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Episode 1686: Tower of Babble


In movies, people always seem to be able to guess someone's password within three guesses. In reality... well, many people's passwords are so bad that you probably can as well. But not anyone who knows anything about computer security.

Ideally, you'd never be able to guess anyone's password. So if people in your game think they can do it, feel perfectly free to make it impossible. (Without some sort of social engineering designed to make it easier, that is.)

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

The first panel shows an absolutely wonderful view of the tower. I'm used to games like Minecraft where what you're looking at appears small in the distance, and if you actually want to see a wider view of things what you're looking at gets even smaller. For that matter, I can take a digital camera, and point it at an elk in the backyard, and even though the elk looks big it will show up as tiny in the camera. Here, you have a beautiful effect showing what you're looking at as big and huge, and the stuff off in the distance is small and distorted. This is what I want in games like Minecraft, or Portal, or anything where I'm looking at something where the computer thinks the optics say that since you're looking at it, it has to appear tiny in the distance because of the parallel lines.

What, you mean it's a composite image? Multiple screenshots stitched together? Darn it.

Okay. Let's get back to the story. Jim is reminding us that the point of raiding this data center is to be able to backtrack all the orbital changes from the shipping of water to locate where the water was sent to as a way to find the hidden data center. And yes, we might find the Peace Moon plans here as well.

Data storage. That vault of memory crystals, disc shaped, hard crystals instead of soft crystals. When I first saw it I was thinking of a tower of hard drives. My second thought was a tower of ME drives.

And when I asked a group of modded Minecraft players, they told me that that data tower in Rogue One was better described as a spatial storage system than as an ME storage system.

Now I understand what's going on this planet. Remember when we got that beautiful view, and saw what looked like a big hole in the water, like the water was flowing down into a hole, and I was asking how that was possible?

Clearly, this research facility has found a way to convert that section of the ocean into data for storage in this tower of data cells, and is operating under Minecraft physics that state that when the water blocks are removed, the water does not fill it up and it stays air.

Finally, we have "guess the password". Smart choices are things like "123456", "correct battery horse staple", "Mellon friend", or something like your mother's maiden name of "Drowssap", spelled backward just to make sure that it's less likely to be guessed.

But a computer system responding to an apparent break-in with "oh and by the way, security is coming to arrest you" hardly seems like a well-designed system.

— Keybounce

— aurilee


GM: Inside the vault is a huge tower of hard, disc-shaped memory crystals.
Bria: Finally! We can find out where Toprawa is! And get on with our mission.
Cassian: ... aaand find the Peace Moon plans.
Bria: Oh! They might be here too. Are they labelled?
GM: No, but there's an index terminal.
Bria: Cool. I check it out.
Sciri: Well, hello to you too. I'm Sciri, nice to meet you...?
Bria: Hi, I'm Bria.
Sciri: Let me check that for you. Sorry, that user does not exist.
Bria: Oh, that's just my nickname. I'm Galen Erso.
Sciri: Hi Galen, you're looking fantastic today. Password?
Bria: Okay! Guessing passwords is always easy! "Psychopath".
Sciri: I'm afraid that's incorrect, Galen.
Bria: "Traitorpants".
Sciri: No, sorry.
Bria: Hmm. Ooh! I know! "PowerPoint"!
Sciri: Nope. I'm not accepting any more guesses for the next ten minutes.
Sciri: I'd fetch some help for you, but security seems to be on their way already.

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Published: Thursday, 02 August, 2018; 03:11:02 PDT.
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