Archive for December, 2007

PS2 “Modding” Madness

December 30, 2007

Sister lost the game that we were using to exploit the PS2 buffer overflow when loading PS1 games, so no more trigger disc for HD loader on the memory card. Ashley would never respond to me (lol?) so I couldn’t get my real HD loader disc back from him.. nor my crappy Linksys BEFW11S4 11mbps wireless router.

Anyways I figured it was time to buy a swapdisc, so I got Swap Magic 3.6 CD+DVD from some random company in the LA area for $30 after tax/ship. You could do so much more with a swapdisc.. with HD loader, you can run the program. With a swapdisc, you can swap in a burned copy of HD Loader as well as do other things.. lol.

I had to get this done before my sister leaves for SD in like 10 hours, but I couldn’t get a few things done:

  • Kingdom Hearts 2 crashes at one point – Known bug in HD Loader and practically unfixable.
  • Super Bust-A-Move totally just does not work. (No idea.)
  • Couldn’t work hdl_dump – constant “target machine refused connection” messages. Ping and ExecFTPs work fine. So no game transfer over LAN =(
  • Couldn’t get slide card to work, and no fliptop cover.. so no swapping.

Nonetheless, I won’t go through the agony of writing everything, so here goes a summary:

  • Need replacement PS1 game!! (Try to exploit without?!)
  • Need slide card or flip top! (SLIDE CARD!)
  • Make own slide card! (Get template and random cards!!)
  • Break off front tray plate to slide in!
  • Move games from 80gb HD to 250gb HD!
  • Wait, fragmentation.. Format 250gb HD and move games individually, not all at once!
  • Does PS2 work with CD-RW?? Nope!
  • Burn Independence Exploit Installer properly? TITLE.DB with 800+ games?! Run off burned/swapped HD loader instead of burning another CD?
  • yay crash bandicoot 2 from.. vina’s brother?! far drive for sister.. blah!
  • oh gay soft reboots don’t work! HARD POWEROFFFFF
  • omgz auto BOOT.ELF –> HDLOADER.ELF?? KeyLauncher KL.DAT format? LaunchELF?
  • Running upstairs and downstairs like 100 times (no kidding) and rebooting my PS2 oh so many times
  • Finally time to put back PS2.. MISSING A RUBBER FOOT? WHAT? i totally kept all of them! oh, it was on my lap..
  • Breaking a pin on the HD at the very end (LOL) but luckily it was pin 40, just one ground of many ground

At least I’m done (err.. “done”) and my sister has a big fat 250gb HD with HD loader working .. properly?

Yeah.. that totally sucked and took forever. Back to vacation/break, please. (aka eyeExam/fullCheckup/shot, burn dvds, spend time with friends, do EE hw […], get keys to new roommates… blah blah blahh…)


Empty Box for $50: Where’s my book, Amazon?

December 28, 2007

I bought my books as soon as I found out I was attending school next quarter. So I got this programming book from some guy on Amazon Marketplace because it was like a dollar cheaper for brand new. A couple days later he refunds me and tells me that the book was destroyed in the San Diego fires. Alright, cool with me. I got a whole month off so I still have time..

So I ordered another one, straight from Amazon, since it was the next cheapest one, pretty much. Okay, Amazon can’t go wrong.. right? I got the package today.. and it was poorly sealed – the book slipped out somewhere in transit. TONS of marks saying “Received in damaged condition” or “Received without contents” at various post offices along the route. It got to me and my poor old mailman (who is REALLY nice) had to be the one to say sorry to me (props to him.)

Called Amazon and, luckily enough, they didn’t play the blame game, and took the fault for the poor packaging. Shipped me another one free of charge, ordered today, with two-day shipping. Looks like I’ll have my books on time for school.

AIM Classic (5.x) and Unicode

December 27, 2007

For the longest time I’ve used the classic version of AIM – “Triton” (v6+) has been too “bloated” for me. Some stick with classic, others move on. I’ve used this damn thing for practically my entire life – but as college came on, other methods of communication became more commonplace and AIM got old. I still used it, but usage has been at a strong decline since high school. As an Asian programmer / developer / music listener / engineer it became important to be able to utilize the Unicode (UTF-8) character set to have/use a universal standard of characters, but AIM classic didn’t support that. I didn’t want the bloat of aim6, didn’t like Pidgin’s local storage of buddy lists and account information in XML, … I just wanted a Classic client with Unicode support. Brim referred me to AIM Lite, which came pretty close, but I missed enough from Classic to move back after a week or so (since I had to reformat anyways.) The struggle for a Unicode-compatible Classic client continues.

Internship/Future Job? Part 2: Redback Networks

December 26, 2007

As much as working at a big-name company would be “praised on” by family and friends, a lot of people do end up at a small start-up.. and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just.. don’t see those companies around.. and only hear of the big-name ones – until Wilson linked me earlier today to a new opportunity! Computer networks and telecom, triple-play digital voice+internet+TV. Almost exactly what I want.. and even better, it’s right next to Cisco! Wow.. Things are starting to look better and better.

(This is mostly intended to be a notepad for me to remind me to look at this place later and not forget the name.)

Xbox Softmod Complete!

December 25, 2007

.. After hours upon hours of getting stuck 20 times and.. googling answers. Of course, newer/different methods of modding have been developed since, so “guides” are always getting outdated..

It went like this:

  1. Build Linux ISO using
  2. Turn on Xbox with hard drive powered by the PC, let it unlock, hotswap IDE cable from Xbox to PC, boot xboxhdm linux
  3. Unlock, mod, lock? I don’t know, I actually forgot by now.

Sounds easy right? Now I had a modded xbox with a.. stock 8gb drive. Okay.. pretty much useless.

  1. Empty a Maxtor 120gb by compressing months/years of uncompressed RO videos from to xvid/mp3.
  2. Clone HD using xboxhdm (and more hotswapping!)
    > dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb bs=somethingsomethingblah
  3. Copy EEPROM over, lock the new drive
  4. Put new drive in xbox, done!

Except I ran into 1000 obstacles on the way. Old ConfigMagic? Can’t access CD files (where I put the EEPROM) when hotswapping, but can access normally? Discovering what error codes and flashing colored lights mean? FTP to xbox? Where to place ConfigMagic? How to back up EEPROM? Format new drive? etc etc..

Oh god, ’nuff said. It’s all over and now I have a modded xbox.. With a 120gb drive and nothing on it yet but Halo 2. Now.. what to put on it? I totally just exploited my engineer-ness getting there but now I have nothing to do with it.

Windows Live Messenger + Unicode-tagged Songs!

December 24, 2007

I got stumped in a bit of reading for modding the PS2 for my sister before she goes back to San Diego – and wondered if I could get Unicode tags to show up properly in MSN (aka Windows Live Messenger.. lol.)

Before I was using.. WLM 8.1, Winamp .. all versions that support Unicode, and that gen_msn plugin.

I think I tried AMIP too instead of gen_msn, and it still crashed, but I don’t remember by now. In the end I just turned it off and never really bothered. Left it like that since April or so.

But in a stroke of random.. doing.. with my new reformat/install of Windows/etc.. I got it to work! (Without crashing in 5 seconds)

I am now using Windows Live Messenger 8.5.xxxx, Winamp 5.51, AMIP plugin for winamp, and the AMIP configurator. It started working correctly when I unchecked “use alternative formatting”. Sweet!

Edit: Okay I spoke too soon =( for some reason it started showing title only after .. a while..

Edit2: gen_msn v0.31 (“Now with unicode support!”) works properly now.. wtf.

Ugliest Syllabus Ever

December 24, 2007

Waitlisted for the others, I’m still only registered in 1 class – EE 306/346. And for that one class..

My EE 306 professor already started up Blackboard and even handed us our first 20-question due-week-1 assignment a week or so ago.. And yes.. I’ve started reading the material, although it’s mostly review.. I’ll get to the homework after all the christmas-ness is over.

So if this isn’t the most devastating syllabus ever, I really don’t know what is. It’s perhaps the ugliest (not layout wise, material wise) syllabus.. I’ve ever seen. Just plain disgusting.. It’s like a final review sheet.. for a syllabus.

The Computer Reshuffling Game

December 21, 2007

Spent the past two days doing this..

For a while now I’ve been like “I need to switch to my AMD, I need to reformat, …” since I’ve had my junkified Windows installations since .. April. Finally did it. Richard came over and we hung out for a while on Wednesday before going to my 3-minute wisdom tooth checkup – lol @ driving up to Jacklin, waiting 13 minutes, and driving back. We came back and we powered off my systems to blow them out. Blew out most of things but I was dumb enough to miss like 1/6 of my Big Typhoon’s heatsink and the dust compacted into my tiny video cards’ fans.

Nonetheless, it was finally time to switch to my AMD X2 4200+ to be my main (from the Intel 805). I wanted to continue using my 4+ year-old Antec Sonata case though with the 380W PSU (and 2 SATA power connectors – when SATA was new!) It didn’t seem to boot with the 20-pin trick when the motherboard was 24-pin. (The trick is to just plug the 20 pins into pins 1-20 of the 24.) So I said that sucks and was going to change to the Ultra PSU.

I had to make dinner, and I figured things would take a while so I quickly impromptu reassembled my main PC on the Intel 805 again, caseless, just so I had a computer to use while working on the AMD. (The things we do for minimal downtime..) I took my time assembling the system again as if it was a new purchase, and.. it booted. With the Antec PSU. Sweet?!

Backed up all the stuff and reformatted, but the video card fan was bitchin’ loud. The stock CPU fan was up next and the little 40mm chipset fan after that. I didn’t know what to do. I went from a fairly silent (~18 dBA) machine to this thing that’s like 10x louder. (Decibel ratings work on logarithmic scales.) I started by changing the stock CPU fan to the Cooler Master Hyper TX2 that I got for free after rebate from Fry’s on Black Friday. Bigger, but only 92mm compared to the Big Typhoon’s 120mm. Cheaper and louder. I wish I could use my Big Typhoon on this system, but the one Brim and I bought last winter for $30 shipped/taxed was the model that didn’t fit socket AM2. Oh well, I’ll leave it with the Intel 805.

Anyways, the video card fan was still an issue. Browsed around the net trying to find solutions to silence the fan – nTune sucked, RivaTuner doesn’t work on the 7600gt series, and there are a trillion people on the internet with the same problem. I was willing to settle with simply unplugging it (and possibly keeping a case fan underneath it.) Little did I remember that I had a Zalman VF700-CU sitting around, that I was going to use on my AGP 6600gt but ended up finding RivaTuner to modify the fan speed. Fortunately, it worked on this PCI-E 7600gt. And it works well. It’s actually about 10ÂșC hotter (which is a LOT) at the cost of complete silence. Nonetheless, it’s still well below dangerous temperatures and the thermal paste has yet to sink in.

There was a BIOS release related to fan speed controls, so I installed it. There was a little Windows BIOS flash utility for Award BIOS’s – WinFlash. I didn’t like the feeling of using it but it “worked”.. When I reboot, my DVD burner kicks twice and it seems to reboot again, kicking the DVD again before booting. I think I’ll just live with that. I was able to set the fan speed to automatic instead of a constant 1800 rpm – so now it alternates between ~800 and 0 (zero!!) RPM. Currently sitting at 29-30c idle as compared to 26c before at full speed. (Who gives.)

Now that the video card and CPU cooler were silenced, the little 40mm chipset fan was the next loudest thing. I just unplugged that little piece of shit (LOL) and my system was pretty much as silent as the old one. woot!

Problem is now Windows always crashes mid-boot once before actually.. booting.. Very very annoying. Thought I fixed it last night – a test reboot had no problems, but.. I guess not. I want to fix it without reformatting again.. took me forever to set everything up again..

Also.. My mic rebounds what I’m listening to REALLY loudly, even though I’m sure have it set to only mic and am trying to reduce it as much as I can.. How lame. Using same headset of course..

There were also little split-second skips while playing CS that I got really frustrated at, that seem to have gone away.. But that kind of crap makes me want to reformat again.

All this and the fact that my comp has died down winter quarter my freshman and sophomore years.. gives me a very eerie feeling.

On another note, I fixed the missing-LAN-on-reboot problem on my Intel 805’s ECS P4M800pro-m v2 board by just flashing the BIOS (they fixed it in a BIOS update). It took a very very long time (slowly over months!) figuring out how to make a boot disk that wasn’t a floppy. I gave up trying it on a USB, and ended up burning boot CD-RW’s (or so I thought – I accidentally used the CD-R with the same case design pretty much) using Nero along with using a virtual floppy drive emulator program to get the files in and bootable. There goes another 2 CD-Rs into the I’ve-thrown-away-too-many-CDs-I-need-to-recycle bin.

4th/5th Days After

December 18, 2007

Morning hell, but most of the day is fine. One dose of painkillers lasts the whole day.. well, not really. There’s just a small minor pain left on both sides that won’t even go away with painkillers.

I’ve been eating too fast though.. and I’m sure it’s been disrupting the healing of the holes that were made.

I totally forgot to include Insane Ink as work exp on my resume. I had it listed as an activity.. bleh. Things you do when you’re drugged up.. Also didn’t emphasize enough my 5 years of self-interest and self-learning of networks. We’ll see what happens..

Hung out last night (and tonight) with the usuals for the first time this break. Watched I Am Legend.. Figured B- and Will Smith would make a great movie, but it was.. good, weird, and confusing at the same time. Sucks when you sit there trying to understand exactly everything that’s going on, but struggle to. That shouldn’t happen in a movie. It had a couple good parts.. just a couple.

Got my Comcast renewed for $33/mo for 6 months (no contract) so that I won’t have any downtime while my sister and I are home for break. It would be.. a really bad time to not have internet access.

Gotta finish cleaning up my sister’s room.. and the whole house. Haven’t even bothered rebuilding my systems yet..

And some other things, but I’ll leave them out of here

3rd Day After

December 16, 2007

.. wasn’t that bad. Yeah, the mornings suck ass. Yeah, I find it hard to talk. It’s circular suckage. Wake up with pain, mouth dirty to hell. Can’t take pills without eating, can’t eat without cleaning, hurts too much to get up to clean.. It simply sucks.

I guess I just got used to it, but it didn’t hurt all that much today (being drugged down of course.) After a while I was able to eat two cookies! Chewy chips ahoy.. really slowly though. After many hours of doing nothing all day (yes, for once, I did nothing all day – I haven’t done this in a REALLY long time.. well.. I finished watching Dragon Zakura..) I decided that I was well enough to eat a normal dinner again – and I did. It took like an hour.. but it was great. A little too great. I also showered for the first time in about 98-99 hours.. almost 100, but not quite. Yeah.. shut up. So much time spent at home that I still felt clean after 70 hours.. and I’m a clean freak.

Anyways, now that that era is (kinda) over .. the strings in my mouth are still a bit bothersome.. it’s time to clean the house before my sister comes home.. and deal with Comcast because my promo expires on Tuesday. Maybe mod the xbox too.. but definitely not going to get to play the AnyBand songs on piano nor play Mario RPG. I haven’t even touched TF2 or Portal because I haven’t reformatted yet..