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Modding tech is like a lame drug deal

17 December, 2007 (15:14) | Fun, Hacks, Projects

I heard a story about a guy, not me mind you, that wanted to mod his PSP to a “homebrew” firmware which would allow him to run far more software than the lame games that were made solely for the platform. We’ll call this dashing and daring fellow “Mr. X” – kinda like Racer X from Speed Racer, only I’m referring to the original, not the lame Shitwood Hollywood remake.

Here is Mr. X’s story:

“I wanted to breathe new life into my languishing and dust-laden PSP. I liked the device’s potential, but the dull games don’t really appeal to me and I wanted to use it as a portable web browser, instead of lugging a laptop around the house. Since a keyboard would make it more functional I looked to see if one was available. Unfortunately, the only production keyboard was just an abandoned concept back in early 2005!

There were plenty of wireless keyboards in use like the Targus Universal Wireless Keyboard, however it would only work if you hacked the PSP to an earlier firmware and ran an exploit or if you made, had access to or purchased a Pandora’s Battery which would put the PSP in a service mode that would allow a new firmware (like Dark_Alex) to be written.

The catch is that to make a Pandora’s Battery you need a modded PSP to work the magic on the battery. So, like any good hacker I cruised Craigslist.org for help. Not to be disappointed there were regular ads posted providing rates for differing levels of hacks and pre-loaded wares to suit my needs.

I made contact with “Mr. Red” and we made arrangements to meet on neutral territory to perform the work. A schoolyard in the heart of Silicon Valley. Using temporary (“burner”) cell phones so our number and identities could not be discovered, we called each other when we were in place and met to commit our blatant violation of the DMCA and probably a copyright or two.

Keeping any traces of personally identifiable material off my person I also made a complete set of clothes from random sewing patterns obtained from donation centers so that the retail origins could not be determined in a possible attempt by The Man to identify me should I be captured alive.

Keeping watchful eyes to see if the other was followed we met briefly and produced the items needed to perform the work. Me; my virgin, factory PSP. He; his Pandora’s Battery and neon green Memory Stick Duo with all that illegal goodness on it. “Mr. Red” deftly replaced my battery with his and inserted his memory card into my about-to-be-deflowered PSP as we kept our head and eyes darting around the school premises looking for The Man behind every bush and in every shadow. No movement – we just may survive this nefarious deed after all.

Less than ten minutes later Mr. Red showed me the new firmware running on my PSP after a reboot and I quickly and briefly shook his hand in a covert way to pass the folded-up $25 in small, unmarked, non-sequential serial numbered bills he just earned so that spy cameras would not be able to view the transaction.

Craptacular Stock PSP Sweetalicious Modded PSP

We parted ways both richer from the experience and flush with the adrenaline rush of getting away with something so dastardly and rebellious as thumbing our noses at the DMCA and all the lawyers trying to justify and maintain it.

After arriving home I immediately set fire to the “burner” cell phone to eliminate any DNA residue. Afterwards, once it had cooled, I took it into Radio Shack to recycle – this is California after all. If someone saw me tossing that phone in the garbage I would have gone to jail for certain!”

Wow. All I can say is, “Wow”. What an amazing experience “Mr. X” had.

I suppose that since modding a PSP (or an iPhone or an Xbox or whatever) is outlawed by the DMCA only outlaws would dare have any of these modded devices.

Makes me feel sorry for America….

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