Inebriated with a Rubik’s complex: a history of violence

I have admired the American TV show House ever since it started airing, when I was in the later years of high school. Some of my friends compared me to him, and it was both elating and depressing at the same time. On one hand, he is a medical genius capable of solving unique and difficult cases; on the other hand, however, he is also an asshole. I was somewhat a junior incarnation of him during high school: bragging aside, I was a brilliant student. However, I was also a mordant wit who often pushed people away. I don’t deny the fact that I was an asshole during that period, although I do hope I have changed for the better (and I think I did).

This was the Banner Killer program.

This was the Banner Killer program.

As a TV show, House is both innovative and exemplary. In its run it already has contributed to popular culture, most especially in memes such as ‘It’s never lupus.’ Aside from its memes, however, it has contributed a wonderful concept that I simply have to use in this article. As a doctor, House doesn’t have a God complex. He doesn’t aim to save everyone from their destruction. At times, he doesn’t even aim to ease their pain. He has a different kind of complex that Wilson, his only friend, explicates upon: he has the Rubik’s complex. Most of us, if not all, are familiar with Rubik’s cubes. These are puzzles that require inventive spatial thinking to solve. This was where Wilson derived the psychological obsession House possesses: House always wants to solve the problem, without fail. He doesn’t mind being mistaken (he oftentimes is, and the diagnostic procedure is a trial-and-error process), but he wants to solve the problem all the time, even when the patient is dead. He always wants to know the logical answer.

I would argue that most people have this problem: most of us want answers in our lives, but most of us aren’t as obsessed as House is. To him, every problem must have a solution. I have said in a previous article that I was going to medical school because of the limited number of options life has presented me, and I think I am going to emulate House’s specialization, because I always cherished Chemistry and Physics more than Biology. The wonderful thing about the former sciences is that they always have a single, correct answer that is derived from careful analysis, observation, and experimentation. Each physical problem has a numerical and definite answer. The same applies in medical diagnostics, which is why I am enamored with the field.

In a previous article I talked about my remembrance regarding a download manager in the past, which was NetPumper Pro. I don’t know why, but I was bothered about its history: when was the last version of NetPumper Pro released? How did people cope with the ad-infested versions? What did they do? What were the abilities of the software?

The program before Banner Killer was run.

The program before Banner Killer was run.

In a typical obsessive fashion I decided to dig through the Internet to learn more. The following paragraphs would be what I learned regarding the software.

During the early years of the decade, NetPumper Pro was relevant and popular despite its bundling of advertisement programs in its system. It was one of the few download managers that could deal with Anti-Leech, a popular implementation of that time to prevent leechers (as torrents were unpopular during that period). There was little on the program that wasn’t possessed by better download managers aside from this. Significant amount of revenue was made by the program from its advertisements; people had to use the program to get to the good stuff. As it became more popular, the people developing the program capitalized on this boom, and added more ad-ware to the bundle so as to generate more money.

They offered a paid alternative sometime in 2002, and it was the early versions of NetPumper Pro. These were the 0.1.3 and 0.1.5 versions. After a $10 payment people could use anti-leech without being bothered by pop-ups or advertisement banners embedded within the program. I doubt many people availed of this, though: most people simply tolerated the intrusion, as most of them probably had Kazaa in their systems anyway (these years were the heyday of these programs). This assumption is corroborated by the fact that there were constant updates for the ad-infested version, but practically only two versions in the Pro version. There were about 25 version upgrades in the adware version of the program.

Most people tolerated the ostentatious and insidious intrusions. Some people who cared, however, attempted solutions to the ad problem. Searching through at least five different crack sites, I observed ways in which people tried to sidestep the bother of advertisements. There were five solutions, and I tested them all on a computer which had Deep Freeze. Deep Freeze is a program that subverts any changes made to the computer when locked (I tested the different programs on an Internet cafe).

I will discuss them by order of their appearance in ZCrack.

The first result was that of the NetPumper Banner Killer v.1.03. It specified in its readme file that it was for v.1.0 of NetPumper. From what I’ve seen with v.1.0 there were no Cydoor or WhenU installs, but there was a large banner. The banner killer did what it was supposed to do: it erased the large space reserved for the advertisement banners; no longer did the program have intrusive advertisements. This was among the first attempts to control the advertisements of the program.

This was the program after Banner Killer was run.

This was the program after Banner Killer was run.

The two following results were cracks for the Pro version of NetPumper.

The final two results are actually the same (I tried both of them). The Proximus Patch was less successful than its predecessor. It was unable to remove the bundled advertisement software; all it was able to successfully achieve was to prevent the advertisements from ever showing themselves. It replaced all the dynamic advertisements with a static picture of NetPumper, but it was unable to remove the bundled advertisements with his patch. Still, it made life a little more tolerable for the users in that they no longer had to deal with embedded advertisements.

After the release of v.1.0 of NetPumper Pro the developers no longer attempted to update or improve upon the Pro versions. I can only assume that not many people purchased this adware-free version and dealt with the hassles of adware themselves by bearing them. NetPumper, however, has continued development and is now up to a v.1.5. The program is no longer as popular as it was five to six years ago; this may be another reason why the Pro version of the product was discontinued.

The difference can't be noted with this picture, but the banner was selectable before the patch was implemented. After the patch was applied it no longer was clickable: the NetPumper logo just remained to be a static picture.

The difference can't be noted with this picture, but the banner was selectable before the patch was implemented. After the patch was applied it no longer was clickable: the NetPumper logo just remained to be a static picture.

The problem is now solved: with the advent of free and less intrusive technologies and with the gradual obsolescence of Anti-Leech there was little reason to keep on using the program (except for nostalgic purposes, like mine, but even I use the most recent Pro version). This was also the reason why I haven’t been writing entries on anime for the past few days: I have been researching on the origins and the evolutionary history of this software. I can finally relax and return to watching anime as I have finally written this expository article.

P.S.: Regular programming will hopefully resume after this post. I’m finally over with this.

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14 Responses to “Inebriated with a Rubik’s complex: a history of violence”

  1. Rankao Says:

    I see the relationship between the starting intro and rest of the body paragraph; However, I was completely thrown off by the difference your thesis and your remaining analysis. I thought your entire article was going to be about your relationship between you and House.

    I myself never got into programs like Ares and Kazaa. I’ve always been a person who used torrents or avoiding the internet underworld completely. Its actually quite ironic that in recent years I started using firefox and plug-in like Adblock Plus I forgot that the internet is fill with ads and pop ups. I do freelance IT work and that constantly reminds me that people use their computer was glorified Playboy magazines. So I have to clean off their systems and tell them to use better care when surfing the internet. And when appropriate I give them safe sites to visit and alternative programs to use. This is again [to me] another reminder that the internet is not a safe place. Just like Vietnam 1969, its a good idea to have protection on both heads.

  2. Sorrow-kun Says:

    I was thrown off by the post title. A history of violence? There’s no mention of violence, except in the sense that you use as many different hammers as you can find to solve your problems. Most people don’t use a hammer to solve a Rubik’s cube or, when they do, they don’t feel very satisfied. Then again…

  3. Michael Says:

    I’m sorry for the allusive title. I thought it was a great one, though!

    Rankao:

    My Rubik’s complex was in the resolution of a very simple problem: the problem was the history of a program I used merely because of nostalgia. The program was NetPumper. I used a history of violence because the history of NetPumper was laden with drastic and jarring change. Within the short span of two years it had already reached its peak and faded away. Two years is quite a short span of time for life, evolution, and death. That was why I deemed it violent.

    I was inured to the world of anti-spyware protection because I was one of the people who had their computers destroyed by it. I tested every possible program and their possible repercussions when one installed the software on their PCs, and I saw my test computer slowing to a crawl before finally dying in agony.

    Sorrow-kun:

    Exactly. That was the violence in that. I broke my proverbial Rubik’s cube because of the different hammers I attacked it with, in addition to the short but eventful history of the NetPumper Program.

    Everyone:

    I have the NetPumper program in case anyone would like to hazard a try. I have different solutions to its adware problems.

  4. gay Says:

    no silly, you’re sweeter than house! 😛

  5. Michael Says:

    Thanks, G. 🙂

  6. g Says:

    oh dear. suddenly, i changed my mind! lol

  7. Michael Says:

    G:

    Not funny. 😉

  8. g Says:

    huhu 🙁

  9. Michael Says:

    I’m glad you’re visiting my blog again, though. Do try NetPumper v. 1.0 with Banner Killer found in the post after this. It works well, and it helps boost your downloads fast. 🙂

  10. pixie Says:

    pseudobest!

    i read your blog. i just don’t comment because i can hardly relate. 🙁 you’re not sweet. you’re bitter sweet. this is a reply to your other post: we have the same fear; i might not be able to graduate (on time). damn it! what’s the purpose of graduating cum laude if i can’t graduate on time? i will do my best nonetheless. i will cry blood if i have to! nyanya

    pagstudy uie! sige lng ka anime!

  11. Eric Patterson Says:

    I love Dr. House and i always watch this TV series after my day job…-

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