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Usenet sock-puppetry on

Crossposting with one clarification per the comments below, my posting to the nytimes chess blog, Gambit:

Regarding this blog item and the article, Chess Group Officials Accused of Using Internet to Hurt Rivals, in Oct 8 2007’s New York Times:

Reading the thread from archived on Google, the evidence as presented suggests this is another case of sock-puppetry which has become such a bane on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

Usenet is not sponsored by Google! This is an inaccurate statement which should not have appeared in the Times. Usenet started in 1979! Google was founded around 1996 as a project by a 23 and 24 year old graduate student. The founders of Google were only about 7 years old when Usenet started. Very precocious of them to have sponsored Usenet! :)

The quote attributed to “David Ulevitch, founder and chief executive of OpenDNS” is misleading as it refers to internet NAMES, which are resolved to numbers through Domain Name Service (DNS). Not the same thing at all as internet NUMBERS which are at issue here. Those are controlled locally through policies on routers and globally through BGP broadcasts.

Contrary to what is stated above, it is NOT trivial to forge numeric ip addresses… one would have to have control of an intermediate router between sender and receiver and pretty specific technical knowledge to accomplish this sort of man-in-the-middle attack. There are probably much easier and more convincing-to-the-layman methods of framing someone. Easier, for instance, would be to fake the logs, but again, to what purpose?

If the log excerpts are genuine, there is an ethical question as to whether the “volunteer system administrator” acted rightly in posting selected information from the logs back onto Usenet. He is doing the right thing now in trying to get permission from the Federation to release them. I would have probably advocated going to the Board, or their legal counsel with this. But I don’t know the entire history.

I don’t know the individuals involved in this dispute as far as I know and have no more than a passing interest in the affair. I just wanted to give some perspective on the technical arguments being raised.

Ann Arbor, MI

Interview With the U.S.C.F. President; a Chess Sponsor Says He’s Had Enough

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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9 October, 2007 Posted by | allegations, chess, DNS, Domain Name Service, gambit, games, Google, impersonation, New York Times, politics,,, scandal, scanlyze, sock-puppet, sockpuppet, United States Chess Federation, USCF, Usenet | 2 Comments

Review of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

by Henry Edward Hardy

Aficionados of Professor J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings may enjoy the online multi-player role-playing game Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (LOTRO) from Turbine, Inc. and Midway Games. Based on the best-selling novel The Fellowship of the Ring and succeeding volumes by the late Tolkien, LOTRO traces the quest to evade the minions of the evil Witch-king of Angmar and aid the Fellowship of the Ring to destroy the evil One Ring.

Players may choose to be a rotund but clever Hobbit, dour-handed Dwarf, lithe Elf or a male or female Man (human). The world of Middle-Earth is lovingly rendered from the Maxfield Parrish-like gazebos and towers of the High Elves to the stinking fens of Midgewater and the red rock hills of Rhudaur. The medieval town of Bree is strikingly detailed with its ancient monumental arches, aged courses of stonework and Tudor-style housing and inns.

The LOTRO client program is small and efficient, using about 50 MB of memory. Server operation is generally stable, and the client crashes infrequently compared with other online games.

In LOTRO, characters can’t die. Instead, they lose their morale and must withdraw from combat to regroup. Morale is primarily maintained and restored by the minstrel and captain classes. Crafts professions available include mining, farming, and smithing. One can cultivate special varieties of “pipeweed” for spectacular smoke-ring-blowing effects. Musical instruments such as lute and clarinet can be improvised with in-game.

Tolkien’s book, The Fellowship of the Ring, emphasizes the majesty, ancientry and heart-felt longing for the past inspired by the abandoned ruins encountered by the protagonists. In LOTRO, such areas are oft overrun with competing factions of adventurers, quarreling over mining rights or the initiative to kill a favored foe.

The opportunity to “meet” representations of beloved characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn the Ranger and the mysterious leaping, poetry-spouting Tom Bombadil is not to be missed. The great underlying story, innovative game systems, stable game platform and stupendous, awe-inspiring graphics make Lord of the Rings Online a superior Internet role-playing game.

A version of this review was previously published in Current and Electric Current.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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9 May, 2007 Posted by | dwarf, elf, fantasy, Fellowship of the Ring, games, hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings Online, LOTRO, review, role-playing, Tolkien | Leave a comment

Fairies and Unicorns Online: Everquest II: Echoes of Faydwer review

Fairies and Unicorns Online

Everquest II: Echoes of Faydwer
Sony Online Entertainment

by Henry Edward Hardy

Echoes of Faydwer is the latest addition to the Everquest II online multi-player roleplaying game. Set in the fantasy world of Norrath, the Everquest and Everquest II online games offer the player the chance to portray a fantasy character such as an elf or troll in a fantastic computer-rendered fantasy landscape. Sony’s Everquest game once dominated the online fantasy game industry, but was eclipsed by Vivendi’s World of Warcraft.

Everquest II is now the flagship offering of Sony’s online games. In Everquest II (EQII) the emphasis is on slaying monsters and solving quests. Players may choose to become craftsmen, traders or tinkers in addition to their primary, combat-oriented profession such as troubadour, necromancer, or ranger. Everquest II generally is more rewarding of a more thoughtful, cautious approach to gaming than Warcraft. Warcraft seems to be more international in scope, with a huge player base in China and south-east Asia, whereas EQII players tend to be American. EQII players tend to be older, and less “hard-core” than WoW players.

Guilds of players in EQII are more apt to be “family” type guilds emphasizing social interaction rather than “raiding guilds”, though both types are common.The graphics and sound presentation in EQII are excellent. The musical score for most zones is pleasant and perhaps a bit Aaron Copeland-ish. Server operation and reliability is not ideal , but is above the rather low standard set by most such games. Customer service is a notable deficiency. The new Everquest II has recently moved to an entirely web-based customer support system which is maddeningly difficult to use if one has a default browser different than Internet Explorer or has set any recommended security settings in Explorer higher than the default.

Echoes of Faydwer introduces to the world of Everquest II the continent of Faydark, where butterfly-winged fairies glide among the forest platforms. With its towering forests, white-marbled cities and not to forget OMG unicorns!, EoF seems deliberately aimed to a more social, age and gender diverse audience than the rather saturated 15-25 male age group to which most games appeal.

Everquest II is excellent for family play, casual play and solo play. There are a number of sites offering Everquest II information such as and the official site at A free trial is available for download.

A version of this article was previously published in Current Magazine and on Electric Current.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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2 February, 2007 Posted by | Everquest, Everquest 2, Everquest II, fairies, games, internet, media, reviews, scanlyze, Sony, unicorns | Leave a comment

God Bless You Tracy Fullerton, Hero of the Net

Interesting article: Slamdance festival pulls Columbine video game at:

It seems a number of sponsors including USC’s Interactive Media Division have withdrawn from sponsorship of the Slamdance games competition consequent upon the irregular manner in which the game, Super Columbine Massacre RPG! was deleted from the list of finalists. CNN quotes USC Asst. Prof. Tracy Fullerton: They courted very avant-garde, independent gamemakers and if you’re going to do that, in the same way you stand by a very avant-garde filmmaker, you need to be prepared to stand by a gamemaker.

More on Tracey’s blog at Luicidal Tendencies:

God Bless you Tracey Fullerton! For your courage and outside-the-box thinking, on behalf of the Internet, Scanlyze dubs thee Hero of the Net!

Copyright (C) Henry Edward Hardy 2007

16 January, 2007 Posted by | games, Hero of the Net, media, politics, scanlyze | Leave a comment