Tuesday, September 19, 2023

What Do You See?

Have you ever done one of those ink blot tests? 

You know the ones. You look at a picture and then say the first thing you see. It's supposed to give insight into your personality.

So let's play a little game. What do you see here:

Colorful. Purple. Bright color. Contrast in the middle. Hmmm. What can it be? 

Guesses? TigerBlog did his own sampling, sending it out to a few people to see what they thought it was. This was very interesting. Maybe he'll write his senior thesis on what he learned.

The first feedback he got suggested that it was a piece of art in a glass frame or a stained window. Then he got two "no clues." One commentator said that the colors were so vivid. TB also got one that suggested it was a T-Mobile ad.

The best response he got was this: "Oh that’s easy. That’s your reflection with some pink/purple lines and a black line in front of you." Of the 11 people he asked, he got one correct answer.

The reality is that it was TigerBlog's computer screen about five minutes before the Princeton-UConn field hockey game Sunday afternoon. That was, as they say, less than ideal.

Almost every sport now uses a new NCAA-developed stat-keeping system called Genius, but there are a few exceptions that don't yet have the new program. Field hockey is one of them. So are baseball, softball and lacrosse.

The old stat program is called StatCrew, which used to have an update each year but does not anymore. It also uses an older operating system, meaning it's not usable on TB's regular laptop.

As such, he has two computers to lug to games, one to do stats and the other to do graphics, clip highlights and write stories. About five minutes before the game Sunday, his computer turned to what you see above.

TB took the picture and sent it to Bryan Fitzwater, the world's greatest IT guy, who responded quickly on a Sunday just before noon with the advice to restart the computer and then, when told TB had already done that, gave this highly technical analysis of the situation: "that stinks."

To his credit, Fitz was ready to provide further assistance at the drop of a hat, until TB noticed something strange. If he tilted the screen back towards the keyboard, the screen went back to normal. TB tried this a few times, and lo and behold, it was problem solved, sort of.

Every now and then during the game, TB opened the screen all the way, and purple it went. If he pushed it to about 45 degrees, it started flashing purple. As soon as he put it back down to 35? Clear as a bell. 

Fitz informed him that some cable inside the laptop had become damaged, which was causing the problem. Since Fitz sits about five yards from where TB sits in Jadwin Gym, he said he'd get to it first thing yesterday, and he did. 

As for the game, there was still the issue of having to enter the stats while the screen was about a 35-degree or so angle to the keyboard. UConn's field hockey contact, Kelsey Conrad, suggested putting a roll of paper towels under the keyboard, and that helped a lot. 

Still, it wasn't the easiest way to do stats. 

When the laptop first started to act up, TB's initial response was "you couldn't have done this an hour ago?" 

His second response was to consider throwing the laptop over back of the press box, but that wouldn't have solved anything. Besides, panicking or lashing out accomplish nothing. 

TB's mind was already racing to possible solutions, given that there was no way to get another laptop there on time. He'd have to write down the stats by hand, take down the Live Stats link and figure out a way to enter the stats on a different computer later on. It wouldn't have been perfect, but hey, the game would still be the game. 

It reminded him of the words of his longtime friend and former colleague John Cornell, who always used to say that no matter what you did or didn't do as an athletic communications person, the game would still be played,  you could sort it all out after the fact and you may as well be prepared.

With five minutes to go before the game started, that was actually fairly comforting. 

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