Like stars, novels are born from deep, dark spaces that are best left alone…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

I’m off to a late start today and am already on my second cup of coffee. If the text starts getting jittery by the end, apologies.

I had a series of weird dreams last night, and woke to find my man did as well. Any of you coupled up ever have this happen? There seems to be a vibe some nights. While there’s probably a perfectly logical scientific explanation (my restlessness and physical signs of unease are picked up by his subconscious, which in turn forms his dreams accordingly…blah blah boring blah…), I’d much rather believe in some sort of nebulous shared mind field theory.

i.e.- I’ve got him whipped even in sleep. *evil cackle of glee*

His dreams were a mash up of people and places from his past all confused in space and time. We’ve all had dreams like this, where you mother is now the president of Uganda and orders you to join that kid you used to play with that summer you were five and haven’t seen since, so the two of you can go repair the gaping pot holes on I-91…or some shit like that. These kinds of dreams are odd, and make you chuckle and say, “Huh. What the hell, brain?” It’s as if your mind takes tons of snippets of memory, sticks them in a Boggle shaker, and then tells you to try to make sense of the jumbled mess that results.

Anyway, he had dreams like that last night. Snippets mish-mashed with others snippets to produce one of those Hollywood “insider” films that no one really understands.

I had two dreams last night that I distinctly remember. In the first one, I led a team of scientists on a mission ordered by the government to study and observe all forms of the undead in the wild so Congress could finally get a definitive set of standards of classification and terminology in order to create better protection laws. Those were the parameters of my mission, and it seemed the main focus was to be on determining the scientific differences between “zombies” and the more general “undead,” because in creating laws designed to protect them in their natural habitats, Congress was divided on whether or not zombies truly died first, or simply went into a dormant state from the living virus inside until the virus could multiply enough to control the flesh and make it walk.

A very compelling argument, indeed.

The second dream I had took place in a butcher shop. We were butchering lambs and joking around, when one of the butchers cut into the skull and a disc-like parasite jumped out and landed in his eye. He started sweating and when we asked what was happening, he said, “I saw this back in Canada in ’06. Looks like it’s come to the states!” …I clearly remember that because it was a total horror movie line and you really don’t forget when your brain is that fricken awesome. The parasite began to take hold of his body, and we scrambled to decide the best way to stop the infestation. Alas, I woke before I found out if he made it. Judging by the tense music, odds didn’t seem to be in his favor. Poor Canadian Ralphie.

So, when we woke, my man told me about his dream and how odd it was. I nodded and kept my dreams to myself. I mean, it’s Sunday. And I’m looking forward to a relaxing day wrapping up a video game. I don’t really want to be committed to the psych ward on such a lovely, lazy day.

Let’s see what happened this week in the news. Surely there are things there to discuss that won’t get me a fancy white coat to wear in a padded room!

Some parents of the Newton victims are suing the estate of the shooter’s late mother. This one, this gets me. I understand the parents are still trying to get adequate public blame placed on the event. It’s not about the money, it really isn’t. They want a court to say, “Yes, that mother was a bad mother and failed, and because of it, your child suffered.” But that won’t give the parents the peace of mind they’re looking for, and I can’t help but feel furious at the lawyer leading the charge. That lawyer IS doing it for personal gain. That lawyer has rounded up hurting parents and promised them the first restful night of sleep since the tragedy occurred for personal profit. Sometimes there is no closure. That mother died, too. Lanza’s mother paid the ultimate price. If she was a shitty mum, her son already exacted every possible revenge. There is a time to stop. And greedy lawyers egging these hurting families on is just shameful.

I could go on. The Lanza story hits me in so many ways, especially the handling of the aftermath by the press and public at large, that I honestly could write a book on it. Maybe I will…but not today. Let’s move on to other news as we get back to placidly sipping our third cup of java.

Apple unveiled a watch and Hillary Clinton unveiled emails. Does anyone really care about either of these stories that have ridiculously taken up 90% of my newsfeed headlines this week? With everything else going on in the world, these two stories bombarded all the other stuff. They even had “updates”. Updates? For what? I just literally told the entirety of these two stories in one sentence. No updates necessary.

I don’t want to be angry and sad, and I don’t want to be bored. There’s got to be a story we can really sink our teeth into. I know…video game news!

“Ugh, Bethie. Not more stupid video game stuff I don’t care about.”

Actually, it’s more a business story. Gaming is simply the business involved.

“I feel like this is another trap to discuss Bow-somebody taking power mushrooms…”

*…twitch…twitch…spasm…* *deep, patient breath*

No. I promise I won’t get into any actual gaming details. Need a pot sweetener? It makes a multi-billion dollar international company look like assholes.

“Sold!”

Sony is a thing. They own PlayStation, a gaming console. Wanting to keep hip with the youngsters, they created the PSN, or PlayStation Network. It’s a service that allows PlayStation console users to download demos, games, ads, videos… Think of it like gaming Netflix.

“Okay, I’m with ya…”

It’s been around for quite some time now and is wildly popular. They have millions of global users signed up for the service. And of course, that’s not free. People link a credit card to their account to pay for the games, movies, and subscription fees. Because it’s so huge, with so much cc info stored, it’s a major target for hackers. It’s a bug zapper on an August evening at the swamp.

Classically, Sony has done their level best to keep the hackers at bay. There’s only so much a company can do, though. If there is a piece of technology that is controlled by even a single line of code, then it CAN be corrupted. It’s just the nature of the beast. It’s a challenge. With every new safety feature a tech company adds, the hackers’ jaws set in firmer lines of determination. Now add to that potential billions of dollars unsuspecting users throw into the tempting pot, and the hunger to crack the codes and corrupt the programming only grows.

Hacks happen. In the past, I sighed or chuckled when PSN has gotten hacked, but I’ve never blamed them like some folks do. There is no way to plan for crazy, and there is no way for anyone to know every possible weak point until they are breached. I can’t blame Sony for hackers getting lucky from time to time.

However, the problem with this particular story is how Sony decided to handle the situation when one user with the handle “Kadjar” had his PSN account hijacked and discovered that $600 was charged to his linked bank account. Kadjar noticed the situation almost immediately and contacted Sony’s customer service for help.

So how did egg-on-their-face Sony handle the situation?

By threatening Kadjar, refusing to refund his money, and blackmailing him into dropping any idea he may have had about legally pursuing the thief.

This is how Sony decided to make things “right” with Kadjar. He was told that he couldn’t get his money back. That was gone, even though Sony told users their information was secure on their servers. Kadjar could, however, get a $150 credit in his PSN “wallet” that was good for only buying Sony games and services. Sony said they would then launch a full investigation, which is good, but at the end if Kadjar was, in fact, determined to be a victim and not a scammer, any “refund” would be in PSN wallet credits. When Kadjar protested, he was told that if he tried to contest the charges with his bank, his PSN account would be erased.

“Well, isn’t that a good thing? Doesn’t sound like he should want to be a member anymore to me.”

Right, except that how PSN works is that when you download games that you legally purchased, sometimes for upwards of $60 a pop, the digital rights are stored on the PlayStation Network. It used to be that all games came on a physical medium…cartridge, disc, whatever the hell they call those ridiculously tiny handheld things. Those physical games contained the digital rights within their code. It’s a way to make sure people aren’t pirating games. There’s a unique ID assigned to each and every game that’s needed to play it. If the game system can’t see the code, you can’t play the game.

What Sony was saying was not that he just couldn’t be a member of the PSN anymore, but that he would lose any and all rights that he already legally paid for. Forever. He would have to get a new PlayStation, since his PS ID would be banned, log on with different information, and re-purchase all of the content.

Just to be clear, Sony point blank told poor Kadjar that if he took any further steps to get his OWN MONEY BACK, they would steal EVEN MORE from him.

Now, Kadjar posted a screen grab of his first interaction with PSN customer service on his Reddit account. He contacted them through their live chat. The info in it is sort of vague and unclear, so Kadjar not only called customer service to get clarification and posted his breakdown of that convo, he did a little digging and found three other similar user stories that supported his own experience. Sony ass kissers are quick to point out that it’s a Reddit user and we have no way of knowing the actual facts. Sony haters are quick to ignore some of the ambiguous language in the original chat.

My point is that either way, it does not at all look good for Sony. As I said, hacks happen. There’s a valid point that in these types of situation, the company is also a victim and shouldn’t be expected to be held responsible. I can see that POV, and actually could agree with it in this case IF Sony didn’t tell the dude he had to stop legally pursuing refunds through his bank. That’s where they totally crossed the line into Assholeland, in my opinion. You can’t threaten to suspend a user’s account for doing what he’s SUPPOSED TO DO when he gets robbed simply because you’re afraid it’ll make your company look bad.

Bet Sony’s rethinking that choice themselves at this moment! This made mainstream news. It’ll be interesting to see if there is any type of investigation into their business practices, or if this, too, will be swept under the rug alongside Kadjar’s $600.

And lest you think I’m simply a Sony hater, I’d just like to state, for the record, that I don’t think Microsoft, Nintendo, Steam, or any other similar networks are any different. In fact, they probably ALL handle hack victims the same way. I’m not fan-girling for one or the other. I think they ALL handle hacks poorly. Sony just did it in a way that kind of sums up every individual complaint into one pile of shittery.

It’s about time stories like this make the news, especially with the industry shift away from physical copies of games into downloads and cloud-stored rights. As embarrassed as Sony might be, this is actually GOOD for the gaming industry. If the future of gaming is going to rely on cloud services, then these issues are the next big hurdles the industry as a whole MUST start to get a handle on. Hacks aren’t going away, and the more people sign on to use cloud services, the more faith they put in these servers. If the industry doesn’t get its act together and offer some better level of protection, and satisfaction when their safety nets fail, they’re GOING to start losing customers. That WILL happen and then the industry is going to find themselves scrambling against the demand for…

“…*snore*…”

You put up with it longer than I thought you would. *shrug* Guess I can’t complain.

Thus concludes a gamy Musing for Sunday, March 15, 2015. I’m leaving you with my favorite quote from my favorite author who shuffled off this mortal coil this week.

“They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.”

Sir Pratchett, you will be missed.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s