Archive for June, 2009
Spammers are nothing if not smart copycats. Why write your own copy (text message) and come up with your own ideas for formatting emails when you can take ideas directly from valid emails? That exactly what I see happening more and more lately. Take this email for example:
This message contains images. If you don’t see images, click here to view
In case of no image, press here
Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Change of Address
This message was sent from Naedaee to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have been sent The Uzqvaq because you have opted in to receive it.
Note: It may take our system up to two business days to process your unsubscribe request and during that time you may receive one or two more newsletters. Thank you for reading.
If you get an email like this and your spam filter doesn’t catch it (Gmail has GREAT spam filters! Plus you can use Gmail on your T-Mobile G1) you might need to look at it carefully. In this case I noticed the email was from me (odd, eh? mailing myself a newsletter!) Then I hovered over the links in the email and saw the website addresses ended with .cn (China). Red flags went up and I wouldn’ve sent that sucker to spam folder, except it was already there. Look at your emails before hitting that “If you don’t see images, click here to view” link and you might save yourself a lot of trouble. Normally I will freely visit .com, .net, .org, .us, .com.uk, and some others that I recognize. Whenever I see a weird one I’ll google it. For example if the domains were something orother.az I google .az domains and see what comes up. In this case its Azerbaijan which I still lump together with Russia, so any unexcepted email from there I’d mark as spam.
MORE, PLUS A LITTLE RANTING AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Now, I certainly did not opt in to receive any free newsletters from a Chinese website. No wonder I read about stuff like the recent mysterious virus that struck the FBI & U.S. Marshals Service and now NASA is pretty much constantly getting hacked! Emails like the one above are sent out and employees, regular Joes and Janes in our governments work force are freaking out and clicking the unsubscribe or feedback links to get themselves removed from the list or complain about being on the list they certainly did not subscribe to. But instead there is a chance that the web page they are taken to (which they probably do not even realize is a Chinese website) has a virus embedded into it or other goodies to identify or attempt to infect the computer of the person clicking the link. I can imagine the programming on a page like this:
Is the visitor from the US or a US-loving country?
- If the American or American-loving visitor is NOT at a secure location China would like to hack, try to damage the visitor’s computer.
- If the American or American-loving visitor IS at a secure location China would like to hack, then try to load software onto that computer.
- If the visitor is not from a US-loving country then display a harmless webpage.
Now I realize I am generalizing big time, because not all Chinese websites are bad. But certainly those that send spam are bad to some extent. Plus after reading those two articles above I can’t resist a little conspiracy theory. NASA is getting hacked on a regular basis and the FBI and US Marshals Service have been infected to some extent by a virus.
Are you looking to improve your aiming in Gears of War 2? Find out how to leave your opponents in the dust with as little effort as possible? Here are some Gears of War 2 Aiming Basics to get you started.
GET TO KNOW THE GOW2 CONTROLS
Face it, if you don’t know the controls you will not aim as good as possible in GOW2 (or any game, really). I break down the controllers into 3 areas…
1.Use a decent controller - choose a good controller that “feels good”. If the controller is awkward or moves too quickly or too slowly for you then you won’t get as much as possible from your aim. Case in point I own an original Xbox 360 Wireless controller and a Game Stop Xbox 360 wired controller. I love Game Stop for used games and affordable used accessories for my 360, but that controller (the least expensive I could find) just doesn’t “feel” good for me. Its too quirky, too quick. I *could* get used to it, but I’ve already trained myself on my Xbox 360 wireless controller and it has a natural feel for me.
2. Practice with your controller -Speaking of training myself on my Xbox 360 controller, you’ll want to spend hours getting used to the “feel” if your controller during gameplay. You want reload, take cover, evade, mantle, and reload to become second nature so that you are pressing the buttons without thinking. Expect to put over 10 hours into this if you are just starting the game, and much longer if you are also new to the Xbox 360.
3. Know the buttons on your controller – As stated in “Practice with your controller” you need to know the buttons on your controller… and not just shoot and move left and right.
- Left Trigger – Aim
This gives you a zoomed view of the battlefield and your opponents. The degree of zoom depends upon the weapon. When throwing a grenade use the Left Trigger to see where its going to go when you throw it.
- Right Trigger – Fire/Throw
Fire your weapon or throw your grenade
- Right Bumper – Reload
Reload your weapon, read Gears of War 2 Reloading for more info
- Left Thumbstick – Move
Move your character with the let thumbstick/joystick
- Right Thumbstick – Look (click to zoom)
Change your view and look around. Use in combination with the Left Thumbstick (Move) to get where you are going. Click the Right Thumbstick to zoom your weapon, if available (depends on weapon)
- X – Use/Interact
Context-specific actions pop up on-screen showing when you can pick up ammo, kick in doors, etc…
- B – Melee/Tag
Melee your opponent with your weapon (hit them with your weapon). A few weapons don’t have a melee attack, and a couple have special melee attacks. The Lancer Assault rifle’s “melee” is the chainsaw which is not as easy to pull off as it was in the original Gears of War. It seems everyone knows what that noise is now when your chainsaw engine revvs, and they don’t like it! The other melee attack is a “tag” with a grenade. In almost all cases if you can tag your opponent with a grenade you can write them off as expired.
- A – Take Cover/Evade/Mantle
Okay, first off to pull of evade you need to be away from any surface that you will “take cover” to. As you are walking you can just hit A and your character will do a dive roll. Use Left thumbstick along with A to control the direction of your evade move. Take cover will almost always happen when you press A if you are near a surface and not already in cover. Mantle is context-specific and requires that you are in cover already and you move your Left Thumbstick till the context-specific action you want is displayed (Mantle or jump over, Swat Turn from cover-to-cover, or Cover Slip away from your cover into a walk).
ADDITIONAL GEARS 2 AIMING TIPS
Tip: Gears of War 2 Aiming
ADDITIONAL GEARS 2 TIPS & LINKS
Tip: Intestinal Fortitude – Goal: Avoid Suffocating
Tip: Intestinal Fortituide – Goal: Avoid Jets & Acid Pools
Tip: Get Marcus and Dom Past Cranes
Info: Gears of War 2 Better Than The Original [plus Youtube Vid]
Info: Xbox Sales Tied to Gears Of War Again [plus Youtube Vid]
Info: Gears of War 2 Takes Aim at Used Game Sales
Link: Gears 2 Xbox Mini Site
Link: Official Gears of War 2 Site
In a rush to check your Gmail account? Maybe you’re on dialup and its slow, or you’ve just got a couple of seconds to check your inbox, or maybe your Gmail loads slow for some reason and you just want to see if you have any new email. What do you do?
Gmail presents New in Labs: Inbox Preview – just turn this feature on and when you see the “Loading email@example.com” message you get a plain text representation of the the first 10 messages in your inbox – including at-a-glance whether or not they are read or unread.
Mission accomplished – thanks again Gmail. It might not be the biggest hit, but some folks will surely live off of this new feature.