Using LMRC To Pick NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket

Mar 16, 2009

Last year I wrote about Logistic Regression Markov Chain (LMRC).  LMRC is a Markov Chain that is purpose built as a college basketball ranking system based on basic scoreboard data.  LMRC is a tool to that can be used to help you fill out your NCAA basketball tournament bracket.  LRMC was created by Dr. Joel Sokol and Dr. Paul Kvam, professors at Georgia Tech's H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.  It is now maintained, updated, and improved by Dr. Sokol and Dr. George Nemhauser

LMRC is right more often then other ranking methods and effective at sorting out the top teams in the later rounds.  Here is Sokol's and Nemhauser's presentation that highlights the power of the methodology. 

I used LMRC to pick my Final Four this year. Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina were the result. Below is a pure play LMRC bracket up to the Final Four.  LMRC puts Memphis and North Carolina in the final with the Tar Heels prevailing... shudder the thought.  So I went had to go with my heart and my hope once LMRC delivered the Final Four.

2009 NCAA Bracket

Having been weaned on Louisville basketball at Freedom Hall, I took the Cards over Memphis in the semis and again over North Carolina in the final. 76 - 68. Terrance Williams gets the most outstanding player.

Go Cards!

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Posted in Computing, Fun, Sports

Cool Air

Jul 31, 2008


My MacBook Air was experiencing a core shutdown.  This was my fix.

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Posted in Computing

Logistic Regression Markov Chain

Apr 10, 2008

What is Logistic Regression Markov Chain (LMRC) you may ask?  It is a tool that can be used to help with selecting and seeding the NCAA Tournament field.  Or if the NCAA does not want to use it for that perhaps you can use it to win your office pool.

According to this article LRMC has predicted 30 of the past 36 Final Four teams correctly.  That's pretty impressive.  This year it predicted both the Final Four and Kansas as champion of the tournament. 

Something to keep in mind when putting together your brackets next March.  And I am looking forward to next year.  On a Sportscenter broadcast Dicky V had the Louisville Cardinals coming out of the gate as number three.

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Posted in Computing, Sports


Mar 24, 2008

I have been.  And I gave in.

I bought a MacBook Air.  Perhaps not the most rational decision in the world.  But Paul Stamatiou (his review) walking into a meeting with one pushed me over the edge.  I purchased a gently used 1.6 GHz model on eBay for less than $1,500.

I asked my readers if I should get a MacBook Pro or the Air when it was launched.  Surprisingly, most of the hackers who responded suggested getting the Macbook.  The plain MacBook sans the Pro.  And it is indeed has the best performance/price ratio.  That would be the most rational choice for many.

But an equal number of people suggested I go with the Air.  My friend Joe Reger opined; "I've seen you out and about with a smaller laptop and have to believe that the portability and form factor is important to you."  Joe knows me well.  What it came down to is I did not want to increase the weight and footprint of what I carry around all the time.  Given that I have a primary machine that I use for the heavy lifting of photo editing and mostly use a laptop for Internet communications, web apps, and Office, the Air has plenty of juice for me.

And on top of that my kids think it's cool.

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Posted in Computing

Macworld Keynote in 60 Seconds

Jan 16, 2008

While I was staying up late last night contemplating if the MacBook Air was worthy, I was also watching/listening the Steve Job's keynote address.  If you don't have the 90 minutes to spare this clip by Veronica Belmont hits all the highlights in about a minute.

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Posted in Computing

To Air is Apple

Jan 16, 2008

I purchased my PowerBook G4 1.0 12" back in 2004 after it was discontinued in April of that year.  It's about the size of an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper and easily weighs less then five pounds.  It was packed with everything I wanted in a laptop.  Two USB ports, a FireWire port, a modem port, Ethernet port, WiFI, and Bluetooth.  At the time the 40GB hard drive seemed huge for an ultra-portable.  It was a deal at about $1,200.  Somewhere along the line I maxed out the DRAM at 1.25GB.  Great machine.  It is my seventh laptop and the best one I have ever owned.  It literally is my notebook.  I carry it almost everyhere.

But that 40GB drive and 1.25 RAM are starting to get a little long in the tooth.  So I have been waiting.  And waiting.  Waiting until today, when Apple would introduce its new product lineup.  Let me tell you, I have been jonesing for a new laptop since last summer.  Have the money set aside to buy it.  I was hoping, really really hoping that Steveo would introduce the worthy replacement to my little friendly G4.

And I when I first laid eyes on the Air I thought that he did.  It is a stunning, stunning piece of technology.  Deserves a spot in MOMA.  It is beautiful.  Fake Steve would be proud.

But is it functional?

Some folks have claimed that it's a little expensive, but the price point does not bother me. 

Some folks have claimed that it is underpowered, but the specs do not bother me (I have a 2.4GHz 4GB memory iMac for video/photo editing and game on a console). 

What bothers me is that to make the Air beautiful they removed all the holes and seams.  It needs holes and seams.  No Ethernet port?  One USB port(which is claimed by the Ethernet adopter they sell for $29)(and a big BTW, I have never understood the whole Apple dongle thing, Steve must only like certain types of holes)? And battery that cannot be replaced by the user.

Yes, the Air comes with a battery that cannot be replaced by the user.  Perhaps another Apple first.  The cost of the battery is not that important.  I am on my third battery on the G4.  They routinely last about a year.  No big deal.  Go online order a new one when it gets a little weak.  Have a spare. Take it on a trip.  But to have to take the machine into Apple and get it replaced.  Don't know the details yet, but it sounds like I am without a laptop for a few days.  Not acceptable.

So here I sit.  With money to buy a new machine.  A little disappointed.  Not knowing what to do.  The Air is a lacking in very important features.  The Pro is a larger form factor than a prefer.

So that begs the question Air or Pro?  What would you do? 

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Posted in Computing

iTarded Cubed

Aug 30, 2007

I got this note from Apple today:

Dear Lance,
Thank you for being a member of .Mac! Your .Mac membership is set to renew on September 27, 2007 PDT. Your credit card will be charged the day before your .Mac membership anniversary date and your account will renew for another year.

As you know, we've been enhancing .Mac to make your connected life even easier. .Mac makes it easy to share what you create with iLife '08 and publish with iWeb - Photocasts, blogs, podcasts, and other web pages. Your .Mac account includes 10 GB of combined iDisk and email storage, with options to upgrade to more. Your iDisk is accessible directly from the Mac OS X Finder and from a browser on any Internet-connected Mac or Windows PC. Backup 3 makes safeguarding your valuable files easy and convenient with features including one-step backup of photos, movies, and music. .Mac Groups lets you bring the groups you belong to online to share messages, calendars, group files and web pages. And .Mac provides a steady stream of discounts and member benefits on Mac-related software and services. Be assured, there's more to come in the year ahead.

Please take a minute to review your account settings. If you want to change any of the details regarding your account, click here to update your Renewal Settings first.

I want to cancel my account but can not do so via the "click here" link. iTarded.

Why do I want to cancel. "Because it is not possible to simply change your .Mac member name." iTarded.

"If you activated or renewed your .Mac account within the past 30 days through the .Mac website with a credit card, you can cancel your .Mac account for a prorated refund." So what exactly I do when you send me an email with no option to cancel? Let them bill me and then cancel? iTarded.

There is a big big difference between being a hardware company and a service provider. Not sure if Apple gets that just yet.

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Posted in Computing, Customer Focus

Free iPhone Arrived

Aug 22, 2007


The free iPhone that I tweeted about last week arrived yesterday. The box is so beautiful that I might just have to look at it for awhile. And I might as well because I have to figure out some things before I can activate it.

I have to come out of the closet and admit that I am still running OS X 10.3 on my PowerBook G4. Yes, it is a bit long in the tooth. But I did not want to upgrade the OS when I heard of heating problems from others when they did so.

But the point is OS X 10.4.10 is a system requirement to use the iPhone. I have an OS that is just over two years EOL and can't run an iPhone on it. Forget the fact I need a computer to use a phone, how iTarded is that? Well about as much as calling a new computing platform a phone.

This line of thought leads to Apple's sloppy branding, which others have noted. Panther, Tiger, Leopard. Who has the time or inclination to remember point release associations? And yes, we are talking about something that is defined as a point release preventing me from using the iPhone. Which is not really a phone, I mean after nearly two months on the market I have yet to see someone actually talking on the thing. But I digress.

Can you believe that Apple has much better support of Microsoft's OS then their own? I can sync the iPhone with my seven year old XP box currently running as a backup server but can not use a two year old Apple OS X on a laptop I use everyday. Why?

An obvious forced upgrade. So I need to either go out and buy a whole new machine (which I want anyway but am waiting on the next upgrade cycle including OS X 10.5). Or go out and buy an OS that is going to be retired in less then three months.

It seems my options are to choose one of the above, take it to the Apple store for activation (and in which case it won't sync, which makes my Treo a preferred device), or wait. Any advice on how to activate with XP and then switch the phone to fully functional with OS X 10.3 or otherwise workaround?

Then again, the box is so beautiful that I might just have to look at it for awhile.

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Posted in Computing

PC Mag Said What?

Aug 20, 2007

"Apple's Macintosh is becoming the most logical choice for those looking to buy a new computer."

They did. Right here.

Unreal. I remember a time when PC Mag would not even write about Macs. Now they are not just covering them. PC Mag is giving Apple desktops and laptops Editors' Choice awards. Both the iMac and MacBook Pro have garnered the award and are sitting as top rated products on the PC mag site.

Guess that little Intel move was the right thing to do.

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Posted in Computing

RoboCup 2007

Jun 29, 2007

Tcp67929Forget iDay,RoboCup starts tomorrow. Over the past few years, Geogia Tech has emerged as a global leader in robotics research and innovation and they are hosting the 2007 event.

RoboCup is an international attempt to foster AI and intelligent robotics research by providing a standard problem where wide range of technologies can be integrated and examined. They get robots to play soccer with the ultimate goal of developing by 2050 a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world champion team in soccer.

From this humanoid league video it is apparent they have some work to do.

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Posted in Computing
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