Saturday, 17 March 2012

Should we be keeping the Internet Free and Private?

I’ve been taking a look at some ways to hide your Internet identity lately.
Why you ask? 
What have you been up to? 
Well, nothing really. And that’s the thing most information gathering trolls rely on, people assuming they don’t have anything worth hiding. Because of this most Internet users have no idea just how much information is being built up about them.
You may not care, but you may also be shocked to find out just how much the Internet knows about you and your family.

Most security applications are based on hiding your IP (Internet Protocol) address, the number (or address) that identifies where you are connecting to the internet from, your ‘provider.’ From this the provider (the company you use to access the internet) can then find out who you are by backtracking who this IP number was assigned to.
Now first off all I want to reassure people that all those ‘I know your IP address’ threats you may have gotten from scare-ware sites trying to sell you ‘protection’ or ‘security’ software don’t amount to anything. You can’t be directly attacked by anyone knowing your IP address; if a site didn’t know this the internet couldn’t work...

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Iz bin reedin a book about lolCatz & Anonymous /b/

If this title gave you ‘lolz’ you probably already have a good idea of where I’m going with this.
If you haven’t a clue what I’m havering on about... well take a deep breath and prepare to enter the internets underbelly, the err nether-regions that are 4chan and its ilk.
The book is called ‘Epic Win for Anonymous, How 4chan's army conquered the web.’ and it does indeed heavily refer to the lolCats phenomenon, especially in the opening chapters. But its main thrust is in poking around in 4chan and its history, as well as seeing what Anonymous things can be stirred up... Yes, that’s definitely, or defiantly, anonymous with a capital ‘A.’

The book is actually fairly heavy reading in parts. It doesn’t help that it starts of by attempting to explain memes, and Internet memes in particular (very basically, memes are self replicating ‘viral’ ideas), although I can see why the author thought it important to explain this before entering the main focus of the book. This isn't an exposay of the Anonymous group, nor is it the steriotypical rant about 4chan filth, but it isn't trying to suger-coat or defend anything ether. It's a decent propper open-minden and informed look at the culutre and history behind the modern on-line world of 4cahn and Anonymous. It is amed at 'normal' people who may have only ever heard the explotative rants in the press, there is another, different, story to be told and I think this book makes a decent and unbias attempt at telling it.

So what has all this got to do with computer games you ask?
Well not a lot directly, but the book got me thinking about the internet’s influence on games and the current games industry, and it’s sub cultures. There are a lot of hacker types in 4chan... No, I don’t mean what you are probably thinking (although they undoubtedly are also there). Good old-fashioned ‘hackers’ are codies at heart, programmers that do what they do because they like it. And nowadays they are unfortunately becoming dying breed.
Mixed in amongst the legions of angst-ridden teenagers, cam-girls, and general shock-merchants are the uber-savvy indi-programmers and general computer geeks of yester-year and tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

What's the future of app-based digital distribution?

Are we currently seeing the genesis of a new type of app-based proprietary online digital distribution store?
Or is it just another internet marketing fad?

You may have heard of, if not used, the Steam digital distribution platform before. But do you know about the other players in this newly emerging market?

If you don't know, Steam is a PC and Mac based  computer games distributor and reseller, which distributes games and their related media on-line. You can pay for games through an on-line purchase and then download the games program to your computer, no box, no posting, no shop-front. However, in order to play these games, and organise your Steam purchases, you are first required to download the steam client application to your local  computer. As well as allowing you to play the games this interface also serves as a database to keep track of your purchases and allows for community based multiplayer elements, which includes utomated game updates and  in-game voice/chat functionality through a Steam community HUD. The Steam platform was developed and is run by the Valve Corporation, and carries a fairly comprehensive list of games from both the large software houses and the small independent developers. At the last count over 1504 games were available through Steam. But it isn't the only game in town...