Sunday, September 30, 2007

Got my iPhone

Wow !!! I just got my iPhone (thanks to Arun who brought it for me from US). I have been waiting to get my hands on this cool device from the moment Steve Jobs unveiled it. Atlast I have it in my hands, it feels so good to touch and play with it. The screen is just awesome and I love the way the product has been designed..

The guys in nokia and motorola should feel really bad about themselves, having been in the market for such a long time none of them could make a phone as cool as iPhone. I would like to meet the team who designed the User Interface for iPhone, they have done a real awesome job. When was the last time you saw a device and it worked the way you wanted it to work.. it just feels like magic to work with this device.

It took some time to unlock the iPhone in India to work with Airtel network, since it's not officially available here yet. This article with clear step by step instructions helped me unlock the iPhone, except the final step using anySIM application to unlock didn't work for me. So I have to revert to the command line unlock for this. I should personally thank Mac Kalvin who helped me figure out the final step of unlocking my iPhone. Mac Kalvin has been doing a great job for the community in india, considering that there are folks in india who charge 5000 Rupees (100 $) to unlock an iPhone, I am totally surprised that he could offer his guidance over phone/email free of charge !! Good job mate !! Keep up the good work :)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Successfully softmodded my Xbox

It has been a really long week for me since I wanted to have my xbox softmodded after reading this excellent article in Lifehacker by Gina Tripani. I want to blog about my experiences from the past week trying to mod my xbox based on the post.

Note : Most of the steps mentioned in this post are already available in the web, I am trying to blog about my experience/problems faced during the softmod process.

The article mentioned that I needed the following :

1. XBox (obvious)
2. Splinter Cell (I was lucky to have the Platinum Hits version of this game in my collection)
3. Action Replay Kit
4. Home Network

Day 1:
I didn't have the Action Replay kit to start the work, so I set off to buy one from the famous Ritchie Street in Chennai (for those of you who don't know this place.. it's the combo of Circuit City/Best Buy/Gamestop for us). Unfortuntely none of them knew anything about Action replay kit, so I knew I couldn't get it from anywhere else in india ;). So I decided to look out for other options to softmod without using Action Replay.

Day 2:
I had 2 xbox controllers so I decided to use one to build my own Xbox to USB adapter it was very easy than I had expected. There are many articles in the web giving clear instructions on how to go about doing it. I didn't have soldering iron so I just taped the wires between my USB adapter and Xbox controller cable. I began testing my homemade action replay using my JOGR USB flash drive, it was nice to see that my Xbox recognized the Memory device. But my enthusiasm short lived as I was not able to copy any games from my Xbox to the flash drive. It kept saying "Copy failed". I tried to read the USB drive from my PC using Action replay software (refer to this article how to make Action Replay recognize your USB drive) but I was not able to copy any games using AR to the USB drive since it kept saying "Not enough disk space", I was confused since the 1 GB USB drive didn't have anything in it. I googled to see what could be the problem and stumbled across this page which lists out the USB drives that are compatible to use with AR software. Check out this link as well for the complete set of USB drives. I decided to get USB drive from my friends to see whether I would have any luck.

Day 3:
I got 512 MB Transcend USB drive and started testing to see whether it would work. I was happy to see the drive being recognized immediately by Xbox and was able to successfully copy my saved games from Xbox to the flash drive. Now it was time for the second test to see whether I could copy the necessary files from my PC to the flash drive using AR software. But AR showed the message "Unable to enumerate USB drive", I tried to google to see if there was any help, even though quite a lot of people have raised this question, there was no answer even from the AR software support... (pathetic). this article provided some hope but even after following the steps provided in the article I couldn't get past the error. I thought probably there was something wrong with Vista and I tried installing AR software in XP but that didn't help.

Day 4:
I got a 1 GB Transcend USB drive from one other friend and started to test my luck again. I connected it to my PC and started AR software and to my surprise it was recognized by AR software. So the reason behind "Unable to enumerate USB drive" was thrown by AR software was the usage of incompatiable USB drive, if you do get this message in your system please try with different USB drives. I copied the necessary files to the USB drive thru AR software and copied them onto my XBox hard drive.

I fired up my Xbox and loaded Splinter Cell game and loaded the "Linux" profile and clicked on "Checkpoints", I was expecting to see the X-evolution screen but my system was frozen.. I was totally baffled, i had followed all the instructions but I was not sure what went wrong now.. I googled to see if anyone has mentioned about this but noone has reported such error, so I thought I should have done something wrong.. so I started the copy process all over again and I immediately realised that by mistake I copied the NTSC version instead of PAL version.

After copying the correct version I loaded splinter cell over again and this time I was presented with the lovely x-evolution dashboard.. YUPPY !!! I was really happy to see this screen after having spent a long time working on this.. I followed the instructions mentioned in the article and successfully installed XBMC (Xbox Media Center). I was happy to rekindle my passion for hacking stuffs after a long time. Do drop me a comment if you found any part of my post useful for your xbox softmod process.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Addition to the family

I have really great news to share!! I was blessed with a baby girl on 27th August :) It was one of the precious moments in my life, seeing my daughter for the first time. The last 10 months seemed a really long time for me and my wife, waiting for the little one. My daughter weighed 3 kgs and many people said she looked like me. It was funny to hear that since I didn't see anything in my daughter's face that resembled me..