*Sigh* Internet Gambling

Another brilliant example of our government at work: Banks: Planned Net-gambling curb could disrupt e-commerce

My favorites:

The 2006 law forces banks and other financial intermediaries to police money flows that could be related to Internet gambling. It never received a formal up or down vote in the entire Congress; instead, Republican congressional leaders simply glued it on to an unrelated port security bill that was approved nearly unanimously.

Got to love the largely libertarian Ron Paul. I wish more of our politicians thought about things this way:

Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-minded Republican candidate for president, said that could lead to more Internet regulation: “Though I do not endorse gambling per se, people should make their own decisions. It’s a personal choice. I’ve always been concerned about this type of regulation and legislation–it’s likely to open the door (to control and regulation) of the Internet itself.”

And, the one issue I agree with Barney Frank on:

Rep. Barney Frank, the Democratic chairman of the full House Financial Services Committee, used the chance to talk up his bill that would effectively legalize–but closely regulate, including with criminal background checks and financial disclosure–the online gambling industry.

Why can’t we have a govenment that acknowledges personal responsibility?

WordPress Upgrade

I just upgraded to a new version of WordPress (2.3.3) from a really old one (2.0.x). Mostly because the old one was giving me issues embedding a flash app for Duels Defense. It’s mostly been good. I only have two issues:

  • It randomly inserted all over my old posts. What’s up with that? Can anyone tell me how to get rid of this because it makes all my old posts look like crap and it would take forever to go back and edit them.
  • The new interface isn’t quite as good as the old one for writing posts. They should check out confluence – it’s awesome. (It’s an enterprise wiki – we use for all our internal stuff at Challenge Games.)

So my apologizes for the weird stuff in the old posts. Although if people are reading them they are probably deep linked or Google search results anyway, so they won’t see this. Ah well.

Disappointments and Elections

I am rapidly beginnging to feel like there is no possible good outcome in the upcoming election. I’m also beginning to feel like government bureaucracy and inertia is going to kill our country.

This article about the $53 trillion asteroid is a pretty depressing look at our grand retirment (cough cough entitlement) system and how it’s screwed. I’ve been reading a lot about this recently. I should have linked more of it. One article said we should have turned the social security fund into a sovereign wealth fund – which is a brilliant idea. However, I can’t seem to find the article.

Anyway, on to the other topic. I had been leaning strongly toward voting for Obama. I voted for him in the Texas primaries – the first time I’ve ever voted for a democrat. However, I’ll admit that I was swayed by the whole preacher incident. I’m not a huge fan of religious influence in government to begin with, but Obama calls this guy his “spirtual advisor.” Which, even if the guy wasn’t over the top, is disturbing. Although this is even worse, since from what I have read Jerimiah Wright is just plan nuts. It’s note like you can just ignore this either, Obama has been going to his church for 20 years – he had to know this person’s opinions, especially given the spritual advisor stuff. It’s just a sign of bad judgement and bad people selection. (Which are probably also the root causes of the failure of current administration.)

Anyway, this article (The Audacity of Rhetoric) was pretty interesting. It was written by Thomas Sowell at the Hoover Institute / Stanford. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in this column, but it’s definitely a point of view worth considering.

I haven’t written Obama off yet, but this thing has certainly killed off my enthusiasm. I went to a rally and even met him while he was in Texas – so I definitely put in some effort. The whole situation really disappoints me.

It’s a shame to put this in a negative post, but hey:

Obama Busey

I will say Obama certainly has charisma and gravitas.

Democrats vs. Republicans: The Worst of Both Worlds

Democrats Republicans Me
Socialist Leaning Free Market Capitalism R
Big Government Small Govermnent R
Big Spending Fiscal Conservatism R
Socially Liberal Socially Conservative D
Secular Religious messages D

The high-level positions are broad and represent the traditional positions. They are changing – for example the Republicans aren’t doing a particularly good job on the small goverment and fiscal conservatism fronts right now. And the democrats are starting to pander to the religious crowd.

Where-oh-where is a good party:

  • Understands and supports capitalism and free markets.
  • Keeps a leash on government spending.
  • Keeps the government small – bureaucracies are never effective.
  • Let’s people basically do what they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
  • Doesn’t push a religious agenda down people’s throats. (Yeah, like an abstinence policy is ever going to accomplish anything.)
  • Never mentions religion.

The biggest thing for me is:


If someone messes it up – it’s their fault. Don’t bail them out, let them take their lumps and grow and move on. And for the love of god get rid of the tons of lawyers out there suing our soceity into oblivion. If someone spills hot coffee on themselves – it’s not McDonald’s fault, it’s the persons fault. This type of crap is just getting out of hand.

That’s probably the biggest reason why I lean toward Obama. He at least acknowledges the personal responsibility issue. And he did it at the one rally I attended. Anyway, I think this is possibly the single biggest issue facing the future of our country. If people don’t take responsibility for their actions then we’re screwed. We will become a soceity afraid to take risks, afraid to go outside, and afraid to interact – all while looking over our shoulders waiting to see if we are about to get sued.


Vice President Clinton

I think I’ve said this before, but I’m not a big fan of Hillary. This article:

Political Perceptions: Vice President Clinton?

Is interesting. And scary… to me at least.

I’m not a Democrat. I used to be a Republican, but they’ve so sold out to the religious right / evangelicals that they horrify me now. So I’m kind of screwed. See my next post for more info.

Anyway, as one of the undecided this would be a huge mistake for Obama. Right now I’m leaning towards voting for him. (I did vote for him in the Texas primary.) However, I WOULD NOT vote for Obama / Hillary.

Hillary just seems fake and plastic to me. Like she’ll say anything to get elected. I know she’s smart, but she just seems to lack common sense and vision. I read something comparing here to that overachiever in the front row who always raises their hand for every question – that resonated with me. (I’d cite it but I can’t remember where I saw it.) Anyway, she has booksmarts but no passion or vision.

I also think it would be a shame if we elected someone because of their spouse and that seems to be the main reason most people are voting for her. And maybe because Rush Limbaugh told them to.

And if McCain picks Huckabee as his running mate.. I guess then I’ll be screwed because I refuse to vote for them either. The last thing we need is a former preacher as Vice President – that will do wonders for the perception of the country around the world.

Hillary Clinton: Woman of Action! (NOT)

Let me be upfront: I’m not particularly excited about any of our choices this year. Although I think they might be less appalling than the last one… but I’m not entirely sold on that yet.

Anyway this is a quote from Hillary (Clinton looks to stop Obama in aftermath of 10 losses):

“We need to make a choice between speeches and solutions, because while words matter greatly, the best words in the world aren’t enough unless you match them with action.”

And this choice (ah the irony) sound bite:

“It is time to get real,” Clinton said, “to get real about how we actually win this election… It is time to move from good words to good works — from sound bites to sound solutions.”

WTF. She was a First Lady and a junior senator. Full time, permanent politician. What has she ever done? (BTW, I’m not suggesting some of the other candidates have done anything more, but given the crap she is spouting is silly in that context.) I just want to puke everytime I read these speeches. They are so full of shit that it is unbelievable. I wonder if they actually believe the crap that comes out of their mouths.

Like “Hilary the Christian” and “Hilary the Woman of Action”…. I’ll add “Hilary the Plastic Doll”. Anyway, I just find all this stuff both very hypocritical and very fake.

Brief digression: it also pisses me off that these senators get to run around and IGNORE their real job – ie: miss votes – to run for president. If you want to run for president you should have to resign from Congress – make it mean something. If you cared about the people who elected you to that position you’d do that and let them get the representation they deserve.

I’m not sure about Obama and McCain is a bit of a wildcard, but at least they’re both passionate and mostly real (I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “real” presidential candidate). So I hope we get one of them. Or better yet maybe Bloomberg will run – he’s the only candidate I think I could really get excited about.

However, I think I might to go to an Obama function tomorrow – maybe even get a chance to meet him. It will be my first ever donation to a Democratic candidate, but I think it’s worth taking a look.



So a long time ago I worked on a movie. Today I went to see my IMDB entry, thinking maybe I might up my coolness factor by adding my IMDB link to my blog. So it turns out that my star meter is up 134% in the last week! When I click “find out why” it turns out I have to be an IMDB member… alas. I will wildly speculate that it has something to do with pageviews on that particular page (at least that might be how I would do it if I ran IMDB) or some aggregate mentions in some kind of press tracking thing (which would be harder).

Anyway, check out The Cooler (IMDB) if you haven’t already!


There has been a lot of talk about Mac vs. Windows recently. I think I might have posted about switching to Mac OS X previously. So before I continue, I want to say I love Apple – especially its industrial design… and most of its software. I have an Apple Cinema Display, an Apple TV, an iPhone, and a bunch of iPods (that I never use).

I love the MacBook Pro as an industrial design triumph. I still remain confused as to why not a single PC maker can make a laptop of similar quality, form factor, and aesthetic. I mean it is the same exact stuff. In fact, I used Boot Camp + XP for about 9 months and never booted into Mac OS X. It was a little annoying to have to carry a 2 button mouse around, the keyboard had some minor issues, but other than that it worked great.

So I switched to Mac OS X along with all my new co-workers at Challenge Games. It worked ok.

However, there are several things that really, really annoyed me about the Mac OS X. It’s like they had to do some things a certain way just to be different. And in this case different isn’t good or better, it’s just obnoxious and inconvenient. Like the CTRL key, ALT key, and Apple Keys. They are just different enough that using keyboard shortcuts on a Mac and Windows gets really confusing. Why? Totally unnecessary. I suspect it was someone at Apple deciding they couldn’t be the same as Windows. Who cares? Make it easy to switch. The home and end keys do weird things too. I know not everyone uses keyboard shortcuts for everything, but making them different just to be different is annoying. If they really want people to switch they should offer a Windows keyboard mapping option that make things do what we’re used to them doing. I guess that’s the Microsoft monopoly advantage. (I once heard something similar about Heinz Ketchup, but that’s a different story and would require me to go do some research…. maybe I’ll get around to it.)

Microsoft did a good job on one of the other major issues: Office. I actually really like Office 2007. It changed the interface a little (annoying), but mostly made things better and more efficient. On the Mac you’re stuck with a really old Office with a weird interface (Mac-ized) or the new iWork suite. Let me be clear on my opinion of iWork – it sucks. Numbers is horrible… to the point of being useless (IMO… lot’s of reasons that I’m not going to go into for now.)

Another thing about Mac OS X is its organizational model. Somehow I always ended up with a billion files on my desktop. Maybe that makes it easy for a novice, but man it was hard to ever find anything. My Documents might not be brilliant, but it works. I also find, particulalry in Vista, that the ability to organize files (save them in the right places, create folders at the right times, etc.) is just much better.

Then there is a the one button mouse. Don’t get me started on that.

So the end result of this is that I switched back. I got a Dell XPS M1330. (Ah the elegant naming systems of Windows PCs… that could use some work.) It’s a great computer. I’m really enjoying it a lot more than the MacBook Pro. I like Vista. I really like Office 2007.

My only gripe with the M1330 is the construction could be a little better. Frankly I wish Dell would just hire Ideo or someone to make a spectacular laptop that competes with the MacBook Pro. (Not the MacBook Air… Also there is a new 15″ Alienware laptop, but they made it to big.)

Speaking of MacBook Air, I’m confused. I bet they break. Several of my friends commented that when they heard I didn’t want one they were immediately predicting failure. I have an addiction to acquiring any new shiny technology. But, for some reason, have no real interest in the Air.

I am, however, in the market for a desktop. Alienware and Dell are really pissing me off. The Alienware I want doesn’t have an nVidia version and has a late March ship date. The Dell version ships next week but isn’t overclocked and, well, isn’t as cool as an Alienware. They are marketing this new XPS 630 that might be cool but building hype for a PC too far in advance seems like a dumb marketing move.

I just want a really high powered desktop that is quiet. My current desktop (Dell Workstation) is really noisy and is getting a little old so I’m looking to upgrade.

Well Im going to stop my midnight rambling for a bit.