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The CryptoLocker ransomware is still raging on-line and on users and companies computers, while new details about the source of this dangerous file-abducting trojan propagation come out and willing developers are trying to hinder the infection spreading. The criminal gang which created the malware even comes up with new ways to take money from users affected by the threat, even though in doing so it is forced to contradict itself.
Cloud computing is a digital hell that burns data, security, reliability and privacy for users and companies, a technology cancer that within the short turn of a summer brought new evidence of the fact that the worst, for the fools willing to completely tie themselves to the feudal power system of the new digital Lords, is yet to come. It’s therefore important to keep a constant track of the incidents, the unfulfilled promises, the countless privacy violations and the pure and simple lies the unscrupulous corporations persistently try to sell as the future of everything. The future, on-line, has an expiration date and is intermittent.
Target reached (and exceeded) for the Set Chopin Free crowdfunding campaign, a new initiative by the Musopen non-profit organization aiming at preserving the music of Frédéric Chopin with high-quality recordings available to the public without copyright-enforced limits: the funds collected on the Kickstarter platform have reached the final sum of $92,452, namely 123% of the 75,000 dollars requested by founder Aaron Dunn and the other Musopen volunteers.
A new ransomware for Windows PCs is roaming on-line, it’s called CryptoLocker and brings a very dangerous destructive potential. Security enterprise Sophos warns - via Naked Security - users and system admins about the new threat, its features and the fact that the “prevention is better than a cure” rule is true now more than ever. Curing the damages of a CryptoLocker infection, Sophos warns, is impossible for the time being.
The last months of 2013 look to be especially important as for the video game market evolution. The entire industry is in turmoil and not just for the upcoming debut of the new-generation home consoles, considering that “small” digital-only games sell 1 million copies while triple-A projects are split between the ones that (very relatively) flop or those breaking unprecedented sales records. Suddenly on-line services like the Diablo III Auction House aren’t the future of the universe anymore (to some degree), the PC gaming hardware is at the center of anyone’s interests and Half-Life 3 returns to be a game in development rather than a myth of the ancient Greek. Nay, Half-Life 3 is a lie (like the cake) and Valve is more interested in making hardware, software and controllers for the universe’s most stupid task: playing PC games on the couch. I’m crying.
More than four years have passed since the last time Sir Arthur’s Den dealt with the war against digital “piracy” on P2P networks, and in these few years the clash between the contents industry, users and promoters of the aforementioned contents free sharing became worse and worse. The united lobby of MAFIAA (and ideal yet scary fusion of RIAA and MPAA) did its worst by asking for monstrous monetary compensations, by throwing the releasers in jail and by trying to affirm the idea that “crime” against copyright doesn’t pay anymore.
Recently I received a mail by Ben G., a volunteer of the Musopen.org project, which reminded me their new initiative: after having freed the great classical symphonies from copyright, this time the non-profit organization is turning to the complete works of Frédéric Chopin. The target is always the same - to record high-quality versions of the works by the renowned Polish composer for everyone to listen - just as the tool chosen to reach it, ie a crowdfunding campaign on the Kickstarter platform.
Virtual reality helmets are quickly replacing stereoscopic 3D as the new trendy craze of gaming publishers and developers, so much that John Carmack decided to take the chief technology officer position at the start-up Oculus Rift. The well-known creator of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake graphic engines has been always interested in the potential of the VR experience coupled with video games, and it seems that Carmack will continue to work at id Software despite his new obligation. Maybe gaming technology has become too complex to be still of interest for the talented American coder? Capcom, Epic and Crytek - among the others - disagree on that.
If there is something worse than dealing with an antivirus company which tries to sell you security a dime a dozen, it is discovering that the aforementioned company has no intention of withdrawing from its ominous intentions: Avira continues to do marketing on my PC as I already became aware months ago, and this time it’s something connected with on-line storage which notoriously is one of my preferred technologies I always say good things about every time I can.
Symantec recently detected a computer threat belonging to the ransomware category, a malware that is dangerous because of the way it attacks PCs based on Windows operating systems even though it isn’t particularly complex to defeat. Trojan.Ransomlock.AF, as the malware is named, targets users of the Chinese Internet with an account on Tencent QQ (or “QQ”), an instant messaging service that is very popular within the Asian country.
Sir Arthur has got a new favorite wallpaper, and it’s a space-themed image this time too. My desktop is messed-up as usual, and at least until I will make up my mind for a good cleanup - and for completing the ten thousand games installed on the HD a distant time ago - the best choice is a kind of images with ethereal and almost stylized shapes, which NASA always cares to provide me on a regular basis.
USAbox.com is one of those services which offer a way to have a physical address in the United States, an address that can be used to receive mail or other kinds of shipments and it’s particularly useful to shop on-line from e-commerce sites or sellers that don’t ship outside USA. However, according to my personal experience, USAbox.com is anything but a web site worthy of being recommended to anyone.
Traditional publishers think about making money first instead of showing at least a bit of respect for the user and his needs, and that’s a fact. But as the recent case of Broken Age teaches, the path of self-production has its own drawbacks as well: despite a multi-million crowdfunding campaign closed on Kickstarter, designer Tim Schafer and his Double Fine ended up exceeding their budget - which had unexpectedly grown already compared to the initial expectations - and now plan to collect new funds by releasing a first half of the game on the Steam Early Access service. An uncharted territory, really, while traditional AAA productions continue to grind millions of dollars in stores. It’s all Star Wars’ fault, it’s always Star Wars’ fault one way or another.
The seventh generation of home consoles is about to reach the last stage of its commercial life, a new console war looms on the horizon and the emulation scene delivers the nth project with an “impossible” objective, ie a software replica of the powerful hardware components of the Sony PlayStation 3. The new emulator is called RPCS3, the development team has great ambitions but right now the software isn’t more of a multi-window shell with little to show on the screen.
June is the month traditionally dedicated to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and this years’ exhibition can be rightly defined as epic. No, not for the games that were a lot nonetheless: leaving out the minor role Nintendo is shaping for itself with the Wii U disaster, Microsoft and Sony lighted up an apocalyptic clash between two consoles and two ways of thinking about the gaming business that are diametrically opposed. Microsoft spitted on its users with the DRM garbage of Xbox One, while Sony collected ovations for PS4 beating the competition on price, functionality and everything. The PC always remains the best choice for gaming, of course, but it’s as much true that in the upcoming months we will see pretty interesting things. Very interesting things.
The false promises of cloud computing killed Google Reader and I, like many million users before, had to search for a worthy alternative to the former most popular feed reader in the world. The truth is that finding such alternative isn’t easy, and as for me the search is still going on now almost a month after the Reader service official stop. This nth betrayal by Google still burns, yet the RSS/Atom readers market is luckily more alive than ever just like the hope to dismiss even the memory of the only Google product - web search apart - I have ever cared of.
Money is everything, in the gaming industry as much as elsewhere. And like elsewhere, the main trait of game publishers is greed - with a difference, maybe: the outrageous lack of respect for their clients. Market giants like Electronic Arts have no issue earning a lot of money with obscenely disastrous launch operations that are an insult to the paying players (SimCity), soulless containers like Capcom have the guts to complain if a trash like Resident Evil 6 sells “just” 4.9 million copies and Nintendo abuses YouTube users to make money through advertising. Luckily, there is no lack of instances where respect for players and quality product go hand in hand (Bioshock Infinite). But these are the minority, I’m afraid.
The most important gaming event of the past April surely was the shutdown of LucasArts, the legendary publisher of true milestones for the entire industry and that is finally sealed off inside the archive of history by the new Lucasfilm ownership (Disney). An event whose importance cannot be underestimated, the LucasArts final disappearance, a tough news already expected by many - first of all by the designers which grew older while working at the George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch - and foretold by the long decline of these years. The memories remain, and it’s better this way: the classics, these days, turn into mobile filth or painful remakes for unable gamers without opposable thumbs. Lucasfilm Games is dead, long live to the three-headed monkeys.
Hello Blizzard, do you remember me? I am one of those who purchased an original copy of Diablo III a year ago, moreover spending an obscene amount of money (compared to my standards and my limited resources) on the game Collector’s Edition. After all this time and after its recent first anniversary, I’m writing you to show all my disappointment for the fact that Diablo III, as for me, still sucks big time.
The search for an image worthy of being the screen background every hour of day and night isn’t something to entrust chance or lucky with. The four works selected for this post are a relatively low-fi choice, an ideal wallpaper for messy, icon-ridden desktops able to merge aesthetics and functionality with not too many details turning the display into a surrealistic painting. Do yourself a favor: use a sober wallpaper and spare a visit at the oculist!