Poker Copilot Version 1: Complete

Poker Copilot version 1 is now a completed product. It’s reach a level of maturity, stability, and ease-of-use that I’m happy with. The number of support e-mails have dropped dramatically while downloads and sales have stayed consistent. The only changes I’ll be making will be bug fixes as necessary.

So what’s next? Poker Copilot version 2 of course! More news coming soon…

Here’s what I can say now:

  • Poker Copilot 2 will cost more that Poker Copilot 1.
  • Anyone who buys Poker Copilot from today (Sunday, 22nd March 2009) onwards gets a free upgrade to Poker Copilot 2 when it is released.
  • People who bought Poker Copilot 1 before today may have a small upgrade price. Or they may not. We’re still sorting this out.

Indian Police and Slumdog Millionaire

A couple of years ago I spent a month in India. One balmy afternoon, from the roof-top bar of my hotel in New Delhi, I watched a group of cops pull up in the street. They picked a bystander seemingly at random, then started beating the crap out of him with long sticks. They threw him in the back of a police wagon, then a minute later released him, grabbed somebody else, beat him to a pulp and took him away. I was stunned, as were the other guests – all whiteys – in the hotel. I felt anger, powerlessness, and contempt. Never have I been so glad to leave a country.

I watched Slumdog Millionaire today, loved it, recommend it, and appreciated that it showed India as it is. Indian movies for western consumption usually omit the daily dirt, degradation, and suffering that hundreds of millions experience daily. Slumdog showed it all.

Delayed E-mail Sending: Another Obvious-in-Hindsight simple but excellent idea

So gmail has added “Undo send”.

The trick is, the sending of the e-mail is delayed a few seconds after you click “Send”, allowing you the chance to change your mind before the e-mail is really sent.

It’s a great idea, although I think the delay could be even greater. I could tolerate that an e-mail is only sent some 30 seconds or so after I think it has been sent. This gives me a good window of time to undo.

Obvious in Hindsight

I love those inventions which in hindsight seem so obvious. The cat-door, for example, seems the most obvious thing: A little mini-door within the house door so that the cat can come in and out as he pleases. Yet alledgedly it took the genius Isaac Newton to invent it. (I suspect that’s a myth debunked on the Internet).

Now there’s an oh-so-obvious solution to the electric car problem. It takes hours to recharge an electric car, making the concept inconvenient. It would seem we need clever scientists to invent faster ways to charge batteries. But what about simply fitting service stations with the infrastructure to remove a spent battery and replace it with a full one? Like a Formula 1 pit lane, with the right tools and training this can done in seconds.

Here’s a video about Better Place, the people behind this obvious-in-hindsight idea.

Poker Copilot Update 1.67

There’s a new Poker Copilot update, version 1.67.


  • PokerStars satellite tournament wins are handled correctly
  • The HUD now works with Full Tilt 6 max speed tables
  • Adding a PokerStars tournament summary e-mail is now slightly easier for first-time users to understand.

You can download from the Poker Copilot downloads page.

A Blog as a Marketing Tool

My blog is my #1 marketing tool for Poker Copilot. It’s also fun – for me. I like writing. I have an opinion on just about everything, especially things I know little about. I like sharing my opinion. My close friends reading this will be nodding their heads in firm agreement right now!

As a marketing tool for a tiny software company, a blog gives almost unbeatable value-for-money. It costs me nothing in cash. It costs a little bit of time for each article – time which is nicely amortised. The returns seem to compound as the blog content increases linearly over time. That is, a blog with 100 articles is more than ten times as valuable as a blog with 10 articles.

Which raises the question: if a blog is so effective, will so many people start using this approach successfully that it will lose its value? If every tiny software company offers a regular, helpful blog, will it become a basic requirement for business? Will it lose its competitive advantage?

I think not. The reason is this: blogging is hard. Writing only a few blog articles is easy. Writing frequently, regularly and consistently for more than a couple of weeks becomes a distasteful chore for most people. Motivation flags. Most people don’t share my love of writing. Unlike me, most people are not filled with opinions they are eager to share with anyone within earshot (or is that eyeshot?). So if you can find the motivation and discipline to blog, you have a great advantage.

It becomes easier once you’ve made it a habit too.

MC Hammer #2 music twitterer?


I’m surprised to see that the Hammer is beaten only by Coldplay. Is he still on the scene in the states? From my Australian upbringing, I know him only as a 1.5 hit wonder from the early 90s with a unique dress style and some much-mimicked dance moves. So how do he get > 200K followers? Am I missing yet another Internet meme?

What I’ve Been Reading Lately


  • I just completed Matt Ruff’s Bad Monkeys, a somewhat alternative novel I can highly recommend. A secret organisation tries to improve the world by killing evil people.
  • Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. A perfect American life turns into a trainwreck. Recommended.

Tech Books:

  • Filthy Rich Clients, an exotically-named advanced guide to Java Swing programming. Very helpful for really understanding Swing.

Other Non-Fiction:

  • The disappointing Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m sure there was a point in that book somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. An eye-witness account of an Everest expedition gone very wrong. Compelling. I could barely put it down.

And now, after years of good intentions I’m tackling Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.

When to Convert my Dollarses into Euroses

I sell Poker Copilot for US$49.95. People pay in US dollars. Because I live in Germany, my landlord, my supermarket, and my local Apple store all want to be paid in Euros. Therefore I must decide when to bring money from my US-dollar-denominated account into Germany.

Now I could speculate on where the USD/EUR exchange rate is headed. I could try to guess the ideal time to convert the money. But that’s a mug’s game. Even those who make their living from exchange rate speculation don’t do very well from it, on average. Yes, yes, I know about your cousin/friend/hot-shot analyst who made a fortune from exchange rate speculation. According to probability some people will get it right sometimes. A few people will get it right many times. These people are luckier than they realise.

Consider this contrived story: 1296 men go to a casino, each with $100. They all play on the same roulette table at the same time. 36 of the men put their entire $100 on number 1. Another 36 put their money on number 2. And so on, so that each number has $3600 staked on it. The wheel spins. Lucky number 7 comes up, of course. 1260 men leave sullenly, and never talk about their gamble and subsequent loss.

But 36 men have now 36 times the amount of money they started with: $3600 each. Feeling like they’ve got this roulette game figured out, they bet on another spin of the wheel. The first man bets his $3600 on number 1, the second man on number 2, and so on. The wheel spins. The result is 11, as a wise person would expect. Another 35 men leave disheartened and go back to their normal jobs as accountants, hairdressers, and delivery drivers.

But one man, one lone man now has $129,600. He is celebrated as a champion gambler, almost divine in his ability to guess right. He writes a popular book, “I Won…and So Can You!”. It outlines his theory on picking subsequent prime numbers for guaranteed success. People use him as an example to prove that you can make a good living playing roulette. But he is not divine; he is fooled by randomness. So too are his many followers. He actually made terrible decisions, but got very, very lucky.

It’s easy to get fooled by similar successes in currency speculation, because we ignore (or don’t here from) the losers. There’s ample research showing that a random number generator is as good a predictor of exchange rate movements as the typical analyst.

So back to my problem: What’s my solution to the “I don’t want to be a speculator” problem? When do I move my money from USD dollars to Euros? As often as possible while not incurring too many fees. Once per month. Sometimes I’ll get a good rate, sometimes I’ll get a lousy rate. But over the course of time, the good and the bad will average out and I’ll end up with a reasonable rate over all.