owsf2000: (default)
Found via slashdot. Essentially a guy compiled a barebones empty program with Microsoft's C++ compiler. just an empty main() function. Yet the compiled binary contained calls for "telemetry_main_invoke_trigger and telemetry_main_return_trigger". This is undocumented, naturally.

Microsoft -confirmed- afterwards that telemetry calls are added, and for "Users who have a copy of VS2015 Update 2 and wish to turn off the telemetry functionality currently being compiled into their code should add notelemetry.obj to their linker command line." Microsoft claims they will be removing this in a future build (The including of telemetry to begin with.) but the cynic realist in me is convinced that this is just so they can hide it better.

1. Remember that the telemetry inclusion was completely UNDOCUMENTED.
2. Removing it requires knowledge of the undocumented "notelemetry.obj" file.
3. Microsoft kept it hidden until someone proved it existed and brought it up.

As one slashdotter commented, this is akin to a compiler inserting a backdoor.

The potential that telemetry is inside the games you purchased, if they were compiled by Visual Studio C++ by the developers I guess is very real. After all, this -was- undocumented until today, so I doubt devs would have been able to add "notelemetry.obj" to their sources.

And why the hell do you need to ADD code to REMOVE functionality.

More and more I find myself thinking if I DO try to write games on the computer, I'll be doing it on Linux only.
owsf2000: (default)
This, if true, is probably the largest WTF I've seen Microsoft attempt in a long time. Here's the gist of it. If you share your wifi password/login with someone, and they happen to be running Windows 10, then their computer will automatically share the ability to log into your network with all their "contacts".

"Those contacts include their Outlook.com (nee Hotmail) contacts, Skype contacts and, with an opt-in, their Facebook friends."

Supposedly WiFi Sense only lets the other person use the internet, not access your computer directly. But there are 2 problems with this that ANYONE with two brain cells to rub together should have noticed.

1. Hackers make computers do things that the developer did not intend. Give it a year, and I'm being generous, and you'll probably start to see serious attempts to hijack this. It may have been active on Windows Phones since 8.1 but Windows Phones aren't 70%+ of the computer market.

2. Even if I gave access to my wifi to a friend, it doesn't mean I want to offer my limited internet access to THEIR ENTIRE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS. What the fuck does Microsoft think I am? A fucking ISP?

The way to disable this, is a clunky, stupid change in the name of your wifi network to include "_optout". In other words, Microsoft knows full well of the security risks this is opening up. Anything even remotely like this should always be OPT IN.

I don't know if this means if I had a Windows 10 computer, and I didn't know about how to opt-out of this retarded scheme - and I DIDN'T give anyone my wifi login info explicitly - would it automatically share my wifi with all of my own contacts? Thankfully I don't use outlook, or skype, and my Facebook is pretty much non-existant (And I wouldn't opt in to it anyway.) but even still, this is a reason to avoid jumping up to Windows 10 when I get a new computer, or that computer would only be running Windows when I needed to work on projects. And I'd make sure IT doesn't have access to my Wifi.
owsf2000: (default)
Here is Microsoft's announcement of the Mojang purchase.

Here are some tidbids that make me worry about it.

"Microsoft’s investments in cloud and mobile technologies will enable “Minecraft” players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect across the “Minecraft” community."

These seem to be primarily Xbox One issues, when it comes to the cloud where they've made just that promise for games. This would probably mean save data will end up in their cloud rather than on actual servers and PCs.

The development tools makes me think they're going away from java.

"Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft."

I read this as "DLC".

“As the founders move on to start new projects, we believe the high level of creativity from the community will continue the game’s success far into the future.”

I highly doubt community creativity will be nearly as high once the new rules are put into place for how mods/plugins may or may not be done. I can surely bet they'll forbid any GPL projects as a clause in the EULA basically states that mod makers permit mojang to take the ideas and build them directly into minecraft. "If you don't like that, don't make mods/plugins." is essentially how the eula works. (And I'm pretty sure it's always said that.)

Regardless, I don't know what kind of creativity you're going to get out of the leaving founders. Notch himself has explicitly said he's going back to tinker silly little experiments and if he sees any experiment start to grow the way Minecraft did --- he'll immediately abandon the project. (Way to go!)

So yeah, I can easily see my predictions turning out true, in one form or another within the next few years.
owsf2000: (default)
As I predicted based on the complete radio silence from Mojang since the rumours began last week, Notch sold his company.

I'm guessing the three people leaving are the three people that are making hella bank on the deal.

I'm just going to do a play-by-play of Mojang's post as well as add in my predictions for the future.

"Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. <3"

I have no idea how they can just say "Everything's going to be OK!" when they've lost complete control over what their company is going to be doing from now on. Microsoft is now the one calling the shots. What they say will go, regardless of any complaints. Kinda hoping the guy making the post is one of the ones that get canned with the first round of layoffs in the future just so he can see how wrong he was. :P tl;dr: This is nothing but PR speech for the public. You can ignore it.

"Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang. He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that."

Or, OR! The other option was for him to retire while still owning Mojang and leaving all the company decisions for Minecraft up to others. Hell, he was already like that anyway. If he did this to get away from the "hate" he'd get over doing unpopular things regarding Minecraft, he hasn't seen anything yet. I'm sure there will still be a small fringe that will be interested in watching his projects. After all, even 0.1% of Minecraft players is still 100,000 or so people.

I'm not sure what cool stuff he's been working on however. Recreating the original Doom from schematic documents doesn't really count as cool to me. More like "waste of time". But he's rich enough to waste all the time in the world so it's fine.

"Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future."

True! However. Mojang is no longer some "other company". They are now a division of Microsoft and not only can they predict Mojang's choices, they can damned well dictate them. Why they added this statement is beyond me unless they typoed the company name and intended to say "Mojang can't make decisions for other companies..." which would be entirely correct and relevant to what's being discussed. It would mean regardless of what Mojang is saying now, they have no control over what actually does happen going forward.

"Will we still be able to make videos, mods, awesome builds, and all the cool stuff we’ve created over the past few years?"

The entire answer to this question looks to be PR smoke to me. They outright say they don't know specific plans for Minecraft (Anymore anyway.) but it's hardly good PR to say anything less than their "we want the community to continue to grow" etc.

However Bukkit is already dead. And with that goes thousands of plugins unless they get ported to another api. (Hint: Most won't!) And even if they do, MS can easily start cracking down on unofficial apis to their minecraft server from this point on. And due to my predictions below, I fully expect them to.

"we predict that the vast majority (if not all) Mojangstas will continue to work at Mojang for the time being."

This counters one of the inside-remarks made by an AC that seemed to be "in the know" about the deal on slashdot last week. Yes, that guy could have been faking it all but it didn't seem that way. According to him/her it was expected that most of the staff would eventually be cut.

"For the time being." pretty much makes the entire statement/prediction worthless. It basically means "We haven't received our pink slips from Microsoft yet, so we'll assume we can keep all these peoplep for now."

And that's certainly possible. Microsoft has to finish their embrace stage before they extend it with Minecraft 2, then extinguish the original + community.

So in the end, the rumours were correct.

My predictions:

1. An official api will be written for the server finally. It will be mostly incompatible with bukkit and others already available. You will need to be an official developer to get access to the api to make plugins, and they will probably be sold as the new DLC option.

2. A crackdown on all non-official apis/mods will begin. Why let users have something for free when you could charge them for it amirite?

3. Resource and skin packs will become DLC on the PC. At first as an option. Later they will probably encrypt the files to make it impossible to legally create your own with image editors, etc.

4. Realms servers will be the only ones that will have mods for the new api. (Best way for them to keep control over it after all, plus the cash for the servers themselves!)

5. When a Minecraft 2 shows up, it will not be Java. There might be a Mac version made available, but I doubt it'll run on anything but Windows 8 or higher, and I doubt they'll try too hard to get a Linux version out.

6. I expect Minecraft 2 to sell for anywhere from 49.99 to 59.99 for the base game. It will likely be incompatible with Minecraft maps. A map converter might be sold separately however as DLC, which of course will have a free DLC coupon for with new purchases of the game.

7. When Microsoft wants the original Minecraft to end, they will simply shut down the validation servers that let players log in. This will prevent anyone from logging in to a server running in online mode. Pirated servers will be shut down, and any running in offline mode will become a hackers playground and thus die off that way.

8. While out of order, I -do- expect most of Mojang's staff to be cut, and eventually they'll just be a trademark. It happens way too often in the video game industry to not see this coming.

But no problem, Minecraft 2 will probably go on sale for a few weeks when the logins are shut down. ;)

Yes, these are only predictions. They may not happen, but I'm fully expecting them to one way or another. (For example, keeping "bukkit" in name, but rewriting the infringing open-source portions with incompatible replacements would still satisfy my above prediction about an official api.)

Well, for the time being I'll continue playing on the few private non-realms servers I play on and fiddle around with working on Koby's server to get it working for other people to play on. But I can see myself becoming more productive in my own game projects again within a year or two.

September 2017

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