Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

When is a game not a game? When you never win.

For years, virtualization software maker Parallels offered the chance to win a free product key if you “stump the KeyGenie,” a virtual robot which users can play against. Normally, users must buy a product key to run the software beyond its two-week free trial. But if you can make it through five questions without the robot guessing what you’re thinking, the robot says a key “may be yours.”

But it turns out it’s an impossibility.

Security researcher John Wethington alerted TechCrunch to the KeyGenie game more than a year after he told Parallels that the game was impossible to win. He examined the source code of the webpage to see how it worked. He quickly found that no matter what a user does, the code never allows a user to win a free product key.

“It’s to get people to sign up for a trial by pretending to give them a chance at a free license,” he said. “But the source code proves it never will.”

We asked three security researchers to independently verify our findings. Spoiler alert: they did.

Yonathan Klijnsma, a threat researcher at cyberthreat intelligence firm RiskIQ, looked at the code and found that the robot’s responses were hardcoded.

“There’s never any product key,” he told TechCrunch. “You have that winning screen but there’s never a product key on the page,” he said. “You can trigger the case for getting a key but there is no way to get to it.”

Though it’s possible to trick the game into thinking you’ve won, nothing happens — and no key is ever awarded.

parallels

A screencap of the KeyGenie game; no product key is ever produced (Image: TechCrunch)

“It’s a bunch of hardcoded if-else statements that just take you to the same widget in the end,” said Edwin Foudil, a security researcher who also performed a cursory review of the site. And Baptiste Robert, who’s known for finding security vulnerabilities in apps and websites, said his own checks show nothing is ever pulled from the server after the user wins, suggesting the winner is never served a product key.

“It seems to be a fake game,” said Robert.

We contacted Parallels prior to publication but spokesperson John Uppendahl did not comment. If that changes, we’ll update.

The KeyGenie site was born more than five years ago after Parallels found its popular desktop emulation software was regularly falling victim to software piracy. Hackers would crack the software’s product key algorithm, then build and share their product key generators — known as keygens — on file-sharing sites. Quickly, these keygens floated to the top of search engines, making user piracy even easier.

Parallels built the aptly named “KeyGenie” game so it would rise to the top of search results and replace the illegal keygen search results.

One of Parallels’ marketing agencies at the time published a blog post claiming that KeyGenie “will actually hand out keys,” and that the game was “programmed randomly.” The post, published seven months later, “generated dozens of trials” and “four-figures in revenue.”

The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates potentially deceptive advertising and marketing, did not comment outside business hours.


TechCrunch

All-in-one PCs have adopted some pretty odd designs over the years, but I’ve never seen one quite like this.

The Looking Glass Pro is an all-in-one gaming PC that’s focused on one thing, visualizing 3D content on its bizarre lenticular display that makes you feel like you’re staring into a glass box filled with pixels. The embedded 4K display renders dozens of potential views and pipes them out as lower-res slices through some bizarre lens wizardry so that users can see the onscreen content in volumetric 60fps 3D without needing glasses.

You can get a better sense of how exactly this looks from a video that the company tweeted out.

This isn’t the first product from Brooklyn-based Looking Glass Factory, but it is a culmination of all their weirder efforts to date.

Last year, the company raised nearly $ 850k in a crowdfunding campaign for its Looking Glass display, focusing the market for the display technology on creators looking to visualize 3D graphics and objects without having to toss on a VR headset. The company has disclosed nearly $ 14 million in funding.

With the new hardware, the startup is aiming to court some enterprise customers to shove one of these front-and-center on their conference table displays, hoping that the new design can streamline the process of showcasing 3D content. Looking Glass Factory is courting everyone who has ever brought a VR headset to showcase 3D content. The startup argues that their solution showcases glorious 3D but doesn’t require a headset and can showcase multiple views to multiple people at once.

 

Copyright 2006 Phoebe Cheong, all rights reserved

The hardware is focused on ensuring that you can cue up content and live-render it as users manipulate the content or change views with the onboard touch controls. The Looking Glass Pro integrates an Intel NUC 8 VR mini PC running Windows as well as a 7″ secondary touch panel screen that flips out from the side to make navigating the PC a bit easier, though that process still seems to be a tad janky at the moment.

The whole premise for this thing is weird and cool but also super expensive. The original 15.6″ Looking Glass display was $ 3,000, this thing is $ 6,000. The workstation is available for pre-order now and ships in July.


TechCrunch

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