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  Exploit Causes Second Global ‘Second Life’ Outage  
Posted 2005-11-10 by Tony Walsh
The virtual world of Second Life has been hit by a deliberate attack for the second time in under 3 weeks, taking it offline for up to five hours today while its maker, Linden Lab, applies an emergency patch. According to Linden Lab, a user-created object in Second Life's new-user Welcome Area began spitting out instant messages to the degree that the fabric of cyberspace was overwhelmed. Residents were kicked out while Linden Lab attended to the problem.

The first recent attack of a global nature ocurred on October 23, and involved a bomb-like deployment of millions of 3D objects, resulting in a 3-hour denial of service to Second Life residents. At the end of October, a much smaller attack involved a virus-like object programmed to hand out raunchy photos to unsuspecting passersby.

And if the deliberate attacks weren't bad enough, Second Life has been operating poorly since a significant upgrade was issued in late October. Since the upgrade to v1.7, extreme lag, missing resources, slow downloads and other major technical problems have plagued Second Life at a time when it is receiving more mainstream press--and more new users--than ever.
  ‘Second Life’ World Bombed, Restored  
Posted 2005-10-24 by Tony Walsh
The virtual world of Second Life was deliberately crashed yesterday in a spectacular physics-based attack involving millions (if not billions) of malicious 3D objects. The entire virtual-reality grid had to be restarted, a process that took about 3 hours, leaving Second Life residents bewildered, frustrated, and angry. Resident reports on the official Second Life Forums indicate that the attack involved overloading the virtual world's game engine with 3D spheres--one resident said that 5.4 billion objects were deployed. This is known in Second Life as a "bombing" attack, whereby resources are rapidly overwhelmed, resulting in Second Life's servers--each representing one or more land-masses--dropping offline. Yesterday's attack is likely the largest such bombing attack in Second Life's history. Such attacks are easily executed, and there are no hard-coded measures to prevent them from occurring. Punishment for last night's attack has, according to residents on the forums, been meted out in the form of a permanent ban.
  Do Games Train?  
Posted 2005-10-19 by Tony Walsh
Game Politics relays word of an ABC-11 News report entitled "Video Game Doubles as Learning Tool," wherein the official U.S. Army recruitment video game America's Army is said to teach players "...important lessons that could save lives." The news story asserts that "A letter from a mother to the Army is proof it can save lives," and relates the mother's story of her younger son--an America's Army player--who saved her older son from a domestic accident because of first aid skills allegedly learned in the game.

This is the double-edged sword the games industry is teetering on. You cannot proclaim loudly how games train people to save lives while ignoring that the opposite is equally possible--particularly in the case of America's official Army recruitment game. If games train us to save lives, they must also train us to take lives--if the industry takes responsibility for the good, it also has to accept the bad.
  Virtual Virus Plagues ‘World of Warcraft’  
Posted 2005-09-18 by Tony Walsh
According to Shacknews reader pigz [tip via EA], a new area boss in World of Warcraft is giving adventurers more than they bargained for. Characters fighting the boss are becoming infected with "Corrupted Blood," a contagion designed by the game's developers that is bothersome to high-level characters, but will outright kill low-level characters. According to pigz, the disease has been transmitted from players returning from the area of Zul'Gurub. It is then spread among the general population, including computer-controlled characters. "Some servers have gotten so bad that you can't go into the major cities without getting the plague," said pigz.

The virulence of the Corrupted Blood effect seems to have surprised Game Masters in charge of moderating the game play of World of Warcraft. According to pigz, GMs have quarrantined certain players, but have not been able to contain the outbreak.

This is the first case I am aware of where a video game virus created by the game's developers has proven to have such dangerous and sweeping in-game effects. In the virtual world of Second Life, users have worked to create their own diseases and virii.
  Record Arctic Ice Loss Irreversible?  
Posted 2005-09-18 by Tony Walsh
The Independent reports that "Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years."

"Current computer models suggest that the Arctic will be entirely ice-free during summer by the year 2070 but some scientists now believe that even this dire prediction may be over-optimistic..." Professor Peter Wadhams (Cambridge University) reportedly said. "If anything we may be underestimating the dangers...There could be dramatic changes to the climate of the northern region due to the creation of a vast expanse of open water where there was once effectively land..."

I'll be buying my next house well above sea-level. Perhaps when I retire, I can fish from my front porch.
  Flaming PS2  
Posted 2005-09-13 by Tony Walsh
First came the flaming Xbox. Not to be outdone, Sony has revealed that its latest PS2 model (the slim version) can also burst into flames:

"Certain AC Adaptors, identified as manufactured between August 2004 and December 2004, and supplied with the black slimline PlayStation 2 models SCPH70002, 70003 and 70004 may overheat and cause an injury hazard to consumers. It is likely that some of these units may have been on sale after this date. No other PlayStation 2 units are affected."

Get your replacement here.
  Rapper Rips Bush Over Katrina  
Posted 2005-09-06 by Tony Walsh
Welcome to my first Katrina post (thanks, Astarte, for the motivation). I haven't commented about the hurricane's terrible impact because I'm not inclined to dwell on politics here. I have nothing good to say about the situation, but fortunately I don't have to articulate my feelings when others are in a better position to do so. Rapper Kanye West, who appeared on NBC's A Concert for Hurricane Relief last Friday, wasn't pulling punches. The CBC reports that West told concert-goers:

West's remarks reportedly aired live on the East Coast, but were censored by NBC by the time the show aired on the other side of the country.
  Interactive Television Market Grows?  
Posted 2005-08-31 by Tony Walsh
ClickZ distills the results of The State of Interactive TV 2005 report from Kagan Research, advising us that "Interactive television (ITV) will add TV-based gaming, television commerce, and interactive or direct response advertising functionality to cable programming, the additional channels will create new revenue streams."

This is exactly the same thing I was told in 1998 when I worked for a local firm moving into interactive television. That firm, incidentally, went from nearly 200 employees to under 50 in the span of 6 months. Yup, that ITV's a winner. I'd invest heavily in it if I were you.
  TV Cameraperson Reportedly Jailed by Iraqi/US Tribunal  
Posted 2005-08-31 by Tony Walsh
Reporters Without Borders says that a Reuters TV cameraperson will be held for at least 6 months in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison by order of "a secret tribunal composed of representatives of the Iraqi government and the US forces in Iraq." According to Reporters Without Borders, Ali Omar Abrahem Al-Mashadani will be held "for reasons that are still unknown."

Mashadani will reportedly be eligible for a case review within 180 days, but he won't be allowed any visitors for the first 60 days. His family, accoring to Reporters Without Borders, said "US marines arrested him after viewing what was on his camera tapes during a routine check at his home." Good to know US forces are keeping such close tabs on journalists. Clearly weapons of mass destruction were hidden inside those tapes.
  ‘The End of Suburbia’ Offers Few Solutions  
Posted 2005-07-25 by Tony Walsh
Oil-dependency will be the undoing of suburban sprawl and its unrealistic standard of living. So says documentary "The End of Suburbia," which I found on DVD at my local video store. An essay on the decline of the American Dream, the documentary exposes the origins of suburban life, and paints a dire picture for the future of our petrochemically-dependent world. While I appreciated the film's message, I would have preferred an in-depth (rather than cursory) look at solutions to the problem. In summary, it's suggested that on a household level, we need to become more self-sufficient, since the costs of remaining part of our existing system will eventually become too great. If you believe the "experts" in the film, we've got a much lower-tech future--and a lower standard of living (depending on your point of view)--in store for us.

For anyone interested in keeping on top of "green" developments, I highly recommend adding MetaEfficient, Treehugger, and WorldChanging to your daily reading material. These sites typically contain reccomendations that middle-class consumers can reasonably act upon.
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on 4159 entries

Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... Hope it helps someone... Dino...
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in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

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