Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, February 04, 2021

purple rainy
Well, wow.

I feel very comfortable in declaring Prince’s just-completed halftime show to be, hands-down, the best Super Bowl musical act ever. High-energy, raw, stylized and electric, against a rainfall backdrop that only made it more vibrant. Yes, the medley version of “Purple Rain” made it even better.

Put it all together, and none of the previous editions even come close.

Well. At least not any that didn’t include a breast-baring moment.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/04/2021 08:50:06 PM
Category: Celebrity, Football, Pop Culture
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The release of Windows Vista last week made it de rigeur to discuss whether or not you should upgrade your current computer from XP or 2000.

To which I thought: Why on earth would you want to go through that headache?

It’s not like XP won’t continue working and being supported for several more years; Win2K likely has a ways to go as well before it becomes more trouble than it’s worth. And previous new Windows rollouts, on machines that were optimized for earlier flavors of the OS, often go wrong due to new system requirements, hardware and software incompatibility, etc. Finally, unless you just bought your machine, it’s likely near enough to the end of its functional life to warrant replacement.

The only thing that makes sense, if you really really want to run Vista, is to buy a new computer with it pre-installed. You avoid the hassles and finger-crossing of basically grafting a new OS onto a maybe-or-maybe-not compatible system.

Then again, I’m of the view that these days, most people’s primary computing functions don’t rely on a specific OS:

A few short years ago, having a computer meant heavy use of a few key software programs for word processing, research, video viewing, online games and so forth. If your computer didn’t have the right operating system, some programs were out of reach. If you wanted easily portable documents, information at your fingertips and networked first-person shooters with high-end graphics, you had to own a Windows PC.

That’s seldom the case anymore. The ultra-compatible Firefox Web browser, online word processors and portable flash drives have leveled the word processing playing field for users on every platform. Google, Wikipedia and other online resources have expanded research options. Flash video on sites like YouTube are making viewing video as simple and universal as surfing the Web. And the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, new gaming consoles with the power of PCs, are making computer compatibility for games less of an issue.

I’m probably on the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to disregard for what’s under my computer’s hood. Ninety-five percent of what I do on my home notebook involves Web access, which requires cross-platform browsers and limited media-rendering players. I could be running Windows, Mac OS, Linux or any other OS, as long as it keeps the machine humming fast enough. At this point, I can’t imagine relying on some accounting or graphics program that must run only under Windows; if it’s that dependent on an OS, I have no use for it.

This loops back to my years-long contention that I’d switch from PC to Mac anytime. I still would, but it matters less these days, because again, using Mac OS for mostly Web work doesn’t offer any advantage. It’s no longer a relevant concern. Just so long as it keeps the circuits humming, reliantly and speedily.

So yes, the OS does matter in terms of running things. But no, it doesn’t matter which OS is running things. It’s total computerized agnosticism, with the Internet increasingly at the center.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/04/2021 05:05:47 PM
Category: Internet, Tech
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We’ve already seen how pharmaceutical companies target the medical profession in their marketing efforts, even to the point of recruiting especially attractive people to be their sales reps. Naturally, pushing brand-name branded freebies and free meals to the docs is part and parcel of these efforts, a low-level way of embedding a medicine’s name into the future prescription-writer’s brain.

Thankfully, some blowback is forming. Efforts are underway to ban doctors and medical students from accepting all giveaways, including the smallest of trinkets and cheapest of meals.

Casey KirkHart, a second-year resident, put the point across quite well while still in school:

Using charts and graphs, he cited studies showing that about 90% of the drug industry’s $21-billion marketing budget went to physicians and that all those mugs, meals, drug samples and speakers’ fees influenced doctors’ prescription decisions.

He slipped in a photo of himself dressed in a white doctor’s coat plastered with enough drug-company logos to rival a NASCAR race driver. The caption read: “The White Coat of the Future?”

Not that this will totally blunt efforts to win mindshare among physicians; other advertising channels, and patient requests, will continue to influence. But at least the medical community has acknowledged the most pervasive problem.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/04/2021 03:50:25 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business
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super special sunday
Happy Super Sunday! Naturally, thoughts turn to the National Hockey League Special Teams Index. (For me, anyway.)

You should know the drill by now: Last week’s rankings here, and higher-ranked power play breaks ties in STI Number. And here we go:

STI Rank Team PP % (Rank) PK % (Rank) STI Number
1 San Jose Sharks 23.2 (1) 84.1 (10) 107.3
2 Montreal Canadiens 21.9 (2) 85.2 (5) 107.1
3 Anaheim Ducks 21.6 (3) 85.3 (4) 106.9
4 Vancouver Canucks 17.2 (16) 88.7 (1) 105.9
5 Nashville Predators 17.6 (13) 86.2 (3) 103.8
6 Edmonton Oilers 15.2 (26) 87.5 (2) 102.7
7 New Jersey Devils 18.0 (10) 84.6 (8) 102.6
8 Florida Panthers 19.1 (8) 83.1 (13) 102.2
9 Ottawa Senators 17.5 (14) 84.4 (9) 101.9
10 Dallas Stars 17.8 (11) 83.8 (11) 101.6
11 Minnesota Wild 16.4 (21) 85.2 (6) 101.6
12 Pittsburgh Penguins 20.1 (4) 80.9 (22) 101.0
13 Boston Bruins 19.1 (7) 81.4 (20) 100.5
14 Detroit Red Wings 17.0 (17) 83.1 (14) 100.1
15 New York Rangers 17.8 (12) 82.2 (17) 100.0
16 Philadelphia Flyers 14.7 (28) 85.0 (7) 99.7
17 Washington Capitals 17.2 (15) 81.6 (19) 98.8
18 Colorado Avalanche 18.5 (9) 80.2 (25) 98.7
19 Buffalo Sabres 16.5 (20) 82.2 (18) 98.7
20 Carolina Hurricanes 15.4 (25) 83.1 (15) 98.5
21 Toronto Maple Leafs 19.5 (5) 78.8 (28) 98.3
22 Columbus Blue Jackets 16.3 (24) 81.3 (21) 97.6
23 New York Islanders 16.4 (22) 80.6 (23) 97.0
24 Tampa Bay Lightning 19.3 (6) 77.6 (30) 96.9
25 Calgary Flames 16.6 (19) 80.3 (24) 96.9
26 St. Louis Blues 13.7 (29) 82.4 (16) 96.1
27 Atlanta Thrashers 16.3 (23) 79.0 (27) 95.3
28 Los Angeles Kings 16.8 (18) 78.1 (29) 94.9
29 Chicago Blackhawks 10.9 (30) 83.3 (12) 94.2
30 Phoenix Coyotes 14.9 (27) 79.1 (26) 94.0
by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/04/2021 01:46:32 PM
Category: Hockey
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super secular
The day is here: Super Bowl.

And I’m getting ready to watch an Islanders hockey game. (Merely the preliminaries; it’s not like I won’t be able to fill up on plenty of Super-hype after the Caps game ends.)

Not that I’ve gone overboard on Super Bowl buildup on this blog in years past, but this year’s been particularly light for me. Partly it’s been a function of being busy enough with the usual day-to-day action. But admittedly, this year I just haven’t been feeling as much anticipation.

Maybe it’s because SB XLI looks, on paper, to be the least-lopsided edition to come along in a while. Since Indy-Chicago promises to be a competitive game — something of an anomaly in recent Super Bowl history — there’s been less need to rely upon all the ancillary buzz as compensation. The actual game as the focus — what a concept!

The other part is that, yes, I’m not hitting a Super Bowl party this year, the first time that’s been the case since last century. Just didn’t come together. It indicates I’m hanging in much less sports-centric social circles these days. But again, given that the Colts and Bears should put on a worthy show, I’ve ended up preferring this, because I can actually pay attention to the game instead of attempting to socialize out of the corner of my eye. Plus, I get to watch it on my still-new LCD television (not in high-def, but I’m not cryin’).

So, the countdown begins. I trust I won’t be disappointed.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/04/2021 01:04:25 PM
Category: Football
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