Archive for June, 2009

How you can hack SpyMaster now!

June 7, 2009

I just read absolutely fabulous story on how the new Twitter game SpyMaster was hacked. I discovered this by googling ‘spymaster greasemonkey script’. Then, as my newly installed script started automatically doing tasks to earn my persona money, I started browsing for new approaches. I did not expect to find such riches.

The essence of the story is that our hero did not actually attack SpyMaster servers and take out their security. Instead, he built a few scripts and found out about a couple of bugs in the system. The key bug, which SpyMaster cleverly renamed an ‘exploit’, was that you could send money to different bank accounts including your own, and they money would never leave your account, but simply accumulate. Automating this with a script proved to be the key to great wealth in a few short hours: nothing short of inventing a bank note printing press.

“I earned 73.59 Trillion British Pounds in under 15 minutes. I bought every single safe-house and 100,000 of everything in the black market.”

Our hero, not satisfied with a personal fortune, then went one crucial step further and spread the wealth to thousands of others. In doing so, he covered his tracks.

SpyMaster was not happy to discover that some people had suddenly got not just hundreds or thousands or millions .. or billions .. or trillions in a few weeks of play. In a somewhat draconian move, they arbitrarily and without any warning shut down their accounts, renaming the bug an ‘exploit’. Unfortunately, they shut down thousands of accounts from people who were merely the beneficiaries of the new banking scheme.

Check out a YouTube video on how the bank account bug worked.

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This is why your blog is dying

June 7, 2009

This seems a common problem: you start a blog but you just can’t keep it going. At first, I thought this was because actually run out of time, probably because actual events and tasks IRL take over. As an example: we recently had our second child and she takes up a lot more of my time lately, meaning that I have less time available to spend online.

Actually, this is a dirty lie. Although I have less time available, I still spend about the same amount of time, if not more, online. I just spend it in the middle of the night after a feed or in the early morning after having finally gotten her to sleep.

I think the real reason that blogs die is that the market is fragmenting at an astounding pace. On one level, it’s which blog provider you wish to use since the arms race to provide more features and integrations continues hourly. The number one problem when switching to a new blog provider is importing all those old posts. Instead, you slither out of your old skin and move on to better and brighter things.

On another level, there’s less and less need to blog any more, since you can just tweet, or send out a status update (depending on the platform du jour), and after three of four pithy updates you’ve covered the essence of a blog post. Aside: most people don’t tweet this way, instead choosing to re-tweet the constant stream of messages they skim, or point out a stream-of-consciousness snippet bordering on the consciousness of an insect.

The third level is that there is just so much to do within these platforms now. As more and more entertaining (say, Mob Wars or Spymaster) informative (say, Praizd answers) and searching (say Vark) takes place in or on or across social platforms, there is less and less time, energy and focus to write a post (like, say, this one).