GeoHot in the clear… Sort of

George Hotz aka GeoHot the hacker famous for cracking the iPhone and most recently the Sony Playstation 3 has had the lawsuit against him dropped by Sony on condition that he diverts his attention elsewhere. And doesn’t do it again!

Personally, this is the worst example of copyright abuse by a company in my opinion. But what else is the DMCA for if not to stomp on people with an overreaching draconian piece of legislation? Digressions aside, Mr Hotz is obviously an incredibly clever guy and his endeavours have the potential for a lot of good. However, in reality the result of his efforts will be script kiddies with no talent, except in the art of general annoyance, abusing the hacks/cracks to run pirated games and cheat in online multiplayer games.

You can argue that GeoHot is not responsible for what other people do with his discoveries, but on the flip side he has some culpability when his discoveries are used for the wrong reasons. For that reason I back Sony’s effort to prevent him, and others, from releasing hacks for the PS3. You only have to look at the Xbox360 and the Nintendo Wii to see the damage that is done to online gaming by those who routinely cheat for no other reason than they fail at life. The PS3 has remained relatively hack free and I for one would like to see it remain that way.

On this blog GeoHot posted “I am joining the Sony boycott. I will never purchase another Sony product.” Which I presume to mean that the PlayStation 4 will be safe from him.

Peas and loaves.

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Find me on PSN – MrCheapKills

David Nicol is Articles Editor for, YouTube gaming commentator and blogger based in the UK.

PS3 Jailbreak

I previously blogged about Sony’s decision to remove the ability to run alternative OS on the PS3 and how the “homebrew” community were much put out about this. I agreed with Sony in that they were doing it to ensure the integrity of the gaming platform. Especially when the Xbox is JTagged and the Wii can be soft modded using Lego Indiana Jones and a bit of know how. Anyone familiar with those platforms will have run in to people using hacks and cheats (my own experience on Mario Kart of all games) that are available for one reason: they’ve been cracked.

The PS3 has so far been pretty stable and safe, with Sony quickly patching any breaches that have been detected. The “homebrew” community continue to claim that they’re empowering users and offering variety…..

No, they’re allowing a tiny percentage of those people who unlock their devices to run “homebrew” for whatever purpose they may have intended it for, the rest use the cracked machines to run pirated games and employ hacks and cheats.

Here’s what I don’t get: The crackers/homebrewers are hell bent on unlocking devices to do stuff that, admittedly, they are capable of doing and in some instances are really cool. But ultimately what’s the point? Oh, you want to run linux? You want to utilise the processing power and GFX processing? Well how about this, it may come as a shocker, but there’s these things out there already that do all that. They’re called PCs. You can even build them to your own specifications too. They’ll even use your game controller! No need to bust a nut circumventing hardware and software lock out protocols on them either.

Because let’s be honest, cracking consoles and other devices is not actually a benefit to the majority of users, and the majority of users who come in contact with a cracked console are going to be on the wrong end of an aimbot or unlimited boost.

Peas and loaves.

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Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

David Nicol is Articles Editor for, YouTube gaming commentator and blogger based in the UK.

Xbox360 Overheating Problem Solved?

Recently Microsoft announced the release of the sexy 360 slim. Black and shiny (hmmm sounds like the original PS3….), more reliable and quieter than the original WHOOOOOOOOSH version. At this point I’d like to remind everyone that I am platform neutral so let there be no console wars here.

To make the console slimmer (and probably to save money too) Microsoft combined the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and the Central Processing Unit (CPU) in to one super chip. That’s fine…… if you’ve got enough power and cooling to allow it to run efficiently.

Anyone who has ever built their own computer, especially one for gaming, will be familiar with the pitfalls and trade offs when choosing processors, cooling implements, air flow and optimisation. So for Microsoft to opt for an integrated CPU/GPU seems like a serious case of logic failure. Especially if they’ve done away with the WHOOOOOOSH that makes the Xbox such a pleasure to play using headphones.

But already there is a vid on YouTube apparently showing the new slim Xbox360 overheating. I say ‘apparently’ as there is no real info on the circumstances and although there are definitely lines on the screen, it is not clear that they have actually been caused by the Xbox rather than some other cause such as crappy connections, interference or maybe even some sort of subterfuge to denigrate the new slim Xbox.

If we take the video author at their word (and we have little other choice) then it looks like Microsoft have replaced one design flaw with another.

Peas and loaves.

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Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

Player Info

System Update – No JTag for PS3….yet

Check out for gaming news, views and reviews.

I’d seen information about an upcoming update to the old fat PS3 (such as I have) on the BBC News site the other day. For those who don’t know what it’s about then here it is in a nutshell: The original fat PS3s had the option to add another Operating System on to a partitioned section of the inbuilt hard drive. So some home brewers and general fiddlers have been doing that pretty much from launch.

But the new update, if they want to use their PS3 online, will prevent the use of the alternative OS feature:

PS3 Update Terms

For people like me it’s no big deal. I’ve never used the feature, never intended to, and so will never miss it. But there are people who did utilise the processing power of the PS3 for other uses, and this effectively stops that.

The reason for the update is to counter the crack that I previously touched on when George Hotz, AKA Geohot the iPhone cracker unlocked the PS3. Although his method(s) are not widely known (or practical) at the moment it would only be a matter of time until the issues that Xbox users face because of JTagged machines hit the PS3 network.

Although this update will annoy a minority of users and, despite the knowledge that it will not stop the PS3 from being cracked at some point in the future, I am glad it has been done. It may be delaying the inevitable, but in that respite other tactics to counter the donkey orgy that JTagging on Xbox has caused can be developed by Sony (hopefully).

I for one do not want to see the level of cheating on PSN that is a regular occurence on XBL. Playing cheat free was one of the reasons why I switched from PC to console gaming.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

Check out for gaming news, views and reviews.

Let’s Talk About Mics….

Historically I don’t do voice comms in game. The exception to this was Ghost Recon six or seven years ago on the PC using Roger Wilco when I was playing with a couple of good online friends from a forum I was involved with. Then more recently on the Xbox360 with a friend of mine playing Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – but that was it.

However, that’s all set to change with the gameplay of BFBC2.

Up until now I’ve been using a Motorola HS820 bluetooth earpiece thingy. I started using it when I began playing Modern Warfare 2 to negate the need to mute every player. All game chat audio went to the earpiece which sat in exile next to the TV…..bliss.

Motorola HS820

But after playing BFBC2 in a proper squad I decided that a mic was a necessity rather than a luxury, especially for this game. So I tried using the mic on the Motorola. Kudos to Motorola. The mic is really sensitive. Even at mic volume 1 it was almost red lining. Which is a problem. There’s no mute function on the mic, and being so sensitive means that EVERYTHING happening at my end would be broadcast to my squad – the sound from my speakers (hooray, gameplay with a delay…), the sound of me uttering words of encouragement at the other team, and other household nuances that I’m fairly sure others wouldn’t want to hear.

Donncha suggested that I dip into the Hauppage Fund and get myself a pair of PX21s. That would be awesome, but impractical – not just because it would cripple the fund more than it has been already, but also because they are wired. Great headset, but in my situation not ideal.

So I was looking for ways to bodge stuff together, checked out jack to usb adapters, looked at the price of headsets, even considered hooking up my guitar/mic mixer to the PS3 – but that would have been overkill. The compromise in the end was a fairly inexpensive PS3 bluetooth headset thingy from Geo-Tech.

GeoTech EX-01

So that’s another twenty quid hit to the Hauppage Fund. But it should be worth it. I had a quick test of the mic and unlike the Motorola this one only picks up what it’s supposed – my voice and nothing else. It even has a mute button for those times when I need to yell abuse at the screen cough.

I look forward to testing it out in a proper game.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

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More Search Stat Fun (lag switch and crosshairz)

Since my visit to Ebay and subsequent post about some of the crap* you find on there, search engines are now sending people this way for information on said devices. Et voila:

I am an authority on all things douche

So, here’s the low down for all you peeps with inquiring minds.

How Stuff Werks!

Search query: how crosshairz work

Answer: they show you where the centre of your screen is. But in order to use them you first have to work out where the centre of your screen is. Once you know where the centre of your screen is you’ll find that your don’t need your crosshairz any more (or at all).

Pro tip: To find the centre of your screen first measure from top to bottom, half that figure to get halfway vertical. Measure from left to right, half that figure to get halfway horizontal. Where those two figures meet is the centre of your screen.

Incidental information: Sticking random sticky stuff to the centre of your screen to aid aiming has been around for as long as first person shooters. Back in the day (before Crosshairz) the method of choice was felt tip pen, some tape, or a bit of Blu-Tac. But in reality it is a pointless exercise as whatever you use ends up obscuring what you are supposed to be aiming at.

Search query: ebay switch lag game

Answer: A lag switch sits between your PC or games console and your router/internet connection. When you flick the switch it interrupts ALL communication between the devices. Does it work? If by ‘work’ you mean stops your connection, then yes it works. But without a controller to regulate the amount of lag you’ll encounter Host Migration (if you’re host) or the lobby screen if you’re not. Which is great as it self terminates cheats.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to search for an item on Ebay – try going to Ebay and using the Ebay search rather than a search engine….

Incidental information: If you’re willing to pay for a device to help you cheat on a game then you must be utterly pathetic at said game. Instead of wasting your cash in an attempt to become an uber-douche why not hop on the forums and ask for some tips, or have a look at gameplay videos on YouTube. If you have to cheat to win you’re only cheating yourself – no one likes a cheat, and you will get found out.

If either of these answers saved you the purchase cost of these items, then consider donating the money you saved to a charity of your choice instead.

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of the Half a Brain Society of Great Britain.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

*Crap is a purely subjective term. My definition of crap may be incompatible with your view. Your mileage may vary. May contain nuts. Not machine washable.

Viacom vs YouTube vs Viacom

Back in 2006 US media powerhouse (wooh that sounds impressive!) Viacom was poised to buy YouTube. But they were beaten to the punch by omnipotent Internet majordomo (I’m on a roll!) Google who paid US$1.65bn for the video sharing site.

Big fat hairy deal…..

Well it would be if Viacom hadn’t immediately sued YouTube/Google for US$1bn for copyright infringement. It’s quite ironic as Viacom’s whole aim of acquiring YouTube was to seed it with it’s own shows and videos to raise profiles and profits galore. So you could argue that it was sour grapes.

You’d think that would be that and “see you in court bozos!” would be the end of it. But it would appear that Viacom forgot one very important fact about Google. That fact? Google is practically The Internet! What Google don’t know about the tinterwebs is only because they haven’t invented it yet. So when they check their logs you can be pretty sure that they are sure that the IP adresses used to upload copyrighted Viacom shows are actually Viacom related IP addresses…..

Funny how it is alleged by Google that those same Viacom related IPs continued to upload copyrighted Viacom material AFTER filing the suit for copyright infringement. Surely that’s tantamount to complaining about your neighbour’s dog, then covering yourself in dog food and doing star jumps in their garden while making cat noises…..

I had thought that dirty tricks went out the window with the last millenium, but it would seem that some people are incredibly hard of learning. But ho-hum, it takes all sorts.

Here’s two links (out of many, many links) reporting the shenanigans:

New Statesman
The Guardian (UK Press)

But what has that to do with me (or you)? Quite a lot actually. Or nothing. It depends on what you do and how you do it. I watch videos on YouTube and I also put videos on YouTube. The videos I put up technically infringe copyright, despite the fair use argument. The intro bits are safe – I created them and so hold complete copyright over that….but the rest…..

Well there lies a grey area. In my first video I used the song ‘Macarena’ by Los Lobos (because it’s the best song every made – that’s why!) as there was no in-game sound. YouTube picked that up, marked it as copyrighted and due to restrictions placed by the copyright holders it is currently blocked in Germany. So no Spanish-esque pop mayhem for my little knödel chums.

The real grey area is the gameplay – and all gameplay videos on YouTube. Unless you have specific permission from the game copyright holder (normally the publisher) then you are technically breaching copyright law if you subsequently upload a gameplay video. Thankfully most publishers have a relaxed and/or forward looking view of the subject and take no action as gameplay videos undoubtedly help their sales. I’m sure that if you uploaded a video absolutely slating a game and the publisher got wind of it they would soon take it down though.

There have been rumours recently on YouTube about gameplay being taken down due to copyright issues. Ken Burton mentioned it in one of his videos and stated that he will only be uploading gameplay to Machinima from now on. However, from my perspective, the removed videos have probably breached copyright via their soundtrack rather than the gameplay content. The music copyright police are much keener on infringement than the game publishers. For this reason I think that montage makers are generally digging their own graves unless they use their own music or that to which they have been granted permission.

In general you are most likely to have gameplay videos taken down if the title is not yet released or is from a demo of the game. If you ever pay attention to the load screens on many demos they do go on about it being verbotten to record and distribute the gameplay which is fair enough as in many cases the demo is pre-release and subject to change.

Hopefully common sense will prevail and we’ll all be able to continue pretty much as we are now without the threat of the FBI kicking the door in because we decided to share our gaming experiences with others.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

YouTube CC, KEN, and Another Hauppage Update

YouTube CC

I love Google and what they do so don’t take this as Google/YouTube bashing, but their new innovation on YouTube is, as the cool kids say, FAIL. What is it if you haven’t seen it? Closed Captioning – or subtitles to us in the UK. They’re designed for people with hearing difficulties, by printing out the dialogue on screen. I use them, not because I’m hard of hearing, but when you have kids/babies in the house it’s the best way to watch the telly because the kids are asleep, or are awake and playing LET’S MAKE AS MUCH NOISE AS POSSIBLE EVERY TIME SOMEONE SPEAKS ON THE MAGIC BOX.

Anyone who regularly uses subtitles or close captioning will know a couple of things about them:
1 – On pre-recorded programmes and films they are great
2 – They’re not always word for word with what is being said
3 – They are typed by deaf illiterate chimps for live programmes like the news

So here’s the thing, YouTube/Google have implemented a beta Closed Captioning service on the videos, I tried it on mine……hilarity ensued. You’ve got to try it – choose any video at random. It’s like when the first speech recognition came out…..


In Ken Burton’s QA video he answered the question about what can actually be done about online douchery. Here is his answer:

Obviously it’s not a perfect solution, but this is not a perfect world, otherwise there wouldn’t be any douchebags to mute, thus rendering the KEN campaign moot. What the KEN tag really means is that the person wearing it is not going to indulge douchey bullshit. That’s it.

Hauppage Update

Okay, I know from experience that people who buy on ebay have a real problem with actually reading the title, description or even looking at the pictures, but there is only so much you can do to make it as clear as possible what you are selling. So when I put my surfboard on there I put in MASSIVE RED LETTERS collection only, the P&P section said collection only, so I was surprised when a guy from the other side of the country was the winning bidder and then emailed me to ask how much delivery would be…….yup.

Anyway, hopefully that’s sorted, and as long as he pays and doesn’t mess me about it means that I’m about two thirds of the way to the Hauppage which I will now be getting from I can get it for a couple of quid (literally) cheaper from some other supplier, but I’ve never heard of this other company and I have dealt with Play before.

In other news:

Gameplay tonight – Mercenary Team Death Match. Using mainly the blinged FAL with silencer and holographic sight, Spas with grip, claymore, stun grenades, Stopping Power Pro and Ninja Pro. Although on the last game on Underpass I had to change to my Anti-Air class as my team was totally outclassed and had to shoot down the enemy air support to stop it being a complete rout. I was also using my Cheap Freaks on sensitivity 7 and was playing fairly conservatively as I need to get used to this new set up.

Maps and outcome –
Underpass – Win – 6-2
Karachi – Win – 7-2
Estate – Lose – 6-6 (stupid sniper in the garage)
Underpass (again) – Lose – 6-3

Definitely not beast scores, but apart from Estate I think I upheld my Two Commandments fairly well.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE

Cheap Freaks FPS – Review

So that there’s no confusion, this is not really a review. Now that’s out of the way…

You may have seen the KontrolFreek FPS doo-dahs being pushed by everyone and their dog lately. This sudden ramping up of viral marketing can be put down to one of two things – they’re either the best thing since thumbs, or there’s commission to be made. Or maybe both. – Yes, I’ve linked to them, but it’s a direct link, no referal codes, if you go there I get nothing, if you don’t go there I still get nothing.

But on with the “review”. It’s only fair to point out that I do not have, nor have used the KontrolFreek FPS thumb dingles. I have read what other people including Donncha, SeaNanners, PyroPuncher and others have said about them. What interested me more is not whether or not they turn you into an MLG Pro player overnight, or turn your 26-3 stats into 75-1, I was into the physics of it. If it worked, how does it work.

But before we get into that, allow me to introduce to you the Cheap Freaks FPS*. It retails for no pennies and is available free in most homes.
*Some assembly required.

What’s in the box?
Well…nothing, but here’s what you’ll need:
KontrolFreeks FPS alternative
A child’s drink bottle (or any that has those little plastic caps on top), your console controller, and some blu, or white tack – white is the choice of Pro’s.

KontrolFreeks FPS alternative - assembly
First, take the clear plastic sealer cap from the top of the bottle. Place it to one side and then drink the contents of the bottle – glug, glug, glug. You can use the bottle for other projects as “Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Beginners” or “Fun With Hydro Rockets”, otherwise recycle it.

Now get your blu-tac, or Pro white-tac and roll out a small sticky sausage to fit the circumference of your analogue stick. If you want to be super precise you can use the following formula to work out how long that is: 2 π r

Once you have your sticky sausage, place it toward the outer edge of the analogue stick. You can now get the plactic cap and place it on top. You may need to adjust the placement, but the good thing about this is that you can place the cap to whatever is comfortable for you. And it will look something like this:
KontrolFreeks FPS alternative
KontrolFreeks FPS alternative

It’s ugly.

Ugly is not the same as useless. As long as something does what I want it to I’m not particularly bothered what it looks like. So does it work?

That really is the big question…..

Well here’s my experience. It didn’t help my k/d. In fact, it was worse during my testing phase of three games. So obviously that makes it useless right? Wrong! My k/d is bad because I’m a bad player, my k/d was worse because I was looking for engagements. To explain a bit more, here’s my conclusion:

My Conclusion
The Cheap Freaks FPS does what it says on the tin in my experience. And if my crappy no-monies version works then the proper KontrolFreeks FPS must also work (but look better). I normally play on a Sensitivity setting of 2 or 3 when playing Call of Duty 6 – Modern Warfare 2. With my Cheap Freak attached I was playing on 7 (I incremented up to that). I could probably have gone higher, but didn’t feel the need as the concept had been proven to me.

They don’t make your game better though. No add-on will ever make you a better player – that is completely down to the individual. What it does is give you more control – especially fine control for tricky aiming. Having come from PC gaming this level of control is something that I have sorely missed. If you’re fine with your controller as it is, then these products will not be of benefit but if, like me, you find your aim is erratic then give it a go – either the Cheap Freaks if you don’t mind looking like a street crazy, or the KontrolFreeks if you like to video yourself playing.

Would I buy the proper version? For $10 yes I probably would because I noticed a significant difference when using my Blue Peter version. But since I live in the UK I’m not likely to buy them as I abhor postage charges, nor the $ to £ conversion that suppliers use (“$10….well, we’ll sell it for £10. No one will ever know…..”)

Hey! What about the Science bit?
M = Fd
Okay. How they work…’s all about leverage. The nubbins on the controllers are quite small so the shaft (lever) is short. This means that small movements of the nubbin/lever translate into large inputs. So when you extend the length of the lever the fulcrum/pivot relationship is altered in such a way that you have to move the nubbin more to gain the same amount of relative movement as before.

So when you run around the corner and get surprised, instead of wildly flailing and firing at the sky, your knee jerk reaction becomes a smooth arcing headshot. BOOYAAAH! as JunkYard would say.

Found this helpful? Good. Found it really rubbish? Well, you read this far so it can’t be that bad ;-p

After playing last night (Friday 5th March 2010) for over an hour the Cheap Freak went out of position due to the white-tac getting warm and through the pressure of use. White-tac or blu-tac is not designed for this purpose so the flaw is not in the material, but in my choice of material. The issue was a lateral shift which hindered my movement control. So I’ve removed the Cheap Freak and reverted to my old sensitivity setting of 3. In this test, for me, the concept of the KontrolFreek FPS has been proven and if I come across some of these for the equivalent of $10 then I’ll be investing in them.

Peas and loaves.

Find me on PSN – evaDlivE