December 28, 2013

Sports betting recap - November 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in November: +627.06%

Oops. This result needs to be explained and I should do some serious thinking for the future. As I told before, I was having a little break from betting. I have bought some betting tips earlier from ESBC, a company that is offering commercial betting consultancy. In November they were promoting tips for Moniveto offered by Veikkaus with extra money on some bets. So, there was a chance to win with higher than normal odds. Knowing that I wouldn't be spending money on other bets in November, I decided to take one shot at it. And this time, it was worth it.

When I won the first bet, I decided to take a second one and won some more with that. This may show a difference between an amateur (me) and pros (ESBC), but I think also luck had a big role in it. I've made some similar bets during December with less encouraging results and it seems December won't be a winning month.

Anyway, with less focus on betting I've had more time for other things, for example Christmas. This has been a welcome change and I think I must spend some time considering where I want to put my focus in the future. This applies to both work and free time. I see some room for improvement in both areas.

December 12, 2013

Importing contacts from Nokia Suite to Jolla smartphone

I received my Jolla smartphone yesterday. I will not write a review right now, perhaps never. Others can do that better. But if you happen have an older Nokia phone, you may be wondering about moving contacts to Jolla phone. I managed to do it without putting my precious info into any kind of a NSA sponsored cloud service and it was really quite easy.

If you plan to do the same, here is one way to proceed. I will assume that you already have your contacts synced into Nokia Suite in Windows.
  • Create a new temporary folder for exported contacts.
  • Switch to contacts view in Nokia Suite and select all contacts you have.
  • Choose Export Contacts from the File menu and in the dialog select the folder you just created. Nokia Suite will write a .vcf file for each contact.
  • For easy import to Jolla, you will want to have the data in one .vcf file. Open Command Prompt in the export folder and give command: copy *.vcf contacts.vcf
  • Connect Jolla phone to your computer with USB and select the PC Connection mode in the phone.
  • Copy the contacts.vcf into the Downloads folder of the phone.
  • And finally do what Jolla Guide tells you to do: "Now in Settings| Apps | People: tap on "Import contacts from" and your Jolla will let you pick the vcf file you just copied over." 
For me, this was one of the first things I wanted to with Jolla and fortunately it went smoothly. Me and my Jolla are still getting to know each other. What I can currently say is that the UI is the prettiest design I've seen in my phones. More about my experiences a bit later.

December 04, 2013

How to fight a surveillance state?

I haven't written much about Snowden, NSA or privacy and freedom. I know it totally concerns me, but it's the Americans that have to clean their own backyard. I don't think you would listen to me anyway. So, let's hear it from someone whose words weigh more. Mikko H. Hyppönen from F-Secure:



So, what everyone can do is to try and pick more secure products and services in the future. It won't be simple, but a change is needed.

November 19, 2013

Sports betting recap - October 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in October: -49.74%

As I feared, last month I had to take big risks to fulfil turnover rules related to past betting bonus offer. It turns out I was able to save only a small portion of the cash involved. This shows in the disastrous October result.

After this episode, I've taken a deserved break from betting. I've been quite busy with other things lately and therefore unable to reserve enough time to analyse the bets properly. I'm taking some work related courses and overall, autumn is not the greatest time in Finland. Rain, cloudy days and darkness take their toll. Thus, the break has been longer than I expected.

What comes to Finnish indie game front, Clash of Clans was released for Android. I actually downloaded the game just the day before the big Supercell deal was announced. My village is growing steadily and I find the game mechanics well fitting to casual gaming. There are many strategic elements to master as you basically get to play in both sides of the tower defense. Building projects are now getting longer, so the game not require as much attention as it did in the beginning. I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing.

While writing about PS4, I happened to mention my Pile of Shame, from which I was able to finish one game this month. Perhaps it would actually be worth blogging when I manage to finish a game. That doesn't happen too often, but I'll consider the idea - I have some serious classics in that pile. I tend to do a bit of web search on my writing topics and thus found a couple of good articles about how to tackle the Pile of Shame. Enjoy.

November 18, 2013

PS4 hype and latest Jolla news

It's after my €uros...
I thought I would not get into the PS4 hype, but I already did a little bit. I have PS3 and I'm going to stick with Playstation. I could not resist reading first comments in some forums and Sony sending a code for free PS4 theme for PS3 did not really help to keep my head cool. I know I will eventually buy a next generation console, and Xbox One probably should walk on water for me to choose it.

I can surely manage over the Christmas time, but after that it's going to be a struggle. My Pile of Shame on PS3 is quite massive, so rationally there is no hurry. However, I have already rearranged the furniture in the second bedroom to make room for the new console. Oh yeah, that's about how immune I was to the hype... So PS4, you have my heart. But could you just be a little less attractive for few months so that initial bugs are be fixed before we start our journey together, please?

It already has my €uros.
Another passion of mine is naturally the Jolla smartphone. A Finnish operator, DNA will be launching the Jolla phone November 27th. The first batch will be 450 devices only.  Pre-ordered, but sadly, I haven't seen any invitation yet. It's seems that waiting for Jolla phone will be another exercise in patience. I still have faith that I'll be holding the device in my hand this year.

For me, having a Jolla smartphone will be, more than anything, a statement. I'm sure many Finns will understand what I mean and based on what I've seen in social media, others will too.

PS4 at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

October 31, 2013

Good deals and affiliate linking ethics

Currently there is a pretty good deal on Civilization V titles on Amazon UK. Unfortunately downloads seem to work for UK customers only, so I'll miss the opportunity to buy Brave New World expansion. Civilization games are so iconic that I really should have played them more. It just seems that I always prefer to play some fantasy or sci-fi game. Well, another time then, Civ5...

I will use affiliate links in the future posts, when appropriate. But I don't want to fool anyone into clicking them. Therefore I will try to make the affiliate links recognizable, like the one above clearly mentioning Amazon UK. I may also put the affiliate links in the end of the post if I feel they don't naturally fit into the text. I also believe that links should be relevant to me and the blog content, so I will not be putting up affiliate links to random stuff. After all, this is a blog, not a billboard.

October 09, 2013

Letting the phones go

As a Finn, I probably should write something smart about Microsoft buying Nokia mobile phone business. But so much have been written already and more will surely follow. It’s is a topic that somehow concerns just about every Finn and yes, many are upset, confused and angry. I will however try to avoid the most common points of view and find somewhat personal angle on the subject. I’m likely to fail.

The economy in Finland hasn’t been going so great lately. And while Lumias may not be Nokia phones in the future, as far as we have been told, Lumia sales figures still mean more jobs in Finland. How much trust Ballmer and Elop deserve is for everyone to decide. I would so much love to see Nokia board doing something intelligent; not exactly holding my breath yet. But I honestly hope they will still have some cards up their sleeve.

I (still) work in ICT sector in Finland and have seen my share of killed projects and I think I have some understanding of what Nokia employees are going through. For me these seem to be the times of looking back and doing some self-reflection. It's sad that individual achievements and heroics rarely count when big lines are drawn.

More and more often asking myself if I should stay on the job or if an alternative exists. Nowadays I tend to admire the people who have taken risks and found their own path. That is why I made an effort to write about Indie Game: The Movie or why I now own the most of the Spiderweb Software games, just because I think it was great how much Jeff Vogel was sharing about development process of Avadon: The Black Fortress. And I’m eagerly waiting to receive a Jolla phone, as it’s made by the people who believe in their vision and carry on even if odds should be against them. While I keep collecting my steady paycheck, these examples inspire me to think that things could be different. It’s still possible for a small group of people or an individual to succeed in the world of megalomaniac multinational companies. An alternative really exists.

Day is job is curse in a sense that I don’t need to succeed and there’s not much pressure to proceed. Life can still go on as usual. I could use some extra boost and therefore I’m going to give Pat Flynn’s book Let Go a shot. Fact is, I would not be writing anything like this if I had not stumbled on Pat’s Smart Passive Income website a few years back. Having examined of the free content he’s offering, I have found him to be a very inspirational character.

I need to take very small steps to proceed on my own path to make the best use of the little time there is available. I don’t even know what the path will exactly be, but that’s alright. What I know is that I want to create something more personal or do something different than I’m able to do in the current job. I guess that’s a start.

Let Go on Amazon.com

October 05, 2013

Sports betting recap - September 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in September: -18.78%

While sulking over Nokia-Microsoft deal, I was trying to fulfill the turnover requirements related to bonus bet offer I took earlier. It seems that with cleverly formulated rules, the bookie is able to use a sort of applied mathematics, making the turnover requirement almost impossible in my case. Winning bets now means more contaminated money and making turnover limit just becomes harder.

September results partly reflect this situation and it seems it's not getting better. So, I'll need to device a clever plan of my own. If that fails, I'll have face some substantial losses. Not a nice situation, but a good reminder that one should always read the bonus offer rules very carefully.

October 03, 2013

Sports betting recap - August 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in August: +27.78%

You may have heard about Microsoft buying Nokia's mobile phone business. Nearly everyone in Finland has. After these news I haven't found reporting about personal adventures in the world of sports betting very important. But I'm slowly getting back on my feet now...

Well, the positive August can be explained mostly by taking advantage of an offer made by one online bookie. Unfortunately I'm now struggling with filling the related turnover requirements. This has been a good reminder about reading the rules of an offer very carefully. It's still quite possible that these wins turn into losses.

Otherwise the August must have been quite uneventful, as I don't remember much else.

August 28, 2013

Sports betting recap - July 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in July: -23.33%

It seems I'm back to my regular level. I was kind of having a vacation on July, but still managed to lose almost one fourth of the betting cash. This happened by making a few not so well planned system bets. The result is a good reminder of the required discipline and using smaller stakes when trying something special. No big regrets.

Otherwise the month was quite uneventful. I'm already waiting for the start of the hockey seasons and August has been a bit slow in the betting front. But it looks like one risk free bet is going to save the month. More about that later.

August 11, 2013

Waiting for Jolla - feature wishlist

I do have Jolla T-shirt, stickers and a "thank you" letter, so I'm in Jolla camp as much as I can at the moment and will get the phone anyway. So, this post probably isn't the most objective one.

I'm currently using Nokia C7 smartphone with Symbian Belle. It's getting a bit old, but I'm sticking to it at least until Jolla smartphone arrives. I hope and believe the Jolla phone will be good enough to fully replace it. I do have some concerns however. The following is my Jolla feature wishlist in order of importance. I'm hoping to see more information on these in the near future.

1. Maps and navigation


This is where Nokia phones excel, and perhaps one of the hardest challenges Jolla has. Every time I need to drive to a new address, no worries, Nokia maps and navigation can take me there. No need to study the map beforehand, unless you want to educate yourself beyond driving instructions. In ideal world Nokia would be selling its map and navigation for Jolla phones. This is perhaps asking a little too much?

2. Wi-Fi hotspot


Very important as I have a tablet with Wi-Fi connection only. Practically must for every smartphone nowadays, so I'm confident this feature will be in.

3. Camera


I want to have one device that does everything. Therefore, I never was interested in getting a portable MP3 player. The same goes for cameras, because smartphones can and should do the job. I can compromise on picture quality, but I would appreciate it being on the level of my current phone or even a bit better.

4. Adequate selection of apps in Jolla Store


Not sure how innovative the real name will be, but let's call it "Jolla Store" here. With pre-book edition sold out, I'm not too worried about the availability of apps. There will be users and apps will arrive when the market exists. And when apps base grows, new users will join the herd.

Android apps compliance helps, but a Jolla Store is needed to be able to conveniently install apps to your phone. Otherwise the user base will be limited to techies that are willing to go through extra effort for installing the apps. The most important apps for me will be the browser and a Twitter client. I can live without a single game, as gaming with phone only comes to mind when I don't have anything else to do. That's almost same as never.


Items 1 and 2 are practically a must. If those are missing I will need a second device. The one thing I now regret is that I never did buy Nokia N9, as then I would soon be owning the two most interesting smartphones in the world (IMO).

While checking the links, I noticed that Nokia Swipe pages are still online. They may create some what could have been wibes...

July 11, 2013

Sports betting recap - June 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in June: +11.10%

A second positive month in a row. I'm tempted to think that I'm actually learning to win, but it's much more likely that I was just lucky.

I was counting on Chicago Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup. They did and I was winning on it. Otherwise June was quite steady downhill and it wasn't looking so good. But June 30th saved the month. I won a 5-game system bet played on Finnish soccer. The bet had quite low odds and was built strictly based on my simple statistics. I felt pretty good about that, although I know that luck had a major part in it.

In July I try to take it easy, enjoy the summer and relax a bit. In betting sense the month hasn't started that well at all, so I'm facing the familiar challenge again. Is it somehow possible to turn this month positive...

July 07, 2013

The awesome digital distribution

Map of the Internet
Some of you reading this may not remember the time before the Internet. I didn't have Internet access before I went to university and it took a couple of years more before the World Wide Web became popular. So, I have a privilege of knowing what life was like before networks were everywhere. The transformation has been so complete that I believe it's very hard to imagine it.

Over time Internet became also an online marketplace. I disliked this at first, but I should have known better and see that commercial applications were unavoidable. Being such a dinosaur, I've adapted to buying digital content a bit slowly. It took some time before the collector in me learned to accept the idea of owning digital goods.

The shift must have started from music in my case, through making MP3s of my CD collection. I never actually had a separate portable music player. I played MP3s with a computer and later with mobile phones. When iTunes went DRM free, I decided to try and buy music online. Later I have switched to Nokia Music mainly because it allows downloading the bought albums more than once. This is nice when you're using multiple devices. I guess iTunes still has this silly restriction of one download?

The next step were video games. One day I noticed that it was possible to purchase the old classics online. Say no more, sold. You just couldn't hope to find some of those games anywhere else. With affordable prices and lots of sales campaigns, it's so easy to fall in love with Steam and GOG.com.

How many indie games would you have bought without digital distribution channels? I think I would have totally missed the most. Now new interesting ideas and concepts are rising from indie games, whereas AAA titles usually play it safe. I fully agree with anyone thinking that digital distribution has saved indie game development. The various indie bundles are offering great deals and selling large enough volumes to make developers happy. And everyone wins.

The final step in my turning were the eBooks and digital magazines. When 7-inch tablets came to market, I got seriously interested. The screen size is adequate for reading and devices are small enough to carry around. In addition, tablets are suitable for videos and casual gaming.

And somewhere along the way I decided that I have enough DVDs and Blu-rays and just stopped buying more. My next Blu-ray purchase better be a timeless masterpiece. Otherwise I'm going for video on demand.

Looking back, I see that it took me about 20 years to turn from filling the shelves with games, movies and books to wanting to reduce all the excess stuff.  I'm still a collector by heart, but I can now hide the mess into a digital storage space. Free cloud services are making this even easier and the market is expected to grow. The benefits of digital content are numerous: wide selection of entertainment with affordable prices, minimal storage space and the same availability whether you live in a big city or a small village.

They made some great music in the 80's, which helped me to  hundreds of hours to playing Elite on Commodore 64, or just pass the time. If you got bored, there were three TV channels to choose from. While it's fun to think back, I would pass the opportunity to step into a time machine. Someone else can go instead.

June 14, 2013

Sports betting recap - May 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in May: +7.00%

I can finally post about the first positive month of sports betting! I really didn't think it would take this long. What comes to bets in general, May wasn't a regular month for me. So, it's a bit ironic that it turned positive.

The first exception was that I was lucky. I didn't take the bets very seriously in May. But one system bet landed pretty well and practically saved the month. Also NHL playoffs bets were quite successful. I also had some advantage. I was able to monetize one risk free bet offer. In addition I used one 100% deposit bonus offer. However, that is not included in the monthly result. It wouldn't be fair.

Unfortunately June hasn't started so well and it seems there won't be any winning streak. The most important lesson from the last month for me was that I shouldn't underestimate risk free bets and other bonuses. They can be used to get some extra boost, but the rules and restrictions should be checked carefully to avoid any surprises.

May 20, 2013

A smartphone reveal event behind, a console event ahead

Jolla's smartphone reveal event could have been longer. It made me curious but not able to make up my mind about the device. The Other Half is something new, and it would rock if a physical keyboard can be built with it. Having some doubts at the moment though.



The release schedule is by the end of the year and surely more details will be told during the coming months. For a short overview on Jolla, I recommend reading the BBC News story. If still interested, here's a hands-on demo in YouTube.

Whereas Jolla keeps its events short, Polygon tells that the XBox event will be so big that it will be split in two. Well, I'll do my best to be able to see both of them. There are some big promises, but enough to match the PS4? Let's see.

The first match-up of the next generation consoles will be seen at E3 in June.

May 07, 2013

On the same page with Raring Ringtail

I took some time to check what's up with Ubuntu 13.04. Me and Ubuntu had a small crisis when 12.10 was released. It didn't work with NVIDIA drivers and I eventually got tired of the troubleshooting. At that time wanted to try out Steam in Linux, did some homework and found out I was able to get everything working in Mint. So it was goodbye to Ubuntu at that time.

But we have too much history and there were rumors that 13.04 would fix many of the problems. And indeed, the first impression is that Raring Ringtail seems to be one of the better Ubuntu releases. Installation went smoothly, except for the system not restarting properly in the end. Well, that didn't seem to matter really. In about an hour I had the NVIDIA proprietary drivers working and Steam installed. The performance improvements are really helping. For the first time, Unity desktop does not feel sluggish.

I wanted get myself more up-to-date and started looking for some fresh Ubuntu customization tips. While searching for security info I came across Easy Linux tips project. The pages actually contain a lot of useful information on Ubuntu, Linux and the applications. Definitely worth checking out. Another one of my Ubuntu release traditions is reading the 10 Things To Do article by OMG! Ubuntu!

It's should be easy to find some useful tips from those sites. My first picks this time were:
  • Turn on the firewall with sudo ufw enable spell.
  • Install NVIDIA's drivers to make the system slicker and meaner.
  • Install Chromium as I'm going to miss it anyway.

To relax a bit, I chose to test drive the system with recently released Portal Beta for Linux. I didn't really notice any issues with the beta either. As Valve is being serious about Linux gaming, I hope more developers will follow. I wouldn't mind spending more of my time on Linux side. About 20% of my current Steam games library seem to be available for Linux. Quite a lot actually, but indie games from Humble Bundle purchases are increasing my numbers quite a bit.

May 02, 2013

Sports betting recap - April 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in April: -8.38%

I was mainly betting on the NHL games. The smallest monthly loss so far. I just wish this trend will continue. I continued improving the reporting features of my Python tool, and I felt that it was actually helpful in finding the high odds and also in knowing which games to pass.

I managed to keep above the zero line for almost the whole April, but the last rounds of NHL regular season were too hard for me. Now when regular season is over, I'll turn my attention on the Finnish football. The seasons have just started and the statistics don't tell much yet. So I'll go easy in the beginning.

It's also time for Ice Hockey World Championship games! As a fan, I'll follow the events as much as possible with entertainment in mind. My bets for IHWC can't be taken seriously. There are too much emotions involved. While it doesn't look that good for Finnish national team this year, I'm of course hoping for some surprise results.

April 20, 2013

Indie game picks #2 - The lure of Telltale

I've spent a couple of evenings with The Walking Dead (the game, by Telltale Games), finishing two episodes so far. I didn't expect to become a fan of the TV series, but it just happened. The game story has the same kind of atmosphere, making me think if the undead swarm really is worst of the enemies or not. It's hard to really recommend the game, as I think it has the PEGI 18 rating for a very good reason. But it surely is an experience at your own risk.

The Walking Dead is actually my first touch with Telltale games. I'm now impressed enough to fall for Telltale sale at GOG.com, that seems to be well timed to abuse my temporary soft spot. Damn, I don't even like adventure games that much! I guess I will eventually end up reading The Walking Dead comic books too...

I try to be cool, make the best of the situation and grab Tales of the Monkey Island, a classic franchise that I've missed totally when the originals were released. Looking at the user reviews, this is a good opportunity to finally fix that mistake. And that's not all, for I also noticed that Fez is coming to GOG.com. It seems they are now serious about taking my money.

April 06, 2013

Sports betting recap - March 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in March: -34.61%

The losing streak continues to teach me that it's not that easy. I tried a few new systems during March, but was betting less than usually. I had to put some extra effort to more important issues and a little break from the routines was quite welcome, to be honest.

When you try some new system in betting, it's strange how they usually seem to work well in the beginning. And once you get a bit comfortable with the system, the losses start. I wonder if there is some universal law for that?

April seems to be a bit challenging for what comes to work/life balance, so there will be less time for betting. At the moment there is no point making any detailed plans. Let's just see how much free time there will be available.

March 15, 2013

Indie game picks #1

There are a couple of nice game promos this week by GOG.com and Humble Bundle. GOG.com is doing a Pick 5 games promo and Humble Bundle is offering an Android spiced collection. There's still some days left to check out both offers.

Humble Bundle 5 got more interesting after the new games were added. I'm curious about the experimental games, such as Solar 2 and Splice. And all the games except Crayon Physics Deluxe come with soundtrack. Not bad at all.

GOG.com lets me be a patriot and choose two more Finnish games. My first pick is Legend of Grimrock. I already own Alan Wake, but the American Nightmare expansion is a good deal. I have to make some tough choices in picking the three remaining games. No final choices yet.

I'm being a collector again, already having a long list of unplayed games, but constantly going after good deals. I like to think that my small contributions help a little in keeping the indie scene alive and vibrant. I favor the indie bundles as a good way of making more indie developers get a share of the market.

March 09, 2013

Sports betting recap - February 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in February: -47.76%

As much as I would like to report a positive month, that doesn't seem to happen. But no worries. The total account balance has been so low that the percentage looks worse than it is. I have moved to more defensive bets in February. This has reduced the total number of bets significantly. The situation has been stabilized, and I've been also somewhat lucky for a change. And the Chicago point streak in NHL was surely helpful.

I've continued to work a my script that can hardly be called an application. There is a bit more number crunching, and I'm quite happy with that part currently. I have taken the first steps in studying the possibility of making a Qt based UI. The target is to make it as plain and simple as the current command line interface. I hope there's more to tell during the next few months.

March 03, 2013

Why I think XCOM matters

I'm a PC gamer by heart. The motivation to buy PS3 was mainly getting the Blu-ray, and gaming was just a bonus. In fact, PS3 is my first console and I was a bit surprised about how similar many triple-A games were to each other. A typical PS3 game seemed to be somewhere between either a first person shooter or a third person action/adventure, often with trendy "RPG elements". And then of course there were platformers, e.g. visually appealing Trine. In general some indie games do seem to offer more refreshing ideas for this console generation.

As a PC gamer my favorite genres are RPGs and turn-based tactics, so I was familiar with the classic games like X-COM and Jagged Alliance. Perhaps because of that my expectations for console games were not completely realistic in the first place.

My list of unplayed games is constantly growing and I rarely buy the new titles. The new XCOM was the welcome exception, which brought back the fond memories from the 90's. I tried the demo on both PC and PS3, and the spirit of the original X-COM was strongly present. As Steam bundled Civilization V with the pre-order, I was once again lured to buy the PC version. I was very satisfied with final game as well. Cleverly simplified and faster turn-based combat offered deeper tactical choices when the soldiers gained new abilities with promotions. And how to best use these abilities was mostly left for the player to discover.

For me the XCOM was the most exciting and anticipated game in 2012, and I tend to think that there must be other console owners thinking the same way out there. I'm just not that extraordinary person. Whether XCOM was a great success in console sales remains a question. But most importantly, XCOM proved that it is possible to make an enjoyable and deep strategy game also for console players (see: Kotaku or Rock, Paper, Shotgun). I really do hope to see more games like XCOM, especially for the consoles. In this case I don't mind at all if some game studio is trying to copying the formula. So, when the prices drop, perhaps I'll still buy the PS3 version, and hope that someone notices.

February 07, 2013

Sports betting recap - January 2013

Total balance of betting accounts in January: -79.04%

The scores were definitely not in my favor. If I didn't bet with a pocket money, I could rename this blog to something like "How to Lose a Fortune by Gambling". Major European football and ice hockey leagues are now on a short break, and I have some time to catch my breath after this small scale disaster on my betting bankroll. What's worse, I can't tell what exactly went wrong. The first half of January was so bad, that I decided not to continue my current strategy. I may have missed some wins in the second half, but by no means enough to cover the losses. January was just somehow quite different.

I haven't too much confidence left after these results. This seems to easily lead into picking the wrong games and passing the right ones. So, I plan to take it quite easy for the moment and maybe work on some new approaches. I do follow NHL and keep betting on some games. I expected NHL to be a challenge and this seems to be true. The small tool I wrote is helping me to spot the trends better. It's also useful in looking back at what worked and what didn't. So, I definitely plan to utilize the tool more and keep adding new features to it.

I don't know if this has been exactly fun, but it has surely been a learning experience.

January 27, 2013

Geek's take on NHL

Few years back I wrote a piece of software for tracking sport results. It was a standalone application using an in-process open source database. While it was OK, it required some setting up and I never quite finished it. Therefore I used to run it through the IDE. The user interface for adding the game data also felt a bit clumsy and eventually I lost interest in continuing the development. Perhaps there was just too much design compared to what I actually wanted.

I'm not a big sports fan, but it's really nice that NHL is on again. From the betting perspective, NHL seems to be quite a challenge. This gave me some extra boost to come back to the original problem of recording and analyzing the sports results. I decided to start from scratch and build a very primitive solution with minimal maintenance burden.

The first problem was how to store the data. I wanted a text based format so that I could easily create some test data to play with. I chose JSON format, which is supported in many platforms and languages and is more simple than XML. JSON format didn't practically set any restrictions for other design decisions.

I wanted an effective programming language with good libraries. Choosing Python was easy, as I also wanted to improve my skills with it. With Python I would have a cross-platform application, although the interpreter is required to run it. For me, that's not really a restriction.

The first goal was to read and and print some game data to the console. With Python JSON libraries this was a no-brainer. In addition, I created some simple model classes I would need later. I found adding the game data in text editor a bit error prone, so the next thing was to find a better solution for it. I decided to temporarily extend what originally was just a printing script to write the game data and created a command-line support for adding game results. This was a lucky accident. Using command-line was so fast that creating an as effective GUI for the same purpose is not a trivial task.

My project is now in a point where I have an unprofessionally built Python script already doing some filtering and analysis from the game results. Building the functionality with Python was amazingly simple time after time. The end result so far is not what thought it would be. It's not professionally built software, but still simple, fast and effective. Considering the spare hours invested during the last two weeks and how useful the application already is, this must be one of my favorite projects that I will remember for a long time.

I will continue adding new command-line functionality and refactoring the existing code to make it more modular. After this it's hard to say which direction the project will take. The original thought was that I need a GUI. Now it feels more as optional. The project has also been a good reminder about how powerful a simple command-line interface can sometimes be.

Let's see if my new tool can really help me pick the right NHL games to bet on.

January 05, 2013

Sports betting recap - December 2012

Total balance of betting accounts in December: -16.15%

There should be a way to know the days you just don't want to bet on any game. December was going just fine - until the last weekend. Several ice hockey bets landed only a couple small wins. If this one weekend could be erased, the December result would look much better.

While some bigger wins are inevitable in the long run, my system is obviously faulty unless results improve during the coming months. In January I'm going try out some counter bets to improve the stability of my system. For this weekend, I have a significant amount of bets in and I'm hoping for a better result than the last weekend of December...