Monthly Archives: August 2014

College Football 2014: week 1

My teams went 2-1, with the Ags winning the first big game of the season on the live football debut of the SEC Network, Stanford pitched a shutout and ran up the score on a cupcake, and the Badgers dropping an extremely frustrating game against LSU.  I don’t have anything to say about Stanford, since I didn’t see any of that game, so I’ll just cover the other two games.

#21 A&M d. #9 S. Carolina

Most of the teams in the SEC lost key players to the NFL or to other causes (e.g. kicked off for being criminals). The conventional wisdom on A&M seemed to be that losing Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans, and Jake Matthews would cause the offense to collapse, while the terrible D of 2013 would not be improved with the losses of Darian Claiborne and Isiah Golden, who were kicked off the team for criminal stupidity. Dropping expectations based on these losses was not unreasonable, but I got the feeling that the expectations were even lower than they should be based on prognosticators who expected A&M to take a beating in the SEC were putting too much weight on what Manziel meant to the success of the team.

At the same time, the reputation of Steve Spurrier is the only thing I could think of that caused pundits to anoint S. Carolina as not only a favorite in the SEC east (understandable given the lack of viable alternatives), but also the #9 team in the country. Like the Ags, they lost a starting QB, top receiver, and key defenders. It seemed to me that the rational evaluation would be that both teams would be so dependent on unknowns that the outcome of the game on Aug 28 would be a pick ’em.  Instead, the Gamecocks were 10.5 point favorites at home. Predictions varied from the Carolinians winning big by running the ball down our throats to winning a close one where neither D stops the other O.  I was telling friends that I thought A&M could win because our offense was a bad matchup for S. Carolina’s young defensive backs. But I was far from sure.

On Thursday night the Ags showed that they were not the most overrated team in the nation after all, winning big on S. Carolina’s home field. QB Kenny Hill broke Manziel’s single game record for passing, going 44/60 for 511 yards. 12 different Aggies caught those passes. A&M  converted on 12/17 third downs. They went 2/2 on fourth down, with the other three possessions being two punts and a FG. The D had some breakdowns that led to SC scores, but overall they did well: Carolina was only 2/9 on 3rd down and had 67 yards rushing. The Ags so thoroughly dominated that Gamecock fans were thrown into dark despair.

#13 LSU d #14 Wisconsin

My thoughts on the Badgers are NSFW. I may be able to write something … oh, screw it.


The Badgers started strong, using the ground game to take a 17-7 lead into the half. The Badgers stretched the lead on their first possession of the second half to make it 24-7 with 12:24 to go in the third. From that point on, Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon, who was averaging 8.8 yards per touch, got 3 more carries.

tweets via Bucky’s Fifth Quarter.

Worse, Gordon’s missing carries were not just given to backup RB Corey Clement. OC Andy Ludwig had Badger QB Tanner McEvoy slinging the ball downfield, despite an abundance of evidence that:

  • Wisconsin has no real threats at WR
  • McEvoy and the WRs were not making the same reads on what routes to run
  • LSU’s DBs were covering well all night
  • McEvoy is not a good passing QB.

McEvoy is a transfer from S. Carolina by way of an Arizona JC. At S. Carolina he couldn’t beat out Connor Shaw or Dylan Thompson (the losing QB in the A&M-USC game above, who is thought of as inconsistent). McEvoy played safety at Wisconsin last year, but beat out incumbent Joel Stave, who may be limited by the lingering effects of an injury from last season. McEvoy ended up going 8/24 for 50 yards and 2 INTs. Both picks came in the fourth quarter, helping LSU slingshot past the Badgers.

One of the completions down the right sideline in the first half may have convinced the Wisconsin coaches that they had a passing game. But I remember thinking to myself: “LSU picks that off more often than not”. McEvoy’s INT numbers were not worse mainly because so many of his incompletions were deep balls that were nowhere close to a receiver or defender.

The conventional wisdom used by Ludwig and Andersen was probably something along the lines of needing to pass to keep LSU from stacking the box. But that only works if there is a credible threat in the passing game, and from what I saw, there isn’t one at Wisconsin. The Badgers are likely to delude themselves into thinking they can improve their passing attack when they move on to the weaker opponents on their schedule, but IMO they would be better off embracing their 1-dimensional nature. Whenever I saw the Badgers line up with no fullback or worse, I wanted to scream at the TV.

Mail in Mavericks is screwed up


What’s going on here?

Around the same time that I got this new laptop, TAMU switched from hosting its own mail to a Google Apps-based system. As part of the changeover, you can import your mailboxes from the old system to the new system. After hooking up the new account in as an IMAP account, there are messages where what you select is not what you get: The sender and subject are for a different message somewhere else in the mailbox. In fact, this is the case for all of the imported messages; new arrivals seem to match up. There are also many unrelated messages grouped as if they belong in the same thread.

Now, blaming this on Mavericks might seem unfair, as there are multiple partners involved here: A&M’s import system, Google, and Apple. But this mismatch doesn’t happen on the old laptop running Lion, or on my iPad or iPhone.

Various posts online suggest rebuilding the mailbox. This didn’t work for me. In the web gmail, I deleted the label for the import, unstarred everything and marked everything a not important. I did another rebuild… not joy. Rebuilt the Spotlight index. I think that may have fixed it.

New laptop

I’ve been working on a 2011 MacBook Air since Spring of 2012. A&M is really nice in having a program to subsidize computer purchases for faculty, but unfortunately I had do spend my faculty workstation funds a month or so before Apple updated the Airs, which meant that I got the version where 250G was the maximum SSD and the ports were USB2 instead of USB3. I’ve been meaning to replace it since I started getting close to filling up the disk. Plus I’ve actually worn the letters off several of the keycaps (as you can see in the picture)!


The SSD was so full that I moved my iTunes and iPhoto libraries to an external Volume using a Nifty Minidrive microSD card holder. But Time Machine keeps marking that Volume as one to not back up, even though I could have sworn that I changed that setting many times.

So, I finally decided to pull the trigger and order a new MacBook Air (spending my own money, as I’m not eligible for another workstation yet, and I don’t have the matching grant money right now anyway). It arrived today, so now I’m setting it up. This post is for notes on what worked and what didn’t

Migration assistant

The old Air was still running Lion while the new one came with Mavericks. I was running Lion because I didn’t want to deal with reinstalling MacPorts for the web development I do on my laptop, and I also figured that I was going to get a new machine anyway.  This meant that even though I attached the two laptops to each other using a thunderbolt cable, they didn’t handshake, so the transfer started using WiFi. Time estimate: more than 8 hours!  Attaching ethernet cables (I have one USB to ethernet and one thunderbolt to ethernet adaptor) during the transfer didn’t work, so I aborted the transfer and restarted it after I had created a temporary user on the new Mac. Using Ethernet the time was closer to 4 hours.

Interestingly, after the transfer, the old MacBook renamed itself because both machines had the same network names. The aborted transfer also did something very weird to the Applications folder. There is now a nameless folder with copies of all the Applications and a symlink to Applications. Deleted that.

Migration assistant seems to have moved my ssh keys.

iWork apps

Launching the App Store, I was prompted to accept the iWork apps. Cool. Got them.


Xcode does not automatically update, so I did that in the App store. Based on this post and the MacPorts documentation, it seems that I also needed to reinstall the command line tools, using

sudo xcode-select --install

but then I discovered that updating Xcode via the App Store isn’t good enough; it just updated to a higher version of 4.x instead of going to 5.x. I had to trash the old one and reinstall from the App store. The command line tools have to be downloaded from the Apple Developer Site. I really don’t understand why Apple took these outside of the XCode installation.


MacPorts recommends reinstalling, so I downloaded the package installer and installed it.  The migration guide suggests uninstalling everything. After confirming that

sudo port selfupdate
sudo port upgrade outdated

failed, I went ahead and did

port -qv installed > myports.txt  
sudo port -f uninstall installed  
sudo port clean all

and then reinstalled the things I think I need.  This was not straightforward as it should be. I think it turned out that I needed to reset xcode-select to use the Command Line tools that are separate from XCode.

xcode-select -r

This allows me to install the desired modules in MacPorts, even though every one of them gives a warning about how it will probably fail because XCode is not installed (even though it is).

On launching, it updated the database… badly for the IMAP account used by TAMU’s recent migration to Gmail. I’m seeing problems where messages have to be clicked multiple times in order to go to the trash, and worse, there are cases where the sender and subject of the email selected in the mail browser doesn’t match the one in the preview window. This has been seen by others.  Rebuilding didn’t help, but deleting the account and recreating it seems to have worked.

Time Machine

There isn’t anything in the Time Machine Preference Panel to set the backup to inherit the history from the old machine, but the first time I started a backup, it prompted me to ask if I wanted to do that.  I’m wondering how long the first backup will take… I started on Saturday afternoon and it’s been preparing backup for at least a couple of hours.

UPDATE: despite estimating that it would take much longer, the backup completed sometime earlier than 9:20 PM on Saturday. Sweet!

Microsoft Office

As expected, Word complained about needing a product key. Once I found it in my Amazon account, things seem to work.


I use MacPorts php with the Apple Apache2 to do web development (mostly in Mediawiki and WordPress). It seems that the Migration Assistant didn’t move files owned by the www user.  Rather than dig the desired files out of the old machine (by this time the new laptop and I were at work and the old laptop is at home), I downloaded new versions and installed fresh.

Char Siu/Cha Shao Sous Vide

Note: this post was started over a week ago, but I didn’t get around to finishing it because I was having trouble uploading the final image from the WordPress App on my iPhone…

The experiments with ribs made me think about trying one of my other favorite forms of BBQ pork: Char Siu, aka Cha Shao. We called it the latter at home growing up, as my parents spoke Mandarin Chinese, even though the pork we got from San Francisco’s Chinatown was probably Cantonese in origin.

I bought a 5.25 lb frozen pork shoulder at Rosenthal. After thawing it enough to get my knife through it, I cut it into strips about 1.5 inches wide/thick. These went into a marinade of semi-random stuff based on what was on hand, what is in various online recipes, and what I used for ribs. In no particular order and without proper measuring:


  • Brown sugar
  • Miso paste
  • Garlic powder
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sherry
  • Water
  • Star anise, Cinnamon, fennel, ground cloves, Szechuan peppercorns (we are out of 5-spice powder).

This was used to marinate the strips in the fridge starting at about 2PM Sunday.

I took the meat out of the fridge and bagged it for cooking at 136F starting at about 11:30AM on Monday, after a conference call. This is a lot of meat! I had to use two bags and remove some water to keep the level below the max line on the Nomiku.
I boiled the remaining marinade and stashed in in case I can think of another use before it goes off. Mixed some of the marinade with honey and basted the meat with the mix while broiling it to brown the surfaces. Froze some of the meat and used slices for stir fry. The marinade and the honey gave it a pretty nice flavor, but it lacked the red color of Chinatown Char Siu.