Month: August 2010

More on Politics

I’ve been looking forward to reading the political news over the last few days, now that the Colorado primaries have ended. As I’ve mentioned before, I found the Colorado governor’s race particularly entertaining. Between McInnis’ plagiarism and Maes’ campaign finance violations and inane comments (he recently announced that Denver’s bike-sharing program is a threat to personal freedoms and could be part of a UN plot), the Republican party didn’t really have any good candidates, so I can’t¬†really blame the thousands of people who voted in the Republican primary but didn’t bother to check a box in the gubernatorial race. The undervote was so severe that Jane Norton, who lost the GOP Senate primary to Ken Buck, received more votes than Dan Maes, who won the primary for governor. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when more polls start coming out and Maes and Tancredo get busy calling on each other to drop out of the race; the last I heard, Hickenlooper was beating Maes 50-38 if Tancredo drops out, 48-23 if Tancredo stays in (in which case Tancredo gets 22 percent of the vote). ¬†Between the two of them, they can almost catch him! One wonders whether they’ll be spending time attacking each other as well as Hickenlooper. On the national scene, the GOP (which has been filibustering…well…basically everything on the grounds of not wanting to...

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Upgrading Old Sites to WordPress

I have a book review site that I’ve been updating on and off for over half a decade now; in fact, out of curiosity, I looked up the original (part particularly good!) 2004 design in the Wayback Machine. I’ve gone through, I believe, three different HTML editors, starting with NetObjects Fusion and eventually upgrading to Dreamweaver; my wife actually created the last design. The site never seemed to get updated much, though, partially because it’s a pain to do. Enter WordPress! A quick installation, a few minutes moving over some of my reviews, and bingo..a shiny new site that couldn’t be easier to update! While I’m in the process of learning to create my own themes (the plan is that Brit will design new WordPress themes and I will code them), for now I used one of the free themes available on the net. It’s not exactly what I want – if nothing else, where are way too many links on the main page (although that may have changed by the time you read this, as I’ll be doing a bit of editing) but it works, was easy to install, and it looks good. Why am I ramping this up now? I’ve recently been added to the list of regular reviewers with O’Reilly, so I’ll be getting a number of books from them; I’ve been wanting to get into...

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The Odds in Las Vegas, or Never Give a Sucker an Even Break

I’m not big on gambling, but one game I enjoy is Video Poker. The nice thing about it is that, with proper play, the house advantage is very small; less than half a percent. And it’s exciting! Well…the house advantage is small if you can find the traditional 9/6 JoB…which I never could, after checking every video poker machine at the Paris and many of the other machines in Vegas. (Another reason to go off the strip next time, I suppose!) JoB stands for Jacks or Better, in which you win if you have at least a pair of jacks. You get five cards, redraw between zero and five of them, and make your best poker hand. A pair of jacks gets you your bet back, and it goes up from there, with a Royal Flush on a 5-coin bet paying off 4,000 coins. The 9/6 refers to the payoff on boats and flushes; a boat (or full house) pays nine coins and a flush pays six. Unfortunately, while the rules for JoB are the same for every machine, the payoffs aren’t. With the exception of a row of 8/6 machines I found in the Paris Champaign Slots, every machine I saw was 8/5 or worse. Most people will just start playing without bothering to check, which means they’re very likely to end up with a 7/5 machine…great for...

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