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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sony Products? Don't Think So...

The PlayStation Vita got its long awaited update 1.80 today and things couldn't be worse. Read more about it here from Wololo's blog.

The good news is that PlayStation 1 (PS1 classics) are now allowed to be played on the Vita, other new features have been added, among some other great features discussed on Wololo's blog. The bad news? It's very bad. Sony has made it near impossible to port over VHBL files to the Vita through a new CMA update. However, some sources, even from his own Twitter account, are saying that neur0n, well known in the Vita scene, has created a way of re-hacking CMA to port files over again. This is unconfirmed on Wololo's end as of now.

But this is still bad news for most of us. Sony continues to prevent us again and again from achieving what we truly want for devices that we legally paid for. Sony is much like Apple, even though the two are competitors in areas such as computers and mobile phones and tablets, in that both companies prevent their users from altering the devices to work how they'd like them to. If we legally paid for the device, didn't rent or lease it, shouldn't we be able to do what we want with the device? Especially in the case of Sony, they only hurt themselves by preventing us from accomplishing what we want. When you hack the PS Vita or the PS3, you can't play certain games, access the online web store anymore...none of that. All that to say that people that hack are really forced into piracy and it's not really their doing. Since they can't really buy games anymore, now they've got to "steal" them digitally.

The news regarding the PlayStation 4 doesn't even have me excited. Instead, the more and more information that I hear and read about the new system, the less and less I actually want it. Sony is not listening to their customer base and instead is hindering us from doing what we want with our devices that we legally paid full price for.

Also, what does Sony expect? Most of the games that have come out for the Vita and the features promised for the Vita are little to none. And then, considering that my Vita already has VHBL, I can't even get some of the latest features while keeping my system how I want it.

And yeah, it's true that this is not solely the fault of Sony. This is also because of some of those in the scene. What really got Sony started on going after hackers was after Geohot and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 hackers. People were pirating games via Geohot's method and some people jailbroke their PlayStation 3's and began cheating on the matches which causes Sony to do some major changes and begin attacking the hackers responsible for the hacks. If people didn't abuse the hacks, none of today's stuff with the Vita would be happening. I get it, Sony is just trying to protect itself. But in the process, they hurt people like me. And that is reason enough for me to leave since I'm not their target base anymore.

When Sony has tried reaching out to the community, it hasn't been the best either. Sony's PlayStation Suite or whatever it's now called was poorly designed and limited us and developers too much.

So, Sony, this may be my last system with you guys. Actually, this may be my last Sony branded product. I'm just tired of not being able to do the things with products that I legally paid for. What's next is that you might try to make it so that I can't connect a non-Sony DVD player to one of your TV's, make third party accessories not workable with your phones, or whatever...this closed industry has got me looking into other areas away from what you have to offer.

And I'm not some kid that relies on everyone else to buy my things. I bought my PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable (actually bought a few of them), PlayStation Vita, and other Sony products with my own money. And considering how expensive each item was, why should I continue to shell out hundreds of dollars for a piece of hardware that I can't even legally own?

This is your last chance for people like me, Sony. Don't screw it up even more than you already have.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Successful Hack of Brain

Check out this link from a Seattle's CBS station.

According to the link, a group of scientists have successfully "hacked" the human brain to retrieve information and without the use of surgery and with technology available to the general public for around $200.

Crazy, huh? It's not as sophisticated as people may think.

Imagine asking someone a question and then having them write down the first thing that comes to mind. That's how it works. It's a lot like the famous Rorschach pictures that psychologists use to determine a person's inner thoughts. A Rorschach is simply a blotch of ink on a paper. In no particular order was it dropped or created. The paper is then folded in half to create the image that is there. The therapists asks the subject to view the pictures and say what they think the picture looks like. These pictures determine what kinds of thoughts a person may have. For instance, if a person sees someone being killed, they either saw a person being killed or they have a violent mind or something to that effect, get it? Of course, that's my basic understanding and explanation of a Rorschach with an unfinished degree in Psychology. Anyway...this device works like that.

They have had the subjects use the devices and display images and say words to the individuals that would cause them to think about things. They would say, "Bank", or something more specific like "Bank of America", and would be able to get the person to think of their PIN on their account or something similar to that.

Pretty scary, huh? I thought so. But still interesting.

The device in question is one that is used to command computers with thoughts from the human brain.

It's a pretty interesting story that I would recommend everyone check out.

List of Sprint's Samsung Galaxy S III ROMs


I have been looking around for a while, yet I cannot find too many ROMs available for the Samsung Galaxy S III or at least a list that compiles these ROMs in one solid place. So I'd like to create and dedicate this blog post to just that.

Feel free to share any ROMs or information that you come across so that I can add them to my list. As for kernels, I'm debating on whether to create a separate page for those or to include them on this list. Feel free to leave your feedback for that. Of course, if the list grows too big because of kernels, they will have to be moved to another page. Below are the ROMs and their respective links from around the web.

If you do happen to share ROMs and kernels with us, then please leave behind a link so that others can be directed to a page that will allow them to find the download as well as the other important information that goes with the ROM such as issues, flashing instructions, etc. "added ____" dates are listed as the date when they were added to this specific list.

EDIT: I've decided to change the page and make it for more than just ROMs but also extending to kernels, recoveries, and any other information important to rooting the Galaxy S III. Of course there are probably other pages like this out there, but I'd like to be one of the few. It's hard finding a place that has this information all stored together. Most of my information pertains to the Sprint version. If enough request it, I'll open up new pages dedicated to other carriers' versions including the international version.

**If you own one of the listed ROMs, kernels, etc. and would like your information removed from the list, I will remove the information without question. I respect developers and their contribution to the community and while the ROMs and such may not be for sale, the creators/modifiers/etc. reserve the right to have their information where they want it and where they don't. Feel free to leave a comment here and leave your complaints.**

JellyBomb Domination ROM added August 26th, 2012:

FreeGS3 ROM added August 26th, 2012:

Galaxy S fre3 ROM added August 26th, 2012:

Blazer ROM added August 26th, 2012:

Odexed Blue ROM added on August 26th, 2012:

AnaKonda ROM added on October 6th, 2012:

SGS3 FTW ANNIHILATION ROM added on October 6th, 2012:

Wicked Sensations ROM added on November 4th, 2012:

TWRP Recovery added August 26th, 2012:

Remember that this list relies on people like YOU. So please, feel free to share with me any information that pertains to this list! Thank you!

Since creating this list, new lists have appeared around the net. One forum that I use, AndroidForums, has a sticky thread just for a complete ROM list which you can view here. Some of their information may not be here and some of my information may not be there. Also you can use an app on your phone called "Update Me" for most of your rooting needs. It helps you customize your phone with different boot screens, splashes, new ROMs, even alerts you when a new version of your ROM is out.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Vanilla Android

For Android users, how do you like your Android experience? What sort of phone do you have? HTC? Samsung? LG? Motorola? How does it look and feel to you? Is it slow? Ugly? Bulky? Confusing?

For some Android users, they've been able to use what is known as "Vanilla" of Android versions when using a phone from the Nexus line. The most recent Nexus phone was the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the tab was the most recent device that was announced this year. Users that use these phones and a few others have been some of the lucky few. What have your thoughts on "Vanilla" been?

Vanilla versions of Android (and other electronic devices running software) run special types of the Android operating system, the way that Google released it and intended it to be. Google made and releases Android as an open source project which allows anyone to download and use the software with or without official permission and release it in whatever way they'd like. In allowing it to be used and distributed freely, this gave manufacturers the opportunity to add in their own tweaks to the software. Some of you may have even heard of some of the tweak names. HTC uses Sense, Motorola uses Blur (or at least used to), Samsung uses TouchWiz, and others have their own too. Many people like different things from different versions like lots of people wanted the famous HTC clock which was well known as the "Sense clock" complete with a black and white flip clock and weather.

Sense, Blur, and TouchWiz are really the launchers of these phones but they also include their own apps. An Android launcher is basically how the phone looks when you unlock it, add apps/widgets to the homescreen, and can even affect the way that the notification bar looks with the 3G signal, battery status, and other notification area icons.

What is the downside of having these? For one, there's less customization for the user. Your phone came with Sense, it's a bit hard to change everything and make it exactly how you'd like it. It'd be like buying a used car that someone put all of their stickers on. You can take their stickers off and you can put your own on, but it's just not the same; you know what I mean? Another downside to these is that it puts lots of strain on your battery and on the phone's memory making the phone work twice as fast and slowing it for other apps and operations you want to do with your phone. That is the biggest complaint amongst users of these variants, is that it slows down their phones and drains battery life.

Of course, the upsides to Vanilla are whatever is the opposite of above. The downside is that you don't get an experience given to you out of the box. Instead, you must choose how you'd like your phone to look and run.

Luckily, with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0, most of these individual appearances given by manufacturers has been added into the Android OS as being standard so it caused many of the manufacturers to leave out their personalizations or change them because they didn't need everything as they did before.

Personally, I am not liking Samsung's TouchWiz on my Galaxy SIII. The number one thing that made me dislike the launcher was that it doesn't allow users to have scrolling wallpapers. In previous Android versions, and other phones without TouchWiz, users were and are allowed to move from screen to screen and the picture behind the apps for the wallpaper shows piece by piece of the picture. But in the newest TouchWiz launcher, it shows the same picture again and again and does not allow any other option. But tonight I flashed a ROM that allows me to fix that. Thanks to the guys behind FreeGs3 ROM for this feature! But now the launcher isn't as bad as it once was for me. I know it sounds small, but it really bothered me and other users because we liked that feature.

When looking for a phone, choosing a phone like the Galaxy Nexus was an option because it has Vanilla on it.

One of the other disadvantages of having a pre-loaded OS that isn't Vanilla is that it doesn't get Android updates as quickly as other phones do. The reason for this is that the manufacturers install their own pieces with the software like Sense. So when a new Android version becomes available, they now must put their personal touch on it which can take a while itself. Then when the coding is actually done, they test the firmware to make sure that it is compatible and can still run just as it did before. Otherwise, they don't send out an update or take a long time to send it. This is good for the manufacturer because if you haven't received the latest Android update, your phone becomes outdated and you are forced in buying a new phone. However, Vanilla phones get updates almost as soon as they are released because Vanilla phones are running pure Android so there isn't much to test or add to the software and its ready to go.

It seems like the Android community is divided on this topic. What do you think of it? Personally, I'm a bit biased because I prefer Vanilla to pre-loaded OS apps and appearances.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Apple Wins Lawsuit Against Samsung

You can read the full article from Fox News here.

The court ruled that Samsung violated a series of patents owned by Apple and allowed Apple to win $1 billion for damages. The patents have more to do with the hardware specs rather than software although some of Apple's lawsuits have to do with Samsung allegedly "copying" the icons, most notably, the phone icon, from that of the iPhone's interface. One of the hardware lawsuits has to do with a patent of Apple's that has to do with rectangular devices with smooth edges which is something that Apple claims that Samsung borrowed without permission from them.

This lawsuit seems unfair from all angles. It seems that Apple is simply jealous of Samsung's success and is trying to hurt the company not through sales and legitimate innovation but through false attacks on their rival that is doing well for themselves. Although, the phone icon dispute is one that I cannot ignore and vouch for Samsung. Take a look for yourself:

Here's a picture that someone put together showing Apple's iPhone phone icon and various Samsung phones using similar icons:

Photo courtesy of

The icons look very similar. That website above also shows other similarities with other Samsung logos. I can't vouch for Samsung in these instances because these are quite clear. Google's Android OS usually comes with phone icons (for their Nexus devices) that look more like a blue phone and not usually in a box. While in Samsung's defense, green is a common color associated with phones for quite a while as it has been made as a way of letting the user know to answer the call and red being to deny the call. The phone design is very common and has been used for many decades such as on old telephone booths like the GTE booths in the 90's that look similar to this.

This lawsuit "win" is a blow to the cell phone industry as well as the capitalist system in whole. This tells people that by manufacturing a device or product, you run the risk of being sued because you may have inadvertently "stole" that design or idea from someone else. But when you truly think about it, Apple's success with the iPhone is due to many more people and companies prior to Apple's creation back in 2007. Apple stole the idea from the original cell phone designer, used the concept of the touch screen, used the concept of programs being executed by code and human interaction, used the concept of the camera, and many more concepts that made the iPhone what it is today.

The success of Apple and Samsung is due to people building on other people's ideas and products. Apple designed iOS and the iPhone back in 2007 and Google shortly thereafter acquired the Android project and made it into what it is today. Android isn't the end either. A new OS will come in the future and will build on what made Android so popular. Attacking companies like Apple is doing is simply dishonest and anti-progress. They are setting an example for the other companies: HTC, Motorola, Sony, and many more to beware of what they are getting themselves in. This lawsuit is just the beginning as Apple tries to be its own away from its competitors such as getting rid of Google Maps out of its phone and trying to build its own mapping software.

This blow hurts Samsung and will hurt future Samsung phones as well as phones made by other companies. Although, I doubt that the lawsuits are over and will stop from Apple's end. Samsung will probably make their own lawsuit and attack Apple for something that it is doing. Samsung will also hurt Apple by not making products for the company to utilize in their devices like the screen in the iPad made by Samsung.

This is a sad day for all of us and can't mean well for anyone except Apple. Let's just hope that other judges and juries aren't so tough on Samsung.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Upgraded 2012

I upgraded my phone on Sprint. If my readers remember, I was having a bit of a hard time deciding which phone that I wanted. My choices included the HTC Evo 4G LTE, iPhone 5 (unofficially named currently), Samsung Galaxy SIII, the Motorola Photon Q, or to wait and see what new Nexus phone Google had planned for this Decemeber if one was to be made.

I settled on the Samsung Galaxy SIII and am loving my decision. I rooted the phone and the process was very easy. My Evo 4G (OG) was running Gingerbread 2.3.7 and now I am running Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 and am enjoying the massive changes to the OS.

I joined the Android community back in 2009 when I bought a used Samsung Moment running Eclair Android 2.1. I liked Android but not so much that particular phone. Root privileges  helped me enjoy and bear through the experience while I owned the phone. I upgraded to the HTC Evo 4G a short while later but started with Froyo Android 2.2 on there. I enjoyed Froyo much more than Eclair but more so because of the changes in UI and other new features. Eclair looked ugly to me and the stock browser felt old and outdated whereas Froyo's browser was more clean and up to date with features that made sense. Then Gingerbread 2.3 came to the Evo and I wasn't too thrilled. The same, ugly icons of Eclair came back to haunt me and stayed with me until today when I finally got my chance to leave Gingerbread for Ice Cream Sandwich.

What's my favorite feature? I can't really say. I love the new features such as Face Unlock which allows you to use your face as a way of unlocking your phone, I also enjoy the updated UI and fast feel to it but perhaps that's mostly due to my faster processor. There are many other cool features included in this OS that I'll have to get into in the coming weeks.

Most of my readers should now expect my Android postings to be more about Android 4.0.4, namely, the Samsung Galaxy SIII news rather than others. I will be discussing when new OS updates become available to us and when other cool features and ROMs appear. The scene is still quite new even though the phone has been out for a few months. But the scene will get bigger and we will see new improvements and changes in the upcoming years.

I chose the white one instead of the other purpley looking one. I wish we had more colors, but white is a nice color. I also got the Otter Box case for this phone and I have to say that it is a must. It came with a clip on your belt, it comes with lots of protection as most Otter Box cases do, and it even has a screen protector built into it! It is bulky, but you will never fear if you accidentally drop this phone. I also bought a stylus with the phone, which is my first stylus for a touch screen designed for the human finger so we shall see how that goes too. I bought it because I really wanted to draw with my phone and it seems like it might be able to do that.

All in all, it's been a fun little phone and I'm still playing around with it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Giving Up On PS3 Hacking...

I'm giving up on the PlayStation 3 hacking scene. KaKaRoTo kept talking about doing a hack for a new release but nothing since then. Now it's impossible and no one else seems to be speaking on what's new on a possible 4.00+ jailbreak. I am giving up because the scene is hopeless. It's stopped. Sony won the war and I hate to say it but it's true.

I got my second PS3 last year right before the Super Bowl and made the stupid mistake of updating it beyond 3.55 firmware and have been waiting patiently for a new jailbreak to be released. But it's time to put in the towel and admit defeat.

So I'm updating to the latest firmware as we speak and will be updating my games and heading back online after a few months of holding back.

How do you guys feel? Anyone waiting for a new jailbreak to be released?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Good Ways to Protect Your Accounts

For the sake of this blog post, I will only cover Google accounts for the most part. But this information can cover more than one area.

First, take advantage of all of the security that your provider provides to you. Google and Yahoo allow users that use their e-mail to set up secure ways to sign into their accounts. One of these very secure ways involves using your phone in connection with signing into your account. It makes your account secure by forcing you to send a code to your phone, then use that code to sign into your account every time that you log in on an unknown computer or device. Believe me, it's not easy for novice users. I changed my password and it locked me out of my phone for a good 15 minutes. It is long and tedious and can be bad for you in the future as it has for me. I was late for a class one day and needed to print out a paper I sent to my e-mail and it took me a while because the phone wasn't receiving the code as I was in our school's basement away from a cell site. So be careful about setting up security and make sure that you will always have enough time to access the account if necessary.

Your providers for your various accounts setup fairly decent forms of security measures that you can use with many of those being very hard for hackers to hack into...but that doesn't make your account unhackable.

Which leads me to my next point which is very important...use common sense and good judgement. That's what ultimately protects accounts from theft and fraud. By you not leaving your account's password lying around, account's password something obvious like a birthday, or anything like that, you have made your account very safe from the start. Still, there is no such thing as anything unhackable, by making passwords and other forms of security, you only reduce the risk.

Change your passwords often. In doing so, you make it hard for you to accidentally leave your password lying around or for someone to look over your shoulder then three months later log in to your account. I'd say that you should change your passwords every month.

Make the password difficult to remember. Refrain from choosing your birth-date or those of close family. These are the most typically used password pieces which makes it easy for hackers to search for first. Use birth-dates of like a family pet or a distant cousin or date of graduation...something that isn't related to you very recently or directly.

Recycle passwords but do not recycle account names. If you have more than one e-mail client like Yahoo and Gmail then do not use the same password for both of those accounts. Avoid connecting accounts to one another too. And avoid naming accounts the same name such as and Avoid connecting too many accounts with other accounts. Such as connecting both the Gmail and the Yahoo accounts to your same Facebook account.

Beware of the computers and devices that you sign in on. Each time you sign on, you are sending an IP address that links that computer, router, e-mail, Facebook, browsing history, and more all together making it easy for hackers to move from one account to the next, figuring out more and more about you.

Make multiple nicknames for online use. It's harder for people to track you if you use multiple identities online.

When creating passwords, use capital letters, lower case letters, numbers, and any other characters allowable. In doing so, it reduces the risk of having your account hacked into. Most software that is used to hack runs multiple possible passwords until finally finding the correct password that works with the account. It works like the following by searching for a, then b, then c...then aa, then ab, then ac...and so on and so forth which says that it searches for letters first then numbers or other way around. Using numbers, letters, and other characters makes a piece of software take longer to crack. Most passwords are case-sensitive, meaning that it won't allow you to access an account regardless if you use the upper or lower case of a certain letters. This allows you more time, more time that will force a program to take to find the password. Also make sure to not use the same letter repeatedly after each other as programs can find that fairly fast.

Be smart and safe when accessing accounts. When logging into your bank account online, clear cache, browsing history, cookies, and anything else you can. Or, use a different web browser. Instead of using Internet Explorer, use Google Chrome for your banking needs. And when in Google Chrome, do your banking in something similar to private browsing or incognito mode. These modes do not save browsing history, cache, cookies, and much more which should make your connection a bit more safer. Using something like a proxy server is technically safer since it hides your IP address but many individuals make proxies and have the ability to view your browsing history which would allow them to log your information and log into your accounts as you. So be careful if you decide to use something like a proxy server.

When signing into accounts, try to sign in using https URLs. By looking in that top address bar of your browser where the "" is, check before the "www." or whatever is there for an "https". Also check to see if the encryption is verified. This can be done in some browsers by clicking near here and information should be provided about the website's URL's validity.

Above all, use common sense and good judgement. Things change over time and some of my advice above may not be valid. I am not a professional of computer hacking, these are just pieces of information that I've found over my time online and none of the information given here guarantees that you will be safe from fraud and theft.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Sprint Upgrade is Here!

It's that time in my contract! Sprint has taken away my ability to upgrade annually and made it so that I can only upgrade every 2 years like the other carriers to cut down on expenses and keep my bill from changing too dramatically. But I'm in a dilemma as many of my normal readers may know...

I'm waiting for a few phones to be announced and some to be released before I make my decision.

Currently, I am very interested in seeing what the new iPhone 5 has planned and what Google has planned for the next Nexus phone if they decide to make another Nexus phone before 2012 ends. I am also debating on whether to get the Samsung Galaxy SIII or the HTC Evo 4G LTE which both have great and amazing features.

The iPhone 5 is on the very bottom of my list for wants. Since Steve Jobs isn't in the picture anymore, I'm very skeptical as to how this iPhone will be. The last couple of Apple products have not grabbed the attention of consumers as previous Apple products had been. Apple's choices have even been questionable such as naming the iPad 3, "The New iPad", rather than the iPad 3. Adding the "new" part seems lacking in creativity and like designers didn't think about what would happen when a newer version of the iPad is to be released. The specs on it as well as Apple computers haven't improved much either, making me think that Apple will be adding the obvious pieces like 4G LTE and bigger screen size into the iPhone 5 but leaving out other and new innovative pieces that set the iPhone apart from other smartphones and previous versions of the iPhone. So I'm not too thrilled about the new iPhone 5 as much as I am for the other phones, however, I am still awaiting its release and/or official announcement.

Google has been very silent about a new Nexus phone and probably due to the recent release of their first Nexus tablet, the Nexus 7. Speculations from the community have gone around but nothing concrete. Some say that the Nexus phone may not be released until after 2012 is over. Others say that Motorola is the likely choice to make the next Nexus as Google has obtained a few shares of the company. With the success of previous phones and the recent success of the tablet, I'd be surprised if Google didn't plan another Nexus phone. Perhaps it will come Spring 2013 to avoid being in direct competition with the tablet and confusion. I hope that the new phone will have a space for external memory (like the MicroSD cards in most other Android devices) as we saw with the last Nexus, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, didn't have a place for an external memory card.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII has caught my attention and I have made this known to readers months ago when I was thinking on the blog. The SIII has some amazing specs and great power. The SIII is being held high mostly because of its differences than other Ice Cream Sandwich phones available in personalization to individual and Samsung's identity. I do not like the available colors specifically for my network, Sprint. On Sprint's website, only purple and white are available. Samsung phones and I have not had too much luck in the past. Many of my friends have also had problems of their own with Samsung phones. Other Samsung devices like televisions and computers seem to be of very good quality, but phones have been another matter. I'm very optimistic about the Galaxy SIII though. I have heard great things about it and many iPhone users even leaving iPhone for it! Other Samsung phone owners have also been happy with their phones...the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy SII, Galaxy Tab, and other handheld devices.

The HTC Evo 4G LTE has been on my list since day one of its announcement. I got the original HTC Evo 4G  when it first arrived on Sprint and loved it. But after a while, I did begin to not like it so much. Part of the problem was the fact that HTC stopped allowing updates of Android to it. They just stopped at Gingerbread and won't go any further. While phones like the Nexus continue to get updates, which I really liked. The newer Evo seems to be on the top of the line from all of the new phones coming out, but part of me tells me to wait for later in this holiday season to see what announcements and releases will come.

Has anyone had to make the choice between any of these phones? What are your thoughts? Which one would you get and why?

Most Anticipated Games?

What are some of your most anticipated games that have been announced?

For me, I'm looking forward to Grand Theft Auto V, Borderlands 2, Battlefield 4, Medal of Honor, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Need for Speed Most Wanted, and a few other games announced. But I was curious what everyone else was looking forward to. And what news have you heard on your favorite upcoming games? Any release dates? Any major changes like Sam Fisher's voice change in Splinter Cell Blacklist?