Blag Updates & Rules for "Strip Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma"

Posted in Life in General by aliencam | No Comments »

I have recently been annoyed by all of the twitter posts showing up on the main page of this blog, it makes it look like all this is for is digesting my tweets.  These posts also show up as “notes” on my facebook page, which is unnecessary because each tweet updates my facebook status anyway.   So, I have removed the “twitter” category from being displayed on the main page (if you reeeeally want to see all my weekly tweet digests, on the right side under “categories” you can select “twitter”) , and I have removed those twitter posts from the main feedburner RSS feed.  (again, if you want to subscribe to the “full” feed, you can move your subscription to , but that’s a little weird, you could just follow me on twitter or something).

Anyway,  today’s XKCD is another stroke of genius, analysing the ratios of google searches for games with their “strip” counterparts.


(image credit Randall Munroe of xkcd.)

After getting over the initial hilarity of it all, I went through and actually read the list.  Really, out of these games, the best options for a “strip” alternative  (yes, including poker) I find to be Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chess, Tennis, and Poohsticks. That particular order is due to the high likelihood of being arrested for public indecency with the last two ( although if you have a private tennis court or bridge…), and I have chosen to disregard beer pong because it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the list.  Anyway, I realise the likelihood that many people have not heard of Prisoner’s Dilemma, so here is a quick description.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

This is an exercise/game used in game theory, psychology, and statistics, and is surprisingly fun to play.  The situation is this: two criminal partners are being questioned (independently) by the police.  The police offer each prisoner a deal if they co-operate and betray their partner.   The rest is best explained by this consequence matrix (how long each prisoner goes to prison):

X Defects X Stays Silent
Y Defects 5 years each x:10 years, y:0 years
Y Stays Silent x:0 years y:10 years No consequences

In a game of “Iterated Prisoner’s Dillema”, multiple turns are played (hence the word “iterated”). A prisoner who stays silent is usually allowed to punish one who betrays the other after each turn.

The game is played by each player having two cards, one marked “defect” and the other “stay loyal”.  Players each place one card face-down, then they are turned up at the same time. The optimal situation would be for each player to stay loyal to their partner, but if either defects, the other will have to deal with the large consequence. Because of this, if a player always defects, they will be “safer.”

If you don’t remember Poohsticks (shame), it was a game that Winnie the Pooh invented, all players drop sticks into the water off the side of a bridge, then run to the other side to see whose stick reaches the other side first. (I imagine this would be easiest if you tied a coloured string to each stick).


another ridiculous dream

Posted in Dreams, Life in General by aliencam | No Comments »

this one is fairly incoherent, it took me awhile to put what happened in the right order when I woke up, and it still doesn’t make much sense.  Here is what I wrote down right when I woke up:

another crazy dream

I was working in an NSA retail store (?) on a busy street in a large city (NY?) high cielings, nondescript carpet, a few conference tables around the room, and sometimes we sold clothes.  A few stores down was a CIA store where a bunch of gadget nerds (like Q in bond movies?) worked one  guy with glasses, short curly black hair was named robert or patrick.  NSA & CIA constantly played tricks on each other, stealing things, etc, but were still friends.  a weird gypsey came in to buy clothes (?) and we gave her a job.  she freaked out about something, so they fired her.  I was over at the CIA store to play a prank on them once, tried to steal a fiberoptic camera, but the security alarm went off.  I hung out there for awhile chatting with them, and the gypsey lady came in. she was browsing the clothes, and I thought she might steal something. She had elaborate long gold scisors, and I thought she would stab me with them, they said yeah probably because I was sometimes a smug/prick, and was always too nice/happy about everything (citing the time I once gave everyone I consiter my friend a penny).  she snuck a brown scarf with beige tassles onto my shoulders (I wouldn’t set off the alarms if I walked out with this?) but I noticed and threw it to robert and told her she would ring him up (after I passed the sensors). she got crazy mad, pulled out her scisors and chased me, so I ran out of the store and she chased me back toward the NSA store on a fairly uncrowded sidewalk (cloudy or hazy day). that is all.

This was after some pretty fitful sleep, I went to bed at  midnight, but my roomates kept me up past 2 with loud TV, then my roomate came into the room and watched family guy on his iPod even later, and then it was my typical sleeping problems, I woke up at 4:00AM, couldn’t get back to sleep, and eventually just decided to write this down at 6:00 (waking up my roomate with my laptop screen’s light and typing noise lol, I totally did not mean to do that).

lol weird dream.

Posted in Life in General by aliencam | 1 Comment »

What a ridiculous dream… Jonathan, Coby, and a couple friends I can’t remember went back in time as some team in the 1920s. Fun until we remember that the FBI assaults and massacres this exact team and bus trying to get rid of some gangsters who aren’t even there. The bus gets to the parking garage, the driver says something innocuous, puts the bus on autopilot, asks us to stand, and leaves the bus. The bus then drives itself up to the second floor where the assault is to take place. We remember this from history, or maybe a movie, dive to the sides, and hide in the troughs between the seats and the sides of the bus (why are these here? lol. maybe the bus had seats filling the center and really small walkways on either side instead.) We saw them break the front window, throw in a flashbang, then a real grenade, and then tore up the bus with machine guns. Somebody lost an arm or leg or something, so we “reset” (was it a simulation?) at the bottom of the parking garage, where we jumped out and hid under the garage’s bridge. Somebody else didn’t jump out of the bus in time, so we “reset” again, way back in some developing suburban area. For some reason, the bus driver was already gone somehow, so we jumped out of the bus walked for awhile and found a (fully furnished? hmm weird) home that nobody had moved into yet. Lived there for awhile, some neighbors came by, and they believed us even though we didn’t know each other’s fake names, they left, and that is all I remember.

nanorant: Tech Support

Posted in Life in General, Stupidity by aliencam | No Comments »

Because this wouldn’t all fit on twitter…

awesome… I spent all weekend setting up all the computers to the network printer, including at least 6 hours hacking the stupid HP scanning program to get normal filesize (it was 1MB+ per page when scanning 30 page documents with the lowest available settings… that wasn’t working out for my dad emailing real estate documents…) Then on Monday, the qwest guy came and disassembled our network in order to upgrade us to 7MBPS FIOS, and they unhooked our router/network and want us to use their set top box as the WAP… (which broke the connection to the printers/xbox/direct tv/ everything) (they also have strange ideas like “only one wired device may be connected” which doesn’t work for our Direct TV, old desktops, Xbox360, and videophone, so who knows how or what is even hooked up to the network now)
So Monday night, my dad freaked out that the printer didn’t work, and called HP tech support (instead of me) and spent 4 hours reinstalling the printer (wtf it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes) and the nice HP tech support people disabled my hacks. Next time he has to scan and email a document I am going to get a frantic phone call and I will have to walk my dad through the fairly difficult process of the hack…

ugh my life.

"Google Wizard"- Twitter Hacked; aliencam banninated.

Posted in Life in General, Stupidity by aliencam | 6 Comments »

(copypaste from an intense-debate forum topic I created until I get a chance to write something special)

This morning my twitter account posted a google wizard spam message. I have not given out my password to any websites except foursquare ( and tweetsum a few times, and my password is fairly complicated (12 characters, capitals, numbers, and symbols).

the spam mesage that came from my account was: “Today was so exciting! Made $124 in 20 minutes! if ur interested, go read: ***************** ”

Anyway, I did not post this spam message, I’ve been using this as my personal account since may 2007 (3,377 posts) and I am fairly confident (barring any unpublished hacks into tweetsum or foursquare) that my password is secure.

I did not notice this spam message until one of my friends told me about it. I promptly deleted the offending tweet, and changed my password.

As soon as I got a chance, I went to the twitter support site and reported this, thinking that there could be a vulnerability in Twitter, and I wanted to know if there was anything else I could to to ensure my account was secure. A few minutes after I submitted this help ticket, my account was suspended. I thought I was helping twitter out by reporting a possible security flaw, but nope, I got suspended 😛 (I put through another help ticket to reinstate my account).

A quick google search of the URL that was in the spam message shows that it was tweeted by arround 100 people today, and of the accounts I looked at, it seems like at least a dozen of them were legitimate accounts (one account being exclusively in spanish, with this english spam tweet). Also, not all of the accounts with this same message were banned, which reinforces my theory that I got myself banned :P.

I just did some more research, and according to “tweetlists .com” the two most popular URLs posted on twitter today direct to the same page that my twitter account linked to.

It seems to me that there are more than a few legitimate people being suspended for this particular spam message, and I can’t find any similarity between the accounts that haven’t been suspended yet.

There is a post about this on a Symantec blog by their “Internet Safety Advocate”. And if you search twitter for “google wizard” you will see hundreds of accounts of this.

My account is currently suspended, I am trying to get this fixed, I’ll update this as things happen.

UPDATE 1: July 31, 2009. At least one other user who was “hacked” was using foursquare ( (via the norton community post linked to above). Was foursquare hacked/compromised?

UPDATE: August 06, 2009.
Today my account was reactivated. The first suspension email did say “minimum suspension: 1 week.” they seem to keep to that very strictly, as exactly 7 days after my initial suspension, my account was reactivated. What I did in order to reactivate my account was submit one support ticket on their website, and send an email to suspended -at- Make sure you are very polite in each, and don’t bug them with lots of multiple submissions (what I read shows that they don’t like that.)

All of the support tickets I submitted (3 in total, one describing the first spam, one asking to be un-suspended, and the email which showed up on the website after a day or two) were marked “solved” very quickly, with absolutely no communication. While this is very rude and probably not good support practice (which is another issue entirely), the issue was actually solved, even though I couldn’t find out until the minimum 1 week suspension was finished. I would suggest waiting until the end of your minimum suspension before freaking out again with support :P. don’t forget to be polite and grateful! they don’t have to unsuspend your account, and I’m sure being the banhammer is not a job where you get very many compliments.

Mathematica 7.0+ in Linux >2.6.27

Posted in Guides, Life in General, Linux, Lists, Ubuntu by aliencam | 3 Comments »

There is a major usability problem in Mathematica 7.0.0 in any linux distros using a kernel newer than version 2.6.27.  This includes Jaunty, and it will be any other new distros.  The problem is on Mathematica’s end, but Wolfram has offered a fix for the issue.

If you are using Mathematica 7.0.1, then you do not need this fix. ASU only offers 7.0.0 to us though…

First, download the following files to your desktop:

Now, open a terminal and enter the following commands (a $ means a new command, don’t actually type that..)

$ cd ~/Desktop

$ sudo mv ./ /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Libraries/Linux/

$ sudo mv ./ /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Libraries/Linux-x86-64

$ sudo mv ./ /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Libraries/Linux-x86-64

$ unzip ./

$ sudo mv /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Links/JLink /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Links/JLink-bak

$ sudo mv ./JLink /usr/local/Wolfram/Mathematica/7.0/SystemFiles/Links/

Thats it, now Mathematica runs nicely!


Ubuntu Setup Guide Part IV. Middle Mouse Scrolling

Posted in Guides, Life in General, Linux, Lists, Ubuntu by aliencam | 1 Comment »

==Thinkpad/IBM Mouse only==

Jaunty uses the same evdev system that Intrepid used, that I had some troubles with. However, the solution should be the same, and I just hope it works correctly this time.

Here are the original settings, before middle mouse scrolling works:
$ xinput -list-props "TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint"
Device 'TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint':
Device Enabled (109): 1
Evdev Axis Inversion (251): 0, 0
Evdev Reopen Attempts (242): 10
Evdev Axis Calibration (243):
Evdev Axes Swap (244): 0
Evdev Middle Button Emulation (252): 2
Evdev Middle Button Timeout (253): 50
Evdev Wheel Emulation (254): 0
Evdev Wheel Emulation Axes (255): 0, 0, 4, 5
Evdev Wheel Emulation Inertia (256): 10
Evdev Wheel Emulation Timeout (257): 200
Evdev Wheel Emulation Button (258): 4
Evdev Drag Lock Buttons (259): 0

Now, to get this working, you need to create “/etc/hal/fdi/policy/mouse-wheel.fdi”. Easiest way to do this is to open up a terminal, and enter:
sudo gedit /etc/hal/fdi/policy/mouse-wheel.fdi

Now, paste in the following content and remove the extra space in each line (between “< " and "merge"
< match key="info.product" string="TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint">
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheel" type="string">true
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelButton" type="string">2
< merge key="input.x11_options.ZAxsisMapping" type="string">4 5
< merge key="input.x11_options.XAxisMapping" type="string">6 7
< merge key="input.x11_options.Emulate3Buttons" type="string">true
< merge key="input.x11_options.EmulateWheelTimeout" type="string">200

The 2nd to last line in there (200) is optional. This line prevents the middle mouse button from exhibiting the annoying paste function that an unconfigured button does. I need to set this option because as I’m scrolling through a document, I hate random sections being pasted where they don’t belong.

Save, exit, and restart X server by restarting the computer (the guide will cover re-enabling ctrl-alt-backspace to restart X later).

If you want an explanation of the other lines, in my post on this with the last version of Ubuntu, I wrote the following:

EmulateWheel should be pretty obvious, you don’t actually have a wheel with a trackpoint, so it emulates one

EmulateWheelButton: which button pretends to be a wheel? the mouse buttons are numbered 1 2 3 in order, so “2? is the middle one

YAxisMapping: which directions should the y-axis go? (4 is up, 5 is down)

XAxisMapping: which directions should the x-axis go? (6 is left 7 is right)

Emulate3Buttons: actually I’m not sure what this does in conjunction with emulatewheel. It probably allows you to use middle-click still (like to close firefox tabs, or whatever else middle click does)

EmulateWheelTimeout: if the button is held for longer than the ammount of time, it switches off the middle mouse click. Essentially, this is what turns off “middle mouse paste” when you are trying to scroll.

With these settings, my middle mouse scrolling vertically and horizontally works even after suspending.


UPDATE: oops, I realized that I forgot some code tags around the most important part of this post! (the mouse-wheel.fdi code) I fixed that now.

RiData SSD Review

Posted in Life in General by aliencam | No Comments »

I just posted a review of the RiData Ultra-S Plus 128 GB 2.5″ laptop SSD over at

I can’t post the whole review here because of the publishing agreement (hey, at least I get to play with cool stuff like laptop SSDs!) but here is the intro and a link:

RiData released a line of SSD drives called the Ultra-S Plus. This series of drives was announced at CES this year, (how did I miss that booth?) and they claim it is much faster than many of the other MLC drives available today.


Google Gears Ubuntu x64 Update

Posted in Life in General by aliencam | No Comments »

Someone has posted a precompiled version of the new version of Google Gears for 64 bit Ubuntu distros! (yay thanks, this is too much work to do all the time so I almost never end up updating)

Just save the file, then in Firefox do file> open file > *filename* and install the extension. If you already have it installed, it will update the old version (don’t worry about removing the old version first. )


Midnight Panorama

Posted in Life in General, Pictures by aliencam | No Comments »

After the debacle below, I figured I wanted to do something right tonight. So, I went out back and took a quick series of 15 second exposures of my backyard and stitched them into a panorama.

The really cool thing about this was that the pictures were taken at 11:00 at night tonight, March 10, 2009. I think it is a full moon, although I may be incorrect. At any rate, it was plenty bright. I just used the “shutter priority” mode because I really wasn’t even planning on doing this until it happened, and so just wanted to set the shutter speed without anything else. The camera then chose ISO 200 and f/2.6 as the other settings.

The moon was above the frame, probably one frame up in the last shot on the left. The glow behind the hill in the left-center is the glow from Phoenix, AZ (about 30 miles south of here).



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