Author Archives: lotus

Why Do People Gamble?

Jackpot! At least that is the one word that could sum up most people’s opinion on why people do gamble. But the truth is a lot different. Although, the prospect of winning a gigantic, possibly life-changing sum of money can be a significant motivator, only a small part of gambling includes jackpots. Playing any kind of poker, betting on sports, even most of the online slots don’t have growing jackpots.

There’s a lot of psychology involved in why people gamble. For example, even though a person may be losing in the long run, every small win releases hormones of happiness. Because when you think about it, you may take poker where the majority of pots you win are rather small, or casino games where often your wins will match the double what costs you to take one spin and only rare occasions you will win something significant while may never actually win anything life-changing.William Hill Casino Bet button

Also, gambling is fun. It gives you adrenaline. It may be completely different from racing or skydiving but you’ll still notice that when slots reels stop one by one, your excitement grows because of the chance of hitting it big.  Similarly, in poker when players go all-in, as cards are dealt one by one any player experiences a rainbow of emotions.  Or take sports betting. When you know that one goal, one shot can be the difference between you winning or losing may be extremely exciting.

Naturally, every game developer, every casino operator knows the aspects of psychology that attract people to play their games in the first place. Take William Hill Casino, for example. Despite the fact that this casino room offers very big bonus, the first impression might be a bit misleading, as the casino page looks pretty simplistic. But in truth, every color is selected carefully, the top games include a variety of simple slots, jackpot games and live casino games while switching to poker, sports betting or other pages is only one click away.

NetBet Casino Overview (Insights)

I have been playing online casino games, since I was a teenager. I found that one of the best casino rooms to play online is NetBet.

The NetBet Casino is a very known in the Online Gaming Industry. I can tell, the page has a new appearance, but the high-quality games have not been changed and NetBet is still for fun and professional processes. Read fully detalized NetBet Casino Review at CasinoSmash!

VICK PLEADING GUILTY

Michael Vick, formerly the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons (ok, soon-to-be formerly – and not soon enough), will plead guilty to dogfighting and other Federal charges next Monday in Federal court, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in his federal dogfighting case and will enter his guilty plea during a court hearing next Monday, his attorney said. Taking the plea deal potentially jeopardizes his NFL career.

“Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to these charges and to accept full responsibility for those actions and for the mistakes he has made,” Billy Martin, Vick’s attorney, said in a statement issued Monday afternoon. “Michael wishes to apologize to everyone who has been hurt by this matter.”

….

The Falcons also issued a statement today.

“We are certainly troubled with the news today concerning Michael Vick’s guilty plea to federal charges. It is our understanding that the terms of Michael’s plea will not be available until next Monday, August 27. Additionally, Commissioner Goodell has asked us not to take any action until he has completed his own review of Michael’s situation. Accordingly, we will have no further comment until that time.”

This is one lifetime Falcons fan that hopes Michael Vick is immediately released from this team as soon as his guilty plea is entered. There is no room in the Falcons organization – or society at large for that matter – for a convicted dog fighter and dog killer. His actions disgust me. He brings dishonor to the Falcons organization and the NFL.

The sooner this scumbag is gone, the better. I am ready for him to go to jail, and for my Falcons to move on, put this behind them, and for the honorable players and organization to get about the business of playing some football.

And Vick? May your ass rot in jail. Bastard.

Community Question: What templates do you want today?

Awhile back my cohort-in-crime, Bob Balaban, asked a great question – Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?. When he told me he was going to do this I first did what you did – laughed :). Then I told him his question was wrong – he told me it was the question he wanted to ask, so it was right for him. I said it was wrong. Right. Wrong. Right. Then we stuck our tongues out at each other and moved on.

OK, not really, but close – and you get the idea. In reality, he did make a valid point – it was the question he wanted to ask, to get the answers he was looking for. And he suggested that if I wanted to ask a different question, I start my own damn blog and ask my own damn question my own damn self.

HEY, wait a minute….!

Well, I decided to do just that. I haven’t made much about this lately – mainly because I wasn’t sure how much of this was going to be true – but it appears that, more or less, Bob and I are going to be working together again, somewhat, on some kewl stuff. Things like future stuff. Stuff that has to do with Web development in Domino – and development in Notes/Domino in general. Me? I specifically will be concentrating on templates.

NO, stop right there, Skippy. NOT the PIM application templates (i.e. Mail, Calendar&Scheduling, Contacts). More like, well, the other stuff.

And that brings me to this post. We’re at the ground floor here, so I’m fishing for ideas. And while I have some swimming around in my own bigassed noggin, I know that there are many, many more ideas swimming around out there in your own noggins of various shapes and sizes.

So, here is my question to you, gentle Domino geek:

Sometime in the foreseeable future, you anxiously “open” your new version of Notes (some-future-version). You eagerly look at the “What’s New?” section of the documentation (because you do read the documentation, right?), and you are completely STOKED to find out that they have the following five templates included in Notes! Woohoo!!

  1. (template one name is….)
  2. (template two name is….)
  3. (template three name is….)
  4. (template four name is….)
  5. (template five name is….)

So, what are these five templates? They can be existing templates; they can be completely new templates that we’ve never thought of before. I expect them to be things that, maybe, you just automatically build for yourself every time you go to a new job. Or maybe you wish you had a lot. I am very confident that one of them is a completely revamped and modernized Discussion/Forum template that shows off what we’re capable of and is something that would make you proud to call yourself a Domino Developer (not the current template that’s not very useful at all).

I also want to make an important distinction between my question and Bob’s – Bob asked about existing and Web; I have neither one of these restrictions. I want to know about ANY template that may be useful or interesting to you, Notes and/or Web, new and/or existing.

So, there’s your task. Please give it some considered thought, and give me your best.

Thanks!

Rock
**I lost about 500 pounds since I stopped exaggerating.

Death becomes us: your thoughts on the human body

I was going to do a post on the first day of school – today is the first day of school here where I live (YAY!), but as I was driving my ever-more impressive 13 year-old daughter Kelsey to school she and I had a most interesting conversation – and as most interesting conversations do, it has inspired a blog post. The conversation began modestly enough – about a topic-of-the-day, namely the tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota. The local radio station was talking about the rescue divers finding more dead bodies in the water. She commented on how – let’s see, what were the exact words she used, in 13-yr-old-speak? “EWWW, NASTY!! that would be!!” I recounted a story of how, many years ago I was a part of a volunteer Search & Rescue squad in south Georgia (when I co-owned a dive store) and I had experience finding a dead body first-hand – and that it wasn’t a big deal. I mean, after all, at that point it is just a meat sack. It is no different than finding a bigassed dead fish in the water, when you think about it.

You would think that a) I would have said that for shock value (I didn’t) and b) that Kelsey would have freaked out at that statement (she didn’t). Those of you who have met Kelsey, and who know me, know better. Kelsey is, without question, one of the brightest and most thoughtful 13 year olds I have ever met – and I am not just saying that because she is my daughter. She takes in and measures everything she hears – she delights in “new input”, and she knows that I don’t give her new input for no reason (OK, sometimes I do just for fun, but in this case she knew that I had a purpose – that I was going somewhere with it).

So, we began a conversation about the human body and the “stigma” and superstition placed upon it by our society. I could see the wheels turning and the lights going off in her heads – new pathways were firing in that head of hers, and I gotta say there is no greater joy to me than when I see her thinking in ways she’s never thought before. We reached the school, and we were at the point of discussing my own body at my death – she asked, “so, when you die?” I said, “Honey, you can cut me up and feed me to the dogs. What matters is what we – you and I – shared together when we lived – not what happens to this meat sack when I am dead. I promise you, I won’t care.” And with that, she giggled and got out of the car for school.

Now, I’d like to continue this conversation here, because I do think it is an interesting one – not only for atheists like me, but for religious folks as well. For instance, I know that there are strict rules about the handling of the dead amongst those of the Jewish faith; I also understand the reasoning behind this from a historical perspective, because the priests at the time figured out that if you left those damn dead stinking rotting corpses lying around there were much higher incidences of disease, so they – excuse me, God – came up with strict rules about the timing and ritual of dead disposal. Smart stuff (actually many of the rules in the Jewish faith are the reason why they have survived so long – there is a great deal of wisdom in those rules, when put in the perspective of the times). But what about other faiths? Or your personal views?

Now, this next part I posted about briefly in 2005, but I am going to bring it up again, since this really is a different context.

I am not talking about all the extra crap around a death – the funeral, etc. We all know that a funeral is for the living – the dead could care less, because, let’s face it, they’re dead. Funerals allow families and loved ones to gain closure on their loss. I get that.

But after a person is dead – their human spirit is gone, they’ve shuffled off their mortal coil, etc. – you’re simply left with a decomposing meat sack, to be brutally honest. What is our hang-up with what happens to that meat sack? It seems to me what is important is the life we live – not what happens to our rotting corpse.

Oh, and what the hell is with the concept of PRESERVING your body after you’re dead? That, folks, is freaky.

WARNING:The next portion of this bloglet is going to be GRAPHIC. I am going to discuss decomposing bodies and other nastiness. If you have a weak stomach, move along. You have been warned.

What is up with this whole interment and imbalment thing? Now I know there are some faiths that require burial of the body – Judaism is one, I believe – but overall I don’t get it. You’re dead – remember the whole “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” thing? Why in the world would anyone want to inject preservatives into their corpse, then hermetically seal it in not one but two airtight containers (the coffin and the sarcophagus)? Why would you want to preserve the corpse? Oh, and let’s clear up that “preserve” misnomer as well. A body that is embalmed and sealed in a coffin and sarcophagus is not “preserved”. When processed this way a corpse goes through a process (autolysis and putrifaction) where it is converted to a predominately alkaline state known as adipocere, or “grave wax“.

Let me put that into layman’s terms. An embalmed and interred body gets converted to, well, soap.

I mean, I would get it if you let the mortician do some type of preservation, such as an embalming, to preserve and enhance the body for a viewing – if the viewing/service isn’t going to be for a few days after death. But why the airtight coffin and crypt? Why impede the natural process of letting the corpse return to the earth? Why not simply get planted in a pine box (ok, make it pretty if you want, but not such that it won’t break down), and let nature do what nature does?

I just don’t get it – in MY opinion attempts to preserve a body (especially if it is your own wishes) is vainglorious. Why not be buried in such a way as to break down naturally as quickly as possible – obviously within health codes? Me personally, I am going to be cremated (or, as mentioned earlier, Kelsey can feed me to the dogs :) ). But, my question remains – I want to understand the reasoning and thought process behind preserving a body after you’re dead – why?

So, if you have an opinion, or can explain this to me, please do so.

Rock
**If you ever catch on fire, avoid looking in a mirror. I’d bet that’s what REALLY throws you into a panic.

Perverted Justice, and an article about them

Awhile back I started watching a show on NBC called NBC Dateline: To Catch a Predator. This show is riveting – they basically set up a sting operation whereby they they create underage personas in chatrooms online, and these sick pedophiles contact them. The pedophiles then agree to come over to hook up with these underage personas to have sex with them – and the cops and cameras are waiting for them. These perverts are truly sick – and I love that theyare getting caught and busted.

I have watched many more of these episodes – they have done quite a few of them now, all over the nation, and I have learned a bit more. First, they are now done in a coordinated effort between NBC Dateline, the local law enforcement for the area where the sting is going to take place, and an internet watchdog group known as Perverted-Justice. Perverted-Justice provides the online personas and consulting and the liasons with law enforcement, and eventually they provide the evidene that is used to convict these perverts. After a bit more research I found out that they have a 100% conviction rate – pretty impressive.

As a father of five kids, I have been doing a bit more reading and research on Perverted-Justice. What they do strikes a chord with me – I have two teenage daughters, and the fact that these folks are out there busting their tails to try and deter/prevent/catch these sickos means a great deal to me. So, I have been reading up on them, both the good stuff and any detractors I can find. I must say that the bulk of the coverage I have found on them has been overwhelmingly positive. Of course there has been some stuff that is negative – there always will be when you’re working in such a hot-button topic area as this – but their results speak for themselves.

There was one artilce I found yesterday – a short piece I found in the Times-Journal of Fort Payne, Alabama (ahh, the joys of Google News :) ). The piece is entitled, innocently enough, No predators starts with parents by Greg Purvis. However it becomes evident quite early on that this piece is not journalism, but is instead an op-ed piece – and it isn’t very good at that. I’m going to break down the misstatements and correct them for you, and show you how even a little bit of fact checking would have made this quite a different piece altogether…

The “Perverted Justice” volunteers (a fitting name, as very little actual justice meted out) are folks who fish around for hours in teen chat rooms (which has to be about as exciting as a root canal) waiting for someone to take the bait. While waiting on the proverbial dirty old man to type some sexual innuendo, Hanson is busy reading his fan mail.

Wow, that pretty much sets the tone for this piece, doesn’t it? Also, if Mr. Purvis had simply checked the FAQ he would have found that a) the Perverted-Justice team never sets any “bait” (unless you count their mere presence as “bait”), and it takes only minutes, not hours to get a response. From the FAQ:

Do you contact the men or do they contact you?
We have an official “rules of engagement” that we train contributors in once they are selected. One of those rules is that unless asked to in the chat, always let the male PM you. That way they can’t cry that the “kid” messaged them in IM first, they have to take the first step. Often, just entering a chat room is enough to get 3-10 instant messages at once without having to say anything in the main chat room area.

We are philosophically against anyone or any organization that contacts people first as underage personas. There is no reason to do that when online predators are so numerous and motivated to contact what they think is a 10-15 year old male or female first. We want predatory threats and we are happy to wait as long as it takes to find them. Sadly, that doesn’t take very long.

OK, let’s see what else Mr. Purvis has to say…

The bad guys are arguably the most maligned group of people on earth. Perhaps the “creepy uncle” demographic might feel a little put-upon, but the show cashes in on a perfect formula: Find a bad guy everybody hates.

WHAT WHAT WHAT? I’m sorry, but how can you “malign” a friggin’ PEDOPHILE? That means to make evil or untrue statements about someone; pedophilesare evil. Did I miss something? Does Mr. Purvis have sympathy for them? WTF?

Sigh. Moving on…

Hanson and his Dateline overlords are pushing the line perilously close to entrapment. Not as a public service, either – though that is precisely what we are supposed to believe. But simply to create an admittedly compelling story. Oh, and to sell advertising. Almost slipped my mind.

OK, there are a couple of things in this bit that I want to address. First, the ludicrous entrapment statement. Let’s start by clearing up exactly what entrapment is, shall we?

entrapment (from dictionary.com): 1.the luring by a law-enforcement agent of a person into committing a crime.

So, right off the bat, in order for it to be entrapment, it has to be carried out by law enforcement. Perverted-Justice, or NBC, are NOT law enforcement. Second, it has to be an offering so tempting that the person can’t turn it down. Like, say, a 60″ plasma TV that “fell off a truck” for $200. That’s entrapment. Sex with a 13 year old, even if she’s throwing herself at the adult, can NEVER be entrapment, ever. EVER.

And of course Perverted-Justice has something in their FAQ about this as well, as it seems they get this question all the time too. Let’s see what they have to say…

Is it entrapment?
To the people who like to make that claim, let’s deal with an analogy real quick. Pretend that there is a twelve year old sitting in a park dancing around and asking older males for sex. Yes, that extreme of a situation. What should the male say? Yes, or no? Is the prospect of an underage kid so irresistible that we now consider a willing underage kid to be so persuasive that a male can’t do anything but say yes? Get real.

So are the files we post “entrapment”? No. Not on any level. First, entrapment is a term created and judiciated against law enforcement officials. We are not law enforcement officials. Secondly, these people IM our names first. We don’t IM them. They choose to say the things they say, to agree to the things they agree to, and to give their phone number for the verification call. Entrapment is a situation where you go out of your way to entice a citizen as law enforcement to commit a crime they otherwise would not commit. For example, if a department sent around female police pretending to be prostitutes to knock on the doors of private citizens offering sex, that’s entrapment. We don’t do the figurative “knocking on doors.” Rather we sit, wait, and allow them to knock upon our online “door.” And when they do, they’re in for a surprise. As the law states regarding entrapment, the defense fails when it can be shown that the person being charged had a predisposition to the crime in question. Nobody can argue who knows anything about the law in any honest fashion that those we get arrested are not predisposed to attempting the crime they do.
Dozens and dozens and dozens of convictions… zero successful entrapment defenses.

So once again Mr. Purvis has no idea what he is talking about – and as a journalist you would think he would have taken just a little bit of time to research his article before writing it, especially before throwing around fairly serious accusations like entrapment.

The second part of the blockquote that I wanted to address was the “selling advertising” smarmy comment. OK, so NBC is selling advertising. OH my gosh, you mean they want to make a buck or two off of their show?!? Horror of horrors! You know what? I don’t begrudge them wanting to make some money – and if two purposes can be served – putting pedophiles in jail AND making NBC a buck or two – then even more better.

But there is one other thing I’d like to point out. I read an article (I am trying to find it, but can’t right now – dang it!) that stated that Perverted-Justice schedules these stings whether the media shows up or not. In fact, something similar is stated here in their FAQ:

OMG I read that you guys get a consulting fee from Dateline NBC! Shenanigans!
Yep, we do. When you watch the “To Catch a Predator” stings, you’re not watching to hear about us. We’re not the focus of the story. We haven’t been the focus of the story since the first episode of TCAP. The story on To Catch a Predator is… catching predators and who they are, not who we are. We did the first three TCAP’s without a consulting fee. Then we realized a few things…

“Hey, we can’t keep our site up and we’re all barely scraping by month to month.”
“Hey, we’re not the story.”
“Hey, every TCAP that airs, we get deluged with hits and we don’t have the staff to grow.”
“Hey, everyone else, from the police arresting the predators to the cameraman operating the surveillance to the security protecting Chris Hansen to Chris Hansen himself to the movers of all the gear to the producers on scene to the person who owns the house to… well, everyone except ourselves and the predators are being compensated for this massive amount of effort.”

After we realized all these facts, we did what any sane people would, negotiated for a consulting fee. We’re not the story and our work is world-class quality. That doesn’t mean that all we do are stings with Dateline, we do just as many police stings WITHOUT Dateline that we do with them… and nobody gives us a dime in regards to those stings.

Still not convinced? Consider the fact that for the first three years of the website, we didn’t take in a dime, not from media nor from donations.

So, as you can see they do this all the time, whether they get paid or not.

Conclusion
Why did I do this? Well, I am interested in the work that Perverted-Justice does. I found this article when I was searching around, and I thought it was stupid enough that I just had to respond. I think I’ll try to volunteer some time to work with Perverted-Justice – I like the idea of what they do, and I think I have something to offer. But even if I don’t shoddy journalism pisses me off, and I thought I’d take a few moments and point it out.

Rock
**The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage

MY first Lotusphere 2008 post!

I say MY first Lotusphere 2008 (LP08 for short) post because my cohort in crime, Ed Brill, has already beaten me to the punch with his first post :). And as he mentioned, I am writing this first post to gather ideas for my track as I have done in years past – yes, I am honored to have been asked to head up the Best Practices track once again (among other things), and I have most gladly accepted.

But before I get to that, let me go ahead and let you know a couple of things. First, (as Ed mentioned) the Call for Abstracts will go out earlier this year than in years past – you should expect to see that call for abstracts sometime around mid August. Second, we’ll accept abstracts until around the middle-to-end of September, and then the content team will begin working through them to build tracks containing the high-quality content you’ve grown to expect and appreciate.

Now let’s talk about my favorite subject – Best Practices. I am beginning to put my thoughts together about themes or target topics that I want for this year’s track, and this is a great time for you, my esteemed audience (and target attendees) to help “shape my head” regarding what you want to see. So, let me give you some things to help guide you in your suggestions.

First, here’s last year’s (Lotusphere 2007) track description. This year’s track description will be something similar, but for those of you who are new to Lotusphere, this will let you know the general idea of the Best Practices track.

Audience: Business and IT managers, application developers, system administrators and integrators

You slave away every day, honing those mad geek skillz so that you can be the best geek possible. However, you know there’s probably a better, quicker, more elegant way to do what you do – there always is. The Best Practices track is your chance to learn from the best of the best the proven ways to do what you do better than ever before. This track is by the best geeks in the field, for the geeks in the field – and this is your opportunity to learn their secret code ninja ways to bring your mad skillz to a new level. So, be the best you can be, and spend this week picking the brains of the best there is.

Now that you know what the track is about, let me give you some other points to think about:

  • First, remember that this is the year of Notes/Domino 8. I imagine it will be everywhere at LP08. Traditionally, the Best Practices track has been focused on the “widely deployed” releases of our products – so for instance last year we focused on Notes/Domino 6.x and 7.x, plus the related products. Since LP08 is about Notes/Domino 8, do you want to see more “new” product content in the Best Practices track?
  • We have many new products out besides Notes/Domino 8 – Quickr, Connections, Sametime, Portal, etc. Do you want to see some Best Practices sessions around these products as well?
  • Each year we have added more and more admin content to the Best Practices track – last year it was almost a 50-50 split between dev and admin – and I must say that the admin sessions are consistently packed, and consistently get great reviews. Is the 50-50 mix a good ratio? It seemed to work well last year, but I am open to input.
  • Last year we added more “generic” Best Practices content – things like low-fidelity prototyping, UI design, business controls, project management, and so on. These sessions seemed to be pretty popular. Did you like these sessions? Do you want to see these types of sessions again in the mix? More? Less?
  • We are going to continue to push for a great deal of new content this year, just like last year. What “new” stuff do you want to see covered?
  • And finally, the “catch-all” question: What else do you want to suggest for the Best Practices track – do you have any other ideas I haven’t mentioned? I’m open to anything and everything at this point!

That should get you started, and give you some stuff to think about. Your input means a great deal to me, and I promise to give each and every suggestion careful consideration. The Best Practices track has been one of, if not (arguably) the most popular tracks at Lotusphere, each year of its existence – and it is because of you, and your input and participation, that it has done so. With your help, this year’s Best Practices track will once again be the best Lotusphere has to offer.

Thanks in advance for your input – I can’t wait to see what you’re thinking! In the coming weeks I’ll make some suggestions to help you craft and submit your abstracts – so stay tuned!

Rock
**Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards. –Fred Hoyle