The Great NFL Enhancer

My Thoughts on Fantasy Football

How fantasy football spices up your Sunday afternoons

I want to crush my opponents.

Like General Patton I will show no mercy to my enemies and hope to send them whimpering away come Monday morning. Never mind that I only hope to do so in what has become a favorite time waster around many an office and college dorm. Fantasy Football.

Many football fans say that “fantasy football ruins the way you watch the game!”, and for quite a long time, I didn’t participate in these fantasy “leagues” or office pools that seemed to excite so many of my coworkers. But a few years ago I decided to cave in and give it a try, and boy did I get sucked right in. So bear with me while I disagree with the nay sayers and argue that fantasy football actually enhances the way you watch the game.

First you get a new time waster that gives you the ability to marshal fantasy forces and hope that on Sunday you are as brilliant as General Patton. (when in reality any success is more akin to Scooby Doo-like luck)

Second, I have actually started watching more games than I would have in the past; merely due to the fact that I’m tracking my FF players. Does this mean that I root against “my team” (the Chargers) because my FF running back is Darren McFadden who plays for the Raiders? Nope. It means that I hope that McFadden runs like a panzer tank toward the end zone and that the Chargers go scorched earth on the Raiders’ defense and score 42 fantasy points.

Third, Fantasy Football gives you something talk about on Monday morning at work when you want nothing to do with whatever you get paid for. This can be a great equalizer for the work place (if you and your coworkers don’t get too competitive in some workplace league). Male and female football fan alike can brag about how well their quarterback or wide receiver did on Sunday or lament at how Chris Johnson doesn’t perform now that he got his big paycheck.

So, does being able to brag about your fantasy team actually enhance your Sunday afternoon in front of your TV?

Well if you have a good team it does! And that’s the fun part, if you’re a beginner (like I am) then you can join a beginner league. If you think that you’re the fantasy football equivalent of Admiral Nimitz at the Battle of Midway, then you can compete against others of your superior football intellect. Whomever you are, those games that you never cared about before are all of a sudden more watchable because “you’re running back” is playing. So give Fantasy Football a chance and let’s hear it for football season!

The Dismal State of the Digital Media

This article popped into my inbox from Readthisthing.com a while back. It’s a pretty harsh look at the state of digital journalism, why “native advertising” has grown, and why there aren’t more full time gigs out there for talented young writers.

This article popped into my inbox from Readthisthing.com a while back. It’s a pretty harsh look at the state of digital journalism, why “native advertising” has grown, and why there aren’t more full time gigs out there for talented young writers.

In case you haven’t heard, journalism is now in perpetual crisis, and conditions are increasingly surreal.

But for every crisis in every industry, a potential savior emerges. And in journalism, the latest candidate is sponsored content.

Also called native advertising, sponsored content borrows the look, the name recognition, and even the staff of its host publication to push brand messages on unsuspecting viewers. Forget old-fashioned banner ads, those most reviled of early Internet artifacts. This is vertically integrated, barely disclaimed content marketing, and it’s here to solve journalism’s cash flow problem, or so we’re told.

​The idea of native advertising just seems wrong to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m one of those people who exhaustively research a potential purchase, wanting to know all the good and bad aspects of something. Balanced writing seems to be hard to come by and native advertising is only making it harder.

Last spring, the American Society of Magazine Editors relaxed its guidelines for native advertising, changing “Don’t Ask Editors to Write Ads” to something resembling a wink and a nod: “Editors should avoid working with and reporting on the same marketer.” So much for the firewall.

​Another bad sign for the industry.

And so it is that American journalism, in this late decadent phase, has come to mistake its biggest rivals for its dearest sponsors.

​The author paints a pretty dim picture for his chosen profession. He seems to think that big brand publishers, who have money to pay writers, should stop paying “name brand” journalists so much and instead hire a few more writers at lower/reasonable salary. That makes sense but doesn’t seem like a solid long term solution.

​I don’t pretend to know anything about the journalism industry…so what is the answer?

The Rest Is Advertising | Jacob Silverman

What is More Important – Design or Speed?

or does it all come down to a Bill Gates quote?

The past few days I’ve been looking into getting my site to be quicker. This quest was sparked by something that Ben Brooks wrote a few years ago and I’ve always remembered. In his post he goes through his brief take on web design and what makes a site readable, comparing and contrasting some popular sites. Go read it…he breaks down some website design standards that you didn’t realize were there…good stuff if you’re looking to make your own site better.

During my own quest, I came across this free website speed test over at Pingdom.com – and this site’s results were less than optimal…or at least much slower than I was hoping. Pingdom has a great tool to see how long your site will take to load, what all is loading in what order, and how big your site is when loaded. Initially, mine was over 6MB and took 5 or 6 seconds to load. I thought this was odd since I didn’t have any crazy graphics, but upon further digging I saw that all the pictures I had with my blog posts were drastically increasing the size of my home page. (the blog page at the time) In the past I had other things that were slowing down my site load times – some custom CSS as well as Bigfoot.js that I spent some considerable time figuring out so I could have those handy pop-up footnotes. (my past sites had them…not going to bother with them here right now)

I am not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination, and I used to host my sites on Squarespace for the WSYIWYG simplicity (what you see is what you get). With that, there wasn’t a lot that I could do other than poke around and see if any specific templates were faster, change my site to text only, or move to another web host. This time around (this is my third website) I decided to switch where my website is hosted and I landed on WordPress.

I may be an edge case as I like to tinker, and have messed with this site’s template here and there. I enjoy that. But it got me wondering, what is more important to someone browsing the web looking for a place to settle in and read for a bit? Aesthetics or Speed?

Most folks who read my past websites did so by subscribing to the free RSS feed, so those folks were looking for content and page load times aren’t as important. Completely fine, that’s what I do too. While I would love to have numerous readers visiting my website every day, week, or month…I’m not a full time writer and doubt that will happen any time soon. However, internet speeds have really picked up over the past few years and website design sites like Squarespace and WordPress are REALLY good at giving you plug and play templates that get you both a fast and good looking site. So RSS is not as “necessary” as in years past when you didn’t want to jump online to slog through links to get to your favorite blog.

Additionally, with 5G coming to the U.S., I think we’re entering an era of being able to have both aesthetics AND speed in the palm of our hand.

BUT…

I do find it apropos that it was Bill Gates who is credited with the saying:

Content is king

In the end, we must keep reminding ourselves that it doesn’t matter if a blog page is fast or beautiful to look at…if there is no content, none of it matters.

Bill would probably tell us to stop sweating the design and google speed-tests – and to just get to writing, vlogging, creating.