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201 comments

Say it isn't so. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#107471)

Casinos exploiting the masses... what next?

Re:Shooting in the dark. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#107472)


Microsoft has a link to a press release outlining Verizon's 9TB in SQL Server databases, including 2.2TB in one SQL Server instance.

Microsoft's TerraServer is a 4 node cluster of 8-processor Compaq ProLiant 8500s. You can see a picture of them on the Terraserver site. Certiainly that's expensive, but I wouldn't call it a massive cluster. You might want to call up the folks at Teradata if you're looking for massive.

At 6TB, the same things that give you amazing speed on small datasets will kill performance on big ones. A big installation requires a very smart query processor and highly parallelized transaction support. Doing this right requires overhead that would likely bring a 486sx to its knees.

Re:I got a 404 message on your link. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#107473)

The link is correct. Just remove the space between the 4 and the 7.

Re:Scalability of SQL Server (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#107474)

Microsoft's "TerraServer" satellite imagery service is 1.5TB, and it's hosted over 4 Compaq ProLiant 8500's. The servers run Windows2000: Datacenter along with SQL Server2000: Enterprise Edition.

http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/terra_tec h. asp

Wrong (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#107477)

Having counted cards at foxwoods I can tell you this is not how it is done. Firstly, no casinos use single decks anymore, foxwoods was eight, and they shuffle when it gets down to two decks. And card counting isn't illegal anyway, but a casino can bar you because you look like a geek. They have the right to refuse service, as any buisness.

A note about trolls (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#107478)

Why doesn't Slashdot institute a rule (very simple) that no anonymous cowards or accounts with &lt 0 karma can post to an article for the first 5 minutes of its existence? This perpetual "First Post!" thing just seems so tired and easy to eliminate.

I don't think the Geekizoid folk would be as keen to get "middle post!".

Re:What else is new? (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 12 years ago | (#107479)

What if they expanded it beyond trying to catch cheats? .... Hey, CmdrTaco just walked through door 5 of the Luxor. According to the database, he likes blondes, so send employee 109872 over there to make sure that he stays drunk and distracted.

I don't have cable, so unless they stream it from their site or let PBS re-broadcast it, I won't be watching it any time soon. Come to think of it, I haven't watched TV in a few weeks.

Re:gotta give ms credit man (2)

ksheff (2406) | more than 12 years ago | (#107480)

I'm not sure what they are using now, but as of a few years ago, Harrah's customer database was in Informix running on NCR *nix. The also had a few AS/400s. I _think_ every property had one of the small AS/400s onsite. Which sometimes can be a problem if the property is a riverboat and it moves under a bridge, blocking the satellite uplink.

Re:What else is new? (2)

ksheff (2406) | more than 12 years ago | (#107481)

Maybe an opt out policy is in order? Or an opt in?

You don't have to have one of the players or gold cards to eat or gamble at the casinos. People get them because the more they use them, the more freebies the casinos give them.

Re:What else is new? (2)

ksheff (2406) | more than 12 years ago | (#107482)

Most casinos already have hundreds of video camera watching everyone. Just imagine what they could do if they used the same facial recognition software that the Tampa police have and tie it back into their gambler databases.

Re:Something I wonder... (2)

Tet (2721) | more than 12 years ago | (#107483)

the notion (reality?) of "card counters" - I mean, what exactly are they, and why are they bad?

Casinos (and in fact and organised gambling of any form) relies on odds. Betting in a casino will, in the long run lose you more than you gain. That's because the odds are stacked in favour of the casino. However, there's one exception -- Black Jack. There, the odds are very slightly in favour of the gambler. Card counters are basically people that have learned techniques to help take advantage of this fact, and so, in the long run, can expect to win more than they lose. There's nothing bad about it, unless you're a casino, at which point, you're obviously going to be less than impressed. If casinos tolerated card counting, it would seriously affect their bottom line, and they're not prepared to do that.

Re:Patent on consolidating data? (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 12 years ago | (#107486)

If they have a patent on giving preferential treatment to those who give you the most money, will they be getting a cut from all the big special interest campaign donations? Will you have to buy a license from them to be a politician?

Re:Something I wonder... (1)

jshare (6557) | more than 12 years ago | (#107487)

Oh, alright.

Basically, casinos make money because of odds. The odds are in their favor. If they weren't, then they wouldn't have the game.

If you do something to put the odds in your favor (card counting), then of course you aren't welcome in their establishment. You probably won't lose (overall).

Would you make a bet where you didn't think you had a better chance of winning than not? Neither would they.

Re:Liars! (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#107491)

Wouldn't sorting a 6TB SQL database on a win2k server take a million years?

Given that the fastest database systems in the world are running SQL Server (yes I realize that those who used to hold the TPC as sacred now defile it because of SQL Server's successes) I really don't understand how you could say this. Versus what? A magical Linux mySQL cluster? A hypothetical super computer (despite none matching the clustered performance of SQL Server 2000). I'm sure they are very careful about the queries they do run as 6TB will stress any configuration, but if anything can do it obviously SQL Server can.

Where do they store 6TB of data?

SQL Server let's you partition a database, or even just a single table, across many machines. If they have 6TB of data obviously they have a pretty impressive cluster set up, so the scalability is pretty much limitless.

Re:SQL & win2k (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#107492)

I'm shooting in the dark here, but I'd wager that it's not incredibly likely that Casinos (or anyone who actually needs a RDBMS) are running it on 486SX', so as a metric that is rather worthless (sort of like saying a Acura NSX is slow when you hook a truck trailer to it). On a real machine SQL Server will rock [tpc.org] any system's world, including the big big boys.

Re:hmm (2)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#107495)

A SQL Server database can be partitioned obviously across multiple machines (which is how it dominates the TPC), but also across several disk volumes.

In any case I thought the theoretical maximum file size is 16 exabytes (18,446,744,073,709,551,616 bytes).

Re:Shooting in the dark. (2)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#107496)

SQL Server was made to run on reasonably well equipped hardware (the listed requirements for Windows 2000 are a 133Mhz Pentium processor, and 128MB of RAM, with 256MB recommended. For SQL Server 2000 they up the CPU recommendation to a 166Mhz or better), and on anything less it is starved for memory or I/O and it will not scale with CPU time because there are much more perilous external circumstances. There is ZERO reason to run Windows 2000 or SQL Server on under-powered hardware (256MB PC133MB CAS2 DIMMs are like $35 US), but on proper hardware it will take on any competitor when comparing apples to apples.

Re:What else is new? (2)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 12 years ago | (#107497)

Don't they already do that? Check out the Casino Diaries on Discovery. They do the face recognition against a database of people they know cheats or suspect of cheating.

Re:Truly Outrageous! But Get Used To It (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 12 years ago | (#107503)

this minor step has already been taken over in the EU

Very nearly, but not quite. As I understand it, the EU has passed a motion (directive?) that allows its member states to pass legislation like that that you describe. I don't think that the states have to pass it.

Unfortunately for me, the UK, in which I live, was one of the states pressing for this to be passed... Ah well, I have nothing to hide (from the current government, at least...)

I do agree that the largest privacy threats come from business, rather than government, but I take some exception to your assertion that we should Get ready to drop any spare change you still have left.

Highly targeted advertising or not, I'd like to think I still have enough free will and self control to decide for myself what I want to buy.

Cheers,

Tim

... (3)

BilldaCat (19181) | more than 12 years ago | (#107507)

BIG DEAL

SO WHAT

jesus christ people. you sign up for one of those loyalty card things, and you don't expect this? plus, what's the big fucking deal? why should i give a fuck if they know i like onions on my burger (i don't). is the onion mafia going to come out and get me, and make me eat my onions?

god damn, there are a lot of other things going on in the world more important than this, but i guess if some casino knows i like gin and tonic, that's pretty damn newsworthy.

(OT) Information collection. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#107508)

You know... I thought about it. I don't have a problem with someone collecting information about me, as long as that information was volunteered by me.

I only have a problem with them selling it or giving it out to others.

Ever wonder why bank clerks get chatty? They get bonuses for referring people to the loans department (or any other bank service) when they hear the person is doing something. Oh, your daughter is just about to get married? That's great sir! (write not to loan department to give him a call).

Thank you. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#107509)

This happens when I order a Pizza.

I fail to see why people have a problem with people who they already do business with using whatever means they want to 'remember' that information.

It's when they share it/sell it that I take issue.

Re:but what will safeway do with it (1)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#107513)

"Right this way Mrs. Arnold - we have a free room for you right behind the meat department"

Remember the old proverb: do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

:)

Re:Something I wonder... (3)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 12 years ago | (#107515)

One thing I have always wondered about, is the notion (reality?) of "card counters" - I mean, what exactly are they, and why are they bad?

They are people who have learned a system to get themselves an edge on card games - normally but not necessarily blackjack. They are bad from a casino's point of view in that they can convert an 8-10% edge in the casino's favour to a 2-6% edge in their favour depending on the conditions - how many decks, the size of your bankroll and the rules of the game in question.

From what I understand (and I am not a gambler - and I don't really like cards, outside of the mechanics of the games, etc - so I may be wrong) - is that a "card counter" is exactly that - someone who can keep track of, in their heads, of what cards may be "where" (ie, in what players) - and what the dealer may have left - through knowing what they have, as well as how many hands they have lost or won - etc.

Almost. Very few people on this planet can keep track of several shuffled decks in their heads, especially when those decks are reshuffled every few minutes. Card "counters" just tally up the values of the cards dealt according to one of several systems. Once you're through a deck far enough then if you have a high running total - you bet high, low running total - bet low. There are plenty of links - try searching Google for "Blackjack Basic Strategy".

What I can't understand is why this is illegal - ie, why is it illegal to have the skill to remember cards and positions, etc - in order to make the odds more favorable - making such an ability illegal punishes those who have the brain "capacity" or "ability", and rewards (or at least protects) those with "lesser" (or nonexistant) skills in the area.

It's not illegal - casinos just don't like like you to win. If they suspect you have a system, then they'll use the catch-all Right of Admission Reserved and kick you out. Trust me - I know :)

Re:Scalability of SQL Server -- Static Data (2)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 12 years ago | (#107516)

I'd think part of the secret to this working is that a great deal of the data is static (you don't have millions of people in the casino at once) and historical (the vast majority of data is stuff already stored in the past).

They do a little OLTP, but it sounds like the main use is reporting. Their database doesn't require any real power. Just oodles of storage.

Something I wonder... (3)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 12 years ago | (#107519)

I read one of the comments about this being used for possible catching cheaters, by comparing faces to a database of known cheats...

One thing I have always wondered about, is the notion (reality?) of "card counters" - I mean, what exactly are they, and why are they bad?

From what I understand (and I am not a gambler - and I don't really like cards, outside of the mechanics of the games, etc - so I may be wrong) - is that a "card counter" is exactly that - someone who can keep track of, in their heads, of what cards may be "where" (ie, in what players) - and what the dealer may have left - through knowing what they have, as well as how many hands they have lost or won - etc. The idea of "shuffling" is to introduce some form of randomness to help alleviate (or eliminate) the ability to count cards...

If this is true (ie, if my "definition" of a card counter is correct), then I can see how it would skew the odds in their favor, and away from other players and the house. What I can't understand is why this is illegal - ie, why is it illegal to have the skill to remember cards and positions, etc - in order to make the odds more favorable - making such an ability illegal punishes those who have the brain "capacity" or "ability", and rewards (or at least protects) those with "lesser" (or nonexistant) skills in the area.

I can understand the bans against using computers to do the counting for you - what I wonder about is what happens when the time comes (if it comes), that humans are able to get "brain augmentation" devices - would these "trans-humans" be unable to gamble in casinos at that point? In other words, would they be banned? Probably...

Finally, if the cards can be actually counted, and the probability of the hands can be skewed or somewhat accurately determined by a machine or by a human card counter - are the games then not truely random? If that is so - then are the casinos really just protecting the possible fact that they may be found out as a fraudulant "business"?

Comments?

Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!

Info abuse from the other side... (4)

thogard (43403) | more than 12 years ago | (#107520)

Years ago there was a guy who worked in the same computer lab as I did. He was a grad student from a different country and he lived in a house with lots of other guys from his country. Every year at spring break they would all go to vegas for the week. What would happen is they would all pool their money and despoit it in one of the casino's "banks" using a member card and then pull out 1/5th of it every day. To the casino it looked like one guy would come in and dump several thousand dollars every spring break so they would provide this member a free room. What the casino didn't know about was the large number of people involved in the deal.

Re:What else is new? (1)

blazer1024 (72405) | more than 12 years ago | (#107524)

There is an opt-out possibility here.. just don't go to the casino. You're going on their property when you enter a casino, and they have every right to watch you while you're there, and keep track of what you buy.

Sure, they shouldn't know what you bought at Victoria's Secret last week, but it's perfectly find for them to watch you while you're on their property. Wouldn't you be watching some stranger that came into your house?

If this were just watching you all over town, that'd be different, but this is in their casino, on their property, you're spending your money at their place, so of course they're going to track you.

Re:gotta give ms credit man (2)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 12 years ago | (#107527)

I didn't work for Harrah's, but the company I worked for was a completely IBM shop (except for win 3.1/win 95 on the desktops and Novell on the file servers.) The AS/400's where the heart of the system. OS/2 for the critical data collection units. Token Ring everywhere.

As far as the riverboats, each had it's own AS/400 on board. When the boats docked they were plugged into a land-based network which allowed the data to be synced to another AS/400 on land. This system, of course, was connect by WAN to the other properties.

numb

Not such a recent development (3)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 12 years ago | (#107528)

At my first IT job I worked for a casino and worked directly on this exact type of system. I worked closely with the developers and was fairly familiar with the whole system. About four years back when I left they were just beginning to license the system to other casinos. I wouldn't be suprised if it's the same system that the casino reps in the article are talking about.

The amount of data the system collects is astounding. Each table has a card reader which the dealers can run your card through to keep track of how long you've been at which table. Each slot machine is also connected. I believe about 75% percent of floor space, the maximum allowed by law in Atlantic City at the time, was allocated to slot machines. The slot machines generate more money per square foot than any other part of the casino so it is beneficial to fit as many of them as possible into the available space on the casino floor.

Not a drop of data is wasted. The system would register the exact time that each coin is put in, the exact time the handle was pulled (or the time the bet/spin buttons were pressed), which machine it was, the type of game, the denomination of the coin(s) inserted, whether a coin was rejected, every conceivable transaction. We could actually calculate the average time it took between the last coin being inserted and the patron pulling the handle. All the data is archived with the same care that financial instutions archive their transactions. If you use a 'loyalty card' as they call it in the article then the data is attached to the patron.

The big reason to use one of these cards is all the free perks you get should you spend enough money gambling. The prefered parking areas at the casino required your card to get in and the reader on the parking gate was also attached to the system. If a high end player arrived the system would page a Casino Executive (actually just a fancy title for someone who makes sure a high end player's needs are well tended) and the exec could go wait near the corridor to greet the arriving guest.

From the casino's perspective, knowing the patron's likes/dislikes, which events to send invitations for, which players warrant personal attention, and things like these are important in generating customer loyalty--you want to make your casino the customers' preferred destination when they come to town and you want to keep it that way. Regular visitors to the city might visit several casinos while in town, but they usually have a favorite where they spend most of their time and money.

Another imporant part of the system is to allow the patron to collect points by gambling. The more points you accumulate per visit the more free perks you get such as tickets to shows, fights, parties, free rooms/suites, meals at gourmet restuarants, limos, helicopters, charter flights, etc.

I was going to make an analogy to frequent flyer miles but it's not quite the same thing. With frequent flyer miles it's the number of points you accumulate the decides when you get your free airfare/upgrades. At a casino it's the number of points that you are likely to earn on your next or current visit that are important. This is based on 'past performance' of the patron. However, as with frequent flyer miles, it pays off to patronize the same place in order to get the most freebies. It's usually preferable to be offered a free suite at one casino than to be offered a free room upgrade at 3 or 4 different casinos which are not your favorite.

Even in the early 90's they were already doing this. In the meantime I'm sure much thought and effort has been expended to refine the process.

numb

Re:700KB PER CUSTOMER?!? (5)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 12 years ago | (#107529)

700k might sound ridiculous at first, but the system I worked on recorded each transaction a customer made in as detailed a manner as possible. For example if you played a slot machine there would be a timestamp on each coin you insert, each handle pull, each win/loss, each rejected coin, plus other things that I'm probably forgetting...it's been several years. Also, each free perk or offer for the perk, dates you visited, which mailings you were sent, what time you entered/left the parking garage, etc, would be stored in the database. Some customers with credit with a casino also have their digitized signatures in the system. It adds up.

numb

patent on networks (1)

tconnors (91126) | more than 12 years ago | (#107533)

It seems they have a patent on combining data from their various sites, into a larger database.

Gee, never thought the network + some disks could be a patentable combination!

TimC --
Off to patent..... the knights who said "Ni"!

Patent on consolidating data? (2)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 12 years ago | (#107535)

Any competitor that wants to consolidate data from their own multiple properties "has to come talk to us or run the risk of a lawsuit," Boushy said. "We created a strategy that others thought was nuts at the time, and [we] want to garner benefits from it."

How can yo patent consolidating data? Sense when does the particular type of data used make it unique? Does this mean that anyone who starts a new type of survey could patent they're survey, and anyone who wants to to collect similar information would have to pay them royalties?

Re:data != useful infomation (1)

SamBeckett (96685) | more than 12 years ago | (#107539)

your sig always evaluates to (define-question 1) since b + b' = 1 (in boolean algebra anyways)

Re:Another cause... (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 12 years ago | (#107541)

Well, it's definately better than earning yourself new cement-shoes, sleeping with the fishes. In this respect it's an improvement. The people behind gambling have always been crooks, it's just more socially acceptable to be a crook now. As long as you keep up an expensive facade. We automatically look up to and respect people who have more money and power, regardless how they got it. So our value-system is basically flawed, no matter how much we think we're better than others in that respect.

- Steeltoe

well, whaddaya expect? (1)

nido (102070) | more than 12 years ago | (#107542)

are people supposed to just throw their money at them to finance $1.2 billion monstrosities such as the bellagio [bellagio.com]? oh, wait...

---

Farleyfile? (5)

steveha (103154) | more than 12 years ago | (#107549)

This reminds me of the "Farleyfile", as described in Robert A. Heinlein's novel Double Star. A politician kept a database on all the people he met with, and before each appointment he would look up the person and refresh his memory. When the main character expressed outrage, another character said it was no different than writing down a phone number and address for a friend, except in scale.

If you always walk in to your favorite restaurant, and the hostess knows you and greets you by name, you probably don't have a paranoid feeling of "She knows who I am. This is bad. I need to start randomly changing restaurants so no one ever recognizes me." In fact, if she remembers that you like to sit by the window, and she puts you by the window, you are likely to be happy.

So the casinos are doing this sort of thing, only on a vast scale. I find this interesting, but not too troubling. I'm sure there are possible abuses here, but I'm not sure that the casinos are any worse than Safeway and their stupid "keep track of everything I buy" card.

steveha

Re:What else is new? (4)

tjgrant (108530) | more than 12 years ago | (#107551)

OK, so maybe I'm a completely naive, but I fail to see how this is an invasion of privacy...

You visit their casino, spend money on their games, eat in their restaurants and stay in their hotel rooms.

Why shouldn't they track that information? You chose to go and do the things you did on their property.

Now, if they were sharing that information with others with whom you had not chosen to do business, then that would be a problem, but the article clearly states that they aren't doing that.

Stand Fast,

Re:What else is new? (2)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 12 years ago | (#107552)

Everybody using a card like this knows that the casino is tracking them, collecting information about their habits. That's why they use the card. If they didn't think that the casino was watching, then why would they use it in the first place?

Now, that I severely doubt. I really don't think the average customer stops to think for even a second to consider what kind of information on their habits will be collected when they hear the magic word "free".

And now, integration with face recognition (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#107560)

Bob Schmitt, Biometrica [viisage.com] President and CEO, said, "We are the dominant provider of face recognition systems to the casino market."

"Domestically, Viisage products annually produce more than 20 million identification documents at more than 1,500 locations in 13 states."

"MGM Grand Las Vegas has adopted Visionics Corp's FaceIt-enabled Griffin G.O.L.D. [hospitalityupgrade.com] face-recognition casino security system, following The Venetian and Bellagio's adoption of the product earlier this year. Griffin Investigations, a provider of gaming security information, has an on-line database with over 30 years of intelligence data, which casinos to match suspected individuals at gaming tables, in real-time, to a database containing photographs of all types of known casino cheaters, card counters and their associates."

Any questions?

Sigh ... patents again ... (5)

legLess (127550) | more than 12 years ago | (#107566)

One critical patent covers Harrah's method for consolidating gambling and hospitality data from its 21 properties. If someone visits Harrah's Las Vegas, then the nearby Rio, then Showboat Atlantic City -- all owned by Harrah's -- information about those activities is culled from local databases and consolidated into a central patron database.
Great. So Harrah's has basically patented ... databases. Imagine the US Patent Office clerks.

"Hey Ernie, these guys say that if you walk into the Showboat, they can tell right away that you like Margaritas, even though that's in a computer miles away!"

"Gee Bert, that's incredible! If anyone ever deserved a patent, it's them."

"We all say so, so it must be true!"

Re:What else is new? (1)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 12 years ago | (#107572)

They're called "comps" by the casinos. And they're really not free since to get them you have to gamble at a consistant rate. You only get back a certain percentage that you're expected to lose. The more you gamble (and lose), the more you get. You first start off with perhaps a free lunch or dinner. Then you go to rooms, tickets to a show, etc.

Re:Something I wonder... (3)

sstrick (137546) | more than 12 years ago | (#107573)

Card counting is not illegal if you sit at a table and bet solidly through a whole hand. However, to maximise their profits most card counters will hang off to a side and watch a table until 2/3 of the pack is dealed. They will then join for the last 1/3 of the pack and bet heavily. Once the pack is finished they will then go and watch another table until there is only 1/3 of the pack remaining.

I also would still let people do this however it obivously tips the odds against the casinos to much.

Re:hmm (2)

tcc (140386) | more than 12 years ago | (#107574)

10 times worse than 6TB?

Well if it can comfort you, it's probably not hosted on windows because 13TB is the limit of NTFS if I remember correctly :)

Re:Sigh ... patents again ... (3)

mcleodnine (141832) | more than 12 years ago | (#107577)

Yeah I caught that bit of nonsense. Not too surprised, but the mention of licensing or 'other forms of compensation' (kneecapping?) was almost offered as a challenge. Are they gonna sue doubleclick? Amazon? Yahoo? Google?

"Woid on da street is dat da clowns over at Yahoo are makin coin on our intellectual properties"

"Ya wants I should have dem, uh, 'repartitioned' boss?"

See ya at the bottom of the lake, kids...

Re:hmm (1)

HowIsMyDriving? (142335) | more than 12 years ago | (#107578)

IDNG (I do not gamble) nor do I have the money to, but It is quite different keeping track of winnings and loosings and prefs for games than Safeway looking to see what I buy. I do not want my Health Insurance co seeing that I only use pure butter, not margrine, or that I got some Jack Daniels the other day. They could draw conclusions. (For instance the JD was for a maranade for Portibella Mushrooms) I do not see how the games you prefer to play and your wins and losses compare to tracking what food you buy. Greater harm can be done than this. (If you are dumb enough to gamble)

Re:Farleyfile? (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 12 years ago | (#107579)

The difference is that at your favorite restaurant people know this because they're your friends and they personally know you. Somehow it seems insincere for a hostess to pretend to know all this shit about you because you swiped your casino card and the computer looked you up.

Re:Patent on consolidating data? (3)

MrWa (144753) | more than 12 years ago | (#107580)

Harrah's Customer Relationship patents:

Customer Recognition [164.195.100.11]
Customer Worth [164.195.100.11]
more customer recognition [164.195.100.11]

It looks like their system is setup to determine how well a customer should be treated based on past spending at all Harrah's locations. I doubt that collecting data from different locations is all the patents cover.

Re:Truly Outrageous! But Get Used To It (2)

clare-ents (153285) | more than 12 years ago | (#107585)

Speaking to a policeman in the UK, his experience was that Jack Straw wants to build the infrastructure for a police state without any police officers in it.

[The UK has one of the lowest number of officers per head of population for the whole of europe.]

Re:What else is new? (4)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 12 years ago | (#107586)

If my numbers bear out, that's about 733KB per customer, and I can think of an awful lot that can fit in that amount of data.

What is important to ask is, can one opt out of this data collection? This is becoming a bigger and bigger issue, and privacy is important. I've been running the IE6 previews at work (familiarity with upcoming technology, or so I tell my boss), and I've let it notify me about third-party cookies. I had *no* idea it was this bad. Sites that don't even have banner ads have third-party cookies trying to plant themselves on my system. I don't mind first-party cookies, but the tracking issues on third-party....

In the same vein, I don't mind a hotel greeting me by name, but having them ask, "Will you be spending your normal $352.65 on the casino floor tonight?" would be downright spooky, not to mention who might be buying tapes of this data. Imagine a casino chain knowing you in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and on the gambling cruises!

Truly Outrageous! But Get Used To It (5)

none2222 (161746) | more than 12 years ago | (#107587)

What, you think since you don't gamble you're safe? Do you have a driver's license? A bank account? A credit card?

If you have any of the above, a great deal of information about you is already being trafficed through the corporate world, and the amount will only grow with every passing year. To take one seemingly harmless example, if you have a savings club card, you've already handed them on a silver platter to megabytes of data about yourself for your grocery store to sell. Then there's the magazines you subscribe to, the professional organizations you belong to, the ISP you use (don't think they don't mine logs for useful information). And don't forget your medical records. The databanks of the highest bidders certainly never will.

In the future, as storage gets cheaper, and transactions are increasingly done through electronic means, you can expect records to be kept of everything you buy, everywhere you go, everyone you correspond with.

While the government does present a danger to privacy*, the corporate world is clearly the largest threat. Corporations already manipulate us with slick marketing. Once highly targetted advertising arrives, we'll be so many fish in the corporate target barrel. We won't stand a chance. Get ready to drop any spare change you still have left.

Besides targetted advertising, blackmail is the other serious threat posed by corporate stockpiling of personal information. I could see a future where corporations solidify their control over our leaders by holding their past misdeeds over their heads. Campaign contributions and corporate political activism are bad enough. Just imagine when the corporations put themselves in a J-Edgar-like postion above the president.

*For example, I expect that within 5 years we'll see legislation forcing ISPs to verify the identities of users and log and store all traffic for a some minimum time frame; this minor step has already been taken over in the EU. I think it makes sense though, as a method to combat computer crime. The internet can't stay the wild-west forever.

Scalability of SQL Server (1)

skuenzli (169327) | more than 12 years ago | (#107592)

At the risk of making all the posts to this article about SQL Server, can anybody tell me:

Does SQL Server really scale this well?

I thought that &gt 5TB was starting to stretch even Oracle and that you start looking to the DBs that the airline/financial industries run at that point. I had never even thought to consider SQL Server in the multi-TB database contender category. I had relegated it to the &lt 500GB application-space. Does anyone know if they are accomplishing this with a cluster of servers, and if so, how many?

Did the Mirage have the SQL Server development staff move down to Vegas?

Anybody here do IT for the Mirage?

Stephen

Re:Farleyfile? (2)

cthugha (185672) | more than 12 years ago | (#107600)

No, they know it because they've made a point of remembering stuff about you in order to enhance their business in the future.

Maybe, but it's much more personal, and you have the opportunity to judge whether the waiter/host likes you or is just remembering YAC (Yet Another Customer) based on body language and other non-verbal cues. Chances are you won't go back to a restaurant where the staff seemed disinterested, even if they had managed to remember that it was your cat's birthday that day.

Plus, I think (and this is pure speculation) that people think that others will act in a more moral and ethical manner in a face-to-face situation than if one was just data on screen. Irrational, but it does matter, IMO.

Re:same thing (2)

satch89450 (186046) | more than 12 years ago | (#107601)

Did the Coca-Karma story ever make it to the front page of Slashdot? (Using "Search" turned up nothing.)

Should it?

I personally found it a very, very disturbing read, particularly in light of the court cases that affect the Internet that are turning up in the Federal courts.

Re:READ THE ARTICLE (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 12 years ago | (#107602)

Okay, I figured they were talking about the Computerworld article, which is much better written. They're not

link - http://www.computerworld.com/cwi/story/0,1199,NAV4 7_STO61799,00.html

READ THE ARTICLE (2)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 12 years ago | (#107603)

Yes, it's scary. Yes, it's creepy. And yes, it's impressive. And they have better privacy, since they want to keep it to themselves! Capitalism at work.

Cool example: When you check in, they check your preferences. If you're a big gambler, they come over, greet you by name, make sure whatever drink you normally get is ready for you, etc, etc, etc. It's a damn impressive article.

IT ethics have a long way to go (5)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 12 years ago | (#107604)

"Why would one have any more paranoia about The Taj having information," he said, "than if Sears or AT&T had that information?"

I'd rather that none of the above had that information. If it only gets used for what they say they're using it for, it's probably okay. The problem is that information doesn't go away - much of what's been collected about people within the last few years is likely to be around for a lifetime.

Lots can happen within a lifetime. (Compare today's world with something pre-WW2, for example.) Assuming various privacy laws and data correlation restrictions (or what's left of them) don't lighten up in the future, and that's very unlikely, there's still the danger of information leaks.

For example, what would happen if someone were to steal MGM Mirage's database and post it on the net? Immediately millions of people's names and addresses would be available next to their estimated personal income, and potentially "interesting" information such as when they're likely to go on holiday.

The thing that most consumers don't realise is that when you're letting a company collect information about you, you're not just trusting the company. You're also trusting every one of their employees, and probably employees of related companies that you have no control or knowledge about.

In this case you're trusting their data security setup - not to mention the software engineers who wrote the software they're using. You're trusting every one of thousands or more casino workers who have direct access to some very personal information, and you're trusting the person who hired them not to make one mistake with that many chances.

I'm not sure if there's an obvious way to stop this, because people will always be collecting data about other people and in the computer age it's going to get easier and easier to store, mine and correlate to make new information. I'd at least like to see the following:

  • Important computer organisations (eg. ACM [acm.org]) really pressing their codes of ethics' seriously. There must be lots of people in ACM at the moment, for example, who have pirated software and don't have a second thought about it. I know lots of society doesn't take it seriously, but if the ACM isn't going to take it seriously then I don't think section 1.5 should be in the code of ethics [acm.org].

    General ethical standards in computer employees really suck at the moment. Information management ethics needs to be a more serious part of the education system. There are lots of IT workers who have essentially sold out to their management. There are some lines that I simply won't cross without resigning to find a better job, and when we're approaching them I let my boss know what I will and won't do. Doctors have professional codes of ethics - they don't go selling inforamtion about their patients - and IT professionals should, too.

  • Standard and well recognised privacy policies in place for organisations to use. They would include things such as properly destroying collected personal data after a certain timeframe (very important) or when the company ceases to exist, not correlating it or using it for unspecified purposes, and so on.

    If marketed properly so that ordinary consumers understand it, organisations could stamp an approval label on their service, and people could decide based on that whether they want to trust the organisation or not.


===

hmm (4)

vectus (193351) | more than 12 years ago | (#107605)

How long until safeway starts bragging about its 300Gb of data collected by its club cards?

Reading things like this scare the shit out of me.. mostly because I know that if one company is admitting to something, another company has probably done ten times worse.

data != useful infomation (1)

JosephMast (197644) | more than 12 years ago | (#107608)

why do I have a feeling that most of the infomation in this huge amount consists of records like:
old lady #416236 12-1-2001 8:50 played a nickel slot - lost
old lady #416236 12-1-2001 8:51 played a nichel slot - lost


I mean, a major problem with many data mining systems is the amount of garbage that is thrown in with the "useful" info...

I mean _anyone_ (well anyone with a huge wallet) could strap a bunch of hard drives together and write random 1's and 0's and say they have XX terabytes of data...

I wonder how much _infomation_ is in these databases.....

Re:Liars! (2)

guinsu (198732) | more than 12 years ago | (#107609)

Terra server runs just fine on SQL and Windows. Bash Microsoft in areas they deserve it, these immature comments about MS products are incorect and counterproductive. There are plenty of true things about MS you could pick on them for without having to make shit up.

Junk mail on golden-rimmed fine-grained paper ? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 12 years ago | (#107611)

When the casinos sell their customers database, just imagine the kind of junk mail high-rollers must be getting in their mailbox !

so we were all wrong (2)

unformed (225214) | more than 12 years ago | (#107614)

Big Brother isn't the government, it's the Organized crime underworld, otherwise known as The Mob

how nice...

This is NOT like other companies' datamining. (1)

3-State Bit (225583) | more than 12 years ago | (#107615)

From article:
Walasin likes the free hotel rooms and meals he gets for gambling -- about $2,000 per trip. The data the casino gets in return doesn't matter to him; he figures a lot of it's out there anyway.

"Why would one have any more paranoia about The Taj having information," he said, "than if Sears or AT&T had that information?"
Mr. Walasin fails to understand one key difference between the data mining he mentions and that of the casinos -- the casinos have a right to turn down anyone they want from gambling even for the sole reason that they consider the person too lucky. You don't need to worry about your credit card company having your demographic information, because credit card companies aren't allowed to discrimate based on them. If I were a gambler I would use a fake name and get a fake "rewards card" after each 'lucky streak' (Be it from counting high cards in blackjack or some other odds-manipulation, or just plain luck). As Spellchekur astutely points out "Can you imagine having a string of good luck at the Taj and then walking into some casino in Paris and being asked to leave the premises?"
One casino datamining and discriminating is bad enough. But can you imagine a... of, oh you know...
~

Casinos, guilty of security, and being a business (4)

Traicovn (226034) | more than 12 years ago | (#107617)

A casino is just like any other business. They want to protect their market, they want to make sure the customers feel that they should spend their money, and they want to go after the almighty buck.
The reason they collect all the data is most likely for security, and for profit. It would be poor judgement for them to sell most of this data, but by having all of this data, the casino can give a gambler a more 'personalized experience'.

Everything in a casino is about making money. They make the ceiling and floor 'loud' so that you look forward, not up or down. When you look forwards you see slot machines and tables and other games. Bells, whistles and sirens are set to attract people to areas so that they will spend their money. The food is priced cheap, so that you'll spend more money gambling since you are saving so much eating.

Everything in a casino is highly advanced. You are under constant watch from floor bosses, security cameras, and the like. All the 'automatic' games are computer controlled. A casino is required to give back a certain % of their profits, so for example, if it's a busy night, you are more likely to make money off the slot machines. If the casino is fairly empty, maybe not. I have also heard stories from some guards who used to work at casinos that some of the games are timed so that if you are not playing them during an hour, you will not win. A casino is pretty advanced technology-wise.

So I am not surprised that they have so much market data on their customsers. Many casinos now even have cards that you can use with 'credits' that work the slot machines and other gambling sites. These cards allow the casino to track gambling habits of their patrons.

But in the end, security is probably the top reason for all the data on the customers. The casino wants to make money, and by keeping track of what you are doing, they can make sure your not cheating, and that the house remains in the black.

Just don't be surprised if they have a nice government- style database, complete with pictures of everyone who has ever entered the casino.

[Something witty and intelligent should have appeared here.]

700KB PER CUSTOMER?!? (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 12 years ago | (#107618)

Okay, I read the article and it said that if the guy likes onions on his hamburgers, then it gets logged. But over 700KB per customer? That's longer than a novel! This is either one of two things:

1: The worst database normalization job ever, or

2: An offensive amount of specific material being kept on each customer.

Okay, no onions on your burger? That's a boolean false. Okay, okay, they've probably got more information on betting patterns, but are you going to tell me they've got more than half a meg of this sort of thing? Per customer? Does that make sense?!

Re:What else is new? (1)

cicadia (231571) | more than 12 years ago | (#107620)

Now, that I severely doubt. I really don't think the average customer stops to think for even a second to consider what kind of information on their habits will be collected when they hear the magic word "free".

People may not know the extent of the collection, or the sophistication of the data analysis, but that is just a matter of degree.

The people who use these cards want the casino to watch them play. They want the casino to know how much they are playing, because they know that the more they spend, the more rewards they will get. They want the casino to know how they are playing - most casinos will offer better comps to people who play for big money on table games, even if the people who play all day on the nickel slots are spending just as much.

The promotional material for these cards is designed to give the impression that if you're a better gambler (from the house's perspective) then you could be entitled to better comps. They even go so far as to tell you what sort of behaviour they're looking for, in the hope that you will become a better customer :)

That pretty much says "We're watching you, and tracking your gaming habits, in return for these rewards."

The casinos are not trying to hide the fact that they do this. That's why they were so open about it in the article, even bragging about how well they can judge a gambler by the information they collect.

If they didn't want people to know that they were being tracked, then you would have seen a very different article here. Most likely, they would have had a lot of "No comment" quotes from casino executives.

Re:What else is new? (5)

cicadia (231571) | more than 12 years ago | (#107624)

Alright, yeah, some people are trusting. That's usually a good thing, except:
1) Online
2) When money is involved

Maybe an opt out policy is in order? Or an opt in?


Well, seeing as this story is about physical casinos, here's how it actually works:


If you are a regular casino customer, you can apply for, and receive, a loyalty card (you don't even have to be a regular, all you have to do is apply. It doesn't even cost anything.)

Every time you use this card, the casino gathers data on what you are doing, and for how long (how much you are spending - or winning). They do this because this information is valuable to them, and you do it because they are willing to pay (comps) for that information.

Everybody using a card like this knows that the casino is tracking them, collecting information about their habits. That's why they use the card. If they didn't think that the casino was watching, then why would they use it in the first place?

If you care more about your privacy, then your path is fairly clear - don't apply for one of these cards! If you've already got one, then just stop using it. The casino is perfectly happy to let you walk in off of the street and lose as much money as you want - in cash if you prefer it that way!

This is about as opt-in a system as you could ever ask for. Not only that, but it's a fair trade - you actually get something valuable in return for your information. And, as the article says, they generally don't even sell your information, as most companies would.

This seems like the most responsible use of private information that I've ever seen.

Of course, if you're worried about privacy in casinos in the first place, then maybe you should just avoid them altogether. There're more cameras per square foot in those places than just about any public place on the planet...

Re:What else is new? (2)

kcwhitta (232438) | more than 12 years ago | (#107625)

But the article also mentioned about a string of mergers in the gambling business. What is the difference between sharing information inside a mega-corporation and having one company arbitrarily share your information with others? How can you know that every hotel|casino|company affiliated with the casino you go into has the same philosophy as the casino itself? You can't. You also can't be sure that the casino, upon getting a huge $$$ offer from an insurance or credit company won't end up selling that information -- they are in the business of making money after all.

but what will safeway do with it (1)

blonde rser (253047) | more than 12 years ago | (#107634)

Will safeway start treating certain customers preferentially once it their spending habits show them to be "favored customers."

"Right this way Mrs. Arnold - we have a free room for you right behind the meat department"

Another cause... (5)

spellcheckur (253528) | more than 12 years ago | (#107635)

Casinos often use this information to track and discover "undesirables." When they find someone they *THINK* is not good for their establishment (card counters, cheaters, sports book arbitrage professionals), they take that information and send it to a detective agency that keeps track of these people for casinos all over the world.

One of the casinos had larger than expected losses on their table games last year. They got some consultants (with loose lips) to run some statistical analysis on their database to find people who won an improbable amount. They had information on some of their big money customers down to a bet-by-bet record.

The consultants identified more than a few "lucky" individuals. I'm not sure what happened to them, but I'd bet that they're not welcome in that establishment anymore.

The truly troubling result of this is that those people, who were not conclusively found breaking any rules, are probably now indexed around the world as undesirable gamblers. Can you imagine having a string of good luck at the Taj and then walking into some casino in Paris and being asked to leave the premises?

the more you spend, the more they care (3)

Proud Geek (260376) | more than 12 years ago | (#107637)

Of course casinos do this. People spend a lot of money there. Mass produced red carpet treatment is still expensive, so they don't want to waste it on customers who aren't worth it. They need to know who does what, to improve the take at the table, and to coerce people into returning. They sure want to invest a lot in this, because of the huge payback.

Grocery stores don't bother with this. They are starting to get into the game with things like Air Miles, which associate personal info with exact product items, locations and times. But the payback isn't nearly so large; people just don't spend thousands of dollars a day at grocery stores.

Probably the only other industry that really has the resources and desire for this information is the tobacco industry. You can bet they do their best to track trends. They have a big disadvantage, though, namely that they don't have direct access to consumers. You can be sure that the healthcare industry keeps the data, but they don't have as much concern since medical treatments are much less discretionary than grocery selection or casinos. I wouldn't be surprised to see them team up with tobacco companies though, since they have pretty much all the requisite information.

same thing (1)

sbinslashhalt (262877) | more than 12 years ago | (#107639)

When you read stories like this one [guerrillanews.com], you start to realize that "Big Brother" is "The Mob" is "The Big Corporations" is "The Government". All of which maintain large quantities of data about their "undesirables". Beware of the unmarked black helicopters.

Nothing to hide. (3)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 12 years ago | (#107640)

You never know how information about you is going to be used:

The expediency with wich former Chilean dictator A. Pinochet incarcerated his political opponents was astonishing. In a matter of days all the members (big and small) of the Socialist Party and other organizations that supported the democratically elected Socialist presdient, Salvador Allende, were imprisoned.

How did Pinochet's newly born regime achieved this? Easy, he got the record of the memebership of the Socialist Party, so it was a futile excercise of pick and choose.

You never know how information about you is going to be used and by who, thus you should give away as little information about you as possible.

Confess or gamble (2)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 12 years ago | (#107641)

Just proves that old adage that people will tell their bookmaker what they won't tell their priest.

What it comes down to is this: as you are after the casinos money (and they, of course, are after yours), you are far more likely to respond truthfully to a invasive questionnaire from them than you are one from Amazon.com or anyone else.

The fact that they are more likely to check up on the information provided to them (to protect themselves financially and legally) means that they are less likely to get people lying through their teeth on their books.

When You Passed By Nearby Casino (1)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 12 years ago | (#107644)

.... expect to see something like this in your cell phones:

Congratulations! You
COULD win the jackpot TODAY! Or, care to play poker with us? Come and visit MrTramps Casino 4 blocks north from here...

This is ridiculous. The bill condoning the cookies is okayed. They say "healthy business practices", then the casinoes used it. What's next? Pr0n sites? Oh my, maybe you'd got a Pr0n magazine sampler in your snail-mail box just because they can get your address info...

We're just victims anyways.... Could anybody stop this?

All Ethics Aside (1)

badfish2 (316297) | more than 12 years ago | (#107645)

That has to be a pretty interesting job, to put together these massive data systems to retrieve all of this information. Say what you want about the ethics of the whole thing, but I say give their IT people the credit they're due for making something like that possible. If anything I'd like to know more details besides the fact that one of them use SQL Server.

Try the same on the Net and see how quick you die! (1)

Jesus IS the Devil (317662) | more than 12 years ago | (#107646)

Can you imagine what would happen if some online merchant tried to do the same on the internet? They'd be sued and harassed and forced to back down. This is what basically happened with Doubleclick.

And yet this is the very reason why the net is a very unfavorable place for commerce. This is what caused the internet bubble to pop, and future internet innavation to go downhill rather than uphill.

Take it from me, if you all want the internet to be as rich a playing field as that of the offline world, we'll have to be willing to give up some in return.



---------
Did you just fart? Or do you always smell like that?

They can be stupid, too, though. (2)

Flying Headless Goku (411378) | more than 12 years ago | (#107649)

I once had a pizza order-taker read my credit card number back to me... the one I had used the last time I called, and hadn't told her during that call. Just because I called from the same number, they were sure I was the same person and could be trusted with the number, and could pay them with it. I could just tell she was enjoying my reaction to how much she knew (surprise mostly, mild annoyance, not anger); I bet she didn't keep that job long, she was having entirely too much fun with a touchy subject (that town was weird though... all the fast food service was the worst I've ever seen).

Now, I want good data out there... in aggregate. I want places to know what people want to buy; it means more of the stuff you want with less waste and better prices. I'd even like to have the option of asking them to remember my preferences. I don't ever want them assuming they know who I am, or figuring out my identity, without me explicitly telling them.

I mean, it's like you're not safe to buy 50 bags of fertilizer from different stores and 20 tanks of diesel from different gas stations over a single weekend with cash any more...
--

why, and by what right? (3)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 12 years ago | (#107650)

I honestly wondered why a casino, or any other company, would spend the kind of money on computing resources just to know if we liked pickles or not... I mean, why?

Then it dawned on me... (as I work third shift at a Texaco and cleaned out the out-of-code candy) ... companies can save and make lots of money, much more that the cost of implementing these computer systems, by having the most likely brand / item / game for customers that frequent the store most often. By minimizing loss in supermarkets by out of code items, and by offering perks that a large percentage of people would want in a casino, they are achieving cost effectiveness. In fact, a lot of supermarkets offer discounts to people who help them keep their prices low by this method. Doesn't seem so evil to me.

But also, by what right do companies do this information gathering and using? Well, by right of free trade. The honest companies that ask for this up front, and don't sneak it out of your computer by 'registration' of software, are attaching a certain condition to a specific sale. Since the companies hold the item /service, and the user holds the exchange medium, BOTH must choose the conditions of the sale, and agree to it. In fact, a company may choose to only make a sale in which they collect personal data. I know we collect personal data for credit reasons at the other job I work for, but only because we can't afford to have a customer bounce a check or default on payment on a $100,000 machine. As long as the companies are explicit in stating that they are taking the information at the time of the sale, it's perfectly legal and moral. Do not equate this, however, with the sale of this information from one company to the next. Not all companies do this. And if they do, and don't list it in the terms of the sale agreement, (whether its for a slim jim or an e-beam system), they should be sued. My only suggestion to those afraid otherwise is, be an informed consumer.

Re:Something I wonder... (1)

Tuonenkielo (444651) | more than 12 years ago | (#107651)

Hmm... I assume that casinos wouldn't like me betting in roulette doing thing like this:

Assume 10 credits (dollars, diamonds, whatever of equal value)
5 credits on first third.
4 credits on second third.
1 credit on a row on the last third.

I think I used to calculate that this would give a bit of better chance of breaking even n roulette. Now, would this be unacceptable to the casinos? (Assume european roulette rules...:)

Re:What else is new? (1)

siegesama (450116) | more than 12 years ago | (#107653)

Not everybody is paranoid. And some people have even been known to *gasp* be trusting.

Not being paranoid, and misplacing trust don't mean you don't "deserve privacy".

We need govt. regulation for this kind of stuff (1)

DoomDoom (452574) | more than 12 years ago | (#107654)

I once worked in an office in Long Island next to a stock brokerage firm and I actualy heard brokers bragging about prospects database they owned -- it apparently had social security numbers along with the usual profile analytics stuff. These scum bags would call up those people -- mostly retirees and lonely old people and sell them penny stocks and they would acutually manage to get their money out of their social security cheques. (I have heard that them movie BoilerRoom may have been based on these blood sucking vermins)

My point is that the information that these companies are collecting and accumulating are harmless as long as I young and able; once once I get old and feeble, this accumulated information can and will be used by these scum bags or else sold off to another bottom feeder.

Laws are meant to protect people. We have laws to protect us from muggers, robbers,theives. Why not laws to protect us from Profilers ?

Liars! (1)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 12 years ago | (#107655)

MGM Mirage can sort its 6TB of data on Microsoft Corp. SQL Server databases

I see two problems to this:
  1. Where do they store 6TB of data?
  2. Wouldn't sorting a 6TB SQL database on a win2k server take a million years?

Just wondering.

D/\ Gooberguy

Shooting in the dark. (1)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 12 years ago | (#107656)

Yes, you are shooting in the dark, but your kind of close. Casinos don't use 486's too often.

I used SQL on a much smaller scale than a large info-gathering corporation, but if MSSQL goes slow on my system when compared to mySQL, then I am pretty sure that the problem will scale up. It's just the same code getting executed faster. It would be like an Acura NSX towing a bicycle trailer compared to a Dodge Ram towing a boat. The forces are just greater on the truck. Your "gasoline" (if your engine were the CPU), in this (somewhat unlikely) analogy is either MSSQL or mySQL. If mySQL works good in the small car, why shouldn't it work good in the truck? Yes, I know it's dumb, but you started it.

D/\ Gooberguy

Re:Shooting in the dark. (1)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 12 years ago | (#107657)

So you're saying that windows sucks on slow CPUs but is ok against competitors on faster computers?

Even if I did agree with you, how is MSSQL going to handle 6TB of data? Do you have any evidence (besides MS terra server which is a HUGE cluster) that a single MSSQL database server can process 6TB of data? With mySQL I have had no problems with memory leaks, infinite loops, etc, and I've had as little as 20MB os disk space and 400k of memory (including swap) free.

BTW, I have a reason to run Win2k on a 486: Because I can.

D/\ Gooberguy

SQL & win2k (2)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 12 years ago | (#107659)

There are plenty of true things about MS you could pick on them for without having to make shit up.
I'm not making anything up. Have you ever tried running win2k and MSSQL on a 486SX running at 33mhz? It just doesn't work. I have used mySQL on Linux and it works fine. Maybe you should get some real life experience with SQL instead of talking to me about Terra server running on a giant cluster of win2k boxes. D/\ Gooberguy

Re:Casinos, guilty of security, and being a busine (1)

john_updyke (453831) | more than 12 years ago | (#107660)

In Finland where they have like one casino everyone is photographed on entry. I think the url was www.casino.ray.fi [casino.ray.fi].

It sure gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Best experience imaginable my ass! (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 12 years ago | (#107661)

"Our target is mass-producing a high-roller experience for the common person," said Glenn Bonner, CIO at MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada. "We want to provide you with the best experience imaginable, so that you'll want to come back."

A high-roller experience for the common person? The best experience imaginable? What exactly would they call it when I have my car valet parked, and when I ask the valet to get it, he tells me (30 minutes later) that they seem to have misplaced it?

Maybe they should use their database to keep track of where they park peoples' cars.

I Disagree. (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 12 years ago | (#107662)

What new law would you have? Force and fraud are already prosecutable, did either of these bottom-feeders perpetrate such crimes? Or did they simply target their sales efforts?

The law already allows for placing yourself into the position of "ward", incapable of spending your money unwisely. Or, at least, all at once.

Please don't misunderstand me, I think such people deserve to be drawn and quartered. So many others also believe such "Confidence Artists" are evil and cause harm that it is already against the law.

How about this one: You are free to not patronize their establishment. Or buy their stocks.

Knowing that they are compiling this data, as a customer I would like the option of reviewing the records they have on me, and to delete or correct data that I disagree with.

Does your objection require a law? Or does it merely require making them aware of a new service that you would like?

The power to take your business elsewhere is the ultimate power over a business. They want you to come back. Tell them what you want. If they object, then leave.

Bob-

Re:Not such a recent development (1)

chemstar (457943) | more than 12 years ago | (#107663)

the idea here, perhaps, is less with the attenuation provided by such a scheme, but more the solid implications involving the availabilty of such data. Such is to say, you gamble frequently, or you rent adult movies, this info (with a wild spectrum of technology between them) may be at the hand of, lets say, federal friends, future wives, credit racketeers, etc. One enters their address into Bigfoot, or whitepages, at lets say age 19, then suddenly when you're thirty people are connecting you to Kent, Ohio, or that fancy spell in Van Nuys, CA. Which would be fine, save the difficulty presented in getting back that data. With this said, one must ask what then remains? What is there to do?

Re:Legality of card counting (1)

cheebie (459397) | more than 12 years ago | (#107664)

It's not illegal, the casino's just don't like it. Since the casinos are private property, they simply ask anyone they suspect of card counting to leave the premises.

club Cards (1)

enigmabomb (459926) | more than 12 years ago | (#107665)

No wonder they make those meal plans so damn cheap with those magnetic cards. By them sacrificing some profit, they gain TREMENDOUS marketing databases to make you buy more stuff later. enigmabom-

Imformation is big business (1)

notext (461158) | more than 12 years ago | (#107666)

Working for experian, formerly TRW, I have seen this firsthand. All we did was collect information. Companies pay us to store all this information. Consumers pay us to see the information we are holding on them. Other business buy this information from us. We could narrow it down so precisely it was really marvelous. If company x wanted the name, address and phone number of all people age 25-29 married with two vehicles, one child, and a house while having less than $5000 in credit card debt we could have it delivered to them in hours if needed.

What makes information so valuable is you can use/sell it multiple times at no additional cost. That is why I try not to let anyone get any information from me anymore. If they want to make money off me they are gonna have to work hard at it.

Legality (1)

Richard Bannister (464181) | more than 12 years ago | (#107668)

I live in a country where there are no legalised casinos and very limited numbers of gambling machines in existence.

It strikes me that there's a severe privacy issue here that could prove serious - consider the situation where there are two employees going for the same job. They appear to be entirely equal, and the decision isn't easy. The employer calls the casino and discovers that one is a compulsive gambler, and therefore the other is hired.

If gambling is your dirty little secret, do you want this information stored somewhere? Even if it can only be retrieved in certain scenarios?

gotta give ms credit man (1)

banka (464527) | more than 12 years ago | (#107669)

i know this is gonna get me flamed but its a risk i'm willing to take. after so much bashing of MS gotta give em some credit ... sql server has come along way and its easy to use too. while there's no doubting you can get better performance in those hand tweaked *nix based solutions microsoft works!

Re:What else is new? (1)

jonman_d (465049) | more than 12 years ago | (#107670)

And some people have even been known to *gasp* be trusting.

Alright, yeah, some people are trusting. That's usually a good thing, except:
1) Online
2) When money is involved

Maybe an opt out policy is in order? Or an opt in?

I got a 404 message on your link. (1)

bigdreamer (465083) | more than 12 years ago | (#107671)

I tried your link and got a 404 message-the page doesn't exist. Could you check this out so I can read the article? Thanks.
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