Wednesday 21 September 2016

Games: Pokémon GO v. 0.37 bans rooted/jailbroken phones, and not

Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge
Photo: Google/YouTube

Is game-hacking all bad? Smartphone rooters/jailbreakers = game hackers?
Pokémon fanboy X suffers from a physical disability and is unable to walk. Travelling back and forth home and hospitals is almost the furthest it gets. Doesn’t dream of exploring the world, just dream of exploring Hong Kong. Prior to the launch of Pokémon GO, Google Map was his eyes and feet. Google’s 2014 April Fool video titled Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge and game gave him a day of fun and hope to live.

Then Pikachu came knocking on his mobile phone screen from the Augmented-Reality world, hope rekindled, but the GPS-based game was as much a sarcasm as it is a tease, “New stories have surfaced virtually daily about Trainers getting out into the real world, becoming more healthy, meeting neighbors, and helping kids. We’ve also heard from people using the game to cope with social anxiety, depression and autism, and even using it to improve their relationships. We have heard from tens of thousands of you directly, including amazing examples such as Kelly, who emailed us to tell her story about getting out finding a new sense of purpose. ” – Niantic Blog, 13 Sep 2016. 

Buddy System, v0.37
Photo: Android Police

Thanks to the game hackers, a Pokémon GO hack allows him to play the game and explore the Pokémon world even on his hospital bed using his rooted/jailbroken mobile phone, until the latest version 0.37 update in which Niantic decides to add Buddy System AND rooted/jailbroken phone ban, taking away the game entirely away from people with disability like X.

Be not afraid, because whenever there is a game community there is a hack. Using Magisk!, game hackers have once again become the heroes of X and now he can continue to enjoy ‘getting out’ into the ‘real world’, becoming more healthy, meeting ‘neighbours’, and helping kids like him.

  So, what is the point of making game hacks more difficult?

First, it is simply wrong to consider all smartphone rooters and jailbreakers as game hackers. Rooting/jailbreaking is about gaining more control of their own phones such as customization and even security. Banning all rooted/jailbroken smartphones from the game is like saying everyone with a screwdriver will rob a bank and crack open the vaults. Second, there is always going to be a game hack whatever a game company decides to do, so why bother? Third, hacks and cheats actually prolong the lifespan of a game. How do I know? Reverse-thinking: what happens when smartphone rooters/jailbreakers do not bother going through the trouble of hacking the game anymore? Because to them, which is more important, their right to fully control their phones or just another phone game?

Lastly, does Niantic even care about players like X?

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall! +Niantic

Pokémon GO updated to 0.37, adds Buddy Pokémon and Pokémon GO Plus support, blocks rooted devices +Android Police 

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Environment: Super Typhoon Meranti. Always Love a Big Eye

Satellite image of Super Typhoon Meranti
Image: Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.
 Always love a clear, big eye of a typhoon. It's a beautiful product of Mother Nature, reminding us that she is watching every bit of damage humans are doing to the environment and climate.

Super Typhoon Meranti's track and forecast
Image: Hong Kong Observatory, 8:33am, 14 September 2016