Youth Baseball Stats Part 3: Mustang Kid Pitch Begins

The stats that matter most for youth baseball change dramatically as kids get older. The biggest change is the transition from coach pitch to kid pitch, which in our league happens at the age of 9.

This post is part of a series that started with Youth Baseball Stats Part 1: It’s Hard on how to gather, interpret and apply baseball data to improve youth baseball play.

Part 2 discusses stats appropriate for coach pitch.

This post discusses the stats that matter when kid pitch begins. Read More »

Filed in category: Baseball

Youth Baseball Stats Part 2: Pinto Coach Pitch

The stats that matter most for youth baseball are different than the stats that matter for the major leagues. This is especially true at the ages of 7 and 8 for coach pitch or machine pitch baseball.

This post continues where Youth Baseball Stats Part 1: It’s Hard left off, as I explore how to gather, interpret and apply baseball data to improve youth baseball play. Read More »

Filed in category: Baseball

Youth Baseball Stats Part 1: It’s Hard

Do Moneyball principles apply in little league?

Youth baseball stats are hard to track and even harder to use effectively, but it can be done. Stats can help create strong lineups in critical games, of course. Stats can help reduce bias and blind spots from relying entirely on visual observation. Most importantly, stats can help guide youth baseball coaches to drill on issues most in need of improvement. Read More »

Filed in category: Baseball

How to Draft in Youth Baseball

There are four keys to successful drafting in youth baseball:

  • Establish clear goals
  • Gather the player data you need
  • Organize your data for rapid access
  • Work the system to your advantage

You can get what you want on draft night with minimal fuss if you concentrate on the first three. Read More »

Filed in category: Baseball

Get the Best Youth Baseball Glove, not the Most Expensive

As I enter into my sixth year as a youth baseball dad (and sometimes manager or coach), I have noticed a few patterns for players struggling to catch a baseball or field a grounder:

  • Fielding skills need many repetitions in order to fully develop.
  • Field bumpiness can make grounders hard to field.
  • Lapses of attention can be a factor, especially at ages 8 and below.

But some fielding difficulty has to do with not having the right glove. So here’s a short guide for how to get the right glove, for players aged 12 or younger. Read More »

Filed in category: Baseball

Acer c720 Chromebook Review: Netbook Dream Becomes Reality

This review is both less and more than a typical review. It is less because there’s little analysis of hardware components or comparison with other leading Chromebooks. It is more because I explore the key question:

What makes for a good netbook?

I’ve thought a lot about netbooks over the years and have experienced various expressions of the concept with an EEE PC, an iPad, and most recently an Acer c720 Chromebook. In this post, I draw on this experience to lay out criteria for a good netbook. I then explain why the EEE PC did not satisfy these criteria, while the Acer c720 satisfies these criteria quite well.

In short: with the Acer c720 Chromebook, we finally have a good netbook. Read More »

Filed in category: Browsers and the cloud, Product Information

Best Browsers 2015: Which Browser is Best for You?

My 2009, 2010, and 2011 browser comparison posts were so popular that by early 2012 they drove nearly all the traffic to this site. Several times in 2012 I began to write my fourth annual browser comparison. I did not finish. Why?

Partly, it’s because I had other projects that seemed like a better use of my time. Mostly, it’s because there wasn’t all that much to write about. Moves to a 6-week release cycle for Chrome and Firefox led to frequent incremental changes but not much change in the grand scheme of things.

Perhaps a French phrase sums it up best: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The 5 major browsers have become more alike than ever. They all display tabbed pages and run web apps quickly and competently. But there are still subtle reasons you may prefer one over another.

It’s time for another comparison. Read More »

Filed in category: Browsers and the cloud

Best Low Cost AA battery charger: BQ-CC17

I recommend only one inexpensive battery charger among hundreds of possibilities. It is the Panasonic Eneloop BQ-CC17 which can be had for $15 at Amazon in white or black, or as part of several possible bundles that include Eneloop batteries.

I bought a BQ-CC17 bundled with Eneloops two months ago. The rest of this post is my review of the included BQ-CC17 charger, as well as the criteria I use to eliminate other low cost chargers from consideration. Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

Four Little Breakthroughs: Bikes, AA Batteries, Daypacks, Transit Cards

Big media loves to celebrate big breakthroughs. The Internet. The electric car. The smartphone. These truly are big breakthroughs (though not without their side effects).

Big media also loves to celebrate future breakthroughs. Revolutionary new battery technology. Private spacecraft. Quantum computing. Nanotechnology. Some day, these amazing technologies will be commonplace. Worth writing about? Absolutely!

But what about all the little breakthroughs—innovations that are here and now, improving people’s everyday lives? Big media can only cover big topics. So that leaves covering little breakthroughs to blogs or forums or niche web sites, like this one.

I like little breakthroughs, so here are a few of my favorites, ones that I use every day:

Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

Best AA Batteries: 2015 update

Not much changes from month to month or even year to year in the world of AA batteries and chargers. My two articles on the subject continue to be relevant despite their age:

Best AA Batteries That You Never Heard Of

La Crosse Battery Chargers

However, there have been many minor developments in the market over the past few years. Newer generations of low self-discharge batteries have been released. My favorite inexpensive battery chargers were discontinued. I’ve also heard a few questions asked repeatedly, the most important being, “When is it better to use Alkaline batteries instead of NiMH?”

This site has become a significant source of information about low self-discharge batteries and chargers, so it’s time for an update.
Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

9-year old Baseball Arms Race: Pitcher vs. Hitter

I recently completed my first year as a youth baseball manager while my 9-year old son completed his fifth year of PONY league baseball. It was a fun year, much better than I expected.

The dynamic I found most interesting was the arms race between pitcher and hitter. It started at a very low level with most hitters striking out when pitchers actually managed to throw a few strikes. More often, hitters walked. But the hitters and pitchers kept leapfrogging over each other to get better . . .

Here’s how it went:

Read More »

Filed in category: Baseball

How to Prevent Youth Pitcher Arm Injuries

My son loves baseball and he loves to pitch. He pitched in his first game at the age of 8 last year and is pitching a lot more this year for his PONY league, after taking a few pitching lessons to fine tune his pitching motion.

Supporting his passion, I’ve attended his pitching lessons, watched instructional videos, and this year coached his regular season team. I taught a few other kids to pitch along the way.

It’s all good, but . . . Read More »

Filed in category: Baseball

Great iOS Apps for Taming Information Overload

I’ve spent a bit of effort with this site describing techniques and reviewing software and hardware that helps people reduce distraction, filter information, or otherwise deal with information overload . . . perhaps a bit too much effort at times. In this post I’m going for short and sweet:

Here are some iOS apps I use day in and day out that help me get information I want, and nothing more: Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

iPhone 5C Hand Feel and Other First Impressions

After using a Blackberry for nearly 4 years, I switched to using an iPhone 4s. As I wrote about here and here, it was a great leap up for portable computing, but it was a step down in terms of voice performance and hand feel.

On Friday I got an iPhone 5C (32GB white) to replace my 4s. So what do I think of the 5C after 3 full days of use? Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

A Great Web Site Design

I am always on the lookout for readable, content-focused WordPress themes. I’m happy to see that a higher percentage of sites of late have been moving in the direction of better readability.

However, I haven’t seen any WordPress designs that better meet my design goals as well as the theme I designed for FilterJoe four years ago.

That is, until today. Read More »

Filed in category: Reading and writing

Book Review: Liars and Outliers

The book Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive provides a framework to answer the question, “Why do people trust each other and cooperate?”

I read this book with an eye towards improving my understanding of how people filter information, which is relevant to the focus of this blog and my recent interest in improving the trustworthiness and quality of crowd-sourced product information. I also knew of and respected the author, security expert Bruce Schneier, who is a source for parts of my password management series.

Filtering information effectively requires trusting your information sources as well as the people who recommend these information sources. If it were fully understood why people trust each other and cooperate, that might guide the development of much more effective and automatic systems to make online information sharing more trustworthy and relevant.

So what did I think of Schneier’s book? Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

Keep iPhone Plugged In? Yes!

There are three major reasons to keep your iPhone plugged in. Here they are, followed by product recommendations if you need more charging options:

Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

La Crosse Battery Charger Review: BC-700, BC-900, BC-9009, and BC1000

Shortly after my son was born, we started burning through AA batteries. I didn’t like throwing out single use Alkaline batteries. I liked even less having to frequently recharge high discharge NiMH rechargeable batteries. So I was delighted to discover and write about low self-discharge NiMH AA batteries, which work better than both alternatives.


Buried at the end of that post was brief battery charger advice and several suggested models depending on your preferred price. However, I could have been clearer on two points:

  1. If you use a cheap, low quality charger, you may be motivated to abandon even the highest quality rechargeable batteries. You may end up with batteries that don’t fully charge, batteries that overcharge, or (in rare cases) batteries that overheat and melt.
  2. Out of several hundred battery charger models, there are at least a few dozen good ones. However, one brand of battery charger stands heads and shoulders above the rest: La Crosse.

In this post I describe why good chargers matter, why I like La Crosse chargers so much, and why the La Crosse BC-700 makes the most sense for the most people, even though the more expensive La Crosse BC1000 is arguably the best battery charger on the market. I also describe the minor differences between the 4 La Crosse models listed in the title. Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

Want the quietest PC? Just get the right chip . . .

I replaced both my home and work desktop PCs during the past year. My previous home system was a noisy, energy hogging, budget 2006 Dell model that was preloaded with useless software while my work system was a 2004 Dell that was also noisy. I’m done with Dell.

More importantly, I’m done with noisy PCs. This time I was determined to get the cleanest, quietest PC I could get for less than $700. Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

Blackberry vs iPhone 4s (After Two Months of Use)

People tend to optimize their next purchase based on the worst feature of their prior purchase. That is clearly why I bought a Blackberry in 2008 after experiencing a phone with terrible voice quality and numerous dropped calls.

Blackberry delivered. I experienced voice quality comparable to that of a land line during my 3.5 years of Blackberry (8320, 9700) ownership. The siren calls from iPhone and Android devices had no effect on me during this time. By nearly all accounts, iPhones were great pocket computers with lousy phones and Android devices required too much fiddling to suit my tastes.

Then the iPhone 4s came out, promising decent voice call quality, improved battery life, and a better notification system. In other words, a great pocket computer and a great communication device. I decided to switch, and I wrote about this decision here.

Now that I’ve been using an iPhone 4s for nearly 2 months, I’d like to revisit my decision. Is the iPhone 4s performing as expected? How does it compare to the Blackberry 9700 I used for 2 years? Do I have any regrets? You may find some of my answers surprising. Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

Blackberry vs. iPhone: No Longer a Contest

I like my Blackberry 9700. It’s a great communication device with outstanding voice quality and messaging. Unfortunately, I’ve managed to submerge it in water once and drop it on sidewalks a few times. Remarkably, it has few issues so far. But given the water damage, I’m thinking this Blackberry may soon quit working altogether. Time to upgrade.

I briefly considered the impressive Galaxy S II, but I prefer smaller (single hand) devices and more polished operating systems. An inexpensive grandfathered plan gives me an incentive to stick with Blackberry on T-mobile, but the iPhone’s 336 PPI Retina display beckons. Blackberry Bold 9900 or iPhone 4s. Which one?

iPhone 4s. No contest. Here’s why. Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

Best AA Batteries That You Never Heard Of

Just about everyone uses AA batteries. But few people use the best AA batteries, or have even heard of them.

What are these batteries? Why are they so great? Where can you buy them? What charger do you need to buy? Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information

Smartphones: The Most Pervasive Interruption Technology Ever

Over the past few years, excitement has been growing for the idea of an “everything device” that you carry in your pocket. Why carry many separate physical and electronic devices for your phone, address book, calendar, planner, GPS, books, magazines, etc.? An iPhone, Blackberry, or Android-based smartphone will do it all.

There’s just one problem.

Interruptions. Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information, Reading and writing

A Guide to Using Passwords Without Distraction

One of the biggest distractions of modern life is passwords. Many web services and forums require that you set up a separate user name and password. You have to develop and maintain a system to remember it all. And you have to enter these user names and passwords many times per day.

Even the lightest of users may have a dozen or so online accounts and heavy users have hundreds. How do you keep track of all these passwords? Read More »

Filed in category: Password management

The Best Monitor Setup to Reduce Eye Fatigue and Distraction

For years I’ve struggled to find a monitor setup that allows me to be the most productive, without causing eye fatigue or eye strain. Here’s my best answer so far:

I now use a vertical monitor with high pixel density. It helps reduce eye fatigue, clicks, and distraction.

Why?

How?

Read More »

Filed in category: Product Information, Reading and writing