Monday, 16 May 2011

Review: Firmware Update 3.61

another vision... look at the scam in this!!!

Review: Firmware Update 3.61

Review: Firmware Update 3.61 screenshot
It's been an excruciatingly long wait, but after weeks of demands, Sony finally released the latest long-awaited installment in its iconic Firmware series, Firmware 3.61.
Destructoid was unable to get an advance review copy, but we dove into the thick of it as soon as we could obtain the retail version, and we're here to give you the full summary.
So, just how well does 3.61 stand with the rest of the series? Is this ware truly firm, or is it more of a flopware? Read on the find out!

Firmware Update 3.61 (PlayStation 3)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: May 14, 2011
Price: Your spare time

From the very outset, Firmware 3.61 brings with it a tremendous sense of immersion, informing you that Update 3.61 has been found and clearing up the cliffhanger from the last game, where we were left wondering what would happen after Update 3.60. Rest assured that this installment ties up all the loose ends from the last one, though I won't explain what happens due to spoilers. Rest assured, it's a revelation.

Roleplaying elements are back in full force, with players getting the ability to initiate the update and start their adventure. Although 3.61 is as linear as its prequels, these little divergent paths, where you can choose to update or not, really give the illusion of a more open, player-fueled experience. Although sometimes you feel like you're going on a set path, for the most part it works, with players feeling like they're really there, downloading a Firmware update in real life!

The game features a robust moral choice system, where your actions really do affect the world. Do you accept the User Agreement, or don't you? This was an agonizing decision, since you never know what could happen later. I remember that unbelievable moment in Firmware 2.0, where I accepted the User Agreement and the Kaz Hirai was harvested for delicious ADAM. Is that right? It's been so long since I did anything but download Firmware on the PS3 that my memory is a little hazy.

Of course, once you've made your decision (I always default to accepting, as it usually leads to getting the "Good" ending), you're hit with the real meat of the story. Once again, The Green Bar makes his return, having come back to fill yet another empty tube for your pleasure. From here, you're given yet another gameplay choice. You can watch the green bar slowly fill up, or you can watch the percentage underneath slowly reach 100%. Choices! Often, I get so giddy and overwhelmed by the amount of activity on-screen that I pass out from sensory overload.
I was shocked to find that getting to 100% did not complete the game, as the update then had to install itself. This is called emergent gameplay, and I'm impressed Sony threw that in there.
I'm not going to tell you if the Green Bar ever does reach 100%, nor will I tell you the exact details of the amazing New Game Plus, where you get to look around your system to find that the consumer's wasted time led to no viable benefit. That's for you to explore yourself, but I'm pleased that this kind of post-end gameplay was available in the package, and not offered later as DLC like Bethesda did with Fallout 3.

With its crisp graphics and astounding sense of realism, Firmware 3.61 is a game unlike any other in a series that stands out as Sony's greatest exclusive. Some may argue that the franchise has been milked to death, with so many sequels and portable spin-offs, but I think Firmware is going strong and will be back for many, many, many installments.
Score: 9.0 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)

Photo Photo Photo Photo Photo

Dropbox Lied to Users About Data Security, Complaint to FTC Alleges

just found this hillarious piece n guess had to share it with you

Dropbox, the wildly popular online storage system, deceived users about the security and encryption of its services, putting it at a competitive advantage, according to an FTC complaint filed Thursday by a prominent security researcher.
The FTC complaint charges Dropbox (.pdf) with telling users that their files were totally encrypted and even Dropbox employees could not see the contents of the file. Ph.D. student Christopher Soghoian published data last month showing that Dropbox could indeed see the contents of files, putting users at risk of government searches, rogue Dropbox employees, and even companies trying to bring mass copyright-infringement suits.
Soghoian, who spent a year working at the FTC, charges that Dropbox "has and continues to make deceptive statements to consumers regarding the extent to which it protects and encrypts therir data," which amounts to a deceptive trade practice that can be investigated by the FTC.
Dropbox dismissed Soghoian's allegations.
"We believe this complaint is without merit, and raises old issues that were addressed in our blog post on April 21, 2011," company spokeswoman Julie Supan said in a short e-mail to Wired.com. "Millions of people depend on our service every day and we work hard to keep their data safe, secure, and private."
Dropbox, which has more than 25 million users, revised its website claims about its data security April 13, from:
All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted (AES256) and are inaccessible without your account password.
All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted (AES 256).
The difference, Soghoian charges, is very important. (If his name sounds familiar, you might remember him as the one who exposed Facebook's attempt to place anti-Google stories in the press this week.)
Dropbox saves storage space by analyzing users' files before they are uploaded, using what's known as a hash — which is basically a short signature of the file based on its contents. If another Dropbox user has already stored that file, Dropbox doesn't actually upload the file, and simply "adds" the file to the user's Dropbox.
The keys used to encrypt and decrypt files also are in the hands of Dropbox, not stored on each user's machines.
Those architecture choices mean that Dropbox employees can see the contents of a user's storage, and can turn over the nonencrypted files to the government or outside organizations when presented with a subpoena.
Dropbox's Supan says the company has never said otherwise:
In our help article we stated "Dropbox employees aren't able to access user files." That means that we prevent such access via access controls on our backend as well as strict policy prohibitions. That statement didn't say anything about who holds encryption keys or what mechanisms prevent access to the data. We updated our help article and security overview to be explicit about this. Also, to clarify we've never stated we don't have access to encryption keys. We've made quite a few posts in our public forums over the years about this very fact and we are quite open with our community: 1, 2, 3.
But Dropbox promised otherwise, the complaint alleges.
Up until April 13, the site promised this:
Dropbox employees aren't able to access user files, and when troubleshooting an account, they only have access to file metadata (filenames, file sizes, etc. not the file contents).
Now the site says:
Dropbox employees are prohibited from viewing the content of files you store in your Dropboxaccount, and are only permitted to view file metadata (e.g., file names and locations).
The company also added this text:
Like most online services, we have a small number of employees who must be able to access user data for the reasons stated in our privacy policy (e.g., when legally required to do so). But that's the rare exception, not the rule. We have strict policy and technical access controls that prohibit employee access except in these rare circumstances. In addition, we employ a number of physical and electronic security measures to protect user information from unauthorized access.
The complaint alleges that at least two of Dropbox's competitors, SpiderOak and Wuala, make security promises similiar to those of Dropbox, but actually can't get at the data because they don't hold the encryption keys. That means those services have to spend more on storage, because they can't detect duplicate files stored by different users. That, according to the complaint, lets Dropbox promise total security without paying the costs, while putting its competitors at a disadvantage. (SpiderOak does do de-duping within each user's account to save user's space, the company says)
Dropbox's security statements were confusing to users — including to computer security experts, the complaint alleges.
Soghoian cites as evidence comments on Dropbox's own blog and a Tweet from Jon Callas, who spent years as chief technology officer of PGP Corporation, one of most respected provider of encryption products. Callas now works for Apple, focusing on security.
Callas tweeted on April 19: "I deleted my Dropbox account. It turns out that they lied and don't actually encrypt your files and will hand them over to anyone who asks." (Technically, Callas is incorrect because the files are encrypted, just not encrypted on the users' devices.)
The complaint additionally alleges that Dropbox misleads users of its mobile app, by claiming that its product uses an encrypted HTTPS connection to communicate between a user's device and Dropbox's servers. In fact, the mobile device does not encrypt all the traffic.
Soghoian is asking the FTC to force Dropbox to clarify its website further, to contact all its users to tell them Dropbox can see their data in the clear, offer refunds to "Pro" users and prohibit the company from making deceptive claims in the future.
Update: This story was updated at 3:25 PDT to include comment from Dropbox, which did not respond by initial publication time.
Update 2: This story was updated at 6:15 PDT to include additional comment from Dropbox about its statements to users about employee access to data.

Monday, 9 May 2011


In the leadup to the recent British Royal wedding, it was repeatedly suggested that the event would be watched by 2 billion people worldwide, that is, about 30 per cent of the world’s population. It says something for the quality of the news media that none of those reporting this estimate offered a source or the most elementary checks on plausibility, and hardly any tried to check afterwards. So, now that we are relaxing after Mother’s Day lunch, I thought I’d do the numbers.

Of the world’s population of 6.7 billion, 1.4 billion don’t have access to electricity, and almost certainly have more pressing concerns than faraway weddings. Overall, I’d guess the number with any access to TV is probably something like 4 billion, suggesting that 50 per cent of all potential viewers would need to be watching. That includes large numbers of children, and many people who’ve barely heard of Britain, let alone followed the details of its monarchical soap operas.

The wedding was conveniently timed for Australian viewers on a primetime Friday, but we are the exceptions. In Europe, Africa and much of Asia, the wedding was in the daytime, when most of the population was at school or work. In the Americas, it was late at night or in the small hours of the morning.

And of course lots of people, for example in the Arab world, may be preoccupied with other events at this time.

On this ex ante basis, I’d say that 200 million would be closer to the mark than 2 billion

So, let’s look at how things turned out.

UK 24 million or about 40 per cent of the population

Australia 5.7 million or about 25 per cent of the population. This was the highest-rated recent event on TV, outdoing the 2005 Australian Open and the final of Master Chef with 4 million, but then, it was shown on four channels. A starting point for any assessment would therefore be the number of people who watch free-to-air TV regardless on Friday nights. It’s surprisingly hard to find these numbers, but I’d guess that it’s about 20 per cent of the population. If that’s right, the wedding managed to attract a million or so extra viewers.

US 22.8 million or about 7 per cent of the population (I also found this at the WSJ who note that this seems low in the light of the 2 billion estimate, but the link doesn’t work)

India 42 million (under 4 per cent of the population)

As far as I can tell, the event was barely covered in China

I also saw a reference to another 70 million Internet viewers, but as a blog owner, I’d take numbers like this with a large grain of salt. In my experience, it takes three or four goes to get any kind of livestreaming working properly.

Overall, the total might be marginally above 250 million worldwide (about 4 per cent, as in India), but not much, I would say.

The Australian numbers cast some light on Kevin Donnelly’s claim that

Fast-forward to recent events like the celebration of ANZAC Day and the Royal Wedding and it is clear the left has definitely lost the culture wars and that generations of Australians continue to embrace and support conservative ideals and values.

That’s a pretty strong claim to make given that the vast majority of Australians, offered the spectacle of the first big royal wedding in three decades, and presumably the last for some decades to come, overwhelmingly preferred a night out with friends, relaxation with the family, a good book or perhaps even blogging.

Donnelly, who claims to be one of Australia’s leading education commentators goes on to endorse the absurd claim that ‘billions of people around the world’ watched the wedding. Donnelly is an opponent of critical approaches to education, so I guess it’s appropriate that he should uncritically accept any nonsense that fits his prejudices. (For a further response, see Mark Bahnisch at LP).

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Lindsay Lohan is slated to talk about her legal woes on The Tonight Show on Tuesday. She filmed the appearance Monday, just days after her latest brief stint in jail. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

Lindsay Lohan, fresh off another brief visit to jail over the weekend, will be back in the TV spotlight to talk about her recent woes on Tuesday night.
The Mean Girls star recorded her appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday.
In his interview, Leno reportedly tackles a host of issues the 24-year-old actress is currently dealing with, including her court battles, her latest stint in jail on Friday and her forthcoming role in the mob film Gotti: Three Generations. Lohan lost her last prominent role — starring as Linda Lovelace in the film Inferno — just before she entered a court-ordered rehab program in 2010.
Lohan's Tonight Show appearance was a last-minute addition to the schedule and filmed separately from the rest of the show. Her segment will bump an interview with Broadway and TV star Kristin Chenoweth.
On Friday, Lohan was sentenced to 120 days in prison for violating probation. She was also ordered to serve more than 400 hours of community service. The judge reduced the theft charge from a felony to a misdemeanour and ordered her to stand trial on June 3.
However, she spent just a few hours in jail before being released on $75,000 US bail.
The troubled actress is currently embroiled in a case over the alleged theft of a $2,500 US necklace from a Los Angeles shop. The incident occured during Lohan's probation for a 2007 case of drunk driving and drug possession.

Thursday, 5 May 2011


On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Mr. Manning a 'hero'. He is currently imprisoned in Kuwait. The Apache crew and those behind the cover up depicted in the video have yet to be charged.

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.
The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement".

Consequently, WikiLeaks released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.

WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

what do you think about the measures taken? Are they justifiable?
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