Tuesday, October 28. 2008
If you live in the UK, you may be aware that some of the major ISPs (Virgin Media, BT) have been in discussions with an ex-spyware company (Phorm) to set up a system (WebWise) that will eavesdrop on all
of your internet activity, so that it can send you adverts.
This is unacceptable - it contravenes several privacy and copyright laws, and although there are claims that it is 'completely safe', the companies involved have displayed a terrible record of deception and disrespect of people's rights. The authorities have so far refused to intervene, so it's up to the people to try to sort things out for themselves.
There are plenty of activist sites on the net to give you information on the issues involved (start at Bad Phorm), and I urge you to take a stand if you value your privacy. If you're with one of the affected ISPs (especially BT), then you really should be thinking about getting a new ISP, one that will not sell you down the river.
I've done my bit by starting to pull together some easy-to-use tools for webmasters to control who gets to visit their site, and to automatically warn people who are subject to Phorm about the issues facing them. You can check it out here: Phorm Check Database
On a similar note, I've put up a couple of summary pages covering the general consensus on the legal status of Phorm / WebWise, and the trust issues surrounding the whole nightmare.
Sunday, August 26. 2007
It's with much regret that I have to announce that I'm going to retire from the sharp end of the PSP homebrew scene. The betrayal of trust that preceded the Pandora release was extremely hurtful, and has left me unable to fully trust the people I'd previously enjoyed working so hard with. And so, I have had to decide to stop working on projects that require that level of trust.
Besides that, life continues to be very busy in the run up to fatherhood, and there are various non-PSP projects that I'd like to play with. Not to mention the fact that I'm tired of the continual pressure and idiocy of the PSP scene - long gone are the fun days of pioneering amongst like minds, in a mutually supportive and gentlemanly environment.
The Pandora Battery therefore marks my last major PSP project. I expect that Team C+D and Noobz will continue to release stuff without me, and I still hope to finish up some of the non-exploit projects that I'd been working on (Installotron, piKey etc.).
It was a fun ride while it lasted.
Wednesday, July 18. 2007
I mentioned a while back ("Busy Busy Busy") that I've been working on a non-PSP project recently.
Well, it's a website that has recently gone live, although there's lots of exciting content still in the pipeline for the next few weeks. The website is FringeGuru.com, and essentially it's a visitor's guide to the Edinburgh Festivals (including the famous Fringe) - not so much about what's on, but more how to make the most of it and to "do" the festivals most effectively.
I think it's going to be a great resource for the thousands of people who descend upon Edinburgh each year - if you're planning to come here this summer, then why not take a look?
Sunday, July 1. 2007
So, we recently released the v3.50 PSP downgrader, and it was interesting to see how many people commented on forums etc, to the effect of "every time you release a downgrader, you're boosting piracy on the PSP". That got me thinking - is piracy my fault?
After a lot of soul searching, I'm satisfied that the answer is no. And here's why...
Continue reading "The morality of downgrading"
Thursday, May 10. 2007
I was interviewed recently for the gaming section of a local events and reviews magazine, "The Skinny".
Although a few of the details are slightly off the mark, the gist of it is on track and makes a decent read.
You can find the article here.
EDIT: Some people have asked, "Are you really writing your own firmware?". The answer is no - that comment was in the context of a discussion about custom firmwares, specifically OE, and how that was really the future of homebrew exploiting. I don't have a secret all-new firmware release hiding up my sleeve!
Sunday, May 6. 2007
It seems that various events in my life mean that I won't be able to spend as much time on PSP projects as I would like for the near future.
For one thing, my wife is expecting our first child (yay!), and there's a LOT of preparation to be done - not to mention more things that I need to help out with around the house.
And it's not just time, but money that's in short supply. Since PSP development doesn't pay any bills, I've been having to do some web development work.
Continue reading "Busy busy busy"
Wednesday, May 2. 2007
Big thanks to Nathan Heaps, who told me about this deal at the Discount Computer Warehouse.
They're selling new Targus PA870 keyboards (which are ideal for piKey) for just $17, which seems like a good bargain to me.
UPDATE: So, apparently people have had bad experiences trying to order keyboards from DCW, so I can't really recommend them any more. You can try viewing this thread
in the piKey support forum for some more cheap suppliers, with better recommendations.
Wednesday, April 18. 2007
So, it's been a while, mostly due to a nasty, hard-to-find bug that took a few weeks to fix, but a new release for piKey is now nearly ready.
All that's left to do is the packaging (documentation, installer etc.), so hopefully the release will be done in the next few days.
Continue reading "New piKey release on its way"
Sunday, March 11. 2007
You may have noticed that sites I run (this blog, Noobz, the Homebrew Database) include advertising. Why is that? Should you just use an ad-blocker to remove them?
The simple reason is that, on the modern internet, unless you're
running a subscription service then some level of advertising is about
the only reliable way to cover the bandwidth and hosting costs.
Continue reading "Why so many ads?"
Thursday, February 8. 2007
We've been asked a lot about how it was that the Noobz team was able to resurrect the GTA exploit, for the recent v3.03 PSP downgrader. Well, you need wonder no longer...
The GTA exploit involves a classic buffer overflow attack, basically the original game does not check that the size of the savedata (as indicated within the savedata file) is the size that it expects. So, we can put larger data in there, and overflow the size of the buffer it is using to hold the data - which lets us overwrite some other control variables, ultimately allowing us to cause the game to jump to our code.
Continue reading "D'oh! How to mess up a security patch"
Wednesday, February 7. 2007
There have been times, during the 18 months or so that I've been involved in the PSP scene, when I've despaired of the PSP homebrew community. But then there have been times when the community spirit has really shone through.
In the early days, there was a "golden age", when the only people who had even heard of homebrew were typically hardcore, enthusiast developers. Back then, there was genuine excitement over every little step forward, and people were working hard to push back the barriers on all sorts of frontiers. The community was open and friendly, and a great sense of sharing was all around - we were all in it together.
Continue reading "A sense of community"