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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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Any chance you can organize the above and put on Wikipedia for posterity?
14 hours ago
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@Frances:
Publix=grocery store, think Sainsbury's.
Walmart=everything + often has a grocery store as well, think M&S only much bigger and better selection. Walmart bought Asda.
I would pay for Uber. Shopping in Publix/Walmart is part of the experience of USA.
If you want just food: Publix (IMHO). They sell beer/wine as well.
But at some point you should walk around a Walmart.
Neither Publix/Walmart sell liquor. Pimms can be hard to find so you may want to consider duty free if that is your tipple.
Sept. 21
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Already done.
Sept. 20
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Download Google Earth, or Google Earth Pro. Search for “8701 World Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821, USA”. This will give you an idea of where everything is.

The Marriott is big. It has a golf course. It is 0.7 Km from the hotel entrance to the road.

As soon as you come off the property, there is no pavement (sidewalk). Walking is frowned upon in Florida.

There is a CVS Pharmacy about 1km from the road. This appears to be the closest anything (other than other hotel complexes) to the site.

CVS will sell some simple grocery supplies (milk, chocolate, beer, wine etc.) as well as all the aspirin you may need depending on your partner. You need to be 21 to buy alcohol. 18 to buy cigarettes. You will be carded if you look younger than 85. Bring driver's license or passport with you if you want to buy alcohol or cigarettes (also take ID with you if you go to a restaurant for the same reason). They are very strict about not selling alcohol without ID checks. However, if your young teenager wants to buy a gun, you just need to give him permission and you can buy a gun. (CVS doesn't sell guns).

That's a 3.4 Km round trip from the hotel to the nearest anything.

Pack light - it's going to be warm. Probably shorts in the evenings. Late afternoon thundershowers are common. 2 hours later you can't tell it rained.

Here's the 10 day weather forecast for Kissimmee: https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l/USFL0248:1:US

High is about 85-90. Low is about 73-74. Scattered Thunderstorms is the common daily forecast for Kissimmee all summer. Expect a downpour sometime in the afternoon. It will clear the humidity.

Food will be cheaper than Switzerland, both at the supermarket and most restaurants. Embarrassment is same price in both countries.

It's cheaper to buy alcohol, cigarettes, guns and sunscreen in the US. If you want to walk to the CVS bring shoes that you will use to walk on grass (no pavement).

The Walmart Supercenter is at 3250 Vineland Rd, Kissimmee, FL 34746. It is open 24 hours a day. See https://www.walmart.com/store/5420/kissimmee-fl/coupons for coupons and directions. They will sell everything that CVS has, as well as guns/ammunition. It's 3.5 Km each way.

Liquor (spirits) are sold in separate stores. The nearest is next door to the Walmart. 3260 Vineland Rd. Bring ID.

There's a factory outlet mall “Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores”, across the road from Walmart.

Lots of details about the Marriott here: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/mcowc-orlando-world-center-marriott/ Click on Dining to see eating options. There is a *$$$ in the hotel.

Orlando airport (MCO) is 17 miles away (according to hotel website). $55 taxi one way. $22 for shuttle service Mears Transportation - not the hotel - reservation required.

Hotel page list parking at $22/day; $35/valet. Free self parking for guests with plug-in hybrid or electric.

Any off-site restaurant will be Taxi or Uber/Lyft.

Suggest you download the Uber/Lyft apps before you leave. Also download “Here WeGo” for your smart phone. Download the map for Florida. This will work off the GPS signal and not use data or WiFi. Useful when you are traveling with a smart phone and no service plan in foreign country.
Sept. 19
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The site is huge. It is not realistic to park off-site and walk. Even with the parking at the Marriott there is a long walk to the site (depending on where you park). The hotel has a shuttle service from their car park to the entrance (gives you an indication of the size of the hotel). I could not find any free parking close when I looked on-line.

Other parking garages close by charge. But you still have a long way to get to the Marriott. FYI: it's not likely to be raining in the early morning; however the evenings are different.

You may be staying at a hotel that offers free trips to Disney. They may be persuaded to include the Marriott as a drop-off. Try and find others in your hotel/condo that are also playing and see if you can car pool. I think the rate is about $25/day (from memory - haven't checked in a while).
Sept. 18
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How I Met Your Mother had the “Front Porch Test” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Front_Porch

From https://movies.allwomenstalk.com/great-how-i-met-your-mother-concepts/2
“The Front Porch Test is a test in which Lily tries to picture how a relationship would be in the future. The people who pass The Front Porch Test are people who Lily believes would fit in with them when they grow old.

The scene in which this is explained shows Marshall, Lily, and Ted playing bridge. Lily hopes that whoever passes this test will fill the extra spot on the porch. I think this is so cute because they just want to know that their friend’s future spouse will fits in with them. I hope my friends are this considerate!”

Here's the video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qg_Xl3u85o

Edit: (I replaced the original video clip with a better one)

You have no idea how to play bridge, do you.
Sept. 16
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment Sept. 16
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@Richard: “think back a couple years when I initially started commenting about the security of the ACBL hand generators. I didn't have to tell you all…”

You keep repeating this, but you weren't involved with it. For the record: I organized a group of security experts, including some non bridge players that used to work at some of the USG TLA (United States Government Three Letter Agencies) at the Washington NABC in late July 2016. Attendees included WBF, USBF, EBL. It was a private meeting. All aspects of security were covered: physical, cryptography, electronic. I had additional meetings with some of these people both before and after this meeting.

The cryptographic breaking of the ACBL hand records was discussed in July 2016. You first posted about this (through a colleague) in late August 2016: http://www.metzdowd.com/pipermail/cryptography/2016-August/029965.html

The initial discussion on cracking this code started before your first post. It is possible that some of the people in the room mentioned it to you. I don't know who knows who. I do know that you were not part of the group that cracked the code.

I have a copy of the code. I optimized it for GPUs. I also found additional cryptographic short cuts. By October 2016, a hand record could be broken in under a minute. We cracked an entire Regional (17 hand records) in under 10 minutes using a single computer. The longest crack took 53 seconds, the shortest crack took 9 seconds. It wasn't worth trying to use multiple computers when the crack was this easy.

The results of the work would be interesting to a cryptography conference. If the others are interested, I'll see if someone can propose something for an RSA conference. There were multiple interesting (for a cryptographer/cryptanalyst) things that were discovered.
Sept. 16
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@Richard: Yes.
I have the tools that make doing something like this very easy. I don't think they were expecting that it could be done in such a short time!
Sept. 16
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@Richard W: “I recall commenting on various types of statistical niceties like the importance of preserving test sets and training sets and validation sets. I didn't do so out of any conviction that F+S or F+N were innocent, but rather because it was obvious how a defense lawyer would go about casting doubt on any claims raised by this sort of analysis. And low and behold, F+N walked, in part because of these sort of issues.”

This is not true. There could be no test/training/validation sets given that all the data was public. Anyone could make a claim regarding a training set and it could not be disproven. Ironically in the CAS hearings, F-N referred to a match that had not been discovered on Youtube because the team names and “EBTC” were mistyped. This was an ideal verification set. There was sufficient time during the hearing to analyse the video, and find if the code worked. Rather surprisingly it did. It didn't seem to matter to the judges when the evidence was presented. Rather unusual to be given an opportunity to verify the code during the actual hearing …

There have been other (non-public) cases where training sets/verification sets have been successfully used because the data is not public.

@Steve: “Statistics are a red herring”. Not true. Not enough time for a detailed explanation. “Cuius rei demonstrationem mirabilem sane detexi hanc marginis exiguitas non caperet” as Fermat put it “I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of this theorem which this margin is too small to contain.”
Sept. 16
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“Goren Bridge” is the name of a syndicated column. Written by Bob Jones.
Sept. 10
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@Michael: “If, for example, you find a way to hack the hand records in advance, with no collusion involved”

I think you “mean if you found a way AND USED IT”

The ACBL hand generator was cracked, but the people involved in the crack that I am aware of, did NOT use it. It is believed that there may have been previous group(s) that had done the same, but may have used it.
Aug. 27
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Roland: I'm not talking about how players rank themselves - I'm talking about how BBO can rank the players based on events they play in.
Aug. 24
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A better place for the poll would be BBO.

Actually… BBO have the resources to determine who is watching a segment, and what the “average” ability of those watching are. Something for BBO to add… (if not already there).

A separate criteria is the number of people who “watch” a segment after it has finished.

And, if appropriate, a correlation between those doing audio/video commentary and who watches afterwards.

I suspect that I am like most - I turn off the speakers unless it is a commentator I enjoy listening to.
Aug. 24
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As a rare occasional VuGraph operator. This is for the operators:

Do: Focus on making sure you correctly record the bids and the play. This is more important than commenting.

Do: Ask for clarification on number of tricks claimed if not sure.
Aug. 22
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Food is the responsibility of the sponsor - D6, not ACBL. Talk to one of the tournament chairs. They are volunteers.

There was similar discussion on the Atlanta NABC about food/how it is paid for etc. Same applies to regionals. It's a local issue - not ACBL.
Aug. 21
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First: @Josef thank you for posting. Rehabilitation will be difficult, and probably life-long, but openness about the past will help. You are more qualified than most to comment on cheating in bridge.

I've held off posting on this thread. Boye was kind enough to call me before he posted and we talked for about 45 minutes. There is more going on than Boye alluded to, and he knows it but can't share all of it. Boye is a little stuck because he sits on some committees and some information is private and can't be shared. There's also other information that Boye is aware of, but can't share, yet. Some of the problems that Boye alludes to have been solved; whether the Bridge Organizations (BOs) will commit to implementing these solutions is still unknown. We will know more after Orlando.

There is a frustration because some organizations have cheating data on players, but chose not to prosecute (neither Boye/I can discuss, so don't ask). On the flip-side, if you belong to these organizations and see the cost of following through with a case (the EBL case against F/N was very expensive - if someone can post a Euro amount, that will help explain), then you can see why there is reluctance on the BOs to do anything. Or to be seen to be doing anything.

Cameras were seen as a cure; but even a simple cheating method that varies each session will not be detected. Cameras are nothing more than a perceived solution. Sadly the BOs don't know what to do with the video data that they have, and how to process it, but that's yet another separate thread for another time.

We must accept that any future cheating methods will not be detected by video. We must accept that it will not be possible to decode future cheating methods. For example, this session we will lead vertical to show honors on boards 1,3,4,7,10, otherwise horizontal and flip for the other boards. Video detection will never catch this. It will be impossible to deduce a cheating code.

Cheating in bridge is about prevention, detection, prosecution.

Prevention is moving towards an all electronic setting with players in separate rooms.

Detection is more complicated. At some point, I'll prepare a more detailed post on this. I can't reveal too much more at the moment.

Prosecution is going to involve a change in how the process works. Given that future methods will not be video-detectable, nor will it be possible to show/know the actual cheating method, there are steps that need to be taken. The various major NBOs know this, and have been given presentations on this. Whether they choose to move forward remains to be seen. Again, more will be known after Orlando.

So.. the good news is that work has happened. It's just not well-known, yet. It also remains to be seen what will be done with it.
Aug. 17
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Although the BOD is mentioned a lot, the ACBL also has to house the TDs, ops staff etc.

Some of these start to arrive 2-3 days before the event starts - there is some set up involved for NABCs.

Either ACBL will pay for these rooms - which is taken out of entry fees - or the rooms get comped - which is taken out of what players pay for hotel rooms. Either way, the players end up paying for these rooms. How it is done is immaterial in the long run.

The chance of a hotel selling a luxury suite during an NABC is small. Their marginal cost for providing these rooms to ACBL is small. The actual cost paid by ACBL is negotiated as part of the overall contract. It would be silly to try to extract the actual cost. It could be argued as the rack rate, it could be argued as close to $0.

With the advent of modern meeting hosting technology over the last 20+ years, the ACBL should have moved to using these tools many years ago. Clinging to the traditional model of having BOD meetings prior to NABCs at the host hotel needs to stop.

It might be that some of the current hotel contracts - some of which are several years out - include these dates/requirements; but these should be stopped.

There is some advantage to F2F meetings; but this could be curtailed to once per year at an NABC, or at other times in Horn Lake (cheaper).
Aug. 15
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Mr. Gates has put money into bridge outside of his role as ACBL member. Some of us know some of it; I suspect that he has done more than most of us know. Though he doesn't keep it hidden; he also keeps it reasonably private. Bridge does not have to be ACBL.
Aug. 15
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Nice article.

Please feel free to update Wikipedia with the 2018 winners/runners-up. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_National_Teams Click on “Edit this page”.

Wikipedia is updated by volunteers.

If anyone else is reading this, most of the events from 2018 need updating with the winners.
Aug. 14
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Again, I'm not taking sides - nor getting into any of the legal issues - I was just responding to Jim's comment. There are other industries, e.g. airline crew, that work long hours. Then have “days off”. This schedule may not appeal to many, but does to some.

TDs do work long hours, the exact number I don't know, nor do I know the specifics of how it is all calculated, nor do I know which are salaried and which are not part time (paid by the hour).

I do know it's a mostly thankless task. When I've helped run some events, I see what time the TDs get there; I see what time they leave; and I see the little thanks that they get from players. We may disagree with their rulings (certainly the ones against us), but we should all be thankful for the work they do and the hours they put in.

I don't know the take home pay of TDs, nor their hourly rate for the hourly staff. You can see from the lawsuit, that it is relatively small.

Per the OPs, everything after Day 7 is exhaustion - the TDs do get sessions off, but I will expect that most NABCs the National sessions are 5+ hours for each TD. It's a long 10 days for the players, but longer for most TDs.
Aug. 14
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