Last week, Backspace was touting Sega's heavily discounted Dreamcast game consoles as an ideal budget buy for Christmas. Turns out Christmas might not be the ideal time to give this gift, particularly if you like Japanese anime games. Dreamcast developer Kool Kizz Amusement Works has just announced one of its titles has an unadvertised bonus feature - better known to anti-virus firms as Kriz. The virus waits for December 25 to replace Windows kernels and scramble bios and CMOS settings, leaving some victims in need of a new motherboard. The virus will not harm the Dreamcast console, but is triggered when a user tries to install the bundled screensaver on a Windows personal computer. Funnily enough, the game, Atelier Elie, is about a royal magician whose task is to cure her kingdom of a deadly infection. Now that is virtual reality. Some software firms are beginning to feel that there is one law for geeks and another for the rag trade. Earlier this year, IBM marketers covered the streets of San Francisco with hundreds of stencils of a peace sign, a heart and a penguin. The Peace, Love, Linux graphics were supposed to be applied using chalk-based sprays, but some enthusiasts decided to use paint. The idea came from pretentious clothing firms such as Obey Giant, which covered Hong Kong shopping districts with black paint last year. But while nobody has bothered with the clothing campaigns, those darn geeks were not allowed to get away with these acts of public vandalism. Last week, IBM was fined US$120,000 in clean-up fees to remove 300 Linux stencils. Meanwhile, several thousand miles away, Microsoft was being clobbered for an identical stunt. A new hacker menace has sprung up from the Philippines. But unlike the typical bitter and twisted Web defacers, the Team Asianpride/4 o'clock Project hackers go about their task in a distinctly Filipino style. Where the average Western defacers tend to leave little more than Greetz and F***z on their victims' sites, this latest group leaves a polite warning about the importance of security, beginning with 'Dear Sir/Ma'am. Mabuhay!' Local media giant ABS-CBN has not announced whether it appreciated the consideration when its Web site was taken down last month. Who said there is no money in free software? Open-source gurus Linus Torvalds, Eric Stallman and Ken Sakamura have been awarded 100 million yen (about HK$6.3 million) for their technological contributions to the well-being of mankind. The annual Takeda Award for Social/Economic Well-Being comes from Japanese non-profit group Takeda Foundation, and recognises research that has made an outstanding contribution to humanity. The contributions of Mr Torvalds are obvious, but Mr Sakamura's work is less well-known. The Tokyo university professor helped build the Tron operating system which the Japanese hoped would conquer the world in the early 1980s. It didn't. As one wit on the Slashdot forums put it: 'You writeda code, you Takeda prize'. The awards will be given tomorrow.