August 20th, 2005

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Re-connected!

DSL was down since Friday afternoon. Called visi and they called Qwest. Still no DSL. Called Qwest this morning and they showed the call from yesterday was closed in a minute. I told them we still had no WAN connection and the tech said they showed I was connected. So he reset things on their end and then we both showed no connection. Then the modem trained up and we both showed connected. Success!

Such a feeling of disconnectedness without net.connectivity. Which, I suppose, makes sense. Glad I didn't have to wait until Monday or you all would be all chatty and I'd take forever to catch up!
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Pup update

Brandy was feeling off yesterday. She was not her usual sweet self and snapped at the cat a couple of times. Now, the cat was being a bit of a pain but Brandy usually takes that in stride. She also had loose stools and was lethargic. This has been going on off and on for a couple of weeks. So I took her into the vet. Our regular vet was booked up so we went to the U's animal hospital. They were very nice and treated Brandy well.

The diagnosis was acute gastroenteritis. So that means no food yesterday for her and then bland food for her today and then back to her regular food over the next week.

The x-rays seemed to show her liver was a little swollen but the radiologist is going to review them today. They also took blood and urine from her and will report back on those tests today.

She seems back to her regular self today and I'm wondering if it's just a combination of something she ate that she wasn't supposed to and the stress of having the other dogs around for three days this week instead of one. In any case, we're relieved she's doing better.
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Future crime

Perhaps you have seen this story about a Chinese student that used automated programs ("bots") to mug characters in an online role-playing game, take their stuff, and then sell it for real cash in on-line auctions.

I'm intrigued by this story on several levels. First: what crime is he being charged with? It's not like anyone was "really" hurt or that any real thing was stolen. Can the possessions of a character in a virtual world be said to truly belong to a real-world person?

Second: Did the guy do anything wrong? He may have exploited weaknesses in the game system, sure. He may even be said to be cheating at the game. The game itself, however, must reward this behavior on some level. If it were not possible to sell the stuff for real cash or even advantage in the game, would the crime have taken place? Players like this guy, however, have always been a problem in games. I've played with many a face-to-face RPGer who, often proudly, exploited the rules of the game to get the most out of their character's performance with the minimum amount of effort. We call it minimaxing. It's distasteful to most players and those who do it are often shunned from games and typically grow out of it. It isn't inherently against the rules, as it uses the rules to their maximum advantage. It's usually seen as against the spirit of the game, something that is often of more value to face-to-face RPGers.

Third: As we become more and more of an online society, how long is it before this very crime takes place on a very real level. That is, how long before there are dark areas of the Internets where you don't go wandering alone, if you know what's good for you. Sure, there are hackers out there now and theft of credit card numbers and other identity information is becoming more and more of a problem. It seems to me, though, that one almost has to be willfully clueless to be caught in such schemes; probably it's the rarity of the crimes that gives me that impression. For the most part, it seems safe to wander around online. How long before it becomes Thieves World?
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