Vive La France. The World Cup is now over, which means we can go back to feeling a sense of emptiness and lack of purpose in our lives but instead of lasting 47 months, this time it will be for 53 months.
That said, Ruskipolla 2018 was a big success with 211 participants. And on a whim, right before the tournament, I entered with my second non-admin account “marcos” which was originally created for test purposes.
And I’m glad I did, as I managed to make it to third place, beat that cheater “Rolando”, and win a modest percentage of the polla.
Congratulations to the winners. We had a three-way tie in first place and a two-way tie in second place. Ties weren’t that common with less people playing but this is something I’ll have in mind for next time.
And an unexpectedly high percentage of those who played took some time to Â submitted feedback, 74 and counting. I don’t know when or if there will be another polla, but rest assured I have a bunch of improvements in mind, many of them coming from you. Â This usually means I won’t be able to help myself so…
Women’s World Cup, anyone?
To the excitement of millions of soccer-loving The MKXÂ® readers out there, I want to formally announce:
The best World Cup pool / game ever anywhere!
This follows a long tradition of awesome “quinielas” started all the way back in 2006.
The system is 100% custom and written from scratch by me, with a bit of help from a few others. It’s all for fun and for my friends and friends of friends. I really think it makes the tournament more fun for everyone involved.
It all started as a bunch of furious all-nighters writing code twelve years ago. On every subsequent polla there have been many improvements. This year, I’ve added the ability to play for free through referrals. We’ll see how it works out.
To be honest, since the last PollaÂ a couple of little kids have taken all of my free time and I wasn’t thinking of launching it. But enough people asked about it… so what the heck.
Join now and spread the word. There’s only two weeks until kickoff!
The World Cup ended, leaving us all withÂ that familiar giant void in our hearts that comes backÂ every four years. Oh, and there was theÂ Polla.
Here are some notes on it:
- Record participation: 156
- Some people complained that the entry fee was high, even more people complained that it was too low. Unsure what it willÂ be next time if there is one.
- I added the ability to create your own polla groups, but they weren’t used very much. I think the idea is good but the implementation was too barebones. Food for thought.
- A surprisingly large number of people complained or were even scandalized about the use of the term “polla” which is slang for penis in some Spanish-speaking countries. I used the name originally in 2006 as suggested by Jaramillo and kept it since. Interestingly, as people wanted to join, we discovered Wells Fargo disallows transactions with the word “polla” in the description.
- Users came from all over the world but mostly from the United States. Is this a tipping point in the popularity of soccer in the US? I doubt it.
- Over 60% of allÂ visitors were using an Apple doohickey. Less than half of those were trapped in Windows hell. And onlyÂ 6% decided to visit fromÂ giant Android phones.
I know whose Windows Phone those 77 hits came from.
- The Polla system had some massive internal restructuring and it all went surprisingly smooth considering. I am already thinking of improvements for the next round, whenever that is, but it’s not a sure thing.
- I made heavy use of Facebook and replaced the internal blog and comment system. It helped spread the word but made the Polla more… sterile. Also, less things to code.
- Here’s a photo of the very last place. He won restitution. He’s a good looking guy withÂ enough money to buy you dinner at Burger King. Sadly for all of you out there, he’s married:
Those of you who helped out with the website and theÂ running (Eva, Jose Antonio, Moi): Thank you for the help. Those of you who played: Thank you for playing;Â do you have any suggestion or feedback? Please use the comments.
The World Cup fever keeps increasing, and I’m about to make it better:
Announcing Polla Brasileira 2014. I have run other successful pollas (note: under definition #5) before. What made them so much fun is that instead of using some manual management tool such as paper, email, or Excel spreadsheets, I went through the trouble of developing a full online system from scratch which made everything very real-time and interactive. Back then I wrote the system usingÂ PHP and stored all the data in plain text files – no database. It was simple and limited, but it worked.
TheyÂ wereÂ a huge success:
It wasn’t all fun and games though. The Polla is known to cause health issues on some of the participants:
I will never join the Polla… if I end up winning I’m going to use all the money to fix the ulcer I’m developing due to the anxiety.
When I decided to cancel the Europolla 2008, soccer fans were disappointed:
It is as if your normally trusted dealer, suddenly refuses to sell you any more dopeâ€¦ I donâ€™t know how Iâ€™m going to make it.
Today is a sad day for soccer fans all over the worldâ€¦
This time, Polla Brasileira is back with a vengeance and it isÂ better than ever. I’ve been making some massive improvements to the system, working through nights (as I said, the Polla is known to cause health issues). Amongst them:
- A proper login/account system. You can now stay logged in to the system, change your information, use Gravatar, email verification, captcha… This is a huge improvement over what I had. I’m using code from The PHP-LOGIN project and they will get a donation.
- Security enhancement: Passwords are stored only in hashed/salted form – nobody, not even I can retrieve them.
- Security enhancement: We are using SSL so all the information is transmitted securely. You may not care about the NSA knowing what you predict forÂ Croatia VS Cameroon, but your passwords are transmitted too.
- Responsive layout. When we last did the polla, there were no iPhones – Blackberrys ruled the world and they were only useful for texting. Now the website should scale and display nicely across all your devices. Try it out!
- New and improved look.
- Full use of MySQL. No more plain text junk, we now have a proper database system. This is a gigantic back-end overhaul and has been worth it so far. I’m using code from ezSQLÂ and they will get a donation.
- Facebook pageÂ replaces the forum and news sections. Last time we did the polla, Facebook was not popular… Go and Like it!
- And many other enhancements across the board.
Doing the polla is a lot of work for me, but it would not be possible without the support of my friends helping out:
- Moi, CSSÂ guru
- Eva, treasurer
- JosÃ© Antonio, SQL consultant
- Shlomit, proofreader and hasn’t divorced me
- And everyone else who’s helped in one way or another…
You can register now!
As you know, there will be no Europolla.
Last polla winner has invited a bunch of us (interested? leave a comment) to join an ESPN Fantasy League for the Euro.
I tried joining, but apparently the internet has finally caught up to me and they have me flagged me as a filthy word. I called customer support and they verified that I’m filthy. In order to play, I need to come up with a fake user name and last name. I’ll make sure to teach them a lesson and come up with something truly filthy, like “poo” or “vomit” or “dirt”. Click on the screenshot below to see the full error message.
Additionally, the following processing errors were encountered. These are listed below in order to help you determine the problem. If you feel that you cannot fix these errors, please call ESPN Member Services at 1-888-549-ESPN.
- INVALID_LASTNAME – The LastName provided matches a filthy word in the system
- INVALID_USERNAME – The Username provided matches a filthy word in the system
I’ve received a large number of emails these past few days from people that took part in the wildly successful FIFA World Cup 2006 and La Polla AmÃ©rica 2007 pollas asking about the 2008 Europolla.
Unfortunately, we will not be having a polla for the Euro2008. The reasons are:
- It’s a ton of work.
- There are unresolved technical issues with the entry fee collection.
- Mexico doesn’t play, so my personal level of interest decreases greatly.
Sorry to everyone who wanted it. This is not the end of the Pollas though. Stay tuned.
See the previous post The War Against Spam I if you haven’t (and you care).
La Polla Defaced
Yes, comment spam hits popular blogging systems such as WordPress all the time. But how about little, innocent, low traffic, 100% custom coded websites made by some random little guy? Surely, these websites are not targeted by spammers. It’s not worth the effort.
My two little soccer pool websites FIFA 2006 World Cup Polla and La Polla America were hit by comment spam. Not kidding. In order to post to these forums, someone (a spambot, I’m sure) had to go in there, open an account with a password using fake info and then go back and post. Unbelievable. I deleted the spam, but captured a screenshot to prove it. It’s both flattering and annoying. Click to zoom in.
Next on this seriesâ€¦ Jinuj.net, Akismet, and a worthy CAPTCHA.
to be continuedâ€¦
After almost a month of excitement and sleepless nights,the tournament has come to an end and so has La Polla AmÃ©rica.
The first place went to papichulo and gringo. One of them is a Tigres fan and the other is American. This proves that knowledge has little to do with who wins these things. It’s all luck.
The restitution goes to serge, who gets his $15 back.
You can see the final standings here.
Congratulations and stay tuned for future Pollas!
Two games before La Polla AmÃ©rica comes to its end, the current leader reports via MSN Messenger of the detrimental side effects of playing in La Polla (English translation here):
- sirrony says: shalom motek
- Salo Mongol Dman says: que pasÃ³
- sirrony says: nada Marcos, ya no vuelvo a entrar a una polla… si me llego a ganar la polla voy a tener que meter todo mi dinero para arreglarme la Ãºlcera que me esta dando del ansia
- Salo Mongol Dman says: no cantes victoria, aÃºn no es demasiado tarde para que “se caiga el sistema”
- sirrony says: esta muy cerrado
- sirrony: pero neta no he podido dormir los ultimos dos dias
- sirrony: y no de la emociÃ³n sino del nervio e imaginÃ¡ndome que podÃa pasar en los partidos
Excerpts of a real IM conversation, a few minutes ago (no English translation provided):
www.Bloockoo.net , para mirar quienes te tienen bloqueado en el Msn
La Polla America says:
La Polla America says:
tu me lo mandaste o Rony?
La Polla America says:
No mames Iuval me tiene bloqueado, mi propio hermano!!!!!!!!!!!!
La Polla America says:
puedo postearlo en mi pagina?
La Polla America says:
Side note: three more hours until the Copa America starts and you can’t sign up anymore to La Polla America.