Archive for July 11, 2023

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

The Disappearance of Classic Video Games

Kelsey Lewin (via Hacker News):

The Video Game History Foundation, in partnership with the Software Preservation Network, has conducted the first ever study on the commercial availability of classic video games, and the results are bleak. 87% of classic video games released in the United States are critically endangered.

Imagine if the only way to watch Titanic was to find a used VHS tape, and maintain your own vintage equipment so that you could still watch it. And what if no library, not even the Library of Congress, could do any better — they could keep and digitize that VHS of Titanic, but you’d have to go all the way there to watch it. It sounds crazy, but that’s the reality we live in with video games, a $180 billion industry, while the games and their history disappear.


This is where libraries and archives should come in. Anyone should be able to easily explore, research and play classic video games, in the same way that they can read classic novels, listen to classic albums, and watch classic movies. But outdated copyright laws are preventing institutions like ours from doing our jobs.

Dare Obasanjo:

It’s amazing to think how much digitization has made it less likely content will last beyond a generation. Writing on stone tablets last hundreds to thousands of years. An Atari cartridge or Betamax tape is almost impossible to consume today if you aren’t a collector of classic electronics.

I used to think my kids and grandkids would read my blog posts and tweets. Now I doubt Medium or Twitter will still be around in ten years.


Update (2023-07-12): See also: Craig Grannell.

Update (2023-07-13): John Voorhees:

The problem extends to apps too. Craig Grannell, with the help of Internet sleuths, set out to recreate the list of 500 apps and games that debuted on the App Store as its 15th anniversary approached. Grannell’s Google Spreadsheet currently lists 355 titles, and guess what? By my count, only 43 of those apps and games have live App Store URLs, which works out to 12%, almost exactly the same results as the Video Game History Foundation’s study. Grannell’s spreadsheet may not have been compiled as rigorously as the Foundation’s study, but the point stands: we’re losing access to culturally significant apps and games on the App Store alongside the videogame industry.


Beta Updates in a macOS VM

Guilherme Rambo (Mastodon):

Installing betas now requires signing in with an Apple ID that’s enrolled in the beta program (be it the developer, customer, or public betas), and unfortunately signing in with an Apple ID inside a macOS VM is also not supported.

However, I have found a workaround that allowed me to update a macOS VM running macOS 14 beta 2 to macOS 14 beta 3.

Craig Hockenberry:

There are three primary use cases for most macOS developers running a beta OS in a virtual machine (such as macOS Ventura in UTM):

  1. To download their existing apps from the Mac App Store to verify that everything works correctly on the new OS. An Apple ID is needed to download from the Mac App Store.

  2. To build and debug their apps using Xcode. An Apple ID is needed to setup an account in Xcode so automatic code signing can be used.

  3. To test apps that use iCloud. An Apple ID is needed to access iCloud in System Settings.


Rapid Security Responses Pulled Due to User Agent

Juli Clover:

The iOS 16.5.1, iPadOS 16.5.1, and macOS Ventura 13.4.1 Rapid Security Response updates fixed a WebKit vulnerability that Apple says may have been actively exploited. Unfortunately, it appears that the updates changed the Safari user agent to include an (a), leading some websites to break.

Miguel Arroz:

Still, between having the Mac vulnerable to an issue being exploited in the wild and not being able to browse Meta sites, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. 😄

Thomas Clement:

It’s bad enough for Apple to pull the updates, which means they didn’t do a really good job at testing them with a number of very obscure web sites such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Zoom 🙃 I’m sure it doesn’t matter much to all the users who had issues whether the bug lies on Apple’s side or not. It’s very nice to be able to uninstall these updates, but you might still lose a few hours dealing with issues until you realize you need to do that.


Update (2023-07-13): See also: MacMule.

Suing OpenAI and Meta for Copyright Infringement

Wes Davis (Hacker News):

Comedian and author Sarah Silverman, as well as authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey — are suing OpenAI and Meta each in a US District Court over dual claims of copyright infringement.

The suits alleges, among other things, that OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Meta’s LLaMA were trained on illegally-acquired datasets containing their works, which they say were acquired from “shadow library” websites like Bibliotik, Library Genesis, Z-Library, and others, noting the books are “available in bulk via torrent systems.”