Sunday, June 10, 2007

Paris Hilton in jail roundup

Since every damn celebrity website has been posting about this non-stop, and even FOX and CNN have bene broadcasting several hours of this stuff, I'd figure I'd jump on the bandwagon and post about the topic you all seem to love (but mostly hate):

Paris Hilton going to jail.

The following is a timeline of what happened during this whole ordeal. I'll try to be as complete and impartial as possible.

September 7th, 2006: Paris Hilton is arrested by the LAPD for DUI. The breath test showed 0.08 alcohol percentage, which is the minimum DUI level in California.

January 22th, 2007: Paris Hilton is sentenced to a 36 month probation for reckless driving. She loses her driving license and has to attend alcohol education, and pay fines totaling $1,450.

March, 2007: Paris Hilton's driving license is reinstated after a five-month ban. NOTE: this news is doubtful.

February 28th, 2007: Paris Hilton is arrested for misdemeanor driving with a suspended license, violating her probation. She was driving without her headlights on at night.

May 4th, 2007: Paris is sentenced to 45 days in county jail. She claimed to be unaware if her license was suspended, even though papers stating this were present in her car when she was arrested.

May 8th, 2007: It's probable the sentence will be reduced to 23 days for good behaviour, and possible it will be reduced even further due to cell shortage.

May 9th, 2007: Paris Hilton is spotted driving, four days after being sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating a driving ban.

May 10th, 2007: Two petitions appear, Free Paris Hilton and Jail Paris Hilton. 19,881 people have signed the petion to free Paris Hilton, 40,134 people signed the one to jail her.
At time of writing this (june 10th), the number are 31,966 signatures to free Paris, 89,962 signatures to jail her. None of the signatures on the 'Free Paris Hilton' petition list a name or comment, whereas almost all signatures on the 'Jail Paris Hilton' do.

May 17th, 2007: Paris will serve her time in jail in a 'special needs housing unit' reserved for high-profile inmates. She will be allowed outside one hour daily.

May 22nd, 2007: Paris Hilton is spotted carrying around a Bible.

June 1st, 2007: Three days before her sentence will begin, it becomes known that Paris has ordered a make-up team to meet her next monday to make her look her best when she checks into jail.

June 3rd, 2007: At the MTV movie awards, comedienne Sarah Silverman openly mocks Paris Hilton, saying 'the prison guards will replace the bars with penises to make her feel more comfortable'. Paris wasn't amused.

June 4th, 2007: Paris Hilton checks into L.A. county jail 'Twin Towers' to start sitting out her 45-day sentence. She is quoted as saying 'This is an important point in my life and I need to take responsibility for my actions. [..] Although I am scared, I am ready to begin my jail sentence'.

June 7th, 2007: After 72 hours, Paris Hilton is released from jail due to 'medical reasons'. She has been fitted with an ankle bracelet and will serve the remaining 40 days in house arrest, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. spokesperson Steve Whitmore.
Later that day, law enforcement sources state that the 'medical condition' is purely psychological and that Paris Hilton was on a verge of a nervous breakdown. Sheriff Lee Baca gave the final approval for springing Paris out of jail.
It's rumoured that a van with party supplies was sighted at the Hilton mansion just after Paris got home. [source needed]

June 8th, 2007: Judge Michael Sauer orders Paris Hilton back to jail after it became apparent that Sheriff Lee Baca did not even have the authority to release her from jail. The judge even specifically ruled that Paris was not allowed any work release, furloughs, use of an alternative jail or electronic monitoring in lieu of jail.
Paris was initially not present during the ruling, and wanted to attend by phone, but was picked up by the LAPD in handcuffs after this was ordered by judge Michael Sauer.
Paris Hilton was in hysterics after the ruling, shouting 'It's not right!' and literally crying for her mother who was present during the court.
Lastly, a dubious source reported that Paris was initially released from prison because she had a stress-induced herpes outbreak that had 'spread to her anus and had taken on abcess-like features that required more serious medical attention'.

Finally, because it is easily the most awesome thing that came out of this whole ordeal, here is the picture that was snapped after Paris was handcuffed, being excorted back to the courtroom where she heard she had to go back to jail.

And now, I FINALLY hope to hear nothing more from this parisite for the next three weeks. For crying out loud, these last few days she's had more publicity on high-profile news stations than the September 11th attacks did in 2001.


UPDATE: June 10th, 2007: Paris didn't eat or drink in the past three days, afraid of going to the bathroom - a prison guard may take pictures/videos and put them on the internet.

LAST UPDATE: June 26th, 2007: Paris was released from prison and has shown what was most likely her first genuine smile ever:

Smile, Paris.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

StarForce and Trackmania Nations

If you play Trackmania Nations, this may be relevant to you. If not, you probably won't care.

Trackmania Nations ESCW is a free racing game that is part of games of the yearly Electronic Sports World Cup (ESCW). It's lots of fun to play on the online servers, and it's free. If you have ever played Stunts, you will love Trackmania.

Trackmania Nations installs the very controversial StarForce copy protection system. The popular BoingBoing blog has had a lot of articles about this thing, and rightfully so. The above Wikipedia article as well as this BoingBoing article mentions that the Starforce copy protection software degraded IDE transfer speeds to the point where it physically breaks CD/DVD drives.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because today I wanted to play some Trackmania and there was an update available. Specifically, an update that upgraded Trackmania from version 1.7.8 to 1.7.9. After I installed it, when I wanted to re-benchmark my system to configure the graphics settings, I saw this pop up:

Starforce protection system

Some Googling showed that this was, in fact, the Starforce protection system. While I was aware that older versions of Trackmania Nations had the Starforce protection software bundled but only actually installed it when it was already on your system, this update makes the Starforce drivers MANDATORY. It installs them without asking or informing you, silently. Things like this REALLY tick me off.
A bit of uninstalling/reinstalling showed me that all updates for Trackmania Nations trigger or require the Starforce install. Only the original version (1.7.5) does not come with Starforce, and attempting to play online with this version will get you disconnected from the server with a message telling you to upgrade.


  • Trackmania Nations is a free game
  • Trackmania Nations has copy protection software installed called Starforce
  • Starforce installs itself at ring 0 in the Windows architecture, the same level used by antivirus software, firewalls and several other copy-protection systems.
  • Up to Trackmania Nations 1.7.6, Starforce was bundled with the installer but not actually installed. Unless you already had it on your system.
  • Starting with Trackmania 1.7.9, Starforce is always installed.
  • Starforce is not mentioned in the Trackmania Nations EULA
  • Starforce is not mentioned in the installer
  • Starforce installation is not visible
  • Starforce cannot be uninstalled from the Add/Remove Software applet
  • Starforce can physically break CD/DVD drives
  • The people who work for Starforce are abusive assholes [1] [2]

How do you know if you have Starforce on your system? Easy. Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager. In the Device Manager, select View > Show hidden devices from the menu. Scroll down to Non-Plug and Play devices and look for the three Starforce items.

Starforce devices

A Starforce uninstaller can be found here:

Why does a free game even have copy-protection software bundled? There are a few other versions of Trackmania that are not free (the original, 'Sunrise', and 'United') so I understand if that needs some kind of copy protection. But the free version? Well, it seems this is to prevent people from cheating at the ESCW tournaments. Which obviously take place in controlled environments where candidates are immediately disqualified for cheating. Huh?
This is all very disappointing. I have had a lot of fun with Trackmania, but I have now uninstalled and deleted it because of this Starforce mess. It was fun while it lasted.

UPDATE: July 2nd - It seems the StarForce drivers were removed from Trackmania: United. This makes me very happy.