Monday, June 7, 2010

Alternative: Death Note chapter 1

To say the "clatter of keys" would be terribly offensive to the brown-haired youth. To him, it's not clatter...

It's conquest, the promise of another silent victory in the making.

It’s been barely an hour since the official worldwide release of Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 9. Filled with all the features you'd need from an operating system (and a bucket load of unnecessary ones) “Nine”, as the OS had been affectionately nicknamed, certainly is the next big thing from Microsoft. Practically everyone in the planet had been waiting for its release, with not a few die-hard fans spending nights camping on the streets just to ensure that they would be one of the first in the world to nab themselves a copy. Of course, there is always an exception to the rule.

For Light, "Nine" is just another victim.

"Impressive... The level of security on this thing is better than anything I've ever laid my hands on. Although..." Light snarled. "Nothing truly original... Boring to say the least…"

Not unknown to many, there exists an underground community of software hackers loosely referred to as the “warez” community. Members of these community attempt to bypass the security features of commercial software and release them as a free alternative to the real thing. Whilst some would call this activity piracy; members of the community prefer calling it "software sharing".

The holy grail of this community is the "0 day", a complete software hack on the same day of the software's official release. Sometimes, the hacked version can also be released simultaneously with the software, with some members having obtained leaked post production but pre distribution copies by hacking into FTP servers, SVN services or by the use of insiders or moles. This can only be accomplished, of course, by those extremely skilled in the craft, and quite a few people have made a name for themselves by achieving a 0 day.

One such name is Light.

The clatter of keys continued, pausing every once in a while just to have it start again with a fury.

Software hacking, at its core, is not that difficult of a concept to understand. Anybody with background knowledge on software development and software security could in theory hack into a program. It's just a matter of locating security locks and developing bypasses for them. This is accomplished by using de-compilation programs to reverse engineering the binary or executable file of the program itself.

Think of a program as a tree, with many branches leading to more branches, eventually leading to an end somewhere. Each decision point during the lifetime of the program’s execution is a branch of this tree. A common example would be a dialog box with an Ok and a Cancel button. Clicking on one button will lead you to one branch in the tree, which will trigger an action that could lead to more branches, eventually leading you somewhere.

Among all of these branches though, there exist a few special ones that handles security. These branches prevent the program from running if it was obtained illegitimately. An example of these special branches would be Serial Key inputs or the need for an original CD to run. By trimming off these branches and grafting in new specially crafted ones, a hacker can bypass the program’s security and thus disable them, allowing anyone to run the software without the need to purchase an original.

Light just so happens to be especially good at spotting and trimming these branches, and grafting in new ones. Exceptionally good.

The clatter of keys was interrupted by three sharp knocks on the door of the otherwise ordinary room. This was followed by an equally interrupting eager voice of a little girl.

"Light? Light? Are you there?"

"Sayu, not now, I’m kinda busy."

"But you promised you'd help me study for my exams tomorrow..."

"Did I?"

"Well... I remember you-"

The opening door caught little Sayu unawares.

"I'd help you study in a minute, but not now please, I have a project that I need to finish."

"Hmph, fine, but if you don't I'm telling mom."

When he's not busy cracking software and sharing them in his own FTP download server equipped with security that would make the mainframe of the US Department of Defence look like a child's playpen, Light is busy being the nation’s top student. An exemplar in all aspects, he is skilled in everything you put him in, be it academics or athletics; to call him a genius would be an understatement. Incidentally, not a few women have shown interest in him; intelligence, athleticism and the looks to match does have its perks.

Sayu is Light’s little sister. Though she often annoys Light with her constant pleas and whines, she is extremely proud of her brother. She looks up to him as an example and as far as she can remember, had always shared a strong bond with him; with their father often away due to his work as the local Chief of Police and their mother almost always busy with household chores, he is the often the only one she could talk to at home.

The clattering of keys had stopped. A few quick clicks were followed by a triumphant albeit nonchalant yawn. The brown-haired youth checked his wristwatch.

"Still have a few minutes before dinner…” Light sighed, no more excitedly, “Better check on Sayu."


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ad Continuum Episode 2

Ah, the wonders of over-productivity, today you get not one but two comic pages!. Click here for the full view of the first one, and here for the full view of the second one.

A little behind the scenes if you may.

Fans of the komikos timeline, don't despair. I also have a comic outlined already for komikos (actually around 2 or 3) but I felt the need to advance the ad continuum plot for now, since the first episode left so many unanswered questions (like these two episodes won't [angry]). I hope these two comic pages help answer some of those!

The reason why I made two (apart from my laziness to actually do anything else) is because if I only showed the first page, the second might come out in maybe Wednesday of the following week. That would create a three to four day lag, which could make the plot confusing. Cliffhangers are good devices for keeping people interested, but there exists a fine line between interest and confusion. I do not want to cross that line. No sir.

The yellow hazy atmosphere of RX' realm is supposed to be a tribute to him being "the child of the sun". I hope it did it's job, and not leave everyone's eyes aching and complaining about how the background is too bright (and making jokes about now being able to see Black RX clearly, since, you know, he's black... and the background is... bright... whatever). What do you think?

Anyway, so there you have it! I'm trying to stabilize and regularize the publishing schedule of these comics, but that would have to wait at least for another week, when my other activity schedules begin stabilizing and regularizing as well.

See you all on the next ride!



love you

dearest I love you


And till I can my frail heart will

always be for you