Entries for September, 2004

I've been in negotiations for the past week or so (since the LB7 sale) on developing a similar site. To answer any questions in your minds: No, I won't be reusing the LB7 code. Not ethical. Plus it's old and messy. I'm a much better coder now than I was when I wrote LB7. Plus, I can bill for more development hours if I have to rewrite from scratch ... ehehehe.

No, but seriously. I've been doing all sorts of stuff for the client at dirt-cheap prices. The site he wants me to develop is seriously like a $20K+ project, but I'll only be doing it at a fraction of the price. I've been spec-ing out the whole project and discussing with him what exactly he wants in terms of functionality ... and I'm getting good. At planning. Maybe I'd make a good project manager.

So for you 5 readers who still read my website, let me outline what I do as a "webdesigner" when I make websites. It seems like such a simple process, but it's so ... detailed. This is a very broad overview without much planning beforehand, so expect a very fragmented post. Maybe (if given enough responses) I will expand on this post and clarify the process :)

Webdesigners get the shaft. We are neither artists nor are we "true" programmers. We are more of a hybrid of the programmers, designers, and usability experts all rolled in one. And the disciplines required for mastering all three of these ... it's much more than the layman can require. Let's take a look at exactly what we must know:

  • HTML/XHTML: The first step for any true webdesigner/webdeveloper. This is our medium ... but knowing HTML/XHTML doesn't really mean anything. 14-year olds know HTML. So it's not really a big deal. But still something you have to know.
  • CSS: I have placed it into a separate category simply because of the work required in knowing all the CSS hacks ... and not ONLY know how CSS works on the screen, but also in printing and the alternative styling options. And trust me ... knowing how each browser handle CSS and knowing how to make websites look cool while avoiding tables and using CSS takes a very long time (I'm only getting comfortable abusing floats after about six months of serious CSS usage).
  • Javascript: Here we see usability end of the spectrum ... knowing JS enhances the ability for us to create sites that are USABLE. Gmail is great to use because the interface is slick (thanks to JS). Knowing JS, however ... is yet another language and knowing how each browser handles bits of JS is another discipline. (Note: I still have not had time to learn this discipline thorougly ... dagit!)
  • PHP/mySQL: This is "programmingLITE" for idiots. I'm not going to degrade the CS profession by saying these are true programming and database languages. However, learning them and mastering them truly is a skill that very few possess; even writing semi-literate scaleable code in these two environments (given their limitations) is incredibly difficult. I've been scripting in PHP and handling mySQL for almost two years now ... and I'm still constantly learning new stuff every day!
  • The "usability" factor: So you have all the technical skills. You have mastered the client-side JS and the server-side PHP/mYSQL. You know how to create a fully scaleable platform for content delivery. But if you can't design a friggin good usable interface for users to use ... you're toast. No one wants to use a site that feels crappy to use, even if the underlying platform is solid. Average Joe can't tell that your backend solution is elegant. All he knows is whether or not the CP feels good to use.
  • People skills: If you're consulting, you better damn be good at communicating with clients on projects. You have to explain to them WHY your solution is the way to go, and why you cannot be BLINKing text all across the site. You also have to convince your clients not to waste time and money developing a "cool" Flash solution.
  • Server management: Know Linux? Good. You better be comfortable managing servers and knowing how to maximize the tools available to you (Apache).
  • Scheduling: Neeraj and I were talking about how spec-ing out a project really helps you set a schedule. And you need to set a schedule. Cause you *need* to cut corners when developing sites. Face it, unless you're building a ultra-simplistic site that has one small feature, there is an infinite level of complexity behind the website. And you *will* run into feature creep (where you start building features that no one will use). You must learn to schedule your projects so you get stuff actually done on time. Knowing where to cut corners on a project requires great skill.

So the skills I described above are the skills I feel I've learned (minus the JS) in my self-taught tenure as a "webdesigner." If the above seems complex, I wouldn't be far too impressed. I still consider myself an amatuer at almost everything up there ... but I am really trying my best to become a master. :)

The multi-faceted requirements really is a boon when you're working by yourself; you definitely are NEVER caught in a monotonous state ... doing the same things. You can always switch around ... but the downfall is you simply are doing a LOT of things at once which requires you to have great short-term memory. One of my biggest issues has been dealing with my need for instant gratification; I get very discouraged if my projects don't make quick progress. But in making a kickass website, progress WILL be slow. But you have to keep trucking and not get bogged down by the details.

But yeah... webdesigning as a sole developer is tough. I haven't even gotten into the branding/marketing aspects of websites ... I still focus on just making a damn good product to *start*.

Question to my 5 readers: Would you be interested in me blogging my experiences in developing this new site for a client? This new site is a complete beginning-to-end development, and I think it might be interesting for people to see the process and see what I'm up to...

Posted by roy on August 31, 2004 at 11:13 PM in Web Development | 15 Comments

You should know I feel a very special bond with my 4 readers. When I get a response from my 4 readers, I feel this joy welling up inside my heart. But then I usually get distracted by something shiny and forget all about it.

I feel guilty when I post such a long-winded technical post for my 4 readers. I feel this responsibility ... this burden to post something hilariously funny ... and my gulit usually turns to fear when I realize that my 4 readers will probably stop reading me and THEN I WILL HAVE NO FRIENDS IN THE WORLD AT ALL.

So this is a cheap attempt at retaining my 4 readers. Of course, this "cheap" attempt will be made at my expense, since self-deprecation is (a) funny and (b) requires no comedic skills.

By the way, I've also upated my content page with a bunch of MP3s ... a bunch of electic stuff I've been listening to with some frequency over the past few days. Check it out.

Posted by roy on September 1, 2004 at 11:02 PM in Ramblings | 25 Comments

I really got tired of visiting the Xanga site, so I created a quick tool that generates an OPML file of your Xanga friends which you can quickly use on Bloglines to import all your Xanga friends into Bloglines (or any other RSS aggregator).


When putting in the list of friends, be sure you put in one friend per line. You can just copy/paste the list of friends from your Xanga subscriptions page (in that left box).

Guys, also remember that Tabulas generates an OPML file based on your Tabulas friends *and* all your "links" pages. Import both of these into bloglines, and you can keep up with all updates to your tabulas/xanga friends with ease!

Posted by roy on September 2, 2004 at 02:30 PM in Ramblings | 6 Comments

Lately I've been in a very good mood. I think finally my years of introspective self-examinations (wow, that sounds dirty) and hard work are starting to pay off (actually, not really ...). But yeah. Good mood.

So yes, I'm at Best Buy today. I was simply there ... minding my own business ... thinking about how much the Black Eyed Peas suck, and wondering why CDs were still so overpriced even after the RIAA got bitchslapped by that class-action lawsuit when I saw her. Her gorgeous green eyes .. and her dark hair ... they were just screaming out, "COME OVER HERE!" I gathered the courage and walked over there. I decided then and there to commit myself to her. I placed her under my arm and quietly walked over to the cash register.

But are my friends supportive? NOOOOOOOO. "Why the hell are you buying the Ashlee Simpson CD?" they inquired. I just shot them the "die-you-assholes" glare, and that ended that discussion.

So good that I ended up buying Ashlee Simpson's new CD (Autobiography) as well as the Roots new CD (Tipping Point) at Best Buy. I also had ordered the Garden State soundtrack. A pretty electic mix of songs.

So there was poker tonight. And the guys could only bring themselves to ask "Who the heck bought the Ashlee Simpson CD?" Why none of them couldn't ask, "Jeez, who has the great taste in rap music in this room?" defies my beliefs. WHY MUST THEY POINT OUT THE FACT THAT I BOUGHT ASHLEE SIMPSON'S CD?!

Ugh. But yes, the CD is EXCELLENT. Actually, all three CDs are excellent! I highly recommend Ashlee Simpson if you're a mindless social lemming like me ... if you like real hip-hop, the Roots CD is excellent (although it's kind of short). The Garden State is an excellent CD for you indie-rock chill-music lovers.

(A poker story)

Posted by roy on September 2, 2004 at 11:10 PM in Ramblings, Poker, Music | 12 Comments

Yes I do. I love the galloping phallus. This is what I've been doing for the past two minutes instead of working on the overdue AM launch :)

I hate Yush. He sent me this ridiculous song called "The Ketchup Song" which I KNEW was trouble... but I started listening to it and now I can't stop. So now I've uploaded it and will share it now with you (it was pretty popular back around 2002 ...). Download Link (Right Click » Save Target As).

Somehow it's very interesting to listen to this song while staring at my usericon...

Posted by roy on September 3, 2004 at 11:40 PM in Ramblings | 19 Comments

I decided to register to vote using RockTheVote.com.

It seems like a pretty painless process, so I decide to take about 5 minutes and use their site... and ran into a whole slew of problems which are pissing me off to no end.

First off, their website decides to force a resize of your browser window to a set size with every page load. Don't like it? Too bad. Want to drag out the normal size? Too bad. They'll just resize it. Never put your users out of control of their own browsers.

Secondly, after I finish the whole process, this is what I see:

Logically, clicking the "DOWNLOAD FORM" link should ... in theory ... DOWNLOAD THE FRIGGIN' FORM. Instead, RocktheCrap decides to send me to a "refer a friend" screen. No way to download the form. GREAT. (Edit: the geniuses who designed this site decided that the primary window should go to a refer-a-friend page and they should pop-up a screen that has the adobe file ... no way to download and right click the file... we MUST open the file. GREAT usability!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU GUYS RULE!!!!!!!!)

Way to waste about 5 minutes. The whole process left me with a very bad feeling in my mouth.

Maybe if they spent more time on usability instead of trying to make their website look "cool" (HEY LOOK THE BLURRED IMAGE ON THE LEFT IS SOOOOOO COOL!) they could get more stuff accomplished.

Posted by roy on September 6, 2004 at 09:40 PM in Web Development | 6 Comments

A little while ago, I got a Gmail account. Out of sheer stupidity, I decided on the username royboycop@gmail.com.

Today, I get this message on IM from Han:

hannypoooh: puhahahha
hannypoooh: i just got "royboycop"
hannypoooh: i was thinking... why the heck did he put the "cop" there?!?!

If you don't get my name, think about it for a while. Think about an old school movie featuring a cop ... that's robotic... yes.. yes... YOU GOT IT NOW. Good. Let's both laugh at my idiocy.

I spent about 8 hours on this new design for the Tabulas control panel (yes, yet ANOTHER redesign on the CP itself. I'm pretty happy with the way this one has turned out... (HTML Mock Up Link).

Stuff of interest to note:

  • I'm moving towards heavy use on icons. I actually went out and purchased a set of icons to use ($$$!!!) for this site (an icon set I'm very happy about). Icons help minimize space, keep the interface graphical (so you don't have to friggin' read). There's a slight learning curve, but I think the benefits far outweight the costs of switching to heavy use of icons
  • The top navbar. Too often have I gotten complains about the 'ugliness' of the top admin navbar. I'm thinking of using graphics instead of text (because ultimately you run into all sorts of nasty problems with overriding CSS and stuff) ... with... yes... icons.
  • Not much has changed in terms of the "general" structure of the site. I still love the top green area (I think that is a Tabulas trademark).
  • I've decided the "killer" app in Tabulas will be the messaging system. For that purpose, any new messages will be displayed on the top nav bar area in red.
  • Most of the changes are simply in making the CP more "modern" looking...
  • You'll notice the markup is completely dependent on CSS. I still use tables for tabular data (like the entries list in the mockup)

My only complain about this design is it seems a bit too "busy." But really in a content-rich environment like Tabulas, there really is no way around it at all.

But yes, this took 8 hours between yesterday and today. Most of the time was spent doing the Photoshop mockup ... then the rest of the time was getting it down to HTML/CSS. Another few hours will probably be spent spec-ing out all the display functions I'll need in PHP to output some of the more dynamic areas.

Onward, ho!

P.S. AudioMatch.net launched. If you want a free 14-day trial, leave me a message with your e-mail and I'll send you an invite. There's still a LOT of work to do with AM, but the basic structure of the site is up, so I can at least have some peace of mind.

Posted by roy on September 7, 2004 at 05:49 PM in Foolishness, Tabulas | 13 Comments

The joys of sharing a bathroom with about 30 other people is that oftentimes you will be peeing with someone else at the same time. I'm not sure whether this is just me, but I always feel like I'm in some sort of (literal) pissing contest whenever I'm pissing with somebody.

But then I think to myself, "What are the parameters of this competition? What determines who wins?" Obviously, being petty men, our competition will probably revolve around the size of our members ... but that brings up a good point. Do people with big ... "members" pee faster (more volume per second?)? Pee louder (see previous)? Pee slower (longer distance)?

This always boggles me ... if I'm in a literally pissing contest, should I try to pee as LONG as possible ... or should I try to be LOUDER? Which one would scream to my opponent, "THIS MAN HAS A LARGE MEMBER. GO CRY IN YOUR ROOM WITH YOUR UNDERSIZED MEMBER. YOU ARE NOT A MAN. YOU ARE A BOY!!!"

Does anyone have answers to these important questions?

Posted by roy on September 8, 2004 at 11:47 PM in Foolishness | 13 Comments

Edit: Wow, the discussion on the article have been AWESOME. Thanks guys for participating... PLEASE if you have something to say, post below! I love it when opposing viewpoints can come together for some discussion. I'm especially interested in hearing some viewpoints from some of my foreign readers ... if you want to speak up, do it now :)

Lately I've been very introspective regarding the presidential campaign.

I posted a political message in my AIM profile, and I thought I'd share it with you:

I don't understand all the hatred towards W. People make these generalizations about how he screwed up: no foreign policy.. screwed up our economy...

Must we forget that Iraq was a constant issue during Clinton's administration? The problem certainly did not solve itself. What about our economy? The economy was already sliding ... and I don't hear anybody speaking too poorly about govt overspending during the New Deal ... and we can all agree that the foreign policy is dictated by Bush's cabinet rather than W himself. And does it not mean a thing that there have been no terrorist attacks since 9/11?

I can understand if you disagree with his policies, but honestly I don't understand the outright animosity towards W and the blind acceptance of Kerry.

This has led to a few interesting discussions with people online. There are a few moderate liberals out there who haven't fully succumbed to the 'OMG BUSH IS AN IDIOT I HATE HIM' mentality that I so detest. But the more I talk to these people, the more affirmation I get in Bush's plan and what he's done so far in office.

I just finished reading up American Soldier, written by Tommy Franks who led CENTCOM ... he was largely responsible for the quick successes in Afghanistan as well as the smashing military victory in Iraq. It gives a lot of insight to the personalities of all the people within the Administration ... and there was just a lot of interesting information in there.

After reading this book, I am fully convinced that a lot of my fringe worries (did Bush rush into Iraq? What were the main reasons touted inside the Cabinet? What type of mentality did Bush have towards the whole ordeal?) were baseless. Bush is painted in this book as being a real compassionate who really does believe in what he's doing. There were tons of plans for the reconstruction of Iraq, but they fell through primarily because of unforeseen consequences ...

Let me make one thing clear: I am fully disgusted at the current obsession with "military service." I'm not sure why candidates think this matters, but I could give a rats ass about whether you served in the military. I could also gives a rats ass if you got Purple Hearts, or if you lied to get them. It simply doesn't matter. Bush's holes in his service records also do not bother me; we are all young and we make mistakes. I'm making mistakes in my life now ... and I sure would hate for all my life mistakes to be held against me in the future. It's what you learn from those mistakes that matter.

I am fully commited to the Bush cause; I see his plans and his vision for the future fully coinciding with mine. As I've stated before, I really don't like the domestic direction that he's taking the country, but I feel his foreign policy and his character are enough to offset his domestic policy. After all, isn't all politics about compromise?

Bush for '04.

Posted by roy on September 12, 2004 at 02:14 PM in Ramblings | 35 Comments

I guess I'll write this quick post to those who are affected by the Lightbox7 downage.

For those of you not-in-the-know, the site was sold to a third party buyer. I sold the site out of a financial necessity (see what happens when you freeload for far too long?!), and I regret the downtime.

For a variety of reasons the transfer has not gone smoothly at all.

I'm currently working with them to restore the site. As it turns out, moving a site of lightbox7's size is not very easy. Not very easy at all. Hopefully if I can get my stuff together, and EV1Servers can repair the server so it doesn't suck, I might be able to get the site back up and running ASAP.

Sorry to everybody affected.

SERIOUS GOAL FOR "BY THIS MONDAY:" Iron out all the UI issues within the new CP. I really need to at least get all the UI things ironed out!

BTW, I got the 'green light' to start work on my new big contract. So there goes my time for the next month. But the good news for you guys is I'll try to blog most of the experience so you can see exactly what I do. Maybe you'll learn a few things. Probably not.

Posted by roy on September 14, 2004 at 02:27 AM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

Brian makes a good point that the previous entry sucked.

Let's be honest here. As much as I claim that I am writing for myself, my ego is also subconsciously trying to boost the popularity of this site by writing entries for you. There have been a few times over the past few days when I wrote a long entry and simply deleted it because I knew people would think it's boring.

WHEN DID I REACH THIS POINT?! When did I start caring? When did I stop posting the boring details of my life?

I make a firm commitment to post as many boring entries along with though-provoking and stupid entries as humanly possible. I will once again flood your friends page with 5 entries at a time. For far too long have I remained silent about topics of utter importance like: my life. What did I have for lunch? What do I think about that hot girl that walked past me during lunch? Why do cafeteria people always overstock the tacos????

So I will begin now ... informing you of utterly boring and useless personal information about today:

I am getting sick. I blame my roommate Yush (who we affectionately hatefully nicknamed 'Sars'). I have a horrible cough and I feel lazy.

I got an eviction notice from UNC to get out of the dorms. Apparently they didn't process my awesome I HAVE TO TAKE TENNIS AS AN UNDERLOADED SENIOR WHICH TECHNICALLY MAKES ME A FULL-TIME STUDENT application yet. But here's the kicker: they've given me until Friday to resolve the situation. Thanks. I love UNC, but sometimes it just does things to me that rub me the wrong way.

If I were to win the lotto or find a pirate's treasure chest, I don't think I would donate any money to UNC. I mean, it's been a good experience, but what exactly has UNC done for me? They threatened to sue me over UNCExchange ... and now they want to kick me out of the dorms?

In my unsubstantiated opinion, I think this is where UNC goes wrong. It's not that they don't produce rich alumni ... it's that they've rubbed them in all the wrong ways. I certainly don't feel like UNC has helped in my successes in any way (besides providing über-fast internet [ooh and i just used an umlaut!]) ... so ergo they don't get any of my money.

Maybe if they do some nice things to me in the future, I might reconsider. BUT DO YOU HEAR ME, UNC? YOU ARE NOT GETTING A PENNY WHEN I FIND MY PIRATES TREASURE!

Posted by roy on September 14, 2004 at 08:44 PM in Personal, Ramblings | 20 Comments

Apparently Gateway is selling a 5.25 megapixel camera for $150.

I'm half tempted to buy this thing and recommend it for my more cost-conscious friends.

Anyone know more about this camera? Is it a completely crap lens? The camera itself looks to be a hefty size ... but 5.25 megapixels for $150?!

Hey, by the way, check out the pimp watches. Can anyone figure out how to READ them? But they are definitely cool. I'm not much of a watch-wearing type (I prefer wearing rubber bands on my wrist over watches) ... but I would definitely be down with getting one of these if I had money to blow (which I don't, unfortunately!).

Posted by roy on September 15, 2004 at 01:49 PM in Photography | 8 Comments

I forgot how much it sucked being sick. I may go home tonight and rest there ... just so I don't also get my roommates sick. But there goes any chance I'll be at CALL this year - damn - and I was kind of looking forward to it ...

I found $10 on the ground today, but some odd reason, I felt guilty about it. I looked around to the left, then to the right, then picked up the bill. But why did I do that? Would there be any way I would know if someone had JUST dropped it? No! So why did I feel so shady picking up that $10 bill?

To those of you who are unclear what a man-bag is (see previous discussion), I found a snapshot I took while waiting to board my flight at Incheon airport:

It's a Burberry manbag. Look at the way the "man" has to hold it; just like a woman. Notice also it's unwieldy size: too big just hold your "wallet," yet too small to hold anything of manly value (e.g. laptop).

Speaking of craptops, I figured it was time to show you my craptop, the IBM Stinkpad 600x:

Yes, I am missing both Alt and the Ctrl keys on the right side. The reason I use cardboard is that it hurts just to use the little nubs. While in Korea, due to weird power transformation, the thing would actually shock you if you didn't have the cardboard there. And as I mentioned a long time ago, I also have rearranged my keyboard to serve as a "dummy filter" (reasoning: If someone can't touch-type this day in age, I really don't want them using my compter).

We want paintballing this last weekend:

I'm honestly not sure why I'm holding out the number '5.' I think I thought doing two fingers was gay, three fingers was still too close, and four fingers was ... well I'm not really sure. Sadly, I got only 2 kills during the whole 4 hours we were there. I suck at paintball. But I serve as a great target.

And lastly, a picture from driving back on Highway 54 back to Chapel Hill...

I love Chapel Hill.

Posted by roy on September 16, 2004 at 01:51 PM in Ramblings | 10 Comments

I was going for a third victory in our weekly poker tournament today.

We had 12 people, so we split into two tables of 6 and started playing. I definitely got lucky on the draw of the cards, as I ended up at a weaker table (no offense to anyone) ... I definitely felt like I had an advantage.

Note: UTG means 'under the gun' and implies the first person after the dealer; so UTG is essentially the small blind; UTG + 1 is the BB, UTG +2 is the person after the dealer, etc.)

First big hand, I picked up Ad2d UTG+2. Flop comes Ace, and two low diamonds. I've picked up a monster; top pair with diamond and a bitch straight. Yum (UTG+1) acts first, I call, and Bobby reraises $5 (the blinds are $0.50/$1, so this is a big raise), which both Yum and I call.

Now, I know Bobby is playing the Ace. Seeing as to how I have the worst kicker possible, he has my kicker beat. But I can't place Yum on the ace. The week before, he had called a huge all-in bet with an ace on board with pocket QQ, and I feel like he's holding some pockets, but definitely not the ace.

The pot is huge, and the next card is a blank. Yum moves all-in, and the alarm bells go off in my head. He's bluffing. Now, the question is if I call, will Bobby call? I figure he can't call if I call Yum's, so I call.

Yum turns over QQ and I win the pot (I catch the flush on the river, so Bobby would of been out; Bobby shows an A8).

A few hands later, I'm UTG and Bobby is UTG+1. As usual with Bobby, he raises preflop, which just screams Ace with a high kicker. I'm holding 92suited, but I decide to see the flop. I figure if I can catch a monster, I can outplay Bobby.

Flop comes 924. I've caught my two pair. I gladly check, hoping he'll catch is overcard. Turn is an A. Lovely. Absolutely lovely. We do a few dance with raises, and then he moves all-in. Absolutely lovely. I show my 92, and the two pair hold up. Niiiiicceee.

Of course, Bobby is a bit pissed about losing to 92, but when you have a read on someone, you can play any hand you want. I think that's why Farha and Hansen can play so many hands and win; if you've got a dead-on read on what they have ... you just wait for a favoriable flop and then catch them. The problem with a lot of people (Bobby, Yush, reading this?) is people CANNOT walk away from top pair. It's the toughest move from being a total amateur to a pretty good amateur; being able to throw away top pair. I've ditched top pair, I've ditched two pair, I've ditched overpairs all the time. You MUST get a read on someone and figure out whether you're beat.

Last year, I caught trips on the flop and waited against Bobby for an ace to hit the board. When it hit the river, I took him all-in and beat him (he has AK). Again ... learn to ditch that.

Anyways, I soon knock out Han too (he had an issue to deal with, so he was playing real loosly and didn't care what he lost on; I honestly can't even remember the hand, but I think I had trips) ... Godwin soon knocks out Yush.

I'm going to replay the Godwin and Yush hand, not to insult Yush, but to discuss some poker strategy.

There was a big preflop raise by me (I was holding A6suited, not bad short-handed). Yush calls quickly, and Godwin agonizes a call. I place Yush either slowplaying high pockets or he's holding Ace-high kicker. Godwin was probably playing a mediocre hand (QJ? KJ? JT? QT?) the way he agonized the call. In my opinion, Godwin would of probably reraised mid-pockets, knowing I was bullying ... so I didn't worry about a set. At the time of the flop, I realize my only chances to win is flopping a draw of sorts.

Flop is J9rag. There's a straight draw AND a flush draw. Here is where I think a mistake was made. If you're holding AJ, you have to decide if your opponents are holding a draw or if they're holding a made hand. If they're holding the draw, you have to decide whether you want to push them in early and force an all-in decision on them, or you have to decide whether you want to take it easy and bet the flop and turn weakly so you have a chance to walk away.

Yush, I don't mean to call you out: I think you'll make a fine poker player, so don't take this personally... but what you did was you bet weakly off the flop. This means that if I or Godwin was playing the flop with a draw, we were enticed to call. That means if one of us reraises you all-in when you've bet it slowly ... you must learn to fold.

With every hand, you must decide whether to play it hard and fast, or slow and easy. If you slowplay a hand, you must be ready to walk away if the odds don't look so good.

The turn on Yush/Godwin's hand was Q, and this means that the KT had hit its straight. It also meant that the top pair on the previous hand was no good. At this point, Godwin got excited and moved all-in. I think Yush was a little frustrated and called... but I knew the moment Godwin moved all-in, he had QT and that he was a huge favorite to win the pot. The all-in made it clear he had picked up top pair with a draw. I figured Yush had KJ or AJ (he had AJ) ...

Yush called and his tournament was over.

Back to criticizing myself...

The final table consisted of me, Godwin, John, and Terrence ... arguably the most skilled of the people who usually play.

My hands are getting shafted (pocket pairs getting missed, high cards missing). I finally see pocket 88 UTG + 2 (4-handed). I raise (blinds are $2/$4) to $12.

Now I must explain the force that is John. John is a very very loose player. I would say he's a pretty good player, but he plays hands way too aggressively and suffers from "over-betting-itis". He will call a 4-outer off the flop with his tourney at stake... and he will raise the blinds 10x UTG+2 (first to act preflop). He plays pairs very aggressively, which I've known since day one ... but I always make dumb mistakes against him.

He has gotten a reputation as quite a fisher, because he's knocked out so many people drawing out a 4-to a flush or a 4-to a straight.

Anyways, earlier today, Nasty Nate had KK... he raised minimum, and John pushed him all in. Nasty Nate folded (I'm not sure why, he later told me he was worried about John catching an Ace, which is a legitimately concern, but come on!! KK!!!!). John proudly lifted up his AQ ... he overbet the pot with high cards... I filed that in my memory for later. Because he plays very poor risk to rewards ratio, I think he gets undue crap from people. It's his playing style, and I respect it ... but his mathematics is a little skewed. If only I were more patient... but in his defense, he does manage to get a lot of chips, which is why he can play so many draws and not get eliminated...

The first hand we tangled on that night, I had AJ and he called a minimum raise with A2. The flop comes Qrag2. He goes all-in. I figure he limped in with some crap and it caught. At first I'm thinking I had two overs on him, but then I realized my J or A might not be good if we're sharing it... so I folded it. See? Slow play allowed me to walk away. (ooh it rhymes)

So back to our hand of interest.. John is next to act and reraises to $30. Flashes of Alex's hand go through my mind. Godwin and Terrence both fold, so it's back to me. I'm caught in a dilemma.

Honestly I don't care about placing in the money (next person eliminated doesn't get paid, and Godwin's severely short stacked). I want to WIN first place, and this seems like an amazing place to double up. I have about $67 in chips, John has about $75 in chips, and Terrence is sitting with around $120 in chips.

There's no way I can simply call this; even if the flop hits rags, I have a feeling John will stick to this hand to the end. If he doesn't, I really don't want to leave him with $15, which is a somewhat dangerous amount to leave any aggressive player, since they will do all-ins and you'll be down to the wire on many hands. I want this to either me or him out.

There's two hands I've narrowed him down to: High Ace with high kicker, or low PP. Somehow I can't imagine him making such a big reraise with high pockets; he's more of a milker type when he's got such a solid hand, so I would of been more suspicious with a minimum reraise at that point. If he's got low PP, I've got a 4:1 shot on the money, while if he's got overcards, it's a 2:1 on the money.

But I'm not in any chip trouble. I still have a very healthy amount of chips. I can wait this out. That is the dilemma. I could pick a better spot to go against John and trap him, or I could pick this spot now. At worst, I' m a 2:1 on the money ...

At the time, I'm thinking that I'm playing to win. At the time, I foolishly think that I will not find a better hand to take him on; Terrence and John have been running the table, and few more blinds down and I'll be at 1/2 of their stacks rather than 2/3 or 3/4.

Part of me is hoping he's got low pockets that he'll dump down once I reraise all in ... but I decide to go all-in anyways. Whoever won this pot would be highly favored to win the tournament (to quote Dan Harrington: "I've got 16% of the chips; I'm a 16% favorite to win the whole thing."). But he calls, and I realize he's got overcards.

Should I have risked a healthy stack even when I had the better hand against the loose player? Terrence and I were talking briefly ... we both share the idea that one should always chip away on a loose player until you have more chips so that a bad beat doesn't knock you out. But he had more chips than me, so a bad beat would knock me out and prevent me from recovering.

At first, I said it was a good move because a 54% shot at being heavily favored to win the whole thing seemed to be a good shot... but then I realized that I might of had a 70% shot later ... but with 1/2 the stack of John and Terrence, would that have mattered? I would of needed a TON of hands to overcome the chip deficit, and THEN even to beat them. And with Terrence's playing style, I honestly did not think I could come from behind to win. The last time this happened, I got totally frustrated and walked into a flush and threw away my chips to Terrence.

So John caught his Ace on the flop and it was over for me. And now, more than 3 hours later, I'm just trying to realize the implications of what I did.

Conclusion? I shouldn't have made that move. John was overplaying all his positions, and I just needed to wait and pick a better spot to make sure I was more of a 70% - 80% favorite in a hand. I knew I had the better hand, but it was marginally better. It was a coin flip, and I got too obsesed with taking on Terrence before knocking out John. Had I been patient a few more hands, I could of caught him overplaying a hand and then catch him.

But in retrospect, the move with the AQ on his part was good. It forced me to make the decision and level the playing field... I don't know if it was his intention to make the hand go 50/50, but he did it... so mad props to him for that.

I'm learning so much about poker. It's amazing how intricate it is... and it all has to do with situational thing... not the game itself, but how to deal with people. I love it.

Posted by roy on September 16, 2004 at 10:44 PM in Poker | 5 Comments

Bert suggested this in an earlier comment, but guys, give a read to Iraq The Model. The blogging revolution allows us to read in the FIRST person the experience of an Iraqi. As expected, the grammar isn't perfect, but it is certainly passable. Reading this, I am filled with optimism and hope for the future of Iraq.

You sit in a restaurant like this one and see families relaxing with their children playing and having fun late at night and you feel that there’s ‘something’ wrong in the way MSM is dealing with the Iraqi issue. I watch TV and I see hell breaking around me then I go outside and see enough normalcy AND progress to make me believe that the people in the media are not here to report how’s life going but rather they are here reporting pre-prepared stories and to be faced with something that contradicts the picture they have in their minds would be really annoying and will mean more hard work to try to find the truth or something close to it.

So let me see, I’m a reporter in Iraq and I’m here to tell stories that sell from a land that has been invaded, as everyone is saying it was invaded and not liberated. God, that must be awful! Ok so I need destruction, death, fear, clashes in the streets, angry mob...etc. Where do families having dinner in a place they couldn’t afford before the war, or a father buying a new car for his son which he also couldn’t afford before, or a man renewing his house which was falling apart, or free speech and flourishing business, where does all this fit in such a frame?! It doesn’t! Besides, where's the action in such boring stories!? Moreover, there are pictures of death and destruction and they only need some ‘further clarification’, and that’s easier than making a whole new story. So why bother! I already have frames for good stories and I’ve worked hard in that and it would be a shame to waste all that effort and start all over again. So let’s get the story we worked on and get the hell out of here.

It has also made me feel good about my Spirit of America donations. When you cut through all the political crap, what we have at the end are people ... just like us ... who love and respect liberty and freedom. I wholly support the pursuit of liberty and freedoms by all people... and will continue to align myself with any President who has the foresight to make sure freedoms flourish.

Posted by roy on September 17, 2004 at 11:21 AM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Look, you aren't fooling anyone with that small notice for $55 S/H. I'm not retarded enough to even think that's the real cost of S/H a friggin product. I realize you're just padding your profits a bit more.

But please, if I pay $55 for S/H, don't delay sending out the package. Most of us have expectations that the package should get to our house say ... 3 days after I pay for it. Not unreasonable. In fact, in my other 72 eBay auctions, that was the standard. Even my camera from Hong Kong got to me in three days. And if you're in Texas, you really have no excuse.

You see, I bought something from Dallas Laptops. I paid for it Saturday morning, expecting it to be shipped Monday. I receive notice that they've input the billing Monday night. No problem... I guess the package is going out Monday night.

Wrong. It turns out they just got the billing in on Monday night, and on Tueday night, they decided to actually ship the package. And of course, given the $55 S/H cost, do they ship it air? Nahhhh. They ship it standard mail (which I calculated on UPS's site as costing a whopping $24.50). 3 day ground. Of course, that means the package should be in my hands right now. But UPS has decided my package should go sight-seeing to as many possible locations as possible!!! Given the fact that it "departed Atlanta at 10:51am" and still hasn't gotten to Greensboro (which I believe is the local sorting center), I'm not too optimistic I'm going to get the package today.

So please eBay sellers, if you're going to overcharge for S/H, please at least ship the package out on the same day. If I want to pay an extra $25 for people to dillydally for two days, I can pay myself to do that.

Posted by roy on September 17, 2004 at 02:13 PM in Ramblings | 13 Comments

Don't tell Scotty... Scotty doesn't know...

Posted by roy on September 19, 2004 at 12:47 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

I think I was a late bloomer growing up. I don't mean this in the puberty sense, but more in the mental sense.

I remember always believing whatever my mom told me when I was growing up. This was a great boon for my mom (I was the perfect little son!), but this created a lot of problems once I moved down to Chapel Hill from Buffalo.

I'm not sure whether Southern kids are meaner, if the racism has anything to do with it or what... but things were really difficult for me when I came down here in the 4th grade. I remember being in the 4th grade and I was constantly made fun by two particular kids mean kids. I was quite a gullible kid, and I always tucked in my shirt into my pants (which was a habit I only broke in the 6th grade at the urging of my then-friends Luke and Evan (I wonder what happened to them?)). This one kid (we shall call him 'Justin,' and this may or may not be a pseudonym) was quite mean to me. I'm not sure what I did to him, but maybe because I was clearly a brighter kid than me ... he used to pick on me all the time. I remember walking back from gym one day, he was walking behind me. He kept kicking my feet while walking ...

He knew my love for football, and he once told me that he could get the autographs of any football player because he was a ballboy for the New England Patriots (which, in retrospect, seems REALLY stupid). He "sold" me an autograph of Jim Kelly for $5 ... and then my parents got really pissed. Not pissed at me for wasting $5, but that there could be mean kids like this. This was during a very rough time during my parent's marriage, when they were considering moving to Korea ... so it really didn't help things at home.

He was just a very mean kid. He would always make fun of me ... I think this left some sort of weird emotional scar that really hurt my self-esteem for a very long time.

In retrospect, I'm not sure why I suffered from so much low self-esteem; besides the constant teasing by Justin, I never really suffered too much from being 'outcast.' Sure, I was always on the "outside," but I was always welcome in whatever social group I wanted to join middle school and high school. But that's an entry for another day ...

The reason I bring this up is I had two dreams last night, and one of them involved me confronting Justin and another kid named Alex (not any Alex that I know now...). I remember being cruelly treated by both of them, and so I guess the dream was my ego (or id, perhaps?) trying to make sense of their cruelty to me.

In the dream, I was yelling at them, "What did I ever do to you? What?!" They simply could not answer. They just looked at me and said, "Sorry, we were just kids. We didn't know any better."

Posted by roy on September 19, 2004 at 03:59 PM in Personal | 9 Comments

I need to get back soon. I dislike being at home because I can't get anything done at all!

My replacement for my Stinkpad came in (and now all the money I earned from teaching in Korea is almost gone!) ... the wonderful Motion M1400 tablet PC (I've named her "Elisha"). The tablet experience is still something I'm having somewhat mixed feelings about ... but generally it's very positive. Unfortunately, the thing doesn't come with a CD-ROM drive, and the idiots who sent it out imaged it with WIndows XP Tablet PC Edition Evaluation Copy, so I had to order an external drive so I can reimage it with the real XP. And this is after I managed to get all my songs on my iPod onto my new computer. Argh!

One of the BIG flaws with it is there is no such thing as "handwriting training." Microsoft arrogantly assumes that their technology is so good it needs no training. Bzzt. I have horrendous chicken-scratch for writing, so I think I definitely need to 'train' it somehow. But honestly, it does work OK if you're using common words, but if you're using non-common words... good luck. I need to figure out how to disable the 'auto fix' feature; it thinks everything I write 'tabulas' I'm writing 'tabular' since 'tabulas' isn't a real word. This makes domain name inputting a real pain in the arse.

I'm eagerly awaiting my new external CD-ROM drive so I can install Microsoft OneNote; I've heard so many cool things about this product; apparently it can record a lecture while you take notes and compare the two (WHOA!). I can't wait to "test it out' by going to class ;)

Speaking of which, if you want to transfer songs from your iPod to your computer, use iPod Music Liberator. It is simply awesome and works SO easily. The $15 is a small fee, but I fully support small software developers and great products (which this is!). I managed to transfer all 12 odd gigs of music onto my new computer with ease!

I've felt that Tabulas has stalled a bit in growth and interest, so I decided to start singling out users who are free but are not going paid (for various reasons) and giving them free paid accounts. I'm hoping that enticing these social supernodes with free paid accounts will keep them here while moving some of their friends over here as well. 2.0 isn't too far off (I may actually let a few people test out what I've done so far and get some feedback) from being released, so that's good news. Let's hope Tabulas continues to grow... it does seem that roughly 900 people updated their journals within the past day, so that's good news.

If you know anyone who is a great blogger and deserves a paid account, please let me know.

Posted by roy on September 21, 2004 at 11:41 AM in Ramblings | 24 Comments

I keep rubbing my eyes with my right hand, forgetting I just had some spicey tacos for linner (lunch+ dinner??) and there is still REALLY SPICY SALSA SAUCE ON MY FRIGGIN FINGER. So I keep rubbing my eyes, then immediately going into a 3 minute sedentary dance where I close one eye and try to cry out the salsa.

I've done this three times today so far. I am an idiot.

Posted by roy on September 22, 2004 at 04:25 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

I was linked to World On Fire music video by Sarah McLachlan ... I absolutely love it. And the message is so powerful.

In any case, I urge you to take a look at your own life and see if you can help these organizations in any way. Whether it be just be aware of the issues at hand or to advocate their causes, there's a lot that we can do as individuals. There are so many issues in today's world that we, the world's richest country, can help alleviate if we could just care.

I signed up for CARE USA and Carolina for Kibera and have made my donations to these worthy organizations. Take some time and go through their websites and see what they're doing. If you have no money, that's fine! Still go through and read the sites ... and pass the World on Fire link around!

. . .

Quick Lightbox7 note: Most connectivity has been restored. The site should be working normally now. Sorry again to all for the downtimes; the transfer of the site to the new owner was not smooth. But now I've learned a ton of lessons :)

Posted by roy on September 22, 2004 at 10:56 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

To those of you who detest people who play poker, you'll surely hate me now!

(So those of you who have no interest can skip this!)

Posted by roy on September 23, 2004 at 11:21 PM in Poker | 11 Comments

I've gotten to a point where I am very concerned about my future, but I really don't care too much to worry about it (does that even make sense?). I've always had fatalistic tendencies (maybe I've watched Serendipity too often), so this is no real surprise to me.

I've set pretty loose goals for myself ... I want to get 2.0 launched sometime over the next few weeks and finish up my freelancing work. That'll give me some capital to figure out what I'm going to do with my life. Once December comes, I'm going to bust my ass until the spring MCAT to get the highest possible score on the MCATs; medical school is something I know I want to do ... like a decade down the line. I'm still a ripe 20, and thinking of such "heavy" profession like medicine is something I'm not quite willing to accept.

I've been thinking once I'm done with the MCATs, I'll move away from North Carolina and live alone. Don't get me wrong ... I love North Carolina ... but I've got to move on with my life. It's going to be a tough ... finally moving away from your support base, but if this summer was any indication, I'll be fine.

I want to get a small apartment somewhere, wire it up with Internet, and work on my webstuff full-time. I want to pay the bills and live comfortably. Maybe pick up a few hobbies again (like piano!). I've been thinking of moving out to the West Coast (Seattle?), but I may opt to stay a bit closer to the East Coast and move up north somewhere (DC? Philly? New York?). I really don't know, honestly. I just want to find a nice small place and live comfortably.

I guess, in the end, given everything ... I just want to be free. You think that college is freedom coming out from high school, but there's still so many limitations. Or maybe we're never really free. Maybe going out into the real world has even more limitations.

Um, ok. I've beat this dead horse long enough.

Posted by roy on September 24, 2004 at 09:37 PM in Personal | 6 Comments

Wow. The Butterfly Effect is an amazing movie. Please watch it. Rent the DVD and watch the Director's Cut. The theatrical cut is not as good ... yeah.

Posted by roy on September 25, 2004 at 01:13 AM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

Why am I writing more about poker? I think reading Terrence's posts have inspired me.

Today's post will be short... I went into a tournament today feeling pretty confident after my high finishes in the past few tourneys I've played.

I got to the table and decided I was going to be aggressive. Of course, it helped I that I was catching wonderful cards in the first few hands. So I was basically having my way with the table pretty early on.

For some reason, Pete picked up JJ against a raise from me and a re-raise from Bobby ... and decided to reraise it again. He made it something like $6 to go, and I raised it to about $16 to go (blinds were $0.50/$1 at this time). The pot was sitting at about $40 at this time... and the flop comes A-blank-blank. I'm thinking Pete has made his aces up so I check it to him. Here is his mistake. He bets... $1. Into a $40 pot. As Terrence calls it, Pete made a "My Little Pony" bet. Smelled of weakness and not a trap. So I reraised to $5... he called. Once he calls, I realize he's holding either JJ or QQ (for some reason, painted pockets are a "big favorite" amongst people, but people don't seem to realize that JJ and QQ are pretty crappy hands). I decide that taking someone out on the second hand is pretty cruel, so I check it down to the river (dark checking the river straight up).

A few hands later, this new kid Alex and I get tangled into a pot. I forget what transpired, but basically a lot of chips end up in the middle preflop with me holding AQ. The flop comes J9blank. I've completely missed the flop, but he might of missed it as well ... so I check. He checks. I think that maybe we both missed the flop. Turn comes a blank. He bets a ridiculously weak amount (something like $4, which smelled of fear). I decide to test him, fully expecting him to fold when I make it $14 to go. He thinks for a second, then tries to pull a Mike McD and says, "I don't think you've got the best hand" and puts +$9 into the pot.

Originally I thought he had missed the flop (maybe overplaying suited connectors, I don't know). When he went all-in, I seriously thought he was playing KJ (and not AJ because I couldn't imagine someone risking a flush draw with two clubs off the flop with J high kicker). I'm kicking myself at this time for overplaying my hand, but I call ... getting something like 7-1 to 9-1 on my money. He flips over a friggin AT and remarks, "I can't believe you called that." Moron, if you're going to make a move for the pot, don't do it against the chip leader who just got pot commited with what he thinks is a 6 out hand (quite reasonable!). Yeah, so that got me up to like $100 in chips (we started with $40). I'm flying high right now.

A few hands later, I pick up AQ. This new player Josh limps the hand. I raise it about 3x or 4x the BB (can't honestly remember cause of the high number of hands I played tonight), and he flat-out calls along with someone else. The flop comes AAK.

At this time, I'm 99% sure I have both of them beat ... neither of them seemed confident calling the reraise preflop which might indicate KK or AK. I decide to slowplay the aces and check. The flop gets checked. The turn comes a blank ... and I decide no more fooling around. I play the hand hard against a small raise from Josh (new player). He reraises, and I take him all-in. Now, realize at this point that this is a huge pot; it's looking to be about $120 in chips. If I win this pot, I'm going to be up to about $160 - $180 in chips and I feel confident I can win this whole thing. I lose, and I'm back where I started.

The dude calls my all-in and flips over an A6, looking quite smug. I flip over my AQ and his stupid grin vanishes. WHAT DID HE THINK I HAD? At best, he was looking at a SPLIT pot ...

Of course, the river spits out a f'ing 6 (one of the three cards that could only beat me) ... and he wins. He smiles, as if he's doing something really good.

I was totally pissed at his moronic play. Sure, he had trip aces, but it was pretty obvious to anyone at the table I'm holding aces as well, and his kicker was shit. What the hell was he doing calling preflop with that ugly crap anyways?

I was fuming (still am actually).

The rest of the night is pretty inconsequential. After that slug to the stomach, I lost my stomach to play. I hung around ... although I did play two hands against Josh dark [without looking at my cards] and beat him in both hands (which made me feel slightly better). I eventually lost when I miscalculated against Godwin; I thought I could move him off his mid-pockets with a huge reraise (all-in), but he called and busted my pocket 3s.

Roy's thought of the day: WHY DO PEOPLE LOVE PAINTED POCKETS SO MUCH? Specifically QQ and JJ. If you're any type of player, you want to avoid races (coin flips with pockets against overcards) as much as possible. JJ is going to bust you about half the time when running up against AQ and AK. Sure, QQ limits the hands that will race you to the finish down to AK ... but it's still a grossly weak hand. If you're looking at a reraise preflop against a solid player with JJ or QQ, toss them. At best you've got 2:1 odds, and at WORST you maybe a huge underdog against higher pockets with 4:1 odds. The last three times I've had JJ, I haven't even been able to play them.

Posted by roy on September 26, 2004 at 01:01 AM in Ramblings, Poker | 5 Comments

Is it inherently negative to write a post in the future, knowing you will be dead when anybody even reads the entry? I kept posting this entry to the future with the idea that I'm already dead ... but it felt kind of weird, so I deleted it. Maybe it's cause i'm tired. I'll give it a go tomorrow.

Posted by roy on September 26, 2004 at 03:02 AM in Ramblings | 9 Comments

For all you Firefox proponents out there, maybe you can answer some quick questions for me. What is the obsession with tabbed browsing? I've always used "Open New Window" and used Alt+Tab to do "tabbed browsing" since .. 1999. I actually don't like tabs because there aren't any quick keyboard shortcuts (I believe, I may be wrong) to quickly navigate through tabs and to close any extraneous ones (Alt+Tab, Alt+F4 works nice when you have multiple windows open).

This is a question that's just been burning in my mind for a while; even when using Firefox I find myself opening windows instead of using the tabs. Maybe I'm missing something?

Posted by roy on September 27, 2004 at 01:24 AM in | 6 Comments

Thanks to all those patient people who answered all those questions; I had no idea about the mouse middle clicking and the keyboard shortcuts (Thanks to exodus and _neko specifically!).

Now, with that out of the way, I will talk about one of my few pet peeves with the food services industry. I used to work in the food services industry (in middle school, "under the table" for a few hours every Saturday ... it was quite a wonderful experience), so I feel like I'm pretty forgiving with most errors ... except one.

I cannot STAND it when you order drive-thru from a fast food chain, and they don't give you any required condiments. For example, if you order Chicken Nuggets, you MUST GET SOME SORT OF SAUCE! If you get a baked potatoes at Wendy's, you better damn well get some sour cream and/OR butter (I GOT NEITHER TONIGHT AND I WAS QUITE UNHAPPY). If there is one THING that can ruin a perfect day (besides finding out my love Elisha Cuthbert is 'hooked up') ... it can be not getting condiments.

Why do these guys who work at the fast food restaurants not "get it?" It's a required condiment! They never forget to give you ketchup with your french fries, so why must they forget the sour cream or butter with the baked potato???????

In other news, I wasted about 3 minutes thinking of clever "business cards." I wanted to make some "personal" business cards that would announce to anyone who met me that I was a vain, desperate, pathetic little man (as if my personality doesn't already scream this) ... I came up with the perfect "occupation:" Roy Kim, Random Number Generator.

This thought occured to me as I was reading some article saying that random numbers generated by computers aren't really random... and that it was close to impossible to get computers to really generate random numbers.

Then I realized that I possessed this skill! 24, 48217, 327! 12, 98, 20, 24!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RANDOM NUMBERS!!!!!!1

. . .

Completely unrelated, but one of my SAT students from Korea has a tabulas account now... let's give him a warm welcome! That's the least I can do after torturing his poor soul with subpar teaching for the summer (har har... don't you just LOVE self-deprecating humor? Which makes me wonder, when did self-deprecating humor become so popular? Was it the offshoot of a Gen-X thing where being "cool" meant that one was able to poke fun of oneself? I know that Conan has had a huge impact on this ... but when did it become so mainstream?).

. . .

Another completely unrelated note: I've noticed that Budweiser has resurrected the Leon commercials now that the football season has started. EXCELLENT! But when will they revive the Terry Tate character? In honor of this event, and also the fact that Chris asked me for these videos which I remembered I had, I will now link to all the Leon commercials that I have in hopes of garnering some cheap "LOL" comments which will: (1) make me seem more popular than I really am and (2) make it seem like my blog is at the nexus of some sort of imaginary social network (in my mind, at least). In any case, it will go a long way to boosting my already-inflated ego.

Posted by roy on September 28, 2004 at 03:48 AM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

Here are a bunch of random observations about commenting and battling comment spam within the Tabulas system. Or rather, some features I've been developing for the new version of Tabulas that will hopefully give owners more control over who posts in their journals.

Most of these are targetted at anonymous commenters; I don't think there have been any cases where registered users have been overtly spamming other journals.

The first big feature I'm rolling out is "autolocking" of entries. Entries that are older than a certain date threshold will automatically locked for commenting; this is ignored if you have a 'stickied' entry. This should help battle spammers posting random comments in old entries to boost PageRank.

The second set of features I'm rolling out is related closely to 'anonymous' commenting... I will allow anonymous commenters to 'verify' their anonymous accounts via e-mail quickly so they get cookied into the system. This way they don't have to give any really important information to Tabulas, but they don't have to keep putting in their anonymous information.

I will also allow Tabulas owners to set "verification" levels. "Verification" levels will require anonymous users to "verify" their comments from the e-mail addresses they post before they are posted publicly; Tabulas owners will also be able to manually verify any comments if they wish. The verification levels will be set at two thresholds: owners can either require comment verification from any comments from anonymous users who have not verified their e-mail addresses, or they be more stringent and require autoverification of all anonymous commenters.


Posted by roy on September 28, 2004 at 05:26 PM in Tabulas | 7 Comments

Sometimes in poker tournaments, you're not getting very good cards. Not even playable cards. You know this is pretty bad when you have a reraise in front of you (3xBB) and you're sitting pretty early in position and you're debating whether to play T8suited.

I played in a tournament at Terrence's today and in general did not have much fun. My initial table was the worst poker table ever: first off, the people in the room left a movie on so half the time parts of the table would be watching TV. There was one dude who sulked the whole time because he got a nasty beat early on (I forget how) ... then there was another dude who had to be told everytime that it was his turn to play. He never picked up on the concept that "first person left of dealer acts first." Never. Not in the 2 hours I was with him.

In any case, the table was quite dangerous. I could figure out there was one aggressive player who was pretty good (this dude named Joe, although it seemed he got lucky more than he played well). Bobby was sitting to my right, catching good cards and having his hands hold up (which gave him a huge chip lead). Of course, it helped that one of the players he played against though "4 cards make a straight," which really helped Bobby win when he was all-in. The dude from last Tuesday who rivered a boat in a hand he had no business being in was his usual annoying self; overbetting small pots and generally being annoying by acting like Hellmuth (putting on his shades and listening to music when he never had any idea what was going on).

What IS it with people who wear shades? Do you think this makes you a better player? Some people claim that it helps them "hide their tells." Let me tell you something. VERY FEW GOOD PLAYERS RELY ON PHYSICAL TELLS. I'll tell you now when I play, I try to figure out what a player is capable of, and I figure out with betting patterns and what I'm holding and what the pot is what range of hands they have. You wearing shades does not help you in any way.

It really annoys me when people put on shades when they have absolutely no idea what's going on. Or listen to music. I listen to music at the table, but I'm always 100% aware of what's going on at the table.

With that said, let me just say that I also really dislike people who watch too much Rounders and try to incorporate that into their game. Jesus.

In any case, I made a few questionable calls today. I made an overbet into a pot I checked through, which was really weak (I was bluffing). I also made a questionable reraise against a made hand against an opponent I didn't know much about. Note to self: Never make a play at a pot against an opponent you don't know enough about. Most likely they'll be calling stations.

I made a questionable call at the final table; I was second short-stacked and the short stack (roughly 1/2 my chips) went all-in. I figured either he had overcards or he had me beat with high pockets; I really didn't see him making this move with lower pockets. This meant I was anywhere from a 2:1 underdog to a 4:1 underdog. Given the fact that the final table were all full of bullies and I seriously needed chips to play (plus I could eliminate someone), I called with 88. He had 99. And he caught trips. Ouch.

In retrospect, it wasn't a horrible call. I was not getting any good hands, and I was surrounded on both sides by big players (to my right was dead-money "call station" and to my left was the aggressive smart player). For poker strategies, I want to go over my last hand.

Mr. Dead Money to my right calls the $10 BB. I look down at JJ. Now, I have about $50 in chips. What should I do? There are two options:

  • Go all-in there and hope he folds his blind down (note: I didn't think this was likely because I busted him last week and he HAD to be looking for revenge) and get $25, while risking $50.
  • Pay a reasonable raise that will scare everyone else off, with the hope of drawing in Mr. Dead Money into the pot for heads-up action. But, I fully intend to play the JJ straight through regardless of the board since I oinly have $27 left with blinds at $5/$10. It's in essence an all-in, except you KNOW you will be called by Dead Money.

Well, I opted for option two ... and the dude flopped top pair (he had KT and caught his king). Game over.

Damn my short stack; I felt like Pete and Godwin... forced into a corner with at best a mediocre hand, hoping the coin flip lands in my favor.

In conclusion, having no fold equity SUCKS.

Oh yeah, I should preface this by saying that I went on the largest poker rush in my life last night. I pulled all the money out and plan on not playing online for a while (the earnings are SO good I don't want to play! Plus, I have lots to do on Tabby:)

Posted by roy on September 29, 2004 at 12:54 AM in Poker | 2 Comments

I'm thinking of buying this shirt as a total gag (although I have to admit that $24 is a bit too much for a simple gag):

I bet I would become a chick magnet if I wore this... I mean .. come ON... who doesn't love pasty nerdy skinny Asian dudes wearing a macho shirt? WHO, I ASK YOU. WHO?!?!?

Posted by roy on September 29, 2004 at 11:15 PM in Ramblings | 7 Comments
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