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Shades of the PSP! Downgrading from 1.1.1 September 30, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Because You Can, Hacks, iPhone.
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The intrepid gang at iPhone Dev have made a downgrade routine from Firmware Update 1.1.1 back to 1.0.2. It’s a bit complicated (they even recommend using a stopwatch at one point), but it works. They are currently working on a reunlock, bless ’em. See the magic here.

(Hah. Knew they’d pull through!)

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iPhone relocking hack September 25, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, Because You Can, Hacks, iPhone.
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The coming firmware update strikes fear into the hearts of the thousands of users of unlocked iPhones, as Apple has declared a long, drawn-out and protracted “cat-and-mouse” war with them and the firmware updates are likely to intentionally brick the iPhones and turn them into nice high-tech paperweights. Unlocks have been shown to be largely impervious to software updates and upgrades, but firmware updates are another matter entirely – even without all this cat-and-mouse stuff it’s a dicey proposition in the best of times.

(Personally, if I had an unlocked unit that works, I wouldn’t really have the urgent need to update it if there’s a chance it could be bricked. Besides, it’s just a matter of time before the usual suspects find a way to get around that little roadblock. Just wait. Then again, I understand how having a firmware update that you can’t install can get under your skin.)

TUAWs wonderful Erica Sadun (who posted one of the first unlock procedures) has posted a relocking hack that’ll restore your iPhone’s legit status so that you can update the firmware, and then re-unlock it again (this is getting ridiculous, really), assuming that the new firmware doesn’t break the unlock procedure, which is why the firmware is probably being issued in the first place, which makes you wonder why you want to upgrade it in the first place.

All in all, a silly, self-imposed conundrum we find ourselves in. And all for a phone.

Anyway, you can get Ms. Sadun’s relock procedure from TUAW here. Or from the iPhone FAQ, from iphonegoboom.com (great name!) which has everything else you might need to know.

Once again, caveat hax0r. According to the feedback comments, this thing is as risky as the first unlocks that came out. As Erica herself advises, if you must, wait a day or two for the procedure to be debugged. And be aware that there may be a hardware-based lock/unlock limit built into the iPhone, so think hard before doing this.

For the click-lazy, we reproduce Erica’s procedure here, purely for educational purposes:

  • (Take out your SIM from your iPhone.)–Still checking on this step.
  • Download the 1.0.2 firmware to your computer and unzip it. It uses a .ipsw extension but your unzip program should still work. Change the extension if you have to.
  • Extract the ramdisk as such: dd if=009-7698-4.dmg of=ramdisk.dmg bs=512 skip=4 conv=sync
  • Mount the extracted ramdisk.
  • From the ramdisk, copy /usr/local/bin/bbupdater, /usr/local/standalone/firmware/ICE03.14.08_G.eep, and /usr/local/standalone/firmware/ICE03.14.08_G.fls to your iPhone. Place these into a folder on the OS partition (such as /bbupdate) and not into a folder on /var/root. The /var/root partition is set noexec and you cannot run programs from there.
  • Disable com.apple.CommCenter.plist–either using UIctl or launchctl: launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.CommCenter.plist
  • On the iPhone, navigate to the folder where you stored bbupdater and the eep and fls files.
  • Run bbupdater as such: ./bbupdater -f *.fls -e *.eep
  • Reload comm center: launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.CommCenter.plist
  • Reactivate with your favorite AT&T SIM. I personally like using iASign.

Stream movies to your iPhone from your Mac September 22, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, Because You Can, Hacks, iPhone, Video.
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The wonderful folk at the Embraceware blog thought up a way for you to stream videos stored on your Mac straight to your iPhone so you can watch it there (and ostensibly over the net as well).

You can head over to the site for the instructions, and for more info. In case you want to jump right in, we reproduce Embraceware’s step-by-step here:

Step 1
Open “Sharing” in System Preferences and enable “Personal Web Sharing” – this will turn on the built in web server installed with OS X. When enabled, it will display an address (your IP or computer network name) as the URL for accessing the site on your network. Note this address – we’ll be visiting it on our iPhone via Safari later.

Step 2
The root of the web site is located in /Library/WebServer/Documents.
Open the Terminal and type the following:
cd /Library/WebServer/Documents/
and press ENTER.

Step 3
Still in the Terminal we will continue by creating a Symbolic link to your iTunes “Movies” directory and place this link in the root of your web server by typing the following:
ln -s /[path t0 your iTunes Movies folder] Movies
example: ln -s/Volumes/Machintosh HD/users/john/Music/iTunes/Movies Movies

Step 4
Open Safari on your iPhone and visit the address provided when you enabled the Personal Web Sharing in your iPhone followed by /Movies
Example: http://192.168.2.20/Movies/

A little ingenuity goes a long long way. Thanks to Embraceware for the tip!

(Crossposted from Mobile Philippines)

MacPic of The Day: All together now September 21, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Because You Can, MacPics, Operating System, Pics.
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What would happen if you simultaneously opened every single app on your Mac at once? Would it crash? Would it hang? Would it explode?

Someone named jeffseb tried it on a Macbook Pro that had a 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 3gb of DDR2 SDRAM by doing a Command-A on his Applications folder. It took 12 whole minutes (it took a bit long because some of the apps were trying to update from the web on startup), but the Macbook Pro managed it, and this it what it looked like:

I think of my IBM Thinkpad on Windows XP and the excruciating, molasses-slow agony it goes through just opening two apps. If you want a high-res version so you can peruse the screen in detail, click here. (Check out how many yellow triangles there are in the dock!)

Voicemail for everybody September 20, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Because You Can, Hacks, iPhone.
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A casualty of unlocking iPhones is Visual Voicemail, which is carrier-dependent, but the industrious folk at the iPhone Dev Team have figured out a simple way to enable the Voicemail button on the phone.

It ain’t visual voicemail, but it works, and saves you folk the agony of having a button on the menu that doesn’t work (dunno about you guys, but that sorta thing drives me nuts).

Courtesy of Gizmodo, who’ve helpfully cut through the jargon, here are the summarized, simplified steps for the Average Joe With An Unlocked iPhone:

1. First, take note of what your voicemail number is with your current provider (for example, in Spain the Vodafone voicemail number is 177).
2. Click on the phone button in your iPhone.
3. Click on the keypad tab.
4. Tap the following code:

    *5005*86*xxx#

The xxx is the voicemail number, in our example it will read: *5005*86*177#

5. Tap call.
6. After a second, the code will have been set.
7. Tap now on the voicemail button and it will automatically call your usual voicemail service.

As usual, try it at your own risk.

MacPic of The Day September 16, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Because You Can, Funnies, Hardware, iPhone, Issues, Pics, Services.
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iPod-NES August 5, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Because You Can, Hacks, Hardware, iPods.
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Speaking of remotes, the ever-interesting and engrossing website Instructables has come up with a cool use for your old Nintendo Entertainment System controller gathering dust in the attic – use it as a remote for your iPod!

It’s only for 3G and 4G iPods, though. The site has a step-by-step instruction sequence (as well they should, since the official site name is Instructables: Step By Step Instructions), and be forewarned, it requires a bit of soldering and delicate work which looks hard even for DIY fanatics, but it is interesting as a little side project for a lazy weekend afternoon.

Just think, after you finish it and get it to work, you can say you can still operate your iPod even if you were two feet farther away than you normally are when you control it. With a NES controller! Who needs those fancy Apple-made iPod remotes anyway?

Details and step-by-step instructions here.