PSN outage exposed Capcom DRM flaw

By Mike on 8:44 pm

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Capcom is tasting a bit of UBIsoft's bad medicine. Sony's Playstation Network is currently suffering from a massive outage. Normally, this would mean no more online noob-bashing for a while. That is unless you own Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2, or Final Fight. Capcom started using a DRM system that requires you to be online to play the games. Yes, even for single player mode. With PSN down, gamers cannot access what they've legally purchased. Capcom has yet to comment on the issue.

Sony is working on repairing the problem, but says it may be a few days before PSN gets back up and running. Early rumours that pointed to another denial of service attack have been denied by Sony and the hacking community.

Source: Kotaku

Easter weekend gaming challenge: Sonic Run

By Mike on 5:38 pm

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The first MMNtech gaming challenge is honouring a retro gaming hero. Classic Sonic is making triumphant return in Sonic Generations, due out later this year. To commemorate this, we're going to play through the chubby blue blur's classic Genesis games in one run. For this challenge, you must play each game in the original series, in order, from start to finish.

The games are...
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic 2
Sonic CD
Sonic 3
Sonic & Knuckles

This is purely for fun. There's no prize, but you do win extra gaming cred if you use a Genesis and an old CRT TV, or get all Chaos Emeralds in each game. Enjoy.

Your iPhone is spying on you

By Mike on 11:38 am

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Your iPhone knows what you did last summer. Ever since Apple released iOS4, a secret file has been storing your movements. It works by triangulating your cell signal instead of the GPS. It's far from accurate. However, it does show the general vicinity of your travels. The scary part is how easy it is to access this information. Programmer and ex-Apple employee Pete Warden has developed a Mac OS app to access the data. It shows everywhere you've visited as a collection of dots on a map.

For it to work, you need iOS 4 installed on your iPhone or iPad 3G. During the brief three-month period I had it on my iPhone 3G, it shows the general areas I've travelled to. In some cases it's spot on, in others it's miles off.

Regardless of the accuracy, it's a serious privacy concern. Apple doesn't appear to be collecting or using this data in any way. However, they won't say why they're doing it. It's stored only on the phone itself and any computer you synced it to. This kind of information has potential benefits for law enforcement. We've all seen them do it on CSI. This information could be a huge advantage for darker elements too: stalkers, overzealous cops, lawyers, shady government agencies, and private detectives.

Data collected from an iPhone shows the user
took a train trip from Washington DC to New York

There's only one way to get rid of this information. You'll have to restore your iDevice to an old firmware. iOS 3 and older don't collect this data. That's not exactly an ideal solution. The other solution is to encrypt your iDevice backups. Less techno-literate individuals won't be able to hack into it. That should at least keep your data safe from that girlfriend with trust-issues.

Source: The Guardian UK
Image property of MAD Magazine

Obituary: PSP Go

By Mike on 10:35 pm

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Today we mourn the loss of the PSP Go. A Japanese blogger, who claims to work for a Sony partner, says the portable is no longer in production. Sony Style Japan no longer lists it on its website. A while back, Amazon listed the Go as "discontinued" on their website. Sony has neither confirmed or denied the reports, only saying they'll support the PSP line as long as it's in demand.

The PSP Go had a difficult life. The system was released to compete with Apple's widely popular iPod Touch and iPhone. It was the first gaming handheld to exclude physical media. The results proved disastrous. Since it couldn't play UMDs, it wasn't compatible with the vast majority of games. Sony was slow to expand the PSN Store to accommodate. Furthermore, gamers complained about its awkward control layout. All this compounded by a $250 price tag for the system alone. A significant jump from PSP value packs which came with games and a memory card for $50 less.

You were too small, had too few games, and were way too expensive.

Sony has not released sales figures. However, they have admitted it suffered from a lack of consumer interest and poor sales. Learning from their mistakes, Sony returned to physical media with their successor system, the NGP.

UPDATE: Sony has confirmed the PSP Go has been discontinued. The PSP-3000 will remain in production as long as people still buy it.

Source: Eurogamer
Image: Averaging Wrathy

Newegg earns the MMNTech excessive packaging crown

By Mike on 9:53 pm

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There's packaging, then there's too much packaging. Some companies are trying to reduce their containers to cut on shipping cost and environmental impact. Others, not so much. Take my recent order from Newegg.

I picked up a single SD card from them. They shipped it in a colossal 8''x8''x6'' cardboard box filled with packing peanuts. Like the other items I covered on this subject, a padded envelope would have been more than enough. I thought their $10 shipping rate seemed awfully high for such a small object.

A mammoth box to ship an itty bitty SD card. Blu-ray case for scale.

I have contacted Newegg's feedback about this. It will be interesting to see if they reply.

Image courtesy of the Muppet Wiki.

Use iFile to beef up your iPad's media storage

By Mike on 10:34 am

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A lot of us are digital hoarders. We have to take everything with us. Sadly, the iPad has one serious flaw. Similar devices allow you to expand storage via memory cards. Apple users are stuck with built in storage. They'll sell a 16gb iPad for $500, but they know that's not enough. What if you could skirt this limitation? Thanks to jailbreak app iFile, it's easier than you think.

iFile tickles open the darkest corners of your iPad. It allows you to view the file system, access previously closed off information, and select files like you would on OS X. Once you start thinking outside the box, you can expect big things from this app. Those big things being extra storage space for all your media files.

For it to work, you'll need to buy the Apple Camera Kit and jailbreak your iPad. Load up some media onto an SD card and slot it into the adapter. Fire up iFile and you should see it mounted under devices, labelled "Flash Drive". Click the file you want to play, select the app you want to play it in, and enjoy.

iFile's interface browsing an SD card with media files.
The OS X-like interface is easy to use.

iFile opens up your device to unlimited storage space for media files. It also works with other files, including documents. You can also use third party card readers via the USB camera dock. There are some caveats though. iFile will not work with USB thumb drives due to the iPad's power limitations. The iPad doesn't seem to like powered hubs either. Nor does it support hard drives. If you can get them to work, more power to you. You also cannot store apps on flash media.

With flash cards so cheap these days, iFile is well worth the $4 entry fee. With double the storage or more, you'll have plenty of room for all your music, movies, photos, and documents. Add more cards and capacity becomes limitless. Perfect for those of us who travel, or just like to lug our giant film collections around. Download iFile from Cydia.

Score: 9 out of 10

What works:
-Opens the door to limitless media capacity for your iPad.
-Allows you to choose what apps you want to open the file in
-Works with all file types supported by both first and third party apps
-Mac OS X like interface for easy navigation

What doesn't work:
-No support for USB thumb drives, though this is a hardware issue
-No support for external hard drives
-Price a bit high