Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


Michael Piller is dead

Filed under: — adam @ 5:09 pm

Michael Piller was strongly influential in everything good that’s come out of Star Trek since the 90’s. He died from head and neck cancer this morning at the age of 57.

Well, so much for MySQL

Filed under: — adam @ 12:57 pm

Oracle is releasing a free version of … Oracle.

My subject line is somewhat in jest – the success of this will depend HEAVILY on how easy the db is to administer. If it’s just as complicated as full Oracle, MySQL will still hold the lead in free dbs.

Sony copy-protected CDs apparently contain rootkits

This article details the finding of an actual root kit (that is, a program designed to remain hidden from security software by cloaking itself and pretending to be part of the OS), that turned out to have been installed by a Sony copy-protected CD.

“I ran a scan on one of my systems and was shocked to see evidence of a rootkit. Rootkits are cloaking technologies that hide files, Registry keys, and other system objects from diagnostic and security software, and they are usually employed by malware attempting to keep their implementation hidden”

The EULA, also, apparently contained no mention of it.

This is probably illegal. I won’t be surprised in the least if Sony gets royally sued for this.

On World of Warcraft’s spyware

World of Warcraft was recently revealed to have a piece of spyware hidden in it called Warden, that tracks a large amount of information about other things running simultaneously on the machine, in order to prevent cheating.

There’s been some commentary on Dave Farber’s IP list that Warden was found by someone trying to hack the game, implying that that somehow justifies its existence.

I wrote the following in response to that:


The fact that this piece of spyware was found by someone trying hack the game is totally irrelevant to what it is, and the fact that there are people in an arms race over hacking the game doesn’t justify Blizzard’s raising the bar on that race to trample the privacy of legitimate users who are probably unaware that this is even going on.

As has been previously stated, Blizzard’s assertion that it’s not doing anything with the information is little comfort. What if the next round of arms race escalation is to hack Warden and release all of that information? How long will it be before Blizzard can properly respond? How much data will get out, because of the infrastructure that Blizzard has constructed?

The fact that this is justified by text buried in a long EULA is deplorable. The fact is, few people read EULAs at all, and even fewer read them for >games< . There ought to be full disclosure right up front in large capital letters - "If you want to play this game, you have to agree to let us spy on you, because we assume everyone's a cheater. YOU'VE BEEN ADEQUATELY WARNED. To agree, and be allowed to play the game, type: 'I UNDERSTAND THAT BLIZZARD IS SPYING ON ME TO CATCH CHEATERS'." Let's have no more of this "Press OK to continue" crap.

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