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TRUE NAMES

True Names was a very good short story and I enjoyed it very much. I appreciate the twist although there was plenty of evidence for one to make that conclusion on their own. To tell the truth, my biggest question was what Ery was going to look like in person, although of course that is quite irrelevant. There were several things that caught my attention and interested me deeply.

First, I think that it is a very slippery slope for the author to be talking about the fact that a computer can pass the Turing test. Although the author goes to great lengths to explain the fact that the program can learn and grow and has much of the same "thinking" mechanisms as people, I do not buy it. I do not buy it because at the bottom of it all, a person is not just a series of yes and no commands. I say this because in a human, or any other creature, there is so much chemical activity that we know so little about that it is impossible for a computer to replicate a humans harebrained thoughts. Humans do not always give a reasonable or thoughtful response. For people, there are times when things are not clear cut. Because of this people sometimes "go with their gut" which basically means make whatever choice feels right for whatever reason. For a computer, this can never be the case because when it comes down to 1 or 0 there is always an answer. Everything is black and white for a computer so I believe that it is impossible to duplicate a human until we know far more about the chemical reactions that take place to make us feel EMOTION.

Secondly, I think it was very interesting that throughout the story, the Fed's (and even the hackers themselves) referred to the Warlocks or hackers as VANDALS. This interested me because it is clear that these "vandals" are much the same as modern day hackers. They differ in that there are lots of little financial vandalism that occurs due to these hackers however they are never really counted on or appreciated until nearly the end of the story (and then only by one person, Virginia). Even when Ery and Mr. Slippery give up their power, it still took a speech by Pollack to convince Virginia that he really was a good guy, he had given up unstoppable power. Authority in this story, shown through Virginia, exemplifies the authority that hackers have feared and known.

The authority figures in the story are very predictable in that they have a terribly closed mind. Only very few people, the "radical" defense designers in the military, are open to finding out what works in this pseudo-Second Life and trying to incorporate that into their own creations. For the most part, the authority figures feel that they are unstoppable because they do not believe in anything more powerful than themselves. This is much the same way that hackers think of authority. Also, there is an inherent fear in authority as is proved by the name that the vandals call them, "the Great Enemy." Again, those in charge do not have the same kind of power of those they are monitoring so they must try to limit those who are more powerful than themselves rather than try to learn. Virginia does hang around with Mr. Slippery a little bit and shows some signs of interest into becoming more powerful and learning from the Warlocks although mostly the authority figures are just annoying as they try to harness power that is far out of their range.

As a side note, I find striking resemblances between Kevin Mitnick and Roger Pollack because in both cases not only are both caught and forced to work for the government, there is a certain fear every time either one of those people gets onto a computer. Their skill is not to be trifled with and the government fears them as much as anything.

My 2nd life invention.

I have messed around with the building tools in 2nd life and although they are slightly difficult to use they are not that bad. I made a glowing dance floor by first making a rectangle and making it very large. Then I sunk it into the ground until it was just visible above the ground. I played around with it a few times (throwing it around, teetering on top of Evan's avatar) but still it looks really cool and you can also use it for a long jump if you get bored of dancing on it. As a side note, I would love to know how to make it an option that you can click on my dance floor and press "dance." That is the only bug in my incredible creation at this time.

Brick Breaker

Brick Breaker made on the very glitchy, somewhat crude program, Scratch.

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/surfer_chick/479645

Scratch Project

My goal is to create a Scratch break the blocks game. The idea is to have a paddle at the bottom of the screen, have a ball bounce off of it and break bricks. If the ball passes the paddle and exits the bottom of the screen its a life lost. If the ball hits the walls it will bounce. I need to learn how to have the ball bounce at a consistent angle off of the blocks.

Scratch Gallery

I looked around on the Scratch Gallery and mostly focused on finding games, especially rpg games because those are the ones that have the most stuff going on. Also, RPG's are interactive so this was essential in creating my own project. I have learned how to make things interact with each other which is useful. However, in many RPG's on the gallery site, there was so much stuff going on that I do not know how they could have done it all. There must be so many little things going on all the time for every click and every action. My only other problem has been to try to make two sprites touch each other and both react, I have had some success in this but not too much. It has happened only sporadically as I wanted it to.

Scratch is useful to make very simple programs and games. I am very curious however, as to how to make some of the finer details. For example, I played one game where your character could jump. I tried to recreate this however it became very difficult for my sprite to always fall back down on the same curve, I kept having to use the glide option and this always had my sprite going back to the same spot rather than always falling on a gentle curve. I want to learn how to do that.

One other thing I really want to do is to perhaps create a background. In most of the scratch projects there is a background which does not ever come up in layers. The broadcast and response to the broadcast also puzzles me a little bit but I am interested in trying to learn more about that particular feature and to use it in whatever game or puzzle or project that I am attempting to make.


http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/DougWiiBoy/350470

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/Macca/5084

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/Macca/5084

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/Macca/5084

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/i_am_longcat/470824

PMOG / The Nethernet

PMOG is a great idea in that it really can be passive. Most of the students in this class have managed to use PMOG passively for almost a semester. Although some people do not like the fact that there are certain tools that can not be used until a certain level has been achieved, I agree with this aspect of the game. Most people who get to be high level avatars do so and achieve an idea of how the game works. It is for these "players" that the higher level tools are used for. The players that just want to "play" generally die out before they get to a level in which they can use Puzzle Boxes, for example. Thus, you can be fairly confident that someone who has left a Puzzle Box is not someone who is just messing around, instead they are attempting to use PMOG as a network of information.

I believe PMOG could use more tools that do more things. In essence, create a wider variety of thing that a player can do. There is very little that you can really DO in PMOG in the sense that you can only either plant a mine or give people data points. Ping does not really have any effect on the game either. Also, for people like me who care greatly about rankings, there are no real benefits for ranking up highly after you can use all the tools. So, while PMOG is nice to always have in the background for academic or personal uses, as a game it fails.

Although PMOG as a game fails, it is still very useful. Whenever you travel to a site, there is a good chance that there will be a mission or a portal there to take you to a very similar site. Although this is more a credit to the players of PMOG, still the capabilities to perform this lies in the hands of the makers. The amazing thing about PMOG is the simplicity of it. There is so much that you could add to little notes like pictures, music, videos, etc. however in PMOG it simply takes you to another website to prove your point. PMOG exploits the enormity of the web, no one can really surf the web faster than having PMOG which gives the user similar sites to the one they are interested in.
Ryan Beall
First Year Seminar 1300 – 11
Professor Delwiche
March 6, 2009
The Voyager

This paper contains information on how to hack the Verizon Wireless *Voyager.* Some of these hacks are legal and I suggest that those be looked into by the readers. Some of these hacks are illegal as they violate the Terms of Service. I do not advocate these hacks I am merely duplicating other peoples finds in the hope that the spread of information is more important than anything else. I have not done any of these illegal hacks and I do not plan on doing them. Perform them at your own risk as I do not know what the consequences may be.

Hacking technology is often looked at as illegal and harmful to others. Or, in some cases, it is looked at as getting an unfair advantage or getting a free service from a supplier. However, there are certain “hacks” and other technological advancements that one can achieve by simply spending a little time to look into such things. In fact, one might even find that there really are many legal and useful things one can do to their technology. The most prominent of today’s technology is cell phones. This will teach you how to hack your Verizon Wireless *Voyager* to improve performance as well as to get cool features.

The first “hack” that one can achieve is as follows:

“Disable EVDO (This can help with battery life if your phone constantly switches between 1x and EVDO because you are on the "edge of coverage" BUT you can't use vCast, and your Get-it-Now, MMS Messaging, WAP, and other data services will be slower)

Open the phone open. Using the QWERTY keypad, dial ##PROGRAM10000 and then press Send. Then enter 000000.
NOTE: use SYM before hitting #... so... Sym 3 Sym 3 p r o g r a m 1 0 0 0 0 send

Access the service menu, then go Network Select -> Mode Preference -> 1X Only. (Default is Digital Only Hybrid)”
(2008).

I have done this with my *Voyager* and it has had an improved battery life and slightly faster performance especially in text messages. However, improved battery life is the simplest and perhaps least glamorous hack that one can achieve with their Voyager. However, it is a useful starting hack because it presents the “special service” menu that allows for many things to be changed. This menu is perfectly legal to go to and is also quite easy once it becomes apparent how to do it. There is much more that one can accomplish with the Voyager.
This next hack violates the user agreement and is illegal. I have not done this nor will I. I suggest that no one else does this either. However, for the sake of information, this is how to get free browsing and internet on your Voyager. Usually, this costs $1.99 for each MB:

Free Wireless Browsing
First off, go to the service menu described above. Then, go Data -> MIP Setting - > NAI Setting -> MIP DUN NAI -> and change it to phonenumber@vzw3g.com (just get rid of the ‘dun.’)
(2008).

This will give free web browsing as it tethers your phone to a modem, hence foregoing the wireless fees. The ‘dun’ connects the phone to Verizon’s personal web browser and thus Verizon is able to charge you. With the ‘dun’ gone, Verizon is tricked into thinking that one is browsing from their computer which is of course unable to be billed.

Now, there are lots of hacks with the Voyager that require “bitpim” a program that allows for a lot of fooling around in the Voyager code. I have not included and will not include any of these hacks because I am more interested in the simple hacks that can be completed without any additional tools other than knowledge and a willingness to learn. On another note, there are several “hacks” to receive free ringtones to your phone, however a far easier way to do this is to go to www.phonezoo.com and follow the instructions. This site sends ringtones to the Voyager and they work perfectly, and it’s free also.
Continuing on the music note, there is an easy way to get music onto your Voyager. If you have a removable card for your phone this becomes quite simple. Even still, it is easy to do regardless.
iTunes Music on Voyager
First, plug in the Voyager to the computer. Second, simply drag the music you want into the Voyager music screen and into the folder labeled “My Library.” Finally, safely remove your phone and all the music will download and be ready for action in a matter of minutes (2008).
Note: This may take a very long time with lots of music, do not attempt to transfer your entire library all at once.

Not only does this memory card for the Voyager enable music to be added to the phone, it also allows for much more. With this card, the user can put on videos in this fashion:

Videos and Movies
First, download a software converter so that all movies can be changed into a .3gp format. Choose the video you want to convert from your computer’s library and feed it into the converter program. Once it is converted, hold and drag the video into your card’s ‘My Video’ folder. On your phone, go to Settings and Tools  Tools  USB Mass Storage  OK (2008).

This will connect the phone to the computer and then it is a simple task of dragging the converted video from your computer into the disk’s folder. Now movies can be played on the Voyager, again, for free.
Using the card and this video converter, YouTube videos can be uploaded to the Voyager as well.
YouTube videos
Go to the website www.anyvideoconverter.com/products/for_video_free and download that video converter. Click the YouTube button and type in the video’s URL. Make sure the videos are checked and click “Encode.” Plug your phone in and go to Settings and Tools  Tools… etc as shown above. Right click one of the videos in the Mobile Phone MP4 category and click open file location. Open the folder “My Flix.” Drag the videos from the converter into the “My Flix” folder. Disconnect the phone and the videos are uploaded to the phone (2008).

The last hack that can be done to the Voyager at relatively low knowledge and time required is how to add ‘flash games’ to the Voyager. ‘Flash games’ is a generic word for any online game that requires ‘Flash’ to operate (this includes almost every game). With flash games on the Voyager, one can play games easily and free. Here is how it is accomplished.
Note: This hack requires ‘bitpim,’ however it requires only a cursory knowledge of the program and thus falls under the category of easy to use. To download ‘bitpim’ a simple Google search should suffice.

Flash Games

First, go to a site containing a link to flash games. Once at this site, do not left click on the flash game as that will simply open the game in the browser. Instead, right click and then select the command “Save Link As.” Save it to your desktop for simplicity. Start up ‘bitpim’ and scan for the phone. Below is the tool bar in ‘bitpim’ and the arrow shows where to click to scan.





You should get a message and click OK. Go to ‘Change Settings.’ Since the Voyager is rather new, ‘bitpim’ will not have a setting specifically designed for it. Instead, select the option for ‘LG VX 8700.’ Go to ‘File System’ and click on the file that shows up. This will take a while, not too long, but be patient. After it retrieves the files, go to ‘Flash’ and select it. The only folder in ‘Flash’ is ‘UI’ so select this. There are then 5 files. Click on ‘tools.’ Get rid of ‘Easy Tip’ and ‘World Clock’ to open up room. Making backups of these applications would be a good idea. Delete them after you have made backups. Rename your flash game as ‘Easy Tip.’ Make sure they are identical so you can fool the phone into thinking the game is ‘Easy Tip’ or ‘World Clock.’ Then, drag the file into the window where ‘Easy Tip’ was. It will say access denied. Try it again and it will work. NOTE: The name must be identical to the ‘Easy Tip’ that was in the phone before it was deleted.
Now you will need to drag over ‘Easy Tip sub’ to make the Flash Game work. After this has been completed, simply unplug your phone and go Settings and Tools  Tools  EZ Tip Calc. Instead of a boring application, your flash game is right there! Enjoy
(2007).
This wraps up the information about the Voyager and the cool things you can do to it. Again, do any of these hacks with the thought in mind that it could end up very badly! Apart from the first hack, there are lots of ways you can mess up your phone so be careful.

References

(2008, January 31). Verizon Voyager Forum --> Hacks. Retrieved March 5, 2009, from Verizon
Voyager unofficial Fan Page Web site:
http://www.verizonvoyager.org/forum/showthread.php?p=6813
(2008, September 4). How to get iTunes Music onto a LG Voyager. Retrieved March 5, 2009,
from YouTube Web site:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JobeA7f1D_g&feature=channel_page
(2009, February). Fun things to do with Verizon Voyager. Retrieved March 5, 2009, from
Subjuiced.com Web site: http://www.subjuiced.com/?m=200901
(2008, July 14). How to Get Videos/Movies on your Voyager. Retrieved March 5, 2009, from
YouTube Web site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r64CSHpm0cg&feature=relate
(2008, August 4). Putting YouTube videos onto an LG Voyager. Retrieved March 5, 2009, from
YouTube Web site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwswxqmgVxA&feature=related
(2007, September 10). Putting flash games on the LG Voyager. Retrieved March 5, 2009, from
YouTube Web site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMS0rXDR7b4

PMOG

I have fooled around with the PMOG for a good amount of time (Level 5 Seer I have abundant portals!!) and seen what can be accomplished with this game. There is plenty to do and there is a nice balance between usefulness and gaming in PMOG. Most items or tools are grouped into either that which is useful or that which is fun in a sense. Also, the upgrading or leveling up process is very fun because everything is based on doing things. The more you do the more you level up and thus the more you can do. I think that that is a very nice idea in a game and I love games that use that kind of upgrading system. Also, although a player can rank up in either good or evil paths, there is no consequence for attempting to get high levels in every class. There is no choice a player makes, rather the skills show the players history as a PMOGer.


The first of the two uses of PMOG is that of gaming. Yes, the G stands for game. Some of the rather playful tools are the bombs, st. nicks, armor, dodging, leaving crates and dp cards, and portals as well can be made for jokes or playful things. The bombs are a nice way to show your public disapproval of a site or just try to hit your friends and make them feel your virtual wrath. Of course these destructive PMOGers need to watch out for St. Nicks which are basically just used to stop people from planting bombs. Also, Watchdogs keep away PMOGers who are trying to plant bombs. Armor can help you defend from bombs and dodging is an inherited skill. Most of these playful things allow you to level up which is really their main purpose.


The much larger and more important part of PMOG is the ability to share information and show people helpful sites through both portals and missions. Both portals and missions transport you to different sites. Portals are a good single shot transportation to a relevant site or a better one. For example, on CircuitCity.com there could be a portal to a cheaper computer store where there are better deals left by another passionate PMOGer. Missions on the other hand are much different. Instead of a one type relevant portal, missions allow users to go through a series of web pages that can all contain good information. Also, in some of these pages there may be other missions, and, using all of these missions, PMOGers can surf the internet for relative data at a much faster smarter pace.