Papers, Please

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be one of those border checkpoint drones? Do you want to be just like them and have the ultimate power; the power to stamp or not to stamp? Of course you do.

And now you finally can, thanks to indie developer Lucas Pope and his game Papers, Please. The game puts you in the shoes of a nameless citizen of Arstotzka, a fictitious, dystopian Eastern European cold war country. The October labor lottery is complete, your name was pulled and you’re now a border inspector at the Grestin border checkpoint. It’s your job to make sure that only people who are allowed access to the glorious nation of Arstotzka actually cross the border.

Being a border inspector requires a lot of attention to detail, and the rulebook provided by the Ministry of Admission grows quite thick as the game progresses. Thankfully, Papers, Please does a good job of easing you into the rulebook. It starts out easy, with a simple passport and entry ticket check, but after a few days of in-game time your desk will be cluttered with documents on each arrival: Passport, identity supplement, entry permit, work permit, diplomatic papers, vaccination papers – you name it. And you have to pay attention to everything, miss a vaccination card discrepancy and the game might be over.

Autumn One-liners

Here are a few additions to the one-liners collection:

  • “Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in one ahead.” – Bill McGlashen
  • “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” – Marilyn Monroe
  • “The only mystery in life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets.” – Al McGuire
  • “If you die in an elevator, be sure to push the up button.” – Sam Levenson
  • “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” – Robert Frost
  • “Why does a woman work ten years to change a man’s habits and then complain that he’s not the man she married?” – Barbra Streisand
  • “The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.” – Brendan Behan
  • “The only way the French are going in is if we tell them we found truffles in Iraq.” – Dennis Miller
  • I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.
  • “I’m at the age where I want two girls. In case I fall asleep they will have someone to talk to.” – Rodney Dangerfield
  • “By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” – Charles Wadsworth
  • “A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.” – Bill Vaughan
  • “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.” – Jerry Seinfeld
  • “Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” – Franklin P. Jones
  • They keep saying the right person will come along, I think mine got hit by a truck.
  • “See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time.” – Robin Williams
  • “At every party there are two kinds of people: those who want to go home and those who don’t. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other.” – Ann Landers
  • If you do a job too well, you will get stuck with it.

Kickstarted

It’s been a good 18 months now since I backed my first Kickstarter project, “Make Leisure Suit Larry come again!“. That campaign was a raging success, raising a sweet $150,000 more than was actually needed to get Leisure Suit Larry to come again. After long months of waiting and a few delays, the Kickstarter backers were finally able to enjoy the reloaded version of the first Leisure Suit Larry games when Larry came again in June, and Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded was released.

Even though the Kickstarter campaign was a success, the game saw mixed reviews in the video game press. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d thought I would, either, as I pointed out in my review. Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded was unfinished, unpolished and perhaps a childhood memory that had been best left as just that; a memory. But even if the resurrection of Larry Laffer felt a bit like a dud, I continued to support Kickstarter campaigns.

As of right now I’ve supported no less than 9 additional campaigns, and some of the looks really promising! Here’s a quick look at the ones that has seen the most progress since they were funded.

How to install Owncloud on a NETGEAR ReadyNAS

Please note that this guide will install a very old version of ownCloud. I recommend that you install Nextcloud instead, and you can follow this simple step-by-step guide that explains how it’s done.

In the previous entry in the PRISM Break series, I looked at how to set up a NETGEAR ReadyNAS 102 as a basic replacement for your current, commercial, privacy-repellant, cloud storage needs. But to really get things running, you’ll have to tinker a little bit more with the NAS box. In this entry, I’ll cover how you connect to your ReadyNAS device over SSH with root privileges, how you install and configure Owncloud and you set up your Android device to synchronize files with your new Owncloud account. The tutorial below has been tested on a NETGEAR ReadyNAS 102 and a NETGEAR ReadyNAS 312, and it’s very likely that you can follow this guide to accomplish exactly the same on other ReadyNAS versions as well. The only prerequisite is that your ReadyNAS device has version 6 of the firmware installed.

I’m assuming that you’ve completed all the steps required to configure your ReadyNAS unit and that it’s connected to your LAN, and that you have installed the latest version of the firmware.

PRISM Break: Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is great. You can save files on the internet and access them from all your internet connected devices. It also gives you the possibility to create external backups of all your important files: Even if everything you own get lost in, say, a catastrophic house fire, your important documents, family photos and other digital valuables are safely stored someplace else. Great stuff.

The problem with cloud storage, however, is that you lose all control of your files. The cloud provider can easily access everything, look at your photos and read your documents. The files can also be shared with others by the cloud provider without your knowledge and consent. If you are a bit computer savvy, you can prevent this by encrypt everything you save in the cloud, but as far as I know, none of the popular cloud storage providers make this an easy process. In addition to the hassle of encryption, you have to make sure you have your private key stored somewhere safe, because if that is also lost in the mentioned house fire, you will be unable to access your files.

Up until a few weeks ago, I used two cloud services myself: Google Drive for external backups of important documents, photos and other files that I wanted easy access to across all my devices, and Amazon S3 to create backups of www.vegard.net and other sites hosted on the VBOX. Technically, both services work great. But in terms of privacy, they are rubbish. The files are not encrypted and are just sitting ducks, available to everyone with access, for instance some Google and Amazon employees. Google is planning an encryption project that will make sure your files are saved encrypted on Google Drive, but in practice this doesn’t really have any effect: Since the files are encrypted by the cloud provider, in this case Google, they can just as easily decrypt the files and have a look at them anyway.

So is cloud storage that respects and protects your privacy impossible? No, it’s not.