At this stage of the season, with just two weeks remaining before the MLB trade deadline, it's tempting to spin every rumored deal, even those that are massive in scope and absurdly unlikely. We try not to produce too many preemptive fantasy spins around here, because such things tend to interfere with our ability to cover actual deals when they advance from chatter to trade.
Still, as a practical matter in competitive fantasy leagues, most of the impact pick-ups are made by owners who are willing to speculate, to stash players for later use. In such leagues, managers have already reacted to the Heath Bell deal that hasn't yet happened. All of Bell's handcuffs ? Mike Adams, Chad Qualls, Luke Gregerson ? are long gone.
So today, my intention is to call out a few names that might be worth adding now, just in case a deadline deal gives them greater fantasy relevance. Please note that this is not intended to be some definitive ranking of all players who stand to gain value. Instead, it's just, like, a list of six dudes, all of them widely available in Yahoo! leagues. I've either added these guys recently, or I've attempted to do so. Please feel free to share your own spec adds with the group in comments. Don't be bashful.
Matt Lindstrom, RP, Colorado Rockies (7 percent owned) - The Rockies would seem to be cooked, 9.5 games out of first place in their division and buried in the Wild Card standings. Ubaldo Jimenez is perhaps the biggest name on Colorado's trade block, but Huston Street is right there, too, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. Lindstrom appears to be next up in the bullpen hierarchy, and his ratios have been much better than any reasonable person could have expected (2.92 ERA, 1.30 WHIP). Lefty Rex Brothers has impressed (2.57 ERA, 18 Ks in 14.0 IP), but Lindstrom would figure to get the first shot at the ninth.
Mike Dunn, RP, Florida Marlins (2 percent) - I swear, this thing won't be filled with closing situations. Promise. Last one, right here. The Fish are reportedly willing (and possibly eager) to flip closer Leo Nunez, which would clear a path for the hard-throwing Dunn. You'd expect that team to announce a committee arrangement, with Dunn as the committee's chair. And Steve Cishek perhaps in the mix, too.
Kyle Blanks, OF, San Diego Padres (0 percent) - The mountainous ex-sleeper is again killing it in Triple-A, hitting .349/.415/.738 at Tucson with 11 homers in just 32 games. There's a spot for Blanks when Ryan Ludwick is dealt, or if the Pads pull the plug on Anthony Rizzo (who has gone 0-for-3 every night, forever).
Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants (3 percent) - OK, this one's less about potential trade fallout than it is about Aubrey Huff not hitting, ever. Huff is still at .235 for the year, .189 in July. Belt, meanwhile, is living on-base at Fresno (.469 OBP) while also hitting for modest power (7 HR, 11 doubles in 138 at-bats).
Jesus Montero, C, New York Yankees (4 percent) - Let's not forget that Montero nearly moved at the deadline last year, in the Cliff Lee deal that didn't quite happen. (Or from the Yankees' perspective, perhaps it did happen, then it un-happened. Whatever). It's hardly crazy to think that Montero could move this season, for real. If he does, he could get interesting in a hurry, depending of course on the landing spot. No, this hasn't really been the consolidation/development year that we were hoping for from Montero (.283 AVG, 7 HR, .747 OPS), but he's still just 21, and few have ever really doubted his power potential.
Chris Davis, 1B, Texas Rangers (1 percent) - As many of you know, I've never been much of a Davis fetishist. He's had his chances and he's whiffed, both literally and figuratively. But we know the Rangers are active in the trade market, and Davis has again delivered preposterous totals in the PCL. He's hitting .357/.399/.801(!) at the moment for Triple-A Round Rock, with 21 homers in only 43 games. And the guy is still just 25, so there's no writing him off. A clear trade chip, a potential impact bat.
And with that, I yield the floor to our esteemed commenting community. Please share the leads with the rest of the sales staff...
Photo via US Presswire
I am a pretty major film buff. I even wrote a book on a sixties movie producer. So I was pretty excited to hear of Spott, an app that uses augmented reality and your iPhone GPS to find the nearby locations where films and TV shows were shot.
It's a great idea for an app. You can enter Al Pacino and see where his movies were filmed. You can also search by title. You can even get a map that will point you to locations anywhere in the world.
Alas, the app is pretty thin in the data department. While there are lots of movies listed, there is an awful lot missing. Here in Southern Arizona, endless westerns were produced. Tombstone, Gunfight at the OK Corral, The Trial of Billy Jack, Easy Rider. The list goes on and on. What does Spott list for this area? Nothing. Nada. Utah is completely empty, and Utah has been the home of hundreds of films.
As I said, this is a great idea for an app. The developers let you sign up and add data that is missing, and even submit photos of yourself at movie locations but frankly, it's not my job to do that. Even though movie locations are not the main purpose of the IMDB app, you can get that information from there, but it's not designed to let you search by location in the iOS versions.
I would say Spott is a good start, but at US $2.99 I'd like a more complete database, and more images. Spott bills itself as the 'ultimate tool for film fans' but it still has a way to go to meet that description. I'm hoping the developers will step it up a bit and make Spott all that it could be. Spott runs as a universal app on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and requires iOS 3.1.3 or greater.
App for film buffs is a great idea with flawed execution originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 17 Jul 2011 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Steve Ballmer touts desktop OS adoption but admits that share in mobile phone market has gone from 'very small to very small' as Windows Phone awaits takeoff
Microsoft has sold 400m Windows 7 licences, its chief executive Steve Ballmer told its Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles - but warned that between half and two-thirds of PCs worldwide are still running the ten-year-old Windows XP, for which support will expire in less than a thousand days.
Ballmer said that the adoption of Windows 7, which was released in October 2009, has been significantly faster than for XP; the new product now runs 27% of all PCs worldwide according to data from Net Applications.
Microsoft also claimed that Internet Explorer 9 is now "the most popular modern browser running on Windows 7 PCs in the US" and that it is running on 17% of Windows 7 PCs worldwide.
Ballmer also alluded to the forthcoming Windows 8, expected in late 2012, which he said would be "a true reimagining of Windows PCs and the dawning of Windows slates." Microsoft demonstrated an early version of Windows 8 last month which it said would work on both desktop PCs and slates.
But the company is now trying to urge people and businesses to give up use of Windows XP (and, separately, Internet Explorer 6). In a blogpost, Stephen Rose, its senior community manager, suggested that "it's time to move from good enough to something much better", and pointed out that support for Windows XP will finally end in April 2014. "Bottom line, PCs running Windows XP will be vulnerable to security threats", he noted, because it will no longer receive security patches and hotfixes, as presently it does.
Ballmer admitted that its performance in the smartphone market, where the new Windows Phone platform is selling fewer devices than the now-deprecated Windows Mobile, had been poor: "Phones, we've gone from very small [market share] to very small, but it's been a heck of a year," he said to laughter. But, he added, "you're going to see a lot of progress in that market competitively as we move forward" - a reference to its partnership with Finland's Nokia to build Windows Phone devices.
Ballmer declined again to give sales figures for Windows Phone except to say it had sold "millions" of phones - which is no advance on the figure of 2m given at the beginning of the year.
Ballmer compared Microsoft's share of 400m licences for Windows 7 to Apple's putative 20m installed base for Mac OSX, without naming his rival: "Now, 20 is too much, but 400, last time I checked, is a lot more than 20."
Ballmer also announced that Microsoft has sold 100m licences for Office 2010, indicating continuing strong growth for the office suite, which will announce its full-year results on Thursday 21 July.
Ballmer said of Microsoft that "in some senses, we're relatively simple. We're involved in creating either the platforms or the hardware for three major devices: Small screens, big screens, and middle-sized screens. Sometimes called phones, PCs, and TVs, sometimes we'll talk about the PC and the slate as separate devices, but we're trying to drive forward the platform for intelligent devices.
"At the same time, we're investing in core scenarios on the back end, on the server and service side that becomes applications and tools that you can use to complete the experience - Bing, Office, our server and Azure platform, and of course Microsoft Dynamics."
Anyone that's attended summer camp knows it's a place for exploration and experimentation.
The same goes for summer camp in the National Hockey League, as New York Islanders rookie sensation Ryan Strome showed in pulled off this inventive move in the team's Blue and White Scrimmage last weekend:
Wow. That was a documented case of goalie abuse right there, as Strome went between the legs, spun around and sent a backhander high into the net for an awesome goal.
It's not the first time Strome has created a viral video hit, having scored a beautiful goal on the rush for the Niagara IceDogs in 2010. Just another reason why Strome is part of a growing number of players who made their make on YouTube before even playing a game in the NHL.
What inspired Strome, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft? From the Islanders website:
"Someone told me to put the puck through my legs and I thought I'd take it to a new level," Strome said. "I'm glad it worked. I almost got poke-checked, but I found a way to get it in and I'm just happy the fans liked it."
Judging by the "we're not worthy" bows of appreciation in the Nassau Coliseum stands, we'd say they liked it just fine. Combine that with Strome's desire to win the Stanley Cup for the Islanders, and you've got an instant fan favorite on Long Island.
Microsoft will be happy, because either way it will win the fight for the smartphone market - because Google isn't taking anything away in the corporate server market
Microsoft is reportedly demanding $15 per Android handset sold by Samsung - and has other Android handset makers in its sights as it tries to extract the maximum value from the patents that it owns which it can argue cover mobile.
Previously it has reportedly got HTC to pay around $5 per handset, and earlier this week it announced that Wistron had "signed a patent agreement" for its "tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome platform".
Fabulous quote: "We are pleased that Wistron is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program, established to help companies address Android's IP issues," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. Yes, certainly glad.
If Microsoft can get that money from Samsung (though it's more likely that this is an opening salvo; Samsung is said to want to get it down to $10, which isn't much of a negotiating position) then Android is going to become the best earner Microsoft has in mobile.
Given that Samsung produced 19m smartphones in the first quarter, that would be $190m even at the $10 level; $285m at the $15 level.
There's also a lawsuit going on against Motorola, in which it's claiming that its Android handsets infringe, and with Barnes & Noble over its Nook e-reader (which uses Android).
And that's before Nokia - with which Microsoft has tied up a deal worth billions involving lots of intellectual property flowing back and forth - wades in with its patents against Android, because Nokia has got lots of patents in the mobile phone market. Microsoft would be able to litigate those for it quite successfully.
Even then Microsoft isn't really finished with the patent licensing thing, because you'll recall that it was part of the consortium last week which won the bid for the Nortel patents, which all relate to mobile. Those, it will be able to litigate once the transfer of ownership is complete (Canada seems to be cutting up a little rough about it).
And once that happens, then Android handset makers may really begin to wonder whether the game is worth the candle. If Windows Phone licence from Microsoft costs you around $25 (a guess), but the patent payments are costing you $24 per handset, is it really worth persisting? Especially when everyone else making Android handsets is suffering in the same way, and the more successful you are, the more it hurts to have to write the cheques.
In that case, Microsoft might come to them and suggest that perhaps they would like to put Windows Phone on their handsets instead. After all, Microsoft offers Windows Phone licencees indemnity against software patent lawsuits. That could potentially make Windows Phone a lot cheaper - if Nokia and Microsoft really start getting litigious (to say nothing of Apple, which is trying to put Samsung in a vice over "trade dress" and patent issues).
Note that Apple, which was a partner with Microsoft in buying the Nortel patents, and which concluded a settlement with Nokia last month, comes out looking relatively unscathed.
You might ask: where's Google? On the losing side of that Nortel patent bid (eating humble pi), and bereft of the sort of patent portfolio that it needs to really compete and fend off Microsoft. It's having enough trouble fighting off Oracle, which now owns Sun, and which is annoyed about what it seems as infringement of Java.
But for Microsoft, Android is starting to look like a win-win. If Android prevails, it gets lots of money - and there's no obvious sign in big corporations of them tearing out Microsoft Exchange for their mail servers, so it's safe there (and keeps getting the income from there). If Windows Phone gets the updraft from exhausted handset makers, it wins big through market share.
It's a big game, and it definitely isn't over yet.
A nice example of how the patents game plays out comes from the Forbes blog (which also has some good reading on this): "In the 1980s, attorney Gary Reback was working at Sun Microsystems, then a young technology startup. A pack of IBM employees in blue suits showed up at Sun headquarters seeking royalties for 7 patents that IBM claimed Sun had infringed. The Sun employees, having examined the patents, patiently explained that six of the seven patents were likely invalid, and Sun clearly hadn't infringed the seventh. Reback explains what happened next in this classic Forbes article:"
An awkward silence ensued. The blue suits did not even confer among themselves. They just sat there, stonelike. Finally, the chief suit responded. "OK," he said, "maybe you don't infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk [IBM headquarters in New York] and find seven patents you do infringe? Or do you want to make this easy and just pay us $20 million?" After a modest bit of negotiation, Sun cut IBM a check, and the blue suits went to the next company on their hit list.
Substitute Microsoft for IBM, and any handset maker for Sun, and you have the picture.
So you thought expansion was over, eh?
Nope. The WAC won't let it die.
According to a report on BleedCrimson.net and BobcatReport.com, the WAC has extended an offer to Texas-Arlington, a non-football school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that currently competes in the Southland Conference.
To say the move is surprising would be an understatement especially with the backlash the conference took from some of its members regarding the decision to add non-football member Seattle last month.
"We weren't as enthusiastic (about it) as some of the other schools," Louisiana Tech athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said. "We felt they should have added a football-playing school and we encouraged them to do so. We feel they should be looking to add a team in the Central time zone if Louisiana Tech is to remain in the WAC.
"The face of the WAC is changing with three teams now in the CST. And we think football should be the priority in adding schools."
UTA had football from 1959-85 and went 129-150-2 during that span. The team closed down the football program because of financial reasons, though there have been grassroots efforts to start it back up again.
The invitation to the WAC is not contingent on UTA adding football, but it would definitely be a bonus. UTA does have a 12,500-seat football stadium, which is mostly used for high school events.
The Texas System Board of Regents will vote Thursday whether to approve UT-Arlington leaving. The agenda for the meeting states that WAC commissioner Karl Benson extended the offer on June 5. Benson was on the UTA campus on June 29 to visit with university president James Spaniolo and athletic director Pete Carlon.
If the board approves the move, the Mavericks will join the WAC on July 1, 2012.