It’s a fact of life: Pirates be pirating. As a defence against having their intellectual properties swiped, cracked and traded online like so many baseball cards, a lot of companies have turned to Digital Right Management; a move that seldom does more than temporarily slow pirates and enrage paying customers. Fortunately, there’s a growing number of non-DRM related options out there for developers and software vendors to explore that’ll stymy piracy while respect the rights of their paying users. Read on for more!
While PC gaming might be your first love, we know that at one point or another, you’ve been tempted by the offerings of a console gaming system. Unfortunately, cheating on your PC with a console can get expensive. To save a bit of coin, you can buy used games, hook up with a subscription-based service like GameFly, or you can join a community-driven service like GameHuddle where every member has the opportunity to play each others games and make a bit of coin in the process. It’s such a great idea that it qualifies GameHuddle as our Cool Site of the Week.
It’s not very often that one sees one’s life posted on one of the larger news/technology aggregates/communities/linkdumps on the web. But there I sat the other day, idly browsing the web the other day, when up came a chat window from Future US co-star Andy Salisbury. Andy, as it turns out, had stumbled across a rather interesting picture in Reddit’s submission queue and was curious to know if I had any further details to share.
I clicked the link without really thinking much about what could lie beneath. And you can thus imagine my surprise in discovering that I was basically staring at the back of my car. Yes, my car. Somebody had taken a picture of my (extremely clever and/or witty) license plate and uploaded it for the world to see. The votes on Reddit were slowly a-climbing and, based on a quick scan of the third-party that was actually hosting the image in question, roughly 10,000 people or so had already checked out my car’s butt.
A recent survey hit my radar this weekend and, I must say, I’m not that surprised by the results. Contrary to my usual columns, I won’t bury the lede: Accenture polled 300 large organizations in both the public and private sectors and—surprise!—found that half of them are “fully committed” to using open-source software in their businesses.
To be honest, I expected results more in line from the Zenoss survey I ran across this weekend, which notes that 98 percent of all enterprise companies use open-source software in some capacity. But I’ll leave that difference up to nomenclature / polling differences. The real juice of Accenture’s story is buried in a single, meager sentence somewhere toward the bottom of the press release: less that 29 percent of surveyed companies intend to shovel their open-source contributions/modifications/development back into the community.
Why bookmark when you can Huff-duff? Excellent point. Now, what the heck is a Huff-duff? Actually, "huffduffer" is both a verb and a Web service, a word that's derived from a technology you can use to triangulate the location of radio transmissions from any given point. Huffduffer, the offshoot of "huff-duff," allows you to perform a similar-but-not-really kind of triangulation for online audio files.
Rather than helping you search for new music, podcasts, or sounds, Huffduffer is instead a platform that allows you to add these sounds into an ever-growing list that--surprise--is actually a podcast of its very own. That's a super-long way to describe what Huffduffer does, but I'm a bit apprehensive to suggest that the Web app allows you to build your own podcasts. It does, technically, but it's not as if you suddenly have a centralized service for recording, editing, tagging, and launching a radio show of your very own.
No, Huffduffer merely aggregates files you've already found on the Web into a podcast of your very own. But that's a useful feature for a number of reasons.
Life, it seems, is never fair for any developer. Just ask the gurus behind Valve's Steam service. For the past many years, Steam has existed as the dominant digital-download platform of choice for gamers worldwide. While a few improvements have been built into the actual application one uses to access the Steam service, the program in question has remained relatively unchanged in its design for a good chunk of its recent existence. Which, in itself, is a polite way to say that it's been ages since an actual upgrade brought a new look, feel, and functionality to the Steam client.
As I think of the many different "platforms" on the Internet, I'm reminded of just how closed-off the Steam application is for conventional tweaking. Some of this is mandatory--there's only so much Valve wants you to be able to access for fear of somehow disrupting Steam's security techniques and gaining access to the vault of unlocked, free-to-download titles. Take a moment to wipe the drool off your keyboard; I'll wait.
What's stopping Valve from incorporating other open architectures into its service, however? What about Web-wide login protocols? Authentication for third-party services that could offer spin-offs of Steam's built-in stats-tracking? Heck, what about some customized user interface support?
Some might say Steam is too big to be able to successfully navigate open-source and open frameworks. To that, I say hogwash: If Facebook can do it, so can Valve!
In this week's security-themed freeware roundup, I called out Mozilla Firefox for not being that secure of a web browser as compared to the virtualization-friendly Google Chrome. And that's still true. Unpleasant web sites can inject and exploit all sorts of nastiness in Firefox--not as badly as, say, the security lapses of Internet Explorer, but Firefox still contains the potential to open a door to your system's innermost workings. If this happens because of some hosted exploit or less-than-friendly extension you've downloaded, you're in for a world of hurt. Google Chrome, on the other hand, requires a separate exploit to somehow break its virtualization in tandem with malware that attacks the browser as a whole. The latter is doable, but the former is much more difficult to accomplish via web-based tricks.
So how, then, do you make for the most secure browsing experience possible if you're a die-hard Firefox user? Three words: web of Trust. This popular Firefox add-on uses the power of a five-million-user community, as well as a host of recommendations by site listings and phishing alerts, to rate the security of the web sites you want to visit. If you're about to step into a trap, you get a big, fancy alert window telling you that the site you're about to click on might not be the best choice from a security standpoint. In short, this is one of the most preventative techniques you can use to protect yourself against unknown web threats!
If war movies, zombies hordes, or stormtroopers have taught us anything, it's that there's power to be had in numbers--well, maybe not the stormtroopers. Regardless, a number of Web apps take advantage of this philosophy to offer increased functionality, awesome services, or cheap deals for those who are part of a herd. Kickstarter, for example, allows groups of people to team up and pledge funding for a number of independent projects. If a project meets its funding goal, then everyone who pledge an amount has to pay. If not, nobody pays a dime.
But you don't want to pay money. No, you want to save money. Have no fear--there's a Web app that takes this altruistic function and spins it on its head. Instead of pledging to donate, you're pledging to buy at group-discount prices!
It's so hip and fresh. Open-source singlehandedly represents the latest and greatest thinking in the modern-day technological movement. Drop it into a conversation and you're suddenly talking like a futurist. Throw it into a company's strategic roadmap and suddenly we've created innovation and depth. Suggest that virus-makers are embracing open-source, and you've got the attention (and clicks) of Web geeks worldwide.
Wait a minute. Open-source viruses? How does that work?
Founded by Mary Lou Song and Alex Kazim, erstwhile eBay employees, Tokoni has financial backing from eBay. The press release announcing the official launch seems to suggest that sharing stories through Tokoni would be far easier for the mainstream users compared to other platforms on the social web.