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User Journal

Journal Journal: Second Life Trolling/Hacking Article

Things are going nuts in Second Life. This is a game where people can own land, do adult things and create objects for sale. The game currency is freely convertible into real money, so people develop land, charge admission fees for clubs and so on -- this is a real economy.

A group of technically sophisticated trolls, the W-Hats, from Something Awful unleased a doomsday device (a few times) on the virtual world, ruining the experience for everyone. It was essentially a fork-bomb, which overwhelmed the servers of the game, Now the proprietors of the game are talking "FBI". This is covered here.

A previous hack, by the same folks, involved hacking a client so that they could violate the protection scheme of the game, stealing the source code of valuable in-game objects/businesses.

The interesting thing about the responsible trolls is that they've combined technical skills with anti-social behavior multiple times -- the doomsday device is just their latest. Previous "offenses" have included: Building offensive structures[NSFW!!], extorting money from neighbors, or mocking the 9/11 attack on the WTC.

So this is a virtual world where trolling and hacking have financial consequences -- not just for the proprietor of the world, but the players, whose "virtual property" can lose or gain value based on the actions of trolls.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Just submitted.

The RIAA has finally decided to bust folks selling mixtapes -- starting with Kim's of New York. As with the BSAA enforcement, RIAA thugs accompanied the cops and generally acted like asses. They had a pizza party in the store to celebrate their triumph. Mixtapes are illegal; Copyright holders don't get paid. Still, they've been tolerated by record labels as the best viral marketing method -- musicians routinely release them to test new music. They are not bootlegs in the traditional sense. E.g. 50 cent had five hit mixtapes before he got signed for big bucks; he released them to promote himself after his label dropped him. They are even sold online, openly and increasingly in stores like the one that got raided -- one that any New Yorker has heard of. Here's a decent roundup. Village Voice on the subject, and more from The Voice. Here's a more tinfoil hat crowd article.

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Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing