Category Archives: Uncategorized

The wakeup call

The wakeup call I received this morning was pleasant:
“Hello, this is an important call from the account security group at American Express.”

According to the fraud prevention specialist I talked to, my Electronic Arts account got owned. Someone in Russia wanted to play a little Farcry 4 on my dime, but the transaction was declined because, well, I don’t live in Russia. Further investigation revealed the account had been owned since September 2014, and was being used as some kind of game laundering hub. As far as I can figure, the idea would be to purchase a game under my account, then sell the CD key on Ebay to the highest bidder.

If I were a sneaky Russian hacker guy, that’s probably what I’d do. Take down society one game at a time. Yeah! Ok.

The hacker purchased a slew of non-DRM games, however. What was the point of that exactly?

Now that I have changed the password and enabled two-factor authentication on my account, I am now the owner of games like “Bejeweled 3”, “Crusader: No Remorse” and “Sim City 2000”. Furthermore, after reviewing the transaction history for the past four months these games didn’t cost anything. With the exception of Farcry 4 ($59.99) the purchases totaled a whopping 0.00 ruble. 1337r than the average bear? Guess so.

Anyhow, thank you, Mr./Ms./Mrs. Russian hacker person for all the free stuff. May all of your roads in life be paved with sausages.

A New Toy

After seven months of deliberating with myself, I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and purchase a 15in MacBook Pro. Now that my wallet has a grand-canyon-sized hole burned through it, I feel more nervous than excited about this. Usually when I buy computer hardware I try to keep the spending to a minimum (between $1200 to $1500), and to make matters worse, never before has it been an Apple product.

I will give it credit, however. This computer is far superior (many orders of magnitude faster) to my previous laptop; a 2011 Samsung Chronos Series 7 that I bought open-box from Best Buy in November of 2012. Don’t get me wrong, the old work horse (a piece of junk by today’s standards) fulfilled its purpose as a gaming and programming platform for several years without any major issues to speak of. I suppose it was simply time for a change.

So here I am, writing a post from my $15 worth of “Byword”, sipping my black coffee at my desk. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the need to purchase everything I think might be useful. The OSX open source community feels very capitalist to me. Often I see GPL’d software re-branded and sold for $2 or $3 on the App Store. While this isn’t wrong to do, because the licenses are definitely included, what’s the point of charging a “nominal fee”? Are we to give thanks to the person that wrote a Cocoa interface port? In some cases that’s the only difference in the software. Oh well.

On the other side of the spectrum, for proprietary software releases, the free trials appear to be in the two week range rather than one month. It’s a different community, I know, I know. Quality over quantity, yadda yadda. Not the point. I’m not sure how well this will mesh with me, because I’d still prefer to spend $0 to edit a plain-text file and upload it to a website via XMLRPC, if you know what I’m saying.

All of my little philosophical ranting and requirements aside, though, I’m kind of enjoying this. Sadly I will miss is my standard point-and-click-to-buy games that “just work” on my platform of choice. While Steam provides quite a few of my games (>60) for OSX, there are still several that aren’t (and never will be) available. The retina display and Windows 8.1 did not get along as well as I had hoped, either. Unfortunately that’s about four hours of my life I will never get back. In an effort to scratch the itch BootCamp didn’t reach, I installed Parallels, but to put it quite frankly it sucked. No matter how I tweaked it, the settings both in-game and in-VM, the applications ran relatively the same – like shit.

There are still plenty of idiosyncrasies I need to get used to. The biggest one so far is not having a keyboard shortcut to enable or disable my trackpack. Oh, but there is one available for toggling the use of an external keyboard. Why not have both options, Apple? What the hell? If low profile logitech USB dongle is connected, even if the physical mouse is powered off, the trackpad is still disabled, so the only option is to remove the dongle to regain control.

Yes, perhaps this can be my first OSX programming venture: Writing a keyboard shortcut toggler for trackpad.