Week #1: Who to root for this weekend

For the next 10 weeks I'll be posting sports content related to Bay Area teams. I'm currently taking an intro to features writing class, and we're required to keep a blog that focuses on a specific topic. I enjoy sports a lot, so I'll be covering Bay Area sports teams (Sharks, Earthquakes, Raiders, 49ers, Warriors, etc.). I'll also be trialing using Reddit for comments. If it works well, I'll continue using it for the rest of my blog as well. And with that, here goes:

This week the Green Bay Packers will be facing the Atlanta Falcons in the very last NFL game at the Georgia Dome for the NFC Championship. A few hours later, the Pittsburgh Steelers will meet the New England Patriots in Foxboro competing for the AFC Championship - and this will be only the third playoff game in NFL history featuring two quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl victories.

Neither Bay Area football team has a direct stake in this game, but Raiders and 49ers fans have a lot to root for this weekend.

49ers: If you're a 49ers fan, you want to root for the Falcons to lose. This might sound a little weird, but currently the 49ers are looking to hire Falcons offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, as their new head coach. However, until the Falcons' season ends, they cannnot officially hire him. And since 49ers general manager search depends upon having a head coach, they can get a head start by two weeks if the Falcons lose this weekend.

Raiders: Do you remember the Tuck Rule Game? If so, you'll still probably be rooting for anyone but Tom Brady, quarterback for the Patriots. If not, well, you'll probably want to root for the Steelers, who eliminated Raiders' division rival Kansas City Chiefs last weekend in one of the most bizarre playoff games. Even though the Steelers could not score a single touchdown, they topped the Chiefs two touchdowns with a record six field goals. Raiders fans who had to endure two losses to the Chiefs this season surely appreciated how the Steelers embarrassed the Chiefs on prime time television.

Discuss this post on Reddit.



MediaWiki - powered by Debian

Barring any bugs, the last set of changes to the MediaWiki Debian package for the stretch release landed earlier this month. There are some documentation changes, and updates for changes to other, related packages. One of the other changes is the addition of a "powered by Debian" footer icon (drawn by the amazing Isarra), right next to the default "powered by MediaWiki" one.

Powered by Debian

This will only be added by default to new installs of the MediaWiki package. But existing users can just copy the following code snippet into their LocalSettings.php file (adjust paths as necessary):

# Add a "powered by Debian" footer icon
$wgFooterIcons['poweredby']['debian'] = [
    "src" => "/mediawiki/resources/assets/debian/poweredby_debian_1x.png",
    "url" => "https://www.debian.org/",
    "alt" => "Powered by Debian",
    "srcset" =>
        "/mediawiki/resources/assets/debian/poweredby_debian_1_5x.png 1.5x, " .
        "/mediawiki/resources/assets/debian/poweredby_debian_2x.png 2x",
];

The image files are included in the package itself, or you can grab them from the Git repository. The source SVG is available from Wikimedia Commons.


texvc back in Debian

Today texvc was re-accepted for inclusion into Debian. texvc is a TeX validator and converter than can be used with the Math extension to generate PNGs of math equations. It had been removed from Jessie when MediaWiki itself was removed. However, a texvc package is still useful for those who aren't using the MediaWiki Debian package, since it requires OCaml to build from source, which can be pretty difficult.

Pending no other issues, texvc will be included in Debian Stretch. I am also working on having it included in jessie-backports for users still on Jessie.

And as always, thanks to Moritz for reviewing and sponsoring the package!


wikidiff2 1.4.1

In MediaWiki 1.28, MaxSem improved diff limits in the pure PHP diff implementation that ships with MediaWiki core. However Wikimedia and other larger wikis use a PHP extension called wikidiff2, for better performance and additional support for Japanese, Chinese, and Thai.

wikidiff2 1.4.1 is now available in Debian unstable and will ship in stretch, and should soon be available in jessie-backports and my PPA for Ubuntu Trusty and Xenial users. This is the first major update of the package in two years. And installation in MediaWiki 1.27+ is now even more straightforward, as long as the module is installed, it will automatically be used, no global configuration required.

Additionally, releases of wikidiff2 will now be hosted and signed on releases.wikimedia.org.


De Anza students football fandoms endure regardless of team success

Fans of the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders at De Anza College are loyal to their teams even when they are not doing well, but do prefer to win.

The Raiders lead the AFC West with a 9-2 record, while the 49ers are last in the NFC West with a 1-10 record. This is a stark reversal from 2013, when the 49ers were competing in the Super Bowl and the Raiders finished the season with a 4-12 record, as reported by The Mercury News.

49ers fans are not bothered though.

“My entire family is 49ers fans, and there is no change in our fandom due to the downturn,” said Joseph Schmidt.

Schmidt recently bought a new 49ers hat that he wears around campus.

Victor Bejarano concurred and said, “I try to watch them every week, even when they’re losing.”

A fan since 2011, he too wears a 49ers hat around campus to show his support for the team.

Sathya Reach said he has stopped watching the 49ers play not because of their downfall, but because of an increased focus on school.

“I used to watch (the 49ers) with my cousins, not so much anymore,” Reach said.

Kaepernick in 2012 Mike Morbeck/CC-BY-SA

Regardless of their support, 49ers fans have opinions on how the team is doing, mostly about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick protests police brutality against minorities before each game by kneeling during the national anthem. His protest placed him on the cover of TIME magazine, and ranked as the most disliked player in the NFL in a September poll conducted by E-Poll Marketing Research.

Bejarano does not follow Kaepernick’s actions off the field, but said that on the field, Kaepernick was not getting the job done.

“He does what he does, and has his own reasons,” Reach said.

Self-described Raider “fanatic” Mike Nijmeh agreed, calling Kaepernick a bad quarterback.

James Stewart, a Raiders’ fan since 5 years old, disagreed and said, “I like Kaepernick, and wouldn’t mind if he was a Raiders’ backup quarterback.”

Reader Poll: Could Derek Carr be the MVP this year?
Yes
Maybe in 5 years
Tom Brady

Both Nijmeh and Stewart praised the Raiders' quarterback, Derek Carr, and Nijmeh, dressed in his Raiders hat, jacket and jersey, said, “Carr could easily be the MVP this year.”

Stewart said that while he also thought Carr is MVP caliber, Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, is realistically more likely to win.

“Maybe in five years,” said Stewart, explaining that he expected Brady to have retired by then.

He is not the only one, as Raider teammate Khalil Mack considers Carr to be a potential MVP, reported USA Today. USA Today Sports’ MVP tracker has Carr in third.

Some 49ers fans are indifferent about the Raiders, others support them because of simply being in the Bay Area, and others just do not like them.

Bejarano said that he supports the Raiders because they are a Bay Area team, but that it bothers him that they are doing so well in contrast to the 49ers.

Nijmeh summed up his feelings by saying the Raiders’ success has made him much happier on Sundays.


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