The UpStream

Facebook Status Offends Vodafone, Causes Legal Threat

posted Saturday Jun 4, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Facebook Status Offends Vodafone, Causes Legal Threat

You know that annoying guy at work who is always posting on Facebook about what a jerk his boss is? Well, we know a lot of companies have strict policies against it and some are known for firing those employees. However, most companies do not have such policies against their customers speaking ill of them. I will emphasize most because this week brings us an example of a company who apparently does have a policy against customer badmouthing.

The company is Vodafone and the story goes like this - customer gets mad at Vodafone's handling of a legitimate complaint and does what all people do when they have no other options, he posts online.

Finally got Vodafone to admit that across Mumbai they have only 50% cell sites on 3G. Spoke to CEO (chief executive officer) and CMO (chief marketing officer). Told them that this is blatant cheating.

CMO in typical babu style told me if you aren't happy with service, you have choice to move to another operator. I told I choose to stay with Vodafone and give them grief if I don't get promised SLAs. Grudgingly he made 2 months 3G plan free worth 2500.

What was their response? Hit the break to find out.

Sony Hacked Again, This Time For Movies

posted Saturday Jun 4, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Sony Hacked Again, This Time For Movies

2011 is going to be a really great year for sony. First, the PlayStation Network was hacked, then they released financials showing a huge decline and now this: Sony Pictures was hacked. This week's Sony hacking comes to us from a group called Lulz Security. The group is known for hacking into large companies' networks that should know better to demonstrate their believed superiority and to gain information.

In this case, Lulz got out with a list of about 1,000,000 users personal information, including email/password combinations. They claim that their crime was carried out with a simple SQL injection. I am hoping that Sony is smarter than to use security-free platforms for web development, but based on past evidence, I am guessing this is correct. To prove their crime, Lulz released 50,000 email/password combinations in a RAR file, as well as around 20,000 Sony music coupons, plus the admin database for Sony BMG's Belgium offices.

If this does not convince Sony that they are either an antique company that is ready to retire or that they need to start all of their endeavors over from scratch, then I don't know what will. At the very least, this should get them to reevaluate their position in the world. I can't wait to see what they say this week at E3.

Al Queda Cooks Up Non-Exploding Cupcakes

posted Saturday Jun 4, 2011 by Scott Ertz

As we have proven over the past few weeks with Sony, hacking is bad. The question is, is hacking always bad? It turns out that the answer is no; hacking is not always bad.

MI6, with help from James Bond, hacked into the computer system for the English-speaking terrorist magazine, Inspire last year with some pretty amusing results. They took files containing instructions for bomb-making and swapped them with content from the best possible source to infuriate Al Queda - the Ellen DeGeneres show.

What did they publish instead of bombs? Hit the break to find out.

Call of Duty: Wallet at War

posted Saturday Jun 4, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Call of Duty: Wallet at War

Activision is looking to do something that so far only the PC gaming industry has been successful at: that of course is subscription-based gaming. Now there are some distinct differences between their subscription-based service and that of World of Warcraft, which serves as a good basis for comparison. If that seems confusing, just ignore the fact that CoD and WoW are on different platforms.

The release of Activision's 'Call of Duty Elite' service is scheduled to launch this fall and will probably coincide with the November 8th release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 since that is the game the Elite service is going to work with. Players are already used to shelling out $60 on a new title and the concept of DLC seems to be going over well so why would Activision try to milk the franchise even more with a subscription service? The short answer is, because they are Activision. Those of you who understand what I mean will be able to stop reading here.

For those who need more on the concept, including possible price-point, hit the break.

Microsoft Lets Us Peek Through the Curtains With Windows 8

posted Saturday Jun 4, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Microsoft Lets Us Peek Through the Curtains With Windows 8

In an keynote at the D9 Conference Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky gave us a quick look through the glass of Windows 8. The user interface certainly seems to resemble Windows Phone 7 and will support touchscreen capabilities, as you would expect. A demonstration given by Sinofsky in the following video shows us that Windows 8 actually runs concurrently with Windows 7, giving you the ability to use the traditional interface and the new interface together, separately and at the same time. I could try to describe it here but Sinofsky does a way better job than I could.

I will say this, though. Even just getting this little peek is exciting but one of the things I'm most excited about comes from a development standpoint. Windows 8 is being designed for desktops, laptops and tablets alike. Imagine being able to develop an app in an awesome IDE like Visual Studio and you only have to do it once because you will know how the app will behave across all Windows devices. What a concept.

Don't take my word for it. Check out Sinofsky's demonstration below.

WOW Is More Than a Virtual Prison for Some

posted Sunday May 29, 2011 by Jon Wurm

WOW Is More Than a Virtual Prison for Some

Here is some confirmation on what WOW players have known all along. Gold farming has plagued the economies of countless servers causing inflation of goods and services as well as tempers. It's bad enough when a real player ninja loots you or steals your kill but when a gold farmer does it... that's enough to send you off the deep end. Ironically, it might be the reason they go off the deep end as well.

When most WOW players think of gold farmers, they tend to think they are paranoid shut-ins that get off on exploiting video games from their own free will and are compensated monetarily for their unjust efforts. Many Chinese gold farmers are not that lucky according to Liu Dali who used to be a prisoner at Jixi labor camp located in northeast China.

Basically, in some prisons, the guards are forcing prisoners to play MMOs like WOW to farm gold which they then sell for a profit. The way it worked at Jixi was the prisoners would work doing manual labor during the day then play these games in 12 hour shifts at night. Each prisoner had a quota and were physically beaten with plastic pipes if they failed to attain it.

If I couldn't complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things.

The guards would make around $930 USD a day and the prisoners would make $0 with potential benefits of not being beaten. Details on other benefits were not available but at least they are allowed to take breaks outside in the rock yards for some physical stimulation before going back at it. I'm not saying this is OK but I am not surprised. There seems to be a reoccurring theme of exploitation in China that leads me to believe many people there are more or less prisoners anyway. Foxconn is just one other example. I will say that I don't agree with their exploitation but a full discussion of the ethics involved goes beyond the scope of this article.

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