The interviewer added, “Uh, I’m asking for a friend.”

Apparently, a NFL prospect revealed that a team asked him whether he would use a knife or a gun to kill someone as part of his interview. Personally, I want more weird questions like this one. It reminds me of the Browns asking a player what he’d do with a brick. There are so many possibilities; are these questions a weird experiment? Are they genuine? Are team officials trying to decide whether chain mail or Kevlar should be worn in a potential team riot? Perhaps if you’re a knife guy, you are gritty, but people with guns lack the heart to play in the NFL. Maybe we don’t want Plaxico Burress 2.0.

I do not discount the possibility that the interviewer either loves the Untouchables or wants a new innovation to a classic Australian past time .

Gaming update

I haven’t talked about games in what seems like forever, so I’ll do a quick hits style thing of what I’ve been playing lately.

— XCOM 2 remains entertaining and enjoyable. Some needed improvements over the previous one, good tone, good overall plot. I like that it assumes failure in the previous game, which leads to a more entertaining game. I mean “We beat the aliens and they all went home forever” doesn’t really leave much to the imagination, does it?

— I picked up the Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles trilogy for like $20 a while ago. It’s a very different take on the genre, but has some good moments. China, the first game, has boring characters and a story that is neither new nor interesting, but the gameplay is solid. India, the second one, has a much more enjoyable main character and is much more colorful, although I’m not far into it.

— I really needed a space sim to tide me over until No Man’s Sky, and Rebel Galaxy fills the bill nicely. It’s made by the people who did Torchlight. It’s very accessible, easy to control, and the galaxy feels big but not too big. There are lots of nice touches, but it does lack a certain amount of depth. Most missions are “blow this up” or “take this stuff over to this planet, where people will try to blow you up.” I don’t quite get the sense of freedom that I got from Freelancer, but it’s close. A nice pickup for PC/PS4.

— OOTP 17 is a nice upgrade over OOTP 16. Trading is much more intuitive, for example, and AI is generally more reasonable. 3D mode has moving players, but it crashed on me the one time I tried it, so I haven’t tried it much since. They have every minor league player in the history of baseball now, even the ones who didn’t make the majors, which allows for some impressive historical players. Finally, there are historical exhibition games, where you can have the 1927 Yankees take on the 1966 Dodgers, for example. I’m frankly worried they’re running out of things to improve, and it isn’t like 16 was chopped liver.

— Competing with OOTP 17 and XCOM 2 for my PC gaming time remains Prison Architect, which continues to improve. I don’t remember the last time I had this much fun with a simulator (Game Dev Tycoon was fun for a bit, but the lack of depth kind of killed it) not made by Paradox. Banished is good too, but Prison Architect fills the sweet spot of easy to play, hard to master.

— I had high hopes for Cities: Skylines, but while I like the game, some parts of it were so frustrating and so poorly documented (exactly where water lines need to be placed) that I’ve put on the virtual shelf for the present. I have 90+ games on Steam, so I don’t know when I’ll get back to it.

— Speaking of games I’m not currently playing, Morrowind is another one I’m struggling to play. It asks a pretty big investment in time for a world that I don’t find all that interesting yet. However, I’ve spent a lot of time on side quests and not much on the story, so maybe when my schedule frees up, I can give it another shot.

— Fallout 4 is my Morrowind for PS4, the difference being that I do want to play to it, but just don’t have long enough blocks of time.

— Far Cry 4 is enjoyable, with a great villain, but it’s another one I can’t commit to. (I’m a sucker for sales).

— Finally, we have my two remaining sports games on PS4: WWE 2k16 (best of the series so far) and NHL 16 (ditto). NHL 16 was briefly irritating to me until I realized that there was no auto-save mechanic. I was playing the exact same games over and over again. Once I sorted that out, I had a lot more fun. Rookie mode seems too easy, but I’m only playing junior league hockey, so I don’t know if it’s me outclassing the competition or what. We’ll see what happens.

If there’s a specific game you want to hear more about, let me know and I’ll do a full work up. I even forgot some, I’m sure, like LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (very enjoyable for the most part, easy platinum). This is over the last few months or so, so it isn’t like my life is nothing but gaming.

 

To play or not to play, that is the question

There was an interesting post by Jason Hirschhorn of Sports on Earth today, and it involves QB, so I think I’m contractually obligated to comment on it. Apparently, a few draftniks think that the best situation for QBs is to let them sit for three seasons, then start, ala Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre. Hirschhorn calls this stuff and nonsense (not his words) because NFL rookie deals are four years; in other words, you’re pissing away three out of the four years he’s guaranteed to be on your team. Hirschhorn’s best counterexample is Andrew Luck:

Take 2012 No. 1 overall selection Andrew Luck, who earned a base salary of just over $3.4 million in 2015, his fourth year in the league. The Colts exercised their option, but must now pay Luck over $16 million next season, a whopping increase of 374.5 percent. That looming windfall has shifted the power to the quarterback, who has yet to agree on a long-term extension with Indianapolis. When he does, most expect the new deal to set the new benchmark for the position, putting his team at a disadvantage when it comes to putting a capable supporting cast around him.

I think Luck is a good-to-great QB, but not the best in the game; however, he’ll get paid like the best, most likely.

For the Browns, the smart move is draft Goff or Wentz, then let them sit for a season. Hell, knowing RG3’s injury history, it might not even be a full season. Note that RG3’s deal is only for two years, so expecting him to be the future at QB is a fool’s errand at best. McCown is old (and probably gone). Davis sucks. Shaw is an unknown, with a ceiling of McCown. It is safe to say that the quarterback that leads Cleveland to the Promised Land (or at least out of hell) is not currently on the roster.

Browns sign RG3

Cleveland gets their White Whale, sort of. Only, instead of hunting the whale, they just kinda waited until he died of natural causes and washed up ashore. That counts as “getting” the whale, right?

In all seriousness, I actually really like this deal. While RG3 hasn’t been good in a long time, part of that was Washington actively trying to screw him over in favor of notable quarterbacking superstar Kirk Cousins. If NFL games weren’t televised, I’m pretty sure Jay Gruden would have just gone after RG3 with a tire iron. He still might have. All those knee injuries do seem mighty suspicious.

Long story short, it’s a smart move for a QB that gives us something different than Josh McCown, Austin Davis, or Connor Shaw. If he and Josh Gordon figure out their old magic from their Baylor days, it could be something special. It could also be a horrifying trainwreck, but it’s an inexpensive trainwreck. I’m also pretty sure Cleveland will still draft Goff or Lynch with the #2 pick, but we shall see, my friends.

Additional Speaking Engagements

My speaking calendar continues to fill up.  Here are some upcoming events where you’ll find me:

  1. On Saturday, April 9th, I’ll be at SQL Saturday Madison.  My topic is Data Migration with BIML.
  2. On Saturday, April 30th, I’ll be at SQL Saturday Baltimore.  The schedule’s not complete set but I’ll definitely be giving my talk on integrating Hadoop with SQL Server.
  3. On Thursday, May 5th, I’ll be at the Roanoke Valley .NET User Group.  My talk there is entitled APPLY Yourself.
  4. On Saturday, June 4th, I’ll be at SQL Saturday Maine in Portland.  I will give my APPLY Yourself talk there as well.

I have a few other SQL Saturdays I’d like to be at, but my standard policy is not to say anything until it’s official.

I’ve updated my Upcoming Events widget on the right, so you should see these new events now.

Reorganize Columnstore Indexes

I have created a script to help figure out when to reorganize columnstore indexes in SQL Server 2016.

Note that this script requires SQL Server 2016 (or later) because the database engine team made some great changes to columnstore indexes, allowing us to use REORGANIZE to clear out deleted rows and compact row groups together, as well as its previous job of marking open delta stores as available for compression.

The code is available as a Gist for now, at least until I decide what to do with it.  Comments are welcome, especially if I’m missing a major reorganize condition.

Incidentally, with CTP 3.3, I’ve noticed that there’s no reason to run index rebuilds over index reorganizations, at least in my environment.  It’s possible that there are plenty of environments in which it makes sense to do regular rebuilds, but I’ve noticed reorganization to be more efficient in terms of compacting row groups together, and it’s an online operation to boot.

Browns make two more signings (goodish ones, too!)

I think we have to assume that Paul DePodesta or someone else in the Browns front office is a devotee of this blog, because they filled two important holes today after I put them in my list of positions we need to fill.

First, Cleveland signed Demario Davis, an ILB. Davis is going to pair with Christian Kirksey, as Craig Robertson is a free agent and Cleveland released Karlos Dansby in order to free up cap space. Robertson could come back, but even if he doesn’t, this is a clear upgrade. Cleveland got much younger and more athletic, and Dansby isn’t likely to play much longer anyway. A smart rebuilding team makes these kind of moves.

The other move is signing safety Rahim Moore. It’s not as clear a slam dunk because it’s a one year deal (Davis’s deal is two years) and because Moore was recently injured. He’s also questionable in run support. However, Cleveland does need safeties, and Moore is supposed to be a pretty decent coverage safety.

I didn’t mention the best move of all yet — cutting Dwayne Bowe! (See the Dansby link for details). Bowe was the proverbial We Must Do Something move last year, but he never played and cost a whole bunch of money. Addition by subtraction.

I’ll assume my check is in the mail, guys.