Lost girls update Facebook

9 09 2009

who_you_gonna_call

So imagine you went for a spot of urban exploration and found yourself lost in the stormwater drains. What do you do?
Do you: call triple-0 on your phone to contact the emergency services or do you update your Facebook status to say you’re trapped in some drains?

Well two girl 10 and 12 from Adelaide were in the exact same predicament after a foray into the Adelaide stormwater drain system, and which choice did they choose?
Update their Facebook status to being lost of course. What modern teen would be so un-hip to call the emergency services with their web enabled phones?

According Glenn Benham from the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS):

“If they were able to access Facebook from their mobile phones, they could have called 000, so the point being they could have called us directly and we could have got there quicker than relying on someone being online and replying to them and eventually having to call us via 000 anyway.” he said.

Obviously the emergency services were concerned that posting online about your predicament, instead of calling  would delay a rescue effort, and that the girls were lucky that a friend was online to notice that the girls were trapped and called 000.

Now this particular incident reminds me of a particular episode of The IT Crowd.

Source





First they came for the hats…

5 09 2009
poor_hatless_irish

I say is that a hatless idling Irishman?

So a few days ago I booted up Team Fortress 2 after a mate asked me to check if my items were gone. Apparently because Valve had started to remove items gained by using Drunken F00l’s Idler Program which basically emulated you being connected to a Team Fortress 2 server.
Indeed I was greeted with the following:

Your account has been flagged for circumventing the item distribution system. We have removed the items that were illegally obtained. Future violations will result in the loss of all your items.

Valve had removed all the items I had gained using the idler which as two hats: The Heavy’s football helmet and the Glorious Officer’s Ushenka.
I am rather jarated off that Valve has all of a sudden pimp slapped a large percentage of its active Team Fortress 2 player base without stating its position on this matter months before this fiasco. The creator had emailed Valve about this months before asking for Valve’s opinion and also offered to voluntarily shut down operations if Valve requested, making it unforgivable for Valve to not have made an official post on their Team Fortress 2 blog warning idlers that its use was disapproved.

Instead of posting up a warning to all idler users Valve takes a different approach; it proceeds to take all items that idlers have gotten using the idler program, labelled them “Cheaters” and a final slap in the face, given all other users who did not use the idler program hats more specifically a “Halo” hat.
Now the community is in uproar about how Valve has handled this matter people who idled are not helping those with halos and those with halos refuse to help people who have idled. It has divided the community and many people have refused to play Team Fortress 2 ever again.
Although Valve has stated that only 3.5% of Team Fortress 2 owners were affected it seems that the number has been skewed as instead of being the number of active Team Fortress 2 players it is the number of people who own the game which it was bundled with The Orange Box. At its peak the idler server numbered roughly 10,000+ idlers at any given time, according to some users the number sits somewhere around the realm of 25-33.3% of the active player base has been affected by this fiasco.

Although I am unhappy my hats got taken away from me, I can still take solace in the fact that I can now see spies easily and snipers wearing the halo make easier headshot targets.

Edit: Fixed some expression mistakes and missing words.





RAM Can Be Downloaded?

31 08 2009

ram_downloads

So a mate of mine found an interesting site where you can apparently download RAM.
Yes, someone actually came up with a site to “Download” RAM.
Just looking at the company’s address you can tell the site’s dodgy, downloading this “RAM” will probably install a Trojan or something of the like into your computer.

Sneaky way of trying to scam computer illiterate people though.





Team Fortress 2 Meet The Spy Leaked

17 05 2009

Yes, you heard it right the “Meet The Team” trailer for the spy was leaked.
Enjoy the awesome that is Meet The Spy.





Touhou on DS and Aliens Attack?

27 03 2009
touhou_ds00

Flying Balloon heads... O_o

So on my usual trawl of Sankaku Complex I stumbled upon an interesting Homebrew game for the Nintendo DS: a recreation of the renowned Touhou manic shooters.

In its current version (as of this post) Touhou DS 0.8 is made up of four stages in the demo level, with most of the fancy text still very much under construction. According to the developer’s site you can muck around with the in-game files letting you adjust the amount of bombs and lifes your character has.

touhou_ds03

Reimu! Reimu! :3

So how does it play? Well to put it simply it’s quite fun to play when you’re on break or just want to kill a few minutes.
The game currently has a selection of 5 characters from the Touhou games for you to choose all with different bullet patterns, unique bombs, and movement speeds. All make for an interesting play through.

touhou_ds01

IMA FIRIN' MAH LAZAH!!!!!!!!!!111!!!ONEONE

Controls are relatively simple with the D-pad controlling movement, while ‘X,Y,B,A,L & R’ can be configured for Shoot, Focus (concentrating your bullets but sacrificing speed), Bomb, holding down focus and then hitting your bomb button will use your unique Bomb attack.

touhou_ds02

Its Raining Men Hallelouya... Oh wait...

The boss battles get progressively harder with each boss at each stage gaining more lives forcing you to kill them many times over before defeating them, enemies are relatively easy to kill but again get harder to kill as the stages progress and the bullet patterns get crazier and more interesting as you get to the higher stages.
Collecting drops from enemies makes your attacks not only stronger but changes your shots adding more firepower or better coverage (spread shot) dieing results in you losing your powerup one rank at a time until you only have your weakest attack with barely any coverage and poor power.
A word of warning, for those who have not played Touhou will find themselves dieing a lot as a single hit will kill you, but luckily it does offer you a chance to restart the current stage instead of having to start over from the beginning.
The graphics as a whole are quite good for a DS game, the interface is still relatively rough but workable allowing you to easily navigate the menus, and the soundtrack is brilliant in all its sorta-midi greatness.
Overall I’ve found the game very amusing, fun and a good time killer.
Can’t wait for the next version to come out.

I’d highly recommend this game to those looking for something to kill time on their DS, so long as you have an R4 or similar cartridge.

Link to developer’s Site
Sankaku Complex Article Link

From the looks of it ‘Weeaboo’ the developer is also developing a DS port for other games the one that draws most of my attention is the awesome Fate/Stay Night visual novel which I am currently in the process of downloading, I’ll report back on here when I’ve given it a spin.

In other news Atomic Magazine reports that the Australian Board of Classification website was hacked by aliens.

classification_board_hacked_lol

1337 |-|4X

Sauce for aliens





The Saga Continues

26 03 2009

coppers_at_door

Was checking my rss feeds from news.com.au and stumbled upon this interesting article in the technology section.
According to the article the police have raided homes of Wikileaks associates in Dresden and Jen after the site published the Australian ACMA’s blacklist.
Meanwhile the owner of the domain Wikileaks.de; Theodor Reppe’s home was raided by German police possibly over the publication of the ACMA blacklist.

A Twitter update by Wikileaks recently posted:

“Police raid home of Wikileaks.de domain owner over censorship lists – stay tuned”

Wikileaks claim that the police are investigating Mr Reppe on suspicions of the “distribution of pornographic material” and “discovery of evidence”.

Now this situation is becoming very disturbing as only a few days after the leak occurred people assosiated with Wikileaks have their homes raided by police on questionable charges, its not certain at this point weither the raids were in response to politicians in Australia making a racket.
As of right now the ACMA and Stephen Conroy are denying that the published lists belonged to the ACMA although they have warned that the AFP (Australia Federal Police) will be investigating this matter in depth.
Unfortunately for mister Conroy his recent denial of the list being a complete fake has admited it ‘looks’ similar to the list the ACMA uses.

Right now I personally believe the list is probably true with people associated with wikileaks being arrested, Conroy’s vigorous denial of this affair, then his flip flop admitting that it looked similar to the ACMA’s list only adds to the mounting suspicion that the government or atleast Conroy has alterior motives for this filter.

Ladies and gentlemen the battle for the internet has begun.

Update:

I don’t believe I didn’t pick this up but Senator Conroy has admited that there is a possiblity that the blacklist will ‘creep’ to cover URLs from legitimate websites that are found inappropriate not just the stated links to child pornography.

This is news is extremely disturbing and should be for each and everyone of us, with legitimate sites in the firing line who knows what content will be blocked now?
Could news articles that certain politicians not like be blocked or whistleblower sites like the already blocked Wikileaks be added to the list aswell?





Australia The Nanny State?

20 03 2009

internetwinswz2
As the title suggests is Australia slowly becoming a Nanny State?
My personal view is that we are indeed slipping towards this title as the current Labor government lead by our esteemed leader Chairman Rudd had proposed last year to implement an internet filter at the ISP level to ‘filter’ Australia’s internet to prevent ‘prohibited content’ from being viewed.

Now the filter is a two teir system; there is a mandatory blacklist that everybody must submit to and an additional filter to make your internet connection ‘child friendly’ which we have the option of ‘opting out’. So you’re probably asking yourself what sort of content will the government block?

The government is planning to block the aforementioned ‘prohibited content’ now; the catch is who exactly gets to decide what is ‘prohibited’, according to the Concise Edition English Dictionary from Webster’s Reference Library (ISBN 1 85534 961 2) to prohibit means: to forbid by law. This responsibility falls on to the shoulders of the ACMA who will be maintaining the government blacklist of ‘prohibited content’ unfortunately this blacklist is not viewable by the general public which puts everyone who wants to know what content is blocked in the dark as to what can and cannot be viewed.
This idea of creating a system to filter Australia’s internet is not a new idea, this idea was already on the cards with the previous Howard Government but was found to be unworkable as it would in the words of the previous Minister of Communications Helen Coonan:

“…filter the Internet will only result in slowing down the Internet for every Australian without effectively protecting children from inappropriate and offensive content…”

This is supported by government commissioned contracted to various companies all coming to the conclusion that it would in one way or another cripple Australia’s already slow internet connections the latest figures stand at 22%~87% slower browsing speeds with a rough false positive rate of 1%~3%.
With some quick maths I can roughly estimate what sort of speeds I’ll be getting while browsing the internet; I currently run an ADSL2+ connection and paying about $50AU with a 50GB cap on it before being shaped down to dial up speeds.
My connection seems to peak at around ~570kb/s which is when I’ve completely saturated my connection, lets assume the best case scenario that the filter does kill my connection by 22% which gives a respectable 444.6kb/s, but the problem is that this is when I’ve completely saturated my connection. Most of the time when loading websites it barely peaks the ~200kb/s mark which gives around 156kb/s this keeping in mind that I am the only user on our home network with 4 people all accessing the pipe the internet slows down to mind numbing speeds.
But at least we can bare with it as we’re the luck few who has access to a fast broadband connection, what happens to those who live in rural areas who have to make do with slow, expensive satellite connections, old fashioned dial up (yes believe it or not people we still have people who use dial up) or home owners who can only afford say a 512/128 plan (again I know people who still use this type of broadband) what happens to their already slow speeds?
What happens if it’s not the above best case scenario and the internet is crippled with a 87% performance hit what will this mean to big business who need fast transfers, and the home users who pay lavish amounts of money to get a fast connection only to have it function at 13% capacity?

With a slow connection all sorts of bad things happen, the worst being drop outs when loading websites with sites not loading altogether or half working.
This is especially worrying for those of us who use online banking not knowing if our information was sent or not or worse lost on the other end.

Conroy has been going on about how it will not effect us in anyway as we have fast 12-50mbit connections but in the real world none of these connections live up to their claims.
Another technical aspect that would ultimately slow the internet down for Australia was that the filter to effectively detect ‘prohibited’ content it had to check every incoming and outgoing packet which is equivalent to Australia Post (our country wide postal service) opening every single letter and package at their sorting centers and checking them before letting them through which is simply not workable. This checking of everything going in and out effects our personal details that are sent over the net what happens to our passwords, our bank details and other important data that is sent over the internet sometimes over unsecured channels.
Even checking all packets going to and fro this does not guarentee that the system will not accidentally block legitimate websites even with a rather positive 1% false positive rate it still equates to a fair number of sites being inadvertantly blocked – for example it is safe to assume that there are at least 1 billion websites on the internet with a quick calculation we come up with 10 million sites that could be accidentally blocked which is a very large amount of content.
A good real world example is at my workplace the in-house content filter blocked access to supplier sites for our own goods that need to be ordered or returned.

The filter is also unable to filter encrypted traffic such as Tor traffic it is these encrypted channels that illicit material such as child pornography is traded as anyone with the right mind to commit to such activities would not be foolish enough to be posting or acquiring their material over unsecured channels.

The recent leak of the ACMA’s blacklist onto Wikileaks has confirmed the suspicions of many people that the government is planning to block more than just child pornography, with various Youtube videos, Wikipedia entries and news articles being on the block list, and recently Wikileaks has been added to the blacklist.
The blatant actions of the ACMA were apparent when they served Whirlpool.net.au‘s (an Australia broadband information and forum) host a AU$11,000 fine if they did not remove a banned hyperlink that a user had posted on the site, this was about two days before tthe eventual leak of the current ACMA blacklist onto Wikileaks (which convieniently is inaccessable as of right now).
Currently the government’s position on this leak was that it was a complete fabrication according to Stephen Conroy’s press release.

So in conlusion the internet filter will not only slow Australia’s internet down to a crawl, the fact that it has to look at everything that passes through it to determine if the content is suitable poses security questions as to what happens to our personal information.
Possible erratic blocking of content resulting in legitimate sites being banned, the inability for the filter to check encrypted lines of communication would result in most illicit content elluding detection.
Finally, the questionable state of the ACMA blacklist which is unviewable by normal citizens, the general actions of the ACMA and the government claiming that the leaked blacklist was just a fabrication.
Should raise red flags as to the erratic behaviour of the government.

I personally believe that the money spent on this project would be better allocated towards education programs to teach children save web browsing habits, and The Police – theses are the people who investigate and eventually bust the deviants. Not some internet speed crippling political tool designed to blindfold the populace and restrict our freedom of expression.

I’ll leave you all with a though and for those who think this will never effect them:

“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

Source Link for Poem