Sunday, December 31, 2006

Which Superhero Are You?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

The Flash
Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

You can't alway get what you want

Both the WPBT and Pokerworks have announced that they intend to run Blogger tournaments on Sunday evenings. Well, Sunday evening if you are in the States. Monday morning if you are in Europe. I'd love to play, but when you've got work on Monday, starting a poker tournament at 2:30am is a non-starter. I could just about deal with a 7:30 EST (12:30am GMT) start. I probably wouldn't be playing for long anyway!

My play continues to vary in quality. I am still making some stupid calls. I also seem to be going through a long period of being totally card dead. It's guaranteed at the moment that If I'm holding AQ suited I get a flop of K rag rainbow. But I shouldn't really blame the cards - I'm not making the most of what I get. Need to keep my concentration up.


Got "Thud", the latest Terry Pratchett paperback for Christmas. Finished it by the 30th. Actually read most of it by the end of Boxing Day. Its another book featuring the City Watch, which are far and away my favorite Discworld books.

Mr Vimes is now a family man, and without fail, must be home by 6pm to read to his son. In amongst this he has to deal with the aniversary of the Battle of Koom Valley, which is stirring up all the dwarfs and trolls in the city.

I won't spoil the story for anyone (if anyone is reading this!) but would just say - buy this book now. Its another fabulous Discworld story.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Round and Round

My poker play seems to be horribly cyclical - I play a particular format, I have some repeated success at it, and then I start to lose!

Trying to look at it dispassionately, I think I have put my finger on the problem - Confidence. As I gain confidence, my play seems to loosen up - the tight-aggressive play that brought me success in the first place goes out of the window - I see more flops. call more raises, get involved more. Of course receiving some fracking awful cards like I did last night never helps, and people calling my KK all-in (flop 752 rainbow), they show 8 10 off suit, and turn and rive bring 6 9! But enough of blaming the cards - When I'm playing well I can make something of crap cards, when I'm playing too loose, the best cards are useless, as I devalue them by playing too many marginal hands.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sit 'N' Go Format

After mixed results at the single table SNGs, I have been playing two table six handed SNGs on CD Poker (part of the same network as Titan, amongst others), and have been rather pleased with the results - played 6, won 4, placed second in 1. Real shame about the second place, because there is a jackpot paid out for winning 4 in a row! The short handed games seem to suit me in tournaments, whilst in ring games I seem to do better with a full table. Because there are 12 entries, the prize money is worthwhile.

I have modified my SNG playing style, making use of tips in postings by Joanne and Gary. What I was particularly pleased with in these games was my heads up play. In the past, I've alternated between limping and all-in. In these games if I entered a hand it was with a raise, if I had nothing worth playing I folded my small blind. As Gary says in his post, eventually the opponents get frustrated and throw everything at you, and you snap them off. Of course if I'm running short of time then I'll push with any half decent hand and hope to get lucky - whilst winning is good, the money for second place makes it worth my while anyway.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

More Ubuntu Success

I've installed the 64 bit version of Edgy on my laptop, and have got wireless networking going using the BCM43xx drivers, along with wifi-radar. The network is connecting during boot-up.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Books for Geeks

Wil has blogged about an article he has written entitled "Five Books Every Geek Should Read".

His 5 books are:

I Robot - Isaac Asimov
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Ringworld - Larry Niven
The Hacker Crackdown - Bruce Sterling
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

I haven't read Neuromancer or The Hacker Crackdown, but the other three would certainly be in my top 5 books for Geeks. My other two must have books would be:

Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham (1951)

narrated in the first person, the book opens with Bill Masen waking up in hospital, his eyes covered after an operation, to find that a strange meteor shower has blinded the majority of the Earth's population. He emerges from the hospital to find society has disintegrated overnight, as people struggle to survive without site. This has left them prey to a recently discovered plant, the Triffid, which can walk and has a deadly sting. It had been cultivated for its oil, and by many people as a curiosity, with its sting regularly docked.

Apart from its references to the Soviet Union, suspected of genetically creating the triffids, this book still seems fresh, and could easily be taking place today.

This was one of the first science fiction books I read; it came in a compilation of sci-fi books, which also included I Robot and The Demolished Man.

Also by John Wyndham - The Midwich Cuckoos - all the women are impregnated with strange blond haired, golden eyed children, possessed of mental powers; The Chrysalids - a post apocalyptic world, where mutations are common, and are not tolerated. Those found with mutations are driven out, and the women are sterilized. A group of children find they have mental powers, and eventually, these abilities are discovered, and the children flee.

Dune - Frank Herbert (1965)

Set far in the future, on the desert world of Arrakis, the only place in the known universe where the spice melange can be found. Prized for its life prolonging properties, and also for giving starship navigators the gift of prescience, allowing them to safely guide their vast ships through the folds of space.

As part of an interplanetary feud, Duke Leto and his family are forced to move from their native home to Arrakis. Responsible for gathering the valuable spice, they must combat huge desert storms, giant sandworms, and the plots of their sworn enemies, House Harkonnen. The story follows Paul, son of the Duke, as his father is killed, and he is forced to seek refuge amongst the native Fremen. Brought into the vast story are politics, religion and planetary ecology, as Paul leads the Fremen against the Harkonnens, and eventually, the Emperor, ruler of the galaxy's feudal society.

Herbert wrote several sequels, but none of them match the huge scope of the original book.


Other books on the shortlist - 2001 A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke (once I'd read the book I could make sense of the film!), The Book of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe, and the Elric books by Michael Moorcock.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Back to Ubuntu

After the long wait for Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper) the release of 6.10 (Edgy) seems to have come round in no time, bringing raptures to the faithful. Eager to prove my worthiness, I rushed to the Ubuntu website within minutes of the release being announced (multiple times) on Planet Ubuntu.

A short one hour download later (isn't broadband great? I remember downloading Corel Linux over dial-up, it took a full day, good job we had a dedicated phone line at work ;-) ) I was clutching the blessed CD, and rushed to my desktop machine, ready to destroy the foul works of the evil one, and replace it with the Holy Ubuntu (actually I'm dual booting with Windows 2000, couldn't bring myself to delete it entirely, Party Poker doesn't seem to work with Wine).

A very quick installation later (you installed Windows XP lately? What a drag!) I was looking at the new, improved Ubuntu Gnome login screen. Slight change of colours, otherwise, business as usual. Log on, and the usual orange and brown colour scheme, tweaked slightly from the last release, is there.

First order of business, the internet. I access the web via a wireless access point, using a Linksys USB adapter. This had worked easily with Ubuntu Breezy, but with Dapper they completely fumbled the ball on wireless, and to be honest, after a frustrating effort trying to get wireless working on Dapper, I gave up. Initially I thought I was going to have the same problems. Edgy decided to install Prism54 drivers for my wireless adapter. Technically it is correct, it is a Prism chipset, but there appears to be so much messing to make them work, and quite a low chance of success, that I wasn't prepared to persist with them. So, blacklist the modules relating to the Prism drivers, and get cracking with Ndiswrapper. After a bit of fiddling, the familiar wlan0 appears, but no joy in connecting to my wireless access point. Then I remembered that I had become a bit more paranoid, and was using WPA encryption on the wireless network.

Wireless security is a huge weakness of Ubuntu (and I suppose, most Linux distributions). With Windows XP, it just works. Everything you need for WPA is there when you install your network card. Not so with Ubuntu. You have, to my knowledge, 3 choices. All three depend upon WPA Supplicant. Option 1 is to fire up a terminal, and configure WPA Supplicant by hand, editing the appropriate configuration files etc. Sorry guys, this isn't for me. Whilst I am quite happy to use the command line, and frequently it is the most efficient way to do something, I want a nice GUI interface for my wireless settings. This leaves two options - the Gnome Network Manager or WiFi-Radar. Both of these are in the repositories, but neither of them are installed by default. Why not! Come on, with the huge uptake in wireless, there needs to be a decision taken at Ubuntu to have a standard wireless security tool and make it industrial strength, so it Just WorksTM

I tried the Network Manager first. Grabbed it from the repositories, and a little network icon appears on the bar at the top right. Right clicking on this gives me options for setting up the network, including WPA key. After entering all the required information, I am asked to create a password for my keyring, where the WPA key will be stored. Here's the main problem with Network Manager. It is part of Gnome. You have no network connection until you are logged into Gnome and have entered your keyring password. You screw your X Windows setup, you haven't got an internet connection to find help, or to download fixes.

Having decided I wasn't happy with this, I moved along to Wifi-Radar. Once again, installed it from the repositories; no icon on the toolbar this time, but the program was amongst the entries on the menu. Starting it up, I am presented with a number of options. Looks pretty straightforward - network name (ssid) mode (auto, managed, adhoc etc, I chose auto), channel (auto again), key (you'd think this was your WPA key wouldn't you? Well, its not. I assume this is for WEP), security (open or restricted, I chose restricted). Then you come to a line which says "No WPA." Clicking on this changes it to "WPA Options" and you are presented with one option - Driver. I entered ndiswrapper in here, but some googling told me this was wrong, I needed to enter "wext" in here, which apparently is "Generic Wireless Extensions." There are also options for DHCP and Connection commands. I left these alone.

Saving my settings, I was delighted to see my wireless network appearing in the main window. Click on connect however, and I get nowhere. By running Wifi-Radar from a terminal, I see that it is looking for a WPA supplicant configuration file. More googling. I come up with the following configuration file (/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf - use your favourite editor, I use Vi, but YMMV. You'll need to run the editor with sudu).


#group of users allowed to control the interface

#network options
ssid="your network name here"
psk="super secret password here"

Back to Wifi-Radar, click on connect, and after a short delay, I'm connected!

Now the main advantage of Wifi-Radar over Network Manager is, in theory that is starts at boot time as a daemon, so you don't have to enter passwords once X Windows starts, and you have a network connection independent of X Windows. I've yet to see this. After I've logged on, when I go into the Wifi-Radar gui, the connection hasn't been made; click on connect, and its there. It may be down to the Linksys adapter I am using. It is version 1, and often didn't connect first time under Windows 2000 either.

I'm going to persist with Wifi-Radar, but this issue of wireless networking, and in particular, wireless security, must be addressed if Ubuntu is going to tempt more people into defecting from Microsoft. The average user is not going to bother with all the messing about I've just described, when Windows Just Works!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Party Over?

Over at the Tao of Poker Pauly is lamenting the withdrawal of Party Poker from the US. As he says the fishing was great there.

But, being a privileged European, still welcome at Party (and thanks to them giving me some free money to play with, now playing there), the fishing has got even better. The standard of play in the US must be better than in the rest of the world, because there now are even more fish at every table. The withdrawal of our American brethren has just concentrated the Eurofish in one place for us. I can log on for half an hour, and, playing at the 0.10/0.25 NLHE tables (I know, I'm pathetic, but I am working up the limits!) I can be $20 up without very little effort. Of course, you are still vulnerable to the bad beats, idiots calling your set down to the river with King high and then they river a straight, but, overall, I'm winning.

I'm going to transfer my Mansion bankroll over to Pokerstars - I like the atmosphere and interface on 'stars, though the players are better than Mansion. I'm going to continue to dabble with PKR. Its got a fabulous looking, animated interface, with highly customizable avatars, and I think its great the way the view swings from player to player as they act, with appropriate gestures, selectable emotes and tricks with chips. I know its nothing to do with the actual playing of poker, but it looks great. Population is extremely low at the moment, but I'm sure as word gets around it will increase, and its the sort of site that will pull in the fish. You do need a decent PC to run it though; all that animation takes a lot of resources.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Adventures in Omaha

I tried playing Omaha on PKR last night (more on PKR later). Boy do I suck at Omaha. Due to the low population on PKR, I was playing heads-up, so of course I never got a break from the blinds. Within half an hour I had donked off nearly all of my massive $2.50 buy-in. I did manage to stem the bleeding, and fought my way back up to $1, to achieve a level of respectability. It is such a different game to Hold-em - A pair is just not good enough. I was regularly getting beaten with boats, flushes and straights.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Haloscan Comments and Trackback

I've got Haloscan comments working now, thanks to this blog posting.

I have also been able to apply the same principle to get Trackback working, by adding the following lines after the code given for the comments (replace XXX with your Haloscan username):

<script src='' type='text/javascript'> </script>
<a expr:href='"javascript:HaloScanTB(" + "\"" + + "\"" + ");"' target='_self'>
<script type='text/javascript'>postCountTB('<>');</script>

Bankroll Building

16th August since last post. Really doesn't seem that long.

Anyway, been playing Poker on Mansion recently. I invested a massive $20 to start with, and, after dipping down to $10, I'm up to nearly $100. There seems to be plenty of fish around - all I have to do is wait for the premium hand, raise it up and some idiot calls. As an example, Holding a pair of Kings, I raised pre-flop, and got 4 callers, get a King on the flop, so I put in a pot sized raise, and get 2 callers. Board pairs on the turn, so now I've got a full house. Another pot sized raise, 1 caller. I go all in on the river, and once again he calls. Showdown - he's got the pair on the board plus an ace kicker! I take his entire stack, he rebuys and comes back for more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blogger Beta

I've just updated to the new Blogger beta. At first glance it seems to make customizing the blog much easier, with sections able to be dragged around to re-order them. However, I am having trouble with the comments section (not that I get many) as my Haloscan code has been wiped out by the new template, and at the moment HTML editing is not available, so I can't recreate it.

EDIT: Got the Blogger comments working, there is now a separate setting in the Posts section of the layout, as well as the global setting.

Friday, August 11, 2006

That little voice...

You ever play a hand, and that little voice in the back of your head is saying to you - "He's got the Ace, fold" but you ignore it, and call him down to the river, and he's got the ace? Well thats what I did today, and it cost me.

Climbing the Slippery Slope

After a modicum of success playing short handed on Pokerstars, I have decided to move up, to the dizzy heights of 0.05/0.10 NL Hold'em! I'm back to playing full tables again, and have , in the last 3 days, managed to turn $20 into $50, and had some really enjoyable games at the same time. My recent record in SNGs now sits at 1st, 17, 1st, 16th. To be honest, my heart wasn't really in the last one, but it got me the one FPP I needed to get my bonus.

I've been giving Pokertracker a try this week, and it's been quite useful. It has shown that my BB wins per hundred hands is still the same at the higher level as it was at the lower ones, so I don't appear to be out of my depth yet.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Turbo Charged

Maybe I do like Turbo after all. Played 3, won 2 (busted out 17 out of 18 in the other, making a stupid call). I seemed to find the right tight-aggressive balance, gained some fold credit, stole some blinds and went all in with the right cards (and of course got the luck at the right time).

Here's the last hand - 3 of us left, blinds 400/800, I'm on the button with 15000, SB has 10000, short stack sitting out and put all in by posting big blind. I'm dealt Ac 8h, and go all in, SB calls, and shows Ad 7h. Then a flop that puts me in the lead, but puts SB on a straight draw, 5c 4c 8s. Turn increases my lead, 8d. Prayed that there was no 6 on the river; no, its Kh, so a set for me, and I take the game.

I think the fewer players there are, the weaker my game is, so I'm pleased to have won these two. Maybe I should play some short handed tables to improve in that area.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Vive la France??

Just got back from a family holiday in France, and I have slightly revised my opinion of the French. It seems they are not all totally arrogant. Most of them that I have met have been polite, helpful, and tolerant of my meagre French (perhaps because their English is equally meagre!). Most notably, we got on very well with the family camping on the next pitch, each of us getting by with a mixture of English and French, and I think all of us improving their understanding of the others' language as we went along. This Entente Cordiale culminated in a game of Boules on the final night, which the French obviously take very seriously.

What really astonished me was the price of wine. I could buy a perfectly reasonable Corbierre for just over €1. I've brought 20 bottles of various wines back with me, at a total cost of around £20!.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Office 2007 Beta

I’m writing this post using Word 2007, part of Microsoft’s flagship office suite. This is the second Beta release, and it’s my first look at the software.

The first thing I have to say is that Microsoft are taking a big gamble. They have totally overhauled the user interface. Gone are the familiar menus at the top of the screen – File, Edit etc. These are replaced by 8 tabs:

  • Home, which brings up a selection of buttons relating to basic text editing, such as fonts, emphasis, alignment, styles and search/replace.
  • Insert, where you will find the shapes that used to be on the drawing toolbar, tables, objects, page breaks etc. Here you will also find headers and footers, Word Art, and the equation editor.
  • Page Layout, which is fairly self explanatory, and contains all the options which used to be in the Page Setup dialog box, and the paragraph formatting.
  • References – Here are table of contents, footnotes, citations, captions and indexes.
  • Mailings covers mailing labels, envelope printing and mail merge.
  • The Review tab is all about tracking changes, adding comments and proofing.
  • View has the controls for different page views, options for showing rulers, the zoom level and window arrangement.
  • The last tab is Add-Ins, which is where, remarkably enough, you control any add-ins.

Notice that nowhere have I mentioned opening files. It took me 2 minutes to find the open file dialogue. It is cunningly hidden in a dropdown menu that is opened by clicking on the Office logo at the top left!

Looking at this completely new interface, the first thing that occurred to me was that Microsoft have removed a major barrier to switching to People are afraid of change. Replace Office 2003 with and you will get complaints about not being able to find things. You’ll get far more complaints with Office 2007. bears far more resemblance to past versions of Microsoft Office than this does.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the new interface, just that it is so radically different that your average user will take some considerable time to get used to it. In an SME, you may find the IT support staff find it simpler to give everyone than deal with the fall-out from this upgrade.

So, what else has changed? Well for a start, the default font is now Calibri, a nice, clean looking sans-serif font, replacing the horribly old fashioned Times New Roman. Also, it wouldn’t be an office upgrade without a new file format. The default now bears the extension .docx, and is Microsoft’s OpenXML format. You can still use the Office 2003 file structure though.

A new option is to create a PDF (OOo got there first), but this is no great shakes as there were plenty of free tools to do this already, it just makes it slightly more convenient. Also, creating blog posts, such as this. Word will link to a variety of blog sites, enabling easy uploading of posts. I’ll find out shortly how well that works!

What really prompted me to download this Beta was the news that Microsoft are working on Open Document compatibility. Prompted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts plan to move document storage across to Open Document format, Microsoft has been forced to embrace the competing standard. There is a plugin available to download from Sourceforge, which is fully open source. At the moment it only seems to support importing, rather than exporting. The option is there now, but not selectable.

So far I’ve only looked briefly at Word. I don’t use Powerpoint much, but I will be looking more closely at Excel and Access in the future.

Poker Sites Compared.

I've now played on three different sites, Pokerstars, Titan Poker and Party Poker. The difference between the three is very pronounced.

The first one I joined was Pokerstars. Until this weeks update, the interface was very basic, but, I like that - No annoying avatars, no distractions. Even after the update, the interface is still very clean, you just get some skins to customize the table and the cards. You can now resize the window. Theres a quite a lot of chat between players, most of it good natured, and I find the standard of play is pretty good. Buy-ins for SNGs and tournaments start at $1, and in the cash games start at £0.01/0.02, so you can get going fairly cheaply.

Over at Party Poker, you've got chairs and avatars (though you can switch the avatars off). The window isn't resizable. The lowest buy-in is a huge $6, and cash games start at $0.10/$0.25, so it can get expensive. There's very little chat that I've seen. The best thing about Party is the standard of play seems significantly lower than 'Stars.

The last site I joined was Titan, and that was simply because I had a code for $50. I've played a bit loosely here, as I'm playing for free, so to speak. More chairs and avatars. There is a single button to click to go all in, which can be dangerous, but this can be switched off. The standard of player here seems to vary much more widely. The thing I really don't like about this site is it seems underpopulated - I have sometimes waited half an hour for a 20 player SNG to fill up. On 'Stars or Party, this would take no more than 5 minutes. Buy-ins and limits start low like Pokerstars.

So, where do I prefer to play? Probably Pokerstars - it seems more friendly than either of the others, there is more choice of games than Party Poker, and a better population than Titan. I'll just have to keep improving my game.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A dog's best friend

They say a dog is man's best friend, but here is somebody who gives back just as much.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Pokerstars Re-sizes

At last, the promised upgrade to Pokerstars client software is here, with re-sizable windows! No longer is the table stuck filling just half of that lovely 19" TFT, or, if you are multi-tabling, you can now tile your windows, so you can see all of both tables at once.
Also, you can now download new themes, from a nice basic "Hyper-Simple" theme with different coloured card backgrounds for each suit, to the "Renaissance theme", having your card table stood on a tesselated floor, with engraved name plates for each player.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

When I really should have folded...

For a change of scenery, I've opened an account on Party Poker. Iggy should get some commission. Played two single table SNGs, placed second both times. I did get particularly lucky on one hand, and I really upset the guy on the other end of the bad beat, but, when your name is Call Me Please, what do you expect?

I was dealt JKd in late position, blinds were 40/80, Seat 4 is in big blind, UTG folds, seat 7 calls, seat 8 folds, 9 raises to 85, 10 folds, then I raise to 130. Seats 2 & 3 calls, 7 folds, 9 calls.

Flop is Ad 4s 9h. I test the water with a raise of 150, and get two callers. Turn is Qd. It's checked to me. Pause. I need 10d for a royal flush, any diamond for a flush, any 10 for a straight. Do I go on? I raise 200. One folds, then a raise of over 600. I put him on a pair of aces. All I've got is ace high with king kicker. I should fold. What the hell, I've never had a royal flush, so go for it. The river is..... Ts. No royal flush, but an ace high straight isn't too bad at this point. I'm sure I've got the best hand. I go all in. The other guy can't believe I've called his last raise with just a draw, and so probably puts me on a pair. He calls. And shows Q9c, for two pair, I show my straight, and he starts to rant. I double up, he's left with a stack of 40, and goes out two hands later. Not a happy guy.

So, after two SNGs, two second places, and I'm 40% up on my initial deposit. It can't possibly last. And why second? Why didn't I go on to win? Because I'm impatient. I can't be doing with all the fencing involved in heads-up play. In the first match, I ended up all in with a pair of jacks and a flop of 2 3 K, and lost to a pair of kings, second match I really ran out of patience, went all in with A6 and ran into pocket aces. Maybe when I've got more time, I'll hold out for the win.

Bursting the Bubble

I was the bubble boy in a 5 table SNG yesterday. I'd played solid throughout, was 4th in chips on the final table, and was dealt AKs. I went all in, the other guy turned over AQo, and the flop was 2h Ah Qd. Shit! but still a chance of the flush or a King. Everything crossed. Turn is 3c, oh well, there goes the flush; river is Jh, So my pair of aces goes down to Aces and Queens. Out in 8th place. I should have been more patient, and waited for someone else to bust out first, so at least I would get my money back, but couldn't resist Big Slick!

Monday, June 26, 2006

?*&£$ Ace King again!

Played a freeroll Limit Hold'em tournament on Pokerstars. Twice I had KQo, twice I flopped a set of kings, twice I lost to AK.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Croatia see yellow, not red

Looks like English referee Graham Poll will be heading home early. He's obviously a cricket fan, who feels Australia need extra handicaps. It seems his rules are that its two yellow cards for a sending off for Australia, but it takes three yellows for sending off if you're playing against them!

Actually I'm quite pleased to see Australia get through to the next round. I thought they played really well against Brazil, and were definitely the better team in the first half. Brazil, on the other hand, have been disapointing throughout. Whilst they beat Japan by a margin yesterday, they once again played poorly, and really don't deserve to win the World Cup on present form. Mind you, neither do England. Both teams need to buck their ideas up for ther knockout stage.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ubuntu Dapper Wireless Network

I have recently upgraded my home PC from Ubuntu Breezy to Dapper. To make sure everything went smoothly, I did a completely clean install - reformatted the hard disk and started from scratch. Since then I have had a nightmare with my wireless network card. Its a Linksys 54g usb card. It worked perfectly under Breezy using Ndiswrapper. Dapper is a different story.

First of all, the networking utility told me I had a wireless card on eth1, but nothing was working. Looked in the device manager, and checked the loaded modules, and found it was trying to use a prism54 driver. Quick check on the forums (on a different computer obviously) and found I needed to remove this, and then use ndiswrapper. Ok, rmmodded the appropriate drivers, set up ndiswrapper and ........ nothing. Unplugged usb cable, plugged in again, card detected. Used Network Manager to set up WPA, and working. Until next time I rebooted. Went through whole rigmarole again, working connection again. Used the blacklist file to stop the wrong drivers working. Everything ok until next reboot, no network again, and this time, I cannot get it to install. The network utility says wlan0 is there and active, but network manager says there is no network!

If I don't find a solution soon, I will just go back to Breezy.

Monday, June 19, 2006

World Blogger Championship, Part the Second

Well, its now the morning after, and i can reflect on last nights tournament. Overall, I'm fairly pleased with my performance. I finished ahead of 95% of the field, and the players behind me included Joanne Lutynec, Wil Wheaton and the Blogfather.

I did feel sorry for Wil. The bounty on him was a fleece, a shirt and a hat, and everyone (including me) wanted to get their hands on it. This resulted in players really going after him, and it looked like he had to play it very tight as a consequence. He went out placed 342.

I was trying to play fairly tight myself. I've had a habit recently of making some bad calls, and playing hands I should have folded straight away. Overall I saw the flop on 19% of hands, and I won 97% of the showdowns I faced. In the early stages I must have earned some fold credit, because I went though a series of hands where ePublishverytime I raised, everybody folded on me. Stealing the blinds is all very well, but this got a bit frustrating, so I limped in on a few hands for a change, and had some success that way.

I think there were two hands that lead to my downfall. The first I think I played correctly, the second, not so good.

I had over 26000 in chips, and was UTG+1, blinds 1600. I was dealt 9s 9h. UTG raises 9346 and is all in. I call. Everyone else folds. UTG has 2s 2d. Looking good. Flop comes 47Q rainbow. Still in the driving seat. Here comes the turn. 2c! Damn! River is a 3, and I'm down nearly 10000.

On the second occasion I had worked my way back up to 22000, blinds still 1600.and was dealt QTd in late position. It checks round, and I test the water with a raise of 1600. BB (who has 48000) raises 8000, and like a fool I call. Flop is 4c 2d 2h, and BB raises 11200. Too rich for me , and I fold, having again lost nearly 10000.

Back down to 12000, and it was all downhill from then on. Blinds went up, I didn't get any decent hands, and the blinds and antes eroded my stack. Down to 8000, I went all in with a pair of 2s. Got one caller, who showed AQ. There was a queen on the flop, and nothing for me. Out in 112th place.

So, after three and a half hours play, I'm finished, with nothing to show for it. Actually, thats not really true. I had three and a half hours of fun poker, where I was generally happy with the way I played, and finished in the top 5% . If I could have resisted that call with QT, maybe I could have won and Ipod, but who knows, the next hand I could have gone all in with AA, and been busted by trips. I just need to try and carry on in the same vein, and hopefully success will follow.

World Blogger Championship

Its after midnight, and I just finished in 112th place, all in with pocket 2's, caller had AQ, and the flop came 3 8 Q, no sign of a 2, so I was out.

I don't suppose 112th out of over 2000 is too bad, but its frustrating to get within 60 places of the prizes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Money, its a gas

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.

I've switched away from SNG's and am playing cash games, in an effort to gradually rebuild my bankroll. My tournament game has gone to to the dogs recently. I just can't seem to get started. Not good with the Pokerstars Bloggers Championship this Saturday. At least its not costing me anything to enter that.

With the cash games I can just dip in and out, if its not going for me on a particular table, I take my money and move on. If I'm having a bad day with a SNG, well, thats my entry money gone.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Turbo or Not Turbo, that is the question

I usually play in 9 or 18 player turbo sit'n'go, because I don't often have time for a long game. However, in those games a bad break or a bad call early on can leave you with no time to recover. You soon find the blinds wiping out your stack. Tonight I played a standard 45 player SNG. I really enjoyed it - I had time to suss out the other players, had a couple of bad breaks, but recovered to finish 6th, so, I was in pocket on the game - not by a lot, but at the moment I'm grateful for whatever I get!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Diminishing Returns

My Pokerstars bankroll is shrinking. Over the last week I've only managed to make the money in about 20% of the games I've played. And finishing third or fourth isn't good enough at that level of success.

I've been trying to analyse where I'm going wrong, and I think it simply comes to chasing hands too much. I generally have a great record at showdowns, but every so often I let someone suck me in with a series of fairly small raises, which add up to a significant part of my stack, and that straight or flush never materialises. I convince myself that the hand is worth playing cos hey, I've got a pair already. Yeh, a pair of 8's. Not much good when the other guy has pocket kings!

I need to curb this tendency, or my bankroll is going to continue to diminish.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Got back from France this afternoon. It was too short a trip for the driving involved. On the trip there I got two hours sleep over a 36 hour period. Slightly better on the way back, but not much better. I had barely recovered from the trip there when it was time to return home. We're probably going again for a fortnight at the end of July, so that will be more bearable.

I did buy 8 bottles of wine while I was there, paying no more than €3 a bottle!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bon Voyage

Off to France this evening. Well, actually, we are sailing at 4am tomorrow morning, but we've got a 6 hour drive to Dover first, then a two hour ferry crossing, then a 5 hour drive across France. I must be mad! Just me and the kids, visiting friends who have just moved there.

The children have had extra-curricular french lessons at school, so I'll get the chance to see if it was money well spent. We've got a shopping list that I'm going to try to get the kids to buy in the local shops. Well, its 20 years since I last studied French, and they did it only last week - they've got to be better at it than me, right?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Infrequent Play II

My previous comment about my success declining with lack of play has been proved true. Having played several SNG's in a row, I finished on a run of 3 third places and a second, making it a profitable night. I need to try and find time to keep playing, as success seems to breed success.

Pokerstars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker

Texas Holdem Poker

I have registered to play in the

PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem

event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7330476

Well, I've registered, lets hope I get in. Posting has been a little infrequent here whilst my daughter has been ill. It'll be great to play in a big tournament like this.

Joys of Parenthood II

Back in March I wrote about the problems we were having with my daughter - irrational behaviour not sleeping etc.

Since then we never seem to be away from the hospital, with several appointments with the consultant paediatrician. We've had two EEGs and an MRI scan, and are none the wiser. On a positive note, the irrational behaviour has greatly reduced. We still have problems with getting her to sleep, but the situation is much better.

I'm taking the kids to France this week with a 10 hour drive, so I hope the improvement continues!

Infrequent Play

I've been playing Hold'em less frequently than usual. And my performance as suffered as a result. When I was playing every night, I was certain to get to the last 3 of sit'n'go's at least once a night, and usually two or three times. At the moment I've been playing once a week, and I keep making stupid calls. I think I'm too keen to be involved in the action. When I'm playing all the time I find it much easier to fold. I need to get back to playing more, and start rebuilding my bankroll.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Lady Luck is smiling...

and that is very dangerous. If I'm not careful I'll convince myself I'm a good poker player. I've won three sit'n'go tournaments in a row. Tonight I got called lucky when, holding QTs, the flop came QTx, I went all in, and someone called me with AQ. No aces for him, so I take the pot.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

First Victory

I just won my first poker tournament - it was a $1.75 sit'n'go on Pokerstars. Not exactly the WSOP, but I've never done better than second before, and usually end up 4th or 5th. I just can't seem to work through to the last two. I was helped by some very nice cards though - a run of JJ, QQ, QQ busted three oponents one after another, to get me to the last four. At that point I had more chips than the other three put together.

Once we got down to heads-up, it got quite cagey, lots of pre-flop folding, with the chips generally around 20,000 to me, 6000 to him. The decisive hand finally came - I had QhTc, not fantastic cards, but quite playable at this point. He went all in, and I thought, what the hell, if he's got a middle pair I've got a good chance, I can afford to lose, and its 11:30pm and I could do with wrapping this up.

I call; the cards are shown - he didn't have a middle pair, just Ac 5h. but, if neither of us improved. he'd win the pot.

The flop comes 9s Jc 8s. I do a double take, and my opponent says gg. I'd flopped a straight, and there was no way he could come back from that.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ubuntu saves the day

I have just spent the entire weekend fixing my brother-in-law's laptop. I don't know what he did to it, but he managed to get Windows XP in a state where it was impossible to run any programs, access the control panel or set up a network connection (actually, I have an idea what he has done, judging by some the the videos I found, but that's another story). Not a problem I hear you say (well, I don't hear you, because no ones reading this), just reach for the restore disk, and start again.

However, he had lots of work related data on the laptop, not backed up, that he didn't want to lose. So, here's this laptop, can't burn anything to CD, can't copy anything across a network, and disk probably full of virii.

That's my cue to reach for an Ubuntu live CD. 15 minutes later I have Ubuntu running on the laptop, with a wireless network connection, the offending Windows drive mounted and shared using NFS, and the data flowing across the network onto my Ubuntu machine. Moving 20Gb of data across a wireless network with NFS wouldn't be my first choice of how to do a backup, but beggars can't be choosers.

Having backed up the data, I wiped the hard-disk and re-installed XP (sorry, but he insisted), but I also set aside some space for Ubuntu, so the next time he screws it up (and there will be a next time), I just boot into Linux and get on with it.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Dapper Drake

Lured by the promise of Xgl I have uprgraded my Ubuntu distribution to Dapper, which is still in testing. I got Xgl to work, and it looks great. Unfortunately my computer started crashing regularly, usually when I access the internet. At first I blamed Xgl, and went back to vanilla X, but the crashes still happened - a full system freeze, only sorted by a hard reboot.

I have now pinned the problem down to my wireless network card (which worked perfectly with Breezy). If I unplug it, no crash. Unfortunately a PC without an internet connection isn't a lot of use to me.

The network card is a Linksys USB card, installed via Ndiswrapper. It looks like I'll have to download the latest version ndiswrapper, and compile it from source. However, downloading may be difficult if my network card keeps crashing the PC!

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Joys of Parenthood

We're having an absolute nightmare with my daughter. I came in on Wednesday night and found her climbing the walls. She appeared to be scared of a packet of sweets, she jumped at the slightest touch, was convinced we were cross with her, and were going to smack her (she's never been smacked in her life). We were ready to head off to the hospital, but she went off with her twin brother and he seemed to calm her down.

We've now got an appointment with the consultant paediatrician. I really hope he can diagnose the problem. The GP says there is a form of epilepsy which can cause hysteria, and she certainly was hysterical.

We've been told to keep to the normal routine, but after another bad night last night, she's too tired for school this morning. Hopefully she'll be fit to go at lunchtime.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

World Series of Poker

Well, as the 2006 WSOP is coming round, I thought I'd give a satellite a go. I started well, doubled up on my third hand, and got over-confident - 10 hands later a busted out, went all in with QQ, a queen came along on the river but unfortunately it gave the other guy a straight!

Thursday, March 09, 2006


It is looking more and more likely that my daughter has epilepsy. After appearing under the weather, we decided to give her the day off school. Having returned from taking our son into school, my wife found her slumped in the passenger seat, apparently unconscious. She roused quickly, with no memory of anything unusual happening, but was slightly confused.

My wife took her to the GP, and was fortunate enough to see a Neurologist on secondment. He was fairly confident that she had suffered a Grand Mal.

We have an upcoming appointment with a consultant paediatrician, along with an EEG, so at the moment we have to just wait for them.

It is all incredibly worrying and frustrating, whilst she isn't suffering greatly, it is wearing her down at the moment, she lacks energy and concentration, which for a normally bright and lively child, is getting her down.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Perfomancing for Firefox

I decided I might get round to blogging more if it was simpler to do. So, I set about looking for a blogging client. I started because of this post by Wil.

In it he talks about using a WYSIWYG editor like ecto, or something as yet undiscovered for Linux. So, thinks I, just because Wil hasn't discovered it, doesn't mean its not out there. What is Google for, after all? The debate about Moveable Type or Typepad is not something I'm getting into - I'll stick with Blogger now I've started.

Well, I discovered the blogging client for me - its called Performancing and it seems to met the requirements - it works in both Windows and Linux, enables me to blog whenever I've got Firefox open, works with Blogger (and Typepad, Wordpress, Moveable Type...), and supports TrackBack, so, this post is written using it. With a bit of luck this post is readable, and has sent a trackback to Wil's blog. So, here goes nothing!

Meanwhile, back at Pokerstars...

I gave Coral Poker a try - its got pretty pictures, and a lower cost of entry than Pokerstars. Well, I burnt through my initial buy-in, and now I'm back at Pokerstars. No one talks to each other at Coral. The chat box is completely empty. At Pokerstars when things are going bad you can have a laugh with the people you're playing against.

I've started playing Sit'N'Go, rather than cash games. It just seems to suit my style of play more, though for some reason I cannot get into the money in the Turbo games, so, I'll stick to the normal games, and see if I can keep regularly hitting places 4-7. At that, I make a little each game. My best place is second, I just can't seem to get it right heads-up.