hacking

22C3: Impressions, lectures, hacking, bb ported to iPod

Train Station

It's day 2 of the 22C3 congress — time to post some stuff.

I've been travelling to Berlin by train with Daniel Reutter, taking a bunch of photos with my new PowerShot A610 (see photo on the right, for an example). You can browse the 22c3 flickr group for more photos.

We've listened to quite a lot of lectures already, and many more will follow. Especially the keynote by Joi Ito was really great, the network here works most of the time (wired net, as well as WLAN), so everything's fine for now...

As far as hacking is concerned, we played around with iPodLinux a bit. We managed to port aalib to the iPod an then (more interesting) we also ported bb, the portable text-mode demo. There are some issues on both the 4g iPod and the 5g iPod we tried this on, but we're working on it... We have documented the ports in the form of HOWTOs (currently Debian-specific) in the iPodLinux wiki (aalib, bb).

bb on a 4g iPod
bb on a 5g iPod photo 1
bb on a 5g iPod photo 2

Up next: porting Ruby to the iPod.

Update 2006-01-05: This post made it to Symlink a few days ago.

Going to 22C3

I'm heading towards Berlin in a few hours in order to attend 22C3. I'm not sure if/when I'll be able to blog or read/answer emails there, but I'll be back in a few days...

17 Mistakes Microsoft Made in the Xbox Security System

Nice. Very nice. The Xbox-Linux / Free60 team around Michael Steil has published a paper / wiki page called 17 Mistakes Microsoft Made in the Xbox Security System. I'm currently reading the paper, but I'm not quite through yet (the PDF is 13 pages long). It contains a very detailed analysis of the 17 types of mistakes Microsoft made (they made most of them multiple times)...

The paper and the findings will be presented at the 22C3 in Berlin — this is one of the lectures I will definately be attending, that's for sure!

Quoting from the article:

"[Conclusion: ]The security system of the Xbox has been a complete failure.".

Also nice: the earlier (now obsolete) version of the paper was called The Hidden Boot Code of the Xbox — or "How to fit three bugs in 512 bytes of security code" ;-)

(via Golem)

EFF cracks the DocuColor Tracking Dot code

If you haven't yet read about it, some printer brands place tiny, almost invisible yellow dots on every page you print. These dots encode certain information (date, time, printer serial number, or similar things). I think you can easily imagine the security and privacy implications. The EFF has now cracked the DocuColor Tracking Dot code.

They have also written a program which decodes the dot patterns. The code is released under the terms of the GPL.

(via Boing Boing and CCC)

(U)DMA On My Toshiba Satellite A80-117 [Update]

Toshiba Satellite A80-117

Sometimes funny things happen. I spent several hours yesterday, trying to figure out why my laptop is responding so darned slow. I suspected it had something to do with the hard drive and I found out quite quickly that (U)DMA was disabled, hence the CPU had to do all the work. OK, no problem, I'll just do a hdparm -c1 -d1 /dev/hda and everything will be fine. Or so I thought.

What I got was this:

setting using_dma to 1 (on)
HDIO_SET_DMA failed: Operation not permitted
using_dma = 0 (off)

Which means DMA could not be enabled. I noticed an error message in the output of dmesg which seemed related: ide0: Speed warnings UDMA 3/4/5 is not functional. Some people had the same problems because they were missing the correct option in the kernel (mine is CONFIG_BLK_DEV_PIIX), but that was not my problem. After a few hours of googling and 6 or 7 kernel recompiles, I gave up and went to bed.

Now to the funny part: Today, John Choffee posted a comment about bashpodder in my blog. Curious as I am, I also visited his blog and in his "LinkFeed" box a tiny entry caught my attention: [PATCH] ich6m-pciid-piix.patch. Now guess what this patch (for Linux 2.6) does. It adds support for my specific type of IDE/(S)ATA controller, the "Intel Corporation 82801FBM (ICH6M)". Patch, recompile kernel, reboot, hdparm -c1 -d1 /dev/hda, bingo!

Here's the output of hdparm -tT /dev/hda:

Before the patch:

Timing cached reads: 2468 MB in 2.00 seconds = 1232.95 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 8 MB in 3.84 seconds = 2.08 MB/sec

After the patch:

Timing cached reads: 2624 MB in 2.00 seconds = 1312.20 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 88 MB in 3.00 seconds = 29.33 MB/sec

Thanks John, you're my personal hero today.

Update 2006-03-01: The URL for the patch is broken. This one works.

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