Developer Week in Review: The unglamorous life of video game developers

To live and die making "L.A. Noire," unsensible censors, and the top 25 ways to get PWNED

In an effort to Stop the Madness Now, this week’s review will contain no references to lawsuits, rumors about Apple products, discussion of recent court cases of any kind, and it will be 100% gluten free.

Suddenly, enterprise server development doesn’t seem that bad

Ever had one of those days, filled with endless meetings, when you wish you could be working on something fun, exciting, and wildly creative? You know, like a video game. Well, as it turns out, you might as well fantasize about working in a sweatshop making shirts, because the working conditions appear to be equivalent.

That’s the conclusion that people are coming to, as details emerge about the horrific conditions under which the game “L.A. Noire” was produced. The reports paint a picture of never-ending work weeks, verbal abuse, and unpaid overtime. Now imagine being stuck in that kind of workplace for seven years.

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The Internet: It can route around any malfunction except politics

In recent days there have been several governmental attempts to break the Internet in the name of the public good (if, in some cases, the public is defined as the owners of copyrighted material.) We begin with that bastion of free speech, the government of Australia. With cries of “Think of the Children!” echoing around Ayers Rock, two major Aussie ISPs began voluntarily blacklisting a list of allegedly child-porn-friendly sites generously provided to them by the government. Previous versions of this list have been helpfully supplied to the rest of the world by WikiLeaks (the contents of the list are secret), and in the past has included such dens of depravity as a dental website. Having the government decide what websites people can visit … nope, nothing could possibly go wrong here.

At least the folks Down Under aren’t trying to fundamentally subvert the working mechanisms that make the Internet function. For that level of creativity, you need to turn to the US Congress, which seems willing to break the Internet if it makes the film and record industries happy. The latest version of the PROTECT IP act (I won’t make you endure the incredibly contorted words that make up the acronym) would require DNS providers to let the government seize DNS records at will if they believed that they were involved in intellectual property violations. Kind of like the DMCA, as implemented by Stalin (notice how I cleverly avoided invoking Godwin’s law there, by switching dictators …). Not surprisingly, the people who actually have to make the Internet function are not amused.

Required summer reading: The most dangerous software errors

The good people of MITRE have just released the 2011 list of the top 25 most dangerous software errors. Several of them have made the Week in Review before, usually right after a major company was taken down by one of them. If you don’t know these culprits by heart, you should, because the bad guys certainly do!

After visiting the site, I desperately want a CWE/CAPEC t-shirt. The security ninjas at work will love it. I guess I’ll have to wait until this year’s comes out, alas.

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