January 15th, 2008

Me, Racing Stripes

A couple of links

Firstly, the 2007 Darwin Awards are up.

Secondly, if anyone remembers and liked the old original SimCity, the open source version Micropolis is now available. It's been written for the Unix operating system, and includes the source code.

And lastly, it's time to panic as a giant gas cloud is going to crash into our galaxy. It won't happen for another 20 to 40 million years, but it is going to happen! :)
Me, Racing Stripes

Poker Problems

I've been running the Friday Night Poker Club games at Conquest for a while now, and this years would make the fifth.

However, it seems there may be problems. There are two Poker games run at Conquest, mine (which is silly) and the Poker Challenge (which is a "real" poker game).

The issue is that the entry fee to the convention and games may be considered a wager. If so, then it falls under the state laws on gambling which means Conquest could be sued over running it. It's unlikely that the law-suit would succeed, but it would still be a hell of a lot of expense that the con can't afford.

The important thing is the term "may be considered a wager". The legislation in question is still fairly new and as a result has a hell of a lot of grey areas.

Liz rang me this morning to chat about what was going on in addition to sending me an email. If we assume they are gambling events, then it would cost $40 per event to get the permits, and all these events would have to be held at a different venue as that venue would be classed as a "Casino" for the purpose of the event. There is no way the convention can afford all the extra expense to do it this way, so that's not an option.

There are three options at the moment as they see.

First option, is to run them as they are, and hope that everything goes ok. Second option is to run them as they are but don't charge for them. Third option is to cancel both games and not run them.

Option 2 is not really a feasible option as those entry fees are what allows the con to keep running every year. Running events and not charging for them are not really an option.

That leaves run and hope or cancel.

As far as I am concerned (and from talking to Liz, as far as she is concerned) the entry fee is not a wager. As I said before, the entry fee is not for the game, it is for venue hire. The only difference between playing those games at Conquest and playing them at home is the venue. Better venue and all the social aspect is what you are paying for, not the game itself.

However, if it ran and someone sued, Conquest might not survive, even if they won the suit (which is most likely).

The plan was to have the Conquest flyer out for Arcanacon, and they really don't want to have listed events on it that may end up having to be canceled, especially if the are determined to be "illegal" events, so they're running around at the moment trying to work out what the hell is going on. Liz is doing a marvellous job at the moment sorting all this out, and I really appreciate here at times like this.

So, as a result this is a warning to everyone reading this: Friday Night Poker Club: Heroes Edition and Poker Challenge 2008 may need to be cancelled, and there isn't anything I, Brendan or the Conquest organisers can do about it.

I hope not, but it might happen.

Chair Heaven!

One of the guys at work has been thinking of getting new chairs for the office because the ones we have are fairly crappy. He wants a really good quality chair and the chair of preference is an Aeron Chair from Herman Miller.

These chairs are not cheap, the base cost for them in Australia is about $1400 each, but for that you get a superb quality chair with a 12 year warranty, so you are guaranteed at least 12 years worth of use of of them. That equates to less than $120 a year, which is actually good value.

There's 8 of us here, plus they will want another 4 or so upstairs, so that's an even dozen chairs. That's a hell of a lot of money to put into office furniture, so we wanted to check out the chairs before making the commitment. As a result we got a single Size C chair delivered for a week long evaluation to check them out, and we should be getting a Size B chair delivered tomorrow or Thursday as well.

There are three sizes of chair, A, B and C, with the C being the largest. The smaller sizes aren't quite as deep or wide as the C, so you can pick whatever is appropriate for you.

I'm in love. Since I was the one who organised the trial, I get to test it out first, and once I tweaked a few settings on the chair (there are 5 points of adjustment, not including the arm-rests) I'm finding it the most comfortable and best designed chair I have ever sat in. If we end up getting a dozen or so (and it's looking more and more likely that we will) then we will most likely get a reasonable discount on them, dropping them down to between $1000 and $1100 each. As a result I am seriously considering getting one myself for home as this is in the long run going to save me a hell of a lot of money in Chiropractor visits alone.

It's forcing me to sit upright without having to think about it, and I've discovered that my monitors are too low as a result.
Me, Racing Stripes

Poker Problems: a follow-up

From the looks of things after discussing it with Jim and Liz the problem looks less of a problem of gambling, but more of a problem of licensing.

There is a list of things you are not allowed to do without a license if there is money involved. The problem is the grey area of whether the entry fee for the con and for the game is counted to mean that there is money involved.

No, none of the participants get any of the money, but that's beside the point. The entry fee could still count, and that's the grey area, an area that won't be properly classified until there is a court case most likely and we'd rather Conquest wasn't the first court case.

There exists the possibility that it might be all properly legal if we drop all prizes from the event in total, including both trophies and certificates. Jim and Liz are currently talking to people from the relevant department at the moment, and they'll let us know once they know.