As computer users (and students), we usually try to get things as cheaply as possible. So when it comes to software, we usually look to free alternatives before forking out hundreds of dollars on commercial programs. And as we know, most of the best free software are open source projects created and built up all while keeping the source code of the program available to the public to improve upon, or use as a base for their own projects. While a great concept when everyone cooperates, there have been examples of abuse of the open-source concept.

One fairly well-known example of such abuse is the long-running program Pro Flight Simulator (http://www.proflightsimulator.com/). The PC flight simulation industry has long been dominated by two products: the semi-professional X-Plane series, and the (now-defunct) consumer-level Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, for over a decade now, there has been a third player,FlightGear(http://www.flightgear.org/), which is an open-source flight simulator program that attempts to replicate most of the features found in commercial flight sims. While it has never enjoyed the popularity of X-Plane and MFS, it has nonetheless going strong, with an active development community.

Because of its open-source nature, anybody is able to modify and recompile the code and distribute it in any way they like. A few years ago, one such program appeared, calling itself Pro Flight Simulator (http://www.proflightsimulator.com/). It claims to be most accurate and detailed flight sim program on the market, directly comparing itself to Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, according to several users on major flight enthusiast community boards, Pro Flight Sim looks and plays identical to FlightGear. The only difference is that while FlightGear is freeware, Pro Flight Sim costs $49, not to mention its website looking like the style of a paid infomercial on television. FlightGear’s own developers have also noticed this, and have indeed confirmed that as far as anyone could tell, Pro Flight Simulator is just FlightGear with a different name, and costs money (http://www.flightgear.org/flightprosim.html).

Unfortunately, the recompilation and commercialization of Pro Flight Simulator is completely legal, due to it being based on (virtually identical to) the open-source FlightGear and its licensing agreement. But this issue does raise the question of whether drastic action should be taken against these kinds of scams. Of course, it is understandable when one makes a new program based on an open-source project and markets that, but in the case of Pro Flight Simulator, they are trying to profit from little effort, and no one wins. We can only hope that word-of-mouth on message boards will get through to people considering buying the program, and cause them to reconsider.

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I am making a mockumentary of a fictional NBA player, Emmanuel Padadapoulous. I have put many hours of work into this project, and will continue to until it is completed, and I would really appreciate it if you would share this video with your friends and everyone you know. It is something I had a lot of fun making, and I’m sure that everyone who watches it would really enjoy it.

More teasers coming up, and stay tuned for the release of the full video!

 

It’s amazing what a connected world we live in nowadays. Of course, we shouldn’t take anything away from what Jeremy Lin has achieved over the past two weeks. So, like everyone else that’s talking about him now (which seems like the entire world), I’ll give my version of a brief bio of this guy. Born in California to immigrant parents, he was a star basketball player in high school, leading his team to the Division II state championship, then went to Harvard after only getting walk-on offers from a few colleges. He was undrafted in the 2010 NBA draft, and though he wasn’t completely unknown (ESPN analyst John Hollinger projected him to be picked early in the second round of the draft), he was barely able to maintain his spot as the 12th man on a Golden State team, before being cut in late 2011, then again by the Houston Rockets shortly after. And the rest is history.

Once again, I am not trying to take away from his excellent play as of late in any way. However, it really raises the question of the media’s role in all the hype surrounding him. Tabloid newspapers, social media networks, and blogs have truly made Jeremy Lin larger than life. Now, he is scrutinized for his every action on the court, and there really is no saying that, as this goes on, people will be following his off-court, private life as well. This level of hype is not unknown – after all, it’s the main reason of how Yao Ming got voted into so many All-Star games, but unlike Yao, who came into the NBA with the high expectations of a number-one draft pick, Lin is the epitome of coming out of obscurity to become an overnight sensation. And for this, we have the 21st century media to credit (or blame, depending on how you look at it).

I’m at Beijing Capital International Airport right now, waiting for my flight to Kunming which boards in about 10 minutes. At least, it’s supposed to. Weather’s pretty bad now in terms of visibility… not sure if it’ll make it in time. Hopefully it won’t be another 2-hour long delay like my last flight. The airport is awesome in that it has free internet access… which is what makes this post possible. Will update ASAP.

Man it’s hot here. Seems like the major cities in China are all caught in a heat wave right now. In Tianjin yesterday it reached over 38 degrees Celsius, and in Beijing it was over 40. Seems like the government issued a yellow alert for the Tianjin area, which basically means potentially dangerous levels of heat, and to limit outdoor activity unless absolutely necessary. Highest level is orange (basically, red), which has been issued in Beijing. Basically, for me, it means that I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Watching TV, eating junk food, etc.┬áStill working on getting the pictures uploaded. Once I get that done I’ll do more detailed commentary for my trip. Wait for that to happen soon.