Turn it on or off
Most of our computers have a Wake-on-LAN feature, which means as long as the computer is plugged in to a network port, we can see it. Even if it's off. And we can send a command that will will turn it on. Once it's on, it's even easier to turn it off.
We have this term in IT called "Domain Admin." In layman terms, it's G-d Mode. Having that level of security permissions means a support grunt can go into anyone's folders and take/look/delete anything they want. Now, not everybody is a domain admin. But enough people are to make things scary.
Through a slew of different programs, we can see anything on anybody's screen, whenever we want, for however long we want to. And you'll never know we were there.
The ability to see everything comes with the ability to control any desktop as well. Microsoft calls it "Remote Assistance." I call it "Remote Superpowers."
The best part about all this is not that we can literally force this company to its knees if we so desired. It's that the entire time we were doing it, you would have no idea.
And don't make us angry.
But honestly, this is what we really do.
It's a long read, but well worth it. There are some really fascinating ideas in here that may change the way we look at virtual assets. Should virtual resources be considered Intellectual property or physical property? maybe it's both. Maybe the hardware the resources reside on is the physical property that the intellectual property of swords, houses, and in-game resources simply represent to the consumer?
He tackles the the idea of the Lockean view of property rights (man's toil + nature = ownership) and how it can't give second life users rights to their areas (after all, it ultimately started with the developers code).
If you don't feel like reading the whole thing, I'll spoil it for you. He doesn't think that physical property laws will ever make an effective policing system for virtual worlds. While it may seem like a great idea in theory, in practice there are too many differences to make it worthwhile.
This problem really makes one wonder what property is, anyways. Is it a title given to an object (this land is property), or is a right given to an owner (I have property rights to this land). Ultimately, I think this will be the deciding factor when it comes to virtual property. Since it is by definition not real, you can't call it property. But if you're referring to property as rights given to a user, then the fact that I can sell my high-level rare WoW sword for real money automatically gives legitimacy, real or imagined.
I like this kind of intelligent, informed, discussion about the world of games and geeks, and I hope to engage in more of that in the future.
XKCD - One of my favorite comic strips. There will be more of these, don't you worry
Now, the article itself is not the greatest source of information here because, let's face it, the media as a whole is in agreement that Grand Theft Auto is corrupting our children and making them violent, psychotic murderers. Infinitely more informative is what this Blake fellow has to say for himself. In a forum on scorehero.com, a website devoted to Guitar Hero and its players, a flame war has erupted amongst the members (Really????) on the subject of Blake and his career plans. Right in the middle of the pyromania, Blake steps forward using a friend's username and talks a little about his decision. Read for yourself (his comments are at the end of the page).
This kid clearly has his head on his shoulders. It's a well-written, thought out approach to his decision and his parents' support. While this raises all kinds of questions about homeschooling, parenting, the public school system, video games, and competitive gaming, I hope it causes people to step back and take a more mature, intellectually honest approach to what video games are, and especially what they aren't. I think I've written enough for you to think about for now. I have a lot more to say on the subject, but not enough time to get it all out. More later.
Labels: video games