Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chinese prisoners forced to produce virtual gold, real profits for their guards

Chinese prisoners forced to produce virtual gold, real profits for their guards

via Engadget by Vlad Savov on 5/26/11


The virtual goods economy of massively multiplayer online games may be thriving, but it's also stimulating an undesirable side-effect: exploitation. A former detainee at a prison in Heilongjiang province, China, has told the Guardian about how he was habitually forced into playing MMOs like World of Warcraft for the collection of loot, which the prison guards would then resell online for as much as ¥6,000 ($924) per day. Such totals would be the product of up to 300 inmates working 12-hour daily shifts, though predictably they saw none of the profits themselves. The unnamed source was at a "re-education through labor" camp where the usual toil would involve actual, rather than virtual, mining. The profitability of the online market has seemingly inspired prison bosses to move with the times, however, with business being so brisk that the computers "were never turned off." A Chinese government edict from 2009 is supposed to have introduced a requirement that online currencies only be traded by licensed entities, but it's believed that the practice of using prisoners in this fashion continues unabated.

Chinese prisoners forced to produce virtual gold, real profits for their guards originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 26 May 2011 05:14:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Access Your Computer from Anywhere, Remote Control BitTorrent, and Set Up a Remote Security Camera Video

Click here to read This Is Lifehacker, Episode 11: Access Your Computer from Anywhere, Remote Control BitTorrent, and Set Up a Remote Security Camera

In a networked world, you don't have to be sitting in front of your computer to start downloads, access files, or see what's going on in front of your webcam. This week's episode of Lifehacker is all about remote access and control. More »


Windows User Profile Backup Tool DataGrab

Data Grab is a free tool for the Windows operating system that can be used to backup user profile data and other data from a connected drive. The portable backup software displays a list of options once you start it up on the target system.

The program supports backups from the current system or another Windows operating system installed on one of the connected and accessible drives. Please note that DataGrab is not a convention backup software with options to restore the data at a later point. It is more of a recovery solution in case of a damaged system.

The source drive with the Windows installation is selected under Target Drive. You can select the current operating system, or an operating system on a drive that is connected to the current OS.

Data Grab supports the two user profile locations Users and Documents and Settings. All valid user profiles found on the selected drive are displayed immediately after a drive has been selected.

It is possible to select one, multiple or all user profiles for backup.

datagrab backup software

The user profiles configuration setting displays a list of files, folders and data that can be backed up by the program. This includes the pictures, music and videos folders, saved games, downloads or application data folders for applications that store user data in the user directory.

Users can add additional folders on the system which are then included in the backup. DataGrab can automatically add documents that are stored in the root folder of the drive or partition. The program suggests a few formats, like Adobe’s PDF format or Microsoft Word and Excel formats. Custom file types can be added with the help of wildcards. This is helpful to include all files of one or multiple types in the backup. The program will scan the selected hard drive for all file types that have been added by the user.

Specific local and guest operating system data plus current user data can be added to the backup as well. The backup includes minidumps or OS information automatically in the backup. Those information may be helpful in analyzing a damaged system.

Most settings and options can be modified to create a custom user profile backup. It is for instance possible to only backup a specific user directory, and of that user directory only specific files or folders. This approach reduces the storage requirements of the backup noticeably.

DataGrab supports multiple copy methods, including shell api, win32 api and use of external programs like Xcopy or Unstoppable Copier.

Data is copied like it is to the target directory. There are no restoration options available other than to move the data back to their original location. The core purpose of DataGrab is therefor not to backup the data for emergency restoration, but to have them available at a different location. This is for instance helpful when analyzing a system, or trying to recover data from a system that is damaged and no longer booting.

Take a look at the following introductory video that explains the core concepts of the backup software.

DataGrab is compatible with the client operating systems Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The developer notes that it may also work with server operating systems.

The program can be downloaded from the developer website at Google Sites. Please note that it requires that the Visual Basic 6 Redistributable Package is installed on the system. (via)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper

Microsoft has just released a beta of a system recovery software. Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper has been designed to aid users in starting an infected PC and performing offline malware scans to remove viruses, trojans, rootkits and other forms of malware effectively. It is also used if malware is hindering the user to install or start an antivirus software on the infected system, or if the applications used to detect malware are not able to find the malware on the PC.

Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper can be downloaded as a 32-bit or 64-bit version. Users who download the small executable need an active Internet connection to burn all contents to CD or DVD, or an USB stick with at least 250 Megabytes of space in case they want to copy the Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper to USB instead.

Setup data is loaded from the Internet when the program is started. To use it, users need to boot from the disc or USB device which in turn loads the tool that gives you the options to scan the PC and recover it. It will load the Windows Preinstall Environment to run the Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper application for scanning and remediation of virus and malware.

microsoft standalone system sweeper

standalone system sweeper

system sweeper

Interested users can download Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper from the official project website. It is basically a recovery CD or USB application that Windows users can use to remove malware from a system.

The program requires a recent Windows operating system, from Windows XP SP3 to Windows 7. Users need to make sure to download the right program version. If they have a 32-bit operating system, they need to download and install the 32-bit version of System Sweeper, if they run a 64-bit operating system they need to download the 64-bit version.

An Internet connection is required to download the latest virus and spyware definitions for Standalone System Sweeper. Supported web browsers are Internet Explorer 6 or higher, or Mozilla Firefox 2 or higher.

Jeff Woods Interview with Neil Peart Now Online

Neil Peart: Far and Away

Last month Neil Peart taped an audio interview with Jeff Woods prior to the Hamilton, Ontario show. The interview was taped as part of the syndicated radio show The Legends of Classic Rock where the discussion centered around Neil's fifth full-length book Far and Away: A Prize Every Time.
They’re Canada’s #1 musical export to the world, and so not surprisingly, guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart, have been so busy touring over the past year, that they haven’t had a chance to finish what they started: recording their 20th studio album; “Clockwork Angels”.

While recording is scheduled to resume fall 2011, in the meantime, RUSH’s stock has never been so valuable, with thanks in part, to the acclaimed film, that tells the story of ‘RUSH Beyond the Lighted Stage’.

It seems everyone has seen it, everyone that is, except their drummer. How could THAT BE?

You will find out how, and much more, from this revealing conversation with Neil Peart, who set aside a half hour, back stage, to talk to me about all things RUSH, including the evolution of his drumming, the nature of his lyrics, his latest book Far And Away – A Prize Every Time, performing live, and just why RUSH have keep doing what they do.

And as Neil Peart is about to tell you, he only tours one way...
You can listen to the entire 25-minute interview via this LINK.

Thanks to reader RushFanForever for passing along the news.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Netflix Accounts For More Web Traffic Than Torrenting

Recent stats from the Sandvines Global internet Phenomenon report show that Netflix accounts for more web traffic in North America than bit torrents. While this is a good thing for Hollywood, it might backfire due to the ISPS recent trend to cap bandwidth in order to stop piracy.

The report shows that Netflix accounts for 29.7% of traffic in the US at peak times, and 22% throughout the whole day. Torrenting topped out at 21%, and this time the number is even down from what it was last fall. The report shows Netflix and streaming of audio and video in general to have increased 445 within the last year or so. People are starting to consume their media online instead of watching it on TV.

Hollywood should approve of this. These numbers mean that people are beginning to stream their videos instead of torrenting. Because, of course, we all know that the only reason for bit torrent’s existence is piracy, right? Well, not quite, but that’s what Holly wood as a whole seems to believe. The fact that Netflix is getting bigger and torrenting has taken even a slight downturn should be thrilling.

The numbers show a trend toward more online streaming. This gives ISPs an idea of what they have to look forward to in the future. People are going to want more and more bandwidth as the way they consume entertainment changes.
The problem with this whole thing is that ISPs, mostly due to the few people who do torrent on a regular basis, have begun putting in caps. In the states, even the major ISPS who arguably have lots of bandwidth to spare are debating putting in caps anywhere from 150-250 GB.

Even in Canada, where Netflix has been hugely successful since it arrived in September, some of the major DSL ISPs are debating bandwidth caps of 25 GB. If you’re streaming video, you could go through that in a day. Netflix has already had to lower the quality of its streaming in Canada to deal with the bandwidth caps. Canadian ISPs say that the current infrastructure just isn’t meant to handle the amount of internet traffic people are asking for, and that problem is only going to get worse.

Netflix is becoming a major source of internet traffic in the US and in Canada, at least. The big movie companies are thrilled with this, because it means that their seven year battle to get movies off of the torrent sites might actually be showing results. But, partially as a reaction to that battle, ISPs are now putting in caps to control how much bandwidth one user can get. I’m thinking this isn’t quite the outcome the Hollywood companies expected …

What are your thoughts? Do you have bandwidth caps in place that make it difficult to do everything online that you would like? Do you watch a lot of online media? How much bandwidth do you think you use every month? What do you think would be a good solution for Netflix and the ISPs?

Overall look at Chattanooga area storm coverage


Storm cleanup and assessment continues

Extent of storm damage horrific

The cleanup begins after record storms

Storm damage from around the Tennessee Valley

Staff coverage of Wednesday's storms


TVA rebuilding high-voltage lines

Alexander tours tornado affected areas

Recovering from a disaster

Firsthand view of Cherokee Valley Road

Aerial view of Ringgold devastation

Aerial view on Tennessee Valley destruction

Severe weather hits Chattanooga area

Afternoon storm timelapse

Local agencies prepare for tornado

19 Graceful Pictures of Balanced Rocks

There’s a fascination for balanced rocks that strikes a note with several photographers, and with that they have produced some amazing pictures. Check out these 19 graceful pictures of balanced rocks.

Balancing act

Balancing act by backpackphotography


rocks by Hailgumby

Rock Stack at Wallowa Lake

Rock Stack at Wallowa Lake by Evan Ology

On a Welsh beach

On a Welsh beach by Ian Carroll

Rock pile

Rock pile by Quinn Dombrowski

Balanced moon

Balanced moon by Jörg Reuter

Rock Stack

Rock Stack by Clara S


Untitled by amboo who

Rock balance

Rock balance by James Jordan


Benched by James Jordan

beach rock stack

beach rock stack by McD22

Achieving balance

Achieving balance by James Jordan

Stack of Rocks

Stack of Rocks by Ryan Harvey

Rock Tower

Rock Tower by Mattie B

Primitive art

Primitive art by Dave Gingrich

Rock balance

Rock balance by James Jordan

there are no perfect stones any more

there are no perfect stones any more by Vladimer Shioshvili

Balance of nature

Balance of nature by James Jordan


Stacked by Russell Hayes

23 Diverse Leaf Pictures

Leaves represent something in every season; New growth in spring, health in summer, change in autumn, and the end of a cycle in winter. They are beautiful at every stage, and some photographers absolutely love using them as photo subjects. Take a look at these 23 diverse leaf pictures.

fall feet

fall feet by Shandi-lee Cox

The first snow

The first snow by Áron

Sunfall, Wisley

Sunfall, Wisley by H Matthew Howarth


Rosenblatt by dorena-wm

The bird from below

The bird from below by Yago Veith


autumn by lee

Lonely leaf left alone

Lonely leaf left alone by Dave Heuts

obrint pas:quan es faci fosc

obrint pas:quan es faci fosc by Lali Masriera

Happy Bokeh Wednesday!

Happy Bokeh Wednesday! by Jesse Kruger

jack johnson:while we wait

jack johnson:while we wait by Lali Masriera

marc parrot:sense fer soroll

marc parrot:sense fer soroll by Lali Masriera

Green Swirl

Green Swirl by stonethestone

Oak Leaf Raindrops

Oak Leaf Raindrops by Paul Sapiano


FOLHA FRESCA by Jônatas Cunha

Autumn's Flower

Autumn's Flower by D. Sharon Pruitt

Leaf Cinematica

Leaf Cinematica by Todd Baker

The end is near

The end is near by Dennis Jarvis


Untitled by gianni


hole by Bùi Linh Ngân

Falling with grace

Falling with grace by Patty O'Hearn Kickham


Stages by Scott Robinson

Sycamore Leaf

Sycamore Leaf by Scott Robinson

coldplay:a message

coldplay:a message by Lali Masriera

Total Pageviews

Popular Posts