Razer Puts Me On Edge

I've been doing this for a while… the whole "computer thing". I've owned quite a few, I've worked on quite a few, I know people who have quite a few. Today, I found something entirely new.

You see, I had a Microsoft Intellimouse and, though I have many problems with the way they run their business, their mice are hardy and work well. Sadly, my mouse finally died after many, many years and I decided it was time to try something new and shiny. Considering the work I do, I thought I would spring for a bit of a performance model (though still simple) and that's when I found the Razer Deathadder Chroma.

Good features, simple design, fun glowy bits… it worked for me!

So it arrived and who doesn't love opening a new toy? When I plugged it in, it asked if I should download the drivers, but… no… it couldn't be serious? It wanted me to sign up first? I hunted around for several minutes and it was true. I wasn't allowed to use my new mouse without signing up and begging Razer for permission first.

Bottom Line

Plugging in the mouse did allow me to set basic mouse settings. It functioned… it rotated colors… I was even able to use one of the side mouse buttons for going "back" in my web browser. But if I were to be able to set custom colors, custom buttons, or use the high-DPI functions that were promised, I'd have to let Razor choose when I access my settings and when I didn't. Even now, if I open the settings, Razer's pretty login screen stands quietly in my way, waiting for me to log in and ask if I can pretty-please change my own mouse settings.

Thank you Razer for the padded helmet and guide-rails. I sure wouldn't want to hurt myself or my computer by using a mouse.

Tags: , , , , , ,

12 Year Old Boy Uses World of Warcraft Skills to Save Sister’s Life

So you think all those online games rot your brain, make you slovenly, and are a complete waste of time? You're still right, but there are some unexpected benefits it seems.

A Norwegian boy who apparently plays the popular online game, World of Warcraft (something I scared to even try due to its reputation as being addictive), used the skills he learned in the game to save his sister and then himself from an angry Moose.

Hans and his sister got into trouble after they had trespassed the territory of the moose during a walk in the forest near their home. When the moose attacked them, Hans knew the first thing he had to do was ‘taunt’ and provoke the animal so that it would leave his sister alone and she could run to safety. ‘Taunting’ is a move one uses in World of Warcraft to get monsters off of the less-well-armored team members.

Once Hans was a target, he remembered another skill he had picked up at level 30 in ‘World of Warcraft’ – he feigned death. The moose lost interest in the inanimate boy and wandered off into the woods. When he was safely alone Hans ran back home to share his tale of video game-inspired survival.

Tags: ,

Spore Slapped With Class Action Suit Over Invasive DRM

It's hardly surprising that there has been a huge backlash against Spore due to the decision to include DRM. I'm a little surprised, but very happy, that someone had the tenacity to file a class action lawsuit against them for it.

In the end, no company has the right to control your game playing to this degree. It's a shame that a game from such a well-renowned company would be smeared and tarnished because their foolish decision to treat their customers like criminals.

I guarantee that if Starcraft II does something like this, I will pass it by only buying it after some enterprising hacker releases a fix sans DRM that I can download.

Tags: , ,

“Spore” Dying Under DRM

Spore, the long-awaited (years actually) video game from the creator of Sim-City and the Sims has finally been released, but with a catch. It includes invasive drm that has resulted in a movement by gamers to keep the Amazon.com score at the absolute bottom.

I hate to see a good game go down, but I'm posting this in the hopes that it helps spread the message and damages their sales just that much more. No company has the right to try so hard to control how we use software, that we can't use the software.

Tags: , ,

Disgruntled Employee (Whistleblower) Slams Gamestop’s Rapacious Business Practices

A disgruntled former employee of GameStop calling himself “WhistleBlowerZero” has created a 9-part YouTube video series which explains quickly, but in exhaustive detail, the many reasons why you, Dear Consumer, should not shop at GameStop.

That pretty much sums it up. I listened to a few of them and the best part is that it’s both amusing and packed with real world information and math that explains exactly why Gamestop is a huge rip-off.

Tags: , ,

New Games Require Internet Connection or You Can’t Play

Some new game manufacturers are requiring that the game system you play with have an Internet connection so the game can authenticate itself every few days. Most people are pretty adverse to being treated like criminals just to play a game much like they’d resent a screeching corporate harpy who strikes their hands with a ruler every time they do something that the company deems “unworthy”.

Well since the company can’t afford to train and assign a corporate harpy to each and every player, they instead put restrictive software that calls home and says, “yup, this guy’s still ok”. Should the software not be able to call home, like a spy under strict orders to lie low, the game will refuse to operate until given an Internet connection by which to phone home to command.

The funny thing about this is that most of their market will happily and quickly buy their games, but when they put in the screws, those same customers will refuse. However, being avid gamers and fans, when presented with the ability and opportunity to download a cracked copy, they are much more likely to do so since they will still want to play the game.

SO… Adding restrictive software to prevent piracy actually causes piracy. Too bad they don’t understand that.

A not-so-suprising reaction from the gaming community:

Penny Arcade Comic

Tags: ,

Massive Multi-player Online Gaming for Kids – Beware

There are already plenty of cases of adults or college students who have lost jobs and dropped out of school due to MMO gaming obsessions. Now we’re going to unleash this on our kids?

If you’re thinking of letting you kid play an MMO, be very careful about what game you choose and be sure to set limits on how and when they play.

Tags: ,

New Video Game Forces Adware Functionality to Play

Hellgate, a soon-to-be-released video game includes a license agreement that forces players to accept the harvesting of identifying information from their machine. This is part of an in-game advertising scheme that, so far, doesn't quite reach the level of what the Penny Arcade cartoonists prophesied, but it's getting closer.


Gaming: Bioshock Doesn’t Have a Rootkit

There’s been buzz that the new game, Bioshock, comes installed with a rootkit. It turns out that it’s rootkit free… sort of.

The point here is that people were worried that there’s inappropriate software secretly installed with the game, and that much is true, it’s just DRM, not an actual rootkit.

As Ars Technica puts it:

Systems like SecuROM attempt to defeat common modes of piracy, but are indeed loathsome to gamers, as they quite often cause problems for legitimate users who have paid full fare for their games. They also make it difficult for gamers to move game data to a hard drive for easier play and quicker access.

Sure, they are anti-consumer and they are annoying. But for now, SecuROM isn’t a rootkit.

Tags: ,

Huge Bust – Mod Chippers Go Down

This story makes me a little sad. It’s true that Mod Chips generally allow you to play downloaded and burned music, but they also allow the very important ability to play import games and backup discs. There’s no reason someone shouldn’t be able to play a backup copy and keep the real game in pristine condition and there’s no reason at all that these dummy hardware manufacturers should limit what language game we should be able to play. Why on earth would they limit their market like that. It just makes no sense to me.

Anyway, a bunch of mod chippers got raided, but it does say they were busted for primarily selling pirated games. The article makes it sound like the mod chips themselves were illegal, but they aren’t.

How to Steal Identities - Why It's So Easy
Credit Freeze
Data Defense
Credit Monitoring
Id Theft Insurance
The Identity Theft Victim's Mini-Guide to Recovery
The Geek Privacy Principle
Nothing to Hide
Data Abuse
RFID - Radio Frequency IDentification
Privacy Alias/Persona
Data Defense
Online Addiction
The Consequences of Posting Online
Photo Safety
Tricks and Scams
Account Hijacking
Trusting Companies
Bad Passwords
Password Tips and Tricks
Password Protection
Password Mugging
Computer Security
E-mail Safety
Kids and Computers
Shopping Online
All About Warranties