Tuesday, December 11, 2007


exergaming noun [U] /eksgem/

the activity of playing video games that provide physical exercise

exergame noun [C]

exergamer noun [C]

“A push for new frontiers in the fitness market, an aging gamer population, and increasing rates of obesity among the young are all fueling the trend toward exergaming.
PR Web 18th August 2007

“…And the strategy that many developers are pursuing involves the new genre of exergames… hybrids between instructional workout DVDs and immersive game environments.”
Business Week 22nd November 2005

“…prolonged dancing on the dance pad results in blisters and pain in the knee joints due to the repeated stamping movements… To avoid such injuries, Dr Tan advised that exergamers should also include other conventional forms of exercise into their fitness regime, such as running or swimming.”
The Straits Times 13th March 2007

Need to lose some weight? Look no further than the nearest games console. Yes, seriously. There was a time when the world of playstations and video games was strongly associated with the lifestyle of a couch potato, a person condemned to an unhealthy diet of inactivity through mesmerizing screens. But not any more, thanks to the new trend of exergaming

The principle is simple: combine the idea of physical exercise with the compulsive stimulation of video games, and hey, presto, you can keep fit whilst having fun - or that’s the theory. And it’s proving very compelling in a society which needs to tackle obesity and other health problems associated with 21st-century lifestyle.

The games software underlying the concept, referred to as the exergame, has emerged as big business across the leading manufacturers. In 2005, Sony launched a product called Eyetoy: Kinetic, a workout game designed for its PlayStation 2 console, which incorporates exercise regimes intended to tone the body and promote cardiac health. Utilising the console’s internal clock, Eyetoy: Kinetic is a fitness programme lasting a number of weeks, and even incorporates a fitness instructor who gets angry if a player misses a date!

At the more light-hearted end of the spectrum, there is the Nintendo Wii console and Wii Sports, launched in 2006. The popularity of the Wii hinges on its novel use of the game controller, cleverly referred to as the Wiimote (a play on remote, as in remote control). Rather than just acting as a static game controller, the Wiimote can be held in a range of orientations, and functions as a tennis racket, golf club, bowling ball, baseball bat and boxing glove, among others. A forthcoming exergame product, entitled Wii Fit, will also incorporate a balance board, recording players’ weights and enabling them to practice yoga, do press-ups and even a virtual ski-jump!

Interestingly enough, the popularity of exergaming is not confined to younger generations. An up-and-coming breed of exergamers are the over-60s, who find the less strenuous exercise associated with many of these games more appropriate to their needs.

Enthusiastic exergamers of all ages should however watch out for the newly coined ailment Wii elbow, a soreness and pain in the arm joints caused by excessive Wii game play (based on the expression tennis elbow).

The expression exergaming is, of course, formed from a blend of the words exercise and gaming. Although the term itself is relatively new, the concept has been around for some time. Initial attempts to develop exergaming products date as far back as the early eighties, when for example video game manufacturer Atari developed an exercise bike that could be hooked up to one of its early games consoles.

A generic term in the same area is exertainment, referring to activities or products involving both exercise and entertainment. This follows the model of other new expressions describing dual-purpose entertainment, such as edutainment (entertainment with an educational function), charitainment (entertainment for charity fund-raising ) and infotainment (information/current affairs presented in an entertaining way).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

drive-by download

drive-by download noun [C] /dravba danld/

when programs are installed on an online computer without the user’s knowledge

drive-by downloading noun [U]

“Most users have no idea such a drive-by download has taken place, even as these Trojan horses surreptitiously log their banking passwords or other private information...”
Trading Markets 21st November 2007

Drive-by downloading has also become a huge issue, as the bad guys are now putting stuff on reputable Web sites… It's not good enough to evade dodgy Web sites anymore, as you can automatically download malware by visiting any number of good Web sites.”
ITWeb 31st October 2007

If you’re thinking of doing the majority of your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your home computer, then beware of one of the latest threats posed by cybercriminals: the drive-by download.

A drive-by download occurs when a user inadvertently allows the transfer of information onto their computer, without being asked, and often in complete ignorance that the download occurred. The type of information transferred is typically what is referred to as spyware, software that secretly gathers information about a person, or malware, malicious software which interferes with normal computer functions and can also send personal data about the user to unauthorized parties.

Drive-by downloads can occur by simply visiting a website or reading an e-mail, but are more often triggered by clicking on a deceptive pop-up window, which may look like some kind of harmless advertisement, or an error report from the user’s own computer. They are often contained in those parts of a website not controlled or maintained by the website’s owner, such as banner advertisements, or other (web) widgets, which are small programs used to display things like ads, calendars or web traffic counters.

With recent research suggesting that as many as 600,000 new bits of malware are likely to be released in a year, the risk of succumbing to drive-by downloading is a major concern for Internet users. A recent survey undertaken by Internet search company Google Inc, revealed that as many as 1 in 10 websites were acting as hosts for malware.

The expression drive-by download has been around since about 2002, though it has gained currency more recently in the context of increasing concern about escalating problems with Internet security and Internet-based identity fraud. An alternative term used in the same context is drive-by install/installation.

The core meaning of the adjective drive-by is ‘carried out from a passing vehicle’, as in a drive-by shooting, also sometimes abbreviated to simply ‘a drive-by’. The expression drive-by download therefore presumably takes inspiration from this idea of springing a criminal act on someone before they have chance to defend themselves. Drive-by downloads are similarly sometimes referred to as drive-bys.

The adjective drive-by also occurs more figuratively to describe something performed very quickly and with a lack of care. In the UK, for instance, a drive-by valuation is an assessment of the value of a house or other building by simply looking quickly at the outside of it (and is in fact often conducted from a passing car).