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Chad-Man
August 23, 2010 1:30 PM   Subscribe

"We could have reprogrammed it to steal votes, but that's been done before, and Pac-Man is more fun!"
posted by griphus (25 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
You know what other PAC steals votes?
posted by chavenet at 1:35 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Your favorite giant, incredibly slow PC in a "modded" case.. sucks.

Quite disconcerting indeed.
posted by pyrex at 1:37 PM on August 23, 2010


And there begins the Ms. Pac-Man suffrage movement.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:44 PM on August 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Am I the only one whose primary takeaway from this was, "Wow, cool, you can run MAME on an AVC Edge"?
posted by doteatop at 1:46 PM on August 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


what if this were to become a poll test? must pass 2 levels of pac-man before casting a vote... (no literacy issues here - maybe allow practicing at public libraries or open public arcades to get everyone up to speed?).

or imagine election outcomes if everyone got as many votes as points they could score... (not sure i'd want this country's leaders decided by pac-man kings though).
posted by el io at 1:47 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heed my words: there will come a day when you'll be able to run MAME on a mechanical pencil.
posted by griphus at 1:51 PM on August 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Am I the only one whose primary takeaway from this was, "Wow, cool, you can run MAME on an AVC Edge"?
What's inside the AVC Edge?

It has a 486 SLE processor and 32 MB of RAM—similar specs to a 20-year-old PC. The election software is stored on an internal CompactFlash memory card. Modifying it is as simple as removing the card and inserting it into a PC.
In other words, you can run MAME on a 486.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:53 PM on August 23, 2010


Did you know Pac-Man was originally called Puck Man, based on the onomatopoeic Japanese phrase paku-paku? And then when it was introduced into the US, they changed its named to Pac-Man because it would be too easy to change the P in Puck-Man.
posted by kmz at 1:54 PM on August 23, 2010 [11 favorites]


"...it would be too easy to change the P in Puck-Man"

What would be wrong with Buck-Man?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:00 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]



Heed my words: there will come a day when you'll be able to run MAME on a mechanical pencil.


Two mechanical pencils sharing one piece of lead could be turned into a rudimentary turing machine. Someone get on that.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:02 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


What would be wrong with Buck-Man?

No, the fear was that it would be changed to Ruck-Man. There were a lot of rabid Alan Ruck fans back then.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 2:02 PM on August 23, 2010


Pac-Man represents the voters and the four ghosts represent the two major political parties, wall street, and the military. The dots represent the money Pac-Man earns at a soul killing white collar job. The ghosts may have slightly different strategies, but their ultimate goal is to kill Pac-Man and steal his money. Once he's dead, its all theirs.

Pac-Man represents the government and the four ghosts represent your average citizens. All of the dots represent money, which belongs to the ghosts. The ghosts desperately try to stop the bloated, corrupt Pac-Man before he devours everything they have. Once he's dead, they realize they no longer have things like roads and schools (which Pac-Man provided), so its game over for them, too.

Pac-Man represents righteous humanity and the four ghosts are the riders of the apocalypse. Pac-Man goes about his business, constantly haunted by war, plague, pestilence and death. No matter how hard he tries, he succumbs to one or more of them, either through miscalculation or through fatigue. When he dies, he is utterly annihilated - there is no body left, no soul is released. Perhaps in his last moment, he realizes that there is no life after death and the run through the maze is entirely pointless, and that the so-called "four horsemen" were just the horrible, uncaring forces of nature that plague every living thing. That is unlikely, though, as he is more likely cursing his failure to avoid the inevitable.

Pac-Man represents a hungry yellow puck. The ghosts just fucking hate hockey.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:08 PM on August 23, 2010 [16 favorites]


What would be wrong with Buck-Man?

You aren't seeing the horrifying big picture:

Puck-Mad

*shudder*

I for one am glad they had the foresight to stop that from getting through. Kids would have been running around like crazy hockey fans, vandalizing arcades all over the country.
posted by quin at 2:12 PM on August 23, 2010


Pac-Man represents the joyless compulsive consumer, pursued relentlessly and to the death by the specter(s) of the economically assimilated Protestant Work Ethic.

How do I know this? There is no way to win the game. Eventually, you die with nothing to show for your efforts save a few gratuitous pieces of fruit which, of course, you cannot take with you.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:14 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one whose primary takeaway from this was, "Wow, cool, you can run MAME on an AVC Edge"?

Mine was "Without tampering with the tamper-proof seals? Holy crap."
posted by davejay at 2:18 PM on August 23, 2010 [6 favorites]



Mine was "Without tampering with the tamper-proof seals? Holy crap."

It's probably more useful to think of them as 'tamper evident'. After doing that, one can get impressed/depressed at the contest to defeat a plethora of tamper evident seals. While the results don't appear to be readily available online, they were disclosed at the conference (everything was successfully tampered, without evidence, if memory serves).
posted by el io at 2:45 PM on August 23, 2010


Oh, the specifics in this case to 'defeat' the tamper evident seals, didn't seem too overwhelmingly difficult or technical.

"We received the machine with the original tamper-evident seals intact. The software can be replaced without breaking any of these seals, simply by removing screws and opening the case."
posted by el io at 2:50 PM on August 23, 2010


Real change will only come when pac-man is deployed into the field on an election day.

Take down a single voting site with reprogrammed machines, then watch the media take up the story, and take bets on whether DRE's are ever allowed in an American election again. White-hat your way to victory...
posted by kaibutsu at 3:10 PM on August 23, 2010


Oh, the specifics in this case to 'defeat' the tamper evident seals, didn't seem too overwhelmingly difficult or technical.

Exactly. See the UCSB Security Group Top-to-Bottom vendor rebuttal report (Quick View / PDF):
First, that the tamper-evident seals could be removed without detection by election officials was not an assertion made by the red team. To the contrary, the red team was able to access critical voting machine hardware (e.g., results cartridge ports, polls open/closed buttons) that are intended to be protected by tamper- evident seals without disturbing the seals themselves; that is, the seals can be bypassed without any physical evidence that an intrusion has occurred. Moreover, the ability to bypass the seals is due not to their design, but is rather a consequence of the physical construction of the voting machine enclosures themselves.
That's right, they've been designed so the systems could be opened up without dealing with the tamper-proof features.

Take down a single voting site with reprogrammed machines, then watch the media take up the story

The lack of verification of the voting system. Verified Voting.org has a map of US states and their voter verified paper records and mandatory audits. If you get a print-out that you got the high score on Pac-Man for the day, we're OK. But if we have to take your word on it, all bets are off.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:30 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


(not sure i'd want this country's leaders decided by pac-man kings though).

Given that Pac-Man kings are huge nerds, we'd probably end up with President Jean-Luc Picard. I'm not seeing the downside.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:08 PM on August 23, 2010


Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Blinky
posted by horsemuth at 4:27 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


GOOGLE CRUISE ELROY
posted by barnacles at 8:33 PM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


power pellets to the people
posted by the aloha at 9:13 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I saw this story elsewhere, I was glad they chose to install a videogame rather than just modifying the vote. Such a huge, obvious modification must surely get traction in the "corporate-owned voting machines are evil!" story, right? Then I come here and find almost nothing but Pacman jokes.

I am disappointed.
posted by DU at 5:43 AM on August 24, 2010


Brad Friedman comments
posted by mrgrimm at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2010


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