Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Regarding PS3 Linux Support

Last summer, Ars interviewed Sony about the Slim not having Linux as a built in option. Here is what they said.

Why was the ability to install Linux removed from the system?

"There are a couple of reasons. We felt we wanted to move forward with the OS we have now. If anyone wants to use previous models and change the OS, they can do so." Koller said. "We wanted to standardize our OS."

There you have it folks. They said if we wanted to use previous models and change the OS, we can. Now they changed their minds. They really can't continue to be so fickle to their customers and expect us to keep coming back for more.

I used to admire Sony products, and preferentially look for them when buying electronics. Sony is now my last choice.

Apple is singlehandedly changing Web video

Apple has said "no Adobe Flash" on their mobile platforms. Its been like this since iPhone 1.0, and although there is a huge install base of iPhones, many websites have remained Flash only. Then the iPad was announced. Between January 27th and now, sites with huge user communities like NYTimes, Time, and CBS have been considering using the open web video standard (HTML5) instead of Adobe Flash. All of these groups have more or less acknowledged that the iPad is a major factor in their choice to offer video using HTML5. All of this influence from Apple is on account of what people expect from the unreleased iPad.

Before the iPad, we didn't hear about many big sites who were willing to deploy HTML5 for video. Apple takes one stubborn position and announces one new device, and suddenly HTML5 video is poised to replace the de facto Flash standard.

Things in technology don't move this fast. I'm awestruck.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sony Open Letter: update

Here is the reply I got from Sony. They are basically saying that the TOS/EULA allows them to update/upgrade my machine any way they please. And that I don't have to install the update if I don't want to, but the fact is that not updating will brick my console for online gaming, PSN, and new games which require up-to-date firmware.

Here is the reply:

Hello Raj,

Thank you for writing to us in regard to the newest PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system.

Due to security concerns, Sony Computer Entertainment will remove the "Other OS" functionality through the 3.21 system software update. This will help to ensure that PS3 owners will continue to have access to the broad range of gaming and entertainment content from SCE and its content partners on a more secure system.

Furthermore, consumers and organizations that currently use the “Other OS” feature can choose not to upgrade their PS3 systems, as this is an optional update.

For further information:

Lastly, as stated in Article 11 of the SCEA's End Users License Agreement (EULA), "Such content may include automatic updates or upgrades which may change your current operating system [...]. Such upgrades or updates may be provided for system software for your PS3™ system, the PSP® system or other SCEA-authorized hardware. Access or use to any system software is subject to terms and conditions of a separate end user license agreement found at You authorize SCEA to provide such content and agree that SCEA shall not be liable [...] for provision of such content or maintenance services."

PlayStation®Network Terms of Service and User Agreement:

Please rest assured that we will convey your feedback to Sony Computer Entertainment America's ("SCEA") appropriate management.

Tenera S.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Open Letter to Sony Computer Entertainment

This is an open letter, which as also been sent to the Playstation Consumer Services via this page:

Begin letter:
PS3 OtherOS support is being dropped in a firmware update according to the Playstation Blog. The post advises users that they can choose to not upgrade at the cost of losing access to PSN and newer games. The blog cites "security concerns".

This is unacceptable. The OtherOS feature was advertised at launch, and was one of my main factors in deciding to purchase a PS3 system. I have been using Linux on my PS3 for academic projects in learning CellBE programming. I also enjoy playing games and accessing PSN. I should not be made to choose between the two, since the device was advertised as a gaming machine with the option to install any other OS I choose to install.

Once this update goes out, I will not update my PS3 system. I would like to know how I may access my games and PSN after this update ships. In the event that I am unable to retain my OtherOS functionality and play my games and access PSN, I will pursue other actions within my rights to rectify this situation.

Sony makes a terrible decision: drops Linux support on PS3

Are they kidding?

They are removing OtherOS support for the old PS3. This was a primary selling point when I bought it, as has been documented in this blog. I have Ubuntu installed on my PS3, and now I have to decide between using Linux, or being able to play games/PSN. This is unacceptable; if this firmware update gets pushed out the door, I'm going to Sony and ask for my money back. Sony advertised this support when I bought the console; by my refusing to update, my system will effectively be a brick when it comes to gaming. I paid for a fully functioning Linux machine AND gaming console, all in one nice box. Soon I'll have only half that functionality.

I wonder if a class action lawsuit is already in the works; I should do some searching.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

RedEye mini coming to iPhone; DIY coming soon

UPDATE 11 Nov 2010: it turns out I was wrong about it being the simple option, and right about the "at most" part. Thinkflood mentions the simple option themselves in a semi-technical writeup of the technology, but goes on to mention the shortcomings of this approach. Instead, they use a microcontroller to blink the LED, and the audio frequency signals are only for communicating with and powering up the microcontroller. This of course means that while the communication protocol between the software/phone and the Mini hardware can be reverse engineered, the microcontroller will still have propriatary code to drive the LEDs; it looks like reverse engineering this isn't going to be fun, easy, or cheap any more, so I guess this project is out. Old post follows.

Old Post

I'm excited about this product that claims to turn your iPhone/iPod Touch into a universal remote control.

This takes me back to the old days of my Palm m505 that had built-in IR, and plenty of programs that did the universal remote functionality. Since the iPhone doesn't have built-in IR functionality, ThinkFlood decided to make a "hardware" component that costs $50 and plugs into your headphone jack. There is some free-of-cost software to drive it that has the universal remote functionality. I use quotes around hardware because my sense is that this is probably nothing more than an IR LED or two connected to a 3.5mm connector. All the smart stuff is clearly done in the software, which generates audio signals to drive the LED.

At MOST, the device has a watch battery, a few transistors, a microcontroller and an LED. Lets hope not.

I'm going to try and reverse engineer this thing and make a cheap device that works with the official RedEye app. The audio output should be able to be recorded and analyzed as a starter. Gutting a RedEye mini would be the other part. Stay tuned.

PS: Here are some relevent links that will help in the hacking.