Hacking the Wii

Mar 25, 2008 / 0 comments

I hacked my brother's Wii this weekend. It was fairly painless (and pointless at present). All you need is a copy of Zelda: Twilight Princess (which I don't have, hence using my brother's Wii for this) and an SD card. You use the Twilight Hack as a Zelda saved game, which then causes a buffer overrun when you try to talk to the first character in the game. This is exploited to load a boot loader which loads and runs a boot.elf file off an SD card in the Wii's memory card slot. Pretty easy to do.

There's not a lot out there at present. Wiibrew seems to be the main hub of activity. I tried the GameCube Linux Proof of Concept Linux port; once they add USB support it might actually be useful as that'll open up mass storage and input via a keyboard. There's a Sega Genesis emulator on Wiibrew which isn't too bad, but I found it a bit temperamental at reading ROM images.

Still, it's a start and it's pretty nifty that you can do this without having to modify your Wii in any way. I expect more groovy homebrew will appear as the hardware of the Wii gets better mapped out.

This week I have mostly been listening to...

Mar 13, 2008 / 0 comments

Last.fm tag:cover

I blame Flash but it's actually not been bad; the odd terrible choice, a few excellent versions (some of which were new to me) and mostly just acceptable covers that give me a reasonable range of stuff to listen to at work.

My DG834G considered dead

Mar 11, 2008 / 0 comments

I tried again this weekend to OpenWRT my Netgear DG834G ADSL router with SVN r10500. Less joy this time; it boots the kernel and says something along the lines of "Please wait while OpenWRT does its thang", prints a message about loading the FPU emulator and sits there. However I'm pretty sure this isn't OpenWRT's fault; trying to flash the router back to the stock Netgear image is failing. ADAM2 does the erase ok, but once it gets to trying to do the flash it just sits there even when left for hours. I don't know if this is because the flash blocks are going or some other reason, but I think I can be fairly sure the hardware is on the blink. I'll try again to turn it back into a normal device, but somehow I don't rate my chances.

So, having broken my primary ADSL router I fell back to my WGT634U + Speedtouch USB combo. I'd found my other frog and hoped it might prove more stable, but no. Got a maximum of about half an hour of connect time. Which leads me to believe the original Speedtouch just isn't very good at either ADSL Max or a full 8Mb/s (yes, I live in the middle of nowhere but in general I get full ADSL Max connect speeds).

I gave up at this point (it was Sunday night) and on Monday decided to have a look for cheap routers on eBay. And then I remembered I had a BT Home Hub lying around. It's locked to BT by default, but I knew there were various discussions on putting Thompson Speedtouch 7G firmware on it that would open things up. It meant finding my Windows box and booting it (Wine wouldn't cut it unfortunately due to magic network voodoo or something) in order to do the upgrade, but I now at least have a stable 8Mb/s connection again. The Home Hub is running Linux but it's a Broadcom chipset with no source for the ADSL drivers that I'm aware of, so I don't hold a lot of hope for hacking it. However I have a D-Link DSL-502T on its way (for less than a tenner) so I haven't given up on AR7 yet.

Epic IPv6/DG834G fail

Feb 19, 2008 / 0 comments

Since I've moved to Castlerock I've started using my DG834G to provide my ADSL again, as it was quick to setup and easily found in all the boxes. Up until now I've just been using it with the normal Netgear firmware, but I'm getting to the point where enough of the rest of the house is sorted that I want to think about the network layout. Part of that is enabling IPv6 (I'm with an Entanet reseller these days, and Enta claim to do IPv6), part of it is not bridging the wireless and wired networks (I'd like to be able to trust the wired one a bit more) and part of it is just being able to run useful bits on the router itself.

Anyway. I had built up an OpenWRT SVN image last month and tonight I decided was the time to try it, having been putting it off for ages. Epic fail. Managed to get the backup of the Netgear image done fine, eventually got the new image on there, waited and waited and no joy. Wouldn't even ping on the LAN side. Further investigation showed that it would ping for a few seconds when first power cycled and then die. So I had to find my serial console level shifter so I could have a look. All signs point to it failing when loading the wireless or ADSL firmware blobs. Bah.

I spent a while trying to get the old firmware back on it; ADAM2 seems really unhappy if it receives unexpected traffic (like, say, DNS requests because my network thinks the router is the DNS server/gateway) while you're ftping an MTD image. I got there, but decided I'd try out my WGT634U setup again, which is what I used in Norwich. Found the frog, fired up the router, changed my old Black Cat details to the new Enta ones and crossed my fingers. At first all appeared well (well, except for no IPv6 PPP; must email Enta to see if they need to tweak settings at their end for my username), but after a while it became apparent that the ADSL connection was flakey; it was resyncing every couple of minutes. Bum. It might just be the frog; I do have another one somewhere, but I ended up just falling back to the DG834G with the stock Netgear firmware ie exactly where I started this evening. I've pulled latest OpenWRT SVN and I see a few kernel/VLYNQ patches regarding AR7, so I shall try another build and see what happens.

Epic fail. I shouldn't play with networking on a school night.

Sennheiser PXC 250 headphones

Feb 4, 2008 / 0 comments

I was bought a pair of these for Christmas. For the past few years I've been using a pair of Hitachi TMP028s - cheap clip on headphones that I've found far better than the popular ear bud style, but nothing special. The Sennheisers are much better again. They have a neat little padded cup that means they make a good fit with your ears, the headband is reasonably adjustable (I've had issues with my glasses with other headphones) and they come with a carry case and fold flat which means throwing them in my bag for my train commute much easier. All in all I've been very impressed in my use over the past month. And then today I finally put some batteries in to power the noise cancellation function. Wow. Much more effective than I expected. I was able to knock the volume on my iAudio down a fair bit and still hear the music better than usual. The noise of the train was still present, but reduced significantly to the point where it wasn't an issue at all. Definitely recommended.

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