Monday, June 27, 2011

GameOgre: WonderKing First Impressions

wonderking-logoLooking for a new free-to-play MMORPG that has a fairly casual feel and that you can just jump into? (A few caveats apply, of course.) I recently reviewed WonderKing Online over at GameOgre,

WonderKing Online is a free-to-play 2D side-scrolling platformer MMO developed by the South Korean company Ryu & Soft and published in the United States by Ignited Games (EU by Bigpoint). At first glance, it’s very similar to Maple Story. I found myself in magical, glittering forests full of cute (but oddly hostile) critters and adorable characters to play alongside.

I had a fairly good time for my short stay. I raised a mage and a scout both up to level 10 (well, level 15 now) and then tapped out my first impressions. I know, it’s a lot like Maple Story, but I couldn’t get into MS because it made very little sense and didn’t train you in what the hell was going on.

WonderKing Online does a fairly good job in explaining what things are and where to go in the very beginning. Certainly the skill set gets huge after a while, but it’s a slow burn.

Go check it out.

Link, via GameOgre.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why I will keep using DropBox

There have been some “privacy scares” in relation to the cloud-storage desktop application DropBox recently that may have shaken confidence in the product; however, I am not going to leave them just because of these issues. These problems even triggered possible FTC scrutiny into their activities.

First, not too long ago it was revealed that even though DropBox touts the fact that they encrypt the contents of your shared data, the crypto key is available internally to employees—this means that they can decrypt your information and look at it anytime they want. The reason for this is that the only way that they can enable a user to retrieve the contents of their box if they lose their password is to keep the key in house. Otherwise, a user who forgets their password loses access to their data forever.

The second scandal happened recently when DropBox accidentally opened up everyone's storage to access via any password. This meant that anyone connecting to any DropBox account could have pilfered the contents for the four hour period it was open.

Why am I largely unconcerned?

I don’t store anything in my DropBox that I don’t already allow to be publicly accessible. Certainly, I do keep some secret information in there that I’d rather not people see (such as manuscripts for upcoming novels) but I do the second-best-thing that I do for anything I put into the cloud: I encrypt it.

Any passwords, sensitive information, or secrets that end up in my DropBox are encrypted and often named things that make it difficult to discern what’s in them. An attacker who manages to break DropBox’s security (or gets in when its down) will have to content with a second layer of defenses—my defenses—and certainly it’s not about to stop a determined attacker to copy and attempt to decrypt my information; but at that point I wouldn’t be able to do much to stop them anyway.

Using encryption on top of my manuscripts and secrets doesn’t just protect them from potential prying eyes, but it also means that I can be reasonably certain that they haven’t been tampered with. Attempting to change one of my cryptographic files would ultimately destroy it and render it useless (annoying to me but I keep backups.)

If you use any cloud service (backup, sharing, etc.) don’t expect that their security is ever secure enough. “Always padlock your own fscking data,” as Elaine Mercer from Black Hat Magick would say.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Something of a weekend: Black Hat Magick, LulzSec, America McGee’s Alice

…oh and a Samus Aran Zero Suit edition Let’s Play of Saints Row 2.

Not a big update right now, but it goes like this: the website for Black Hat Magick is down because the server that normally would run the webserial had its motherboard melt.

It’s now non-operational; however, I did have the werewithal to get different hosting and now there’s a page explaining the situation on that domain. Refresh the page a few times, see what happens!

My good friend, Omni, also went out to the local Fry’s and bought a copy of America McGee’s Alice 2: The Madness Returns for Xbox 360. The dragon is playing it right now.

Plans are to turn it into a Let’s Play for YouTUBE.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Microsoft and Office 2010: Please reinstate blue background with white text

Or, of the love of the gods, give me the option to produce a background setting that doesn’t affect the end work product so that I can bring this back? I’ve been using this for a long time now to write because it makes it much easier for me to see the text.

Now that I have Office 2010, I discovered that it’s been gone since Office 2007. Worse, while there’s the ability to turn it on – it cannot be activated by default in the Normal document template! Why would anyone set it up so that it can be turned on via a background setting, yet cannot be made default?

If anyone out there knows a solution to this (I even tried a macro) or an add-in for Office 2010. Let me know. Otherwise, I’m going to downgrade back to Office 2002.

At least that works.