Monday, November 22, 2010

Google's Search Engine

When I started using the web around 1995, I used webcrawler. It was horrible, but I knew no better and it was certainly better than alternatives such as Yahoo. It was simple and a fairly clean interface. Then along came Google. It was better, in fact it was so much better I instantly switched and have never looked back. I can probably count on my fingers the number of times since I have used a different search engine. That was approximately thirteen years ago.

Today, I find myself looking for alternatives. I know none exist, the other search engines are horrible. There mere fact I am looking however, should speak volumes as to my opinion on the recent changes google has made to it's search engine. Ever heard the expression "If it ain't broke, don't fucking fix it"? Well google obviously has not. Within the past several months they have forced several very noticeable, and very annoying changes upon us. I am not used to google forcing anything on us, their strength has always been the simplicity and effectiveness of the search engine. It's lack of gimmicks and clutter was one of it's strongest points. Now I am finding myself misclicking webpages because suddenly arrows navigate results, the image search is a horrible mess,  the page preview is frustrating and the new layout makes me feel claustrophobic. Every time I notice one of these changes, I immidiately search (sadly, using google) for how to disable it. Strangely there is no way to do so.

 I find this to be a common element with companies, governments, everything large and rich. They are doomed to become victims of their own success, doomed to loose touch with their roots and eventually alienate those who made them succesful in their endless quest to improve. You see it again and again, not just with software companies but with every large entity with a corporate-like structure. Now Google is obviously in no danger at the moment of being dethroned, but I see this disturbing trend developing, and if it continues it will eventually allow a competitor who is more in touch with the consumer's needs to more effectively meet those needs, and in so doing steal significant market share. Remember when Internet Explorer had ~90% of the internet browser market? It's down to about 50% these days, and that's even with it being forced down your throat via it's integration into the windows OS. I am certain a minimum 20% of that is simply due to user ignorance, in other words they don't know how to download firefox.

It's sad because the solution is so simple, in these situations it generally is. If you want to add new features that you hope will be helpful, of course do so. But never force a drastic interface change, make it optional. Allow for a setting to turn it off, it's not rocket science. In the 13 or so years I've used google all of my complaints and frustrations while using it have been in 2010.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Everybody Left

Video for Everybody Left single, "Down to Ride". Band is friends of mine, they're pretty sweet. Check it out:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Poker Update

My total is now 107.01. It's slow going, but I am definitely getting better. I placed 337th in a $10,000 tournament which I got free admission into by comming first in a 9 person tournament. It pays from 1080th place up so I made a few bucks off it, nothing great obviously but it's good experience. Unfortunately I made one very silly mistake which hurt me a bit, I managed to hold on and almost recover a few times but I am quite miffed at myself. I am starting to see the problem with playing 3+ hour tournaments. I finally lost going all in on the button with QKo to a call from the big blind with AJo which hit the jack. Nothing could be done, I was at 23k chips with 1500/3000 blinds - it was the right call.

Another smaller tournament (a 100 dollar free roll) I was playing simulatenously I managed to get myself a nice stack with only 40 players left (it pays to 27th), when I made one of the dumbest mistakes ever made and totally missed the flush draw. Whoops. I went from 30k to 88k to 0 in 3 turns, well done dipshit. Mental note: Pay more attention and be less stupid.

I also played my first cash game today, just 0.01/0.02 blinds. Was quite different, but I really enjoyed it. The level of play was much more logical which allowed me to get better reads on people, and figure out who to be wary of and who was an ATM machine in disguise. I ended up clearing the table after taking out 4 stacks (1 guy twice and two other people). Every one left except myself and two of the better players, so I took the few dollars I'd made and left.

Closing note, I'm definitely pretty happy with that free $50.00 bankroll, it's really nice having two seperate sites to play on, and it's nice to already be well over $50.00 in the green. Hopefully variance doesn't kill me too much and I can continue this upward direction. I'll be playing for big money in no time, maybe even a nickel at a time!


Poker Strategy Offer

Huh, interesting. I was browsing the freeroll tournaments and signing up for the various websites so I could participate in the tournaments. This eventually lead me to a website called "Pokerstrategy",

Referral name is Klion13

That is my referral link. If you go to it and sign up, you have to take a 20 question poker quiz and if you pass they will give you $50.00 starting capital on one of their three partner sites. It's pretty easy, it even gives you a link to the article with the answer. I just finished the quiz and signed up, so I cannot yet verify that they will give me the 50 bucks but it seems legit. The whole site is designed to get you to start playing, and keep playing with various articles and such becoming available with rank which is attained as you play more real money games.

Regardless, 50 free bucks to play seems like a good deal to me. The referral link also gets you some cash if people sign up so feel free to sign up :)

I will update this to reflect whether or not I actually get the $50.00. I should add the site seems like a solid poker resource as well. Some nice charts and basic information about starting hands, general play decisions, preflop/post flop, bank roll etc.

Update: Current status is "identify verified, money should be transfered within 48 hours"

Update: Wow it worked. Since when do internet offers actually work, wtf

This is an automated message sent from Full Tilt Poker.

  Player ID:              Klion13
  Date and Time:      2010-10-12 10:30:33
  Transfer Number:    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  Amount:              $50.00 (USD)

  Status:              APPROVED

Full Tilt Poker has made you a payment. The funds are now available in your account.

Thank you for playing at Full Tilt Poker

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oct 9th Strikeforce

Well I just finished watching the fights, and all in all I would say it was a very impressive card. Some of the best fights I have ever seen on a strikeforce card, and a solid card overall. Woodley vs Galvao started it off, and this was the worst fight of the night. Woodley was very impressive right from the start, perhaps overly cautious but less than a minute in, nobody can blame him for that. Galvao obviously wanted to get it to the ground, but he needs to work on his wrestling. He got tagged a few times and seemed out of it, and with some of the worst take down attempts I have seen in professional MMA he left him self wide open for Woodley to finish it off with ease.

Surprisingly Kaufman vs Coenen was up next, which seems like yet again a bit of a slight to the women's 135 lb division considering this is supposed to be the co-main event. Regardless, the fight started about as I expected. Kaufman came out tentative, not used to dealing with someone with Coenen's striking, as well as someone who has a reach advantage. Coenen was similarily tentative, and a lot of feeling out occurred. Coenen landed a few body kicks, while Kaufman controlled the clench showing obviously superior strength. Personally I think the first round was a toss up, but I think the judges would have given it to Coenen.

Second round starts out as more of the same, Coenen starting to show some aggression, Sarah throwing a few counters and clinching up, grinding Coenen up against the cage through most of the fight. Lots of inside knees and such, mostly uneventful until the end of the round when Coenen tries to trip an off balance Kaufman, succeeds but somehow Kaufman - basically midair - manages to pull a reversal as she lands on the mat. It was quite remarkable, and Kaufman spend that last few seconds in top position landing a few shots and doing a good job of avoiding the submission attempts Coenen was throwing.

Third round starts out more of the same, again that stalking attitude missing, likely do to the reach advantage of Coenen. They go to the ground again and Kaufman quickly manages to secure top position again, and begins delivering some decent ground and pound while fighting off Coenen's repeated submission attempts. Suddenly as Kaufman postured up Coenen managed to secure a lightning fast armbar which ended the fight, Kaufman very quickly tapping as it was instantly locked in. The ref was slow to stop the fight, and it looked like Kaufman's arm was hyper extended, but not broken. For some reason Strikeforce seems to give the women very poor refs, which is unfortunate. It has been a significant factor in past women's bouts in this division. I was pulling for Kaufman in this fight, as I actually used to train with her at Zuma, but she is an awesome fighter and will be be back at the top in no time.

The next fight was JZ vs Thompson, and it was the best fight of the night by far. Both men were showcasing their amazing talents, and it was a very close fight. Both this fight and the main event, Diaz vs Noonan were too furious a pace for me to do a play by play so I will just summarize a few things. Thompson basically took the first two rounds, while JZ took the third. I believe JZ grabbed the cage to save himself from a take down, then quickly took an off-balance Thompson down, but Thompson won so it is irrelevant, and nobody else seemed to notice.

Anyway a few observations:
#1: JZ is a beast.
#2: Thompson is crazy good, and fast.
#3: Never, ever leave it in the judges hands. How any judge could score the fight 30-27 is beyond me, it was so obviously 29-28 that even the winner commented on how poor the judging was.

Regardless it was a great fight, and the right man was awarded the win.

As for the main event, minus the first round it was essentially a boxing match. Diaz had a very impressive takedown, and showed some amazing pressure, control  and position BJJ magic while on top of Noonan. After this round it was all on the feet with Diaz seeming to dominate for the most part. I had it 4 rounds to 1 Diaz, but it was an odd fight and 3-2 scores wouldn't surprise me either.

As for commentary, I think both men seriously need to expand their game. Diaz is an amazing fighter, with very unorthodox boxing and is well known for his BJJ prowess. Noonan's boxing was also very impressive. However wrestling was completely absent from this fight. Had Diaz had some wrestling skills he would have finished this fight easily, and Noonan would have benefited as well. Regardless, with MMA where it is at today I do not expect any fighter completely lacking in an aspect as important as wrestling (especially for a BJJ fighter) to stay at the top of the heap overly long. I think the Silva vs Chael fight demonstrated it perfectly, Silva is by far the most impressive striker in MMA, and a respected BJJ black belt even with those credentials the wrestling of Sonnen nearly cost him his belt. The same situation will eventually occur with Diaz, fighters coming up are far too well rounded.


Online Poker

So I decided fuck it, and started playing today. It's one of those things you have to do to get better at anyway, so I will read in between playing. I am impatient what can I say. So far I have learned a few valueable lessons, allow me to share them:

#1 North America, Banks, and Credit card companies all hate any form of online gambling. Screw all of you, I funded my account anyway. I wish birth defects upon your children.

#2 Set your fiters before choosing your game. I joined a $1.10 tournament without realizing the implications of a tournament allowing rebuys and reloads. Horrible, horrible idea. Would be fine if I could have cashed out, but playing against 2300 people who keep rebuying and going all in every goddamn time they lose is very frustrating.

This was generally the scenario every few hands: Someone goes all in. Three other people follow. 1-3 of them get knocked out. 1-3 of them immediately double back up on chips (1 dollar per 2000 chips) so they are back at 4000 chips. They go all in again. Rinse and repeat until they manage to double up.

I paid only the initial 1.10 and managed to get up to around 100th place for chips when some douche I had taken to zero twice managed to double up on me twice. I think he had a grudge. I would make the same decision now, unfortunately he just had the cards. I then made an idiotic call I would not make again, and my large stack of chips became a miniscule stack of chips. I entered push fold mode and got unlucky, so finished 20xx I looked at the tournament stats and seen something like the following:
Number of players 2165
Players Remaining: 2054
Buyins:                   4530

I am kind of curious how long that tournament takes to finish.

#3 Unless you are so loaded the bonus dollars don't matter to you, the bonus codes don't matter to you. Funny how that works, eh? You are awarded the "bonus" dollars based on a point system which rewards you the more you play. What it basically means you need to spend more than 3x that amount to collect, so unless you are winning more than you're losing in the tournaments you are playing it is not worth it. You also only get points for games around a buck and higher. It makes fiscal sense, but it's unfortunate because I can not benefit with my bank roll and confidence level where it is.

So after making the few mistakes I did and losing $1.10, I switched to 380 person tournaments with a $0.10 ante (yup, a dime. Fucking awesome), and 45 person tournaments with a $0.25 ante. I placed fourth in one of the $0.10 tournaments, and all in all seem to be doing quite well so I will continue tomorrow and hopefully improve some more.

It's too bad I entered that useless 1.00 tournament, but despite that I am currently $1.15 cents in the green. That may be a low number, but first prize is only like 8 bucks and I am more concerned with gaining skill and experience so this pleases me greatly. I deposited a mere $50.00 as seed money, so I need to grow that before I can progress to more expensive games.

Current total: $51.15
Tournaments played today: 5

If you think about it this means I can play 11 more 0.10 tournaments before going back into my original deposit. I am fairly good at tournaments, so I think I can grind out a few more top 5 finishes and get this up to at least 70 bucks within the week. Must remember to continue reading and working on being able to do quick calculations and such however, as fun as actually playing is it's much funner when you win.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

The average person lies 4-6 times a day

Nobody informed me of this. I am going to have to start lying. That is all.

Poker and Day Trading

So, these two things are oddly enough very closely related. I have, in the past, attempted to profit from day trading (like everyone else and their dog I'm sure). I didn't lose my shirt, but I realized I had two huge obstacles. First was my bankroll was far too small. A minimum of 50k is required, and unless you're very good or willing to seriously leverage yourself it's more like 100k.

The second problem is everyone needs some sort of an edge or you are doomed, no matter your endeavor. I tried many avenues, research, tips, study, systems and educated myself but I realized that to attain an edge would take years. I was not looking to gamble, at least not without the odds in my favour. I was looking for a skill i could build into a consistent form of income. So upon realizing this I quickly switched gears and attempted swing trading. This was more succesful, and far less risky but my savings is now all locked away pending news on a certain company, and has been for quite some time. While I am comfortable with the future outlook of this company, I am annoyed that my money is stuck.

Now the reason I am writing about this is a friend I had not spoken to in a very long time messaged me that he had been laid off, and was considering trying day trading to replace his lost income. I promptly informed him that this was insane and to turn back, lest he (or what money he had) perish.

However, amusingly enough, I am considering attempting something similar with online poker. I know from my tradinng experience the two are very similar. Bets based on pot odds are essentially your risk/reward numbers in day trading, and it's all about iron nerves, knowing the math, and being able to read the action. A very similar skillset. What appeals to me however, is poker is the same idea, but on a micro level. This is quite unlike stock trading where the skillset is on a very "macro" level, that is everything from weather to world economics to unemployment to christmas holiday season can affect a stock price.

I also am intrigued by the options presented to me. Unlike stock trading, you can start very small. The lowest option I seen was a $1.40 no-limit tournament, with first prize being aprox. 20 dollars with 18 players. Taking into account that the initial deposit is doubled, this is a $0.70 buy in for a 1/18 shot at 24 dollars. I have yet to play an online game for real money, as I am a very disciplined look before you leap type. I hate being a statistic, however I really want to give it a go. I hate reading and learning before doing the fun stuff.

Which is where I am now, I'm reading various e-books in an attempt to learn how to calculate the various odds properly and quickly. I doubt I will end up succeeding in this, it is basically my last attempt at "easy" (or at least unorthodox) employment before I gear up my part-time job into more of a full-time career. I am hoping this goes well, I have enjoyed poker since I was about 10 when we used to play 7 card stud with pennies. I have always been better than most of the people I played with, but have always played with gut feelings and fuzzy odds based on common sense, which I am quickly finding out was somewhat ill-informed.

So I know nobody reads this, but hey if anyone does and can reccommend some good books on EV, pot odds and/or methods for quickly calculating them I would appreciate it.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Just a quote

"The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities."

At least one smart guy was kicking around a few thousand years back I guess, eh? Doesn't make me feel much better to read it, but it's always nice to see the reason you feel like shit phrased so perfectly.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Last 2 days..

Spent them drunk, got stung at the beach and it improved my mood minimally at best. Fortunately the wasp seemed out of venom as it stung me in the side of my stomach, but it dissapeared fairly quickly and is just itchy. Weird. Friend got stung too, laid back on her towel and a wasp was on it.

Stupid drunk wasps, die already.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 1..

No idea why I made this, probably just so that I can send my bitching to the farthest reaches of the interwebz... oh wait. That would require that somebody actually read it.

Anyway, I promised boring so that's all you get.