Prior to its launch, Kinect was mostly viewed as a gaming peripheral. But Microsoft's answer to comparable motion-gaming products from rivals Sony and Nintendo has turned out to be much, much more. Hackers are wallowing in the world of endless possibilities unleashed by the release of open source Kinect drivers. The latest hack has the Kinect perched atop a quadrocopter so it can lend its services as a 3D radar. The Ascending Technologies Pelican UAV uses the data from the sensor to fly autonomously through predefined waypoints while avoiding obstacles. The imaginative brain matter behind this hack belongs to a group of researchers at the Hybrid Systems Laboratory at UC Berkeley.
Seagate’s FreeAgent Dockstar network storage adapter is a useful peripheral that makes data housed on a FreeAgent Go drive and up to three generic USB storage devices accessible from any computer on your home network or the internet. But there is more to this Ethernet-enabled device than its built-in Pogoplus functionality. We are talking about its 1.2GHz Marvell processor, 128MB of RAM, 256MB of ROM, USB ports and Ethernet connectivity. It’s this hitherto overlooked potential that drove hacker Hunter Davis to this nifty peripheral, available online for as low as $25.
Spurred by his penchant for running games on “unusual systems” and the irresistible lure of the DockStar’s immense untapped potential, Davis decided to turn it into a game console, or, more precisely, an emulation console. While it is true that Davis’ game console is pretty much built around the network storage adapter, it quite obviously requires a few other things to function; namely, Debian Linux, DisplayLink USB-to-VGA adapter and a USB sound adapter.
The video of the console in action is rather lengthy as it features a long list of games, including Contra, Mario World, Monkey Island 3, Quake 3 and Warcraft. His personal website features a detailed walkthrough of the entire process.
Trying to track down a list of “five game mods you must download right now” is a lot like trying to choose your five top games of all time. Sure, your list might be impressive—maybe even awesome—but you’re still going to get a heap of contenders sobbing in the corner at your refusal to acknowledge their almost-noteworthy existences. And nobody likes bawling boxed titles.
So let that be a warning to you, fun-loving gamer who continues to read this article. I’m covering freeware game modifications this time around—freeware, obviously, because I doubt your average enthusiast is going to risk the wrath of a developer’s fury because he or she is selling blood, sweat, and tears in the form of a $5 game add-on. As well, I’m not just looking at maps, or other whip-dip little tweaks. I’m talking about huge transformations that range from, “making this game playable in the modern era” to “wow, I want to go back and revisit this title because it is now sweet.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course. But you get the idea.
But as I mentioned, narrowing down to a list of five is near-impossible. So if you don’t have an affinity for the Infinity Engine (including Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment), Sins of a Solar Empire, Fallout 3, TIE Fighter/X-Wing Alliance, or Half-Life 2… you might want to sit this one out. Otherwise, let’s get real.
It is only a matter of time before hackers find a way of running Android on iPad, especially considering the fact that it has already been accomplished on iPhone 3G, 2G and the original iPod touch. As the iPad is just an oversized iPhone/iPod Touch, it is a sitting duck for intrepid hackers like the folks responsible for the iDroid Project, whose stated goal is “to fully port the Linux kernel and the Google Android OS to Apple's iDevices” using the OpeniBoot bootloader. The iDroid Project team has indicated that they are very close to porting Android to the iPad and iPhone 4. They even posted a video (below) and a few images on Twitter to tease us.
The Medal of Honor series has finally made the leap to modernity, but the latest installment of the game has done exactly the opposite for PS3 pirates, consigning them to their frustrating past, when the console simply rejected backups. It is the first PS3 game that requires the 3.42 firmware to run.
The firmware, which nips hacks like PSJailbreak in the bud, is also included on the game disc, making Medal of Honor immune to all such hacks. However, the PS3 hacking community isn’t expected to remain quiet. As they always do with the PSP, they could come up with a workaround and include it in future hacks or even a custom firmware.
Sony appears to be fighting a losing battle in preventing users from jailbreaking their PlayStation 3 consoles. In a recent Australian court ruling, a judge made permanent a previous ban on the distribution of the PSJailbreak dongle only to watch the software code behind a similar hack released for free into the wild. Naturally, Sony responded with a minor firmware update blocking these bits of code from working their mojo, but it's an ongoing cat and mouse game at best.
What we find most interesting, however, is how insanely easy it is to jailbreak a PS3. This is Sony's flagship console, after all, yet users have been able to jailbreak the device with everything from a Palm Pre to a calculator.
That's right, we said a calculator. Gizmodo has put together a collection of clips showing various devices cracking the PS3, and one of them includes the above mentioned hack (known as PSGroove) run from a TI-84. Pretty rad, no? Check it out below.
Huzzah! Throw up the flags! Send off the fireworks! Summon the townspeople! Apple has lost! The people have won! Huzzah!
I’m referring, of course, to Monday’s ruling by The Library of Congress, which explicitly carves out a legal exception for those looking to jailbreak their iPhones. No longer will industrious little hackers (or those who downloaded a one-button jailbreak app off the Interwebs) be subject to Digital Millennium Copyright Act smack-downs over their choice of Cydia instead of the App Store.
In short, so long as you’re jailbreaking your iPhone to make it work with a third-party application that, itself, isn’t kosher on a vanilla iPhone, you’re in the clear. I’m not quite sure what you would do with a jailbroken phone otherwise—perhaps smash it with a hammer to test its durability or something--but there you have it.
Now, we’ve won, right? The choice of how and why you use your iPhone has finally been wrested out of the turtleneck-laden hands of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The people are in control now, and we all have carte blanche to do with our handheld devices as we please! Yay!
Stop whatever it is you're doing and visit your router manufacturer's website. Once there, drill down to the firmware section and bookmark that page, and then get in the habit of checking it regularly. The reason? Millions of routers are about to become extinct (sort of).
At this year's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, one of the items on the agenda is "How to Hack Millions of Routers," an alarming keynote in which Craig Heffner, a researcher with security firm Seismic, plans to release a software tool he says is capable of cracking half of all routers in existence.
This isn't a new technique, but an altered version of "DNS rebinding," something that has been talked about for more than a decade.
"There have been plenty of patches over the years, but this still hasn't really been fixed," Heffner says.
In short, the hack exploits part of the Domain Name System (DNS) so that when an unsuspecting visitor surfs to a compromised site, their browser ends up hijacked, giving the attacker access to their router settings. Browser makers have already patched earlier versions of this attack, but according to Heffner, it's all for naught.
"The way that [those patches] are circumvented is actually fairly well known," Heffner explains. "It just hasn't been put together like this before."
More info here, including a small sample of routers Heffner has demonstrated this attack on.
Palm Pre modder who goes by the name "unixpsycho" is living up to his nick with a new bit of firmware that comes with following disclaimer in big, bold, red lettering:
"DO NOT INSTALL THIS IF YOU LIKE YOUR PHONE!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!"
If that sounds over the top, consider that his latest firmware -- SR71 Blackbird -- pushes the Palm Pre's OMAP 3430 processor to 1.2GHz. That's twice the speed this little chip was meant to run at, which ships stock at 600MHz.
For those willing to throw caution to the wind, there are some safety measures that keeps this from being a total smartphone suicide mission. Temp monitoring comes built in, and whenever the chip jumps past 55C, the firmware ramps things down to 500MHz, "or at least it should."
For the most part, first impressions of Motorola's recently launched Droid X have been largely positive, but it's the eFuse chip contained inside that's getting all the attention. As was reported all over the place last week, modders who muck with the device's bootloader will set off the chip and end up with a bricked smartphone for their trouble, but that's all a bunch of hogwash, says Motorola, who set out to clear the air.
"Motorola's primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner, and legal requirements," Motorola wrote in an email to Engadget. The Droid X and a majority of Android consumer devices on the market today have a secured bootloader. In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software. If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can reboot once approved software is reinstalled."
In other words, altering the phone's firmware won't result in a dead device like many had feared, but it does sound as though the Droid X will be harder to hack than other smartphones. Does that mean it will be impossible? We highly doubt it, given the modding community's never-die attitude, especially now that we know the Droid X isn't any danger of dying either.