?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Spotty dog - Many a mickle maks a muckle

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile

August 2nd, 2005


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
03:41 pm - Spotty dog
  • Happy birthday to zonefox and giantpanda for tomorrow. Coincidentally, the local branch of the NHS have declared it Sexual Health Week. No connection.
  • A Flash animation of the sort of happy dream a crash test dummy might have. If it gets stuck, click on it and throw it around.
  • I do like the "roads overlaid onto overhead satellite pictures" hybrid Google Maps. You can look at where I work (centre of pic). Evidently the atmosphere was unusually dry that day and the wind was blowing WNW.
  • BT sent me mail the other day saying that unless I opted for a different charging scheme for my BT Chargecard, they would start charging me £1.18 per quarter for the privilege of owning the card. I wasn't too happy about this, naturally. They have since changed their minds and transferred everyone to a lower rate with no subscription fee. Good, except there's now a surcharge for calling from a payphone, to the point where you're about as well off putting money into the thing than using your chargecard, alas. Or, alas, just use a mobile phone, if you own one, if you have credit on it, if it's charged up, if you can get a signal, if...
  • Talking of BT, they recently sped up my broadband connection from ½Mb/s to 2Mb/s at no extra cost, which is very nice, but the scheme I'm on is charged at what is only a competitive price for the higher speed these days. They said that they would do this for everyone within five months or so from mid-February, so when it had got to late July, I followed waistcoatmark's example and whinged at them. I'm not sure if my whinge had an effect - I hope it didn't as I hate having to be a squeaky wheel in order to get service. To coin a nonce word, do we live in a echerocracy, where the loudest rule?
  • Both my computers have insufficient memory - 128 MB - and so need to use swap files extensively, reading and writing to the hard disk. Would it be faster to eliminate the hard disk and host the swap file on a RAM chip accessed via the USB port? Admittedly this would be like fitting a RAM-pack to a ZX81, but that worked well enough, sort of...
  • Accio has been and gone and seems to have been tremendously successful, as far as I can tell. The lack of slash content is very far from optimal, but I'd wait a while before prejudging the likelihood or otherwise of slash content appearing next time.
  • Worldcon in Glasgow this weekend - the shift pattern has really screwed things up for Worldcon as well as for Accio, otherwise I'd have gone. I do note that their Young Adult Fun Activities programme (translation: mild, but more impressive than household, stunts) includes Roller Blade Quidditch, which is a new one on me, though they do permit roller skates, skateboards and even unicycles. Sounds fun. I also note that the YAFA programme includes a session of "Rebel Training Camp and Missions", for which "stuff to bring or do" includes black waistcoats, beige combats, boots and "blue shits". Whops.
  • Leaping seamlessly, quidditchmaster posted the first part of a multi-stage riddle game, though it seems to have gone now. I couldn't get anywhere with it, but shrineofdoves people quite possibly would've done. Any chance of a return, Nick?
  • Had a browse of the Invision game show forum yesterday for the first time since, ooh, November. The average sense of humour displayed, weighted by frequency of posts, is enough to keep me away, likely for another 8-9 months. The lovely folk on there remain lovely, of course, but there are precious few of them (Matt, Robair, Mark...) who aren't weblogging elsewhere - and I'll get the chance to work on David Hammett when he comes to the UK next week. Actually, there are precious few people (though they do exist!) on even ukgameshows who are lovely who don't also weblog, so I'm thinking about unsubscribing there.
  • The European (Nations) Team Chess Championship is in progress now! England have sent a weak team - somewhat stronger than the team they sent two years ago, but still weak enough that they're only #18 seeds out of 40 entrants. Nice 3½-½ win over Spain yesterday, though.
  • This looks like the most interesting poker promo I've seen for a while - win five ten-handed poker tournaments in a row and win $25,000, win a sixth for an extra $50k, win a seventh to make it up to a cool million. (A near miss - five top-2 finishes in a row - gets $250, too.) It's not some sort of grand tournament structure that'll take until the next Ice Age to complete, it's just "beat any 5/6/7 tables in a row" (with sensible terms and conditions against cheating or poor behaviour). The rake is a bit harsher than usual (they're $10+$2 tables), but if you're good enough to win 10-player sit'n'goes even 15% of the time then I think this is a very interesting proposition.

Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: "Graduation", old DDR track

(28 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:j4
Date:August 2nd, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
(Link)
you're about as well off putting money into the thing than using your chargecard

I thought the point of the chargecards was not that they were any cheaper (I'd expect them to be about the same, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that they were more expensive) but that they offered the convenience of not having to scour your darkest pockets for a handful of coins which then get eaten by the machine anyway!

When I first went to Oxford I had a card which allowed me to only call home, charging the call to my parents' bill. The card was only really a reminder of the special number to dial, & I soon memorised it, & actually (if I pause for a moment to look at a numeric keypad) I find I can still remember it. Must check to see if it still works, as I don't know if they ever cancelled the service ... ;-)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Well, that's true, and remains the case, and all the other functionality of the chargecard remains current. However, I liked the BT Chargecard because it cost a flat rate of 20p/minute to use from a phone box rather than any of this "minimum 30p including 10p connection charge" nonsense. Stingyogrumble. See, I really miss the BT Phonecard Plus, as was. Heck, I miss the really old BT Phonecards. Am old.

ealuscerwen knows her Chargecard number too. I am impressed.
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:August 2nd, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I still have an unopened really old BT Phonecard somewhere. And a "phone home" chargecard from my parents (though I've only used it a handful of times and don't know the number).
[User Picture]
From:hmtriplecrown
Date:August 2nd, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
(Link)
This looks like the most interesting poker promo I've seen for a while - win five ten-handed poker tournaments in a row and win $25,000, win a sixth for an extra $50k, win a seventh to make it up to a cool million.

The rake is a bit harsher than usual (they're $10+$2 tables), but if you're good enough to win 10-player sit'n'goes even 15% of the time then I think this is a very interesting proposition.


A very interesting proposition indeed. Is the million limited to the first person to win 7 consecutive SNGs or will the promotion last for a specific duration of time? This could backfire big time.

The most interesting promotion I've seen lately is at InterPoker, where if you get pocket kings as hole cards at a real money table, you get $10. The only stipulation is that the table stakes had to be at least 25/50 cent no limit or a 50 cent/$1 limit. No catches, hidden restrictions in fine print, etc. This promotion happened two weekends ago, for the entire weekend. IP stated in their monthly newsletter that the pocket kings promotion was so popular that it will return for a weekend this month.
[User Picture]
From:tall_man
Date:August 2nd, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's 7 consecutive tourneys, otherwise, I'd be playing them like mad, since I can (and have) won as many $10+1's in a single day. Noting that, though, I wonder what sort of anti-collusion mechanism Noble has in place -- it'd be easy enough (I think) for 10 people to get together and bust the system, just tank to the person who should be the eventual winner. The game is no-limit, so I'd imagine having the UTG player go almost all-in (for all but 1 chip), everyone call around to the eventual winner, who goes all-in and gets everyone to fold, thus giving him all but 9 chips at the table, would work, but be really obvious.

My thought? It probably won't be hit any time soon. Presuming a 25% chance of winning a given tourney (a very high estimate, IMO), it's a 16383 to 1 shot of winning any given set of 7 tourneys. If the chance to win goes down to 15% (a much more reasonable number), the odds get much worse -- just under 585276 to 1.

If you look at the extra $1 as a side bet, the breakeven point for it winds up being .000001^(1/7), or just under 13.89496%. So if a player wins 14% or more, it's a good bet, but a very long-odds one nonetheless.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hmm. Don't you have to bet the extra $1 five/six/seven times in a row, though?

My gut feeling is that this promotion probably wouldn't last too long, but they held a similar promotion about winning five six-player sit'n'goes in a row and that took five weeks to win. 65 is way under 107 so perhaps this will be pretty tricky to claim after all.

There's an outright statement that all seven games can't involve the same 10 players, and also the awarding (or not) of the prize looks like it will be hand-adjudicated, so I imagine they'll have people checking in person that you have played by the spirit of the rules as well as by the letter.

Wonder whether the intention is for people to claim for the $25,000 when they've won 5-in-a-row, but before they've lost, so they can make a big thing of people going for 6- or 7-?
[User Picture]
From:missingdonut
Date:August 2nd, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It seems like this would attract two types of people: the überfish, and the experts. Having both at your table will increase the variance of your winnings, making it that much harder to align 7 straight... right?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Looks like there's only one megabuck, but apparently no limit on the number of $25ks and $75ks that can be pumped out of there. (Until they decide to change the rules of the promotion, of course!)
[User Picture]
From:waistcoatmark
Date:August 2nd, 2005 03:07 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Top-of-the-range flash memory is apparently competitive against hard-drive speed-wise these days, (for sustained transfers, obviously random access seek times are orders of magnitude better for even the cheapest flash) so a USB thumb drive for swap would be an improvement... for about a week.

Flash has a limited number of write-operations, and something as intensive as a swap drive will be burnt out rapidly. Worse still: it's unlikely to fail cleanly, so you'll get increasing amount of corrupted data in memory. Which will lead to frequent blue-screens and corrupted data.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Good answer, well made. Thank you!
[User Picture]
From:strangefrontier
Date:August 2nd, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
(Link)
On google maps: the roadmap and satellite picture hybrid concept is pretty nifty. The satellite images of Glasgow are rather fuzzy and low-res, but there's a very high quality segment in my part of the west of Scotland. At the highest magnification I can pick out my house, see how ridiculously big my grandparents' garden is and see cars parked at Faslane Naval Base (although parts of that are blurred out, on the wishes of the Ministry of Defense, I assume!). The visual geography of the farmlands, hilly areas and forestry is fascinating
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's certainly interesting to compare the two image qualities when completely zoomed in. I would've expected the lower image quality to give you the grey "sorry, no image" tiles (e.g., no close-up of where I live) alongside the ultra-high-quality views.
[User Picture]
From:brigbother
Date:August 2nd, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
That certainly is a very interesting poker proposition, and possibly quite clever when you consider that in all likelihood it will attract people at the top of their game, who will then do themselves over when they come to playing each other.

I can certainly see five in a row as being quite doable, however.
[User Picture]
From:brigbother
Date:August 2nd, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
The other thing is of course, regarding the rake, is that if you have the ability to win tables chances are you'd be quite happily making 2nd and 3rd place finishes and still making a decent profit anyway.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC)
(Link)
True. I guess there's a very, very slim window of opporutnity for someone to be +EV at $10+$2 sit'n'goes with the bonus but -EV for the same sit'n'goes without the bonus; perhaps this is just about changing people's minds as to which the best of several +EV possibilities is. If you're a winning player at $10+$2, aren't you likely to be a winning player at (say) $20+$2 elsewhere? Well, $15+$1.50, at least...
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:August 2nd, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
(Link)
BT upgraded me some months ago without my saying a word (or, indeed, noticing it for a week or so), so it's not just the squeakers... or maybe I was the unwitting beneficiary of a squeaker also on my local exchange?

Why can't you just put in more RAM in the conventional manner?

(I thought the Flash thing was clever but rather nasty...)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 04:12 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Interesting thought. Perhaps we live in a paraecherocracy, where those living near someone loud rule. More likely not, I feel.

Theoretically I could put more RAM in with the appropriate knowledge and ability, but it's the latter I lack. It doesn't help that one of the machines is a laptop, so opening it up is especially daunting.

Flash movie nasty? Oh dear, sorry you thought so. I rather like the theory that if we were to anthropomorphise a crash test dummy, it would like to crash and bounce and contort itself into strange sorts of shapes, because that's what it's designed to do. The fact that it never seems to sustain any sort of damage whether due to bouncing from a great height, or due to squeezing through an impossibly tiny gap, also makes it easier for me to believe it would be a happy dream rather than a nightmare!
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:August 2nd, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I suppose I found it nasty because the model was quite realistic-looking. If it had looked like a crash-test dummy rather than like a person (and a young, female, scantily-clad person at that) I would have been happier with the idea of flinging it about...

Mm, adding laptop memory can be tricky, and expensive I guess. For a desktop it's generally pretty straightforward though, I've done it many times and I'm not particularly technically ept. Main source of potential frustration is getting the wrong kind of RAM, particularly if your motherboard is a few years old -- but if you can see what kind the existing RAM is (or you have your motherboard manual), that can be avoided! There are helpful sites on this Interweb to talk you through it...
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 12th, 2005 11:40 am (UTC)
(Link)
(I thought the Flash thing was clever but rather nasty...)

You may, or may not, prefer http://www.planetdan.net/pics/misc/georgie.htm - is it nastier when the crash dummy represents, well, a well-known figure?
[User Picture]
From:undyingking
Date:November 14th, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Mm, I saw that too. Depends on the figure ;-)
From:daweaver
Date:August 2nd, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Taking these points in reverse order, and omitting those where I have nothing cogent to say:

* Is there, I wonder, a working RSS feed of chess news?

* For anyone else, I'd be leaning towards "No mail". Given everything...

* Again, as another correspondent has pointed out, flash memory is all very flash, but not the sort of thing to rely upon. A USB hard drive might prove a better bet, but there's really nothing better for an ailing computer than more memory. Non-laptop PCs are almost foolproof for anyone who can operate a screwdriver. Laptops, you might be advised to pay a few quid extra and let a professional install it.

* Like some of your other correspondents, I know my parents' chargecard number in full. They cancelled it after my trip to Tucson.

* "Javascript is required". Hawk, spit.

* That's bad timing.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Chess news: I like dailydirtchess, but that's at least as much gossip as it is news. Which may suit you better as it suits me better, of course. Sadly, say, ChessBase doesn't have an official feed, though I wouldn't be surprised if one could be scraped.
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:August 2nd, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Javascript is required

JavaScript is indeed the work of the devil, but actually I've never seen a better argument in favour of it than Google Maps.

I saw a really awful site this morning that's completely garbled if you view it with JavaScript turned off. Sadly, it's the Niger crisis appeal web site.
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:August 2nd, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Both my computers have insufficient memory - 128 MB

My computer has 256MB. A few weeks ago I took half of it out and didn't notice the difference (though I did put it back in later).
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 2nd, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC)
(Link)
How would e-mail software of your choice cope on a 128 MB system running the OS of your choice if it had to cope with a 600 MB Berkeley format mailbox file? Surely all OSes that can deal with files larger than the physical memory of the machine that runs them must use a swap file or similar?
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:August 2nd, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Golly, I don't think I've received 600MB of mail in my entire life (except spam, of course, which is currently running at 170MB since April). My current inbox with 7,200 messages in it is about 60MB.

However, what I believe would happen is that it would read the file sequentially to index it (the index of course takes much less than 600MB, and the whole file doesn't have to be kept in memory at once) and from then on would only need to touch (a small chunk of) the file when you request a particular message.
From:quidditchmaster
Date:August 3rd, 2005 12:47 am (UTC)
(Link)
I removed the riddle game due to (what appeared to be) extreme lack of interest. The last few times I've ran riddle games, people had trouble getting past level two or three, when the finish line was on level nine (or higher). This time, I got -zero- replies, whatsoever, even 3-4 days after I announced level one. Had I known anybody was playing, I'd have kept it up =\

Next time I write one, I'll keep it up longer, and you can pimp it to your riddler friends, yes yes? =)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:August 3rd, 2005 09:23 am (UTC)
(Link)
Probably, but you can see how irregularly and often infrequently I tend to post to LJ, so it may not be straight away.

I would make sure that a very large part of any puzzle is made up of highly accessible material - low-hanging fruit. Ramping up the difficulty throughout is usual and towards the end, anything goes, but you may have better luck at hooking people in if you start them with easy stuff, familiar stuff. It's probably more satisfying to have people race through it, find it too easy and be left wanting more than to have people not get too far because it's too hard.

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com