SPAM-Bots can decrypt Captchas… ups…

If you thought that those fancy Captchas would serve their purpose of SPAM prevention forever you might want to think again.

From Wikipedia:

“A CAPTCHA (IPA: /ˈkæptʃə/) is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine that the user is not run by a computer. The process involves one computer (a server) asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human. A common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen.”

It usually looks something like that:

Captcha

Now the news:

“Websense Security Labs ThreatSeeker™ technology has discovered that spammers in their recent tactics have drawn their attention towards traditional and infamous Hotmail, aka Live Hotmail services after the streamlined Live Mail Anti-CAPTCHA operations. Spammers have managed to create automated bots that are capable of not only signing up and creating random Hotmail accounts, but also use these accounts for spamming purposes from a proper Live Hotmail service.”

hotmailcatpcha-1.7[1]

Source 1: http://securitylabs.websense.com/content/Blogs/3063.aspx#
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAPTCHA

Count the bodies

The most (in)famous action-flick of movie history now has its third sequel, but nowhere a company producing a proper first-person shooter? It’s kind of strange that nobody seems to be interested in picking up a worldwide-known character.

rambo4 

Is it too much guilty pleasure? Too much far-right, political incorrect or just old-fashioned? Maybe it’s the lack of box-office in the US. Or simply no licence is available.

Anyway, back in the Reagan-era these concerns didn’t exist.

rambo_title

rambo_ingame

The 1985-game with a well-known score by Martin Galway was a huge bestseller.

Jens Heymann

real great and smooth Today Screen replacement for Windows Mobile

Just minutes ago I was pointed to an application that replaces the Windows Mobile today screen (and many other features) and comes along with all sorts of next-gen Touch Controls:

pointui

“After grinding our teeth with enterprise mobile systems, we came to the conclusion that end users need applications that focus on usability, performance and consistency.

Pointui (pronounced point-you-i) has been built from the ground up and sets the benchmark in pioneering the delivery of total user experience, never before achieved on a Windows Mobile device.

Our main focus is structured around simplicity and usability while extracting the most out of your current Windows Mobile device. All products we develop forge stability and dependability while maximising performance.”

 

The thing is – these guys deliver on their promise:

 

 

If you’re a Windows Mobile user, go and try this piece of software – it’s free and small.

Source: http://www.pointui.com

the end of planet earth is near…or something

Oh well, there’s this “Current Map of The Solar System” by the Armagh Observatory:

“The image below is an up to date map of the solar system displaying the orbits of the terrestrial planets and the estimated position of thousands of known asteroids. This diagram is missing comets, space probes and, of course, the undiscovered asteroids. Even conservative estimates would suggest that for every asteroid on a dangerous Earth-Approaching orbit there are hundreds more which have yet to be discovered. There are over 300 known objects on Earth-crossing orbits, the majority of which are potentially capable of causing death and destruction on a scale unheard of in human history.”

neostorm

To make this clear: red and yellow = (possibly) EVIL! ZOMG!

“Small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. This does not exclude the possibility that they will do so in the future but generally we can consider the Earth to be safe from these for the near future. Yellow objects (with the exception of the one in the middle which we astronomers call the Sun ;-) are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors after the first one discovered. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth but they don’t cross the Earth’s orbit. However, their orbits are close enough to the Earth that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets and begin to cross the Earth’s orbit in a short time. There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.

Finally the red boxes mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These cross the Earth’s orbit and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat for the near future.”

Source: http://szyzyg.arm.ac.uk/~spm/neo_map.html

The road to the Oscars…

seems to have a nice blot somewhere this year. They really nominated “Norbit”. It’s only one nom and in a lower category, but with such decisions the Academy does itself no service.

norbit1_large

At least the counter award – the Razzie – is on track as every year. This time they cracked down on the it-girls. Lindsey Lohan (of course), Jessica Alba (earned) and Jessica Biel (assumed) all got their nominations. Personally I would have added Megan Fox and some others, too.

Jens Heymann

Assassin’s Creed: The unofficial Al-Qaeda game

It has been the most awaited game of the year – Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed”. The official plot deals about a member of the legendary assassins, an organization of … eh, yeah… assassins. Your mission as player is to kill nine different persons because they destabilize the peace of the hole Middle East with their actions. So far, so political correct.

256px-Assassin's_Creed

I say this is bullshit.

The historical assassins had been a bunch of fanatical and ideological blinded killers who dreamt of establishing a strict theocracy (think of Iran). This sounds very familiar with what islamic terrorists are doing these days, doesn’t it?

Just imagine a few changes:

– change of time: not the Middle Ages, but the present

– change of scenery: not Akkon or Jerusalem, but Bagdad or New York

– change of armament: not the dagger and poison, but AK-47 and explosive belts

– change of mission: not a hidden single killing, but casualties as many as possible

The rest remains the same.

What about escaping after the kill? Not historical. Assassins didn’t run away – they accepted their death and now you know where the modern suicide assassin is descendent from.

This is of course only a game, but with an interesting setup.

Jens Heymann

Formula One Update

f1

I just read that Ralf Schumacher will pause in 2008. But frankly, it’s not that surprising despite numerous “I will drive next year”-phrases. I always knew (and the rest of the world) that it wouldn’t happen because winning the title “best way to burn money in motor sport 05, 06 & 07” isn’t the best way to bring yourself to market.

But rather lie than admit the failure…

(My fearless prediction: There will never be again a Schumacher driving in the F1.)

Jens Heymann

it’s Talk like a Pirate Day, arrr!

“Once upon a time — on June 6, 1995, to be precise — we were playing racquetball, not well but gamely. It wasn’t our intention to become “the pirate guys.” Truth to tell, it wasn’t really our intention to become anything, except perhaps a tad thinner and healthier, and if you could see our photos, you’d know how THAT turned out. As we flailed away, we called out friendly encouragement to each other -“Damn, you bastard!” and “Oh, jeez, my hamstring!” for instance – as shots caromed away, unimpeded by our wildly swung rackets.

On this day, for reasons we still don’t quite understand, we started giving our encouragement in pirate slang. Mark suspects one of us might have been reaching for a low shot that, by pure chance, might have come off the wall at an unusually high rate of speed, and strained something best left unstrained. “Arrr!,” he might have said.

Who knows? It might have happened exactly that way.

Anyway, whoever let out the first “Arrr!” started something. One thing led to another. “That be a fine cannonade,” one said, to be followed by “Now watch as I fire a broadside straight into your yardarm!” and other such helpful phrases.

By the time our hour on the court was over, we realized that lapsing into pirate lingo had made the game more fun and the time pass more quickly. We decided then and there that what the world really needed was a new national holiday, Talk Like A Pirate Day. “

Source: http://www.talklikeapirate.com/about.html

today (at least) one 360 died

There was this update. My 360 died right after it. Well: Coincidence?

IMG_7842

The support / repair experience is quite good so far – besides the fact that I have to get a coffin by myself and that they won’t add the lost Xbox Live Subscription Time to my account….

Now this is my second 360 that craps out. If you want to know what happened in 2006 to my first 360 go here.

Source: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,944f2bb2-696b-48fb-b06a-d8734f5a6f44.aspx

Skype scares me…right now.

I had a Skype call today with a colleague and we came across the remaining 1,40 Euros on his SkypeOut balance… As many of you will know this SkypeOut balance is limited to 180 days. So when you’re not using it for 180 days it’ll be deactivated. We didn’t know this at that very moment we just talked about it what would happen.

And minutes later this happens:

I did not do anything with skype. I did not search on skype.com nor did I do anything else except talking about the subject with my colleague over skype. And there it is: The information we just talked about… you have to do a call once every 180 days to keep your SkypeOut activated…

Am I a bit to paranoid on that matter? It just matches a bit too well … and that would explain why Skype is using that much CPU cycles while calls are made…

what would you do with a brand new CISCO 6509 ? Right. Have a tea break on it.

Oh well. Just after the 43 thousand Euro pile-of-metal arrived some of our office-technicians just thought: It’s tea time, we got a new toy, would that blend?

So they got the tea set and the digital camera out:

We don’t just think of our new hardware as the core equipment of a enormous network. We think of it… well… in a different way.

Source: http://www.fem.tu-ilmenau.de

Ze Germans are on the road….

…on their journey to Mongolia…

“Ze Germans …are coming! We’re taking on the Mongol Rally 2007. 13.000 kilometers, 5 mountain ranges, 2 deserts, some of the worst roads in the world and all this in car most people wouldn’t trust to get them to the local shops.”

And as of today they are on the road doing the rally:

“If you read this after about 8am, then we are on the road and on our way to London. Thanks to Mirko, all our SMS Updates will also be posted here, so stay tuned! And for God’s sake, wish us luck!”

Source 1: http://www.mongolrally.de/
Source 2: http://mongolrally.theadventurists.com/

If you have dropped connections in Vista…

… you’ll probably can solve this problem by activating your integrated Firewall.

It seems that Vista just like Windows XP SP2 enforces the same stupid so called “worm restricting measure”. To make it short: If you disabled the integrated Windows Vista Firewall you’ll have a connection limit. And you probably will run into this limit resulting in strange network behaviours, dropping VPN connections and so on.

Beside activating the integrated Windows Firewall you can disable the TCP/IP “Autotuning” feature:

Click on the Start menu and type cmd in the search box. Type CTR+SHIFT+ENTER to tell the command prompt to open with elevated privileges.
In the command prompt window, type netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disable and hit Enter
After getting the OK returned in the command prompt window, restart to activate the change.

Way to go when it comes to networking :-/

Happy Birthday FeM!

FeM e.V. – which translates into “Forschungsgemeinschaft elektronische Medien e.V.” which then translates into “research community for electronic media” – is now officially 10 years old. Happy Birthday!

And to celebrate this birthday there will be some great events:

25.04., 2100h: iSTUFF – FeM Geburtstagssendung (Public Viewing im BC-Club – entrance free!!!)

26.04., 2100h: hfc Sondervorführung – “12 Monkeys” (Helmholtz-Hörsaal – entrance free!!!)

28.04., entrance 1930h – starts 2000h: Spezial Chillout Lounge (Mensa der TU Ilmenau – entrance free!!!)

Source: FeM e.V. blog

in game advertising

Hmm… Once upon a time there was a guy with an idea. The idea simply breaks down to this:

“Sell full price games to people and get an extra revenue out of in-game advertising.”

So here we are: I just found pacific city in crackdown literally plastered with Dodge advertising. Once day it was Dell… if you’re playing in the UK you’ll probably get army ads… how sick is that.

The first game that got this kind of in-game advertising was Testdrive Unlimited. The advertising was only available in the US of A and when you bought the game there it wasn’t full-price but $20 less than a full price title – because of that in-game ads. As an european player you didn’t see any ads and you had to pay the full price.

To be clear: I don’t think in-game advertising sucks. I just think that if you’re gaining revenue from in-game advertising you should share it with the players who actually bought the game. (e.g. lower the game price).

In the case of crackdown there’s no lower price. And that sucks.

Attention: no VLAN settings with Intel Network Interface Cards

When you’re using Windows Server 2003 R2 64bit Edition with SP2/IE7 you will most likely not be able to access the advanced settings of an Intel Network Interface card (Teaming, VLAN settings). Instead you get the simple dialog:

Damn it. I don’t have a solution for this right now and it does corrupt my plan using one of the servers for VLAN games….

Anyone reading this got a solution how to get the VLAN settings tabs back?

getting "Crackdown" early…

I just realised that I got my copy of Crackdown more than 5 days earlier than I was supposed to be. Crackdown is available in stores starting Feb. 20. Oh and it’s a great great game. GTA is nothing compared to this one…

Those who are also getting crackdown may want to consider visiting http://crackdown.wikispaces.com/. You can find some great maps there that come in handy when you’re on the orb hunt.

And for those who want to try co-op: add me to your friendslist (gamertag is “bietiekay”) and we’ll do a co-op mission or two.

dual-head notebook…oh yeah

I think the dream of a friend of mine just materialised itself in front of us: the dual-screen portable computer:

“Estari’s 2-VU™ dual-screen computers are two touch screen, full-page, full-color, multimedia electronic computing devices. The 2-VU™ uses dual-screen technology specified in the U.S. patent awarded in 1998. The 2-VU™ operates using the Microsoft Windows® XP Professional operating system and has the capability to attach an external keyboard and mouse with integrated USB ports or through the use of wireless devices. Estari’s new 2-VU™ is easy to use and does not require users to learn different operating systems or software applications.”

Be ready to put down $ 4350 for it. Ouch.

Source: http://www.estari.com/proplus1520m.cfm

WPF/E on a Mac

Oh that’s interesting. WPF/E is running on a Mac which leads to the new platform independent approach for Microsofts Windows Presentation Foundation technology…booyah!

You want to take a look on WPF/E by yourself? Well, go ahead.

Source 1: http://blogs.msdn.com/webnext/archive/2006/12/05/i-m-a-mac-and-i-run-wpf-e.aspx
Source 2: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=A3E29817-F841-46FC-A1D2-CEDC1ED5C948&displaylang=en