 minutes, but maybe it will serve better to remind the young squad what is required to succeed at the highest level.

I am anxious to see how the US will respond in their match against Uruguay tonight and what squad Bradley will run out. In the Gold Cup, 21 different players started the first two matches.

One interesting tidbit: I read that Juan Sebastian Veron is in negotiations with MLS and he told an unnamed US player as much.

Why

Last summer my wife and I took a four week vacation to Europe and chronicled it at http://andrewanddonna.blogspot.com. I really enjoyed writing about the different cities we visited and experiences we had, which was not surprising considering I began college as an English/Rhetoric & Communications major. Due to the constant traveling, I didn’t have much time to play around with the site design and infrastructure which is something else I enjoy. Aside from editing the page’s template with the help of my lovely wife, I simply used what Google’s tool blogger provided.

In the last year or two I’ve started playing around with widgets and scripts. I’ve used them on my former blogger site http://ahelms.blogspot.com and an account my university provides: http://www.student.gsu.edu/~ahelms2. I use them to post ancillary stuff like pictures or school projects.

In the last month or so I decided to use ahelms.com, which I registered as part of an MBA project, to build out a blog so that I could have a consistent forum to use to enjoy doing what I enjoy to do. I’m learning more about website hosting, mysql, php, WordPress and widgets each day. The goal of the site is to simply enjoy myself. I’ve always been interested in who is interested in what so naturally I added the Google Analytics scripts to my pages so I can keep track of where visitors are coming from. Getting visitors to the site is pretty galvanizing. Just hearing from a couple of friends that they enjoyed a particular post or had subscribed to the RSS feed is really nice. So last night I registered the site on technorati and added the technorati buttons in the sidebar. I also built a sitemap and ping plugins to the WordPress installation so the site can be more easily found by web surfers.

This morning I got an IM from a fellow in Thailand who wanted to know more about the meebo chat widget. We had a nice chat. He is working on a Master’s degree in Information & Communication Technology so his interest in the meebo widget is not surprising. I’ve noticed a steady stream of visitors (at least compared to last week) since I decided to promote the site to visitors other than friends and family. My sister has been traveling in Europe so it’s been cool to track her on Google Analytics map overlay. When the analytics are updated tomorrow, it will be cool to see at least one dot in Asia.

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