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College Football News – Birth Announcements and Conference Championships

  There is the Pac-12 which is THE Conference of Champions and then there is what is happening in college football around the country! Here is the latest…. MIDWEST In the “pot calling the kettle black” category, news of Notre...

Success Profile: Former MIT Blackjack Player Deals Startup To Twitter

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Former MIT Blackjack Player Sells Startup For $50m

By Michael Gendel

 

The name Jeff Ma may not mean much too many of us, but he’s led quite the life. He’s an MIT graduate, former consultant for the Portland Trail Blazers and San Francisco 49ers, and is the inspiration behind the cult film 21, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth.

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Jeff Ma – MIT Graduate, Star Blackjack player and creator of recent Twitter acquisition: TenXer

And now he finds himself $50 million richer after selling his startup business to Twitter.

His company tenXer, which works under the idea that one developer can do the job of 10, provides management software in order to aid developers, helping them work together and release more things in a faster manner, which of course is perfect for Twitter in today’s market.

After working closely with Ma, Twitter bought out the brand at the beginning of April, and has shut down tenXer to work directly under the Twitter name.

Ma said of the acquisition, “We will be shutting down tenXer and continuing our work within Twitter.

“We are excited to apply what we’ve learned in the last three years to a world-class engineering organization.”

It’s just the latest service to be bought by the social media juggernaut, with them buying ZipDial and live-streaming app Periscope already this year.

But in Ma, they’ve invested in someone who already has a history with the brand.

The companies in the past have worked together, with tenXer having pulled in a number of data sources to help startups with making decisions, as well as Twitter using them as a case study discussing the benefits of advertising with Twitter.

Although Ma’s reputation dates back much earlier than that; he has become quite the expert in predictive analytics dating back to his time studying mechanical engineering at MIT.

There he met Bill Kapan who helped him learn the rules of blackjack and become an expert at the game. Ma, among others, eventually won a serious amount of money in casinos across the US, most notably in Las Vegas.

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Ma was the inspiration behind the cult film 21, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth.

While he took a step away from the game after graduating in 1994, he was to leave quite the imprint on the industry. Bringing Down the House, a book by Ben Mezrich which semi-fictionalized his time as part of the MIT Blackjack Team, was eventually turned into a movie by Robert Luketic, the man behind Legally Blonde and Win A Date With Tad Hamilton!. The movie 21 is somewhat better than those offerings and even sees Ma make a cameo appearance as a casino blackjack dealer.

Success is in his blood, and combined with his expertise of analysis (which made him so good at blackjack), Ma transitioned into the world of sports, creating a sports analytics firm called Protrade.

He said of the venture, “I had read the book Moneyball, and wanted to leverage what I had learned in blackjack. Originally, I wanted to start a sports consulting firm.”

Ma and his team began doing just that. Taking inspiration from the Oakland A’s attempts at putting together a competitive baseball team through analysis and evidence-based thinking, they did some consulting with the NBA’s Trail Blazers and the NFL’s 49ers, but that didn’t last and it was apps for sports fans which really took off. Next up for Ma was Citizen Sports.

Ma and his team became the first to begin fantasy football on Facebook, and at one point had the leading sports app on the iPhone. Yahoo then purchased the company for a figure rumored to between $40 and $50 million.

That recent $50 million is therefore only adding to his wealth.

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The company itself will still be working within the walls of their San Francisco office, and continuing to work on improving efficiency and effectiveness by tracking key pieces of software, to analyze daily work habits.

It’s unsure however if that will now be offered outside the walls of Twitter, although it isn’t thought the company had developed a large client base yet anyway, due to little interest developing on its new found owners.

What will be interesting is to see where entrepreneur Ma goes next. He’s continually coming up with new ideas – most of which have been a success – by channeling his skills on the blackjack table and into business.

He noted that in his first book, The House Advantage: Playing The Odds To Win Big In Business, was published in 2010.

He’ll no doubt put those skills into action once again, and maybe even see another book noting his experiences with Twitter, particularly as he has a large passion for writing.

“Writing a book is one of the most rewarding and inspiring things you can ever do. The process of writing is incredible… I’ve never been so intellectually curious in my life.”

As for Twitter, they’re developing quite the catalogue of acquisitions now with the likes of Vine, TweetDeck, and Namo Media all in their books.

However, rumors are also circulating that tenXer could in fact see Google become their new owners with the search engine rumored to be looking at purchasing Twitter.

They already have a good relationship, with Twitter handing off some of its ad sales to the California brand, and with Google apparently sitting on a $60 billion pile of cash, it could easily afford it. And with assets like tenXer and their other recent purchases to sit on, the take-over would look more and more appealing.

We’ll of course, have to wait and see though. More than $1.5 billion was added to the value of Twitter, just through sheer rumor that Google could launch a bid last week, although there’s plenty more we should keep our eye on, most notably tenXer.

It’ll be interesting to see how Twitter utilizes this over the coming months, and in particularly whether they advertise it for use outside of their own business. They unleashed Fabric, their mobile development platform to the world after buying it out so there’s no reason the same won’t happen again, especially as they’ve already championed it with a case study a while back.

Morning After Hangover: Oregon Still Giving Us Things To Celebrate

Raise your hand if you are tired of the Ohio State celebratory articles. I know I am. FishDuck.com writer Caleb Couturie provided us what I believe is the best overall assessment of the game with some good, some bad, and some...

Oregon in 5-Star DT Green’s Top 4

Who weighs 275 pounds, stand 6’5″ tall, and makes Oregon fans blush? That would be 5-Star defensive tackle and Oregon recruit from Gardena, California, Rasheem Green. This hulking defender from Junipero Serra High School has made waves around the country,...

Social Media Impacts Investigations

FacebookMEDFORD, Ore. — The Medford Police Department says no matter the incident or graphic nature, if it happens in public view, photos and videos will typically end up on Facebook or Twitter almost instantly.

Police say these posts can sometimes help the investigation because the documentation can let officers get a better idea of what happened.This also helps officers know who to contact to find potential witnesses.

However, police say in some situations, posting can give away information that could put officers or bystanders in danger.

“A situation where somebody has died, or lost their life, we don’t want that going out on social media because those are sensitive things, there’s loved ones involved, and we need to handle those very sensitively, and just posting them online is probably not the best thing to do,” said Lt. Mike Budreau.

Officers also say if you do happen to get a photo or video of a crime scene, they ask that you share the content with the department directly.

Source: KDRV

College Football Nation: Trash in South Carolina and America the Beautiful!!

 

Thank you to all of the brave service men and women who defend — and have defended — our country and freedom. Without your service we would not have all that we have today. Here’s a Shout Out to America!

But, thanks to those freedoms, it seems like a few players and coaches were taking their first amendment rights a little too far this past week.

Clemson took some time out of their busy schedule to remind South Carolina that they actually went to a BCS bowl game. I feel like Clemson should be able to beat their in-state rival before they start slinging grenades down to Columbia. As a Florida fan, I would much rather beat Georgia or Florida State and then lose the bowl game (unless it’s a national championship). Give Steve Spurrier a few days to retaliate, I’m sure he is learning how to create a Twitter account.

In other news, ‘free agent’ wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham committed to the Oklahoma Sooners (as a transfer) after visiting them this week following his dismissal from the Missouri Tigers. I guess he really missed playing in the Big 12. Or maybe he just likes the new Big 12 logo they created. The conference seems to be in the headlines this week, but I really only want news from them when they add two more teams to actually make it to 12.

Looks like Arkansas’ head coach Bret Bielema wanted to be in the headlines this week, also. He called the move of Green-Beckham something he would “never do.” In other words he doesn’t take players with character issues. Someone needs to get him the memo that he’s not in the B1G (Wisconsin) anymore, he’s in the SEC. And in order to play there, you need a little ‘nasty’ streak to win.

On a somber note, Auburn’s former tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen passed away this week as a result of a car accident. Always sad to hear things like this — our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. In his memory, here is one of his top plays while playing at Auburn.

For the rest of the summer, we’ll speculate about what happens in the Ed O’Bannon-led antitrust suit against the NCAA. It’s all over now and we’ll soon get the verdict – and later on an appeal. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated wrote a great piece about how the NCAA basically mishandled their whole defense and deserved to lose. He also wrote how Marcus Mariota would have been a great witness for the NCAA. Take some time to read it, and leave some thoughts if you could.

Another thought about paying college athletes — all summer during the off season you saw news of players being arrested for drugs, DUI, fraud, domestic violence, etc. Look, it is a very disturbing list to see what trouble some of these players get into, and now you want to give them some extra money on the side. IMHO, that surely won’t end well!

I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July weekend. I know that we’re less than 2 months away from the season, but once that first ball is kicked, all this off-season drama will be put on the back burner and then the playoff drama begins. So, we are all looking forward to Sat, Aug 30, against South Dakota in Eugene, Ore., at 7:30 p.m. Don’t be late!

Main photo courtesy of Amerigo Vespucci

National News:

1. Week 1 upset

2. Elite players to watch

3. The Final College Football Mailbag

4. Paterno family going after NCAA

5. Tough Texas Tech cheerleader

 

 

BCS standings released: Stanford falls out of top 5, Oregon moves back in

One week after stunning the Ducks, Stanford was unable to continue its win streak, losing to USC over the weekend after a late field goal. The loss was reflected in the most recent BCS standings, which had the Cardinal drop to No. 9.

Four other Pac-12 members, No. 5 Oregon, No. 14 UCLA, No. 17 Arizona State and No. 23 USC, joined Stanford in the top 25. Oregon moved up after beating Utah 44-21 on Saturday. The Ducks are the highest-ranked one-loss team in the current standings.

Alabama and Florida State held onto the top two spots, while Ohio State barely stayed ahead of Baylor for No. 3.

Some controversy came at the bottom portion of the standings where Duke didn’t crack the top 25 after defeating Miami over the weekend.

After the standings were announced, there were a lot of reactions on Twitter about the BCS standings and the current Oregon ranking:

The BCS top 10:

1- Alabama .9914

2- Florida State .9661

3- Ohio State .8869

4- Baylor .8856

5- Oregon .7917

6- Auburn .7860

7- Clemson .7681

8- Missouri .7231

9- Stanford .6238

10- Oklahoma State .5890

For a complete list of the BCS standings click here.

Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur

Social Media – We Are The Age Of Communication

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When I moved to Oregon nearly 14 years ago some friends I had met told me we were in the information age.  What?  I thought we have always been in the information age. Haven’t we?  Did they know something I didn’t?  It excited me but I still couldn’t comprehend what they were talking about.

Photo of my laptop at a restaurant taken with the camera on my phone while writing my column
Photo of my laptop at a restaurant taken with the camera on my phone while writing my column

Now I do.  I live on my computer.  I am smack dab in the center of the information age.  Social networking.  I write for an online paper, I have two online businesses selling products all over the world.  I am never far from my phone (I never dreamed in a million years I would be able to talk on a cordless phone, let alone see someone live while I’m doing it)

I was killing time and surfing around on Facebook one night when I began to see all of these messages on my page about our government shutting down.  When I inquired, all I got were more jokes about it.  I asked a friend of mine and she explained that the house parties couldn’t agree on how to do things or come to an agreement, so the solution to their problem was to shut down.  It still floors me that this can happen.

I decided to do a little investigating on the subject and was shocked at what I found.  Google and I have become fast friends over these last few years.  Our government has shut down before, many times.  The most recent was 17 years ago.  Take a look at what I found.

In 1976 while President Ford was in office our government shut down for 10 days.  During President Carters term in office our government shut down 5 times for a total of 58 days between 1977, 78 and 79. The Reagan administration tops that off at 8 times but for a shorter period of time; only 14 days. During President George H.W. Bush term, in 1990 for 3 days and during President Clinton’s term, 2 times for a total of 26 days in 1995 and 1996.  Including our most recent closure during President Obama’s term of 16 days, our government has been shut down for a grand total of 126 days.

That amazes me.  Seventeen years ago there wasn’t this big of an “uproar” when the government shut down for 21 days (Or was there?  Are we just more aware of it now?) I believe it is because we are the age of communication.  Thank you to a few social media avenues, we are in the know. If we don’t know something all we have to do is turn to our computers.

Government Shutdown
Government Shutdown 2013 Image | ABCNews.go.com

Telephone calls and writing evolved into emails and texting; social media started to become popular when Myspace was founded in 2003. Worlds opened up and people got in touch with each other almost instantly.  Myspace employed 1600 people in the beginning but that number has unfortunately declined dramatically over the years.  Myspace has 50 million users and can be translated in 14 different languages.  The current owners of Myspace are Tim Vanderhook and Justin Timberlake.

Facebook came along just a year later in 2004 and took the lead over Myspace in social media in 2009. Facebook employs over 5000 people and is translated in 70 different languages today.  It’s Alexa rating (shows how many visitors per month to a particular site) is -2.  The top site; Google.  The worlds largest utilized subsidiary of Facebook, (you might recognize this name) Instagram.   Instagram came along in October of 2010 and within two years Facebook had acquired the company for 1 billion dollars in cash and stock.  Awesome move on their part.  As of March 2013, Facebook has 1.15 billion users.

Twitter was founded in 2009.  I remember signing up for this but had no idea what it was and thought it was a waste of time, honestly.  Only because I have a lot to say and it is hard for me to say it in only 120 characters.  So I let it go for a few years.  I use Twitter today.  Alexa rank is -11.  Someone is doing something right.  Twitter released Vine in January of this year.  It is a free mobile app (application) allowing its users to record a short 6 second clip of video and post it to Twitter or Facebook.

One of the first video games was called Pong (you can play it if you click on the link; oh boy does that bring me back).  When I was a kid we used to sit in front of a television with a joy stick controller, our eyes focused on a dot as if we were watching a tennis match, a little cursor that could only move up and down, knocking the little dot across to the other side.  Now look what we can do, wireless!

“For some peace and quiet, how about a phone-less cord” 

Social Media we are the age of communication
Social Media Image | Kyforward.com

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined we would ever be able to talk on a phone while we carried it around with us wherever we went or that we would have the ability to take photographs with it and within moments those photographs could be seen around the world.

I look at elderly people and my curiosity runs away from me wondering all that they have seen in their lifetimes and were they like me?  Could they have ever guessed there would be a man on the moon?  That a car would run on electricity or that computers would be small enough to sit on our laps or that we would some day hold them in our hands?

Newspapers have been around forever; the earliest known is approximately dating back to 1605. By 2007 there were just over 6500 daily newspapers selling 395 million print copies each day. During the global recession in late 2008 and early 2010, that number dropped dramatically and is shifting to online publications.  We are in the information age.  I can only imagine what lies in store for our future. I am excited; are you?

See you online!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josh Huff criticizes NCAA on Twitter for cancelling of his party

Josh Huff was planning on throwing a birthday party this Saturday after Oregon’s game versus Washington but said on Twitter that he was forced to cancel it. The reason, Huff tweeted, was the NCAA.

According to Huff’s tweets, he was not allowed to throw the party because he was charging a cover fee for anyone trying to get in. This led to Huff posting a series of tweets criticizing the NCAA.

Huff still plans on throwing a party, though.

 

Twitter Reacts to NCAA Sanctions

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Twitter
Twitter

Take a deep breath in. Hold it. Now exhale and relax.

Oregon Ducks fans were thrilled, Wednesday morning, when the NCAA announced their sanctions regarding the Oregon Football program for the school’s use of illegal recruiting services.

Thrilled? About sanctions? Yes.

Fans, players and the world of sports media turned to Twitter to express their feelings on the NCAA’s not-so-harsh (for once) ruling.

So here are some of the general reactions that were on Twitter Wednesday.

(Fan Perspective)

[tweet_embed id=349897336740249601]

(Former Ducks player, Geoff Schwartz)

[tweet_embed id=349897650524524544]

(ESPN-Pac12 Blog)

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Thoughts of USC’s recent two-year postseason ban and severe loss of scholarships (30 over 3 years) loomed in the minds of college football fans until the air was cleared around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Oregon will only lose two scholarships over the next two years. Additionally, the number of paid-visits per year will be reduced from 56 to 37, as well as other minor limitations that should not hinder the program much (if at all) during this ‘probation period’.

Even potential recruits chirped up with their two cents on Twitter.

(Arrion Springs – high DB prospect)

[tweet_embed id=349903790134149121]

Chip Kelly, who faces an 18-month show-cause penalty, takes (and accepts) the vast majority of the blame for the entire “recruiting scandal”. Thankfully, the NCAA’s sanctions back this up. If Kelly was still the Head Coach, penalties could have been much more Trojan-like.

(Jeff Schultz – sports columnist)

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(John Infante)

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In laymen’s terms, the Ducks got off easy. It will be interesting to see if the NFL enforces any penalty to Kelly, but for now, I’d say it was a bullet dodged.

But don’t take it from me. Listen to current players, like Josh Huff, who are in the midst of all this and have confidence in Coach Mark Helfrich’s ability to lead the Ducks to better days – can you say ‘Natty’?

(Josh Huff)

[tweet_embed id=3499189047783628800]

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