Entries in mattsnod (141)


Football Is Upon Us!

Yes, it's that time again. Time for chips, beers, hollering at the television, ruined fantasy pick, and tired Tuesday mornings after an overtime MNF game. I could wax poetic about the upcoming season, the injuries, the predictions, but at work, we've taken a different twist and done a ranking of the NFL teams' social media presence.

The wizards at W2O Group analyzed the social presence of all 32 NFL teams to produce this list of the top 20 in another installment of W2O Ranks. You can find more details on the  methodology of the ranking here. You'll also see that this infographic is presented using my company's (NextWorks) technology, the Image Capsule. Just hover over the various interactive tags to see the teams' social channels.

And yes, given the chances my Philadelphia Eagles have this year, I'm glad to see they ranked at #6!


CitiBike NYC Reviewed

When the launch of the CitiBike NYC bike share system was announced, I was excited at the prospect but had low expectations for it actually working effectively. You know ... government being in charge of anything consumer-related.

But after a few weeks of using the new bike share that extends from just south of Central Park southward along into Brooklyn, I've been pleasantly surprised. The biggest shocker for me was that these bike dock stations are EVERYWHERE. It seems you can't go two or three blocks without running into a bike station, which is great, because if you get to one station that's out of bikes, there are usually two within a short walk that may have more available.

I recently received my annual membership kit ($95/year vs. $9.95/day), and here are some photos of the unboxing:




And now onto the pros and cons of CitiBike:

  • MANY bike stations in the heart of Manhattan from south Central Park to Battery Park
  • Great alternative to the subway
  • Bikes are rugged, 3-speed bikes that are easy to hop on and go
  • Flashing white and red lights for nighttime biking
  • Bikes are simple to return to the docks
  • Good -- and simple -- mobile app


  • Check-out kiosks are bit cumbersome
  • Only one kiosks per bike location (these will get crowded when this really catches on)
  • Too many steps to checking out a bike at the kiosk
  • The touch-screen LCD at the kiosk is set too low (too low to bend over, too high to kneel)
  • First speed on the bike is useless -- it's geared too low
  • Card-swipe at the kiosk has been a bit wonky at times
  • Customers should be able to rent a bike through the mobile app and then have the app generate the 5-digit code that unlocks a bike (code is valid for 5 minutes)

I had never been a NYC bicyclist, and now that I am, I completely sympathize with those bikers who complain about the lack of bike lanes, the inattentive drivers, and daring pedestrians. It can be treacherous biking through Manhattan. I strongly urge you to reach the bike safety guide and to wear a helmet. There's no love for bikers on Broadway!



I thought I'd share this touching tale from our daughter Julie.

My wife took our three children into New York City to see the sights at Christmastime. While there, our oldest daughter was very saddened by all of the homeless people they passed. She kept saying, "Isn't there anything we can do? How do we live in a world with so much, and some people have nothing?"

My wife told her that praying might help. They were just about to walk past a church on 5th Ave. when all three kids asked to go in. They went in and sat in prayer. Julie sat there the entire time in prayer and tears. Afterward she said that she was praying for God to give her a means to help those people in need.

Just before they left she said she closed her eyes and then looked up, and God told her how she could start to help. She said she was going to make Christmas cards for those poor homeless, because Christmas is a time for family and togetherness. She wants them to know that they are not alone. She also said that this is only the start. Pretty amazing and well beyond her years.

Tonight she made 26 unique Christmas cards that she'll be handing out tomorrow in Manhattan to those less fortunate.



Thoughts on Gun Control

In the wake of the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, I've drifted between feelings of utter saddness and utter anger. I wanted to spend the that Friday evening in solemn contemplation and mourning (and hugging my kids just a little tighter), but at a moment I was particularly pissed off, I took to Facebook to express my frustration.

I figured I'd share my thoughts here as well:

Okay. That's it. I'm really fucking sick of hearing another tragedy like this. This shouldn't be. We MUST do something about the gun laws ... background checks, quantities sold, waiting periods. Whatever it takes. Because you know what? The "guns don't kill people, people kill people" philosophy obviously is not working. Beyond our gun laws, it's a problem with our society. We're gun happy.
And to anyone who is itching to disagree, feel free, but you're just going to bore me with the same diatribe I've heard for years. Do me a favor ... go drive to Newtown, Connecticut, and deliver your second amendment speech to one of those poor parents who just finished wrapping a Christmas present for a child who will never see another Christmas.
And a follow-up comment:
There is truly a difference in gun culture/ownership in America than other countries. Let me get those statistics out of the way before I get to my point ...
  • In 1997, one in four Americans owned at least one gun.
  • The United States is responsible for over 80 percent of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined.
  • Since 1960, more than a million Americans have died in firearm suicides, homicides, and unintentional injuries.
  • In the U.S., there are 88.8 guns per 100 people. Yes, that makes America #1 in that category. At a distant second at 58.2 guns per 100 people ... Serbia!
I see this similar to the automobile -- another instrument which can be used for good or cause death. Since the invention of the automobile, auto-related fatalities were on a steady increase in the 1930s and 1960s until stricter regulations started making cars and car-use safer. Since that stricter regulation in the early 1980s, auto fatalities have been on a steady decrease.
Now, statistics aside, let's look at this rationally. Why not give stricter gun control a try? Let's try at least a decade of much tighter control over deadly weapons. At worst, it's harder for gun enthusiasts to acquire a gun. At best, it saves a child's life.
Are you not at least willing to give that a try? I know I am. And I am a gun enthusiast. I like shooting for sport. But you know what? If it means saving the life of someone's daughter or son, I'll find a new sport.



Why Disney's Acquisition of Lucasfilms Will Work

It was announced that Disney will be acquiring Lucasfilms. This is the latest in their shopping spree of premiere companies of talent and content. After years of producing failed titles (which leads to failed theme park rides), they made the smart move of acquiring Pixar and then Marvel. Now that they've added Lucasfilms to the fold, they'll be set for many years to come.
It was also announced that Kathleen Kennedy will be taking over for George Lucas in heading up Lucasfilms. Kathleen Kennedy has produced a lot of huge titles (Jurassic Park, Sixth Sense, Schindler's List), so she's a good one to take over the franchise. And it's obvious from reading the Steve Jobs biography that Disney needs Lucas Films, Pixar, and Marvel more than they need Disney. But Disney can provide a great outlet for them -- more (and permanent) Star Wars-themed Disney attractions, movie distribution, access to more TV outlets (ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC Family), and you will probably see Clone Wars move to Disney Channel when the Cartoon Network contract is up.
At the end of the day, as long as Lucas isn't directing the next movies, they can be great again. The best Star Wars film, Empire Strikes Back, was not directed by him. Let Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams have at both writing and directing them, and they could be amazing. As a Star Wars fan, I'm really looking forward at what's to come.