The UpStream (Page 207)

reddit Users Once Again Show the Power of the Internet for Evil

posted Saturday Aug 24, 2013 by Scott Ertz

reddit Users Once Again Show the Power of the Internet for Evil

At the beginning of this year, Chris Vizzini, owner and operator of, was alerted to the subreddit /r/gaymers. He contacted the site and asked them to please change the name of the segment of the site because it infringed on his trademark of the name gaymer in relation to a community for gay gamers. He received absolutely no response.

At some point, his frustration with the lack of a response caused him to jump online, download a cease and decist letter and fill in the blanks regarding the issue. He asked that the site stop using the name and, instead, simply change the name to something else. Again, he received absolutely no feedback from the company.

Instead of responding directly to the C&D, an employee who goes by the moniker Spladug went onto the site and posted a series of incorrect information about the request. He said that Mr. Vizzini was asking that reddit remove the section of the site completely. Obviously, the people of reddit got mad, causing comments on to start getting nasty.

Mr. Vizzini then took to reddit to try to explain, apologizing for the miscommunication on reddit's part. That did not go well, causing people to think he was lying, trying to make the site look bad. That caused a moderator to post a really nasty letter, which then caused even meaner comments on the site.

Finally, after all of this, reddit General Moderator Erik Martin responded. His comment on the silence was simply,

You probably emailed our general feedback email, which until recently was seldom if ever checked. So, apologies for that. Not professional on our part.

Based on that response, I would have to say that "not professional" is their status quo. He then suggested,

What if the /r/gaymers subreddit had a very prominent disclaimer in the sidebar that they were not affiliated with and acknowledged your trademark, as well as a prominent and positive link to your site?

After agreeing to this arrangement, reddit did not actually do it. Oops. Instead, the site decided to team up with the Electronic Freedom Foundation to sue Mr. Vizzini, trying to get his trademark dismissed. That's right - the EFF teamed up against a valid business to nullify a valid trademark because reddit lied to them. Rather than fighting the trademark suit, Mr. Vizzini gave up.

The site, whose purpose was to give a safe place for gay gamers to come together, was shut down over a bogus lawsuit filed by a bottomless pocket organization because of false information. The trademark has been canceled and the organization suspended.

I have taken personal offense to some of the ridiculous things that reddit has done in the past, but I never thought it would come to this. I am truly ashamed of that community and the corporation for using its power to destroy a man and the dream and vision he has been making a reality for the past 10 years and, ultimately, a safe community that transformed the word gaymer from an insult to a positive community.

Yahoo Takes Top Traffic Spot from Google

posted Saturday Aug 24, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Yahoo Takes Top Traffic Spot from Google

For the first time since May 2011, Yahoo holds the top spot for Internet traffic. The spot has been nearly exclusively reserved for Google, but that trend has been officially ended. The way comScore rates traffic is based on unique individual visitors to all properties that are part of the company's portfolio.

With that said, there is a lot of speculation as to why the spike in Yahoo's traffic. The most obvious guess is that Yahoo recently acquired Tumblr, however comScore claims that Tumblr is not included in July's Yahoo numbers. Another possibility is the revival of Flickr.

Whatever the correct reasoning, it would appear that Marissa Meyer's transition plan seems to be working. As I suggested when the company announced their new logo, it was time to start judging the outcome and not the plan. If this is when we begin to do just that, she has set herself up for success.

The success of increased visitors is not the success of the company, however. In reality, the success of the company is the transition from visitor to cash. As of yet, there has not been a lot of success in this arena, but there has been a lot of acquisitions to increase relevance, possibly successfully. With the increased relevance, it is possible that Meyer can sell more advertising, or the same at a higher price. That will be the true measure of Meyer's plan.

Ballmer to Step Down as CEO Within 12 Months

posted Saturday Aug 24, 2013 by Scott Ertz

Ballmer to Step Down as CEO Within 12 Months

After 13 years as CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer has announced his intention to retire within the next 12 months. In his time at the helm, the company has tripled its revenue and doubled its profits, which certainly is a positive legacy.

The reason for the ambiguity on the timeline is the fact that the transition of power has not been decided. With that said, Ballmer will remain at the top of the pyramid until his successor is chosen and the transition path is planned and executed. This decision is a tough one for a company who has never had to consider the future management of the company, as it has always been in the hands of its founders.

If the transition out of the company was inevitable, this is a good time to get it started. The company has recently had a structural shake-up, and placing someone at the top of the company who has the intention to stay with the company to watch over the transition is a great idea. While the new leadership structure will happen at once, the One Microsoft strategy will take time and a lot dedication from the top, meaning a leader who is up to the challenge.

Ballmer said of the timing,

There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company's transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.

As the company is transitioning to a whole new philosophy, I hope that they are capable of choosing a new CEO that will be capable of executing the One Microsoft ideal. Who would you like to see at the top of the company? Let us know in the comments section.

EA Unleashes Fury of New Game Info at Gamescom 2013

posted Wednesday Aug 21, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

EA Unleashes Fury of New Game Info at Gamescom 2013

This week is Gamescom in Cologne, Germany and is a perfect time for game studios to ready their fanbase and press for the upcoming holiday season. It's also a good time to clear up any fog from the aftermath of E3 and prepare for PAX Prime next weekend in Seattle. This year's overseas event has proven to be very fruitful, especially for EA, who unleashed a fury of news about several upcoming big name titles.

Starting with BioWare, the studio unveiled a brand new behind-the-scenes look into the world of their latest game, Dragon Age: Inquisition. While their wasn't much gameplay, which BioWare said we should expect for PAX, the video entitled "A World Unveiled" showed the creative team talking and planning the entire game, from storyline to landscaping.

EA also brought attention to the ever-popular Command & Conquer franchise. Specifically, the company announced that they will be adding episodic and story-driven campaign missions to Command & Conquer, which will be ready for the public as soon as early next year. Also, the next iteration of the game will be a free-to-play game, with the studio's mission to consistently add new and exciting storylines throughout the next year. VP and GM at EA, Jon Van Caneghem, said he was excited to see the game play off the fan's suggestions.

When we talk about the new Command & Conquer being a service, we’re really inviting the community to help drive the design process and the evolution of the game. Since our announcement, the number one thing fans have asked for is new story content, and we listened. We are excited to be delivering compelling, high quality Campaign Missions that will roll out to the service in 2014.

The closed beta is already up and running and you can sign up now at

Next, EA took some time to talk about the next highly-anticipated racing game, Need for Speed Rivals. Gamescom played host for the devs to unveil two new features to the game. First, the latest NFS title brings back true personalization to the game, and second, Need for Speed Rivals will have a new take on career progression, with all of this syncing with AllDrive. AllDrive, if you recall from E3, is the new synchronous world in which online, offline and co-op games all exist in one realm, and the game automatically connects you with your friend's racing world and scores.

Last but certainly not least, the crew from Respawn showed off some new gameplay video of Titanfall. The cinematic multiplayer gameplay clip was in a gameplay called Attrition Mode on a new map, Angel City.

Of course, words can't truly describe some of the great gameplay and trailers we are seeing from Gamescom, so hit the break and check out all four videos yourself!

All You Can Arcade is a Company That Brings You Back in Time with Retro Arcade Games

posted Sunday Aug 18, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

All You Can Arcade is a Company That Brings You Back in Time with Retro Arcade Games

Ever wanted to play a round of Pac Man on a real arcade cabinet and thought to yourself, "Man, if I had some sort of rental service that could deliver me a box to play it on, when I wanted to, I'd be all set!"? I know, I've thought this exact same thing at least once a month. Well, there's good news for every single one of us humans out there all thanks to Seth and Timothy Peterson.

The duo formed a company, All You Can Arcade, which is a video game rental service that brings you an arcade machine to your door, regardless of if that door is a home or an office, but it has to be a door in California. For $75 a month, this is the big boy's (nostalgic) edition of Gamefly, and comes with all the same features you'd want in an arcade game rental service.

  • Keep your games as long as you want or pick a different one each month.
  • No delivery or pick up fees
  • Unlimited gaming without breaking your piggy bank. All of our arcade games are set to free play.
  • No late fees or long term commitments, cancel your membership at any time.
  • Wide selection of adventure, racing, sports, shooters and RPG games to choose from.

The Petersons said that if all goes well, they will be looking to expand to the east coast later on this year. Seth Peterson said he's able to find new games for his company simply from browsing the web. The company pays anywhere from $150 to $250 for each unit and has become skilled in "getting them real quick, taking them home and then doing what (they) need to do to get them ready for (their) customers."

It's a lot of fun looking for the bargains, scoring them off Craigslist or eBay or through the Internet forums. Anywhere we can find them.

Currently, All You Can Arcade offers up Ms. Pac Man, Donkey Kong and Tron, to name a few of the hundreds of classics in stock. You can browse their website to see what games are available in your area as well. However, if you feel you own an arcade game that needs to be shared with the world, All You Can Arcade offers up a partner program that allows you to do just that, and you'll reap some benefits along the way, like 75 percent of all the revenue received, provided you do the leg work.

So whether you are a business who wants to bring back some old school feel to your office each month, or if you're simply a home owner that wants to show your kids "how it used to be," All You Can Arcade is a pretty cool service.

IT Researcher Discovers Huge Facebook Exploit, Gets Account Disabled for His Efforts

posted Sunday Aug 18, 2013 by Nicholas DiMeo

IT Researcher Discovers Huge Facebook Exploit, Gets Account Disabled for His Efforts

We've talked about vulnerabilities a lot in the past, to the point where we had to recap all of them. Even though we haven't gone into a lot of detail about Facebook's security issues, the social networking giant also has its faults, to the point where they will pay you to find bugs, but only if you report them correctly. This is what Palestinian IT researcher Khalil Shreateh discovered this week, when he identified a major flaw in Facebook's security.

Shreateh wrote to Facebook that there was an ability to post on someone's wall without being friends with them. He then wrote to Facebook, and when the company ignored him by saying "I am sorry this is not a bug," Khalil then took to Zuckerberg's wall to prove his exploit.

He posted a link to his findings, along with his story of what's transpired so far, and, within a handful a minutes, one of Facebook's lead security engineers responded to him, asking him for further information about his discovery. However, what came next is something that shocked some tech journalists, but was something I would not put past Facebook. Because Khalil took to the Zuck's page and posted the exploit there, after numerous email attempts, not only did Facebook temporarily disable his account, they also said they would not be paying him because of improper reporting methods. In an email to the researcher,

We are unfortunately not able to pay you for this vulnerability because your actions violated our Terms of Service. We do hope, however, that you continue to work with us to find vulnerabilities in the site.

While Mr. Shreateh might not have the best English and grammar, his blog post indicates the exact issue he discovered, along with, what he understood based on reading Facebook's procedures, his best attempts at reaching out to the company. It is clear though that he did not precisely outline his discovery in the first email, potentially causing this whole thing to snowball.

In this thread on HackerNews, a Facebook employee chose to provide a bit of clarity on the subject.

We get hundreds of reports every day. Many of our best reports come from people whose English isn't great - though this can be challenging, it's something we work with just fine and we have paid out over $1 million to hundreds of reporters. However, many of the reports we get are nonsense or misguided, and even those (if you enter a password then view-source, you can access the password! When you submit a password, it's sent in the clear over HTTPS!) provide some modicum of reproduction instructions. We should have pushed back asking for more details here.

I get that, but perhaps Facebook should shell out the money anyway, at the very least. I mean, he was bold enough to take the exploit right to the Facebook page of the head of the company. That's pretty brave. You can check out the video of the walkthrough of the exploit after the break.

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