Best Of Blog

Friday October 30, 2015

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Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes!

Disclaimer: mouser is currently bugging me in chat to post something here and bring this game to everyone attention, and since I am the ever-benevolent me, I decided to go along with it. (That, and it is a very damn good game!) :-*

Link to game website
Link to Steam Store page

To be precise, mouser was linking me to a certain review, but personally I'd like to talk all of you into not looking at it. Instead, I'm going to describe the game in as basic a way as possible; to do anything more would simply ruin the curve where you first meet the game, then explore its intricacies and finally smash your face into the wall trying to find the right way to tackle that particular bomb.... ah fine, I digress.

This game can generally be put into the 'party game' genre: you are supposed to play it with multiple people. These people can be in the same room, although I've personally played it with other people through skype, teamspeak and/or mumble.

At that, it is an asymmetric game that only requires one person to actually own the game; this person is the one who will be interacting with the bomb, the so-called defuser. There's bonus fun to be had if there's an Oculus involved, but it plays completely fine with the mouse or gamepad. They describe the bomb, decide which modules (which are basically mini-games that have no relation to eachother) need to be tackled, and then spend all their time followin the instructions of the experts in order to not die. Easy peasy!

All other players are the so-called experts, and all they have to go on is a bomb manual as well as a pen and some paper which they will need in order to write down notes. There can be one experts, there can be five; some bombs can actually be more difficult with more people, whereas others are simply too difficult with too few people. During the game, the defuser will describe things on the bombs, and the experts will use this information to as quickly as possible figure out the instructions that the defuser needs to follow in order to disarm the bomb. This is not as easy as it sounds: many of the instructions are confusing as hell, and the nature of some games preys on misunderstandings and other communication mishaps!

This game has a very good tutorial. Actually, it does not amount to much in a practical sense, but the levels themselves gradually increase the difficulty, both by introducing you to new modules step-by-step, but also by removing the room for error as well as lowering the time limit. You essentially teach yourself how to play the game! And because the game could end up too easy (hah), the game also throws some curve balls for the defuser to work with as the difficulty increases. Think of environmental distractions as well as special bomb modules that exist for no reason other than to increase the pressure on the defuser even more.

As a whole, everyone I know really enjoys playing this game. Sure, all the experts have is a manual and pen and paper, but the fact they do not know the bigger picture and are always low on time without being able to see the clock is what gets their adrenaline pumping something fierce. As for the defuser.. suffice to say that this game (ab)uses plenty of auditory cues in ways that even an suspenseful action movie would have trouble contending with.

I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. There will definitely be some fighting and laughter as a result of people screwing up, but that is a part of the game... although the finish line and 10 seconds left on the clock can make a final trivial mistake really hard to swallow!

(P.S.: I obviously own the game. If people want to experience it as an expert, I'll gladly play with them!)

posted by worstje donate to worstje - October 30, 2015, 09:40:00 AM
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Monday October 19, 2015

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Nirsoft's Antivirus Hall of Shame

Martin over at ghacks writes today about a recent essay posted on the Nirsoft site, discussing the issue of false positives, and ranking antivirus tools.

False positives are when an antivirus tool flags a program as being a possible malware when it really isn't.   They can be a huge pain for small developers, creating unnecessary fear among users.  And some antivirus companies are outrageously irresponsible about these kinds of detections, not explaining to the user the difference between a known malware and a complete half-assed guess about something they don't understand.

We've talked a LOT about this issue on the DonationCoder forum over the last 10 years, and have been bit by these lazy antivirus coders on more than one occasion.

Anyway, the nirsoft post goes into some detail ranking antivirus tools according to their false positives.

Full Nirsoft essay:

(see also the ghacks summary:

I do think it's worth repeating what I've said many times -- I don't expect the antivirus tools to be 100% right all the time -- I understand that sometimes they want to be better safe than sorry.  But the thing is, if you want to tell a user that you have found a file that you haven no experience with, and it has some patterns that remind you of something similar you may have seen before which might be a malware, but might not, fine, i have no problem with that -- TELL THE USER WHAT YOU KNOW AND TELL THEM HOW TO GET MORE INFORMATION AND TELL THEM HOW TO LET YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE WRONG.

Just do not go throwing up a siren telling the user that malware was found in some program if you aren't damn sure it has been.

posted by mouser donate to mouser - October 19, 2015, 03:16:00 PM
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The Hostile Email Landscape

There was an interesting post on slashdot today about how we've entered an age where only the big players in email domain hosting can reliably expect their emails to be received and not discarded as untrustworthy.

While it's not *yet* impossible to just run a mail server from your local domain, it is becoming increasingly likely that if you do, some recipients will have your mail automatically filed in their spam folders or outright rejected.

To me this is just another consequence of the big players slowly exerting their dominance over the rest of us.. there is just no incentive for them not to do this, and every incentive for them to make it harder and harder for small players to coexist with them.

As we consolidate on just a few major email services, it becomes more and more difficult to launch your own mail server. From the article: "Email perfectly embodies the spirit of the internet: independent mail hosts exchanging messages, no host more or less important than any other. Joining the network is as easy as installing Sendmail and slapping on an MX record. At least, that used to be the case. If you were to launch a new mail server right now, many networks would simply refuse to speak to you. The problem: reputation. ... Earlier this year I moved my personal email from Google Apps to a self-hosted server, with hopes of launching a paid mail service à la Fastmail on the same infrastructure. ... I had no issues sending to other servers running Postfix or Exim; SpamAssassin happily gave me a 0.0 score, but most big services and corporate mail servers were rejecting my mail, or flagging it as spam: accepted my email, but discarded it. GMail flagged me as spam. MimeCast put my mail into a perpetual greylist. Corporate networks using Microsoft's Online Exchange Protection bounced my mail."


posted by mouser donate to mouser - October 19, 2015, 01:02:00 PM
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Saturday October 17, 2015

Patch your Flash! Version (October 16, 2015)

Adobe has released an update to patch a critical vulnerability, details in the link.

You can check your current version here and update if necessary.

• Online Update:
• Offline Update:

posted by lanux128 donate to lanux128 - October 17, 2015, 09:29:00 AM
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Tuesday October 13, 2015

Samorost 3 web adventure game announced

One of the very first web (flash) games mentioned on the DC forum was Samorost, a beautiful, charming, captivating, unusual, simple point-and-click adventure filled with strange alien creatures to interact with.

They've just announced Samorost 3 is coming out this year and it looks lovely:


posted by mouser donate to mouser - October 13, 2015, 10:18:00 AM
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Thursday September 24, 2015

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The business of web ads - fraudulent at its core

Long article about the business of web ads, the fraud involved, and the consequences:

“I can think of nothing that has done more harm to the Internet than ad tech,” says Bob Hoffman, a veteran ad executive, industry critic, and author of the blog the Ad Contrarian. “It interferes with everything we try to do on the Web. It has cheapened and debased advertising and spawned criminal empires... About 18 months ago, he set to figuring out how much of his inventory—ad spaces for sale—was fake. The answer mortified him: “Two-thirds was either fraud or suspicious,” he says.

posted by mouser donate to mouser - September 24, 2015, 02:44:00 PM
discovered on
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Tuesday September 22, 2015


A history of World of Warcraft’s gold economy

Interesting read... economics in MMOs is a lot more complicated than most people think...


posted by wraith808 donate to wraith808 - September 22, 2015, 03:07:00 AM
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Sunday September 20, 2015

AVG Antivirus Plans to Collect & Sell Your Personal Data to Advertisers?

Didn't check in detail myself, but came across the following:

This new policy, which will come into effect on October 15, clearly explains that AVG will be allowed to collect and sell users' "non-personal data" in order to "make money from our free offerings so we can keep them free."

Here's the list of, what AVG calls, "non-personal data" the company claims to collect from its customers and sell to interested third-parties, specifically online advertisers:

 * Browsing History,
 * Search History,
 * Meta-data,
 * Advertising ID associated with your device,
 * Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Mobile Network you use to connect to AVG products,
 * Information regarding other apps you have on your device.

Previous policies allowed the firm to only collect:

 * Data on "the words you search",
 * Information about any malware on the users' machine.

via https://thehackernew...9/avg-antivirus.html

May be someone else can confirm?

Comment from Mouser:
I am a user of AVG and if this turns out to be true I will drop it like a hot potato.

As a rule I am much less concerned about privacy and data collection than most people, and generally don't worry about anonymous statistic gathering, but what's described here is absolutely outrageous -- so far beyond the pail that it is hardly conceivable.

Can this possibly be true, that AVG is about to flush its reputation down the toilet and start a mass exodus and loss of trust that they will never be able to regain?

For a security tool to do this.. I'm just speechless..

Surely this can't be right?

Continue reading the rest of the entry and discuss..

posted by ewemoa donate to ewemoa - September 20, 2015, 10:04:00 AM
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Friday September 18, 2015

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Malware uptick using WordPress Exploit

If you run a WordPress site, make sure it's updated and secure..

From ArsTechnica today:

Attackers have hijacked thousands of websites running the WordPress content management system and are using them to infect unsuspecting visitors with potent malware exploits, researchers said Thursday.

The campaign began 15 days ago, but over the past 48 hours the number of compromised sites has spiked, from about 1,000 per day on Tuesday to close to 6,000 on Thursday,


posted by mouser donate to mouser - September 18, 2015, 08:22:00 AM
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Confessions of a free-to-play games producer

Interesting article today talking about how free-to-play games morphed from making cool things to being all about collecting data and money.

Time passed, Free to Play became a thing. I went from company to company. Each time, every new project became less and less about how we can do cool things, and more about how we can track and target users to get the most whales possible, boost chart position and retain users to shove as many ads on them as possible.

posted by mouser donate to mouser - September 18, 2015, 08:21:00 AM
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Tuesday September 15, 2015

Super-sized Newsletter for Sep 15, 2015 - Codename: Upgrading Everything

1. Newsletter Editorial

Greetings!  It's been 6 months since the last newsletter, and this edition of the newsletter isn't just super-sized -- it's the biggest newsletter we've ever put out.

I'm going to talk a little in this editorial about happenings on the website and forum.  So if that doesn't interest you, feel free to skip the remainder of the editorial and the first few sections of the newsletter and jump right to the roundup of the most interesting new posts on our forum.

In March we held a fundraiser to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the site, and raised $15,649 from 927 donors (an average donation of about $17).  For 10 years our software has remained free of adware, spyware, bundled toolbars, or other unwanted stuff -- all made possible by donations from ordinary users.  It was a rejuvenating experience to hear from so many people who have supported our site over the last decade.  

The fundraiser made it possible for us to finally spend a couple of months putting in place a major forum upgrade, which was unveiled on August 30th.  The forum upgrade brings lots of small improvements on the user interface side of things, and some major improvements in the back end that will make it easier for us to improve, maintain and secure the forum for the next ten years.

And with the successful forum upgrade behind us, we're not slowing down -- next up is a major site overhaul.  We're moving the entire website to a CMS which will allow us to more easily add more content from more users, and make it easier to keep the website content updated.  We should be ready to unveil that in November (section 2 has links with more details), so stay tuned -- your donations are hard at work.

Ok, onward to the newsletter!

-jesse (mouser)

Click here to read the full newsletter now..

posted by mouser donate to mouser - September 15, 2015, 09:51:00 AM
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Sunday September 13, 2015

What happens when a Kickstarter project fails to launch?

DC Member wraith808 writes:

I've posted a few other threads about failed kickstarters, but the articles behind those where no where as indepth as the treatment by the NY Times:

ZPM Espresso and the Rage of the Jilted Crowdfunder

One of the first quotes nails the whole thing, I think:

Kickstarter and its crowdfunding competitors have invented a new sort of economic relationship, and a corresponding frontier of Internet acrimony.

It's a very interesting read- and it's also interesting that even with the best of intent, things just fail.  How do you manage those expectations?  Especially when there's money involved from people that are not used to the market?

posted by wraith808 donate to wraith808 - September 13, 2015, 06:11:00 PM
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Monday September 07, 2015

Security: Seagate Wireless HDD Undocumented Accessible Telnet Services

Seagate wireless hard-drives provides undocumented Telnet services accessible by using the default credentials of 'root' as username and the default password.

via and http://www.theregist..._poisoned_purloined/

FWIW, other vulnerabilities surfaced too (see links).

IIUC, this type of device has been mentioned in a few threads over the years...hence the post.

posted by ewemoa donate to ewemoa - September 07, 2015, 07:36:00 PM
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