Monday, October 22, 2007

Hollywood's Hacker

Here is a real life story about Hollywood that is worth becoming a Hollywood movie story. The story involves three people. A hacker called Robert Anderson, the famous torrents search site TorrentSpy and the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA).

The story began when a 23 year old hacker in Vancouver called Anderson cracked into TorrentSpy’s servers. He did that by simply guessing the Administrative password in a little more than 30 tries. It was 2005 & an online advertising venture with TorrentSpy founder Bunnell turned sour. So, Anderson decided to cash in on the information he had by sending an e-mail to MPAA offering inside information on TorrentSpy.

This is where the story grows into a Hollywood worthy fiasco. MPAA’s reply according to Anderson was “We would need somebody like you. We would give you a nice paying job, a house, a car, anything you needed.... if you save Hollywood for us you can become rich and powerful.” And eventually MPAA paid $15,000 for this information.

And it reaches ultimatum as Anderson claims that MPAA said “We'll set up a fake Torrent site. We'll contact the other Torrent sites. We'll get their names, address books, contact information and banking information....”. Obtaining hacked information is illegal enough, but, creating a fake site to get the details of other sites is way beyond what an Association is expected to do.

Now that MPAA got what they wanted, Anderson realized that they had no use for him & he felt abandoned. So, an year later, Anderson confessed to Bunnell (TorrentSpy) in an online chat. Soon after this conversation, MPAA sued Bunnell with the information they had got. Bunnell then countersued on the basis that the information was obtained through illegal means. But this lawsuit was dismissed.

As the case goes on, the Judge ruled that ‘TorrentSpy must begin saving the internet addresses and download activity of its U.S.-based users, and turning over the information to the MPAA’. Thus, TorrentSpy simply decided to block U.S. users as they had to protect the use privacy. This again upset MPAA.

There have been previous cases of harsh or illegal methods being used against movie piracy, like the one where a company was disrupting file sharing services by creating fake content. Then, there was a case where an executive at a national theater chain prosecuted a teenager for filming 20 seconds of a movie at a theater to show to her little brother. And the MPAA is well known for its ‘zero-tolerance war on piracy’. But I doubt that these efforts are going to inspire young movie buffs against Piracy.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Gaming Addict or Enthusiast?

The question is really more complex than what we think. Gamers have always denied the acquisitions that they are addicts (ofcourse most addicts fail to realize their addiction). Parents and educationists have always called gaming as nothing but addiction (any person who hasn’t tried something for himself will neither understand the complexity nor appreciate the art involved). But the overlooked fact here is that, addiction is subjective & not objective.

Only a thin line separates addiction & enthusiasm. There is nothing wrong in being a fan of someone, or being passionate about something. Till the day we go to work, get employed & settle down, we have time in our hands. And only in these few years we can live our passion. When responsibilities start to pile up, there is no room for personal desires. But still, we must make sure that passion doesn’t turn into addiction, as it can, very easily.

Basically, it comes down to choices. We have to choose what we are going to do with the time we have. Certain choices can forever change our lives. If you take time to carefully consider these choices before doing something, then you are not addicted. You might get tempted to do something but that’s not addiction. Temptation shouldn’t be compared to addiction. But when you forget about these choices & start doing something without giving any thoughts to your life, then, it’s called addiction. Youngsters can understand temptation, but addiction is hard to realize. Like ‘Neo’ said, no one would like the idea that they are not in control of their life. But that’s what addiction is. And it’s hard to come to terms with it.

But gaming is just like any other activity people fall in love with, like playing music, driving cars, reading books etc. To us, gaming is a sport. We know lots of parents & neighbors who keep a cupboard full of old trophies, cups & photos to remind them of their glory days in anything from Chess to Football. They will go on & on, about how they were State Level Champions or National Level Players. It was once their passion, their desire & eventhough they had to give it up as life progressed, they still cherish those good old days. Gaming is exactly that for us. And 20 or 30 years from now, we should remember ourselves as people who were passionate about gaming & not as addicts. No grown-up would accept being called an addict for spending time in a sport that they loved & gave up when the time came. Nor will we accept being called addicts for pursuing our desires until the time comes, for us to fall into the ocean of responsibilities.

Let me put this in simple words. Of all the things you could’ve done, if you are spending the time in gaming, it’s because of your passion for gaming. It’s because you want to do this, even though you are provided with so many other options. This is called Enthusiasm. But, when there are issues that need your attention or if you have some work to be finished but you are not able to stop gaming for a few days to attend to your responsibilities, then, it means that you forgot that you have a choice. It means that you are not able to see anything beyond gaming. This is what we call, addiction & you better realize it before it gets too late. By a gamer, to fellow gamers.. Neither should you be an addict, nor should you let others call you as one.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Yuri’s Yard DotA Tournament

Asian WCG is around the corner & the gaming fever is high in Chennai. Making use of the prevailing atmosphere, a lot of tournaments are currently being held here. One note-worthy tournament among the waves of tournaments is Yuri’s Yard DotA Tournament. When Pro clans are practicing to the full, Yuri’s Yard thought of easing the situation with a light-hearted event. And thus, began the 2 day event which was more about fun & that too with players who knew how to enjoy themselves.

That’s right, fun.. Where else can you witness a Tidehunter, Centaur & Jakiro chasing a poor Fiend around the tower! where else will you take Magnus as your first pick! where else will a game last for nearly 2 hours with almost all the towers on both sides destroyed! You might wonder what on earth is going on, but, in fact we were having a lot of fun laughing our hearts out. What else can you do, other than laugh, when the ‘Double Damage’ rune that you’ve just picked up gets purged by a neutral creep?!!

It was a pure fun only event with decent cash prizes for the taking. 0mF or more famously known as SoD & Roar was asked to moderate the event & thus were not able to participate in it. Necron (Kashif) & Demigod (Abhinav) were made the moderators & Medival (Chang) helped out too.

The 3 top teams of the tournament were Gdn, Agents & X (old BIRRDS). Gdn reached the finals undefeated. X lost an earlier round against Gdn & faced Agents in the Semi-Finals in a do or die battle. After a close competition between the two teams, Agents managed to pull it off & won their entry ticket to the finals.

The Finals got people to the edge of their seats when the Agents with their early push strat pushed the bottom tower & the Fiend of Gdn wasn’t available near the tower to defend it. Thus, Agents were able to destroy the base tower. Now, as they have the upper hand, they pushed the mid tower now. And Sk (Gdn) casted his ulti but didn’t have mana to use the dagger thanks to Pugna’s ward. Thus, Gdn was barely able to defend the tower. But after this, nothing went well for the Agents as Spectre of Gdn finished Rad. From there, the game changed direction & Gdn won the finals along with Rs.3,500 cash prize. Agents received Rs.1500 for Second Place.