FROM THE TUSTIN NEWS, THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2006


THE DOC IS IN...

Egad! Computerized casinos

Don’t think for a moment that I have given up believing that the computer has changed our lives for the better. How would we ever live without having the world’s information at our fingertips at www.google.com or all the books fit to read at www.amazon.com. I check the markets at www.cnnfn.com and get the weather at www.weather.com and, of course, browse the local news at www.ocregister.com. No, the computer has changed my life and I don’t know what I would do without it.

But finally I have found a place where I believe computing has gone too far.

My wife and I just visited friends in Colorado and stayed overnight in Mesquite, Nevada as we drove east. I like to stay in Nevada because of the casinos. I love to gamble and I love the casino’s buffet meals. And, it’s half way to our final destination.

Before leaving home I prepare by looking around the house for quarters. This is because I can’t wait to get my hands on the quarter slot machines. There’s something mesmerizing about watching the wheels go around and the anxiety of waiting to see if I hit a winning combination.

So I loaded my pockets with the seven quarters I found here at home. I had $1.75 that was burning a hole in my pocket and I was ready.

As you know, when you walk into a casino you hear the cacophony of sounds that come from the gambling floor. The whirl of the machines, the sounds of bells and buzzers announcing winners and the sound of coins falling into the winner’s tray under the machines.

Can you believe my consternation, my horrible sense of disbelief, when we entered our hotel’s casino and were greeted with an almost eerie silence? People were sitting at machines but there was no sound. No money dropping into trays, no bells or buzzers announcing winners. I was stunned. This isn’t gambling.

I stopped a security person and asked where the machines are where I can drop my quarters? “There aren’t any anymore,” he said. “How do I play?” I asked. “You get bills and put them into a slot,” he answered. “What if I win?” “You get a paper receipt,” he answered.

No, no, this has taken computing too far. I don’t want to play on a machine that is all electronic. I want to hear each quarter drop. It’s bad enough that the lever is gone and I have to start the machine by pushing a button. And if I win, I want to hear the quarters drop, that noisy cascading sound you only get from a real slot machine. These machines weren’t real; they were computers in disguise.

So, we left Nevada with the $1.75 still in my pocket. Incidentally, the buffet wasn’t very good either. So much for Nevada, its casinos and my addiction to gambling. I still love computers but I believe they should make our lives easier but not take out all the fun.

Actually I don’t gamble except for my $4 limit on the slots. This is because “The Introduction to the Theory of Probability,” by LaPlace stated that you never bet on a game where the probability of losing is greater than the probability of winning. But I loved the slots.

If you would like to hear more about the gambling or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.

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Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: www.arholub.com. This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at: doc@arholub.com.


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