Category: Technology


My wife Accidentally gave my phone number out to a company that’s going to call me after work and try to get me to spend money. Rather than ignoring the phone call, I’m going to pick it up in the Voice of Gollem, and repeatedly ask them if they have my precious.
—–

So… They called an hour earlier than what they were requested. And I answered, as Gollem. He asked for me and I just kind of mumbled and finished with “what?” The guy paused Momentarily on the phone, then just started going off on his speech, clearly not really paying attention to me at all. so I interrupted him.

“Do you have my precious?”

He stops.. and for a second there’s dead air.

“I’m.. sorry?”
“My Precious! Do you have my precious?”

*More dead air for a moment. I hear clicking in the background. no doubt checking to make sure he called the right number.*

“Is this Wayne?”

“Why? Does he have my precious?”

More dead Air

“I’m slightly confused.”

“It’s simple, do you have my precious-es?”

*Deep sigh from the phone. * “Sir, you aren’t being very professional.”

“Professional? Listen to him precious he talks about professional, calling people with lies , making people feel safe and false hope so they can steal my precious-es.”

I hear him make a noise.. I’m not sure if it’s a laugh, or a scoff, it cuts off quickly, he obviously has muted me. A moment later he comes back.

“When you decide that you want to be serious about what I..”

I got pretty emphatic at this point, clearly he deserved it. Obviously he wasn’t listening to me at all!

“I am being serious, I’m being serious that I want my precious” 

*more dead air*

“Good bye sir”

If you’re going to fish for money, expect someone to go outside of the box.

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Parent responsibilities

I do not understand some parents. I got linked a blog off of G+ today that some parent who allows her 9 year old child free reign of the computer to have a Gmail account. When the child found that it had G+ access the child signed up and put in their birthday. Guess what. Following Federal guidelines Google banned the account. There is a law called the COPPA (Google it.) that talks about what is and is not okay content for children.

The child cried when they found that it had lost its email and G+ access. I keep referring the child to “it” because the parent wouldn’t give a gender specifically. Which brings into question of the Childs existence.

All the parent has to do is send in a paper that gives Google permissions to give services to the child — And the account would be re-instated. However the COPPA says that by doing this the parent acknowledges and accepts all legal repercussions and shall take “Full responsibility” of the internet activity of the child. The Parent in question is not willing to do this. If this issue is damn important to her then she should grow up and do the right thing, not get angry and threaten to sue Google for her being too lazy. The parent claims that by doing so you are just submitting to the control of the government. THEN MOVE lady. Don’t bitch because your feelbads are hurt because you cannot constantly distract the child allowing yourself to remain in a drunken stupor while your child surfs porn.

Take responsibility and be a parent, don’t be one of those that gives your child a computer and x-box then walk out and ignore them until they call you from Juvy. Because they were caught shoplifting a PS4. You are the type of parent that the rating system on games and movies were supplied for, you are the type of parent that needs be held responsible for your Childs actions or in actions due to neglect.
Don’t like the laws… MOVE otherwise stfu.

appstore Vrs Marketplace

There has been an ongoing debate between apple geeks and android heads at my office lately. The biggest push has been from the apple geeks. It started from the second they found out that I swapped from my decaying Iphone that I’ve had replaced 3 times for the same hardware issue; to my android. I prefaced it with that because that has been my experience. Terrible hardware, terrible response time, and seems to have an inclination to randomly fail. If it was one device I’d say it was a bad batch, but three phones over the course of two years is bad manufacturing processes.

The Apple geeks argued with me. “The app store has more applications” I felt that was possibly some mis-informed information. Apple doesn’t release that information unless it wants to tell people how good it is. I asked to name an app that android didn’t have. They started listing off a ton, every one they listed, I checked the online market place through my browser. (something you can’t do with the appstore) And Android had them. then they pulled out the proprietary guns… and the android had the equivalent functionality. When they gave the argument that Itunes lets you manage your apps, your music your videos and uninstall and install applications. I introduced them to Doubletwist. Doubletwist gives Itunes like functionality, it’ll download pod casts and applications back up your phone and MP3’s. They retorted with “No way it has more.” Which was true when this particular argument occurred; the android marketplace didn’t have more. Not only that the difference in the number of apps that the marketplace and the appstore had was quiet staggering. 3 months later google is less than 50k apps behind. However, I felt the need to point that that obviously it had the ones that were important to THEM. The apple geeks. Which to me nullified the argument of the iPhone store “having more apps”. All arguments about the required use of Itunes was entirely ignored — which to me, is a huge, and valid point. I really dislike Itunes, it’s a memory hog that once it installs has several services that run in the background. Their response was “buy a mac” Uh no, I like to be able to use my machine. But the arguments continues on a regular basis. This has gone on weekly for months. so finally decided to do my own research.

First Android released October 22nd 2008

Market place went live on March 17th, 2009 with 2,300 apps Between the Google, and Amazon Market place they currently have an estimated 450,000 Unique apps (Unique because this is assumed they’ve removed apps that are in both places.) Applications can be posted without Google Approval.

Google (GOOG) announced its 4.5 billionth app download as of July 7th. 2011

First iPhone released on June 29, 2007.

Apple store launched summer 2008 with 80 apps and currently has 500,000 “approved” applications. These numbers are accurate as Apple released them when they have a reason to “toot their own horn”

Apple has a full TWO YEARS on Google and the Market place. Google is just 50k apps shy of catching up, at the current rate they will surpass Apple by the end of the year.

Now here are some interesting numbers

The android Marketplace On 17 March 2009, there were about 2,300 applications available for download from the Android Market. That number jumps to 80,000+ in August of 2009

As of May, 2011 Google announced the Android Market had 200,000 apps, whereas the Apple App Store had 381,062. In terms of growth, the Android market added 28,000 new apps in April 2011, whereas Apple added 11,000 new apps.

When apps are purchased from the iPhone appstore. 30% of revenue from the store go to Apple, and 70% go to the producer of the app. Apple has a 99$ fee to submit an app for approval in the app store. In addition to the $99 licensing charge to distribute the application (whether it’s a free or commercial app) companies seeking a proprietary solution will need to cough up another $200 ($299 total) for the ‘Enterprise programmer’. There were stories floating around my Facebook that people who submitted apps that were denied for “replication current phone functionality” Also never got their fee returned to them, I do not know if this is standard apple policy. This reason was the same one that Apple Gave to Google over the “Google voice” app which Google took Apple to Court to get approved. I had read once that it’s a $50 fee to get an update to an app approved. But I was unable to find any kind reliable source for that information.

With the android: Application developers receive 70% of the application price, with the remaining 30% distributed among carriers and payment processors (Google does not take a percentage) Google has a start up fee of 25$ for new developers, I have been unable to find any additional information on additional fees leveled to the developer for posting applications. The only apps that are removed contain pornographic and malicious content . That’s just common sense.

The difference, the open nature of the device.

iPhone:
To download an app to your iphone, download it through the marketplace or connect to Itunes. If the app is too big, (over 10 meg) the phone will not let you download it, over the carrier, wifi only. Over 50 meg you are not allowed to download it even over the wifi, you are required to use Itunes.

Android:
Download through one of two app stores, or go to the web format market place, from any computer log in with your Google account, find the app and push it to your device. Apps over 20 meg in size require wifi connection to download.

The significant difference? No Itunes. There is no proprietary software that you’re required to use. Doubletwist is there and people use it, but it doesn’t run in the background if you turn it off.

Google and the android is not that far behind in the terms of number of apps. The lack of downloads comes from the slow to adopt consumer base who are hesitant to swap because the iPhone is “easier”. Having owned both the difference to me is with apple I had to ask “What am I allowed to do?” With my android I’m asking “What can’t I do?” That question is the one that is overwhelming for most of the consumer public. Which, let’s face it they don’t want to have to learn anything new. they just want it to work.

That mentality makes us stupid, But that’s for a different rant.

The latest argument brought to the table, (again instigated by the Apple Geeks) is too pathetic to blog about, Which appstore/marketplace has more “fart “ apps. My only thought is. Who is more stupid? Someone willing to pay $25 to create and post 300 Fart Apps… or the people who pay $99 to submit a fart app to be approved to be put on the Apple Appstore? Which this argument proved that yes the appstore DOES have more… 1,500 more.

Fixing a tower

I would shit myself if I had this job.

Reverse engineering…

Why is it not okay? When it’s not Illegal to do.

it’s only Illegal to take something that you reverse engineer… put some of that whatever.. into your own product and sell it.

To reverse engineer it is legal.. why is it such a bad couple of words?

Blizzard’s Real ID.

Anyone who plays World of warcraft and frequents their forums knows of how troll infested they are. It’s beyond stupid. Blizzard has implemented something called “realid” It allows us to track our friends by first and last name .. real names across server lines and be able to talk to them This alone is pretty cool. I’d only use it for people who I do know in real life and anything that falls into the gray area is going to be ignored.

Yesterday, Blizzard announced that everyone on the forums is going to be forced to use their Real ID. When this goes live all 11 million players now have their Identities just hanging out there. The reason?

The Trolls. Forums Trolls. There are lots of people who log into the forums to mock, make fun of and otherwise tear down people. If people are held accountable then the theory is that it will stop. This is an interesting Idea in practice but in actually implementation it’s a nightmare.

Currently, there are companies that when they start doing interview request your facebook/myspace account. They want to know what you do on your off times. I know people personally who have lost job opportunities because they play games. Because the supervisors view games as if they are “for children”. Not realizing that it’s an escape for many people from their real lives. It’s a mini vacation every single day.

The amount of damage that can be done by your own name if someone steals your ID information is absurd.
I’ve been playing wow for years, and this may be the final straw. If I ever find that I have to use the forums for any reason at all, I’ll just cancel. My privacy is more important than blizzard trying to get their out of control trolling issues under control. They would be better off re-establishing guidelines making them more strict then start banning people left and right for 3 days at a time

OR.. here’s an EASY TO DO thought for you blizzard. FORCE people to use 1 name. no more hopping characters. While it’s not their real name they will be quickly discounted as being a troll and people will stop reacting to them.

Either way, this is a stupid move Blizzard.

I grew up in an era where console games where still a new and novelty item that most parents shunned. I had a old classic Nintendo, that I worked and saved for all summer long. It came packaged with Super Mario Bros, and Duck Hunt. I remember playing the SMB console stand up in arcades thinking it was way to hard. I got my Nintendo and again, I still found it way too hard. It took me weeks before I hit the point of mastery. It became this Vulcan mind meld where the controller seemed to disappear from your hand, and you stopped thinking about the fact that you were controlling Mario and you became one with Mario and the reaction was instinctive more than needing to plan it out.

That’s a beautiful thing.

Also in the same Era Games were hard. Really, Really Hard. Anyone who played gauntlet through TopGun, Bart Vrs, The Space Mutant, or Battletoads can contest to what I say. A lot of people complained about the original TMNT, which I Admit was intensive and difficult, but I managed to actually finish that one. I will admit that I spent 3 months on Bart vs, the space mutants and never got through the second level. I think I got TO The second level twice.. maybe? it was brutal. I recently downloaded it again for an emulator thinking that I just sucked. No it’s not me.. it’s really not. The Rom Site that I found game on had a comments section, There were 50+ pages of people complaining that it was way to hard. So knowing what my previous track record was I found the action replay codes and determined that unless I wasn’t making sufficient progress in an hour of play I would not use them. After about 25 minutes I turned it off. Hour be damned, I am not going to bother.

I play through current Console games now and I unbelievable disappointed. Games are so easy compared to what they used to be. Not only that, they are short. Very short. To go through a game in under 10 hours isn’t unexpected in fact it’s welcomed by most of the current gaming community. I am finding more and more that I am a platform gamer, that is what I like. I like MMO’s for the epicness of storyline and consoles for fun. Consoles are much less frustrating then dealing with the Chuck Norris mentality of most games trade/general chat. But I don’t play Console games because they are easier. I play them because of their wide range of originality and just fun. Admittedly after years of denial and rejection I am a Mario fan. I’ve played through most of the Sunshine, and I’m currently (slowly) working my way through Galaxy with every intention of finishing it. More so than that, I am a Nintendo/Sony fan. I do not care for the X-box or its games. I’m not a First person shooter type of guy, I’m a RTS RPG side-scroller action type of guy. Would I prefer it if some games were harder? Eh, They’ve taken care of that by Putting multiple difficulty modes on most games now. I play Metroid 3 on Medium difficulty because it’s just the right amount of Fun, frustration and satisfaction rolled into a near perfect action game. I play Galaxy because it’s simply fun, it challenges my coordination and it has the right amount of difficulty to keep me on my toes. The storyline is a rehashed repeat that has been the same outline for most Mario games; but this is one of those rare cases where less is more. I don’t need top notch graphics, nor do I need to spend $500 every 6 months to upgrade my PC to keep on top of current rising standards to maintain playability for my games either it works on the platform or it doesn’t. The goal in the end is if it’s fun then it’s worth doing.

The blizzard effect

I’ve come up with a name for specific situations. I’ve deemed this “The blizzard effect”.

Most gamers and non gamers alike know who, what, and/or at least have heard of World of Warcraft. When WoW First went public, it was ran sacked with hackers, item dups, money dups, 3rd party programs that would level your character and craft *FOR* you. To attempt to control this complete out of control situation, Blizzard introduced a monstrosity into the internet with something they called the Warden client.

The Warden client alone is single handed one of the most invasion programs I’ve ever ran through a de-compiler.

It loads with the launcher, then loads into memory and sits dormant for an unknown amount of time, until something is sent over the TCP/IP line to trigger it and turn it on. It at that point scans your task bar, what you have open, what webpages you have open what programs/processes you have running, if you have your Root directory of your C: open in a window it’ll scan through every folder on your drive looking for anything that might be suggestive that you Hack.

They have security reasons for doing this and it has cut down and eliminated this kind of cheating. It doesn’t change the fact that the Warden client is still scanning your tax records, photos of your family and your private porn collection of your spouse/wife. The client can be disabled using the Sony Rootkit, which if you know how to use it will pull it out of memory. Those instructions are readily available but not easily follow. Most are written obscurely.

The reason why I bring this up is because clever hackers have gotten a hold of it, reverse engineered it, and are using its roots to do exactly what it’s intended to do. Personal invasion, secondary effect. Infect people with Viruses, and probably attempt to steal password, and Credit card Social security numbers. They take screenshots of popular scanners and copy their interface they check your processes to see what’s running, download the proper interface to make you *THINK* that you have a virus and wait for you to click a button so it can install itself on your machine. Most of this really high virus technology, is already programmed into the delivery method via the Warden Client, that blizzard now provides to all hackers free of charge!

Blizzard updates the warden client to keep it from being removed, and Sony releases a new root kit for other reasons, which just happens to also remove the new warden client, and viola, the blizzard effect strikes again now new and improved and even HARDER to get rid of.

Symantec posted on it’s blog that it uncovered a server that had 44 Million stolen gaming accounts. The numbers and values of said accounts ranging in price from $5  to $28,000 .

World of Warcraft for example had 220,000 stolen accounts in this database. two of the biggest “losers” in this DB was A company called Wayi Entertainment. Which is a Website in Taiwan, which I’m not sure if it’s peddling Hentai, mail order brides or if it’s a dating website.

And PlayNC which is a division of NCsoft. (Guild wars, City of Heros, Linage 2)

For  more information click the attached link

http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/44-million-stolen-gaming-credentials-uncovered

Online grief

I read this article written by Jaime Skelton, about Real death in a virutal world, I felt it meritred repeating as most people just *don’t* get it.

—-

The virtual worlds we live in like to gloss over issues of mortality. In most MMOs, characters die and then can instantly respawn, either at a graveyard located not too far from the scene of their death or, in some circumstances, right at their freshly-fallen corpse. Even many of the game’s heroes seem incapable of dying, coming back in a phoenix-rising fashion, while villains merely have setbacks. In order to preserve a perpetual world, MMOs offer a sense of perpetual life.

In a sea of anonymity, where even in the darkest world life is still pretty good for the player character, it can be easy to forget that somewhere beyond the renders and wild landscapes, beyond the outlandish armor and flawless persona, there are real people. This is an argument often brought up when players find themselves ruthlessly trolled, insulted, and harassed online by the anonymous crowd, a group of people who feel it’s safe to say whatever they like because there are no real world repercussions. Set aside the crude behavior, however, and you’ll find that every player is at some point guilty of showing a lack of human awareness for the person on the other side. This ignorance isn’t usually voluntary; the nature of our gaming simply creates a wall that acts as any long-distance communication does. It prevents us from the face-to-face, non-verbal communication that proves crucial to human understanding.

Words like “cancer”, “hospital”, and “coma” have a draw powerful enough to bring a person out of their virtual sanctuary and into the realm where life and death situations are real. These are words I’ve had to deal with this week, as I received surprising news that a dear uncle of mine had cancer, was in the hospital in a coma, and wasn’t expected to make it through the night. My uncle isn’t a gamer, but his sudden plight – and the word “cancer,” which chills me deep in my marrow every time I hear it – brought to mind the second person I loved and lost to cancer in my life.

I met Naganatae in Lord of the Rings Online. She was a deeply dedicated officer of the guild I had joined, and would spend her entire day working hard to help both the guild as a whole, and to help individual members. By all online appearances, she appeared to be one of those people who didn’t “have a life”; the kind that lived off of Cheetos and Dew in mom’s basement while spending all their time online. Given that “Naga,” as we called her affectionately, was a very secretive, quiet person, it was easy for anyone to make assumptions about her and her lifestyle.

Over time, I got to know Naga better, and we soon became fast friends. She was still very secretive, but I found we had many interests and viewpoints in common. There were days when she would suddenly get upset and log off, or she would say she was feeling sick and disappear for a few days before returning. Every time she came back, however, she promised me she was okay. I believed her.

It wasn’t until the last month I knew Naga that I found out “sick” meant cancer. She made me swear to secrecy; even our guild leader, a very kind and empathetic man, had no idea. There were only three of us who knew her condition, and only one who knew how bad it really was. When she disappeared from having ISP problems, and time passed into over a month, the one person who knew her best finally voiced his fears and said that he was sure she had passed away. It wasn’t until a few months later that we received the obituary and I found out so much more about the friend I had lost; how amazing she was as a person in the real world as well.

You can call me a sap, but life in LotRO was radically changed for me after losing Naga. I tried to hold a memorial service for her with the guild, but plans failed to follow through. I fought with other guild members who hadn’t been as close to Naga as I had, and didn’t show the level of mourning I wanted them to in my own grieving state. My interest in the game faded fast, and I eventually quit. Even though I’ve returned to LotRO since then, I haven’t been able to bring myself to the multi-game guild (which I’m still a member of) or even the server I once played on. It’s as if I’ve been frozen in that emotional moment.

The loss of an online friend is nothing new, but something experienced on a larger scale when it happens in an MMO context. A player may have been known by hundreds in his gaming community, even though very few may have actually known the person behind the avatar. Not many people are forthcoming about their personal mortality in a virtual setting; it’s as if we want to minimize our impact if we should “go.” We want our lives to remain anonymous, even to the point of shielding some good friends from the truth.

When death strikes an online friend, it’s hard to know exactly what to do. There are no established standards of etiquette or grieving for virtual worlds. Certainly many of the stages of grief are the same as losing someone you knew in person, simply because the understanding of another human being’s identity crosses long-distance barriers. Some things, however, get lost in translation of distance and personal, physical connection. There is no attending funerals for closure, no connection with family and friends outside the virtual space, no easy way to obtain real-world information to pay a visit to a grave or send condolences to a family.

To the outside world, the grieving that online players suffer seems strange. Many grieving players have been told, “They were just an online friend – it’s not like you actually KNEW them.” The assumption is that online relationships have less value, less emotional meaning, than in-person relationships. While I’m not one to idealize text or graphically simulated relationships, there is plenty of evidence that online relationships can offer, at the least, the foundation for meaningful interpersonal relationships. That is to say that there is some essence of a “real” relationship when we speak with and get to know other people in cyberspace. Our grief, too, is real, even when the relationship developed had no in-person contact.

In order to cope with their loss, many players set up memorial services and role-played funerals. These events can be a great method of closure, but often end up experiencing a different matter of ‘grief’ as other players intrude on the ceremonies to disrupt and disturb them. Such acts are often a mix of intent to make other people miserable, and a political statement made to mock emotional attachments to virtual relationships. Funeral crashing is nothing new, however, and little can be done except to make ceremonies more private and to report offending players for harassment.

Closure is better found elsewhere when it comes to grief and loss in virtual worlds. Our virtual gaming communities are not geared well to cope with death, something that seems to result from the lack of in-person interaction that can offer physical comfort – a hug, a smile, and physical closeness that offers a specific psychological benefit. The best thing to do when confronted with loss is to turn to the people who can offer that physical closeness and comfort, to the same people you’d seek out when losing a friend in the “real” world. Then find a way to honor the person you lost, in a way you know best to do. For some, that may simply mean taking a meaningful action in-game. In my case, losing Naganatae made me take up supporting cancer research in her honor.

Death may be the hardest confrontation for any player. For all that have lost an online friend, and for all those that will, know that your grief is normal and that you are not alone. After all, there are people being the characters we meet, and some can touch our lives quite profoundly.