Archive for February 17th, 2006

Bill seeks to outlaw online poker — again

Feb 17, 2006 in Current Events

U.S. Takes Aim at Online Gambling - Yahoo! News

Now, I’m willing to bet that a handful of you readers have partaken of online poker or some other kind of online wagering. While I don’t gamble very much, I do make a nice income from other people’s gambling activities.

Internet gambling is currently, and always has been, illegal in the U.S. But a slew of online gaming companies — some who are publically traded, such as online poker giant Party Gaming — have met the public’s desire for online gambling to the tune of $12 billion a year, much of it from U.S. customers.

Instead of legalizing, regulating and collecting taxes from online gambling, people like Virginia representatives Bob Goodlatte and Rick Boucher seek to criminalize it — a futile task considering that all online gambling companies do business outside of the U.S. where their activities are perfectly legal. Not to mention that this proposed legislation could conflict with a WTO decision that declared U.S. prohibitions on internet gambling as an unfair trade practice.

But let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth: “For too long our children have been placed in harm’s way as online gambling has been permitted to flourish into a $12 billion industry,” Goodlatte said in a statement. Hey, Bob? Kids don’t gamble; adults do. You’re basically telling adults what they shouldn’t do with their money in the privacy of their homes, in the name of “protecting the children.” Bullshit, Bob.

“These Internet gambling websites typically operate offshore and often serve as a prime vehicle for money laundering and other criminal enterprises.” Proof? Like I said, most online gaming companies are as reputable as Vegas casinos. They operate under the jurisdiction of their localities and international gaming authorities, and their random number generators are regularly audited by well-known accounting firms. By criminalizing them, you only make these unsavory activities more likely.

This isn’t the first time this bill has been introduced. It was voted down in 1999, due partly to the efforts of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But even with Jack out of the picture, I think it’s unlikely this thing is going to become law, since it’s largely unenforcable and will do little to stop online gambling.

Frank criticism about the suckiness of your MySpace page

Feb 17, 2006 in Personal

So I finally decided to jump on this MySpace thing recently. Oh, I knew about the whole social networking craze, of course — I still have an abandoned unused Friendster account out there somewhere. So I filled out my profile (here, if you care to know more about your humble webmaster) and started browsing some profiles. A few things that I found incredibly annoying:

  • Those plugins that play one of your favorite songs or videos when someone visits your page? Fucking annoying as hell! I went into the habit of looking for it and hitting pause as soon as the page loaded, because almost everybody has ‘em.
  • I thought the phenomenon of terrible amateur web design (unreadable backgrounds and fonts, “cute” graphics and gifs, general lack of content) went the way of free hosted web pages like Geocities. No, it’s alive and well on Myspace. Now, I have the design skills of a chimp with ADD, but the average Myspace page is a crime against eyesight.
  • The whole enterprise just strikes me as a huge popularity contest. At least on Livejournal you can read the personal angsty ramblings of the people on your friends list.

I think I’ll go delete my account now.