Hello French Fries!
It’s Friday, which means I’m full of anticipation for the weekend, where I’ll probably be completely unproductive, ignore my to do list, and sleep until Monday when I’ll wake up and say ‘What happened to my weekend?!?!’ Does anyone else get as excited for the weekend as I do? I am one of those people who mentally turns off at or before noon on Fridays, and sneaks out of work a tad earlier then I probably should in order to get a jump start (It helps that my office encourages us to leave early on Fridays). The downside of this Friday is it’s really too cold to do much outside, but not cold enough to hit the ski slopes up I-70, and I have a long list of things to do which I will probably not do… Regardless, I promised you french fries a daily blog post, so at least this will be accomplished because, dedication!
And now, for your reading pleasure, it’s my rant of the day. Seeing as it’s Friday, and I haven’t had much time to read the news today, I’m going to approach a lighter subject: Sports. Specifically, soccer. Soccer (or football if you are not an American), has always been on the forefront of technology in some ways. Think how EA Sports has revolutionized the video game world with their FIFA series (which, according to the fine folks at the Gamer is one of the best selling franchises of all times), the adaptation of VAR, and the plethora of new palaces that teams across the world are now calling home (I’m particularly fond of my hometown’s new soccer cathedral). Soccer has also always been at the forefront of fashion, which is an industry that in the era of wearables and $1000 iPhones, is highly intertwined with the tech world. There’s also slick graphic design qualities that you see in both TV broadcasts of games from across the globe, but also in a lot of the kits (or uniforms) that teams wear (slick doesn’t always mean good).
Next year, 32 of the world’s national teams will be playing in the World Cup in Russia. However, despite being the center of the global Tech industry, with all it’s innovation, and boasting the world’s largest economy and third largest population, the United States will not be there. As a fan of the USMNT, I find this to be an abomination. The last time the USA wasn’t at the World Cup, I wasn’t even born yet. To be fair, throughout the qualifying campaign, you could see the complacency in players and coaches, the expectation that they should beat the smaller nations (not named Mexico) in the CONCACAF region. Don’t get me wrong, they should, but in sports, you never ever underestimate your opposition, and that is exactly what they did. They assumed they would beat Trinidad, Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, etc… those teams either got a draw or a win against the USA, and the USA did not adjust their attitude at all. As a result, they kept getting the same result. In the end, they did not deserve to qualify for the World Cup, and this should serve as a huge wake up call.
My hope is that, in failing to qualify, shock waves will be sent up and down the entire system. They need a new manager who will embrace younger players, and a new front office staff that will completely overhaul the youth system and build a talent pipeline to the senior squad. The United States Soccer Federation is having an election for a new president, and my advise to any of the electors out there that are probably too important to be reading my blog: elect a president who will commit time and resources to completely overhauling and revamping the youth systems.
The United States has the benefit of a huge, young population with a very robust underlying sports culture. There is no reason we cannot find a young American guy or gal out there who could be the next Messi or Ronaldo. We’ve got the technological capacity to do quick and easy statistical analysis, scouting write ups, video sharing of players, dessimation of knowledge amongst the coaching ranks, etc. right at our finger tips. However, the pay-to-play structure has got to go. Soccer should be available to any and every kid who wants to play, regardless of resources their family may have. Even if they aren’t talented, there is a public and personal health benefit to letting these kids play outside and be athletic and build character through team exercises than, say, sit at home and play video games all day. When Germany failed miserably at the Euro 2000 competition, they used it as a teaching moment, and after analysis and review, they completely overhauled their youth system. Now they are the dominant global power in world soccer and have an endless pipeline of talented young prospects that are completely owning the competition. If the United States has the will to not be complacent and make some strong and meaningful reforms with the resources and population base that we are blessed to possess, in 10 years time we could be the next Germany or Brazil. We could be the Evil Empire that everyone loves to hate because they are envious of our massive success. So c’mon USSF! Let’s roll up our sleeves, kick a few balls around, and then get to work!
Phew, enough about sports. The feedback I’ve received is that everyone who has contacted me about my blog really likes the tech tip the best, (all 3 of you!). So here is your tech tip of the day: every so often, we get that frustrating point where our computer starts running slower and seems to be clogged up and thinking about things a lot. Obviously, restarting your computer is the best way to address this, but if it is persistent, there is a free program out on the internet that I absolutely love and use myself, and it’s quite effective in clearing up the back channels that slow your machine down. It’s called CCleaner. There is a couple of different versions of it on their site, but I use the free version myself, no need to pay for the extra things that are unnecessary for this intended purpose. Download it, open it, and there is a blue button on the bottom that says ‘Run Cleaner’. I always run it until it finds nothing left. Then, if you are really thorough, on the left side menu bar, underneath the cleaner option is the registry option. I always run a registry cleaner as well (be sure to back up the registry when it gives you the option!). I have found that 95% of the time, CCleaner in conjunction with rebooting, has always sped up or returned to normalcy my computer’s operations. Please note, I am in no way affiliated with CCleaner, nor are they paying me to sponsor them, nor have I ever had any contact with their company at all. The point of this segment of my blog is to share tips, tidbits and observations that I have acquired in the course of my career, and I just happen to like CCleaner for this particular purpose of fixing a computer slowness issue. (We all hate slow computers!).
Well my darling french fries, I wish you the best of the rest of your Friday. I have yet to decide if I will do weekend posts on this blog, so tune in tomorrow, you might get another treat from me. If not, my mother has started her own blog and has requested that I shamelessly plug it. So if you are dying to read my next post, and need something to fill the void until then, please check out her blog. Also, please feel free to comment, critique, etc on this and any of my blog posts. Until next time…
…the ketchup is in the sauce