Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Hillary Clinton is trying to tell you how to raise your children

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

An article over at gamepolitics.com tells of Hillary Clinton taking a public stand in favor of shielding children from game and other animation content that she deems inappropriate. Quote: “When I am president, I will work to protect children from inappropriate video game content.”

Her question to the public would be “why on earth should all kids be allowed to go and buy GTA IV, Soldier of Fortune or any similar game?”

Why not if the parents approve?

If your legal guardian feels that you are old enough and responsible to enjoy said entertainment then it should be their right. It should also be their right to prevent their child from playing such things if they so desire by not giving the money to their kids in the first place and/or monitoring their internet activities.

If you bring up tobacco and alcohol, those things are of course dangerous and have been scientifically proven to cause harm. That said, once you are 18 then I believe you should be able to put whatever into your body you feel like, but a parent giving his kids cigarettes is about as negligent as giving them some mercury or cyanide to play with.

Video games and even content of pornographic nature has never been conclusively shown to cause physical or mental harm to the average human. Yes, there are cases where people play a video game and flip out (like kids jumping out of windows because they thought they could fly like in Pokemon), but the same thing could be said about a psycho who reads the Bible or Koran and kills someone because he claims god told him to do it.

Again, if a parent feels their child can handle it or just don’t care, they’ll buy it for them anyways. Its kind of just stupid to have more laws on an issue that in reality is a moot point.

Yet another reason why I’m voting for Ron Paul. I am so tired of the “think of the children!” legislation going through our political branches. Here’s an idea – let the PARENTS decide what’s best for OUR children rather than the GOVERNMENT. We don’t need a nanny state telling us what’s best for us or our children. I can decide what’s best for me and my children on my own thank you very much.

Non-returnable software and EULAs – what are they really preventing?

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

A few years ago I had bought a copy of Unreal Tournament 2003 and tried to install it on my machine. I found that the second disk would cause errors and the install would abort. I quickly found out more about EULA logic:

1) Retail stores are not required to (and usually do not) accept open-box software returns
2) In order to actually read the EULA, you must open the software box
3) You must accept the EULA to use the software
4) If you do not agree to the EULA, you are instructed to promptly return the software to the store
5) See 1

So what I did was take the game back to the store and got another. Unfortunately, the same thing happened. I did this four times before figuring out that the whole batch at Best Buy was bad as others were returning the game for the same problems. I guess it’s a good thing that I had kept all four CD keys to get my money’s worth. I then proceeded to download Unreal Tournament 2003 via usenet since my legit (but broken) copy wasn’t working and Best Buy couldn’t give me any kind of answer on when they would get another shipment of Unreal Tournament 2003 games.

The overall point is that while I understand they don’t want people to pirate their software, software manufacturers better make sure that what they’re putting out isn’t flawed since we can’t get a cash refund if we’re completely dissatisfied with the product. They sort of have us over a barrel so to speak. So if you ever run in to a piece of software that you’re completely dissatisfied with, or the software is broken out of the box, one could continue to return it until they’ve cleared the store’s shelves of that particular piece of software. Exchange the boxed software for a new one explaining the defect, take it out to the parking lot, unwrap the software, and take it right back in to the store for another exchange. I bet software manufacturers that require keys for activation never thought about this workaround…you know, if one should happen to write down each CD key before they return the package. Think of it as a peaceful protest as you should be able to return the software if it is defective and the software manufacturers should not automatically assume that everyone are pirates. Especially since you could just run home and burn multiple copies of the software for your friends anyways. What is this non-returnable software mentality really preventing?

Yet another reason to stick with open source products whenever possible.

When I become an instructor…

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

When I become an instructor, I plan to implement this idea whether through the campus or not. There truly is a lack of hands-on training when it comes to network and information security classes. Regarding a fellow student’s concern about the lack of hands-on security learning experiences:

What I’d like to see is more hands-on. I’ve had classes that promised it but never delivered.

I think it’d be fun to have some sort of white-hat event where students are given a semester to discover potential security flaws of a system set up on class. A honeypot of sorts. Let students use some constructive and creative means in figuring out various aspects of the machine without actually being able to sit in front of it and log in. For instance:

What OS is the machine running?
What services are running?
What services could potentially be abused or are misconfigured?
Can you access the user accounts on the machine remotely?
Are the passwords to the accessible user accounts easily crackable?

Examples of a misconfigured machine:

Run any distro of Linux with ftp, telnet, SSH, mail server, web server, webmin. Give each student a user account on the machine and allow them to poke, prod, and see what can be done if they have user-level access to the machine. Throw in a couple of fake user accounts with weak passwords.

Run Windows 2003 server with no service packs. Set up an ftp, telnet, mail, and web server. Give each student a user account on the machine and allow them to poke, prod, and see what can be done if they have user-level access to the machine. Again, throw in a couple of fake user accounts with weak passwords.

Throw the machines up on the network as ownme.*.edu and pwnme.*.edu. The cost would be fairly minimal – maybe a couple thousand dollars for the machines and the Windows 2003 server OS. Then the disaster recovery class could set up a backup system at the beginning of the semester and “recover” at the end of the semester after everyone else gets to play. Things like this could be useful to several other classes as well.

Not only that, but this kind of stuff would be fun and would give students a chance to be creative and see security from more than just a home user view. It would also give students a chance to research tools that crackers use as well as tools that could help them, as security experts, maintain an acceptable level of security on their own systems.

As you can tell, I’ve had this in mind for quite some time. Mainly because both schools I’ve been to have not had any form of hands-on security training other than a lame “wild packets” sniffer. I’d LOVE to be a part of setting something like this up (hint hint).

If anyone runs with my idea, you heard it here first 😛

Kidding aside, hands-on security research really should be implemented and more wide-spread throughout colleges and universities. Being book-smart about it won’t prepare you for what’s really out there nor will it familiarize you with the methods used by malicious individuals to crack your system/network/information.

Why switch to Linux? Applications.

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Posted on Slashdot:
Besides why would anyone switch to linux? The are few to no applications.

Surely you jest.

Don’t even get me started on games

Jack Thompson wants to censor you!

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Jack Thompson:

  • Led the campaign against the 1989 2 Live Crew album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be”, and later, Ice T’s “Cop Killer.”
  • Filed with the FCC regarding the contents of a 2003 edition of Howard Stern’s radio show resulted in Clear Channel Communications being fined $496,000 in 2004.
  • Filed, in 1999, a $33 million federal products liability lawsuit against several entertainment companies, including Time Warner Inc., Polygram Film Entertainment Distribution Inc., Palm Pictures, Island Pictures and New Line Cinema, Atari Corp., Nintendo of America, Sega of America Inc. and Sony Computer Entertainment on behalf of the parents of victims of the 1997 Paducah schoolhouse shootings.
  • Most recently has taken his tirade against videogame publishers Take Two (Grand Theft Auto series, Bully et. al.), Capcom (Killer 7), and EA (The Sims. Yeah really).
  • This guy has really made himself a credible source for irrationality and brought many smiles to sane peoples faces. The mainstream press loves this guy too. The hot coffee mod “scandal” in GTA3 is but his latest whipping boy. This guy has scored a lot of prime time interviews and news stories on major outlets since the early ’90s with, among other things, demands that 2 Live Crew’s “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” and Ice T’s “Cop Killer” be banned (those were big news items at the time), been a major factor behind several indecency fines Howard Stern received from the FCC, and been a part of damn near every news story on the dangers of violent video games.

    This is the guy who insisted that Columbine was caused by DOOM being a “murder simulator”. He has sued, among others Time Warner Inc., Polygram Film Entertainment Distribution Inc., Palm Pictures, Island Pictures and New Line Cinema, Atari Corp., Nintendo of America, Sega of America Inc. and Sony Computer Entertainment under Federal Product Liability laws after a different school shooting.

    His allegations led Dateline NBC to report that Lee Boyd Malvo, the beltway sniper, had “trained extensively using Halo”. He has been interviewed numerous times on CBS, including one famous instance in which he compared Doug Lowesnstein of the ESA to Joseph Goebbels. He has appeared on 60 minutes to discuss how Grand Theft Auto (he alleges) trained a young man to murder two police officers.

    You all may want to check out the ChatterBox interview with Gabe and Tycho. Gabe talks a little about his recent conversations with Jack Thompson. Apparently the first thing Jack said after calling Gabe up and establishing his identity was:

    “Let me tell you something, idiot.”

    This utter professionalism is well-reflected in the text of his fax to the Seattle police.

    “There are a bunch of computer geeks out there who think…”
    “These idiots have been so careless as to…”

    I can only imagine what some of his non-game-related correspondence is like.

    The deeper you dig… the crazier Jack Thompson seems to be. Apparently he ran against Janet Reno for the Office of Dade County State Attorney back in 88. He made some pretty ridiculous claims, including that Janet Reno uses call girls. He’s also gotten in an e-mail flamewar with a 14-year old, and his quips make the youngster look like Socrates by comparison.

    I hope if the mainstream media begins to give Jack Thompson more air time, since he is fast becoming a “celebrity”, these past deeds are brought up. To ignore them does not accurately portray his real character.

    Quake 4 – Linux Installer Patch

    Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

    md5sum: 96ac1b993dafe5d255a7ee85d07187db

    Right-click, save as:
    quake4-linux-1.0.2147.12.x86.run

    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    – GNU/Linux system
    – Pentium(r) 4 2.0 GHz or Athlon(tm) XP 2000+ processor
    – 512MB RAM
    – Kernel 2.4, 2.6 is recommended
    – glibc >= 2.2.4

    3D acceleration ( not required for dedicated server ):
    – SDL >= 1.2
    – latest OpenGL drivers, correctly configured
    – ATI(r) Radeon(r) 9700
    – ATI Radeon 9800
    – ATI Radeon X300 series
    – ATI Radeon X550 series
    – ATI Radeon X600 series
    – ATI Radeon X700 series
    – ATI Radeon X800 series
    – ATI Radeon X850 series
    – Nvidia(r) GeForce(TM) 3/Ti series
    – Nvidia GeForce 4/Ti series
    – Nvidia GeForce FX series
    – Nvidia GeForce 6 series
    – Nvidia GeForce 7 series

    Audio ( not required for dedicated server ):
    – sound card with OSS or Alsa support, stereo and surround sound are supported wth both APIss
    Alsa >= 1.0.6 is required for alsa sound backend

    Multiplayer:

    – Internet (TCP/IP) and LAN (TCP/IP) play supported
    – Internet play requires broadband connection

    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    A licensed copy of Quake 4 retail for Windows(r) is required.
    You will copy the assets files from it and use the CD key.

    PLEASE NOTE: The Linux version of Quake 4 is NOT supported by
    Activision Customer Support.

    The following files must be copied from the install CDs [1]
    to your q4base/ directory ( md5 sums provided as reference ):

    If you copy them before running the installer you will need to
    create the paths, by default /usr/local/games/quake4/q4base
    If you copy after running the installer, make sure not to
    replace any paks the installer might have provided.

    a9f6a2e4bf8e193591954f75d1d39f85 – game000.pk4
    b201b914167f47061fa5f975af527122 – pak001.pk4
    dabe2c88e004198947431250e3f4ca1d – pak002.pk4
    8573f05af4c9568880cc464d06292079 – pak003.pk4
    12ff4006a7f7181ac16835d05c59905f – pak004.pk4
    3576213f4e00f06baf3cd5de089a538a – pak005.pk4
    aec7bb418b9a86256f9e5daee894dee2 – pak006.pk4
    0f53b4fb4df2c14fcd10012baf8b2f87 – pak007.pk4
    b099d75869f0ffcbcb8e5166374af345 – pak008.pk4
    cb2b44bf573559dc19b488d9e1e5bec3 – pak009.pk4
    d024073349dc917b4feab49e6abc417b – pak010.pk4
    98c854d94ce1da5272952b77821823df – pak011.pk4
    e77a2fda6656495d38773e05bbffda33 – pak012.pk4
    669d6d9a30b798d19434972475b98c53 – zpak_english.pk4
    2cabddd692e214c78c20a464da43f1ef – zpak_french.pk4
    4ee7eb637cde6bcfe3a9ffac5e4579dd – zpak_italian.pk4
    36eee38e6c2dce12986f7192a5a996e5 – zpak_spanish.pk4

    Note: the Linux installer will reinstall the game*.pk4.

    Note: the German version of the game uses a completely
    different set of assets. See the FAQ entry below for
    details.

    Start the game with the command: quake4
    Start the dedicated server with the command: quake4-dedicated

    [1] – note that if you have the DVD release, all the files are in
    the same directory. Otherwise they are spread out on each CDs.
    For the DVD edition, the files are in Setup/Data/q4base

    Blog News! My old blog…

    Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

    I happened to find an old CD with my old blog database on it when it was hosted using B2 blogging software. Back then my blog was never intended for the web – I never entered it in any search engines, I never did a ping-o-matic ping, nothing. It was all word of mouth as it wasn’t linked from the main page or anywhere else on my site.

    Disclaimer: Due to the graphic nature (the language) of the posts, some will be edited as my web site’s URL is on my resume. Some of my views can be un-politically correct sometimes, but I don’t implement those views in a business setting. So uh…yeah…you’ve been warned about the content, and I’m really not an evil asshole…I leave that on the ‘net. 😀

    Quake 4 – released today!

    Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

    The successor of Quake 3, which is my favorite game of all time, was released today! Woohoo! Now to save up the cash to buy it. I can’t wait to see it in action as all of the screenshots look absolutely stunning. Here is Quake 4’s official site.

    Well, I’m off to find the Linux Demo if it exists yet. If I find it, I’ll probably host it locally for all to download and also a link to the place I found it at. As soon as I buy the game,

      PREPARE TO BE TEH PWN3D!!!1!oneone!!

    Kids today

    Friday, October 14th, 2005

    A lot of parents seem to push off parenting to whatever or whoever else. Unfortunately, the state I live in, Michigan, has decided that it must be the parent for you…whether you like it or not: Read about it at Michigan’s own government’s web site.

    Not to defend the parents who don’t do a decent job at parenting (*cough* my ex *cough*), but the truth of the matter nowadays is that both parents want to work. Our parents did a good job raising us, telling us that if we want to make something of ourselves, we have to go to college. So we did. Both men and women. Then, while at school, we met the person who would eventually become our spouse. After college, they both wanted jobs, to put this new, expensive education to work. After all, they’re young, educated, enthusiastic, and unemcumbered by kids. So they both get great jobs, and buy a nice big house and each drive a BMW SUV.

    A few years later, they want kids. Being used to getting what they want, they proceed to spawn. However, neither of them want to stay home from work, being new-age, enlightened folks. “Why should I automatically have to stay home? This is 2005, for cryin’ out loud,” says the woman. “Well, I’m not quitting my job,” says the man, “I make more than you. It makes sense for me to keep working.” They crunch the numbers and realize that they both must keep working, in order to continue being able to afford gassing up their BMW SUVs and heating/cooling their 3000 sq. ft. mansion.

    Kids are inevitably born, and a minimum-wage, immigrant nanny is hired, or the kid is shipped off to daycare, where he/she learns questionable value and is largely emotionally devoid of the individual attention he/she needs and deserves. But mom and dad, still working 8 – 10 hour days, only have to deal with Junior for a few hours a day, so they don’t notice that Junior is starting to resent them. Feeling guilty, they buy him whatever he wants (after all, they’re still “rich” enough to do so). Junior wants a cell phone. “It’ll let us reach him wherever he is,” the parents reason, and buy him the phone. Junior wants a car. “It’ll free us from having to shuttle him around all the time,” reason the parents. Junior wants Grand Theft Auto 3. “It’ll keep him out of our hair for a few hours a day,” say the parents.

    So junior, having been raised by an immigrant with poor english and questionable credentials, learns to entertain himself, and finds that he can spend a very large amount of time hanging out with his friends doing whatever, and his parents won’t nag him about it. He doesn’t really like (or know) his parents anyway. Eventually, they get divorced. Junior plays GTA4 with his buddies in his basement while his parents are at work, and they laugh every time they run over a hooker. Then they go out behind the house and smoke a joint. Mom and Dad won’t be home for hours anyway.

    Anyways, back to the legislation…

    In the 80’s, it was the PMRC under Tipper Gore that was leading children away from the path of suicide and darkness brought on by music. Easy target, musicians don’t tend to contribute as much to political campaigns as Hollywood types. Life was good. Then the “extreme” music of the day became more normal, and all we’ve got is some warning labels. Aside from Lieberman during the 2000 elections, I don’t know of any politicians really speaking out on it these days.

    New target possibilities? Let’s see… Video games. They’re easy. P2P technologies. That has the bonus of getting your Hollywood and corporate buddies to apprieciate you more and gives you something that doesn’t require a lot of money or work on your part. Ain’t politics grand?

    Welcome to 2005.

    My favorite excuse used by politicians to pass laws for their own agenda is when they use “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!”. Well, I am, so I certainly won’t be voting for Granholm next election. So much for her reasoning behind trying to pass this law based on “violent games make violent people” theory: CNN article.

    Yep, we’re slowly approaching a police state.

    Windows and Linux applications

    Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

    Well this is a long time overdue. Since I switched completely to Linux in 2002 (meaning no more Windows partition), I have found programs in Linux that serve as replacements for Windows programs. In many cases, you can find programs for Linux that simply aren’t ported or don’t exist in Windows. This list will be far from complete, but feel free to add to the list if you think of others. I’d like this to be a good resource for those that are not sure if they can make a complete switch. When I mention Linux in this article, I can pretty safely say all major distributions are covered by the following statements. I have used Slackware, Debian, Mandrake/Mandriva, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Knoppix, SuSE, and a few others.

    Please keep in mind that the point of this article isn’t to say “switch now because it’s cheaper!”. My point would be that if you’re hesitant about switching because X application isn’t available under Linux, there may be a free, and possibly, a better solution already in place. It’s kind of like when you first entered the Windows world – did you *know* that Microsoft Office or Quicken was there? No, you found out about it by either reasearching it at a store that sells software or finding out after playing with Windows that it was already installed.

    First off, I’d like to say many games work just fine under Linux. Yes, I know, Halo will never work under Linux because it is owned by Microsoft, but in all fairness, it’s a popular game that needs to be mentioned. It’s not really the fault of Linux or it’s developers, but rather Microsoft – why would they want their game playable on a competing OS? Anyways, here’s a list of games that I play under Linux:

    Quake II
    Quake III
    Doom III
    Unreal Tournament
    Unreal Tournament 2003
    Unreal Tournament 2004
    Return to Castle Wolfenstein
    America’s Army

    Yes, it’s a small list, but I don’t game a whole lot either. I know there are many more that work, but those are just the games that I own and play under Linux. Also, I have to give Linux some credit for the games that come with most distributions. I have 18 games that were installed from the CD itself and those 18 were not the only games available on the CD either. Many more than what come with Windows I must say.

    So now we get into the good stuff – what do we use at home? I’m going to compare Debian 3.1 with Windows XP for the sake of argument since Windows XP Home is what most home users tend to be using these days. Most of this will be based off of applications that I have used and/or paid for in the past. I try to write about what I know rather than make generalizations…it keeps things a little more “fair”.

    Windows XP: You can buy the chopped down Microsoft Office 2003 suite for about $150.00 (Word, Excel, Powerpoint).
    Debian 3.1: OpenOffice is a free download and a free application. If you feel like grabbing the beta version, it now comes with Base which is fairly comparable to Access.

    To be fair though, OpenOffice has been ported to Windows, so you could always download and install OpenOffice instead. Thank you Sun Microsystems and the open source community!

    Windows XP: mIRC is a chat program used for IRC. The cost after the 30 day trial period is $20.00.
    Debian 3.1: XChat, BitchX, ircii, kvirc, there’s quite a few. All free.

    To be fair – XChat and BitchX are available in Windows for free. Thanks again to the open source community! At the time of the writing of this article, XChat.org was down – I had heard a rumor that XChat for Windows was going to cost as they started charging a fee because it took time for porting the app to Windows, but I can’t confirm the rumor at this time.

    Windows XP: IM Clients – Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ, etc
    Debian 3.1: Same – they’ve all been ported to Linux, but Linux has a few more available only to the Linux OS such as Jabber.

    I’m not big on instant messenging, but I see some companies use it internally including the company I work for. Unlike the other instant messengers out there, Jabber also has server software available for free for people using Linux. This would be more secure than using a 3rd party as a server for internal instant messaging for obvious reasons.

    Windows XP: Microsoft Outlook for email. This generally comes with Microsoft Windows and would be some very nice software if it wasn’t the target of most virii and worms. Lotus Notes is a good alternative, but costs money for the server (the client is free). It is available in both Windows and Linux.
    Debian 3.1: Evolution is very comparable as it has a calender, meeting, address book, and other things you find with Outlook – it can even plug into an Exchange server, though I have never done this.

    Windows XP: You can purchase Quicken for Windows and it’s a very popular program to manage one’s finances. I have never used it, but I know people who do.
    Debian 3.1: You can use Quicken in Linux, but you would need to use Crossover Office, which costs about $40.00. Crossover Office allows you to use many other Windows programs as well, so it’s not $40.00 to use just one program.

    Windows XP: Most hardware is supported by default, but XP’s plug and play isn’t always the most accurate or best way to install the software. It can flat out be a pain if it installs bad drivers on its own. Almost all vendors make Windows drivers for their hardware.
    Debian 3.1: I was honestly suprised at how well my hardware was picked up and just worked without having to tweak anything. Everything was automagically installed and ran fine. This wasn’t always the case with Linux, but with more support from hardware manufacturers as well as a larger number of people using Linux now than before, they’ve come a long way.

    Hardware drivers are no longer a reason not to switch like it used to be. What gets my goat is when Windows 2000 and then when Windows XP first came out, hardware vendors were in a scramble to come out with drivers because 2k and XP didn’t support all hardware. Personally, I think both operating systems have fairly equal hardware support any more. I haven’t run into a problem with a piece of hardware since around 2000 with a sound card that was produced by a manufacturer that was no longer in business. It wasn’t any easier trying to find Windows drivers for the card either (even using driverguide.com!).

    More to come later, but please feel free to add to this list!