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eteamz - the blog

September 2006

 

"A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it."

-Dogen (Japanese Buddhist monk and philosopher, 1200-1253)

 

An interesting thought.  That which is beautiful and loved will eventually decay and perish with time; that which is ugly and unwanted inevitably grows and develops.

 

 

 

Is this the natural order of life and death?  Is this cycle a necessity?  Or does the flower rise again, like a phoenix, from the ashes of the weed when properly cultivated and cared for?

 

 

 

Now, you may be thinking, "Oh no, Eric isn't making any sense...he must be off his medication again."  Not so!  As a matter of fact, I'm not even on any medication!  These ramblings are simply pure Eric-Genius; pay heed as it all comes together....Behold!  A product announcement haiku!

 

 

 

[http://active.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/haiku_post_92706_2.jpg]

 

 

 

Over time, weeds (in the form of patchwork content that has been pieced into the original eteamz.com web site) have constricted and slowly killed the flower that was once eteamz.com.  Do not weep, however, as the eteamz.com flower is being re-grown by us, your humble team of corporate cultivators.  The current eteamz.com web site is hard to navigate, confusing, overwhelming, and antiquated.  Based on your feedback, we have decided to re-work the web site in order to create a much more positive user experience; making everything much easier to access and utilize.

 

 

 

This project is still in the planning phase, so please feel free to let us know what you would like to see happen with the eteamz.com web site; any feedback, suggestions, and criticism will help us create the best site we can.  Either "comment" on this post with your thoughts, or feel free to email me at eric.damassa@active.com.

 

 

 

"With love and patience, nothing is impossible."

-Daisaku Ikeda (Japanese peace activist and Buddhist Leader)

 

 

 

 

With the amount of love and zen-like patience which pervades the eteamz community and staff, we are certain that nothing is impossible and that eteamz.com will reach a new pinnacle in its history with the re-working of the site.

 

 

 

Peace and Love,

 

 

 

Eric

 

 

1,171 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: development, eric's-posts

I'm now a Twins Fan

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Sep 26, 2006

 

It never ceases to amaze me what you'll find within eteamz. One day its a rugby team in New Zealand and the next it's a kickball team in DC.

 

 

 

Well last week while clicking around eteamz and I found the site of Pat Neshek who is a relief pitcher with the Minnesota Twins. I ended up spending a half hour reading his posts and learning about his rise to the major leagues. It appears that Pat has had his eteamz site for some time and it provides a unique perspective on his career and almost as importantly, his interest in baseball card collecting.

 

 

 

I'm not from Minnesota but ever since I found his site I will admit to rooting for the Twins. They clinched a playoff spot last night and I'm sure Pat got drenched with champagne after the game.

 

 

 

If you have an interest in baseball or card collecting I would definitely check out the site. Also be sure and sign his guestbook!

 

 

 

Pat Neshek's eteamz Page

 

 

 

Pat Neshek's Athlete Bio

 

 

 

1,202 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: musings, gregg's-posts

My Story

Posted by David Schwartz Sep 23, 2006

 

Now that we're getting this blog thing going, I thought I'd put a post together about my experience with eteamz. We all have a story, and while many of them are probably pretty similar, I bet there are as many or more that are unique.

 

 

 

My story begins on a warm, late summer afternoon in Southern California. The sky was a clear blue, the ocean breeze kept the fresh air flowing, and the grass was green for my first practice as a fall ball coach. I played baseball growing up - I was on some good teams and some lousy teams. I got a chance at most positions but liked pitching and third base the most. It just so happened that a friend of mine has a son of baseball age and he needed a helping hand, so I was only too glad to hop on board.

 

 

 

Knowing that much of my life experience has been spent on Web development and not coaching baseball, I thought I would use my skills to help the team however I could while learning the ropes. I contacted my Internet Service Provider and found I could get a small amount of disk space on their web servers for a site of my own.

 

 

 

I had that sudden panic that comes from staring at a blank screen as I tried to decide where to start, but then I just buckled down and tried to get creative. I tried to think of what the layout should be, what links I might need, how I could incorporate the team colors, where to put photos - all the good stuff. After a couple of days, I had put together a nice little site. Of course, then there was a schedule change, so I had to go get the files from the FTP server, make the changes and reupload to the server. It was at this point that I realized this wasn't the most practical solution if I wanted to make updates to this site, which was kind of the point. But, it was what I had.

 

 

 

So I decided I'd take a break from that and go see what I could learn about coaching. I did a few Web searches and started to notice quite a few links to eteamz. I first came upon the coaching Tips and Drills for baseball. There were some really good ideas in there that I made note to try at the next practice. Then I found the message boards and saw coaches chatting about, well, coaching. Soon enough, I found that I could get a free Web site for my team and I thought I'd check it out.

 

 

 

Before I knew it, I had built a site on eteamz that was about 100x better than what I had just spent a weekend on. It already had the nice layout and pages for everything I needed and updating it did not involve FTP servers, which is always a win. Needless to say, my orignial site was quickly forgotten and eteamz was the new home of my team.

 

 

 

I was fortunate enough to find a job here and I couldn't have been more excited to work on a product that I already knew. Of course, once I got here and started digging in, I learned so much more that has made me even more passionate about eteamz. Now, several seasons later, I'm still here, I'm still coaching, and I still have my team's site on eteamz. My current Fall team is the White Sox. I don't generally do anything too fancy with my site, but I like to write up game summaries after each game. The parents tell me that they, and the kids, love to read their names in bold letters highlighting the good things they did that week.

 

 

 

So that's my story. I'm sure many of our members have fascinating stories, and I'd love to hear them, if anyone wants to share.

 

 

1,088 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: david's-posts, musings

Inside the black box(es)

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Sep 22, 2006

 

You may not realize it, but whenever you search for something on Google, pay your bills online or update the news on your eteamz site, all you're doing is connecting to another computer. Yep, a computer just like yours, although usually a bit more powerful. They might be running Windows (like us), or Linux, or some other operating system, but they're still just computers.

 

 

 

A computer that just sits there giving out webpages (like eteamz, Google, Yahoo, etc.) is usually called a server (it "serves" web pages, get it?). Most servers on the internet sit in buildings called data centers. A data center has big juicy connections to the internet that can hold a lot of data, as well as backup power supplies in case something goes wrong. Some even have their own power generators nearby so they can run for weeks if their local power plant were to go dark! This is why companies put their computers in data centers -- they provide a lot of redundancy and protection in case something goes wrong, and it's typically too expensive to get that kind of protection in your own building.

 

 

http://community.active.com/blogs/eteamz/2006/09/22/inside-the-black-boxes/Typical Data Center</span>

</div>

 

 

Those boxes you see on the right are known as racks or cages and they typically hold a few dozen servers each. Last night eteamz moved a few feet from one cage to another. Which doesn't seem all that impressive until you learn that the bandwidth (the amount of data that can be moved around) in the new cage is 10 times greater than the bandwidth in the old cage! For the techies out there: the new cage has a 1000 megabit backbone (1Gb), the old had 100 megabits. This is a huge step for us since it will allow us to expand exponentially going forward.

 

 

 

I'd like to thank our IT department who worked until almost midnight last night to make sure the job got done right and that it wouldn't impact our users. This is a big step for eteamz and will give us plenty of elbow room for the forseeable future to expand our services and make sure the site stays quick and responsive.

 

 

1,112 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: technology, rob's-posts

Parents play a role...

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Sep 21, 2006

 

Eric's post got me thinking of when I was a youngster...tearing through my Grimm's Book of Fairytales; Which I admit I still have and flip through every time I move and have to unpack my bookshelf. J  The book was my mothers so as you can imagine it's seen better days.  It���s now quite tattered and aged; well loved I like to say.  Those seemed to be much simpler times; summers were great since the sun didn���t go down until 8 pm which meant we could play football in the street with the neighbors a few hours longer.  Now summers come and go and I seemed to have missed them?!  But I digress���<o:p> </o:p>

 

 

For years we've supported the educational value of athletics - the development of teamwork, sportsmanship, cooperation, competition, work ethic, and more.  Of course we can learn these values doing/participating in other things however for the sake of this article and for the fact that I work for eteamz I will agree.  However, there have been several instances over the last few years that have made me think long and hard about this theory and the role of parents here.   I���m sure you all recall the most recent story of the father who rushed a football field to tackle a player that hit his child late - after the ball hit the ground.  I was horrified when I saw the footage���But he was far from the worst sports parent ever. Oh no the honor is shared by several infamous lunatics:

 

 

  • Christophe 
    Fauviau, a Frenchman convicted of poisoning his children's tennis rivals with an 
    antianxiety drug. One drugged opponent fell asleep at the wheel of his car and 
    died; and

 

  • Thomas 
    Junta, who killed a fellow hockey dad after a fight during their sons' 
    practice.

 

Overbearing adults aren't a new thing, especially where fame and fortune are at stake.  Still, it's hard in a world where athletes become not only super-famous, but extraordinarily wealthy. We dream of that for our own kids, especially if they show some talent. This dream can be dangerous. Having outsized expectations and applying too much pressure are two big mistakes parents can make. It���s natural for kids to want to grow up and be super stars.  Doesn���t every kid?  But the reality is that most won't grow up to be professional athletes. Most won't even earn college sports scholarships.  So finding the balance between healthy support vs. an unhealthy obsession is crucial.  Otherwise we aim to lose those core values we as parents work so hard to instill in our children.  We as parents end up being the cause of our misbehaving or unbalanced child.   

 

 

So what should parents do?  I say find balance between teaching children to embrace the journey and maintaining a competitive spirit.  Instead of focusing on the trophies, ribbons, and scholarships focus more on the fun and the skill-development aspects of the sport and let go of the pressure to win.  Make sure your kids are having fun; Don't project your dreams onto your child; Be realistic, remembering the goals are fun and fitness first; and don't push your kids too early, and don't push them to do sports that interest you.  Seems easy enough.  Let kids be kids with healthy guidance and support.

 

 

1,312 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: musings, lynn's-posts

 

Uploading large files such as images and sounds not only take up a lot of space on your site they also take a long time for your site visitors to download.  The larger the file, the longer it will take for site visitors to download.  Large files would be anything over 500K.  Personally, I would upload files no larger than 200K.

 

 

 

There are many products out there that will compress files for you.  Check out www.download.com and enter the appropriate search term in the search field.  An example would be compress image or compress wav file.

 

 

1,141 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: support, ericha's-posts

Knowledge is Power

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Sep 20, 2006

 

I am reminded of an anecdote written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837 entitled, &quot;The Emperor's New Clothes.&quot; 

 

For those who are not familiar with this tale, Anderson describes an Emperor who is so obsessed with his own material gratification (i.e., clothing) that he completely neglects his responsibilities as a leader; such as his soldiers, citizens, etc.  Rather, the Emperor spends all of his time buying new clothes and parading around his city to show them off. 

 

Eventually, two swindlers drift into town and proclaim to the Emperor that they can weave the most amazing fabric ever created...a cloth that is not only exceptionally beautiful, but is also invisible to any man who is unfit for his office.  The swindlers pretend to work tirelessly day and night to weave this magnificent fabric, and finally present to the Emperor his new suit. 

 

The Emperor immediately is draped in his new imaginary clothing and proceeds to once again tour the city to show off his new garments.  As the Emperor roams the city not one citizen has the courage to recognize the Emperor's nudity until a child watching the procession comments, &quot;But he has nothing on at all.&quot;  The Emperor finally realizes that he has been swindled and proceeds back to his palace with as much dignity as he can muster.

 

 

 

[http://active.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/emperorsnewclothes.jpg]

 

 

 

Now, you might be wondering, &quot;Eric, what does that have to do with anything?&quot;  My answer to that: besides being a delightfully funny story, &quot;The Emperor's New Clothes&quot; offers valuable insight into the world of marketing.  Specifically, the story shows us the value of honest public/customer opinion and feedback.  One can not possibly expect to develop long-lasting customer relationships without having an open and honest dialogue with one's constituents.

 

 

 

I have had the chance to chat with many of you lately regarding eteamz: who you are, how you found us, what you like about our service, and what you dislike about our service.  I would like to personally thank all of you who have participated for the wonderful mix of positive reinforcement and constructive criticism that has been offered thus far.

 

 

 

The more feedback you give us here at eteamz, the less naked we feel; and being a particularly modest individual, I would appreciate as much feedback as you can give!  Feel free to email me at eric.damassa@active.com with your thoughts and feedback and we can work together to make eteamz the best it can be!

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

Eric

 

 

1,194 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: eric's-posts, musings

 

Hey eteamz fans -

 

 

 

The eteamz Albumz features powered by Shutterfly I told you about last month are now live.  Parents, players, grandparents, etc. can share their images with you.  You and your visitors can order prints, share new albums via email, etc.  I'm really excited because I've been using Shutterfly for years.  It's very simple to use and they have great prices.  You can check out the details at: http://www.eteamzalbumz.com

 

 

 

Our FAQ page can be found at: http://eteamzalbumz.com/FAQ.htm

 

 

 

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions from this week.

 

 

 

Where are the images stored?

 

When you or your site visitors add images using the Shutterfly feature, those images are stored on Shutterfly's web site. They do not effect your site's storage space.

 

 

 

How can I remove an album that a site visitor added?

 

Login to your Admin</span> Albums folder. Click &quot;Add/Edit Albums&quot; in the upper right side of the page. Click the delete icon next to the appropriate Album. Note: It will not delete the images from Shutterfly.

 

 

 

 

 

1,245 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: technology, ericha's-posts

A Shout Out

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Sep 14, 2006

 

Once every so often, throughout the fleeting passage of history, certain individuals and teams accomplish awe-inspiring feats which demand recognition; the Romans and their system of aqueducts, Sir Isaac Newton and his theory of universal gravitation, Jack Kilby's integrated circuit.  Today I speak, of course, about our own resident eteamz football titans: the Byrnes Rebels and the John Curtis Patriots.

 

 

 

USA Today regularly publishes a rankings list compiled by Christopher Lawlor based on a school's strength of schedule, the level of competition in the state, and the quality of the athletes.  This round, the Byrnes Rebels in Duncan, South Carolina secured the #2 spot, while the John Curtis Patriots in River Ridge, Louisiana clawed their way to #13.  With a national population of approximately 17 million high school age kids (according to 2004 Census data), this is truly an impressive accomplishment.

 

 

 

Byrnes Rebels

 

 

 

John Curtis Patriots

 

 

 

USA Today Top 25 Article

 

 

 

All of us over here at eteamz are incredibly proud of your accomplishments.  Keep on keepin' on and good luck with the rest of the season!  If your team is also a top contender, let me know!  Please email me with your team's URL at eric.damassa@active.com.

 

 

 

-Eric

&quot;Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.&quot; -George F. WIll

 

 

1,173 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: eric's-posts, musings

 

You already got a big welcome from David so I'll just cut to the chase! My name's Rob Cameron and I'm the Lead Developer for eteamz. Since coming aboard in June of this year I've been amazed by the dedication and support of those that work on eteamz. I'm proud to join them and will do my best to make the site a more enjoyable experience for you and your teams!

 

 

 

What have I been working on? My first major project for eteamz was snazzing up the Snapshotz area, adding a submission form, and creating a new backend tool for our customer service folks to sort through all of your photos and choose a winner each month. You'll never get to use this tool yourselves, but I included a screenshot of it below.  Next was the new Shutterfly features that I'm sure you're all enjoying. Currently I'm working on re-coding the home page, simplifying the registration process, and thinking about tweaks to the administration screens to help streamline the process of configuring and managing your site.

 

 

 

[submission form|http://active.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/snapshotz_screen.jpg] [Snapshotz Admin]

 

 

 

A little bit about my background ... I've been designing web pages since 1996 and working with dynamic, database-driven websites since 2000. My main interests are user interface design and usability -- making sure you guys can use the site and that it has enough features so that you can get your job done, but not so many that it's overwhelming. My personal site is ridingtheclutch.com -- it's got some of my photographs and snippets about stuff I'm working on. I know, it hasn't been updated in quite a while, I need to get back to it! For more of my photography, check out my Flickr account. I've also got several side projects going on at any given time -- Cube6Media, ColdFusion on Wheels, HadronForge, SuddenViolence.com...the list goes on.

 

 

 

All right, I should get back to work. I'll do my best to give you a sneak peek at what's going on behind the scenes from a technical standpoint, without using phrases like &quot;database replication&quot; or &quot;query optimization.&quot; I feel like we're about to enter eteamz' Golden Age and we want you along for the ride!

 

 

1,219 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: development, rob's-posts

 

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">First of all, let me welcome you to the new eteamz blog! Let���s get right to the most important question ��� what is this? This blog is going to be your window into the inner workings of eteamz and the people that make it go. Not only will you learn a little bit about who we are, but you���ll hear and see some of the things we���re all working on.</span>

 

 

 

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I'm David Schwartz, Product Manager for eteamz. I���m responsible for keeping track of all the things that are going on with eteamz and figuring out what comes next. I���ll be using this blog to give you a peek at what���s coming down the line, maybe ask for feedback and opinions, and just generally share some thoughts about how things are going.</span>

 

 

 

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">We'll continue to use the eteamz support boards to post critical information, but we want this to become your home for information about what's going on with eteamz. Support questions will continue to be addressed on those boards, through the message center and via email. </span>

 

 

 

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Alright then, let the games begin...</span>

 

 

1,230 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: david's-posts