Sony's descent into the abyss

Sony's become the tool of hackers all over the world. And you might be wondering why this is happening now?

A lot of techies blame it on Sony's reaction to a hack of the PS3 by a kid known as Geo Hot or Grorge Hotz. If you're a geek you may know the story -- if not read on. Sony sued this kid in January for cracking open the PS3 and making it possible for folks to write and play home brewed video games.

And Sony was kinda nasty about it. They went after his PayPal account and tried to track down everyone who read his instruction manual for hacking Sony's toy. This pissed a lot of people off -- a lot of very technically savvy, young people who like to tinker and take things apart.

Check out my story on today's Marketplace about a tale of two hacks.

Not good. While George Holtz has said he had nothing to do with Sony's many security breaches, the company's legal attack on him may well have been motivation for the hive to apply what has become a public butt whooping.

Now here's the interesting thing -- Microsoft faced the same issues when it released the Kinect. That cool motion sensitive toy was catnip for thousands of geeks who wasted no time taking it apart. And for once Microsoft did the cool thing. It didn't sue anyone or attack the tinkerers who were taking its toy apart. In fact, the hacks turned into a public relations bonanza as an army of volunteers re-engineering the Kinect to do all sorts of cool stuff.

Microsoft embraced the hive and is benefiting from its love. And today instead of fighting of a swarm of bitter hackers -- Microsoft's posting advertisements on YouTube video's like the one below, which show of all the neat things you can make your Kinect do -- if you happen have an IQ north of 140 and the time to mess about.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...