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5 Reasons To Jailbreak


Recently, the iPhone 3.0 software came out. I did not get it straight away because I would only update when a jailbreak was out for it.. As soon as that happened, I updated to a jailbroken 3.0 and then went through the painful process of restoring my Cydia apps and such. Anyway, here are my 5 reasons why I need to jailbreak.

The iPhone 3GS added video recording the the iPhone. Unfortunately for us iPhone and iPhone 3G users, we are left out. Well lucky for us, there is Cycorder. This allows for our devices to record video. It may not be as nice looking and smooth as the 3GS video, but at least it’s something. It’s good enough to just whip out your phone when you want to take a quick, dirty video using your phone.

The YouTube app in the iPhone is great. It does what you would expect it to do and does it really well for a phone. Unfortunately it is only really useful when you have Wifi or 3G data. Well for when you don’t have that, there is MxTube. No, it doesn’t save every video on YouTube to your phone, but you can get it to save you favourite videos or any YouTube video you want to view offline, or even online to save mobile data. This app is great for that and a lot of people like having their favourite videos on their iPhone to watch and to show others whenever.

There are many reasons why you’d want to get into your phone. For me, that is looking at files in my phone, modifying files in my phone, even backup files in my phone. This would only be possible with OpenSSH. This app has helped me back up some files before updating to 3.0, mostly stuff on my phone from jailbroken apps, but I would have lost over 500mb of files without this app. It is extremely useful.

I wish Apple had a simple way in the OS to toggle different things such as Wifi and Bluetooth from anywhere in the phone. Well for us jailbroken users, there is SBSettings. With a simple swipe of the top menubar, a box comes down with various toggles including Wifi, Bluetooth, Phone, Location Services and a few more. SBSettings makes it easy and elegant to get to those options without having to navigate out of our apps and deep into the settings on the iPhone.

This last one isn’t as useful as the other app but is more a interesting app. SMS Counter shows the number of SMS sent and/or received by your contacts between any date you specify and also shows this on a pie chart for you to see. It is really interesting to see how many SMS I’ve sent and received and to and from who since I first started using the iPhone. This app is pretty cool and can show you quite a bit about your SMS habits in a cool way.

And that is pretty much why I jailbreak. Hopefully one day Apple can include some of these things with the OS and loosen up on the apps to allow more interesting and useful apps into the App Store. I’ve been using jailbroken apps since the get go and have become heavily reliant on them. If I had to choose between 2.1 with jailbreak or 3.0 without, I would definitely pick the first. I couldn’t live without those apps. And that is why I waited a while to get to 3.0.

WWDC 2009


It wasn’t until Sunday night that I finally got around to watching the WWDC 2009 keynote. Apple keynotes are always interesting, no matter what they announce, whether it affects me in anyway or now, regardless of if they announce something huge or just show off a few things that they’ve got. Apple keynotes are the best. This keynote covered 4 main bits, MacBook Pros, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, iPhone Software 3.0 and the iPhone 3Gs.

When I first found out about the MacBook updates, I was a little annoyed. My MacBook is only 6 months old and they update it already. The only changes to it from my one are the FireWire 800 port, SD Card Slot, theoretical 2 more hours of battery life, slight CPU bump, double the RAM and the Pro on then end of the name. After an hour or so i was over it though, I love my MacBook and the features it adds wouldn’t affect the way I use my computer, although the RAM and Battery upgrades would be nice.

Snow Leopard really amazes me. It is a better Leopard. I love Leopard how it is and couldn’t have imagined it any other way. This is a perfect operating system (I come from a Windows background so what do you expect.) Well Apple blew my mind and showed some really cool stuff that they’re including in Snow Leopard. I find the current OS to be blazing fast and the new OS will see increases in speed. I can’t imagine how fast it will be but if it really is as fast as they say, I’m going to be blown away. Maybe Leopard isn’t really that fast, it’s just that I came from Windows. But that wasn’t all, Apple once again blew my mind with Snow Leopard by releasing it for a small $29 USD. Wow, I’m buying this day 1! Amazing price.

iPhone 3.0 stuff had been out in the while for some time so the stuff showed off was really no surprise, it was nice to see them on screen though. The thing that was interesting were the demos of apps utilizing some of the new features available to developers. I’m not a huge fan of in-app purchasing, I could go into more detail but I’d need another post for that. The GPS app that Tomtom showed looked pretty awesome. I would buy it, and the stand if I had my own car and needed a GPS unit. I am really looking forward to seeing apps developed especially for 3.0.

The last thing announce was a new iPhone, the 3Gs. This seems more like a spec bump, similar to that seen by the MacBook rather than a new model. Basically it adds a better camera with video support, a compass and voice control. Someone with a current iPhone 3G would get little out of the 3Gs. Someone new to the platform or someone upgrading from the original iPhone on the other hand, this would be a great next phone. For me, having fast data over the cellular network, the 3.0 megapixel camera and the 32GB of storage is enough reason for me to upgrade to it from the original iPhone model. The only thing I’m worried about is that I’m going to wish I had waited a year longer when the new big revision gets announce next year.

Overall this was a get keynote for me. I didn’t particularly care for new MacBook but it is nice to see progress for when i do eventually upgrade my 13″ MacBook to a 15″ MacBook Pro probably when I finish University. I am really excited for Snow Leopard and will definitely be purchasing it in-store on the day of release. 3.0 seems like a huge improvement over 2.0 adding features people have been wanting since version 1.0 so that will be nice to have. Finally, I think I am going to be getting an iPhone 3Gs. It is about time to upgrade to a model made for current generation mobile technology. WWDC 2009 was better than expected. I can’t wait to see what they have to top this one next year.

E3′s Been


This week was a big week for the video game industry as the biggest show, E3 was this week. This is where the big dogs showcase what’s to come over the next 12 months. Being someone with a big interest in video games, and someone who has invested into this generation if console games, this event is exciting for me. To be honest, the only Press Conferences that interested me were the Microsoft and Sony ones. I am so over Nintendo, not that I was really into them in the first place.

The first day of E3 was Microsoft. I watched their Press Conference and was really pleased with what they showcased. The whole 2 hours was pretty much about showing the games that are coming out. That kept me entertained the whole time. A few of the games looked interesting, but since I don’t have a Xbox 360, I didn’t care that much for them. That and the fact that the games aren’t in the genres I tend to stick to. Probably the most interesting thing from the conference was Project Natal, but more on that later.

The next day was Sony’s Press Conference. Unfortunately I found there show less entertaining.They talked about other things when really all I wanted to see was the games. They showed a few games off, most of which I wasn’t really interested in. They didn’t go deep into as many games as Microsoft did, but they did have a few cool montages with hundreds of titles coming out over the next months. The only problem is that they went too fast and didn’t tell me what games I was looking out, so it felt very uninformative. They also announced “E3′s worst kept secret,” the PSP Go. The most interesting parts of the conference were Assassins Creed in-game footage, the God of War 3 E3 Demo and the PlayStation Motion Controller.

Sony and Microsoft both announced quite different motion controller peripherals for their systems. Sony’s was a controller with a glowing ball on the top with a few buttons that was tracked by the EyeToy camera. Microsoft have something really amazing. Being able to use you as the controller by tracking your movements, and other stuff like voice and facial recognition. This is definitely the future of computer technology, not only in video games. You have to search for the videos of these to really see how amazing both of these technologies are. It’s not something you can get an idea about from words. You have to see it with your own eyes. To be honest, I feel that Microsoft’s take on it seems a bit gimmicky, much like the Wii motion controls. I can see how it can be used in a casual gaming sense, but I don’t think it is something that can be utilized by a traditional gamer. Sony on the other hand, I can see how this could be used by a traditional gamer and they showed it too, and it looked like a lot of fun. We won’t be seeing anything really till next year but I am excited to see how both technologies pan out.

Other than watching the two Press Conferences, I also kept up with E3 by watching the Co-op podcast. I think they did a great job covering E3. Heck, they do a great job covering video games in general. Definitely check them out, especially their E3 coverage. But this week has been a good week and there are definitely a few titles I am looking forward to, including Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, Assassins Creed 2 and God of War 3. I can’t wait to get them in my hands. I wonder what will be the next big thing and what E3 2010 will bring for us next year.

PlayStation Portable Go


As you may or may not know, I’ve been a PlayStation Portable owner since it launched here over here in 2005. For quite a while not the PSP scene has been very quite with one big title coming out every 6-12 months. Everyone had been waiting for a new PSP model. Rumors had been swirling for a while now about a possible PSP2. Well today, it was leaked. No, not a PSP2, but a PSP Go (aka PSP-4000.)

This model is not a PSP2, it’s not even a replacement for the current PSP-3000, it is just a new model to be sold along side the current PSP. This is Sony’s answer to the DSi. This model has had a significant redesign, where the button are behind the 3.8 inch screen and can be accessed by sliding the front up. Gone is the UMD drive and has been replaced by 16GB of internal flash memory which means the unit is completely for digitally downloaded content. There are some other small features but nothing really significant.

They are moving forward with this model, it seems to me like a halfway point between the PSP1 and whatever is coming for the PSP2. The new version of the PSP will include all the new stuff we’ve seen today plus hardware updates as well as the hugely demanded second analog stick. Since this is NOT the PSP2, this is why they haven’t included the second analog stick because that would cut people with earlier models off from newer games or give them a less satisfying experience with alternative controls. Hey, they need to leave something out to get your money again next time.

If you already have a PSP and have build up a large library of games, this probably won’t appeal to you much because there is no way to play you collection without paying again for the digital copies of the game. If there was a way to convert the games, that would be great, but I doubt there is a foolproof way of doing that without leaving it open to exploit. But if you prefer to have a physical copy of a game, they will be sold alongside the digital copy. One thing that would be nice to see though is every UMD copy of the game coming with a code that you can enter onto your PSP account which will entitle you to a digital copy from backwards compatibility when the PSP2 does come out, because I am positive it will not come with any physical media.

So what do I think? To be honest I don’t care much. This is not the PSP2, buying this PSP would be a waste since I wouldn’t be able to carry around or play my current library on this device. For a new PSP owner, this is the one to get. Maybe I’ll care a bit more when it gets hacked to allow me to play ISO’s from my old UMD games. When that happens, maybe more of these things will be flying off shelves into current owners hands. 16GB of games internally plus another 16GB via Memory Stick Micro, that is a lot of room for pirated games.

Wireless Printing


When I got my MacBook, one thing that got thrown in the package was a Apple Airport Express. At first I didn’t know what I was going to do with it so I had a quick play around with it and then put it back. It wasn’t till the family decided to put the printer (also included with the Mac) upstairs. I decided that I could utilize both products and setting up wireless printing on the network.

The setting up of the Airport is very simple. A few steps and you’re away. I set it up so that the Airport connects the the wireless network that we already have. From there, just connect a printer to the USB port on the airport. That is the hardware all setup. For Macs, you just need to install the printer software and you’re good to go. For Windows machines, you need to install the Airport software which is included with the device. Then just install the printer software/drivers and everything is good to go there.

And there you have it, wireless printing. It is so much better than the old setup. The old setup consisted of a PC on the network with a shared printer connected to it. No longer do I have to turn on the computer and wait 2-4 minutes for it to fully boot up and print. Now I just have to turn on the printer and in a minute the job will be done. If you are living in a place with multiple computers in a household, especially laptops, wireless printing is a godsend.

Picking A Console


Not too long ago, the only current generation console in the house was a Wii. It rarely got touched until I gave it some extra life by hacking it to play homebrew and game backups. Still, the experience wasn’t as enjoyable as playing the PS1 and PS2 years ago. I had some money in my pocket and decided one Friday night to look into what console to buy to fill that empty space in my life and under the television.

After about 30 minutes, I was over the fence in the Xbox 360 camp. It was cheap, $300 for an arcade system with a couple of games. Another $100 for a game that I sorta wanted to play brings it up to half the price of its competitor, a PS3. This was going to be a “get something until the PS3 gets cheaper and I can actually justify getting one for the price.” When looking at the list of 360 exclusives, there was really nothing on the list that appealed to me that much. Nothing out that I MUST HAVE and nothing coming out in the future either. Still, $400 is pocket change so why not?

It wasn’t till half way through the night till I woke up all of a sudden and realized that getting a 360 would have been a big regret for my later on. Why wouldn’t I get a PS3. It’s only twice the price, there are well over a dozen games I was excited for. I looked up to see I could get a PS3 console and 3 games for just under $800. The initial investment is higher than the others but I felt that I would get so much more out of it and paying $800 for a console you really want is nothing against a $400 console that you couldn’t care less about.

If you want a “full Xbox 360 experience,” the price difference between the two becomes lesser and lesser. Xbox Live subscription for online play, hard drive attachment for storage of downloadable content and wifi adapter for that cable free connectivity, after all that, the choice is pretty clear. To be honest, price isn’t a main factor when deciding what console to get, the thing that sells the console is the exclusive game titles. Anything else such as price, features etc. become secondary and may help persuade a fence sitter into what one to get.

For me, it was the exclusive titles that are out, and the ones coming in the next 12 month, that made me decide to go with the PS3. I didn’t buy the console because if all the features it had in the box although they were good bonuses, and I  didn’t not buy the other console because of what it was lacking. For most people, it’s software that sells a system, things like price point (one of the PS3′s biggest downfalls according to most people) just delay a future PS3 owner from getting one now. Maybe if I was into Halo and Gears of War, I would have went with the 360 instead. Saying that, I can always make room for a third console under the television, maybe in a year or two… :D

Playing Wii Backups


One of the great things the Homebrew Channel opened up for me was the ability to play Wii game backups. It can play full ISOs burnt to a DVD-R without the need for a Modchip or anything. It is completely a software solution. The process of getting this on is just as easy and simple as installing the Homebrew Channel. Here are the instructions for if you want your Wii to run backups of your games. This only works on Wii System Software 3.3 and below.

  1. Install the Homebrew Channel if you haven’t already.
  2. Download Wiigator’s Backup Launcher.
  3. Copy Backup_Launcher and cIOS Installer to the app directory on your SD card.
  4. Launch cIOS_Installer from the Homebrew Channel. This works better if you have Wifi, but if you don’t, read the readme included for the links to get the 20 or so files manually.
  5. Follow the instructions. The Wii will reboot once completed.
  6. You can delete cIOS_Installer from the SD card.
  7. Put your Backup Disc in the Wii Console.
  8. Launch Backup Launcher from the Homebrew Channel.
  9. Either go to Launch Game and press A to launch game from the Backup Launcher or Press B to reboot the Wii and launch the game as usual from the Disc Channel.

It is as simple as that. Now you can run most game backups in case of an accident with the original game disc. For backing up your games, you can find a tutorial with apps for backing up or you can find the disc image on the internet. And there you have it, without any modchipping, soldering or even opening up your console. A purely software solution.

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