Saturday, January 28, 2012

anime can be awesome: DARKER THAN BLACK

For Americans, Japanese Anime is a very daunting prospect.  There are giant robots, strange card games, and weird animals being captured and forced to fight other weird animals to the death (Pokemon is a death sport, right?).  The biggest challenge I've found while watching some Anime is that it's clearly not for us.  It's literally from a world away, it references things we've never heard of, and of course there's the subtitles (or even worse, terrible terrible dubbed voices).  So why on earth would anyone bother with it?  There's some awesome stuff hidden in between all the bullshit.  Case in point: Darker than Black.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

fox's alcatraz is a litany of missed opportunities aka who the fuck are these people exactly?

Alcatraz manages to be a show where many things occur, and many people are involved in a variety of activities, and yet it manages to be about nothing, and stars no one.  Pretty impressive for a new show.

Alcatraz opened strong, with a creepy Sam Neill voiceover and two guards walking into an empty prison in 1963.  It’s unsettling, it’s shot reasonably well, and gives you a great what the fuck vibe.  They jump forward to today, Alcatraz is a tourist spot, and a little girl wanders off into an area that’s clearly not where she’s supposed to be, and finds our first time traveling criminal.  Ok, so far, so good.  Nothing groundbreaking, but its solid.  After the opening five minutes however, the show goes to shit.

Monday, January 9, 2012

the red room

The night people have a special place where they bring the high rollers.  The money men who keep the wheels of their dark empire turning.  The lights were designed by one of us, a mage from the old days when everyone was still friendly.  The lights don't pulse; they bubble, they effervesce, they envelop.  When you live life faster than the blink of an eye, lighting effects are experienced differently... dopplerized, they entrance the night people.  The girls are recruited from Eastern Europe.  Some of them are professional girls, some of them are kidnapped.  You read the papers, you know what kind of shit happens.  They prefer the kidnapped ones.  They can still feel terror.  The professional girls have that detached, "I knew I was going to die bloody" look to them.  It ruins the fantasy.  I met the man who runs the "recruitment" operation once.  He looks almost as beaten down as the girls.  Of course, he gets to go home at the end of the day, so fuck him still.

The girls are told they're dancing for some important people, life-changing people.  Green cards, marriages, an end to being raped all the fucking time... they get light-headed it sounds so sweet.  The room is gorgeous red, and the lights are heaven sent... I hope it's a nice memory for them.  They won't have another.  The door locks from the outside.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Max Ray Vision and the BIND Exploit of 1998

Max Ray Vision, aka "Iceman," pleaded guilty on June 29, 2009 to two counts of wire fraud stemming from the theft of nearly 2 million credit card numbers and $80 million in fraudulent purchases.  He was brought down using traditional law enforcement techniques, namely informants and intercepted communications.  However, in 1998, he successfully installed a backdoor into a number of United States Government computers, using an exploit in the BIND server daemon, the backbone of the internet.  The purpose of this post is to examine the method he used to accomplish this mammoth task, as well as the techniques used to bring him to justice.
                Max Vision began life as Max Butler, a young man obsessed with hidden knowledge and its pursuit.  He was driven, but also somewhat unstable, and during his first year of college was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend.  (Poulsen, 25)  Now with a criminal record and unable to finish college, Max was left with few options.  He took up residence with some friends in San Francisco, and turned to Internet Relay Chat for stimulation.  (Poulsen, 43)  He drifted into the “warez” scene, where he began to pirate popular computer programs of the day, and stored them on an unprotected FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server in Littleton, Colorado owned by an internet service provider.  This would turn out poorly for Max, as once he did find employment (at Compuserve), the ISP in Littleton noticed the drain on its bandwidth, and traced the problem to its source via a simple IP trap, namely the Compuserve computer terminal Max used for his job.  He was quickly fired. (Poulsen, 44)
                Max’s next brush with the law was when he came across an intriguing piece of code:
Bcopy (fname, anbuf, alen = (char *)*cpp – fname);

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

this incredibly stupid thing i did (aka how i made 999,999 gold in world of warcraft)

I’ve played WoW for a couple of years now.  In WoW you team up with a group of 9 other people, talk to each other over headsets, and band together to kill giant dragons, evil kings, warlocks, I dunno, big ass shit that wants to kill you and is super serious about it.  So here’s the thing: it costs money to do that.  Fake money.  Inside a fake world.  If you want to be in a group and not look like a jerk, there’s stuff you need to buy.  So, since there’s dragons, I’m sure you’ve guessed that we wear pieces of armor.  It’s like science or math or something; dragons won’t fuck with you until you put on a thing of armor.  So ok, there’s armor you need to buy.  You also need to enchant your armor to make it even better.  Then on top of that, you socket gems into the armor to make it even better than that.  Guess what, that’s three levels of shit that costs money. This is literally the bottom level of stuff you’re expected to do to not look like a jerk.  Seriously, ask that guy you know who plays.  He’ll tell you.  We’re fucking merciless about this stuff.

So where do you get the money to buy these things you need?