Tag Archives: hack

Beta certainly means beta on the Pacemaker

pacemaker_sonar_june_2007_10

I’ve had a problem in the past with the recording mixes on the actual  pacemaker using the new but unofficial firmwares.People on the pacemaker forum suggested it might be the fact I’m running Ubuntu and using mainly wine windows emulator or virtual machine technology. I was never really convinced by this argument to tell the truth but couldn’t be sure. So I would use the analogue output to record mixes with my laptop.

Pretty much all the new mixes in the last few years were done this way. I generally would record the mix on the pacemaker along with the output, making the track-listing easier to put in Mixcloud.

I recently bought a second-hand Pacemaker running the last official firmware 1.4. I tried doing a mix and as you can hear, its flawless in recording. This puts me in a bit of dilemma.

The feature I love the most about the new unofficial firmware is the snap loops, meaning you can just loop with no effort. In the very latest, you can even adjust how big the loops are. I will miss that feature but the ability to record on the go is fantastic and I’ve missed it for a long while.

I’m going to look at the differences in the filesystem and SQLlite DB to see if that reveals something obvious.

Old Pacemaker Firmware mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

Little update….

I installed the old firmware on my old pacemaker and did a mix. As you can hear its pretty much working as it should recording the mix (its not perfect as I was walking and on the tram).

Old Pacemaker Firmware revisited by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

That instant spark of chemisty, lets hack it?

Lets be honest for a moment. There are certain things which humans like and don’t like, react to and don’t react to. Understanding these lifehacks, mindhacks, theories  or even techniques can help greatly. It all depends on how you apply it… Understanding not ignorance is my new justification for this type of stuff.

Single black male have recently posted a number of intriguing posts including How A Man Can Avoid The Friend-Zone, and Don’t be Thirsty, be Hard to Impress.

They center around that feeling when you see someone for the very first time. So called the spark of attraction or as I prefer the spark of chemistry.

In technical terms, this spark is simply a spike in adrenaline that most people get when they connect eyes with someone that they’re physically attracted to. In our initial interactions with a new potential love interest, some women attempt to control that spark by being flirtatiously elusive and playing hard to get. Men can perform an equally effective technique: playing hard to impress.

This can come across as being a bit of a bastard, and theres many posts suggesting most women subconsciously prefer this.

The secret behind the “hard to impress” approach is that after getting that initial, reflexive adrenaline spike out of her, you find a way to keep the intensity and duration of that spike heightened. By doing this, you’re pretty much guaranteeing yourself a spot far away from the friend zone.

I imagine this is where the keep them keen comes from. Stretching out this period of attraction can greatly improve your chances of the other person being interested. Or in this case, keep you out of the friend zone.

This isn’t anything mind blowing, people have been doing it naturally for millenniums but its interesting to understand the science behind it. Those butterflies in your stomach are addictive like going over the top of a rollercoaster hill (in my case) who wouldn’t want more of that?

We’re all junkies to the buzz… and combining this with the Social objects idea, who knows what you can achieve? Maybe one day I’ll combine all these things together and actually do something meaningful with them.

Question is, what are you going to do to get more of what you love/need/want? I’m hoping it doesn’t involve being a total cock like the guys from the previous post

The quality of OkCupid has gone down for me?

Opimal Cupid

I love OkCupid, its been consistently good for me and for me been streets ahead of the other dating sites. But things are starting to change (as you’d expect). Besides Okcupid being bought by Match.com a while ago its been ticking on, however the industry and environment changed.

Little things changed like the end of journals have happen but the big fear was to switch to a paid subscription model, which hasn’t happened (yet).

So its largely stayed the same…?

However, not so fast… OkCupid lives on its matching algorithm and although you can debate how effective this is compared to other ways to match people… OkCupid stands out for its algorithm, as even Chris (found via Tim who also recommended I read reddit too), the man who hacked OkCupid points out.

OkCupid was founded by Harvard math majors in 2004, and it first caught daters’ attention because of its computational approach to matchmaking. Members answer droves of multiple-choice survey questions on everything from politics, religion, and family to love, sex, and smartphones.

On average, respondents select 350 questions from a pool of thousands—“Which of the following is most likely to draw you to a movie?” or “How important is religion/God in your life?” For each, the user records an answer, specifies which responses they’d find acceptable in a mate, and rates how important the question is to them on a five-point scale from “irrelevant” to “mandatory.” OkCupid’s matching engine uses that data to calculate a couple’s compatibility. The closer to 100 percent—mathematical soul mate—the better.

Hacking online dating is nothing new, we’ve all heard about Amy, the woman who hacked online dating?

Chris’s story is something special and quite elegent…

Chris McKinlay used Python scripts to riffle through hundreds of OkCupid survey questions. He then sorted female daters into seven clusters, like “Diverse” and “Mindful,” each with distinct characteristics.

First he’d need data. While his dissertation work continued to run on the side, he set up 12 fake OkCupid accounts and wrote a Python script to manage them. The script would search his target demographic (heterosexual and bisexual women between the ages of 25 and 45), visit their pages, and scrape their profiles for every scrap of available information: ethnicity, height, smoker or nonsmoker, astrological sign—“all that crap,” he says.

To find the survey answers, he had to do a bit of extra sleuthing. OkCupid lets users see the responses of others, but only to questions they’ve answered themselves. McKinlay set up his bots to simply answer each question randomly—he wasn’t using the dummy profiles to attract any of the women, so the answers didn’t mat­ter—then scooped the women’s answers into a database.

And thats the nub or pressure point.

For any of this to work you need people filling out the surveys… I for example have answered over 700 questions. The problem is I’ve seen a dramatic drop in the number of answered questions and more people with zero questions answered.

OkCupid works best on those answers rather than scraping the profile for data. Chris’s hack wouldn’t work without the data. I’d be very interested to see what kind of results you would get now compared to then…

Anyhow Chris’s story is fascinating, specially when you consider the method and drive. Don’t think I’ll be buying the book yet but if your a maths wiz go for it.

I don’t really know what to do about the data problem for myself. I’m tempted to try Plenty of Fish again, see how much its changed (or not). Frankly I have had little to no interest from Tinder, so maybe time to remove it from my androids. Hacking Okcupid isn’t a bad idea but maybe in a way to remove the time wasters.Heck I even had my first speed dating recently where I wasn’t matched with anyone. Luckily one woman was interested in seeing me, so it wasn’t all bad. I’ll save what happened with another one for my book.

I do keep reminding myself it might just be the season or time of year too. These things seem to cycle.

Upgrading the Pacemaker’s hard drive

2013-05-04%2011.16.39

Been doing some of the odd jobs I’ve been meaning to do.

One such task was finally buying the right SSD from Amazon and replacing the old Pacemaker hard drive.

I was looking at the pacemaker forum where someone posted how they replaced their original hard drive with a Solid State Drive (SSD). So after much time I decided to buy the Kingspec 1.8inch drive from Amazon. Its only 64gig big but to be honest with the old drive I was only using 32gig anyway.

For those thinking about doing the same theres a number of things to bear in mind… You need a ZIF 40-pin SSD/PATA Solid State Disk (MLC type). Zif is the connection and its a ribbon connection like you see on motherboards.

Everything was pretty straight forward till it came to putting in the new drive.

Oh crap I ripped the ribbon!

As the forum post wrote…

DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID AND RELEASE THE ZIF RIBBON FROM THE ACTUAL PMD MAINBOARD ITSELF! IT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER IF YOU LEAVE IT IN PLACE AND ATTACH THE NEW HARD DRIVE TO IT!

Well somehow I started to rip the ZIF ribbon when moving the drive about and so I was forced to use the longer version which came with the SSD. That extra length is a real pain as you have to fold it without breaking it when putting the device back together.

PATA ribbon in the way

Carefully I put the whole thing back together and as the post says, it came on and complained the device needs a firmware update. After doing that and loading all the music back on to the device from the pacemaker app I was back in action again.

To date everything has worked and the battery life is much better than with the hard drive. Things seems a little more punchy too, so menu updates, etc are a tiny bit quicker (but it was already pretty quick). Can’t wait to put in the new battery and boost that up too.

Hard drive restored

As you can see in the photo, I’m planning on replacing the battery at some point. The battery seems easier but will need some soldering as the one I got has no connector. From the forums it looks like the battery is a 3.7V 1600mAh lithium battery Polymer while the one I got from ebay is a 3.7V 1000mAh lithium Battery Rechargeable Polymer Li-Po. The hope is that my pacemaker battery which back in 2007 lasted on average about 5hours but only last 30-40mins now will jump to about 3-4hours with 1000mAh.

Mind hacking, now were talking…

vanishing

Hacking software, then hardware, your car, reality, life and now the mind…?

Two trends growing/converging into into each other. Lucid dreaming as a sport? and Hacking the Subconscious Mind? The equipment is low cost and recording although not scientific can be pretty straight forward. Mindhacking is all the rage?

Avi Rubin says he’s worried about this

Could someone hack your pacemaker? At TEDxMidAtlantic, Avi Rubin explains how hackers are compromising cars, smartphones and medical devices, and warns us about the dangers of an increasingly hack-able world.

I’m less worried… even in the face of other thoughts.

Feel inspired by, I am, I do…

The Hodge ping’ed me on gtalk today and pointed me at a hack He and Caius had done for Honda Hack day

Its called I am, I do…

What is this?
I am, I do is a user edited database of stories, advice and inspiration of people following their dream. We started by asking people we knew who are doing what they love to answer a few questions and put them in a nice database for you to read, sort, store and share but we now want to open it up to everyone who is doing what they love, it doesn’t have to be working for yourself, if you love your job then let us know! You might inspire others
Why did you do this?
I’m inspired everyday by the people in my social circle, when I have a question or want to try something new, I can reach out for advice and one of them has probably done something similar before, we think there are a lot of people in similar situations who want to do something but are just missing a bit of inspiration
Anything else?
We would love schools and job centres to point people at this website and show the stories of people who have switched jobs, careers, countries to do what they want and that if your dream is reasonable, your dream is possible, you’ve just got to work at it

Its a simple but a great/noble idea… No fuss, fill in the questions and attach it to your profile (which is tied to your Twitter account). I spent about 30mins filling out about 8 questions, and you can see the result here.

It weirdly reminds me of something like the early days of OK Cupid when you would fill in questions about yourself. Of course the aim was very different in that case, it was all about getting a date but underneath that, it was about defining yourself. The aim of I am, I do is purely to inspire others. I do expect if it became bigger, some would use it as a place to show off but why? There’s nothing to gain from lying or showing off… This is good!

Some will dismiss it, as pointless because it doesn’t have badges or scores but I say excellent… Its simply a place to read inspiring stories from people you may or may not know.

As I was saying previously, we are all amazing and opportunities to learn a little more about each other should be the end point. Its the richness of life…

Great work Dom and Caius… don’t be tempted to add achievements, metrics, scores or anything else like that… You only have to look at the mess something like Klout has gotten its self into.

On the question: What has been your biggest achievement to date and why was it special?

I don’t care to count my achievements by size… Some of the tiny discussions I’ve had, have changed peoples directions. It might only be one person but that person might do something incredible and become something they never thought they could be in the past… I’m happy that I can help inspire others to be the best they can be. Some of this might be through London Geekdinner, BarCampLondon/Manchester, my work at BBC Backstage including Hackdays, etc, etc. I expect there will be many more chances to inspire in the future.
I really mean it, our fascination with size and instant impact is like a drug (I guess it also feeds the ego). I’d certainly welcome quality over size in some cases.

Kinect the fast growing, all down to the hackers

Sony’s War on Makers, Hackers, and Innovators

Microsoft announced today that it has sold 10 million Kinect sensors since the Xbox 360 accessory launched in November. In addition, Microsoft reported that over 10 million Kinect games have been sold. The global sales figures, according to a company spokeswoman, were tallied through the end of February.

Since its launch, Kinect–which allows gamers to control on-screen action with only the movement of their bodies rather than a controller–has surpassed expectations. Microsoft initially expected to sell 5 million Kinect units through 2010. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, however, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that the company actually sold 8 million units through the end of the year.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20041213-17.html

Although I’m really happy the Microsoft Kinect has outsold even the Apple iPad, The Nintendo Wiimote, Halo, etc. One thing no one seems to be mentioning is the fact Microsoft made that massive U Turn on people hacking the Kinect.

There is no doubt in my mind that being hacker friendly made all the difference. In actual fact if there was a graph of sales, I bet after the first rush to get a kinect, things were steady before sales went a little crazy once someone hacked the kinect. After Microsoft did the whole U turn, sales must have gone through the roof.

I look forward to seeing the increase sales once the SDK comes out. Microsoft are on a roll, now if only Sony, Apple, etc would see the benefits of working with the hacker community.

Banned from the Sony network? Head to Xlink Kai

Sony is kicking Playstation3 Users off the PlayStation network if they have any kind of hacked firmware is what I heard on Technews today yesterday.

It looks like Sony’s making good on a promise to ban PS3 users who’ve hacked or elected to run unauthorized software on their consoles. Members of hacking site PS3Hax claim Sony’s already wielding its banhammer against "jailbroken" PS3s, knocking the consoles off the company’s PlayStation Network permanently.

I instantly thought… Well if I was in that position I would simply use the Xlink Kai network

XLink Kai: Evolution VII lets you connect with other console users around the world, and play online games for free. XLink Kai: Evo VII tricks your console into thinking that the other users it is connecting to over the Internet, are actually part of a Local Area Network. This is the basis of system-link gaming, where friends would gather around in the same house and play over 2 or more consoles. With XLink Kai: Evo VII, you now have the option to test your skills out with anybody in the world. As for the technical aspects of tunnelling network packets, we won’t bore you with that…

Fascinating project with some real interesting technology, ok its more hassle that simply logging on to xbox live or what ever but its free and you can people on different consoles.

Hacked Kinect, welcome to the future

Hacked kinect brings futuristic user interface Found via Tdobson on twitter,

Microsoft’s Kinect is a marvelous piece of technology. However with Microsoft trying to lock it with only the Xbox while there could be several amazing uses for it, Adafruit announced a bounty for anyone who develop an opensource driver for it.

Hector Martin developed the driver and won the bounty. He also released the driver as libfreenect. Now we have the first application which use libfreenect to use Kinect as an input device.

Interesting stuffs await!

Amazing!!! Kudos to the hackers, I can’t wait to hear what’s next…

Makerfaire 2010

On my way back from Makerfaire 2010 and thankfully I can decompress on the train back. The event was a hit with plenty more makers that last time. Surprisingly the event took place inside the science centre instead of millennium square which the science centre circles and was the venue of the last one. One of the downsides of the move to the science centre is the cost which was about 4 pounds per person. There was the question would

Some very cool things I saw….

Lasers! Some of the guys from the spraycan project had built a multi-colour laser out of a standard green laser, a red dvd laser and blu-r laser. Using special mounting mirrors between them all, You can see the whole lot on this forum specially setup for laser makers. Some of the others are equally impressive and dotted all over the forum. Will I make my own laser? who knows maybe some day in the future. Maybe I’ll start by strip down my toy red laser and add a couple other Red DVD lasers to a baseplate and then try adding a controller. Hummmm one for a rainy day me thinks.

Sonodrome create bespoke audio hardware and software which fit into small pocket size tins. What I like about them is the size and ability to add it to my pacemaker output. So I could live mix on my pacemaker and plug into one of these pocket size tins for some crazy filtering. Heck I can even chain them for some real fun. Talking to the guys behind Sonodrome its possible to do some stuff with wiimotes as a controller, so look out for some hacking in that area by me soon.

Sugru is interesting shame the guys can’t seem to make enough to make it into the shops.

Lastly Steampunk magazine. I’ve never really engaged with steampunk culture or anything like that. I’m more a futuristic kind of a guy in these departments, hi-tech trainers, hi-tech fabrics all dark colours. Anyway it was interesting to think about and the woman’s dresses and corsets are well something else!

Of course there was tons and tons of other things at Makerfaire but theres really caught my attention. The whole event was amazing and I look forward to 2011.

The Playstation 3 finally and completely hacked

Playstation 3 in dark city

Geohot has outdone himself again, not only the first person who unlocked the iPhone, but now also the Playstation3. In his own words…

I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3. The rest is just software. And reversing. I have a lot of reversing ahead of me, as I now have dumps of LV0 and LV1. I’ve also dumped the NAND without removing it or a modchip.

3 years, 2 months, 11 days…thats a pretty secure system

Took 5 weeks, 3 in Boston, 2 here, very simple hardware cleverly applied, and some not so simple software.

Now we really get to see how powerful the playstation 3 really is when its not being crippled in a virtual machine. I’m much more likely to buy one if I can see a whole homebrew community of stuff on it in the near future. The source code for the hack isn’t available quite yet but its just a matter of time. I wonder how long the Xbox 360 can stay closed?

Finally got the Wiimote working with my laptop

Wiimote and Dell laptop

After weeks of messing around with many different configurations, tonight (1am) I got it working, thanks to this great forum.

I'm using a Wavelinker bluetooth USB dongle with the IVT Corporation BlueSoleil drivers on my Dell XPS M1210. I have to turn off my internal Bluetooth because it seem to not work with BlueSoleil drivers. The thing which seemed to make all the difference was this ordering.

  1. Open GlovePie
  2. Open BlueSoleil
  3. Press 1+2. Wait for “* Connected” to pop up in the lower righthand corner of your screen.
  4. Run your script.

I found that GlovePie with no Bluetooth Fix or Auto Bluetooth Connect worked for me. GlovePie when opened would launch BlueSoleil for me and within a few seconds I was up and running. I used the script Wiimote identifier to work out if the Wiimote was connected or not. Once it was connected I can then run a more exotic script like the Mouse Control Script.

I've uploading a video I shot, so others can learn how to do the same.

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Linux and homebrew on Xbox 360 and PS3?

So while I was looking around the 23C3 conference notes I found some links to videos about a possible Xbox 360 hacking. The video which can only be viewed on Youtube now seems odd and underwelming. But if its true means you can now using some exploit in the game King Kong run unsigned code on a Xbox
360. Engadget also had a piece about the whole thing.

One of the best things about the original Microsoft Xbox console wasn't the fact that it ran games. Oh no, for many, the best part was the ease at which that low-cost / high-powered device could be hacked to run all kinds of Homebrew applications including a damn fine media center. Now, in a tantalizing bit of showmanship put on by a cloaked hacker at the 23C3 Hacker Congress in Germany, a modified Xbox 360 (note attached circuit board) is shown loading Ubisoft's King Kong game just before displaying a trio of
dancing 360, Tux, and (old) MacOS logos with the words “coming soon.” Could this be a true exploit of King Kong's unchecked and unsigned vector shaders? We don't know, but the ability to execute any kind of code is certainly progress.

This is all fitting because Sony have just released a Yellow Dog linux build for PS3. Engadget once again has the right idea.

We're still holding out until Ubuntu gives us the love we crave. Well, that or until the OSS community get started on making an XBMC-like PS3 interface, since Sony believes all of your home's media should live on the PS3, and not on a media server.

Hey and no better time, XBMC is long from dead. Its been partly ported over to x86 for skinners and developers and this new skin from PDM called clearly shows the pure maturity of the XBMC platform.

And in related news I read Microsoft are releasing another version of the Xbox 360 code named Zephyr (1st one was called Xenon), this time with cooler processor, 120gig HD, HDMI and 1080p support out of the box. Sounds interesting but not as important as the previous news.

If the hack is true, it looks like I'll have to decide between the PS3 and Xbox 360 sometime this year. Maybe it will be a race to see who gets XBMC on it first.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number eleven – The Experience

Me and Sarah discuss a few things in this 1 hour podcast. Some things I've talked about in previous blog entries and others are quite new.

  • Xbox 360 hacked?
  • Sanyo HD Camcorder
  • Movie Piracy
  • Its the experience that counts
  • Snakes on the plane
  • Don't copy that floppy
  • Geekdinner
  • Rocketboom
  • Police with guns
  • Sarahs now British

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BA site compromised, again?

British Airways

From Slashdot yesterday, Identity Theft from Tossed Airline Boarding pass?

The Guardian newspaper has a great story about how the gathering of information for anti-terrorist passenger screening databases allowed a reporter and security guru Adam Laurie to lay the groundwork for stealing the identity of a business traveller by using his discarded boarding-pass stub. From the article: We logged on to the BA website, bought a ticket in Broers name and then, using the frequent flyer number on his boarding pass stub, without typing in a password, were given full access to all his personal details – including his passport number, the date it expired, his nationality (he is Dutch, living in the UK) and his date of birth. The system even allowed us to change the information.

So my take on it is, maybe this story is not quite what its cracked up to be. According to many Slashdotters there calling bullshit. But in the past I've also seen how easy it is to exploit BA's online system. I'm actually sure I've emailed BA over 2 years ago and maybe blogged it a while ago. See the problem I had was that my password timed out and I needed to get a eticket for the return journey. So I logged in as Sarah who had a different account then changed a few things in the URL and bingo I was able to see my account details including address, passport number, etc. Now from what I remember I couldn't get the password, but I could change it (which I did). I do remember the membership number, firstname, lastname and email address was all I needed to change the account.

I remember being so shocked at the lack of security and privicy that I tried to delete my account once I got back to the UK. I know for sure I told quite a few people about this flaw but can't quite remember exactly who. Honestly the problem seems to be when your already logged in accessing someone elses account other than your own. Anyway, I guess I should go and see if I can get my old details without a password… Hopefully some mainstream attention like this will force BA to recheck there site and maybe solve the flaw I identified all that time ago.

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